Two different translations of the Old Testament, separated by 1300 years, yet so much alike. Even their differences have meaning!
27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,
that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds. Psalm 119:27
There are several reasons listed in Jeremiah 7 for Israel’s demise. Let’s look at the first one:
LXX- 7 “But if you trust in lying words from which you cannot profit, 8 and you murder, commit adultery, steal, swear to do wrong, burn incense to Baal, and walk after foreign gods you do not know so as to do evil,9 and come and stand before Me in the house wherein My name is called and say, ‘We have not abstained from doing all these abominations,’ 10 then is this house, called by My name, a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I have seen it.”
MAS- 8 “But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless. 9 ‘Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, “We are safe”–safe to do all these detestable things? 11 Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching!’ declares the LORD.”
There are some differences between the Septuagint and the Masoretic texts.
- The first one is the numbering of the verses. There is a difference in interpretation in the first and second verses.
- The next one is what the priests say when they stand before God in the temple. In the LXX, it seems that the priests were arrogant about their sins. In the MAS, it seems the priests were deceived in their “holy acts.” Either way, they were wrong!
- The phrase “den of robbers” may have been a cultural phrase used in that day. It gives the impression that they can do what they want and God will not see. They should have taken to heart Psalm 94:7-11,
7 They say, “The Lord does not see;
the God of Jacob takes no notice.”
8 Take notice, you senseless ones among the people;
you fools, when will you become wise?
9 Does he who fashioned the ear not hear?
Does he who formed the eye not see?
10 Does he who disciplines nations not punish?
Does he who teaches mankind lack knowledge?
11 The Lord knows all human plans;
he knows that they are futile.
Another place that gives us perspective for the phrase, “den of robbers,” is Malachi 3:8-10,
8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’
“In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.
All of a sudden, Jesus’ cleansing of the temple makes more sense! If Jesus was equating the Israel of His day to the Israel of Jeremiah’s day, then Jesus was acting out the “den of robbers” illustration and likening them to the wicked rulers of Jeremiah’s day–with the same consequences! What was it that Jesus said His house was to be called? “My house will be called a house of prayer” (Matthew 21:13). Sounds noble, doesn’t it? But wait until you read the verses BEFORE the verse He quoted,
4 For this is what the Lord says:
“To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,
who choose what pleases me
and hold fast to my covenant—
5 to them I will give within my temple and its walls
a memorial and a name
better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
that will endure forever.
6 And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord
to minister to him,
to love the name of the Lord,
and to be his servants,
all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it
and who hold fast to my covenant—
7 these I will bring to my holy mountain
and give them joy in my house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house will be called
a house of prayer for all nations.”
Did you catch the references? “To the eunuchs”: they were considered unclean and not allowed in the temple area. “And foreigners”: they were only allowed as far as the outer court, which the leaders had turned into a marketplace! Jesus quoted a portion of verse 7, and didn’t finish the whole thought. I believe that He wanted them to finish it in their heads! “For all nations” would have really ticked them off. Jesus was, indeed, bringing a New Covenant that was for all people, just like the angel described it in Luke 2:10, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people [nations].”
Tomorrow, we will look at yet another reason for Israel’s apostasy.
Abba, it never ceases to amaze me how accurate the Old Testament was in its prophecies and in its direct correlation to the New Testament and history. May I always be a student of Your Word. Amen.