Jeremiah 7:1-34 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Jeremiah Proclaims at the Temple
Comments for Study 7

Jeremiah 7:1-34
Memory Verse: 14

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I. The Temple a Den of Robbers (7:1-11)

Jeremiah Proclaiming at Temple

>1. What did the Lord tell Jeremiah to do? (1-2)

* Jeremiah 7:1-2 "This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: Stand at the gate of the LORD's house and there proclaim this message: 'Hear the word of the LORD, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the LORD."

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>What conditional promise did the Lord give them? (3)

* Jeremiah 7:3 "This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place."

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>Was this a new promise? (Exodus 19:3-6)

* Exodus 19:3-6 "Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, "This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 'You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites."

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>2. Instead of keeping the conditional promise what did they trust in? (4, 8)

* Jeremiah 7:4 "Do not trust in deceptive words and say, "This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD!"

* Jeremiah 7:8 "But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless."

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>What did the Lord remind them of? (5-6)

* Jeremiah 7:5-6 "If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm,"

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>If they acted in love would he allow them to continue to worship in the temple in Jerusalem?

* Jeremiah 7:7 "then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever."

* Deuteronomy 12:11-14 "Then to the place the LORD your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name--there you are to bring everything I command you: your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, and all the choice possessions you have vowed to the LORD. And there rejoice before the LORD your God, you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites from your towns, who have no allotment or inheritance of their own. Be careful not to sacrifice your burnt offerings anywhere you please. Offer them only at the place the LORD will choose in one of your tribes, and there observe everything I command you."

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>3. What hypocritical practices did they live? (9-10)

* Jeremiah 7:9-10 "'Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, "We are safe"--safe to do all these detestable things?"

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>What did the Lord equate this to? (11)

* Jeremiah 7:11 "Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the LORD."

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>How did Jesus encounter the same thing in his time? (Matthew 21:12-13; John 2:13-22)

* Matthew 21:12-13 "Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. "It is written," he said to them, "'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers.'"

* Also Mark 11:17 and Luke 19:45-46.

* John 2:13-22 "When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!" His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me." Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?" Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days." The Jews replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?" But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken."

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>Is it possible to sin this way now? (Luke 6:46-49)

* Luke 6:46-49 "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete."

* 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."

* Romans 12:1-2 "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."

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II. They Did Not Listen (7:12-29)

>4. Where had there been a temple and the ark of the covenant before the one in Jerusalem? (12; Joshua 18:1; Judges 20:26-28a; and 1 Samuel 2:9-10, 2:22, 4:10-11, 14:2-3; and 2 Samuel 7:4-7; and 2 Chron. 6:18)

* Jeremiah 7:12 "Go now to the place in Shiloh where I first made a dwelling for my Name, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel."

* Joshua 18:1 "The whole assembly of the Israelites gathered at Shiloh and set up the Tent of Meeting there. The country was brought under their control,"

* Judges 20:26-28a "Then the Israelites, all the people, went up to Bethel, and there they sat weeping before the LORD. They fasted that day until evening and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the LORD. And the Israelites inquired of the LORD. (In those days the ark of the covenant of God was there, with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, ministering before it.)"

* 1 Samuel 2:9-10 "Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the LORD's temple. In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD."

* 1 Samuel 2:22 "Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting."

* 1 Samuel 4:10-11 "So the Philistines fought, and the Israelites were defeated and every man fled to his tent. The slaughter was very great; Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers. The ark of God was captured, and Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died."

* 1 Samuel 14:2-3 "Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron. With him were about six hundred men, among whom was Ahijah, who was wearing an ephod. He was a son of Ichabod's brother Ahitub son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the LORD's priest in Shiloh. No one was aware that Jonathan had left."

* 2 Samuel 7:4-7 "That night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying: "Go and tell my servant David, 'This is what the LORD says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, "Why have you not built me a house of cedar?"'"

* 1 Kings 8:3-5 "When all the elders of Israel had arrived, the priests took up the ark, and they brought up the ark of the LORD and the Tent of Meeting and all the sacred furnishings in it. The priests and Levites carried them up, and King Solomon and the entire assembly of Israel that had gathered about him were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and cattle that they could not be recorded or counted."

* 1 Chronicles 6:31-32 "These are the men David put in charge of the music in the house of the LORD after the ark came to rest there. They ministered with music before the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, until Solomon built the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem. They performed their duties according to the regulations laid down for them."

* 2 Chronicles 6:18 "But will God really dwell on earth with men? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!"

