Jeremiah 17 – “Petition for Divine Justice; Sabbath Prophecy”

An Afghan carries a sack of coal on his back outside KabulHebrew-English Text

I. Summary

Jeremiah affirms that Yahweh carries out justice and asks for justice to be dealt. He then calls upon the people to observe the Sabbath day.

II. Photo

The Sabbath must be observed: “Thus said the Lord: Guard yourselves for your own sake against carrying burdens on the sabbath day, and bringing them through the gates of Jerusalem.” (v. 21)

III. Select Verses

5-8: Thus said the LORD: Cursed is he who trusts in man, Who makes mere flesh his strength, And turns his thoughts from the LORD. He shall be like a bush in the desert, Which does not sense the coming of good: It is set in the scorched places of the wilderness, In a barren land without inhabitant. Blessed is he who trusts in the LORD, Whose trust is the LORD alone. He shall be like a tree planted by waters, Sending forth its roots by a stream: It does not sense the coming of heat, Its leaves are ever fresh; It has no care in a year of drought, It does not cease to yield fruit.

11:  Like a partridge hatching what she did not lay, So is one who amasses wealth by unjust means; In the middle of his life it will leave him, And in the end he will be proved a fool.

15-16: See, they say to me: “Where is the prediction of the LORD? Let it come to pass!”  But I have not evaded Being a shepherd in your service, Nor have I longed for the fatal day. You know the utterances of my lips, They were ever before You.

21-22: Thus said the LORD: Guard yourselves for your own sake against carrying burdens on the sabbath day, and bringing them through the gates of Jerusalem. Nor shall you carry out burdens from your houses on the sabbath day, or do any work, but you shall hallow the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.

24-27: If you obey Me — declares the LORD — and do not bring in burdens through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day and do no work on it,  then through the gates of this city shall enter kings who sit upon the throne of David, with their officers — riding on chariots and horses, they and their officers — and the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And this city shall be inhabited for all time. And people shall come from the towns of Judah and from the environs of Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the Shephelah, and from the hill country, and from the Negeb, bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, meal offerings and frankincense, and bringing offerings of thanksgiving to the House of the LORD. But if you do not obey My command to hallow the sabbath day and to carry in no burdens through the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day, then I will set fire to its gates; it shall consume the fortresses of Jerusalem and it shall not be extinguished.

IV. Outline

1-3a. Guilt: improper worship
3b-4. Punishment: exile and slavery
5-8. Pedagogic lesson
    5-6. Trusting in man brings doom
    7-8. Trusting in Yahweh brings blessing
9-17. Psalm-like prayer 
    9-10. Yahweh is a knowing judge
    11. Justice is always served
    12. Praise for Yahweh and his throne
    13. Doom for those who do not follow Yahweh
    14. Petition to be saved
    15-16. Affirmation of loyalty
    17. Petition and affirmation of trust
    18. Imprecation of enemies
19-26. Sabbath Prophecy
    19-20. Command to proclaim
    21-22. Prohibition of carrying on the Sabbath
    23. The people do not listen
    24-26. Honoring the Sabbath will bring the Davidic kingship back to Judah
    27. Sabbath violation will bring destruction for Jerusalem

V. Comment

No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used

(see “Commentaries” page)

Photo copied from