Jeremiah 8

The Valley of Slaughter

1 “ ‘At that time, declares the LORD, the bones of the kings and officials of Judah, the bones of the priests and prophets, and the bones of the people of Jerusalem will be removed from their graves.
2 They will be exposed to the sun and the moon and all the stars of the heavens, which they have loved and served and which they have followed and consulted and worshiped. They will not be gathered up or buried, but will be like dung lying on the ground.
3 Wherever I banish them, all the survivors of this evil nation will prefer death to life, declares the LORD Almighty.’

Sin and Punishment

4 “Say to them, ‘This is what the LORD says: “ ‘When people fall down, do they not get up? When someone turns away, do they not return?
5 Why then have these people turned away? Why does Jerusalem always turn away? They cling to deceit; they refuse to return.
6 I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle.
7 Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the LORD.
8 “ ‘How can you say, “We are wise, for we have the law of the LORD,” when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely?
9 The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the LORD, what kind of wisdom do they have?
10 Therefore I will give their wives to other men and their fields to new owners. From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit.
11 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace.
12 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when they are punished, says the LORD.
13 “ ‘I will take away their harvest, declares the LORD. There will be no grapes on the vine. There will be no figs on the tree, and their leaves will wither. What I have given them will be taken from them.[a] ’ ”
14 Why are we sitting here? Gather together! Let us flee to the fortified cities and perish there! For the LORD our God has doomed us to perish and given us poisoned water to drink, because we have sinned against him.
15 We hoped for peace but no good has come, for a time of healing but there is only terror.
16 The snorting of the enemy’s horses is heard from Dan; at the neighing of their stallions the whole land trembles. They have come to devour the land and everything in it, the city and all who live there.
17 “See, I will send venomous snakes among you, vipers that cannot be charmed, and they will bite you,” declares the LORD.
18 You who are my Comforter[b] in sorrow, my heart is faint within me.
19 Listen to the cry of my people from a land far away: “Is the LORD not in Zion? Is her King no longer there?” “Why have they aroused my anger with their images, with their worthless foreign idols?”
20 “The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved.”
21 Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me.
22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?

Jeremiah 8 Commentary

Chapter 8

The remains of the dead exposed. (1-3) The stupidity of the people, compared with the instinct of the brute creation. (4-13) The alarm of the invasion, and lamentation. (14-22)

Verses 1-3 Though no real hurt can be done to a dead body, yet disgrace to the remains of wicked persons may alarm those yet alive; and this reminds us that the Divine justice and punishments extend beyond the grave. Whatever befalls us here, let us humble ourselves before God, and seek his mercy.

Verses 4-13 What brought this ruin? 1. The people would not attend to reason; they would not act in the affairs of their souls with common prudence. Sin is backsliding; it is going back from the way that leads to life, to that which leads to destruction. 2. They would not attend to the warning of conscience. They did not take the first step towards repentance: true repentance begins in serious inquiry as to what we have done, from conviction that we have done amiss. 3. They would not attend to the ways of providence, nor understand the voice of God in them, ver. ( 7 ) . They know not how to improve the seasons of grace, which God affords. Many boast of their religious knowledge, yet, unless taught by the Spirit of God, the instinct of brutes is a more sure guide than their supposed wisdom. 4. They would not attend to the written word. Many enjoy abundance of the means of grace, have Bibles and ministers, but they have them in vain. They will soon be ashamed of their devices. The pretenders to wisdom were the priests and the false prophets. They flattered people in sin, and so flattered them into destruction, silencing their fears and complaints with, All is well. Selfish teachers may promise peace when there is no peace; and thus men encourage each other in committing evil; but in the day of visitation they will have no refuge to flee unto.

Verses 14-22 At length they begin to see the hand of God lifted up. And when God appears against us, every thing that is against us appears formidable. As salvation only can be found in the Lord, so the present moment should be seized. Is there no medicine proper for a sick and dying kingdom? Is there no skilful, faithful hand to apply the medicine? Yes, God is able to help and to heal them. If sinners die of their wounds, their blood is upon their own heads. The blood of Christ is balm in Gilead, his Spirit is the Physician there, all-sufficient; so that the people may be healed, but will not. Thus men die unpardoned and unchanged, for they will not come to Christ to be saved.

