Notes on Jeremiah 17

That which made Judah guilty is imprinted on the heart in such a way that it is not a mere curiosity, but an indelible mark of willful rebellion. You will recall when Israel came from Egypt to the mountain the Lord chose, it was there that the Lord inscribed in stone the Ten Commandments. Don’t miss the significance of the contrast (17:1-4). Just as there is a contrast with regard to what is imprinted on the heart, there is a contrast between the one who leans on man for wisdom and guidance and the one who leans on the Lord (17:5-8). These first eight verses illustrate well the point of verses nine and ten with regard to what role the heart plays in the life of man (17:9-10). The one who gains in an ill-gotten manner will soon experience what he hopes has fled his presence. Judah tried to gain much in the way of provisions, but they did so in an ill-gotten way (17:11-13). But the audacity of the people spoke of that which they understand not; Jeremiah, however, understood it very well (17:14-18)! The first eighteen verses are in poetry form, but the remainder of the chapter is in prose. One man described it as a mini-sermon that Jeremiah was to preach in the temple complex. It seems that a clear separation in message and, perhaps, time is occurring. The Lord told Jeremiah to impress on the inhabitants the significance of the Sabbath as given by Moses to the people even before the events on Mt Sinai, but especially since then (17:19-29). If the people would pay particular attention, then the Lord would grant a reprieve; unfortunately, as did their fathers (17:23), so the people that lived during Jeremiah’s day did the same.