In this episode of Prophet Pearls, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion of Tzav covering Jeremiah 7:21-8:3, 9:22-23. In this portion paralleling the sacrifices in Leviticus, Gordon traipses through millennia to offer explanations for the perplexing statement, “I didn’t command you to bring sacrifices.” So, were sacrifices allowed or commanded? Plan A or plan B? A remedy for idleness or a method for learning principles?
Regarding the “places of Topheth,” Gordon explains how Judaism and Christianity both adopted the “valley of the son of Hinnom” as a metaphor for hell and provides extra-biblical sources from the first and 12th centuries documenting the human sacrifice rituals of the Canaanites. Gordon and Johnson also address the question, “If human sacrifice didn’t cross God’s mind, then why his command to Abraham?” In closing, Hebrew word studies for sakal (sin-chet-lamed) and yada (yud-dalet-ayin) teach us more precisely what qualifies as boast-worthy.
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