Welcome to our website
Jeremiah, Chapter 17
Judah's Destruction Inevitable
From Jer.17:15 it is clear that this chapter was written prior to the Babylonian conquest. Attempts have been made to date the chapter, but they are largely unsatisfactory, because of the lack of chronological data.
No pattern of any kind appears in the chapter; and it seems to be a collection of various important declarations of this great prophet. It contains a variety of examples of prophetic preaching, specifically, an indictment of Judah's guilt (Jer.17:1-4), a psalm (Jer.17:5-8), two proverbs (Jer.17:9-10 and Jer. 17:11), a prayer (Jer. 17:12-13), another prayer (Jer.17:14-18), and a Sabbath proclamation (Jer.17:19-27).
In Chapter 17, God convicts the Jews of the sin of idolatry by the shameful evidence of the fact, and condemns them to captivity for it (v. 1-4). He shows them the folly of all their sensual self-assurances, which would not stand up when God's time came to deal with with them, and that this was one of the sins that His disagreement with them was grounded (v. 5-11). The prophet makes his appeal and pleads to the LORD because of the malice of his enemies against him, committing himself to the LORD’S protection, and his begging God to appear for Him (v. 12-18). The LORD, by the prophet, warns the people to keep the Sabbath day Holy, assuring them that, if they did, it would lengthen their peace, but if not, God would by some dreadful judgment, declare the honor of His Sabbaths (v. 19-27).
God Convicts the Jews of Idolatry
Condemning Them to Captivity for It (Jer. 17:1-4)
Jer. 17:1 The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars; (KJV)
The sense is: They are as passionate after idols as if their tendency was graven with an iron pen (Job 19:24) on their hearts, or as if it were sanctioned by a law inscribed with a point of a diamond on their altars. The names of their gods used to be written on the horns of the altars (Ac 17:23). Just as the phrase on their hearts refers to their inward tendency, so on the horns of your altars, reveals the outward display of it. Table of their heart . . . which God intended to be inscribed very differently, namely, with His Truths (Pro.3:3; 2 Cor.3:3). Israel's sins were deeply engraved into their hard hearts.
Some refer on the horns of their altars to their staining them with the blood of victims, in mocking of the Levitical rule (Ex.29:12 Lev.4:7, 18) or means that their sin was engraved on the horns of their altars.
*****There is much arguing about the true meaning of the words. It seems that what is meant by the point of a diamond, does not mean a diamond, but means tools which were used to engrave things upon very hard substances. It is graven upon the table of their heart . . . they are so accustomed to sin, so addicted to idolatry, that there is no hope of any reclaiming them. How can they, which are so accustomed to do evil, do well?
And upon the horns of your altars; nor is it a thing done in secret, but it is written, painted, or engraved on the horns of their altars. God's altar was foursquare, and at each corner there was a rising part made of brass, raised high, these were called the horns of the altar (Ex.27:2; Eze.43:15-16). Their sin is either said to be engraved or written on the horns of the altar, because the blood of the sacrifices which they offered to idols was sprinkled there, or because their altars had some inscription upon them, declaring to what idol that altar was consecrated, as the altar of Athens had (Acts 17:23).
Jer. 17:2 Whilst their children remember their altars and their groves by the green trees upon the high hills. (KJV)
This showed how chronic and confirmed they were in this sin of idolatry, that they taught it to their children, and their children remembered their idolatrous altars and the groves where they were went to worship idols by the green trees upon the high hills. Their sin was passed down from one age to another. Some think that this expresses their love of their idols, and think it should read, they loved their idols and their idolatrous services as much as they loved their children . . . which indeed was true . . . in fact, they loved their idols MORE than their children . . . for they that made their children pass through the fire to Baal and Molech (Lev.18:21; 2 Ki.16:3; 17:17; 21:6; 2 Chron.33:6; Eze.16:21; 20:31; 23:37). Jer. 32:35 And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin. (KJV)
*****Instead of forsaking the idolatries of their fathers, they kept them up (Jer.7:18), in spite of Josiah's reforms which sought and tried to destroy these objects. This is proof that their sin is graven upon the table of their heart, and was not temporary. Groves is where they worshipped images symbolizing the goddess Asherah, associated with fertility. Her symbol was either a wooden pole or a particularly pruned tree. Such poles or trees were frequently found in Canaanite religious sanctuaries and had been accepted by many in Israel. Their religious sanctuaries were often located in the tree-covered slopes of Canaan and Israel.
