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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Human construction praised by God? Jeremiah 22:6

Jeremiah 22:1 Thus said Yahweh: Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and speak there this word, 2 Say, Hear the word of Yahweh, king of Judah, who sits on the throne of David, you, and your servants, and your people who enter in by these gates. 3 Thus says Yahweh: Execute justice and righteousness, and deliver him who is robbed out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence, to the foreigner, the fatherless, nor the widow; neither shed innocent blood in this place. 4 For if you do this thing indeed, then shall there enter in by the gates of this house kings sitting on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, he, and his servants, and his people. 5 But if you will not hear these words, I swear by myself, says Yahweh, that this house shall become a desolation. 6 For thus says Yahweh concerning the house of the king of Judah: You are Gilead to me, the head of Lebanon. Yet surely I will make you a wilderness, cities which are not inhabited. 7 I will prepare destroyers against you, everyone with his weapons; and they shall cut down your choice cedars, and cast them into the fire. 8 Many nations shall pass by this city, and they shall say every man to his neighbor, Why has Yahweh done thus to this great city? 9 Then they shall answer, Because they forsook the covenant of Yahweh their God, and worshiped other gods, and served them. (World English Bible, public domain)

The Hebrew word, bayith, translated "house," occurs in verse 6, which I wish to focus on. It also occurs in verses 1, 4, and 5, and in verse 13 of the same chapter, which I did not quote above. As in English, there is some uncertainty about the meaning. House can mean a dwelling, or it can mean the people who are associated with a household. Since it seems pretty clear that Jeremiah was talking about the royal palace in verses 1, 4, and 5, I'm going to assume that he was also doing this in verse 6. (See here for a number of translations of this verse.)

It seems likely that this translation is correct: 'Now this is what the LORD says concerning Judah's royal palace: "I love you as much as fruitful Gilead and the green forests of Lebanon. But I will turn you into a desert, with no one living within your walls.' (New Living Translation) Other translations agree with this one, but not all do.

If that translation is correct, it means that a human creation is praised by God, Himself, as being as beautiful, as worth considering, as part of the natural world.

See Exodus 36, which describes the construction of the tent of meeting, and 1 Kings 10, which, to some extent, describes the palace, in the time of Solomon. I have previously posted on taking care of the environment, more than once. The most important of these posts is here. Thanks for reading.


atlibertytosay said...

God the ultimate designer, loves design. I think he brings praise and recognition to all artists of all forms.

Martin LaBar said...

I think so.