Jeremiah 7 – Judah’a Idolatry and Immorality & The Destruction of Shiloh

ThinkingOkay, Shiloh was destroyed centuries  ago and replaced with Jerusalem.  Today, Shiloh is a tourist trap.  I wonder if the Jews are doing that for the sole purpose of making more money or are they trying to discredit Jerusalem, as many say the capital is Tel Aviv, instead of Jerusalem?

I mean, everyone with any sense knows that the Jews are evil.

1 Idolatry Injustice Immorality and Independence
Idolatry, Injustice, Immorality and Independence
Four main evils characterise Israel and Judah during this period – but they are also, in many ways, the four main evils that have characterised the human race throughout our history.

Idolatry – this is the first sin, and involves putting something or someone else in place of God. “For they also built for themselves high places and pillars and Asherim on every high hill and under every green tree” (1 Ki 14:23 etc). From here, three other besetting sins typically follow.

Injustice – the idea of worshipping a god who did not judge injustices, since they were most likely unjust themselves, was very appealing to those who would oppress and trample the rights of others. This is the strongest theme in the prophetic words of Amos, some of Micah and some of Isaiah (especially chs 1-5).

Immorality – idolatrous worship is often sexually promiscuous, with prostitution, cultic sex and fertility symbols frequently involved. Worshipping Yahweh involved monogamous fidelity.

Independence – both Isaiah and Jeremiah denounce Israel and Judah for relying on other nations (Assyria, Egypt) to rescue them, rather than calling out to God for deliverance.

Intriguingly, in many ways, these remain the three key ways human beings fall into sin once we abandon God and start looking elsewhere for salvation, satisfaction and fulfilment:

Idolizing money leads to injustice – economic sin – as per a Marxist or Marxian view of humanity.

Idolizing sex leads to immorality – sexual sin – as per a Freudian view of humanity.

Idolizing power and pursuing independence – political sin – as per a Nietzschian view of humanity.

A couple days ago we talked about how evil the Jews are, Satan’s primary pawns.  What’s so funny about the Jews is they think they are so smart to take over the world, can’t they see that it is Satan and only Satan that has the wit and power to control this world?

Jeremiah 7
Judah’s Idolatry and Immorality

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

7:1-10:25 – a series of temple messages delivered by Jerusalem, perhaps over a period of several years.  Since 26:2-6, 12-15 is very similar in content to chapter 7, is it possible that chapters 7-10 date to the reign of Jehoiakim.  On the other hand, Jeremiah may have repeated various themes on several occasions during his lengthy ministry.  In any event, nothing in chapters 7-10 is inappropriate to the time of King Josiah.

7:1-8:3 – the straight forward narrative of this section asserts that Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem will not escape the fate of the earlier sanctuary at Shiloh if the people of Judah persist in worshiping false gods.

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.

“Gate” – in the wall between the inner and outer courts of the temple, perhaps the so-called “new gate.”

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.

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.

“Lying words” – spoken by false prophets.  The idea that God wouldn’t destroy Jerusalem simply because His dwelling, the temple, was located there was a delusion, fostered in part by the miraculous deliverance of the city during the reign of Hezekiah.

In the light of Judah’s sinful rebellion against the Lord such an idea was of no avail.

5 For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor;

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:

Rulers and people alike needed to hear and act on these prophetic words.

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

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

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?

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.

2 ancient fertility goddess
Ancient Fertility Goddess
Many Christians challenge that Lev 18:22 and 20:13 and Rom 1:26-27 and 
1 Cor 6:9 and 1 Tim 1:10 all deal with sexual misconduct linked to idolatry and cult or shrine prostitution and yet, unrelated to being gay or lesbian.

Some Christians insist that there is no historical evidence that cult prostitutes engaged in sexual worship of the fertility goddess. For hundreds of years it has been written and taught that ancient fertility goddess worship or shrine prostitution was sexual in nature.

Many Christians view gay Christian beliefs as historical revisionism, as nothing more than self-serving efforts by gay Christians to create a plausible alibi for sin. There is an enormous difference between (1) cult or shrine or temple prostitutes and (2) homosexuals.

No honest person equates the two groups unless he is bent on intentional deception. Even conservative Calvinist commentators like Pastor John MacArthur acknowledge the reality of temple prostitutes and temple prostitution in biblical times. For example:

The Bible comments about the
Idolatry of Old Testament Israel
“And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the LORD their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.

