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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Jeremiah 17

 

 

Verses 1-18

Jeremiah 16:1 to Jeremiah 17:18. The Coming Distress a Penalty for Sin.—The prophet is forbidden to found a family, because of the coming sorrows (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:29 ff.), in which death will be too common even for due mourning and burial. He is to stand aloof from the ordinary expressions of grief (Jeremiah 16:5-7) or social joy (Jeremiah 16:8 f.; cf. Jeremiah 7:34), as a sign that Yahweh will make both to cease in the universal disaster. The reason for this great suffering is the sin of disloyalty to Yahweh, who will fling out His people (like a javelin, 1 Samuel 20:33) to a land of other gods (Jeremiah 16:13; cf. 1 Samuel 26:19). The two following verses (Jeremiah 16:14 f.), which promise a future restoration, are inserted from Jeremiah 23:7 f., and interrupt the present context. The "fishers" and the "hunters" whom Yahweh will send, to net in shoals or hunt down singly, are Judah's invaders, from whom there is no escape. The heavy penalty ("double" as in Isaiah 40:2) has been provoked by the peculiar insult to Yahweh of the sin of idolatry (Jeremiah 16:18). The prophet breaks off to anticipate the day when Yahweh shall be known by all the peoples, who will abandon their no-gods (Jeremiah 16:19-21). Judah's sin is ineffaceably written on her heart; the projections at the corner of their (mg.) altars (Exodus 27:2) bear the blood of heathen sacrifice; therefore shall Judah be spoiled and her people become exiles (Jeremiah 17:1-4). The rest of this section (Jeremiah 17:5-18) is an editorial collection of more or less disconnected sayings, probably by Jeremiah. The fine contrast in Jeremiah 17:5-8 is probably the source of Psalms 13 f. The confession of inner weakness in Jeremiah 17:9 may belong to the prophet's prayer for healing in Jeremiah 17:14 ff. (with Jeremiah 17:10 cf. Jeremiah 11:20, Jeremiah 32:19). Jeremiah 17:11 is a proverb based on the alleged habits of the partridge, the point being that the adopted brood at last forsakes its pretended mother. Unbroken confidence in Yahweh is expressed in Jeremiah 17:12 f., and the prophet prays that he be not forsaken in his prophetic task; he disclaims any malicious joy in his prophecies of evil, but asks to be justified (Jeremiah 17:14-18).

Jeremiah 16:5. On mourning the dead, see p. 110, HDB, "Mourning", EBi., "Mourning Customs", and cf. Jeremiah 41:5, Jeremiah 47:5, Deuteronomy 14:1, etc.

Jeremiah 16:13. For such tacit recognition of heathen deities, combined with practical monotheism, see the contemporary Deuteronomy 6:4; Deuteronomy 6:14.

Jeremiah 16:18. carcases: a term of contempt for idols; omit "first" with LXX.

Jeremiah 17:1. pen of iron: i.e. an iron instrument used for carving on rock; cf. Job 19:24.

Jeremiah 17:2. whilst . . . Asherim: probably a gloss, after which we should proceed, "upon the spreading (green) trees, upon the high hills, the mountain in the field." As it stands, the last phrase must be taken as a title of Jerusalem (but see on Jeremiah 21:13).

Jeremiah 17:3 f.: partly found as an insertion, Jeremiah 15:13 f.

Jeremiah 17:4. thou . . . discontinue is not the Hebrew; a slight emendation gives, "Thou shalt let thy hand fall".

Jeremiah 17:6. heath: supposed to be the dwarf juniper tree.

Jeremiah 17:11. fool: denoting moral rather than intellectual inferiority.

Jeremiah 17:12, hardly likely to be Jeremiah's, refers to the Temple.

Jeremiah 17:13. written in earth: i.e. transient, in contrast with what is carved on rock.—living waters: Jeremiah 2:13.

Jeremiah 17:15. cf. Isaiah 5:19.

Jeremiah 16:16. A slight vowel change (with some VSS) would turn "from being a shepherd" into "because of evil", a parallel to the following clause.


Verses 19-27

Jeremiah 17:19-27. The Sabbath Day.—The general tone and emphasis of this paragraph, which makes a particular ceremonial ordinance the condition of permanent survival, relate it rather to the period of Nehemiah 13:15-22 than to that of Jeremiah. The prophecy is uttered "in the gate" (Jeremiah 7:2), because of the Sabbath traffic through it; nothing is known of this particular gate. In Jeremiah 17:21 and Jeremiah 17:25 read as mg.; omit "and princes" in Jeremiah 17:25. Jeremiah 17:26 designates the districts around the small post-exilic community, viz. the "lowland" or Shephelah, towards Philistia, the hill-country around Hebron, and the "south," the country S. of Judah (pp. 31f.). For the burnt-offering, and "sacrifice" (i.e peace-offering) see Exodus 20:24; for the meal-offering (mg.), Leviticus 2:1 ff.; for the frankincense, Jeremiah 6:20; for the thanksgiving offering, Leviticus 7:12. Jeremiah 17:27 b is drawn from the refrain of Amos 1:3; Amos 2:5; cf. Jeremiah 21:14; Jeremiah 49:27; Jeremiah 50:32.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Jeremiah 17:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/jeremiah-17.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, September 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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