Understanding Jeremiah 8:8

edited December 1969 in Faith Issues
[center]How can you say, "We are wise, for we have the law of the LORD," when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely? Jeremiah 8:8[/center]

Can anyone help me out with this verse.... what is it implying exactly...caz upon first glance it seems kinda blasphemous to a lay[wo]man like myself. How have the scribes falsly handled the words of God.... sumone... PLEASE ENLIGHTEN ME.

~*~ Thank You in Advance


  • Its speaking about the Rabbinic scribes falsifying the law, by missaplying, misrepresenting, and misinterpreting the law in their traditions. Where's the blasphemy?
  • ah... bas keda... tayib... thank you
    if anyone wansta expand on that... including urself Iqbal, feel free to.
  • Well I dont think there's really much more to say. Ive often seen this verse misapplied by certain groups, maybe if you could explain to us what implications you think this verse has, I can explain why such a position is not supported contextually. There's really not much more to say concerning what the verse actually means - its as simple as I explained, i mean its the very reason Jews today cant accept Jesus - their falsifying the law which Jesus fulfilled, by misinterpreting and misapplying it.

    Its also the very reason we as Orthodox Christians dont regard the massoretic text, but rather use the Septuagint, for the Jews corrupted their own text for polemical purposes.
  • Ok lets expand on the context for further clarification.

    Before verse 8, in verse 7, what does it say? It says that they do not “know the requirements of the Lord” - so this presupposes that they indeed have the law, they simply do not know or understand what it actually means.

    In verse 8, as I explained it shows that though they have possession of the law, and say “We are wise, for we have the law” - their possession of the law really does not make them wise, this is simply a false sense of security they give themselves, for in reality they have misapplied, misrepresented and misinterpreted the true meaning of the law, by writing false interpretations in their Rabbinic traditions. It should also be noted, that a scribe in that time is not necessarily one who writes, but it can refer to an exegete or rabbi.

    Consider the following verses 10-12:

    10 Therefore I will give their wives to other men and their fields to new owners. From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit.

    First, we are given the very reason for their falsifying the law with their tongues and traditions: they are greedy for gain. And the next verse explains how exactly they falsify the Law, and how they gain from this.

    11 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. "Peace, peace," they say, when there is no peace.

    Here it says that they “dress the wound of my people” i.e. Theyre trying to cover up the sinful condition of Israel “as though it were not serious”, despite the fact the Law which they possess, strictly condemns the idolatory and disobedience of Israel as sin.

    They proclaim “Peace, peace”, when in fact, the law which they possess, speaks of the vengeance of the Lord which will be brought upon the nation of Israel for their unrighteousness and disobedience.

    So here is the context of how they falsify the law – they hide what the law actually teaches concerning the condition of the Jews, the nature of sin, and the judgement that will be brought upon them, and instead they're basically trying to say that everything is alright, and that there is nothing to worry about – they don't need to worry about being punished for their sins.

    As verse 10 says, they're greedy for gain. However the people, will only pay these scribes to hear something positive. Obviously, if the scribes were to stay true to the law, and tell the truth to the people; that the law condemns their idolatory and disobedience, and that they will indeed be punished for their actions, then they will not get this gain. Therefore they compromise the truth o fthe law, for the sake of their greed.

    12 Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when they are punished, says the LORD.

    Here, they are simply condemned for their actions.

    So basically though they possessed the law i.e. The physical writings of the Law, they will not avert God's wrath, for they have misapplied it, taught it falsely to the people, and given false promises of peace, instead of warning Israel that they will be punished if they continue to sin - this is the ONLY interpretation that the context allows for.

    Copt4Life, if you have originally interpreted this verse to mean, that the Jews had corrupted their torah, as some ignorant uneducated Muslims and love to claim, Please tell us, so i can further prove why the wider context of Jeremiah, and the proceeding writings of the prophets, refute this polemical claim. (Though so far, we can clearly see from the immediate context that this verse has nothing to do with the conjecture they promote).
  • I'd be very much so interested in hearing why the wider context of Jeremiah doesnt allow for their claims....(i knew you'd have the answer Iqbal...thx)
  • Ok, first of all, we have already established that the claim that this verse teaches corruption of the Law, in itself contradicts the immediate context, which clearly and explicitly proves to us, that the scribes falsified the law in a manner which had nothing to do with the physical text of the law, but rather its meaning, by teaching to the people, that their behavior and actions were fine, and that they would not receive punishment for their sins, despite the very clear testimony of the law that God in his wrath and justice, would bring judgment upon the sinner. In fact it was in Jeremiah 7, that Jeremiah himself made the prophecy announcing the very judgment of God upon Israel that these scribes lied about for their own gain.

    In any event, if you read the rest of Jeremiah, and the later prophets, you will find that they constantly refer to the Law, presupposing that it is sound and intact, and so the argument of corruption backfires twice now.

    For example, you’ll find in Jeremiah 26 the very same incident of Jeremiah’s temple address. In verses 4-76 it reads:

    "Say to them, 'This is what the LORD says: If you do not listen to me and follow my law, which I have set before you, 5 and if you do not listen to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you again and again (though you have not listened)
    6 then I will make this house like Shiloh and this city an object of cursing among all the nations of the earth.'"

    If the Law is altered by the scribes and unavailable at Jeremiah's time, wouldn’t it just be ridiculous that God admonish the people to follow His Law – the words of His servants and His prophets? It simply would make no sense.

    Jeremeiah the prophet who wrote 8:8 is the same Jeremiah who wrote the later chapter 26, and who explicitly presupposes an intact Torah – now who is more qualified to interpret Jeremiahs own words than Jeremiah himself?

    Even the enemies of Jeremiah according to Jeremiah, knew that the Law could never be corrupt or disappear. In Jeremiah 18:18 it reads: "They said, ‘Come, let's make plans against Jeremiah; for the teaching of the law...will not be lost, nor will counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophets. So come, let's attack him with our tongues and pay no attention to anything he says.’" Jeremiah 18:18

    How about the later prophets that came after Jeremiah? If the Law was altered and unavailable because of this incident in Jeremiah 8, then surely the later prophets would not refer to an altered text. But on the contrary – we find Ezra for example, reading the law of God to the people in Nehemia 8:13-14;18, and we find God Himself in Malachi’s time, telling the people of that time to remember His Law. Daniel the prophet also appeals to the Law – and specifically the Law of Jeremiah’s time – see Daniel 9:1-3 and cross reference this with Daniel 9:11-13.

    Either Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezra, and Malachi are all ignorant and stupid, or those who make the ridiculous out-of-context claim of corruption are. Its very simple.

    So Copt4life, in light of all this, its simply absolutely implausible, unsound, and basically intellectual suicide to interpret Jeremiah 8:8 to mean ANYTHING but the fact that the scribes falsified the Law by falsely interpreting it either orally or through their written traditions.

    To emphasise this point, we only need to go to Matthew 15:1-9, for a similar situation that Jeremiah encounterted, was encountered by Christ Himself:

    "Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, ‘Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat!’ Jesus replied, ‘And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?........ Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: "these people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men."’"

    Even Christ Himself equated nullifying/falsifying the Law/Word of God, with vein teachings of the traditions of men.

    If you want me to clarify anything further, please ask.
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