How can you say, “We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us?” But behold, the lying pen of scribes have made it into a falsehood.
This is a very perplexing and intriguing passage, and most of you can readily spot why.
Lying pen of scribes making the law false?!?
The difficulties this presents are immediate: if the law of the LORD has been made into a falsehood by scribes, then how accurate is that law as it has been passed down to us? Worse, if the laws are false, has anything else has been scribally falsified? This is an important issue, for the only record from that time that we have of what the law is comes from these very same scribes. Was scribal ‘tampering’ with religious literature a problem in Jeremiah’s own time? This hints that it was about to be, or indeed already was.
You must admit that calling the law false is a bold statement to make, and it is God Himself, who makes this accusation (8:1, 8:4.)
This is an important litmus test that I think everyone should give to the Scripture. After all, if you’re of the Faith and you’re correct, you have nothing to fear. But if you find it really is a falsehood, at least now you know and can start looking for what’s right. Or, if you’re like shade, you just know it’s the smoking gun that the Brain police tampered with The Bible.
saint’s in-depth analysis
One of the ironies of Jeremiah’s accusation that scribal tampering is that the text that records it: the actual Book of Jeremiah, shows signs of scribal shenanigans within it.
Specifically, there are roughly three different versions of the Jeremiah. Numerous passages (e.g. 33:14-26) come only from the Hebrew (Masoretic) texts—they are conspicuously missing from the Greek (Septuagint.) And neither version completely agree on the the order and placement of all of the oracles. The Aramaic of the Dead Sea Scrolls further complicate things, which alternate allegiance in agreement between the two. Some would say that’s all nit-picking, and it doesn't affect the overall picture. Some would say it's everything, because it is proof that someone played with—at the very least—the order of the text. What else did they change, delete, or invent out of scratch?
I can tell the Jeremiah sermon is a large bite (must chew slowly). Have you had any replies? Never trust a scribe. Have you ever thought just how powerful a position that is. He who controls history, controls the future. Good thing we have the media to help us interpret the day to day happenings.
Cartesius makes a good point above: “never trust a scribe.” (been saying that for years, ever since I met shade!) More to the point on his ‘he who controls the history controls the future.’ “History” is a chronicle of conflict, written by the winners of that conflict. Essentially, of the past we only know what the winners want us to know. This gets back to the ‘Lying pens of scribes’ — perhaps Jeremiah was alluding to some tampering with more than just the Law, but the whole historical perception of The Lord?