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Jeremiah 8

Jeremiah 8:8-Is the Law corrupted?
Our Muslim friends often quote Jeremiah 8:8 which says:

"How can you say, 'We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us'? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes has made it into a lie"

They say that here Jeremiah is clearly admitting that the scribes of his time have actually corrupted the Law of Moses textually, and thus, it is a proof that the Bible is corrupted.

In this article, we shall see whether this interpretation is valid or not.

After reviewing some commentaries on this passage, I have come to the conclusion that Jeremiah is not accusing the scribes of literally corrupting the text of the Torah, but they have misinterpreted the Law, or have drawn false teachings from it in order to deceive the people.

9 The wise will be put to shame;
they will be dismayed and trapped. 
Since they have rejected the word of the LORD,  
what kind of wisdom do they have?

Now why would Jeremiah accuse people for rejecting the Word of God when they did not have it, or if he believed it to be corrupted?

Secondly, the following extract from an online article explains how the Hebrew word for corruption can also be used for deceiving :

Likewise, it should be noted that the Hebrew term used, rq, v, is primarily used by Jeremiah to refer to "deception" and "falsehood" not in the sense of textual corruption or anything like it. For example, it appears in Jeremiah 9:5 in the rq, v, / ll;T' pairing, "Everyone deceives his neighbor, and no one speaks the truth; they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they weary themselves committing iniquity." And directly to the point, Jeremiah 23:26, "How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart." False prophets abound, but their false prophecying and false teaching can never alter God's inspired Word.

The next line of argument is based on what other Prophets of the Bible have to say on this issue.If the Torah had really been corrupted, why did only one prophet speak of it?.On the contrary, other prophets and even Jeremiah himself say this about the Word of God:

Jeremiah 1
12 The LORD said to me, "You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled."

If God is watching over His word, how can someone corrupt it?

Further proofs:

Psalm 109
86 All your commands are trustworthy;
help me, for men persecute me without cause.

89 Your word, O LORD, is eternal;
it stands firm in the heavens.

Isaiah 40
8 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God stands forever."

And finally Jesus Christ Himself says:

Matthew 5
18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

Thirdly, we have to understand that not every word of the Bible is to be taken literally.Consider the following example:

Matthew 16
6"Be careful, " Jesus said to them. "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."

12Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

You see, Jesus is using yeast (something to be eaten), as a metaphor for the teachings of the Jewish leaders.So, we as Christians are consistent in out a our metaphorical understanding of Jeremiah 8:8.

But if our Muslim friends still want to take some words literally, then consider the following text from the Qur'an:

And when Jesus son of Mary said: O Children of Israel! Lo! I am the messenger of Allah unto you,  confirming that which was (revealed) before me in the Torah, and bringing good tidings of a messenger who cometh after me, whose name is the Praised One. Yet when he hath come unto them with clear proofs, they say: This is mere magic.

The text clearly says that Jesus came to "confirm" the Torah that came before him.Now what does confirm mean?

It simply means verification or authentication.This proves from the Qur'an itself that the Torah was true till the time of Jesus, which refutes the Muslim understanding of Jeremiah 8:8.

Muslims will tell us that this is only referring to the "true" parts of the Torah and not the Law as a whole.

But in doing so they would using the same methodology which they stop us from using on Jeremiah 8:8, namely, not to take the text literally.

So if they remain consistent in interpreting both the scriptures, they will find out out that using Jeremiah 8:8 is in reality weak argument.

God Bless You.

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