And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree:

And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the LORD carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the LORD to anger:

For they served idols, whereof the LORD had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing.” 2 Kings 17:9-12.

Together with the last half of Isaiah 56:7, part of this verse is quoted by Jesus in Matt 21:13; Mk 11:17; Lk 19:46.

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.

“Place…in Shiloh…see what I did to it” – the tabernacle has been set up in Shiloh after the conquest of Canaan and was still there at the end of the period of the judges.

Modern Seilun, near a main highway about 18 miles north of Jerusalem, preserves the name of the ancient site.  Archeological excavations there indicate that it was destroyed by the Philistines c. 1050 B.C.

The tabernacle itself was not included in that destruction since it was still in existence at Gibeon during David’s reign.  One or more auxiliary buildings had apparently been erected at Shiloh near the tabernacle in connection with various aspects of public worship there (cf. the reference to the “doors of the house of the LORD” in 1 Sam 3:15).

Such structures would have been destroyed with the city itself, perhaps sometime after the events of 1 Sam 4.

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.

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.

Perhaps the events of chapter 26 belong chronologically between vv. 15 and 16.

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.

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.

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

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:

7:22-23 – sacrifices are valid only when accompanied by sincere repentance and joyful obedience, but these sacrifices must be of animals, not children.

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.

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:

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 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” – a sign of mourning.  The word “hair” is related to the word “Nazarite” and referred originally to the diadem worn by the high priest (see Ex 29:6).  The Nazarite’s hair was the symbol of his separation or consecration.

As the Nazarite was commanded to cut off his hair when he became ceremonially unclean, so also Jerusalem must cut off her hair because of her sins.  Samson was a Nazarite and when his hair was cut off he lost his mighty strength.

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.

3 Female figurine from Tell es Sawwan
Female figurine from Tell es-Sawwan
From the early Neolithic period until the fall of Babylon, Mesopotamian religious thought appears to have been marked by the image of a goddess who incarnated the natural forces of fertility and fecundity.

The most developed form of this was the image of Ishtar, who was the subject of many myths.
The Neolithic era was characterized by profound social change: populations of hunter-gatherers from the Near East formed villages and began to practice sedentary farming. As an extension of the ancient practice of gathering, the domestication of edible plants no doubt acted as a symbolic link between the fertility of the earth and the fecundity of the woman.

Thus, a mythology of vitality incarnated by the female image slowly took shape. This was probably a reference to a powerful protective deity conceived of as a “mother goddess”, or at any rate a principal of fecundity that guaranteed the long-term survival of the group.

With the emergence of city-states, this fertility mythology developed, and accompanied the development of society. At Uruk, for example, we see this mythology in the form of the goddess Inanna, protector of the city.

Other goddesses appeared in various cities of the Sumerian world, lending shape to this fertility/fecundity principle, each of them emphasizing a particular aspect.
But none achieved the prestige and lasting fame of the Sumerian goddess Inanna, who was known as Ishtar among the Akkadians.

Many mythological poems were dedicated to her, making her the preeminent goddess. Combining the symbolism of fertility and the power of the warrior-woman, she was venerated by the kings of both Assyria and Babylon, and throughout Mesopotamia’s long history this religious fervor never waned.

“Set their abominations in the house” – Manasseh had put a carved Asherah pole (a wooden symbol of the goddess Asherah) in the temple.  Jeremiah contemporary, the good King Josiah, removed the pole and other accessories to idol worship.

But less than 20 years after Josiah’s death, the prophet Ezekiel reported that there were numerous idols in the temple courts.

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.

“High places” – pagan cult centers, usually (but not here) located on natural heights.

“Tophet” – the word may be of Aramaic origin with the meaning “fireplace,” though in cultures outside Israel it was used as a common noun meaning “place of child sacrifice.”  Its vocalization was perhaps intentionally conformed to that of Hebrew bosheth, “shameful thing”, often used in connection with idol worship.

The Old Testament Topheth had a fire pit into which the hapless children were apparently thrown.