Jer. 17:3 O my mountain in the field, I will give thy substance and all thy treasures to the spoil, and thy high places for sin, throughout all thy borders. (KJV)
O my mountain in the field . . . O Mount Zion; for although Jerusalem stood in a plain, yet it was at the foot of a hill, and part of it was built upon the side of the hill, and on the top of it were hills. Judah was a country full of mountains. God calls it His mountain because of the special favor He had for this country. My mountain as a statement connected to the words that follow, speaking of Jerusalem which is about to be plundered by the Chaldeans. Thy high places . . . another reference to the forbidden sanctuaries. For sin . . . idolatry was the basic sin which would result in the destruction of the land.
Jer. 17:4 And thou, even thyself, shalt discontinue from thine heritage that I gave thee; and I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not: for ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn for ever. (KJV)
The meaning of the expression even thyself may mean through your own fault.
In the word discontinue, there is a secret Promise that they would come again and possess and inherit their land. They would not lose their inheritance, they would only discontinue to possess and occupy it for a time. Some think that discontinue is here used as it is used in: Ex. 23:11 But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard. (KJV) . . . in the Law concerning the Sabbatical rest, when they were to let the land rest, and lie still (Lev.26:34) . . . they think this Passage refers to that, and the meaning is, they would discontinue the ploughing and tilling the land; and go into their enemies' country, and serve them in a land of which thou hast no knowledge; because by their idolatry and other sins that had increased God’s wrath into such a fire, as shall burn for a long time, for so the word for ever is oft taken (Ex.21:6; Deut.15:17; Ps.89:1; Isa. 34:10).
Folly of Their Carnal Confidences,
One Reasons for God's Displeasure (Jer.17:5-11)
Jer. 17:5 Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. (KJV)
Cursed is the man that trusteth in man . . . although the beautiful contrast given here between the fate of the wicked man and the righteous man, applies to all generations, yet, it seems that those are correct who see in this warning a special message for Judah in the days of Jehoiachim, for when they were threatened with the Chaldean invasion, they were tempted to look to the king of Egypt for protection, instead of trusting God. This refers to the Jews' being inclined to rely on Egypt, in its fear of Assyria and Babylon (Isa.31:1, 3).
Trusteth in man . . . we can at times expect help from men, as long as God enables them to help us, but we must allow our faith and trust to rest in God alone (Ps. 62:5).
*****This may well be modeled after Psalm 1, applying the central motifs of blessing and curse, and the productive tree there, compared with a desert shrub of little value, here. Given this legacy, why would Israel ever look to a human source for deliverance from national crisis?
Cursed be the man that trusteth in man . . . this reveals their vain confidence in trusting in Egypt, which was too weak to help itself. An arm of flesh is put here for weak and useless support. And something else to remember, he who, in reference to the salvation of his soul, will trust in an arm of flesh, in himself or others, or in any thing he has done or suffered, will inherit NOT salvation of the soul, but a condemnation to Hell. Jn.3:17-18 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (KJV)
Jer. 17:6 For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. (KJV)
For he shall be like the heath in the desert . . some kind of desert shrub, possibly the juniper tree, also known as a tamarisk, found in the desert south of the Dead Sea, whose appearance is especially plain.
And shall not see when good cometh . . . even when rain comes, this specific tree is not changed into a productive, fruit bearing tree.
But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited . . . salt land, possibly the area around the Dead Sea is meant. A salt land, barren and unfit to be inhabited.
*****The sum of this is, they shall not thrive, nor prosper, but be like the heath, by which is meant some barren shrub or tree, about which the various guesses of interpreters are but uncertain, and this grown in the wilderness too, which is a barren soil, which tree or plant is never any better for all the rain that comes, nor from the beams of the sun; but stands in a dry and salt place, not inhabited by people. The idea is, to let us know that sinners who depart from God, and do not place their confidence and trust in Him in times of danger, but trust in creature aids and assistances, shall miss out on these very good things that they might have had if they had trusted Him in all things . . . for from God alone they could have been obtained.
