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35 They built places of worship for the god Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom so that they could sacrifice their sons and daughters to the god Molech.[a] Such a disgusting practice was not something I commanded them to do. It never even entered my mind to command them to do such a thing! So Judah is certainly liable for punishment.’[b]

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Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 32:35 sn Cf. Jer 7:30-31; 19:5; and the study notes on 7:30. The god Molech is especially associated with the practice of child sacrifice (Lev 18:21; 20:2-5; 2 Kgs 23:10). In 1 Kgs 11:7 this god is identified as the god of the Ammonites, who is also called Milcom in 1 Kgs 11:5 and 2 Kgs 23:13. Child sacrifice, however, was not confined to this god; it was also made to the god Baal (Jer 19:5) and to other idols that the Israelites had set up (Ezek 16:20-21). Yet this behavior was strictly prohibited in Israel (Lev 18:21; 20:2-5; Deut 12:31; 18:10). It was this practice, as well as other pagan rites that Manasseh had instituted in Judah, that ultimately led to Judah’s demise (2 Kgs 24:3-4). Though Josiah tried to root these pagan traditions (2 Kgs 23:4-14) out of Judah, he could not do so. The people had only made a pretense of following his reforms; their hearts were still far from God (Jer 3:10; 12:2).
  2. Jeremiah 32:35 tn Heb “They built high places to Baal, which are in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, to cause their sons and daughters to pass through [the fire] to Molech, [a thing] which I did not command them and [which] did not go up into my heart [= “mind” in modern psychology], to do this abomination so as to make Judah liable for punishment.” For the use of the Hiphil of חָטָא (khataʾ) to refer to the liability for punishment, see BDB s.v. חָטָא Hiph.3 and compare the usage in Deut 24:8. Coming at the end as this does, this nuance is much more likely than “cause Judah to sin,” which is the normal translation assigned to the verb here. The particle לְמַעַן (lemaʿan) that precedes it is here once again introducing a result and not a purpose (compare other clear examples in 27:10, 15). The sentence has been broken down in conformity to contemporary English style, and an attempt has been made to make clear that what is detestable and not commanded is not merely child sacrifice to Molech but child sacrifice in general.

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