* 1 Samuel 2:9-10 & 22 states that sometime during the time of judges a temple as built at Shilo having doorposts. Concerning the temple at Shiloh. Tyndale Old testament Commentaries, Joyce G. Baldwin wrote, "The Temple of the Lord was built by Solomon in Jerusalem, as is well known, but the Old Testament provides no explana­tion of this temple at Shiloh, where the tent of meeting was set up after the conquest of Canaan (Jos. 18:1). Shiloh was the main sanctuary of the Israelites throughout the period of the judges (Jdg, 21:19), but when the wood-frame tent was replaced by a more permanent structure is not known. The word he~iil, 'temple', 'palace', presupposes a building. It is used of the holy place of Solomon's Temple, but not of the corresponding area of the tabernacle. Similarly, the words for 'door' and 'doorpost' (1 Sa. 1 :9; 3: 15) require a solid structure, and not merely a tent with movable curtain.
    "Shiloh was the central shrine, because it housed the ark of the covenant, but it may not have been the only temple of the Lord in Israel during the judges period. The tribe of Dan is recorded as installing a centre for worship (Jdg. 18:30-31) at the city they renamed Dan; it was to be revived as a cultic centre by Jeroboam I, who also refurbished Bethel for worship (1 Ki. 12:28-29). Built at about the same time as Solomon's was the temple at Arad, the only excavated Israelite temple. Yohanan Aharoni is adamant:
    "'There is no doubt that this is an Israelite temple in the full meaning of that word, a house of Yahweh in biblical terms, not just a shrine built in the Israelite period... In the various stages of excavation, there was not found even one object relating to idol worship... Furthermore, there were found in it some inscriptions with the names of known priestly families, such as Pashhur, Meremoth, and the sons of Korah. There is no doubt, therefore, that this is an Israelite temple.' *
    "Its plan was different from that of the Jerusalem Temple in some important respects: it had only one room instead of two, and it was a broad room in contrast to the elongated structure of the Jerusalem Temple. A niche was formed in the long western wall by a recess, a sort of 'holy of holies', while a courtyard outside the long eastern wall contained the altar of sacrifice, constructed of earth and unhewn stone (Ex. 20:24-25). Small rooms round the courtyard would provide accommodation for the duty priests. Similar temples of the Canaanite period, with one broad room and a central niche, have been found also at Hazor, Lachish and Megiddo; it could well be, therefore, that the Shiloh shrine was of the same style, in keeping with the practice of the country.
    "A building of this sort makes good sense of the references in 1 Samuel 1-3. Samuel slept within the temple, 'where the ark of God was', in its niche along the west wall, while Eli had his quarters somewhere in the rooms around the outer court. Plans of the Arad temple even show a bench seat each side of the door, such as Eli may have regularly used (1 Sa. 1:9).** All the sacrificial ritual and the preparation of the meat for the worshippers took place, of course, in the open courtyard.
    "Danish excavators in the 1920s and 1930s failed to find evidence of the Shiloh temple. Excavation of Shiloh was resumed in 1981 as part of a regional study of the territory of Ephraim by Israeli scholars. They opened nine areas of excavation, some of them close to those of the earlier Danish expeditions. Since then, some important conclusions have been reached about the history of Shiloh, though it remainstrue that no trace of the temple there has come to light, probably because the highest point of the tell, where it was most likely to have been built, has been weathered to bedrock. Nevertheless, from the earliest levels of building onwards, objects used in worship have been found:
    "'There are accumulating indications of cultic continuity at the site - from the Middle Bronze II period onward; that is, the sacral tradition at Shiloh long antedates the Israelites. A sanctuary probably stood here as early as the Middle Bronze Age [1650-1550 BC], and this may have been of central importance to the development of the site. Even after the destruction of the fortified Middle Bronze site... cultic activity continued in the late Bronze Age, despite the absence, as far as can be determined, of any real settlement... The history of Shiloh in the Middle and Late Bronze Ages helps us to understand why Shiloh was chosen as the first Israelite cultic centre.'***
    "Surveys have shown that the territory of Ephraim was inhabited by only a small sedentary population just before the arrival of Israel; and in view of the fact that Shiloh was an old traditional site for worship, it was an obvious choice for the site of the tabernacle.
    "Indications of the date when organization round the sanc­tuary at Shiloh began are gained from excavated buildings on the western side of the tell, which Israel Finkelstein takes to have been annexes to the cultic complex that stood farther up-hill. Storage vessels abound, indeed 'the Iron Age pottery of Shiloh is one of the richest accumulations of pottery finds at any early Israelite site'.**** These vessels may have been used to store offerings brought by worshippers to the sanctuary (1 Sa. 1:24). The building is dated c. 1200-1000 BC.
    "Within a radius of three to four miles of Shiloh, twenty-two settlements have been found belonging to this period, a higher density of population than anywhere else in Ephraim so far discovered.
    "Evidence of a dramatic destruction of the buildings at Shiloh abounds. The storage vessels mentioned above all bear marks of burning which are visible in Finkelstein's photograph. Charred raisms remained in one of the jars. The building which housed the pottery had collapsed in a fierce fire, dated about the middle of the eleventh century B.C., which would tie up with an attack by the Philistines, after their victory at Ebenezer. Though this event is not recorded in I Samuel, it was long remembered, and well served Jeremiah's purpose in warning about the imminent destruction of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 7:12; 26:6; cf. Psalms 78:60-64).