Cross References 56

  • 1. S Psalms 53:5
  • 2. S Isaiah 14:19
  • 3. S 2 Kings 23:5; Jeremiah 19:13; Zephaniah 1:5; Acts 7:42
  • 4. S Job 31:27
  • 5. Jeremiah 14:16; Ezekiel 29:5; Ezekiel 37:1
  • 6. S 2 Kings 9:37; Jeremiah 31:40; Jeremiah 36:30
  • 7. Deuteronomy 29:28
  • 8. S Job 3:22; Revelation 9:6
  • 9. Proverbs 24:16; Micah 7:8
  • 10. Psalms 119:67; Jeremiah 31:19
  • 11. S Jeremiah 5:27
  • 12. Jeremiah 7:24; Jeremiah 9:6; Zechariah 7:11
  • 13. Malachi 3:16
  • 14. Revelation 9:20
  • 15. Psalms 14:1-3
  • 16. S Deuteronomy 32:28; S Jeremiah 4:22; Isaiah 1:3; Jeremiah 5:4-5
  • 17. Romans 2:17
  • 18. S Isaiah 29:14; Jeremiah 6:15
  • 19. S 2 Kings 19:26
  • 20. S Job 5:13
  • 21. S Jeremiah 6:19
  • 22. Proverbs 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:20
  • 23. S Jeremiah 6:12
  • 24. S Isaiah 56:11
  • 25. Jeremiah 14:14; Lamentations 2:14
  • 26. Jeremiah 23:11,15
  • 27. ver 15; S Jeremiah 4:10; Ezekiel 7:25; Jeremiah 6:14
  • 28. S Jeremiah 3:3
  • 29. Psalms 52:5-7; Isaiah 3:9
  • 30. S Jeremiah 6:15
  • 31. Hosea 2:12; Joel 1:7
  • 32. Luke 13:6
  • 33. Matthew 21:19
  • 34. S Jeremiah 5:17
  • 35. S Joshua 10:20; Jeremiah 4:5; Jeremiah 35:11
  • 36. S Deuteronomy 29:18; Jeremiah 9:15; Jeremiah 23:15
  • 37. Jeremiah 14:7,20; Daniel 9:5
  • 38. S ver 11
  • 39. S Job 19:8; Jeremiah 14:19
  • 40. S Jeremiah 4:29
  • 41. S Genesis 30:6; Jeremiah 4:15
  • 42. Jeremiah 51:29
  • 43. S Jeremiah 5:17
  • 44. Numbers 21:6; S Deuteronomy 32:24
  • 45. S Psalms 58:5; S Isaiah 3:3
  • 46. Lamentations 5:17
  • 47. Deuteronomy 28:64; Jeremiah 9:16
  • 48. Micah 4:9
  • 49. Jeremiah 44:3
  • 50. S Isaiah 41:24
  • 51. S Deuteronomy 32:21
  • 52. S Psalms 94:5
  • 53. Psalms 78:40; Isaiah 43:24; Jeremiah 4:19; Jeremiah 10:19; Jeremiah 14:17; Jeremiah 30:14; Lamentations 2:13; Ezekiel 6:9
  • 54. S Genesis 37:25
  • 55. Job 13:4
  • 56. S Isaiah 1:6; Jeremiah 30:12

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. The meaning of the Hebrew for this sentence is uncertain.
  • [b]. The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.

Chapter Summary


In this chapter the prophet goes on to denounce grievous calamities upon the people of the Jews; such as would make death more eligible than life; and that because of their idolatry, Jer 8:1-3 and also because of their heinous backslidings in other respects, and continuance in them, Jer 8:4,5 likewise their impenitence and stupidity, Jer 8:6,7 their vain conceit of themselves and their own wisdom; their false interpretation of Scripture, and their rejection of the word of God, Jer 8:8,9 their covetousness, for which it is said their wives and fields should be given to others, Jer 8:10, their flattery of the people, and their impudence, on account of which, ruin and consumption, and a blast on their vines and fig trees, are threatened, Jer 8:11-13, their consternation is described, by their fleeing to their defenced cities; by their sad disappointment in the expectation of peace and prosperity; and the near approach of their enemies; devouring their land, and all in it; who are compared to serpents and cockatrices that cannot be charmed, Jer 8:14-17 and the chapter is closed with the prophet's expressions of sorrow and concern for his people, because of their distress their idolatry had brought upon them; and because of their hopeless, and seemingly irrecoverable, state and condition, Jer 8:18-22.

Jeremiah 8 Commentaries

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