King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Jeremiah 17

The fatal consequences of the idolatry of the Jews. (1-4) The happiness of the man that trusts in God; the end of the opposite character. (5-11) The malice of the prophet’s enemies. (12-18) The observance of the sabbath. (19-27)

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The fatal consequences of the idolatry of the Jews

1 The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars;

2 Whilst their children remember their altars and their groves by the green trees upon the high hills.

3 O my mountain in the field, I will give thy substance and all thy treasures to the spoil, and thy high places for sin, throughout all thy borders.

4 And thou, even thyself, shalt discontinue from thine heritage that I gave thee; and I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not: for ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn for ever.

The happiness of the man that trusts in God; the end of the opposite character

5 Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.

6 For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.

7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.

8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

11 As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.

The malice of the prophet’s enemies

12 A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.

13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.

14 Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.

15 Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of the LORD? let it come now.

16 As for me, I have not hastened from being a pastor to follow thee: neither have I desired the woeful day; thou knowest: that which came out of my lips was right before thee.

17 Be not a terror unto me: thou art my hope in the day of evil.

18 Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction.

The observance of the sabbath

19 Thus said the LORD unto me; Go and stand in the gate of the children of the people, whereby the kings of Judah come in, and by the which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem;

20 And say unto them, Hear ye the word of the LORD, ye kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that enter in by these gates:

21 Thus saith the LORD; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem;

22 Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.

23 But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction.

24 And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the LORD, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein;

25 Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever.

26 And they shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the places about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the plain, and from the mountains, and from the south, bringing burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and meat offerings, and incense, and bringing sacrifices of praise, unto the house of the LORD.

27 But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. The. Grabe (de Vit. p. 8.) observes that the four first verses were omitted in the Sept. by some careless transcriber, long before the days of Origen, who restored them from the Heb. and the other Gr. versions. On such occasions his work was very useful; but the marks being soon neglected, great confusion ensued. S. Jer. Kennicott, Dis. ii. — Grabe has restored these verses in his edition. H. — Eusebius (Dem. x.) and Theodoret acknowledged them; and Nobilius found the first verse thus expressed in many copies, (C.) as it is in Grabe: “The sin of Juda is expressed in writing with a finger nail of adamant, cleaving to the breast of,” &c. H. — Altars, to appear more conspicuously to the latest times. This excited God’s indignation. C. — These figurative expressions shew the inveterate malice of the people. W.

Ver. 3. Sin of idolatry. C. xv. 13.

Ver. 4. Be left. Prot. “discontinue from thine,” &c. H. — The land shall have its sabbaths, which thou wouldst not allow. Chal. Ex. xxii. 11. Lev. xxvi. 34.

Ver. 5. Thus. Sept. continue from the last chapter, “cursed,” &c. H. — Sedecias had formed alliances with several princes, instead of turning to the Lord. C. xxvii. and xxxvii. C. — Our chief dependence must be on God, not on human policy. W.

Ver. 6. Tamaric. A barren shrub, that grows in the driest parts of the wilderness. Ch. — Harhar denotes some sort (H.) of “useless wood.” Sym. See C. xlviii. 6. Isai. xvii. 2. — Salt, like the environs of Sodom, the fruits of which were bad.

Ver. 8. Fruit. See Ps. i. 3. Pindar, Nem. viii. How different from the wicked! C.

Ver. 9. Perverse. Sept. “deep.” — Unsearchable. Sept. “man, who shall know him?” H. — God alone can search the heart by his own power. He enables saints to do it by the light of glory, or of prophecy; as Eliseus and S. Peter knew secret transactions. W.

Ver. 11. Partridge. Heb. kore, (H.) may mean the “coucou.” The kra lays many eggs, all of which she does not hatch. C. — Prot. “As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not,” &c. H. — It is rare that all produce birds; so the unjust do not succeed (C.) in the end. H.

Ver. 12. Throne. The temple. We may also read “O high,” &c. C. xiv. 21.

Ver. 13. Earth, where alone their portion shall be, (Apoc. iii. 5,) or they shall be forgotten. It is a proverbial expression, like that of Catullus:

Dixit: sed mulier cupido quod dixit amanti

In vento et rapidâ scribere oportet aquâ.

Living, which never fail, unlike those of the wicked. C. ii. 13.

Ver. 15. Come. We have several instances of such impious sarcasms. Isa. xxviii. 10. and xxxiv. 13. Amos ii. 12. Mic. ii. 6. C. — We fear not the Chaldees. M.

Ver. 16. Troubled. Heb. “in haste to be a pastor after thee.” Chal. “I delay not, at thy command, to announce thy truths to them.” C. i. 6. Jeremias was aware of the dangers attending his office, yet not dismayed. — Day: approbation, (1 Cor. iv. 3.) or advantages of the world. C. — Of man. Heb. also, “of the wretched:” anush. I wished rather for the people’s welfare, (H.) and sought not their ruin. Chal. Theodor.

Ver. 18. Let them be confounded, &c. Such expressions as these in the writings of the prophets, are not to be understood as imprecations proceeding from malice or desire of revenge, but as prophetic predictions of evils that were about to fall upon impenitent sinners, and approbations of the ways of the divine justice. Ch. — The prophet has already prevented this objection. v. 16. H.

Ver. 19. Gate of the palace, or that by which the kings entered the temple, on the west. The time when this admonition was given is not ascertained.

Ver. 21. Souls. Those who broke the sabbath were to die. Ex. xxx. 15. Num. xv. 32. — Burdens, or servile work. C. — The Jews trifle in deciding what is a burden. Orig. prin. iv. 2. — Sabbath often denotes the observance of the whole law. W.

Ver. 25. David. I will observe my covenant. 2 K. vii. 12. — Horses: in prosperity, (M.) provided this law, as well as all the rest, be observed. H. — Such temporal rewards were commonly proposed under the law, as spiritual ones are now. W.

Ver. 26. Sacrifices. Heb. mincha, (H.) “offerings” of flour, wine, &c. C.

Ver. 27. Fire, by means of Nabuzardan. M. — The city shall be entirely destroyed. C.