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The Lying Scribes of Jeremiah

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Tumah, Nov 6, 2018.

  1. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

    Dec 17, 2013
    Mega-Super-Ultra-Orthodox Judaism
    We've all heard of them. Those Scribes, the ones who write the Books of the Law. They sit with the Pharisees in Moses' seat. And they're evil (like the Pharisees, amirite?)! They falsify G-d's Law and gave birth to the present day Jewish people! But do we know who they really are?

    I don't think you do.

    Let's talk about the background to this chapter.
    The Jewish people have been sinning to G-d. They've been sinning and sinning and now the Babylonians are coming. And G-d says through Jeremiah how He sent all these prophets warning them to return to G-d, but nobody's listening. And now the Babylonians are coming and G-d is telling the nation that He isn't going to protect them, they're not going to make it through this. Of course, He offers them the chance to repent before it happens, but if they don't, they're going to be destroyed.

    So everyone knows the Babylonians are coming. They don't need Jeremiah to tell them that of course, the Babylonians are en marche. The thing is - and Jeremiah just goes on and on about this - people aren't really worried about this, because there's another group here that's saying that G-d will save them from the Babylonians. In 5:11-13, we are first introduced to this group, these false prophets who claim that G-d will save them. And the people are lapping it up. Verse 31 says, "and the prophets, prophecy falsely...and My nation loves it". The nation isn't worried about the Babylonians because there's this group going around telling everyone that it's all going to be ok. "...from prophet to priest, everyone does falsity and they heal the break of my nation offhandedly, saying, 'Peace! Peace!' but there is no peace. (6:13)."

    What is happening is, this group is telling everyone that everything will be ok, they have the Temple, they can offer sacrifices, so they'll just bring sacrifices and G-d will forgive them. Nothing to worry about.

    "Do not trust for yourselves in the lying prophets who say, "The Sanctuary of G-d! The Sanctuary of G-d! The Sanctuary of G-d these are! (7:4)"
    "...add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices and eat [their] flesh. Because I did not speak to your fathers and I did not command them...about burnt offerings and sacrifices. But the thing I commanded them was to listen to My Voice..." (v. 21-23)
    G-d explains - we can't expect the sacrifices in the Temple to cleanse us of sin, while we are still sinning.

    As Jeremiah says, "Behold you are trusting for yourselves, in lying words that will not help (7:8)"

    And now we come to chapter 8:5-11:

    "...Why is the nation backsliding?... How can they say, 'We are wise and the Law of G-d is with us'? However they have made it falsehood! A lying pen [are the] scribes!... The 'wise' shall be ashamed, they shall be dismayed and trapped. Behold they have rejected the word of G-d and what wisdom is with them?... because from prophet to priest everyone does falsity and they heal the break of my nation offhandedly, saying, 'Peace! Peace!' but there is no peace."

    Hopefully, at this point you can see the the people Jeremiah is talking to are not the people whose job it is to copy Torah scrolls, but to the people who are claiming that the nation doesn't need to worry about the impending Babylonian invasion. To the people who are claiming that all they need to do is bring sacrifices in the Temple and that will save them from the Babylonians.

    Jeremiah is not complaining that the Jewish copyists have altered the Torah. He is chastising these false prophets for claiming in the Name of G-d that all they need to do is offer sacrifices to G-d. To that Jeremiah responds, 'No! The sin-offerings won't help so long as you continue to commit the sins that you're bringing them for. Those who say otherwise are lying and G-d will not save you if you don't stop.'

    I hope that has been enlightening to those who have mistakenly assumed Jeremiah 8:8 meant something else.
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