Jeremiah 17

The Deceitful Heart

1 The 1sin of Judah is written down with an 2iron stylus; With a diamond point it is 3engraved upon the tablet of their heart And on the horns of their altars,
2 As they remember their 4children, So they remember their altars and their 5Asherim By 6green trees on the high hills.
3 O 7mountain of Mine in the countryside, I will 8give over your wealth and all your treasures for booty, Your high places for sin throughout your borders.
4 And you will, even of yourself, 9let go of your inheritance That I gave you; And I will make you serve your 10enemies In the 11land which you do not know; For you have 12kindled a fire in My anger Which will burn forever *.
5 Thus says the LORD, "13Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes 14flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the LORD.
6 "For he will be like a 15bush in the desert And will not see when prosperity comes, But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, A 16land of salt without inhabitant.
7 "17Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose 18trust is the LORD.
8 "For he will be like a 19tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of 20drought Nor cease to yield fruit.
9 "The 21heart is more 22deceitful than all else And is desperately 23sick; Who can understand it?
10 "I, the LORD, 24search the heart, I test the mind, Even 25to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.
11 "As a partridge that hatches eggs which it has not laid, So is he who 26makes a fortune, but unjustly *; In the midst of his days it will forsake him, And in the end he will be a 27fool."
12 28A glorious throne on high from the beginning Is the place of our sanctuary.
13 O LORD, the 29hope of Israel, All who 30forsake You will be put to shame. Those who turn away on earth will be 31written down, Because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the LORD.
14 32Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; 33Save me and I will be saved, For You are my 34praise.
15 Look, they keep 35saying to me, "Where is the word of the LORD? Let it come now!"
16 But as for me, I have not hurried away from being a shepherd after You, Nor have I longed for the woeful day; 36You Yourself know that the utterance of my lips Was in Your presence.
17 Do not be a 37terror to me; You are my 38refuge in the day of disaster.
18 Let those who persecute me be 39put to shame, but as for me, 40let me not be put to shame; Let them be dismayed, but let me not be dismayed. 41Bring on them a day of disaster, And crush them with twofold destruction!

The Sabbath Must Be Kept

19 Thus the LORD said to me, "Go and stand in the public gate, through which the kings of Judah come in and go out, as well as in all the gates of Jerusalem;
20 and say to them, '42Listen to the word of the LORD, 43kings of Judah, and all Judah and all inhabitants of Jerusalem who come in through these gates:
21 'Thus says the LORD, "44Take heed for yourselves, and 45do not carry any load on the sabbath day or bring anything in through the gates of Jerusalem.
22 "You shall not bring a load out of your houses on the sabbath day 46nor do any work, but keep the sabbath day holy, as I 47commanded your forefathers.
23 "Yet they 48did not listen or incline their ears, but 49stiffened their necks in order not to listen or take correction.
24 "But it will come about, if you 50listen attentively to Me," declares the LORD, "to 51bring no load in through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, 52but to keep the sabbath day holy by doing no * work on it,
25 53then there will come in through the gates of this city kings and princes 54sitting on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their princes, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and this 55city will be inhabited forever.
26 "They will come in from the 56cities of Judah and from the environs of Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin, from the 57lowland, from the hill country and from the 58Negev, bringing burnt offerings, sacrifices, grain offerings and incense, and bringing sacrifices of thanksgiving to the house of the LORD.
27 "But 59if you do not listen to Me to keep the sabbath day holy by not carrying a load and coming in through the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day, then 60I will kindle a fire in its gates and it will 61devour the palaces of Jerusalem and 62not be quenched.""'

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Jeremiah 17 Commentary

Chapter 17

The fatal consequences of the idolatry of the Jews. (1-4) The happiness of the man that trusts in God; the end of the opposite character. (5-11) The malice of the prophet's enemies. (12-18) The observance of the sabbath. (19-27)

Verses 1-4 The sins which men commit make little impression on their minds, yet every sin is marked in the book of God; they are all so graven upon the table of the heart, that they will all be remembered by the conscience. That which is graven in the heart will become plain in the life; men's actions show the desires and purposes of their hearts. What need we have to humble ourselves before God, who are so vile in his sight! How should we depend on his mercy and grace, begging of God to search and prove us; not to suffer us to be deceived by our own hearts, but to create in us a clean and holy nature by his Spirit!