Jer. 17:7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. (KJV)
Trusting in the LORD implies a close walk with Him and it means that your heart will NOT depart from Him. It is impossible to place confidence in any other for good things, no matter what that other has promised . . . without having some satisfaction in himself that he has in some way fulfilled the condition upon which the promise is made. But that man that truly trusts and hopes in the LORD is and shall be a blessed.
*****While the one who trusts man is cursed . . . in direct contrast, the one who trusts in the LORD is blessed, and is likened to a tree that is fruitful and lush. Ps. 1:3-4 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. (KJV)
Jer. 17:8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. (KJV)
For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters . . . he shall benefit and be successful in his counsels and accomplishments; like a tree planted by the side of a river, which is not affected with drought, but in a time when the leaves of trees standing in dry mountainous places parch and wither, its leaves stay green, and its color is not altered by drought, neither does it stop producing fruit, but brings forth much fruit when other trees are totally barren.
Jer. 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (KJV)
The words translated deceitful, and desperately wicked, are translated many ways, fraudulent, perverse, seizing. He speaks to the Jews, that they might not lean too much on their own counsels, notions or understandings; but it concerns the hearts of all the sons and daughters of men. There is nothing so false and deceitful as the heart of man; deceitful in its worries of things, in the hopes and promises which it nourishes, in the assurances that it gives us, which is unsearchable by others, deceitful with reference to ourselves, and dreadfully wicked, so that a man cannot know his own heart, neither can any other know our hearts.
*****These hypocrites may pretend that their hearts were not departed from God, or would ask, Who then can judge us if none knows the heart? Though no creature knows the heart of another, yet the LORD knows the hearts of ALL creatures, because He searches secret thoughts, counsels, and plans of all His creatures and He shall judge them according to their thoughts and the secret affections of their souls, according to all their ways, and the fruit of their doings. Dear one . . . NO one can mock God, and then tell Him that their hearts are not departed from Him.
I don’t know about you, but I simply cannot comprehend that the LORD knows the thoughts of all people . . . billions of people! I do not understand it . . . but I believe it!
Jer. 17:10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. (KJV)
I the LORD search the heart . . . the LORD’S apostles said of Him: Acts 1:24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, LORD, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, (KJV) . . . Only to Christ Jesus alone can this be applied; and it is from Him alone that we can derive that instruction by which we can in any measure know ourselves.
I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings . . . (Pro.24:12; Jer.21:14; 25:19; 32:19; Mat.17:27; 2 Cor.11:15; 2 Tim.1:9; 4:14; Rev.2:23; 20:12-13).
*****God alone understands the whole of man. He can see through the religious disguises, and rewards man accordingly.
Jer. 6:27 I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among my people, that thou mayest know and try their way. (KJV) . . . The LORD appointed Jeremiah to evaluate His people.
Jer. 11:20 But, O LORD of hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I revealed my cause. (KJV)
Jer. 17:11 As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool. (KJV)
As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not . . . this bird was probably a kore, different than our partridge, and is well-known by its ringing call-note, which in early morning echoes in the cliffs among the barren wilderness of Judea and the glens of the forest of Carmel.
So he that getteth riches, and not by right . . . the greedy man, who heaps up riches by unjust ways, is compared to a bird that hatches the eggs of other birds.
Shall leave them in the midst of his days . . . and as the young, when hatched, and are able to shift for themselves, abandon her who is not their mother, and leave her nothing to pay for her trouble, so too, the covetous man loses those unjustly-gotten treasures, and the fruit of his labor.
