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the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 17

Gray's Concise Bible CommentaryGray's Concise Commentary

Verses 1-27


God told the prophet worse was to come. The Swelling of Jordan would be experienced later, and in the present lesson, especially towards the close, we have an illustration of it.

There are things of interest to look at in the meantime, for example, an illustration of that symbolic teaching mentioned earlier.

In chapter 13 we have what two symbols? See Jeremiah 13:1-11 for the first and Jeremiah 13:12-14 for the second. The prophet acted these out before the people just as he was told. The significance of the first is apparent, the second means that the destruction of Jerusalem would be brought about by her own conduct. The evils in her would cause her to be filled with a rebellious spirit as with drunkenness. “Mutual self-seeking and distrust would produce a condition where God could not pity.”

Look at the prophet from the point of view of intercessor (chaps. 14-15), nothing more affecting in the same line being found anywhere in the Bible. Note the occasion (Jeremiah 14:1-6 ); the first supplication (Jeremiah 14:7-9 ); the divine reply (Jeremiah 14:10-12 ); the renewal of the prayer and the excuse for Judah that is pleaded (Jeremiah 14:13 ); God’s answer (Jeremiah 14:14-18 ); the prophet’s pleading and confession (Jeremiah 14:19-22 ); his final rejection (Jeremiah 15:1-9 ). See the personal lament and inquiry that follow (Jeremiah 15:10-18 ), and God’s comfort and instruction to him (Jeremiah 15:19-20 ).

Chapter 16 has a peculiar interest as carrying out 1 Corinthians 7:32-33 . The prophet’s life must be an independent and separated one. He must be a celibate, and shun all social amusements (Jeremiah 16:1-9 ). His attitude in these matters would be symbolic and give him further opportunity to instruct and warn the people (Jeremiah 16:17 , and the following).

Another symbol in chapters 18-19, and a lesson about the divine sovereignty. Judah was a vessel marred in the making, not through want of skill on the potter’s part, but because of resisting elements in the clay. It is to be broken that a better vessel may be made.

It is the use the prophet makes of this earthen vessel that brings on him the suffering recorded in the next chapter. Read chapters 19 and 20 together. He is in the swelling of Jordan now (Jeremiah 20:1-2 ; compare Luke 20:2 ). See how he meets his enemy and God’s in the next verses (Jeremiah 20:3-6 ), remembering as he does, the divine warning not to be “dismayed at their faces” (chap. 1). But when the crisis is past and he is in his own chamber, how discouraged he appears (Jeremiah 20:7-10 ). He complains that God had coerced him into this ministry. He would turn his back upon it if he could, but God will not permit him. He is between two fires, persecution without and the Holy Ghost within, and the latter being the hotter fire of the two he is compelled to the work again.

In other words God gains the victory in him (Jeremiah 20:11-13 ), and he is at length able to sing praises to His holy name.


1. From what chapter and verse is the title of this lesson quoted?

2. Name the two symbols in chapter 13.

3. What does the second mean?

4. What was the occasion of the prophet’s intercession?

5. What two earlier servants does God name as having great power in prayer?

6. What is the general theme of 1 Corinthians 7:0 ?

7. What great doctrine is illustrated in the symbol of chapter 18?

8. Tell the story of the prophet’s experience in chapter 20.

Bibliographical Information
Gray, James. "Commentary on Jeremiah 17". Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jgc/jeremiah-17.html. 1897-1910.
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