    "* Y. Aharoni, TIu: Archaeology of the Land of Israel (London: 8eM Press, 1982),/. 229.
    "** Ibi ., photograph 31, model of the reconstructed temple at Arad.1 I. Finkelstein,
    "***Shiloh Yields Some, But Not All, of Its Secrets', BAR 12/1 (1986), p. 39.
    "**** Ibid., p. 38, where a photograph shows eight different shapes of jar." This ends the Tyndale quote.

* The tent of meeting is also called the tabernacle. It existed until a temple was built.

* The temple at Shiloh was not the Lord's final will according to the Lord's words to David concerning the temple he wanted to build for the Lord and Jeremiah 7:12.

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>Even though they built temples did the people listen to God? (13)

* Jeremiah 7:13 "While you were doing all these things, declares the LORD, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you, but you did not answer."

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>What was the Lord about to repeat concerning the temple? (14)

* Jeremiah 7:14 "Therefore, what I did to Shiloh I will now do to the house that bears my Name, the temple you trust in, the place I gave to you and your fathers."

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>And concerning the people? (15)

* Jeremiah 7:15 "I will thrust you from my presence, just as I did all your brothers, the people of Ephraim.'"

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>5. What amazing thing was Jeremiah told not to do? (16)

* Jeremiah 7:16 "So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you."

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>Why? (17-18)

* Jeremiah 7:17-18 "Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes of bread for the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to provoke me to anger."

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>Who does idol worship harm? (19)

* Jeremiah 7:19 "But am I the one they are provoking? declares the LORD. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame?"

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>6. What would the Lord do because of their hypocritical lifestyle? (20)

* Jeremiah 7:20 ""'Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: My anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place, on man and beast, on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground, and it will burn and not be quenched."

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>What similar thing does Jesus teach us in Matthew 6:24?

* Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

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>7. What outward religious activities did they keep? (21)

* Jeremiah 7:21 "'This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices and eat the meat yourselves!"

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>What practical life activities did they not keep? (22-24)

* Jeremiah 7:22-24 "For when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you. But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward."

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>What does it mean to go backward, not forward?

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>8. Who did the Lord send to his people?

* Jeremiah 7:25-26 "From the time your forefathers left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent you my servants the prophets. But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their forefathers.'"

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>What does it mean to be stiff-necked?

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>9. Would Jeremiah have a successful ministry? (27-28)

* Jeremiah 7:27-28 "When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer. Therefore say to them, 'This is the nation that has not obeyed the LORD its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips."

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>What does it mean to be under God's wrath? (29)

* Jeremiah 7:29 "Cut off your hair and throw it away; take up a lament on the barren heights, for the LORD has rejected and abandoned this generation that is under his wrath."

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>Is this possible today? (Romans 1:18-22)

* Romans 1:18-22 "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools"

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III. The Valley of Slaughter (7:30-34)

>10. Why does the Lord find idols so detestable? (30-31)

* Jeremiah 7:30-31 "'The people of Judah have done evil in my eyes,' declares the LORD. 'They have set up their detestable idols in the house that bears my Name and have defiled it. They have built the high places of Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters in the fire--something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind.'"

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>What became of Judah's false religious sites? (32-33)

* Jeremiah 7:32-33 "'So beware, the days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when people will no longer call it Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter, for they will bury the dead in Topheth until there is no more room. Then the carcasses of this people will become food for the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and there will be no one to frighten them away.'"

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>And the people? (34)

* Jeremiah 7:34 "I will bring an end to the sounds of joy and gladness and to the voices of bride and bridegroom in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem, for the land will become desolate."

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>What can be learned about the Lord?

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