And at his end shall be a fool . . . shall be believed as such. He was a fool all the way through; he lost his soul to get wealth, and this wealth he never enjoyed. Ps.39:6 Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them. (KJV)
Jeremiah Appeals to God about the Malice of His Enemies against Him, Committing Himself to God’s Protection (Jer.17:12-18
Jer 17:12 A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary. (KJV)
A glorious high throne . . . these verses express Jeremiah's trustful faith in the LORD and His confidence that God's justice will be justified by the overthrow of the wicked and the reward of the righteous. Jeremiah’s mention of the glorious throne here may mean it is equal to the LORD who is enthroned in glory (Mat.19:28; Rev.5:13), or it may speak of the Jewish Temple as the seat of God's glory in Zion. From the beginning . . . the beginning of time, God's eternal habitation, which is also said to be high (lofty, in Heaven), has existed from the beginning. It was God’s glory that came to dwell with Israel in the tabernacle after the completion of the Sinaitic covenant. Ex.40:34-35 Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. (KJV)
Jer. 17:13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.
O LORD, the hope of Israel . . . the LORD, and He alone is the only One in Whom the TRUE Israel of God can have hope.
All they that forsake thee shall be ashamed . . . all those who forsake God’s Law, first or last will be ashamed of such their disobedience. Isa.1:28 And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the LORD shall be consumed. (KJV)
And they that depart from me shall be written in the earth . . . and those that depart from what from the LORD, as Jeremiah revealed to them as His will, shall have no portion beyond the Earth which they seem so fond of; and their names and memories shall vanish and perish, and be presently destroyed, like words written in dust.
Because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters . . . because they have forsaken the LORD, Who is the One and Only Comfort and Relief of any people, the Only Fountain and Originator of all the good anyone can hope for.
*****In Jer.15:18, Jeremiah accused God of being a deceitful brook. For this he was promptly rebuked and urged to repent of such foolish thinking (Jer.15:19). Here, his statement that God was the Fountain of Living Water, shows that he did change his attitude toward God. He now declares that God alone is the Hope of Israel. It is God who had been forsaken. But so was Jeremiah who represented God. Written in the earth . . . committed to oblivion and enrolled in Hell. ALL who forsake and reject the LORD, write their own death sentence. Written in the earth, their names shall be written in the dust; and the first wind that blows over it shall mar every letter, and render it illegible. Dear one, your name must be written in the book of Life, or you shall never see the glory of Heaven!
Rev. 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (KJV)
Rev. 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (KJV)
Rev. 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life. (KJV)
Jer. 17:14 Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise. (KJV)
This seems to be the prophet speaking these words to the LORD for himself; representing himself to God as a person wounded or sick, and with his sense of God's being disgraced by the sins of the people, or with their criticisms or threats, and begged the LORD to heal him, knowing that it was God’s Hand alone that had the power to heal him, and that He certainly could do it. For thou art my praise, it was only in the LORD alone that Jeremiah had reason to praise the mercies already received, to whom alone he owed all his good things. All the glory of the work of salvation belongs to the LORD alone.
*****The pain that Jeremiah experienced because of his mission, he thought to be incurable (Jer.15:18), he now asks God to heal. His change of perception has brought him back to his senses, and he knows that only the LORD can restore his emotional, mental, and spiritual wounds. Thou art my praise, and my Hope. He should be for us too!
Jer. 17:15 Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of the LORD? let it come now. (KJV)
They say unto me, Where is the word of the LORD? . . . scoffing at him, as if Jeremiah had threatened them in God’s Name without any command from Him, such as the scoffers mentioned by Peter (2 Pet.3:4), and said, Where is the promise of his coming? This has always been the practice of all wicked men hardened in their sinful courses, and determined to go on, to put the evil day far from them, and to scoff at all condemnations of God's judgments.
Isa. 5:19 That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it! Let it come now; daring the vengeance of God, and challenging God to damn them, or to execute the vengeance with which he threateneth them. (KJV)
Am. 5:18 Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light. (KJV)
*****Where is the word of the Lord? Where is the success of His threats? Jeremiah had said that the city and the Temple would both be destroyed. That has not happened! But those things did take place, and every speck of the threat was strictly fulfilled, to the letter. This is the same kind of questions that are characteristic of the last stage of apostasy in today’s wicked world. 2 Pet.3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. (KJV)
Jer. 17:16 As for me, I have not hastened from being a pastor to follow thee: neither have I desired the woeful day; thou knowest: that which came out of my lips was right before thee. (KJV)
I have not hastened from being a pastor to follow thee . . . the words contain the prophet's appeal to God because of some reproaches cast upon him by these wicked people, as if he had heaved himself into the prophetical office. The sense seemed to be: LORD! I did not seek the office of a prophet, but when You called me to it, I did not fail to be a pastor for You.
