Prophet Pearls #25 – Tzav (Jeremiah 7:21-8:3; 9:22-23)

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.

"...let him who glories, glory in this, that he understands and knows Me" (Jeremiah 9:23)

I look forward to reading your comments!

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28 thoughts on “Prophet Pearls #25 – Tzav (Jeremiah 7:21-8:3; 9:22-23)

  1. At least in the Hebrew sacrificial system there is an element of humaneness: the animal is killed before it is burned…as opposed to throwing a fully conscious and sentient creature alive into a fire. Rightly did David it sum it up when, confronted with his sin of taking a census of the people, and told to choose his punishment, he said, “Let me fall into the hands of God, for his mercies are very great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men.” ‘Nuff said right there.

  2. Thank you, Nehemiah & Keith! I always come away from your broadcasts refreshed & elated with a deeper understanding. Shalom & many blessings!!

  3. I am a bit puzzled, because if the Latin word “CRUX” (which means Wood) appears in the writings of SHEMTOV, being that word (CROSS), the Israelites did not know it? ….. just like the word CRUCIFY, is also not in the Hebrew scriptures ?…

    • Crucifixion is hinted at & described in the Tanakh, not called “cross” or “crucifixion.” Verses such as “Cursed is every man who is hung on a trre,” & the torture verses in Isaiah 53, describe the cross & the Crucifixion method. “By His stripes, we are healed” is a direct reference to flogging. The visions aren’t necessarily comprehendable to the prophet who sees them. Their job is to broadcast the message & record it.

  4. Thank you once again, Nehemia and Keith for your teachings… I always come away having learned more about Hebrew words, customs, and figures of speech and knowing Yehovah just a little bit better… and that is all I could possibly boast in, I am nothing without Him.

  5. Ex 8 – 10. No where does Yehovah say, Let my people go that they may Sacrifice to me. Yehovah says that they worship me. Is assumption this G-d; wants sacrifices like other gods? Worship can mean serve, and serve can mean live in such a way as to reflect My image among the nations.??

    • Centurylink, did you perhaps miss the command that Yehovah gave in Ex. 3:18 when Yehovah revealed Himself to Moses and told him what he was to say to the King of Egypt or Exodus 8:27?

      Exo 3:18
      And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.”
      Exo 8:27
      We will go three days’ journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the LORD our God, as he shall command us.

      The word for sacrifice in both verses is:
      zâbach, zaw-bakh’; a primitive root; to slaughter an animal (usually in sacrifice):—kill, offer, (do) sacrifice, slay.

  6. That was a lesson I would never have gotten in a main stream church. I have to say I had to stop it in Nehemia’s description of child sacrifice several times because I felt my chest filling with anxiety. I read a story today about an abortion doctor talking about slitting the throat of abortion babies so they will not cry. I am not sure how much more wicked this world has to get before the King comes and puts an end to this. So sad.

  7. Could it be that YHVH did not command sacrifices of burnt offerings (don’t eat it but burn it totally) before Sinai and therefore, prior to that, they ate of their sacrifices? Just a thought to try to reconcile apparent contradictions.

    • Or does verse 23 explain verse 22. Doesn’t it have some additional words beyond “but”? “But (“as well”, or “in addition to” or “more”), this thing I commanded……” In other words, I didn’t just command sacrifices, in addition, I commanded obedience.

  8. Dear Nehemia,
    you say that sacrificing animals was never Yehovah’s intention. only afer the golden kalf, he sets the form for offering, because people have an urge to offer, even though god never asks for it.
    my question or thought:
    why will there be sacrifices in the end times, when the messiah is here on earth?
    i assume that god’s plan is to restore everything as he has intended his creation in the beginning.
    for me, the idea of a restored world ‘with’ sacrificial system does not comply with the intended beginning ‘without’ the sacrices

    please help me out, share your thoughts

  9. When Jeremiah 8:1-2 were under discussion, about the sun, moon and stars being loved, served, sought and worshipped, what came to my mind was believing in, and giving heed to astrological signs. Looking to astrology to guide one’s life and making decisions was common then, and is still common today. Some people take astrology seriously, while others might just read their astrocast Online “just for fun.” Even when Ronald Reagen was in the White House, his wife, Nancy was very much involved with astrology–had her own personal astrologist. I remember reading at the time that she was a strong influence on the President. Of course, one can’t believe everything one reads. But that’s what I thought about when you and Keith discussed these verses.

