Jeremiah writes to the exiles. He warns them against idolatry. This chapter is also known as “The Letter of Jeremy.”
VERSE 1. A copy of an letter, which Jeremy sent to them which were to be led captives into Babylon by the king of the Babylonians, to certify them, as it was commanded him of God.
Jeremy. That is, the prophet Jeremiah.
VERSE 2. Because of the sins which you have committed before God, you shall be led away captives to Babylon by Nabuchodonosor king of the Babylonians.
VERSE 3. So when you come to Babylon, you shall remain there many years, and for a long season, even for seven generations: and after that I will bring you out peaceably from thence.
for seven generations. Jeremiah prophesied that the exile in Babylon would last for seventy years. Read more »
VERSE 4. But now shall you see in Babylon gods of silver, and of gold, and of wood, borne upon shoulders, which cause the nations to fear.
VERSE 5. Beware therefore that you in no wise become like to the strangers, neither let fear take hold upon you because of them, when you see the multitude before them and behind them, worshiping them.
in no wise become like to the strangers. Jeremiah directs them to NOT imitate the religious practices of these people.
VERSE 6. But say you in your hearts, O Lord, we must worship you.
my angel is with you. What is Jeremiah referring to?
1. Perhaps Baruch is Jeremiah’s “angel.” However, this is quite unlikely. In those days, people understood angels to be non-human super-beings from heaven with extraordinary powers.
2. Perhaps the LORD God assigned an angel to protect the exiles.
VERSE 8. For their tongue is polished by the workman, and they themselves are overlaid with gold and with silver; yet are they but false, and can’t speak.
yet are they but false. Jeremiah says an idol is a fraud.
VERSE 9. And taking gold, as it were for a virgin that loves to be happy, they make crowns for the heads of their gods:
VERSE 10. and sometimes also the priests convey from their gods gold and silver, and bestow it upon themselves;
VERSE 11. and will even give thereof to the common prostitutes: and they deck them as men with garments, even the gods of silver, and gods of gold, and of wood.
VERSE 12. Yet can’t these gods save themselves from rust and moths, though they be covered with purple raiment.
VERSE 13. They wipe their faces because of the dust of the temple, which is thick upon them.
VERSE 14. And he that can’t put to death one that offends against him holds a sceptre, as though he were judge of a country.
VERSE 15. He has also a dagger in his right hand, and an axe: but can’t deliver himself from war and robbers.
they are known not to be gods. Back in chapter 4, Baruch indicates that idols are actually demonic entities and are powerful:
Baruch 4:7. For you provoked him that made you by sacrificing to demons, and not to God.
Now Jeremiah corrects what Baruch had said. Idols are not demons. Rather, they are frauds. We should not fear them at all.
VERSE 17. For like as a vessel that a man uses is nothing worth when it is broken; even so it is with their gods: when they be set up in the temples their eyes be full of dust through the feet of those who come in.
VERSE 18. And as the courts are made sure on every side upon him that offends the king, as being committed to suffer death; even so the priests make fast their temples with doors, with locks, and bars, lest they be carried off by robbers.
VERSE 19. They light them candles, yes, more than for themselves, whereof they can’t see one.
VERSE 20. They are as one of the beams of the temple; and men say their hearts are eaten out, when things creeping out of the earth devour both them and their raiment: they feel it not
VERSE 21. when their faces are blackened through the smoke that comes out of the temple:
VERSE 22. bats, swallows, and birds land on their bodies and heads; and in like manner the cats also.
they are no gods. Idols are not gods.
VERSE 24. Notwithstanding the gold wherewith they are beset to make them beautiful, except one wipe off the rust, they will not shine: for not even when they were molten did they feel it.
NAB translation. They are bought at any price, and there is no spirit in them.
there is no spirit in them. An idol is NOT inhabited by a demonic entity.
VERSE 26. Having no feet, they are borne upon shoulders, whereby they declare to men that they be nothing worth.
VERSE 27. They also that serve them are ashamed: for if they fall to the ground at any time, they can’t rise up again of themselves: neither, if they are bowed down, can they make themselves straight: but the offerings are set before them, as if they were dead men.
VERSE 28. And the things that are sacrificed to them, their priests sell and spend; and in like manner their wives also lay up part thereof in salt; but to the poor and to the impotent they will give nothing thereof.
their wives. What does the Book of Baruch say about women? Here are all the verses we found in Baruch that mention a woman. Read more »
VERSE 29. The menstruous woman and the woman in childbed touch their sacrifices: knowing therefore by these things that they are no gods, fear them not.
The menstruous woman. What does the Book of Baruch say about women? Here are all the verses we found in Baruch that mention a woman. Read more »
VERSE 30. For how can they be called gods? because women set meat before the gods of silver, gold, and wood.
women set meat before the gods. What does the Book of Baruch say about women? Here are all the verses we found in Baruch that mention a woman. Read more »
VERSE 31. And in their temples the priests sit on seats, having their clothes tore, and their heads and beards shaven, and nothing upon their heads.
VERSE 32. They roar and cry before their gods, as men do at the feast when one is dead.
clothe their wives. What does the Book of Baruch say about women? Here are all the verses we found in Baruch that mention a woman. Read more »
VERSE 34. Whether it be evil that one does to them, or good, they are not able to recompense it: they can neither set up a king, nor put him down.