Neither have I desired the woeful day; thou knowest . . .neither did I want to be a prophet of these sad reports, with all those woeful miseries which You have made me Your messenger to foretell.
That which came out of my lips was right before thee . . . I have spoken nothing but what was right in Your sight, being what You commanded me to deliver as from You, and so I know I was right in Your Eyes.
*****Jeremiah declares his innocence from any responsibility in the judgment that would come upon Judah. He had simply brought God's Word . . . the message of doom did not originate with him. Jeremiah has simply acted at God's instruction despite his personal suffering. Jeremiah had never wished for any disaster. God who knows the heart (Jer.17:10), can verify Jeremiah's sincerity. And so I know I was right in Your Eyes . . . this may refer to God's statement in verse 19, that if Jeremiah spoke what was precious (God's Word), then he would stand before God to be God's minister.
Jer. 17:17 Be not a terror unto me: thou art my hope in the day of evil. (KJV)
Be not a terror unto me . . . do not command me to predict these miseries, and then abandon me to them and to my enemies. Jeremiah pleads with God to be his Refuge, because he has absolutely no human source of protection. All the other prophets, priests and royalty around him certainly did not stand with him.
Jer. 17:18 Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction. (KJV)
Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded . . . the words of this lament are similar to those found in Psalms 17 and 25.
Destroy them with double destruction . . . Jer.16:18 And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double; because they have defiled my land, they have filled mine inheritance with the carcases of their detestable and abominable things. (KJV)
Zec. 9:12 Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee; (KJV)
Rev. 18:6 Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. (KJV)
*****Jer.17:14-18. This prayer of the prophet was for deliverance from the enemies whom he agitated by his faithful condemnations from the LORD.
Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, not only make me whole, as to the evils of soul as well as body to which I am exposed to by contact with ungodly foes, and keep me so.
And I shall be saved: for thou art my praise, the LORD was the praise, glory and hope of Jeremiah, Whom he had often praised for past favors, and so it was to Him alone to Whom the prophet would look for in the times to come. May we all be this wise!
Thou art my hope in the day of evil, the evil that is to come, with abundant destruction.
Jer. 11:20 But, O LORD of hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I revealed my cause. (KJV)
Is it wrong to plead for God’s vengeance on our enemies? The prophets did! It is much better that for us to try to get revenge on them. God does a better job that we could ever do. Let it rest with Him! Rom. 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. (KJV)
God, by the Prophet, Warns the People to Keep Holy the Sabbath Day (Jer.17:19-27)
While observing the Sabbath Day was clearly a problem, it should be noted that lawful obedience to the Sabbath is not the concern shown here. Instead, the LORD points to one of the Ten Commandments to illustrate how Judah has failed to uphold the covenant.
Jer. 17:19 Thus said the LORD unto me; Go and stand in the gate of the children of the people, whereby the kings of Judah come in, and by the which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem; (KJV)
Go and stand in the gate of the children of the people . . . the name of this gate is a problem. Some think it was the Benjamin Gate, located on the northern wall, facing Benjamin's territory. This gate is mentioned elsewhere in this book (Jer.37:13; 38:13).
The gate of the children of the people may mean the most public gate; that through which there was the greatest traffic. But, no gate was to be exempt from Jeremiah's preaching, not even the gate used by the kings of Judah. So, the gate in question, would be an entry to the Temple area used by the congregation, which included the royal family, as compared with a gate used by the priests and Levites. This gate would be a place where the prophet would very easily attract a crowd.
Jer. 17:20 And say unto them, Hear ye the word of the LORD, ye kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that enter in by these gates: (KJV)
The Word of the LORD concerned the highest and the lowest, the greatest princes as well as the poorest subjects equally, and it still does today.
