|@June 29, 2023||ESV (2016)||ESV Prophets Plan 2023|
- Evil in the land
- The Valley of Slaughter
The chapter opens with a word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah addressing the people as they entered the temple; it is commonly known as Jeremiah’s “temple sermon”. The people are shown here to have viewed the temple incorrectly, as a good luck charm that would bring perpetual blessing and never be destroyed.
In Jer. 7:5-7, God gives them four specific directives to live in faithfulness to Him: 1) amend their ways, 2) execute justice, 3) do not oppress sojourner, fatherless or widow or shed innocent blood, 4) do not go after other gods. If they heed this instruction, they will dwell in the land that God gave to their fathers of old (Jer. 7:7).
But, as Jer. 7:8 reveals, they did not listen to God. Instead, they “trust in deceptive words to no avail.” Their worship of God was not exclusive, practicing idolatry and going “after go other gods that you have not known” (Jer. 7:9)
In Jer. 7:11, the LORD says that He has seen His house become a “den of robbers”, or literally “a cave” used by bandits. Much like robbers steal and then lie low until the heat of pursuit is over, so the people were participating in evil and then fleeing to God’s house for safety.
The result of this apostasy is that Judah will suffer the same fate as the northern kingdom Israel, that God will “cast out all your kinsmen, all of the offspring of Ephraim.” (Jer. 7:15)
In Jer. 7:16, the people are told not to cry for those experiencing the judgment because God will shut His ears. The people had shamed themselves with their idolatry, worshiping the queen of heaven and other gods (Jer. 7:18).
In Jer. 7:23, the people are again given the command to obey God’s voice but ignored His instruction. They did not listen to the prophets God had sent them, including Jeremiah, but instead “stiffened their neck.” (Jer. 7:26)
The final section (Jer. 7:30-34) speak of a change of name of the valley in which they were conducting their abominations; no longer to be the Valley of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. Judgment will come and the death toll will be great. Their bodies will be freely eaten by animals and all voices of “mirth” and “gladness” will be silenced (Jer. 7:34).
Multiple times in the chapter, God gives the people clear and precise instruction on how they can abide in Him. He is patient and provides many opportunities to do the right thing. But, rebellion runs deep and they persist in their apostasy.
Not much has changed since Jeremiah’s day. Our deep, indwelt sin causes us to seek our own path. We forgo divine guidance because to come under the Lordship of Christ is to admit that our lives are not our own. Control tastes good because our aim is to answer to no one but ourselves. It is a collision of autonomy and obedience.
However, by the work of the Spirit and power of His Word, we are shown the hollowness of self-determination. God reveals to us the supreme value of a life in full surrender to Him. There is no better course than the one of His design.
Scripture Journal Notes
Commentaries & Resources
- ESV Study Bible. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008)
- Faithlife Study Bible (Lexham Press, 2016)
- Believer’s Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson, 2016)
- CSB Study Bible Notes (Holman Bible Publishers, 2017)
- Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (Guardian Press, 1976)
- The Bible: A Reader’s Guide (Sterling Publishing, 2011)
- The Infographic Bible (Zondervan, 2018)
- ESV Digital Scripture Journal (Crossway, 2019)