Yirmeyah 8

1 At that time, saith Hashem, they [i.e., the invaders] shall remove the atzmot of the melachim of Yehudah, and the atzmot of his sarim, and the atzmot of the kohanim, and the atzmot of the nevi’im, and the atzmot of the inhabitants of Yerushalayim, out of their keverim;
2 And they shall spread them out before the shemesh, and the yarei’ach, and all the tz’va haShomayim, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have consulted, and whom they have worshiped; they shall not be gathered up, nor be buried in a kever; they shall be like domen upon the surface of ha’adamah.
3 And mavet shall be chosen rather than chayyim by all the She’erit of them that remain of this mishpakhah hara’ah, which remain in all the places where I have banished them, saith Hashem Tzva’os.
4 Moreover thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith Hashem: Shall they fall, and not get up? Shall one turn away, and not turn back?
5 Why then does HaAm Hazeh turn away in perpetual meshuvah (backsliding)? They hold fast to deceit, refusing to make teshuvah.
6 I paid heed and heard, but they spoke not aright; no ish made teshuvah from his wickedness, saying, What have I done? Every one pursues his own course, like the sus (horse) charging into milchamah.
7 Yea, the stork in the Shomayim knoweth her mo’adim (appointed times); and the turtledove and the swift and the crane are shomer over their time for migration; but Ami (My People) have no da’as (knowledge) of the Mishpat Hashem (rule, ordinance, regulation, law of Hashem).
8 How can ye say, We are chachamim (wise ones), and the torat Hashem is with us, when, hinei, the et sheker (deceiving pen) of the sofrim (scribes) has made it [the torat Hashem] into sheker (a falsehood, i.e., falsely authoritative scribal interpretation has twisted Scripture, perverting its truth; see also Jer 2:8; 2K3:16; here is a warning against false teachers, and it is important because the scribal group in Israel would become the rabbinic group in time to come, and here their doctrines are coming into direct opposition to the Torah and the inerrant prophecies of Jeremiah.).
9 The chachamim (wise men) are ashamed, they are dismayed and trapped; they have rejected the Devar Hashem; so what chochmah (wisdom) is in them?
10 Therefore will I give their nashim unto others, and their sadot to them that shall inherit them; for every one from the katan even unto the gadol is greedy for unjust gain, from the navi even unto the kohen every one doeth sheker.
11 For they give superficial treatment to the hurt of Bat Ami, saying, Shalom, shalom; v’ein shalom.
12 Were they ashamed when they did to’evah (abomination)? No, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they know to blush; therefore shall they fall among them that fall; in the time of their pekuddat (visitation [for punishment], time of reckoning) they shall be brought down, saith Hashem.
13 I would surely have harvested them, saith Hashem, but no grapes are on the gefen, nor te’enim (figs) on the te’enah (fig tree), even the leaf shall wither; and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them.
14 Why do we sit still? Assemble yourselves, and let us enter into the fortified cities, and let us perish there; for Hashem Eloheinu hath made us to perish, and given us mey rosh (poisonous water) to drink, because we have sinned against Hashem.
15 We looked for shalom, but no tov came; and for et marpeh (a time of healing), and, hinei, terror!
16 The snorting of his [the foe from the north] susim (horses) was heard from Dan; kol ha’aretz trembled at the sound of the neighing of his stallions; for they are come, and have devoured eretz, and all that is in it; the Ir (city, i.e., the city of Dan in the north of Israel), and those that dwell therein.
17 For, hinei, I will send nachashim, tzifonim (vipers), among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite you, saith Hashem.
18 When I would comfort myself against sorrow, my lev is faint within me.
19 Hinei, the voice of the cry of the Bat Ami from eretz markhakim (a land of places far away): is Hashem not in Tziyon? Is her Melech not in her? Why have they provoked Me to anger with their pesilim (idols), and with alien vanities (futile foreign g-ds)?
20 The katzir (harvest) is past, kayitz (summer) is ended, and loh noshanu (we are not saved [from coming judgment and punishment]).
21 For the hurt of the Bat Ami am I hurt; I mourn; desolation hath taken hold on me.
22 Is there no tzori (medicinal balsam or balm) in Gil`ad; is there no rofeh (physician) there? Why then is the health of the Bat Ami not recovered?

Yirmeyah 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.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO JEREMIAH 8

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.

Yirmeyah 8 Commentaries