Jer. 17:21 Thus saith the LORD; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; (KJV)
Take heed to yourselves . . . the Hebrew is, Take heed to your souls, indicating to us that the sanctification of the Sabbath is a great thing, in which the welfare of our souls is concerned. Gen. 2:3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. (KJV) . . . It is a day chosen as a day when work was to be halted, a command from Creation.
Jer. 17:22 Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers. (KJV)
This command for the sanctification of the Sabbath was given in: Ex. 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. (KJV) . . . this command is repeated in the following: (Ex.23:12; 31:14-15; Lev.19:3; 23:3; Deut. 5:12, 15; Eze.20:12). The bearing of burdens forbidden, such as was for profit; for in some cases it was lawful to carry burdens for the saving the lives of men or beasts, and some say it justified the poor sick man carrying his bed when he was cured, not only from the command of Christ Jesus alone, who could authorize him to do it, but because he had no further occasion himself to be there, and was not obliged by the law of the Sabbath to leave his bed behind him, himself going away . . . but no unnecessary burdens, no trading burdens, might on the Sabbath Day be either carried out of the gates of the city, or out of the gates of any of their private houses.
Jer. 17:23 But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction. (KJV)
They . . . the wilderness generation. The Jews were a very covetous people, and their greed as well as their other lusts were temptations to them to profane the LORD'S Sabbaths (Neh.13:19).
*****Jer.17:19-23. The people who lived in the fields surrounding Jerusalem and worked the fields during the week selected the Sabbath as the day to bring their produce into the city, and the people of the city brought stores of goods and materials out of their houses to exchange for the produce, contrary to the express commandment of God through Moses. All through the Book of Jeremiah, the conditional nature of prophecies of doom is continually stressed, a fact that will receive special attention in the next chapter, where all the prophecies, whether of blessing or condemnation, are revealed as absolutely conditional. Jeremiah made it very clear that the people of Judah held their destiny in their own hands . . . just as we do today. God tells us that He has NOT changed! (Mal.3:6). He hates sin, and unless we realize this and repent, judgment looms! BEWARE!!!
Jer. 17:24 And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the LORD, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein; (KJV)
What an amazing Promise this is! But . . . there is a condition! IF, only IF, Judah had heeded the Word of God and had turned to Him with their whole hearts (Jer.3:10; 24:7; Mk.12:33), in full obedience, God would, even at that late date, have turned aside all dangers and established Jerusalem forever! But . . . such repentance and return to the LORD, Judah stubbornly refused to do.
Instead, because of the people's continued rejection of their TRUE God, and their persistency in idolatry, God would punish and destroy Israel. Their sin lay on their door step. How fully were they warned; and how stupidly they rejected the counsel of God.
*****Sabbath observance is stated to be necessary for the preservation of the Jewish nation and the Davidic dynasty. But Sabbath observance alone would not guarantee their salvation. To reject the Law in just one point is to reject the whole Law! Jam. 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (KJV) . . . The people of Judah had broken the law in many points!
Jer. 17:25 Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon 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 city shall remain for ever. (KJV)
Kings . . . in chariots . . . this refers to the continuation of the Davidic Kingship, but this depended on the obedience to the Sinaitic covenant. 1 Ki. 9:4-9 And if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments: 5 Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel. 6 But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them: 7 Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people:
8 And at this house, which is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss; and they shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and to this house? 9 And they shall answer, Because they forsook the LORD their God, who brought forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have taken hold upon other gods, and have worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath the LORD brought upon them all this evil. (KJV)
Jer. 17:26 And they shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the places about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the plain, and from the mountains, and from the south, bringing burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and meat offerings, and incense, and bringing sacrifices of praise, unto the house of the LORD. (KJV)
Not only would the kingship endure, but the blessings of the covenant would be obvious in the fertility of the land. Offerings representing these material blessings would then be brought to Jerusalem from the land of Benjamin, and from the plain, the fertile region between the Mediterranean coast and the central hill country, and from the mountains and from the south, the Negev or Negeb, the dry part of southern Israel that is not fertile.
