Jeremiah claimed Israel's nation could not exist before YHVH, if "Ha-Chuqim" These-Laws depart from upon their hearts :

[Yirmiyahu יִרְמְיָ֖הוּ | Jeremiah 31:36]

"If [these-laws] depart from before Me, says YHVH, so will the seed of Yisrael cease being a nation before Me for all time." (אִם־יָמֻ֜שׁוּ הַֽחֻקִּ֥ים הָאֵ֛לֶּה מִלְּפָנַ֖י נְאֻם־יְהֹוָ֑ה גַּם֩ זֶ֨רַע יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל יִשְׁבְּת֗וּ מִֽהְי֥וֹת גּ֛וֹי לְפָנַ֖י כָּל־הַיָּמִֽים)

What specifically were These-Laws הַֽחֻקִּ֥ים "Ha-Chuqim" (upon their hearts) referenced by [Jeremiah 31:36] which Israel must keep to remain a nation for all time?

  • Since we know Yisrael still exists as a nation on earth, what are the specific הַֽחֻקִּ֥ים "Ha-Chuqim" being kept upon our hearts?

2 Answers 2


The simplest, most direct answer to this question is found in Deut 6 and especially V20 (see appendix 1 below). Deuteronomy is called the "Book of the Law" (Deut 28:61, 29:21, 30:10, 31:26, Josh 1:8, 8:31, 34, 24:26, 2 Kings 22:8, 11, 2 Chron 17:9, 25:4, 34:14, 15, Neh 8:1-3, 8, 18, 9:3) being an expansion of the 10 commandments or moral law. This moral law, only summarized by the 10 commandments but expanded in the Book of the Law, Deuteronomy, was to be the distinguishing feature of the Israelites because it was a matter of the heart and was to be obeyed willingly as it was to be written on the hearts of the people. See Appendix 1 below.

The ancient Israelites were often reprimanded for assuming that God’s covenant with them was a mere matter of ceremonies, the stone tablets and the temple. 1 Sam 15:22, Ps 40:6-8, 51:16, 17, Prov 15:8, 21:3, Isa 1:10-17, Jer 6:3-6, 20, Hos 6:6, Micah 6:6-8, etc. That is, they confused the Levitical and Moral Covenant. More particularly, the Israelites were repeatedly told that the conditions of the Covenant were a matter for the heart and NOT external regulations (Deut 6:5, Ps 40:8, Jer 24:7, 31:1, 33, 34, 32:38-40, 36, 26-28), because God initiated the covenant to save Israel; it was a covenant of transforming grace and forgiveness! Isa 59:21 says the covenant is the eternal gift of the Spirit.

Thus, the Moral law was to be the feature which made Israel different from other nations; a nation based on grace which made God the central focus of all their activities. For example, in Solomon’s prayer of dedication, he describes the (Israelite) Covenant as God showing “lovingkindness”, or, “steadfast love”, to people. 1 Kings 8:23, 2 Chron 6:14, See also Neh 1:5, 9:32, Ps 89:28, 33, 34, 103:17, 18, 111:4, 5, 9, Isa 54:10, 55:3. This suggests that the Law of God, or the Moral Law, is an expression of God’s love and is just as eternal.

On this basis, it is debatable whether the modern, secular democratic state of Israel fulfills the requirements of the OT prophecies to be truly called the nation of the LORD. See appendix 2 below.

We should not forget the NT statements about the modern state of Israel:

  • Gal 3:29 - And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.
  • 1 Peter 2:9, 10 - But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. [This quote the founding statements about Israel in Ex 19, 5, 6.]
  • Matt 21:43 - Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.

