Jeremiah 6-8

Thursday Evening Bible Study

January 13, 2005

Jeremiah 6

This is a continuation of Jeremiah’s second prophetic message that started in 3:6.

:1-8 Judgment is coming

:1 O ye children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee out of the midst of Jerusalem, and blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and set up a sign of fire in Bethhaccerem: for evil appeareth out of the north, and great destruction.

Babylon is coming from the north.

Benjamin – small tribe, sharing Jerusalem with the tribe of Judah, located just north of Jerusalem, told to flee south, but not to stop at Jerusalem.

Tekoa – “stockade” – a town in the hill country of Judah near Hebron built by king Rehoboam of Judah; birthplace of Amos; 11 miles southeast of Jerusalem.

Bethhaccerem – “house of the vineyard”; a place in Judah halfway between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.  Signal fires were to be lit to help the fleeing people.

:2 I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman.

Jerusalem is described as a beautiful woman that is savagely attacked.

:3 The shepherds with their flocks shall come unto her; they shall pitch their tents against her round about; they shall feed every one in his place.

Jerusalem will be wiped out to the point that shepherds will graze their flocks where the city once was.

:4 Prepare ye war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe unto us! for the day goeth away, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out.

:5 Arise, and let us go by night, and let us destroy her palaces.

There isn’t enough time to attack it in one day, so the attack goes on into the night.

:6 For thus hath the LORD of hosts said, Hew ye down trees, and cast a mount against Jerusalem: this is the city to be visited; she is wholly oppression in the midst of her.

Trees were cut down to build the engines of war such as battering rams, siege ramps, etc.

:7 As a fountain casteth out her waters, so she casteth out her wickedness: violence and spoil is heard in her; before me continually is grief and wounds.

Jerusalem is spewing out wickedness like a fountain.

:8 Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited.

This is your last warning.

:9-17 Reasons for judgment

:9 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall thoroughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine: turn back thine hand as a grapegatherer into the baskets.

Gleaning was when the harvesters would go through the vineyards and take every last little grape.  The nation would be picked clean.

:10 To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.

they cannot hearken – ears but cannot hear

no delight

(Psa 1:1-3 KJV)  Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. {2} But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. {3} And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

I think a great indication of where your walk is with the Lord is your attitude towards God’s Word.
When the Word starts to become “boring” to you, the warning lights ought to be going off in your head.
The problem is never that God’s Word is “boring”. 

If God’s Word was some dead document, it could be boring.  But it’s not dead.  It’s alive.

The real problem is that your heart has become hardened.

:11 Therefore I am full of the fury of the LORD; I am weary with holding in: I will pour it out upon the children abroad, and upon the assembly of young men together: for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged with him that is full of days.

Warning about “prophetic” anger:

Some folks seem to consider themselves “prophets” after the example of Jeremiah.

And the chief word to describe their emotions is anger.
Yet Jeremiah’s anger is not like most of our anger.  Keep in mind that Jeremiah was also greatly saddened by the things he saw and spoke:
Jer 9:1 (KJV) Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! 

Critical spirit – sometimes the “anger” is comes from a person who is nothing but critical of others.

“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”

-- Abraham Maslow, Leadership, Vol. 1, no. 2.

If you find that you are constantly finding fault with others or getting angry with them, perhaps you need to expand your toolbox.

:12 And their houses shall be turned unto others, with their fields and wives together: for I will stretch out my hand upon the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD.

:13 For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.

One of the reasons for the coming judgment:


Illustration – Monkey Treats
Monkey trappers in North Africa have a clever method of catching their prey. A number of gourds are filled with nuts (monkey treats) and firmly fastened to a branch of a tree.  Each has a hole just large enough for the unwary monkey to stick his forepaw into it. When the hungry animal discovers this, he quickly grasps a handful of nuts, but the hole is too small for him to withdraw his clenched fist.  And he doesn't have enough sense to open up his hand and let go in order to escape, so he is easily taken captive.
Too often we get these certain things in our lives that we just don’t want to let go of.  Yet it’s these very things that keep us captive.  If we’d just let go, we could be free.

:14 They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.

:15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.

:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.


Old paths

There is a danger with “old” things in that they can lead to useless traditions like the Pharisees were caught up in.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t value in “old” things.
Jesus came to bring a “New Covenant”, but He didn’t come to get rid of what was old and good.
Jesus said,

(Mat 13:52 NLT)  "Every teacher of religious law who has become a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a person who brings out of the storehouse the new teachings as well as the old."

