But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth quakes, And the nations cannot endure His indignation. Thus you shall say to them, “The gods that did not make the heavens and the earth will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.” (Jeremiah 10:10-11)


Jeremiah 10:11 is the only verse in Jeremiah’s prophecy that is written in Aramaic rather than Hebrew. As a result, many feel it is a gloss or interpolation. However, a much more logical reason exists. Charles Feinberg notes, “It should, however, be remembered that Aramaic was the lingua franca of the day; so the pagan idolators would be able to read the judgment of God on their idolatry.” And in a textual note, he also says,

No one has ever explained why an interpolator would introduce it here. It was a proverbial saying; so it was given in the language of the people (so Streane). The best explanation appears to be that it is in Aramaic so that the exiles could use these very words as a reply to solicitations by the Chaldeans to join in their idol worship. –Charles L. Feinberg, “Jeremiah” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 6:449-450.

What does this mean? God’s people found themselves in the midst of idolatry, under constant pressure from those around them to give in to the temptation to join the worship of Yahweh with the worship of other gods (just as we are today tempted to give in on the “offensive” aspects of the truth of God, especially regarding the gospel). God gave his people the very words they were to use in rejecting the temptation of those around them, in a language they could understand! And do not fail to note that the reply was not “politically correct” either! They were not to say, “Oh, we would like to share with you a different way that we think is a bit better than yours.” No, they were to say that those false gods would perish! When it comes to the “non-negotiables,” why are so many today bent upon negotiating?

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