APPENDIX 1 - Laws Written on the Heart

  • Ex 19:5-7 - 5 Now if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, you will be My treasured possession out of all the nations—for the whole earth is Mine. 6 And unto Me you shall be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you are to speak to the Israelites.” 7 So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the LORD had commanded him. 8 And all the people answered together, “We will do everything that the LORD has spoken.” So Moses brought their words back to the LORD.
  • Deut 6:6-9 - These words [= laws] I am commanding you today are to be upon your hearts. And you shall teach them diligently to your children and speak of them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as reminders on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.
  • Deut 6:20-25 - 20 In the future, when your son asks, “What is the meaning of the decrees and statutes and ordinances that the LORD our God has commanded you?” 21 then you are to tell him, “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 Before our eyes the LORD inflicted great and devastating signs and wonders on Egypt, on Pharaoh, and on all his household. 23 But He brought us out from there to lead us in and give us the land that He had sworn to our fathers. 24 And the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes and to fear the LORD our God, that we may always be prosperous and preserved, as we are to this day. 25 And if we are careful to observe every one of these commandments before the LORD our God, as He has commanded us, then that will be our righteousness.”
  • Deut 26:16 - The LORD your God commands you this day to follow these statutes and ordinances. You must be careful to follow them with all your heart and with all your soul.
  • Deut 32:46 - he said to them, “Take to heart all these words I testify among you today, so that you may command your children to carefully follow all the words of this law.
  • Josh 22:5 - But be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
  • 1 Kings 9:4 - And as for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, with a heart of integrity and uprightness, doing all I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and ordinances,
  • 2 Kings 10:31 - But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the LORD, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn from the sins of Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin.
  • 2 Kings 23:25 - Neither before nor after Josiah was there any king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, according to all the Law of Moses.
  • 2 Chron 34:31 - So the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the LORD to follow the LORD and to keep His commandments, decrees, and statutes with all his heart and all his soul, and to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book.
  • Ezra 7:10 - For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, to practice it, and to teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel.
  • Ps 37:31 - The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not falter.
  • Ps 40:8 - I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your law is within my heart.”
  • Ps 119:34 - Give me understanding that I may obey Your law, and follow it with all my heart.
  • Prov 3:1 - My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments;
  • Isa 51:7 - Listen to Me, you who know what is right, you people with My law in your hearts: Do not fear the scorn of men; do not be broken by their insults.

APPENDIX 2 - Modern Israel - Is it the Israel of OT Prophecy?

  • Revived Israel was to be a kingdom ruled by a descendant of David, ie Jessus as Messiah; the modern state is NOT a kingdom with Jesus as the king, nor even has an earthly monarch that is a descendant of David (Hos 1:11, 3:4, 5, Eze 37:25, Isa 11:1-5, 10, Jer 30:9). It is a democracy.
  • The modern state of Israel is a secular (non-religious) state that is a democracy. Thus, it cannot be said that God’s Spirit is in Israel (Eze 37:11-25).
  • The modern state of Israel has NOT turned to God and is not a theocracy (Hos 3:5, Jer 30:9, 21, 31:1).
  • The Temple of Ezekiel has NOT been built, nor has Herod’s temple (Jer 30:18, 19).
  • The priesthood (Jer 31:14) to staff any temple does not exist and cannot be traced. (This was a major concern to Zerubbabel and Ezra as recorded in Ezra 2:61-63.)
  • The modern state of Israel does NOT officially recognise Jesus as Messiah or leader (Micah 4:6, 7, Jer 30:22, 31:1, 33, 34).
  • The modern state of Israel does NOT occupy Mt Zion. (Micah 4:6, 7, Obad 1:17, Jer 30:18) Further, the modern state of Israel does NOT even occupy the original borders in Solomon’s time (eg, the West Bank territories and the Sinai Peninsula and much else). It is MUCH smaller.
  • The old palaces of David and Solomon have not been rebuilt where they used to be (Jer 30:18), nor any other palace of a king.
  • The modern state of Israel does NOT have people from Babylon (Isa 11:11, 12) because Babylon does not exist and has not for over 2000 years.
  • The nations from which modern Israel has returned have NOT been completely destroyed such as Russia, Spain, Iraq, Persia, etc. (Jer 30:11, 16). (However, the ancient nation of Babylon has been destroyed.)
  • Israel does not leave in peace and security as predicted in Isa 11:6-9 (this is clearly a prophecy about heaven and the new earth, not the restored state of Israel). Even the advocates of the restoration of Israel who like to quote Jer 30 appear to ignore Jer 30:10 where Israel’s peace and security is predicted.
  • The modern State of Israel does not even recognise the Israelite Covenant (Ex 19-24) and thus cannot be a continuation of the ancient Israelite community.

NOTE: This is not to suggest that the modern state of Israel is not a legitimate modern secular state - it is and has every right to exist and be prosperous as any other country does.

  • Regarding Appendix 2: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’” - Luke 13:34-35 Dec 6, 2021 at 13:16
  • @MikeBorden - Good point, agreed. Thanks.
    – Dottard
    Dec 6, 2021 at 20:20

We need at least verse 35 for context.

"Thus says the Lord, which gives the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and stars for a light by night..."

"If those ordinances depart from before me.."

And 37 "If heaven above can be measured and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel.."

It is something to do with the sun moon and stars, if they can be stopped, then God would cast away Israel.

Jeremiah does specifically speak of an actual law that must be kept;

"Dispense justice and righteousness and deliver the oppressed out of the hand of the oppressor and do no wrong, do no violence, to the stranger... If you will not obey these words, I swear by myself says the Lord that this house shall become a desolation" Jeremiah 22:3-5

  • I think that is a metaphor of permanence, and not the actual laws.
    – Dottard
    Dec 6, 2021 at 20:22

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