Jeremiah 8:7

7 Even the birds in the sky know the right times to do things. The storks, doves, swifts, and thrushes know when it is time to migrate. But my people don't know what the Lord wants them to do.

Jeremiah 8:7 Meaning and Commentary

Jeremiah 8:7

Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times
Of going and returning; for this is a bird of passage, as Pliny F4 and other naturalists observe; which goes away as winter approaches, and returns when that is over. The temperature of the air, as to heat and cold, and the natural propensity of such birds of passage to breed their young, are thought to be the incentives to change their habitation; and wonderful thing it is in nature, that they should know the proper time of their passage, what places to go to, and how to steer their course thither; and, as the above naturalist observes, they go and come in the night: and the turtle, and the crane, and the swallow, observe the time of
their coming:
for these also are birds of passage; the turtle is absent in the winter, and its coming is a sign of spring, ( Song of Solomon 2:11 Song of Solomon 2:12 ) , the crane, according to Aelianus F5, goes away with the stork, and returns when winter is over; and the same is observable of the swallow; hence the common saying, one swallow does not make spring; so Horace F6 uses "hirundine prima" for the beginning of spring. Where these birds retire to is not known; some think the swallows fly into Egypt and Ethiopia; but Olaus Magnus F7 says they lurk in holes, and even under water, where they hang together, and are sometimes drawn out in clusters, and being brought to the fire, and thawed, will revive and fly about. But my people know not the judgment of the Lord;
meaning not the unsearchable judgments of God, or those providential dispensations of God which are a great deep, and are not clearly discerned and known by the best of men; but either his own judgments, which are inflicted upon wicked men as punishments for sin, which yet are not taken notice of, and duly attended to, as they should be; or rather the law of God, and his revealed word, which is the rule of judgment and justice, and a declaration of righteousness, showing what is just and good, and ought to be done, which they were willingly ignorant of; or else the final and future judgment of God after death, to which all men must come, and into which every thought, word, and work, will be brought, and which day wicked men put far from them; see ( Isaiah 1:3 ) .


FOOTNOTES:

F4 Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 23.
F5 De Animal. l. 3. c. 23.
F6 Ep. l. 1. Ep. 7.
F7 De Ritu Gent. Septent. l. 19. c. 11.

Jeremiah 8:7 In-Context

5 Why, then, have the people of Jerusalem gone the wrong way and not turned back? They believe their own lies and refuse to turn around and come back.
6 I have listened to them very carefully, but they do not say what is right. They do not feel sorry about their wicked ways, saying, "What have I done?" Each person goes his own way, like a horse charging into a battle.
7 Even the birds in the sky know the right times to do things. The storks, doves, swifts, and thrushes know when it is time to migrate. But my people don't know what the Lord wants them to do.
8 "'You keep saying, "We are wise, because we have the teachings of the Lord." But actually, those who explain the Scriptures have written lies with their pens.
9 These wise men refused to listen to the word of the Lord, so they are not really wise at all. They will be ashamed. They will be shocked and trapped.