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Jeremiah 23:27 Literal Standard Version

Who are devising to cause My people | To forget My Name by their dreams, | That they each recount to his neighbor, | As their fathers forgot My Name for Ba‘al

What is the meaning of the name Baal and what is the Name that the false prophets tried to cause to be forgotten?

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That last line is an important clue. "Their fathers forgot my name for Baal" would mean "they were worshipping Baal instead of me".

Now we know that these prophets were claiming to be prophets of the Lord, because they "prophesy lies in my name" (v25). How, then, would they be diminishing his worship? I suggest they were doing it by tolerating the common practice of combining the worship of the Lord with the worship of other gods. Other passages from Jeremiah and Ezekiel show that this was happening at the time.In Jeremiah ch7, offerings were being made in Jerusalem to the "Queen of heaven", apparently at the same time that men were coming up to "worship the Lord" (v1), and very probably by the same people. In Ezekiel ch14, the Lord refuses to speak to "certain of the elders" who have come to consult Ezekiel, because he knows that "these men have taken their idols into their hearts and set the stumbling-block of their iniquity before their faces" (Ezekiel ch14 v2, RSV). They are paying their respects to at least two deities at the same time.

Jermiah and Ezekiel are consistently teaching that the Lord will judge the nation for its idolatry. The false prophets are ignoring this teaching and promising the continuing favour of the Lord. Like those in ch27 v16, and Hananiah in ch28, who are prophesying that the sacred vessels lately seized by the Babylonians will soon return when the Babylonians are defeated. They implicitly, at least, encourage the idolatry of the people, by telling them that their idolatry will have no consequences. They "lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness" (v32).

The "name" of the Lord includes his prestige and reputation. His position as the exclusive God of Israel is part of his name. If his people are sharing their time with other gods, then they are forgetting his name.

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The rest of the chapter has some good information on how the false prophets made God's people forget His name.

Summary:

  • They used their God given positions as shepherds to lie to God's people and lead God's people away from God and away from God's law - just as their ancestors did before them.
  • The leadership claimed to have a word from God when they did not so they made up messages that moved God's people away from God.

Jeremaih 23

1 “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord.

10 The land is full of adulterers; because of the curse the land lies parched and the pastures in the wilderness are withered. The prophets follow an evil course and use their power unjustly.

13 “Among the prophets of Samaria I saw this repulsive thing: They prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray. 14 And among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen something horrible: They commit adultery and live a lie. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that not one of them turns from their wickedness. They are all like Sodom to me; the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah.”

16 This is what the Lord Almighty says:

“Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. 17 They keep saying to those who despise me, ‘The Lord says: You will have peace.’ And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’

25 “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ 26 How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? 27 They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their ancestors forgot my name through Baal worship.

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