Devotional Commentary on Jeremiah 17


Jeremiah dealt with the sin of Judah identified as worshiping Asherim by green trees on small hills (verse 2). “Is it possible that what the prophets and Jeremiah 17 here predicted and described is reflected at the site of Kuntillet cAjrud? Egypt connected (Bes) migrating (caravanserai) “his Asherah” (cultic deviation and Asherim connections) at green trees (wood radiocarbon dating of Tamarisk trees that can become 150 years old), Greek migrants of the Attic figures on black vase depicting the hanging figure on the tail of he cow (comparing to the cow of the site with an 8 at the tail but dated to 630-520 BCE, museum date is 520 BCE) Lachish III pottery that is dated by Holladay et al as in the time of Nebuchadnezzar, textiles (see textiles at the site), meals mentioned by the prophets for the gods (furniture), harlot business enterprises (fashion parades on pottery and wall paintings), Samaria and Teman also involved (Samaria and Teman in the inscriptions).”


To those who ran after useless entertainment and lust fulfilling practices and passion exhibitionism in Jeremiah’s day, “I [God] will give your substance, all your treasures for a spoil” (verse 3). And us? Why would it happen only to them and not to us with our cities of many lights and nightlives? “Your high places are made for sin within all your borders”. Is there any nightlife entertainment that is not appealing to passions and desires that will target one or another kind of sin? What about shortterm targets and longterm targets. Family entertainment that build into their mental capacity the will and desire to sin in future if they are just older or given the chance to do so?


As punishment they will serve their enemies in the land they did not know (verse 4).


Jeremiah then interpreted Psalm 1. He said that a person who trust in a human and makes a human his arm for support and whose heart is turned away from the Lord, cursed is that person. What will happen to him? “He shall be like a lone tree in the plain and will not see when good comes” (verse 6). The soil will be desert, it will be salt-sodden soil and uninhabitable (verse 6).


In contrast to the cursed person is the blessed person who trusts in the Lord, the Lord shall be his trust. What a blessed circle: he trusts and the Lord is his trust. His location is not the desert but he shall be like a tree that is planted by water and by a rivulet and it spread roots where there is no heat and its leaves shall be green, and in the year of drought it will not be anxious and not shall it seize from bearing fruit.


The heart is deceitful above all things and when it is sick who will recognize it? (verse 9). The one Who search the heart is the Lord. He tests the kidneys. He given everyone according to their ways, according to the fruit of their deeds (verses 9-10). Heppenstall said in Christ our High Priest that we may not be saved by works but we will be judged by it.


The cuckoo calls on eggs it did not lay, so it is with someone who with Robinhoodism steals property and riches from rich people to give it to the poor. Steal is steal regardless of the rationalization. What is their punishment from the Lord? He shall leave them in the midst of their days, and at the end of their days they stand dishonored (verse 11). They may not live long and furthermore, some dishonoring will take place with them. Spoilation of land due to anti-colonialism pushdrives without proper compensation is regarded by the Lord as theft.


“The Throne of Glory, exalted from the beginning, is the place of our Sanctuary” (Verse 12). The Throne of God in heaven is exalted from the Beginning of the world before Creation even, the place of our Sanctuary. There is a synonymous parallelism here in that the throne of God is also our Sanctuary. Since that throne is in heaven, we have a heavenly sanctuary here in Jeremiah 17:12. There are interpreters of suspicion of the Cottrell, Ford et al types that insisted that there is not a sanctuary in heaven. Let Jeremiah speak.


The source of all hopes is the Lord and they who turn away from this source “shall be marked out on the earth” why? Because they have forsaken the Lord who is the source of living waters (verse 13).


Jeremiah felt very sick. He prayed that the Lord will heal him and help him (verse 14).


Mockers came to Jeremiah and asked “where is the word of the Lord? Let it come now” (verse 15). But even though they were mocking Jeremiah did not run away since he considered himself the “shepherd after You” (verse 16). He said that he did not wish eschatology of hell should come when they are not ready.


Jeremiah needed the Lord’s protection (verse 17). He prayed that he will not be ashamed or broken but that his pursuers will be ashamed and broken (verse 18). Then Jeremiah said: “bring upon them a day of evil [at the Second Coming when evil will say, that mountains should cover them from the aweful glory of God] and with a second destruction [Hell after the Millennium] destroy them”.


In the next section Jeremiah got a message about Sabbath sanctity. God’s holy day is very special to Him. Jeremiah was to stand in the gate where the kings pass by (verse 19). Anyone who comes into the gates were to listen (verse 20). They cannot 2424 on Sabbath which is the Korean number for the moving trucks to move people’s property and furniture out of their houses to their other house (verse 21). My wife and I attended a church where the churchboard decided in our absence to 2424 one of the deacons furniture for her on the Sabbath onto a truck bound for the city! One cannot truckload stuff on Sabbath either. One should not perform any labor “and you shall hallow the Sabbath day as I commanded your forefathers” (verse 22). They did not listen but harded their hearts (verse 23). They did not want to listen and did not want to be instructed about it.


The opposite is a blessing: if they do not do these things but sanctify the Sabbath day and do no labor on that day then shall city kings and princes come in and chariots and horses “and this city shall be inhabited forever” (verse 25). Can earthly things become heavenly things? No. Christ will create the earth anew after the Hell event and then the New Jerusalem rests on this earth and at that city shall be inhabited forever. They will come from everywhere and bring all kinds of offerings (verse 26).


If they do not hallow the Sabbath “I will kindle a fire [of Hell after the Second Coming following a millennium] in her gates and it will consume the palaces of Jerusalem and it will not be quenched [by humans trying to stop fire, not in the sense of burning forever or eternal hell].


Dear God

We want to keep the sanctity of the Sabbath not to cook on this holy day but to prepare our food on Friday in advance of Your holy day. Little detail, small aspect but great implications for us in relation to You. Thank you for Your Sabbath blessings. Amen