Jeremiah 17

Chapter 17

Judah Punished for Its Idolatry

1 [a]The sin of Judah is written
with an iron stylus,
engraved with a diamond point
on the tablet of their hearts
and on the horns of their altars,
2 while their children remember
their altars and their sacred poles
beside every green tree
and on the high hills,
3 the mountains in the open country.
Your wealth and all your treasures
I will hand over as spoil
in repayment for all your sins
throughout your territory.
4 You will be forced to surrender your heritage
which I gave to you.
I will require you to serve your enemies
in a land you do not know,
for my fiery anger has been kindled by you,
and it will burn forever.

Wisdom Sayings

5 Thus says the Lord:
Cursed is anyone who places his trust in human beings
and relies on human strength
while his heart turns away from the Lord.
6 Such a person is like a shrub in the desert;
when relief comes, he will not be aware of it.
He will continue to live
in the parched areas of the desert,
in an uninhabited salt land.
7 Blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and whose hope is the Lord.
8 They will be like a tree planted by the water
that spreads out its roots to the stream.
When the heat comes, it does not fear;
its leaves stay green.
It is not concerned in a year of drought,
and it never fails to bear fruit.
9 The heart is more deceitful than any other thing,
and it is also perverse.
Who can uncover its secrets?
10 I, the Lord, search the heart
and probe the mind
to reward all according to their conduct
and as their deeds deserve.
11 Like a partridge[b] hatching eggs that it has not laid,
so is the man who amasses riches unjustly.
When his life is half completed,
they will desert him;
and when his life is at an end,
he will prove to have been a fool.

Israel’s True Hope

12 A glorious throne, exalted from the beginning:
such is the shrine of our sanctuary.
13 O Lord, you are the hope of Israel;
all those who abandon you will be put to shame.
Those who turn away from you
will have their names inscribed in the netherworld
because they have forsaken the Lord,
the source of living water.

Prayer for Vengeance

14 Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed;
save me, and I will be saved;
you are the one whom I praise.
15 People continue to say to me,
“Where is the word of the Lord?
Let it come to pass.”
16 I have never tried to avoid
being a shepherd in your service,
nor have I desired the clay of despair.
Every word that passed my lips
has always been known to you.
17 Do not become a source of terror to me;
you will be my refuge on the day of disaster.
18 Let my persecutors be confounded, and not me;
let them, not me, be terrified.
Bring upon them the day of disaster;
crush them with unending destruction.

19 The Sabbath Observed.[c] Thus said the Lord to me: Go forth and stand at the Gate of Benjamin[d] through which the kings of Judah enter and depart, and stand also at all the other gates of Jerusalem. 20 There you are to say to them: Hear the word of the Lord, you kings of Judah, all you people of Judah as well, and all you inhabitants of Jerusalem who pass through these gates.

21 Thus says the Lord: If you value your lives, take care that you do not carry a burden on the Sabbath day or bring it through the gates of Jerusalem. 22 Bring no burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, and do no work. You are to keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your ancestors. 23 However, they did not listen or pay attention; rather, they stiffened their necks and would not heed my warnings or accept instruction.

24 But if you listen carefully to me, says the Lord, and carry no burden through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, keeping the Sabbath holy and doing no work on that day, 25 then kings will come through the gates of this city, kings who will sit on the throne of David. They will come riding in chariots or on horseback, escorted by their officials, the people of Judah, and the citizens of Jerusalem. This city will be inhabited forever.

26 People will come from the towns of Judah and the villages around Jerusalem, from the territory of Benjamin and the foothills, from the hill country and the Negeb, to bring holocausts and sacrifices, grain offerings and incense and thank offerings, to the house of the Lord. 27 However, if you do not listen to my commands to keep the Sabbath day holy and to carry no burden through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will set fire to the gates, an unquenchable fire that will consume the palaces of Jerusalem.


  1. Jeremiah 17:1 According to Jeremiah, a prophet of the interior life, relations with God are formed in the human heart; so too the source of sin is in the heart.
  2. Jeremiah 17:11 The partridge that hatches the eggs of another bird will see itself abandoned by these chicks.
  3. Jeremiah 17:19 This vehement defense of the law concerning the Sabbath rest is not in Jeremiah’s style. The passage must therefore have been introduced after the Exile. The same idea is found in Neh 13:15-22: the happy or unhappy future of the nation depends on fidelity to this observance.
  4. Jeremiah 17:19 Gate of Benjamin: (Jer 37:13; 38:7), this was the most used gate; it faced north toward the lands of the tribe of Benjamin. One gate of the temple had the same name (Jer 20:2).

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