Our generation tried to get rid of “old” things.  We tried to get rid of the concept of people getting married before they live together.  It’s been a disaster.
I saw a comic once where a young man is asking his grandfather whether they had any kind of protection available for sex when he was young.  The old man said, “Yes, we had a wedding ring”.

:17 Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.


:18 Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them.

:19 Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.

:20 To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me.

incense from Sheba – apparently the latest in fragrance

(1 Sam 15:22 KJV)  And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

God doesn’t want sacrifice without repentance.

A person who lives their life thinking they can always “make it up” to God with some sacrifice is wrong.

God doesn’t want your sacrifice.  He wants your obedience.

:21 Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will lay stumblingblocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them; the neighbour and his friend shall perish.

:22 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, a people cometh from the north country, and a great nation shall be raised from the sides of the earth.

Babylon is coming

:23 They shall lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel, and have no mercy; their voice roareth like the sea; and they ride upon horses, set in array as men for war against thee, O daughter of Zion.

:24 We have heard the fame thereof: our hands wax feeble: anguish hath taken hold of us, and pain, as of a woman in travail.

:25 Go not forth into the field, nor walk by the way; for the sword of the enemy and fear is on every side.

:26-30 Refining not happening

:26 O daughter of my people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes: make thee mourning, as for an only son, most bitter lamentation: for the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us.

sackcloth … ashes – things that represented mourning.

:27 I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among my people, that thou mayest know and try their way.

towerbachown’ – assayer  (an inspector and valuer of metals)

God speaking to Jeremiah.  He has set up Jeremiah as one who would test the hearts of the people like a goldsmith tests metals.

:28 They are all grievous revolters, walking with slanders: they are brass and iron; they are all corrupters.

:29 The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire; the founder melteth in vain: for the wicked are not plucked away.

:30 Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the LORD hath rejected them.

reprobatema’ac – to reject, despise, refuse

No matter what kind of refining God puts the nation through, the metal is not refined.  It is worthless and will be discarded.


Better or bitter

How have your difficulties affected you?  Have you become bitter or better?
(1 Pet 1:6-7 NLT)  So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while. {7} These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
A daughter complained to her father about her life and how things were so hard for her.  She did not how she was going to make it and wanted to give up.  She was tired of fighting and struggling.   It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.  Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen.  He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire.  Soon the pots came to a boil.  In one he placed carrots, in the second he placed eggs, and the last he placed ground coffee beans.  He let them sit and boil, without saying a word.  The daughter sucked her teeth and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.  In about twenty minutes he and turned off the burners.  He fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl.  He pulled the eggs out and placed them a bowl.  Then he ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.  Turning to her he asked. “Darling, what do you see.”  “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.  He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots.  She did and noted that they were soft.  He then asked her to take an egg and break it.  After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard- boiled egg.  Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee.  She smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.  She humbly asked. “What does it mean Father?”  He explained that each of them had faced the same adversity, boiling water, but each reacted differently.  The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting.  But after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.  The egg had been fragile.  Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior.  But after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.  The ground coffee beans were unique however.  After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.  “Which are you,” he asked his daughter.  “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond?  Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean? “
How about you?  Are you the carrot that seems hard, but with pain and adversity do you wilt and become soft and lose your strength?
Are you the egg, which starts off with a malleable heart?  Were you a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a divorce, or a layoff have you become hardened and stiff.  Your shell looks the same, but are you bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and heart?
Or are you like the coffee bean?  The bean changes the hot water, the thing that is bringing the pain, to its peak flavor reaches 212 degrees Fahrenheit.  When the water gets the hottest, it just tastes better. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and make things better around you .
When people talk about you, do your praises to the Lord increase?  When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, does your worship elevate to another level?  How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?

by Eric Mansfield

(2 Cor 4:8-10 NLT)  We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don't give up and quit. {9} We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going. {10} Through suffering, these bodies of ours constantly share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

Jeremiah 7

This begins the third prophetic message of Jeremiah.  It is known as Jeremiah’s “Temple Address”.  He’s going to talk about how the people had been putting their hopes on the fact that they had the “Temple”.  Yet in fact, God would tear down the Temple.  It is thought that the negative reaction toward Jeremiah recorded in Jeremiah 26 come as a result of this “Temple Address”.

It’s interesting that Jesus was also charged with speaking against the temple:

(Mat 26:60-61 KJV)  But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, {61} And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.

:1-7 Judgment depends on turning

:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,

:2 Stand in the gate of the Lord's house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.

:3 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.

