Why Does God Punish Israel For Something
He Told David To Do?
A capricious and arbitrary God?
QUESTION: The Old Testament is contradictory as to whether the Lord commanded
the Israelites to sacrifice animals to him. At Jeremiah 7:22, God denies he ever
gave the Israelites commandments about animal sacrifices. In contrast, Exodus
29:38-42 and many other verses depict God as requiring the Israelites to offer
By now you know there is an answer. What is the
first thing you need to do? Look at scripture...
It is plain that God commands
the Israelites to make very specific sacrifices in multiple places in scripture.
There is no doubt about that. So what does Jeremiah say?
I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them
out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. -
Let's define the word hyperbole: an obvious and intentional
exaggeration. An extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be
taken literally, as to wait an eternity. -- from www.dictionary.com
is a device we use in our writing, and day-to-day speech. It is an exaggeration
used to make a point. That's what we have here. Let's read this verse in its context:
says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Add your burnt offerings to your
sacrifices and eat flesh. For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them
in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings
and sacrifices. But this is what I commanded them, saying, Obey My voice,
and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the
way which I command you, that it may be well with you. Yet they did not
obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and in the stubbornness
of their evil heart, and went backward and not forward. Since the day that your
fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have sent you all My servants
the prophets, daily rising early and sending them. Yet they did not listen to
Me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck; they did more evil than their
fathers." Jeremiah 7:21-26
God is upset with Israel.
Why? Because Israel is disobeying God. Because Israel is not listening
to God's commands, nor even to the prophets God has sent. Why? Because of their
hard hearts they prefer to walk in their own counsels (human wisdom). And because
of their evil hearts they are going backwards, not forward.
is the point? Sacrifices mean nothing if you have the wrong heart. "Wrong
heart" means a wrong attitude. The Israelites were making the required sacrifices,
but they were just going through the motions. Making the sacrifices, but turning
away from God in their hearts, totally destroyed the purpose of the sacrifices.
Making sacrifices, with a wrong attitude, is a waste of time. It is just as though
God had not commanded the sacrifices.
How Would You Know This?
happens when you encounter an alleged contradiction such as this? Maybe you are
a new Christian and you don't have the head knowledge to know what is going on.
What do you do?
We've already talked about this. A quick search on the internet
for "Jeremiah 7:22 Bible contradiction" brings up a number of web sites
with the answer. Be careful. There is a lot of bad information on the web. Pick
a search result for a web site you know you can trust. Some examples of major
web sites you can trust are:
(Grace To You)
did we find out here? There is no contradiction.
the New Testament, there are contradictions between the genealogies of Jesus given
in the first chapter of Matthew and the third chapter of Luke.
the answer here.