*****Jer.17:24-26. The sum of these three verses is, that if they would sanctify the LORD'S Sabbath, they would either continue in, or be restored to, their ancient, civil, and ecclesiastical order, and they would have kings and princes in their former order and splendor, and men would come from all parts of the country bringing their usual sacrifices and offerings to the Temple. The general sense of this is that both their city and their Temple, their civil and ecclesiastical state, would continue and flourish in that order wherein it was . . . IF Judah heeded the Word of God and turned to Him with their whole hearts.
Jer. 17:27 But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched. (KJV)
This is a threat quite opposite to the former Promise, upon their acting contrary to the duty (condition) to which that Promise was annexed. God would destroy their city; it should be burned with fire, and the highest and most noble structures would be burned; and even though the hand of the enemy would do this . . . it was the LORD Who would command them to do it! So since it would be a fire of God’s kindling, therefore it is not likely to be quenched until it had done all which God had so kindled it.
Then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof . . . refusal to obey God's Sabbath command will lead to a curse, the violent destruction of Jerusalem. Their sin is what brought their punishment. A lesson here for us as well. Sin always brings punishment! BEWARE!!!
*****In spite of the prominence of the Sabbath regulation here, one gets the impression that the Fourth Commandment stands here as the whole Mosaic Law . . . because to reject the Law in just one point is to reject the whole Law! Jam. 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (KJV) . . . The people of Judah had broken the law in many points!
James is not saying that if you break one commandment, you have broken them all. What he is saying is, that IF you break just one, you are guilty of breaking the commandments NO matter which one you broke. The best way I can explain this is, the law is like a chain. Each law is a link in that chain. If one link of the chain is broken, the whole chain is broken.
And yet offend in one point . . . sin is what offends! Sin is a transgression of the law. It is an offense to God the Father, who is SO pure that He cannot look on it. It is a transgression to Christ Jesus, who loves righteousness and hates iniquity. It is a transgression to the Holy Spirit who is displeased and grieved by it (Eph.4:30). It is a transgression to the justice of God, which being injured by it, demands satisfaction. And it is a transgression to the Law of God, which accuses, rebukes and condemns it.
He is guilty of all . . . WHY? Because just one sin is enough to damn the soul (Gen.2:17; Rom.5:12-21). The obligation to the Law is total (Deut.27:26; Gal.3:10). This applies to all laws that have the death penalty (Rom.1:32; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Gal.5:19-21). One is guilty of Law breaking whether he breaks one or many laws (vs.11). Almighty God, which gave one commandment gave them all, and anyone who resists Him by breaking one law is guilty of the whole. . . . We all stand before God as lawbreakers. (Rom.3:10, 23).
All through the Book of Jeremiah the conditional nature of prophecies of doom is continually stressed, a fact that will receive special attention in the next chapter, where all prophecies, whether of blessing or condemnation, are revealed as absolutely conditional. Jeremiah made it quite clear that the people of Judah held their destiny in their own hands, just as we do!
Book of Jeremiah
Jer.Ch.1 . . Jer.Ch.2 . . Jer.Ch.3 . . Jer.Ch.4 . . Jer.Ch.5 . . Jer.Ch.6 . . Jer.Ch.7 . . Jer.Ch.8 . . Jer.Ch.9 . . Jer.Ch.10 . . Jer.Ch.11 . . Jer.Ch.12 . . Jer.Ch.13 . . Jer.Ch,14 . . Jer.Ch.15 . . Jer.Ch.16 . . Jer.Ch.17 . . Jer.Ch.18 . . Jer.Ch.19 . . Jer.Ch.20 . . Jer.Ch.21 . . Ch.22 . . Ch.23 . . Ch.24 . . Ch.25 . . Ch.26 . . Ch.27 . . Ch.28 . . Ch.29 . . Ch.30 . . Ch.31 . . Ch.32 . . Ch.33 . . Ch.34 . . Ch.35 . . Ch.36 . . Ch.37 . . Ch.38 . . Ch.39 . . Ch.40 . . Ch.41 . . Ch.42 . . Ch.43 . . Ch.44 . . Ch.45 . Ch.46 . . Ch.47 . . Ch.48 . . Ch.49 . . Ch. 50 . . Ch.51 . . Ch.52 . . Jer. End Times Signs . . Jer. Special Commemnts . . . Home Page