Verses 5-11 He who puts confidence in man, shall be like the heath in a desert, a naked tree, a sorry shrub, the product of barren ground, useless and worthless. Those who trust to their own righteousness and strength, and think they can do without Christ, make flesh their arm, and their souls cannot prosper in graces or comforts. Those who make God their Hope, shall flourish like a tree always green, whose leaf does not wither. They shall be fixed in peace and satisfaction of mind; they shall not be anxious in a year of drought. Those who make God their Hope, have enough in him to make up the want of all creature-comforts. They shall not cease from yielding fruit in holiness and good works. The heart, the conscience of man, in his corrupt and fallen state, is deceitful above all things. It calls evil good, and good evil; and cries peace to those to whom it does not belong. Herein the heart is desperately wicked; it is deadly, it is desperate. The case is bad indeed, if the conscience, which should set right the errors of other faculties, is a leader in the delusion. We cannot know our own hearts, nor what they will do in an hour of temptation. Who can understand his errors? Much less can we know the hearts of others, or depend upon them. He that believes God's testimony in this matter, and learns to watch his own heart, will find this is a correct, though a sad picture, and learns many lessons to direct his conduct. But much in our own hearts and in the hearts of others, will remain unknown. Yet whatever wickedness there is in the heart, God sees it. Men may be imposed upon, but God cannot be deceived. He that gets riches, and not by right, though he may make them his hope, never shall have joy of them. This shows what vexation it is to a worldly man at death, that he must leave his riches behind; but though the wealth will not follow to another world, guilt will, and everlasting torment. The rich man takes pains to get an estate, and sits brooding upon it, but never has any satisfaction in it; by sinful courses it comes to nothing. Let us be wise in time; what we get, let us get it honestly; and what we have, use it charitably, that we may be wise for eternity.

Verses 12-18 The prophet acknowledges the favour of God in setting up religion. There is fulness of comfort in God, overflowing, ever-flowing fulness, like a fountain. It is always fresh and clear, like spring-water, while the pleasures of sin are puddle-waters. He prays to God for healing, saving mercy. He appeals to God concerning his faithful discharge of the office to which he was called. He humbly begs that God would own and protect him in the work to which he had plainly called him. Whatever wounds or diseases we find to be in our hearts and consciences, let us apply to the Lord to heal us, to save us, that our souls may praise his name. His hands can bind up the troubled conscience, and heal the broken heart; he can cure the worst diseases of our nature.

Verses 19-27 The prophet was to lay before the rulers and the people of Judah, the command to keep holy the sabbath day. Let them strictly observe the fourth command. If they obeyed this word, their prosperity should be restored. It is a day of rest, and must not be made a day of labour, unless in cases of necessity. Take heed, watch against the profanation of the sabbath. Let not the soul be burdened with the cares of this world on sabbath days. The streams of religion run deep or shallow, according as the banks of the sabbath are kept up or neglected. The degree of strictness with which this ordinance is observed, or the neglect shown towards it, is a good test to find the state of spiritual religion in any land. Let all; by their own example, by attention to their families, strive to check this evil, that national prosperity may be preserved, and, above all, that souls may be saved.