  10. Thank you for the word studies you included in this Prophet Pearls, they give me an better understanding that wouldn’t have been available without them .wonderful

  11. Leaves Heal, while its was said that this place of sacrifice was a metaphor for the image of Hell, nobody on this broadcast said that there were no eternal consequences for sin. You’re making assumptions. Most of the sin in the world doesn’t seem to have “here and now” consequences, in fact the wicked seem to prosper often at the expense of the righteous. If sin has no eternal consequences, the Hitlers, Stalins and Pol Pots of the world get away wither deeds. If sin has no eternal consequences why does it need to be atoned for at all, either by the Levitical system or anything else?

    • I didn’t say “no eternal consequences.” (That’s God’s to manage; not ours.) I said that there’s no evidence in the Elder Testament for eternal torture. Dante’s Inferno (not Scripture) is an illogical and unmerciful form of “eternal consequences.”
      Eternal torture would not produce learning or healing or any other blessing that we see the Almighty continually working toward throughout Scripture.

      • Dante’s book was entitled Divine Comedy…it was a satire, a ridicule of all the Greek ideas of the afterlife. It was not meant to be taken seriously, But unfortunately it was by the Western world and Christianity. And it became the source for the doctrine of Hell & eternal punishing ever since…ridiculous but sad.

  12. Just a few scriptures to add to my last post. Mic2:2 Isa10:1-3 Ecc3:16 5:8 and James 2:6 only a few samples!!! PRAISE YAH FOR HE SHALL DELIVER US and end this worldwide insanity!!!

  13. Leaves Heal Well said!!! See also Psalm 94 where it is mentions the throne of iniquity enacting their evil laws. Is not the whole earth FILLED with thrones of iniquity to rob [plunder] the poor [the weaker] the widows [a widow in beaver county Penna. USA lost her $300k home over 6 dollars and 30 cents the ” judge” justifying it by stating ITS THE LAW!!!] and to rob the fatherless??? I think one could easily cite at least 50 scriptures condemning this worlds so called “justice system” DO WE EVEN BEGIN IMAGINE HOW EVIL THINGS REALLY ARE? I fear we don’t!!! May our DELIVER soon come. Shalom to all who love PEACE

  14. That is my fav verse too, Jer 9:24-boast in your yada relationship with YHWH.
    Todah! for your efforts and sharing these pearls with us. Shalom!

  15. Vomituous ancient picture and practice.
    Good to understand, though. Good to register that the Almighty is not the god of eternal torture we were reared to believe in.
    It messes with some foundational stuff in Chri*tendom, though. If there’s no eternal torment-style “natural consequence for sin,” then why did Je*us die? If the consequences of sin are concrete, here-and-now, life-and-death, but not eternal torture, then we need only the ONE Savior, Yehowah. Yashua becomes only a tool in His hand to deliver TaNaK throughout the world, albeit through the horrors of Chri*tendom.
    You’re messing with foundational stuff, guys. 😉
    Honored to see it.

  16. Hey guys sure was worth listening to. But did you sort of miss step a bit at the end? Did W B and the other 1% become rich via hard work or thru manipulating the FAKE paper money system that we are ALL SLAVES to???

    • Hear that.
      Not only that, but through funding both sides of elections so that corporations “own” the politicians we “elected.” Legislation doesn’t favor the mega-corporation on accident.
      May the idols fall, and may Yehowah have mercy on those who dwell in their shadow. We all belong to Him.

    • “You shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of the just.
      –Exodus 23:8

      Concerning evil, both hands do it well. The prince asks, also the judge, for a bribe, And a great man speaks the desire of his soul; So they weave it together.
      –Micah 7:3

    • You mistake the >$250K/yr 1%-ers with the uber rich 0.1%-ers which most have and are have profiting from the bad banking system and coming economic disaster. The 1% are full of hard-working entrepreneurs that bust their tuchus’ for their $250K+ per yr. Try not to use generalizations if your going to throw stones.

      • Touche.
        0.01% would likely be more accurate.
        Thank you for the correction.
        One for you:
        “you’re” (you are), not “your” (belonging to you)
        There’s nothing wrong with using a tool ($) in your hand for good, if you have it. It’s the twisting of it into “power” (aka “elohim” / “gods”) that becomes unholy.

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