VERSE 35. In like manner, they can neither give riches nor money: though a man make a vow to them, and keep it not, they will never exact it.
VERSE 36. They can save no man from death, neither deliver the weak from the mighty.
VERSE 37. They can’t restore a blind man to his sight, nor deliver any that is in distress.
VERSE 38. They can show no mercy to the widow, nor do good to the fatherless.
VERSE 39. They are like the stones that be hewn out of the mountain, these gods of wood, and that are overlaid with gold and with silver: those who minister to them shall be confounded.
VERSE 40. How should a man then think or say that they are gods, when even the Chaldeans themselves dishonor them?
NAB translation. and they are themselves unable to reflect and abandon these gods, for they have no sense.
unable to … abandon these gods. People find it very difficult to forsake their idolatry.
VERSE 41. Who if they shall see one mute that can’t speak, they bring him, and entreat him to call upon Bel, as though he were able to understand.
VERSE 42. Yet they can’t perceive this themselves, and forsake them: for they have no understanding.
VERSE 43. The women also with cords about them sit in the ways, burning bran for incense: but if any of them, drawn by some that passes by, lie with him, she reproaches her fellow, that she was not thought as worthy as herself, nor her cord broken.
women also with cords about them. What does the Book of Baruch say about women? Here are all the verses we found in Baruch that mention a woman. Read more »
lie with him. What does the Book of Baruch say about sexuality? Here are all the verses we found in Baruch that mention sexuality. Read more »
VERSE 44. Whatsoever is done among them is false: how should a man then think or say that they are gods?
VERSE 45. They are fashioned by carpenters and goldsmiths: they can be nothing else than the workmen will have them to be.
VERSE 46. And they themselves that fashioned them can never continue long; how then should the things that are fashioned by them?
VERSE 47. For they have left lies and reproaches to those who come after.
VERSE 48. For when there comes any war or plague upon them, the priests consult with themselves, where they may be hidden with them.
VERSE 49. How then can’t men understand that they be no gods, which can neither save themselves from war, nor from plague?
VERSE 50. For seeing they be but of wood, and overlaid with gold and with silver, it shall be known hereafter that they are false:
VERSE 51. and it shall be manifest to all nations and kings that they are no gods, but the works of men’s hands, and that there is no work of God in them.
there is no work of God in them. Idols are not given by the LORD God.
VERSE 52. Who then may not know that they are no gods?
VERSE 53. For neither can they set up a king in a land, nor give rain to men.
VERSE 54. Neither can they judge their own cause, nor redress a wrong, being unable: for they are as crows between heaven and earth.
VERSE 55. For even when fire falls upon the house of gods of wood, or overlaid with gold or with silver, their priests will flee away, and escape, but they themselves shall be burned apart like beams.
VERSE 56. Moreover they can’t withstand any king or enemies: how should a man then allow or think that they be gods?
VERSE 57. Neither are those gods of wood, and overlaid with silver or with gold, able to escape either from thieves or robbers.
VERSE 58. Whose gold, and silver, and garments wherewith they are clothed, they that are strong will take from them, and go away withal: neither shall they be able to help themselves.
VERSE 59. Therefore it is better to be a king that shows his manhood, or else a vessel in a house profitable for that whereof the owner shall have need, than such false gods; or even a door in a house, to keep the things safe that be therein, than such false gods; or a pillar of wood in a palace, than such false gods.
such false gods. An idol is a false god.
Exodus 20:3. You shall have no other gods before me.
VERSE 60. For sun, and moon, and stars, being bright and sent to do their offices, are obedient.
VERSE 61. Likewise also the lightning when it glitters is fair to see; and after the same manner the wind also blows in every country.
VERSE 62. And when God commands the clouds to go over the whole world, they do as they are told.
VERSE 63. And the fire sent from above to consume mountains and woods does as it is commanded: but these are to be likened to them neither in show nor power.
VERSE 64. Wherefore a man should neither think nor say that they are gods, seeing they are able neither to judge causes, nor to do good to men.
they are no gods. An idol is not a god.
fear them not. We should not fear an idol. Yet in our day, many Christians see an idol as representing a demonic entity. They say the demonic entity is powerful and must be feared.
VERSE 66. For they can neither curse nor bless kings:
VERSE 67. neither can they show signs in the heavens among the nations, nor shine as the sun, nor give light as the moon.
VERSE 68. The beasts are better than they: for they can get under a covert, and help themselves.
VERSE 69. In no wise then is it manifest to us that they are gods: therefore fear them not.
VERSE 70. For as a scarecrow in a garden of cucumbers that keeps nothing, so are their gods of wood, and overlaid with gold and with silver.
VERSE 71. Likewise also their gods of wood, and overlaid with gold and with silver, are like to a white thorn in an orchard, that every bird sits upon; as also to a dead body, that is cast forth into the dark.
VERSE 72. And you shall know them to be no gods by the bright purple that rots upon them: And they themselves afterward shall be consumed, and shall be a reproach in the country.
has none idols. Avoid idolatry:
Baruch 6:73. Better therefore is the just man that has none idols: for he shall be far from reproach.
1 John 5:21. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.