Cross References 62

  • 1. Jeremiah 2:22; Jeremiah 4:14
  • 2. Job 19:24
  • 3. Proverbs 3:3; Proverbs 7:3; Isaiah 49:16; 2 Corinthians 3:3
  • 4. Jeremiah 7:18
  • 5. Exodus 34:13; 2 Chronicles 24:18; 2 Chronicles 33:3; Isaiah 17:8
  • 6. Jeremiah 3:6
  • 7. Jeremiah 26:18; Micah 3:12
  • 8. 2 Kings 24:13; Isaiah 39:4-6; Jeremiah 15:13; Jeremiah 20:5
  • 9. Jeremiah 12:7; Lamentations 5:2
  • 10. Deuteronomy 28:48; Isaiah 14:3; Jeremiah 15:14; Jeremiah 27:12, 13
  • 11. Jeremiah 16:13
  • 12. Isaiah 5:25; Jeremiah 7:20; Jeremiah 15:14
  • 13. Psalms 146:3; Isaiah 2:22; Isaiah 30:1; Ezekiel 29:7
  • 14. 2 Chronicles 32:8; Isaiah 31:3
  • 15. Jeremiah 48:6
  • 16. Deuteronomy 29:23; Job 39:6
  • 17. Psalms 2:12; Psalms 34:8; Psalms 84:12; Proverbs 16:20
  • 18. Psalms 40:4
  • 19. Psalms 1:3; Psalms 92:12-14; Ezekiel 31:3-9
  • 20. Jeremiah 14:1-6
  • 21. Ecclesiastes 9:3; Mark 7:21, 22
  • 22. Romans 7:11; Ephesians 4:22
  • 23. Isaiah 1:5, 6; Isaiah 6:10; Matthew 13:15; Mark 2:17; Romans 1:21
  • 24. 1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Chronicles 28:9; Psalms 139:23; Proverbs 17:3; Jeremiah 11:20; Jeremiah 20:12; Romans 8:27; Revelation 2:23
  • 25. Psalms 62:12; Jeremiah 32:19; Romans 2:6
  • 26. Jeremiah 6:13; Jeremiah 8:10; Jeremiah 22:13, 17
  • 27. Luke 12:20
  • 28. Jeremiah 3:17; Jeremiah 14:21
  • 29. Jeremiah 14:8; Jeremiah 50:7
  • 30. Isaiah 1:28
  • 31. Luke 10:20
  • 32. Jeremiah 30:17; Jeremiah 33:6
  • 33. Psalms 54:1; Psalms 60:5
  • 34. Deuteronomy 10:21; Psalms 109:1
  • 35. Isaiah 5:19; 2 Peter 3:4
  • 36. Jeremiah 12:3
  • 37. Psalms 88:15
  • 38. Jeremiah 16:19; Nahum 1:7
  • 39. Psalms 35:4, 26; Jeremiah 17:13; Jeremiah 20:11
  • 40. Jeremiah 1:17
  • 41. Psalms 35:8
  • 42. Ezekiel 2:7
  • 43. Psalms 49:1, 2; Jeremiah 19:3, 4
  • 44. Deut 4:9, 15, 23; Mark 4:24
  • 45. Numbers 15:32-36; Nehemiah 13:15-21; John 5:9-12
  • 46. Exodus 16:23-29; Exodus 20:8-10; Deuteronomy 5:12-14; Isaiah 56:2-6; Isaiah 58:13
  • 47. Exodus 31:13-17; Ezekiel 20:12; Zechariah 1:4
  • 48. Jeremiah 7:24, 28; Jeremiah 11:10
  • 49. Proverbs 29:1; Jeremiah 7:26; Jeremiah 19:15
  • 50. Exodus 15:26; Deuteronomy 11:13; Isaiah 21:7; Isaiah 55:2
  • 51. Jeremiah 17:21, 22
  • 52. Exodus 20:8-11; Ezekiel 20:20
  • 53. Jeremiah 22:4
  • 54. 2 Samuel 7:16; Isaiah 9:7; Jer 33:15, 17, 21; Luke 1:32
  • 55. Psalms 132:13, 14; Hebrews 12:22
  • 56. Jeremiah 32:44; Jeremiah 33:13
  • 57. Zechariah 7:7
  • 58. Psalms 107:22; Jeremiah 33:11
  • 59. Isaiah 1:20; Jeremiah 22:5; Jeremiah 26:4; Zechariah 7:11-14
  • 60. Lamentations 4:11
  • 61. 2 Kings 25:9; Jeremiah 39:8; Amos 2:5
  • 62. Jeremiah 7:20; Ezekiel 20:47

Footnotes 10

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO JEREMIAH 17

This chapter is a further prophecy of the destruction of the Jews, with the causes of it, their sins, as their idolatry, which was notorious; of which their own consciences, their altars, and their children, were witnesses, Jer 17:1,2 for which they are threatened with the spoil of their substance and treasure, and discontinuance in their land, Jer 17:3,4 as also their confidence in an arm of flesh, which brought the curse of God upon them, when such are blessed that trust in him; and the difference between those that trust in men and those that trust in the Lord is illustrated by very apt similes, Jer 17:5-8, the source of which vain confidence is the wicked heart of man, known to none but God, Jer 17:9,10 and the vanity of it is exposed by a partridge sitting on eggs without hatching them, Jer 17:11, and their departure from God, by trusting in the creature, and in outward things, is aggravated by their temple being the throne and seat of the divine Majesty; by what God is to his people that trust in him; and by the shame and ruin that follow an apostasy from him, Jer 17:12,13, wherefore the prophet, sensible of his own backslidings, prays to be healed and saved by the Lord, who should have all the praise and glory, Jer 17:14 and then relates the scoffs of the people at the word of God by him, another cause of their ruin; declares his own innocence and integrity; prays for protection and security from fear in a time of trouble; and for confusion, terror, and destruction to his persecutors, Jer 17:15-18, then follows an order to him from the Lord, to go and stand in the gate of the city, and exhort all ranks of men to the observation of the sabbath, with directions how to keep it, which had not been observed by their fathers, and which was another cause of their ruin, Jer 17:19-23, and the chapter is closed with promises of blessings in city, court, and country, in church and state, should they religiously observe the sabbath day; but if they profaned it, the city of Jerusalem, and its palaces, should be burnt with fire, Jer 17:24-27.

Jeremiah 17 Commentaries