Jeremiah 7:31 MEANING

Jeremiah 7:31
(31) High places.--Not the same word as in Jeremiah 7:29, but bamoth, as in the "high places" of Baal, in Numbers 22:41; Numbers 23:3, the Bamoth-baal of Joshua 13:17. The word had become almost technical for the mounds, natural or (as in this passage) artificial, on which altars to Jehovah or to other gods were erected, and appears in 1 Samuel 9:12; 1 Kings 3:4; Ezekiel 20:29; Amos 7:9.

Tophet.--This appears to have been originally, not a local name, but a descriptive epithet. The word appears in Job 17:6 ("by-word" in the Authorised version) as a thing spat upon and loathed. Its use is probably therefore analogous to the scorn with which the prophets substituted bosheth, the "shameful thing," for Baal (e.g., Jeremiah 3:24; Jeremiah 11:13). When the prediction is repeated in Jeremiah 19:5; Jeremiah 32:35, we have the "high places of Baal," and "Tophet" here is obviously substituted for that name in indignant contempt. The word in Isaiah 30:33, though not identical in form (Tophteh, not Tophet), had probably the same meaning. Other etymologies give as the meaning of the word "a garden," "a place of burning," or "a place of drums," i.e., a music grove, and so connect it more closely with the Molech ritual. Possibly the last was the original meaning of the name, for which, as said above, the prophets used the term of opprobrium.

The son of Hinnom.--Possibly the first recorded owner, or a local hero. The name is perpetuated in later Jewish language in Ge-henna = Ge-Hinnom = the vale of Hinnom. It was older than the Molech worship with which it became identified, and appears in the "Doomsday Book" of Israel (Joshua 15:8; Joshua 18:16).

To burn their sons and their daughters.--The words are important as determining the character of the act more vaguely described in Jeremiah 32:35, as "making to pass through the fire." The children were, in some cases at least, actually burnt, though often, perhaps (see Ezekiel 16:21), slain first. Horrible as the practice seems to us, it was part of the Canaanite or Ph?nician worship of Molech or Malcom (Leviticus 18:21; Leviticus 20:2-5), and had been practised by Ahaz (2 Kings 16:3; 2 Chronicles 28:3) and Manasseh (2 Kings 21:6; 2 Chronicles 33:6).

Verse 31. - The high places of Tophet; rather, the high places of the Topheth - (on the "high places" (Hebrew bamoth) - hero probably artificial mounds to erect the altars upon, and on "the Topheth," see Commentary on 1 Kings). In the valley of the son of Hinnom. Hitzig and others would take Hinnom as a noun meaning "groaning" (Rashi, the great Jewish commentator. had already proposed this view), which is at first sight very plausible. But this name of the valley is already found in the description of the boundaries of Judah and Benin-rain in Joshua 15:8; Joshua 18:16. To burn their sons, etc. (On the worship of Moloch (Saturn), see on Leviticus 18:21, and comp. Ezekiel 16:20, 21, from which it appears that the children were first slain before being "caused to pass through the fire.")

7:29-34 In token both of sorrow and of slavery, Jerusalem must be degraded, and separated from God, as she had been separated to him. The heart is the place in which God has chosen to put his name; but if sin has the innermost and uppermost place there, we pollute the temple of the Lord. The destruction of Jerusalem appears here very terrible. The slain shall be many; they having made it the place of their sin. Evil pursues sinners, even after death. Those who will not, by the grace of God, be cured of vain mirth, shall, by the justice of God, be deprived of all mirth. How many ruin their health and property without complaining, when engaged in Satan's service! May we learn to relish holy joys, and to sit loose to all others though lawful.And they have built the high places of Tophet,.... Where was the idol Moloch; and which place had its name, as Jarchi thinks, from the beating of drums, that the parents of the children that were burnt might not hear the cry of them: which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom; a valley near Jerusalem, and lay to the south of it, Joshua 15:8,

to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire: which was done, as Jarchi says, by putting them into the arms of the brasen image Moloch, heated hot. The account he gives of Tophet is this,

"Tophet is Moloch, which was made of brass; and they heated him from his lower parts; and his hands being stretched out, and made hot, they put the child between his hands, and it was burnt; when it vehemently cried out; but the priests beat a drum, that the father might not hear the voice of his son, and his heart might not be moved:''

but in this he is mistaken; for "Tophet" was not the name of an idol, but of a place, as is clear from this and the following verse. There is some agreement between this account of Jarchi, and that which Diodorus Siculus (z) gives of Saturn, to whom children were sacrificed by the Carthaginians; who had, he says, a brasen image of Saturn, which stretched out his hands, inclining to the earth; so that a child put upon them rolled down, and fell into a chasm full of fire:

which I commanded them not: not in my law, as the Targum; nor by any of the prophets, as Jarchi paraphrases it; he commanded them, as Kimchi observes, to burn their beasts, but not their sons and daughters. The instance of Abraham offering up Isaac will not justify it. The case of Jephthah's daughter, if sacrificed, was not by divine command. The giving of seed to Moloch, and letting any pass through the fire to him, is expressly forbidden, Leviticus 18:21,

neither came it into my heart; it was not so much as thought of by him, still less desired, and much less commanded by him. Jarchi's note is,

"though I spoke to Abraham to slay his son, it did not enter into my heart that he should slay him, but to make known his righteousness.''

(z) Bibliothec. Par. 2. l. 20. p. 756.

Courtesy of Open Bible