Amendyatab – (Hiphil) to make glad, rejoice; to do good to, deal well with; to do well, do thoroughly; to make a thing good or right or beautiful; to do well, do right

God was promising the people that if they changed their ways, He would change His mind about judgment.

:4 Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.

Don’t trust the temple, trust God.

What are the kinds of things that people put their trust in today?

:5 For if ye thoroughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour;

:6 If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt:

These are the kinds of things the people were doing.

:7 Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.

God gives them a chance to turn around. The judgment isn’t inevitable.

:8-16 Don’t abuse God’s grace

:8 Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.

They were trusting that since they had the Temple, no harm could come to them.

:9 Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not;

:10 And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?

(Jer 7:10 NLT) and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, "We are safe!"--only to go right back to all those evils again?


Cheap grace

There is a sense of this in the Christian church as well.
Paul was accused of saying that if a person had faith in Jesus, it didn’t matter what kind of life he lived after that.  In fact, Paul was accused of teaching people that if they sinned after believing in Jesus, that it meant that they got to experience even more grace, and that was a good thing.

(Rom 6:1-2 NLT)  Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more kindness and forgiveness? {2} Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?

It is true that nothing we do can earn God’s favor.  It’s true that we are saved by grace.
But it’s also true that we should be changed by God’s grace as well.  If we’ve been saved, then God will be at work changing us so that we won’t want to do things that are not pleasing to Him.

:11 Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.

It reminds me of how Jesus cleansed the Temple.

:12 But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel.

Shiloh was the first semi-permanent home for the Ark of the Covenant.  Yet it was apparently wiped out by the Philistines at the time when they captured the Ark (1Sam. 4-5).

At that time, the people were trusting in the Ark much as the people in Jeremiah’s day were trusting in the Temple.  Yet God allowed the Ark to be captured.  God allowed Shiloh to be wiped out.

:13 And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not;

:14 Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.

If God did it to Shiloh, He can do it to Jerusalem.

:15 And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim.

:16 Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.

It’s usually a good thing to be praying for people.

But here’s the exception.  God tells Jeremiah to stop praying for the people.

:17-20 The people worship other gods

:17 Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?

:18 The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.

The “cakes” may have been made in the shape of the goddess Astarte.

:19 Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?

:20 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched.

Is God angry?  Yes.

:21-28 Obedience, not sacrifice

:21 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh.

Eat your own sacrifices.  God doesn’t want them.

:22 For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices:

:23 But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.

When God took the people out of Egypt, it wasn’t so they could give God sacrifices.  It was so they could follow God in obedience.

:24 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.

:25 Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them:

I know the other translations say stuff like:

(Jer 7:25 NLT)  …I have continued to send my prophets--day in and day out.

(Jer 7:25 NIV)  …again and again I sent you my servants the prophets.

But I really like this idea of “daily rising up early”.  Maybe it’s just because I’m a morning person, but I don’t think so.

Jesus also got up early:

(Mark 1:35 NIV)  Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

I would suggest to you that perhaps God speaks clearest at the beginning of your day.  Spend time with Him then.

:26 Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.

:27 Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to thee: thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee.

:28 But thou shalt say unto them, This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the LORD their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth.

:29-34 Tophet and Jerusalem to be removed

:29 Cut off thine hair, O Jerusalem, and cast it away, and take up a lamentation on high places; for the LORD hath rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath.

cut off thine hair

One commentary says that it’s Jeremiah that’s supposed to cut off his hair.

Other translations along with KJV indicate that it’s Jerusalem

(Jer 7:29 NLT) O Jerusalem, shave your head in mourning, and weep alone on the mountains. For the LORD has rejected and forsaken this generation that has provoked his fury.'

It seems to speak of mourning, sadness.

:30 For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it.

:31 And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.


A place in the southeast end of the valley of the son of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, also known as “Gehenna”. It was where the Jews who worshipped Molech had burnt their children in the fires

The name comes from “toph”, meaning “drum”, because the cries of the babies were drowned out with a drum.

In the 18th year of Josiah’s reign (he was 26 years old), he began some major reforms:

(2 Ki 23:10 KJV) And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech.
Perhaps this was in response to Jeremiah’s prophecy?

Eventually was turned into a garbage dump where the fires were kept burning to consume garbage, animal carcases, and dead bodies. A vivid picture of hell.

:32 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter: for they shall bury in Tophet, till there be no place.

After the destruction of Jerusalem, this valley would be filled with the dead bodies of the slain.

:33 And the carcases of this people shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall fray them away.

:34 Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: for the land shall be desolate.