“Valley of the son of Hinnom” – it was used as a trash dump and also as a place for sacrificing children to pagan gods.  From the abbreviated name “valley of Hinnom”, Hebrew ge’ hinnom came “Gehenna” (Greek geenna), consistently translated in the New Testament as “hell,” the place of eternal, fiery punishment for all who die without having trusted Christ as the Savior.

“Burn their sons and their daughters in the fire” – a horrible ritual, prohibited in the Law of Moses (see Lev 18:21; Deut 18:10), but practiced by Ahaz and Manasseh.

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.

33 And the carcasses 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.

The Destruction of Shiloh

Located in the middle of Israel’s hill country, Shiloh was the nation’s first holy city.  At the conclusion of the conquest, around 1400 B.C., Joshua erected the tabernacle at Shiloh, thereby establishing this location as Israel’s religious center (Jos 18:1).

Thereafter, yearly pilgrimages were made to Shiloh for worship and sacrifice (Jdg 21:19; 1 Sam 1:3, 21, 2:19).  It remained the central shrine of Israel for over 300 years, until the city was destroyed, presumably be the Philistines, in the early 11th century B.C.

Israel remained without a primary religious locus for more than a century after that, until Solomon constructed the temple in Jerusalem around 966-959 B.C. (1 Kgs 6:37-38).

In the early 11th century B.C. the Philistines defeated Israel at Ebenezer and the Ark of the Covenant was captured (1 Sam 4:1-11).  Although this is not specifically stated in scripture, it appears that the Philistines followed up their victory by destroying Shiloh (Ps 78:58-61; Jer 7:12-14, 26:6).

One way or another, it is clear that Shiloh ceased to exist at about this time since, after Ebenezer, this city is no longer mentioned in the Bible.  Therefore, when the Philistines returned the ark it was taken to Beth Shemesh rather than to Shiloh.

Following the defeat at Ebenezer, Samuel took up residence at Ramah and ministered in Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah (1 Sam 7:16-17).

Shiloh was first inhabited during the Middle Bronze II period.  This pre-Israelite site at that time covered an area of about four acres and was surrounded by a wall of field stones and an earthen glacis.  This site was destroyed in the 16th century B.C.; large storage containers, bronze weapons and silver jewelry were unearthed there.

Remains from the Late Bronze I period suggest that this location was a cultic or ritual center, but since no masonry has been found from the period it was probably not a regular settlement at that time.

4 A Byzantine olive press
An oil press was found in a 8th century BC four-roomed house above the palace in Tell Hazor.
This is a typical lever-based oil press which was in use in the Biblical periods. Later the oil press evolved into other types of machines.

In this oil press, a stone weight was tied to the edge of the wooden lever, pushing the lever down. The use of a lever exerts a large force over a small distance. The force of the lever pushed a flat stone down on a basket, which contained the olives.

The stone squeezed the basket, extracting the precious olive oil unto the round grooves of a basin stone. The juice flowed down along these grooves, out through an outlet in the basin, and down into a collecting vat.

The olive juice contained water and oil. After a few days, the lighter oil in the juice floats above the water, and it is then collected and stored in jars.

Excavation as Shiloh has revealed a significant building complex from the Iron period, which takes us through the time of Eli.  The Iron I period excavations produced 14 silos and two Israelite storage buildings with rooms full of large, collared-rim jars (a type of pottery sued by the Israelites).

This period of habitation was terminated by a fierce configuration, probably the work of the Philistines in or around 1050 B.C.

No evidence of the tabernacle has been discovered, but the situation of the storage buildings suggests that they were part of a larger complex on the summit, constituting a public storage facility, exhibiting sophisticated construction techniques, including stone drum pillars, wooden columns and paved floors.

The bedrock was cut to level the floor and hew out a cistern, which was then plastered.  Inside, archeologists uncovered the richest assemblage of pottery ever unearthed from the late 12th through early 11th century B.C., including over 20 large storage jars.

The fire that destroyed this complex resulted in a thick layer of ash containing carbonized roof beams and bricks burned to a reddish-yellow hue.  Shiloh ultimately became proverbial for divine judgment on an apostate shrine (Jer 7:12).

The discovery of Iron II material verifies that the site was at least sporadically utilized after the destruction – probably by transient people, since no permanent settlement evidence from this period exists.

I think a lot of people think that when I say the Jews are evil it’s just talk, that the Jews are who they say they are, but DNA doesn’t lie.

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