Jer 17.1-27 is a collection of various prophecies and declarations written before the captivity . It continues the thought from the previous chapter about Judah’s sins in v 1-4 and then he goes on with various statements and declarations.
v 1…The sin of Judah is written down with an iron stylus (used to write on hard surfaces in a clear, evident and obvious way); with a diamond point it is engraved upon the tablet of their heart (a hard, stony surface) and on the hearts of their altars (on which the names of their gods were written-Acts 17.23).
v 2…As they remember their children (and trained them in idolatry), so they remember (did not forget) their altars and their Asherim (symbols of their immoral rites) by their green trees on the high hills.
v 3…O mountains of mine in the countryside (Jerusalem, Mount Moriah-Mic 3.12), I will give over your wealth and all your treasures for booty (your situation in the mountains is not impregnable), your high places (used for idolatry) for sin throughout your borders (of Judah).
v 4…and you will, even of yourself, let go of your inheritance that I gave you (the land of Canaan as a whole); and I will make you serve your enemies in the land which you do not know (Babylon); for you have kindled a fire in my anger which will burn forever (forever is the Hebrew “olam” and means for a long time; olam seems to mean indefinitely with reference to the nature of the thing being described. If the nature is God, then “olam” means eternal. If it is a man, it is for as long as he lives. If it is a relationship, it is for as long as the conditions upon which the relationship is based still holds. Olam does not mean “philosophic eternity” but it is relative to some base. For example, the ages in Jewish eschatology are called the “Olam Ha Zeh” (this present age) or the “Olam Haba” (the world to come). These mean long periods of time-Deut 32.7, 33.15; Hab 3.6; Exo 14.13; Jer 17.4, 25.9; 1 Sam 2.30. So, olam neither means “continuously in force” throughout time no matter what happens to the world, nor does it mean “irreversible” or something God cannot end if certain conditions exist, or if he wants to. In this case, it means for a long time but he will also restore them eventually and put his anger to rest).
v 5…Thus says the Lord (Yehovah), “Cursed (empowered to fail) is the man who trusts in mankind (Egypt in particular) and makes flesh (Hebrew “basar” and the term for “gospel” or “good news”) his strength (arm), whose heart turns away from the Lord (or trusting in Yehovah).
v 6…For he will be like a bush (or a tree without moisture, withered, a type of one without the word of the Lord) in the desert (aravah) and will not see (perceive or get an advantage) when prosperity comes (rain), but will live in stony places in the wilderness (b’midbar), a land of salt without inhabitant (no life).
v 7…Blessed (empowered to succeed) is the man who trusts in the Lord (Yehovah) and whose trust is the Lord.
v 8…For he will be like a tree (not a burned out shrub) planted by the water (with moisture, cool-Psa 1.3; Isa 61.3; Psa 96.12; a type of the word of God), that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat (adversity) comes; but its leaves (fruit, profession of what kind of a tree it is) will be green (full of life), and it will not be anxious in a year of drought (the tests in life) nor ceases to yield fruit (by the Ruach Ha Kodesh).
v 9…The heart (synonymous with mind, soul, spirit, thoughts, desires, intentions and is seen as the stomach, bowels, kidneys or the innermost being) is made deceitful (insidious) than all else and is desperately sick (incurable, weak, human ); who can know (understand) it (only God can; our righteousness, which are the good things about us, is seen as filthy rags or menstrual cloths-Isa 64.6; our sins are exchanged for righteousness through Yeshua-Isa 1.18; Isa 4.4)?
v 10…I, the Lord (Yehovah), search the heart (Hebrew “lev” or the motives-Psa 51.10; 1 Sam 6.6-7; he wants a mended heart and answers the question of v 9), I test (examine) the mind (Hebrew “kilayot” or kidneys and is synonymous with heart in a parallelism here), even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the result (fruit) of his deeds (Heb 4.12).
v 11…As a partridge that hatches eggs which it has not laid (unjust gain), so is he who makes a fortune (riches) but unjustly; in the midst of his days it will forsake him (he will die and not enjoy the riches), and in the end he will be a fool (Hebrew “naval” or called a wicked man).
v 12…A glorious throne (throne of God) on high (in the Temple) from the beginning (since it was built and dedicated) is the place (Hebrew “makom” and an idiom for Yehovah and the Shekinah in the Temple-Ezek 43.7) of our sanctuary (“mikdashaynu”).
v 13…O Lord (Yehovah), the hope (Hebrew “mikveh” meaning the person confided in-1 John 3.3; Isa 8.6; Heb 3.6, 6.2) of Israel, all who forsake thee (as the hope) will be put to shame. Those who turn away from me (as his prophet and refuse Yehovah’s words) will be written down in the earth (where writing disappears), because they have forsaken the fountain (source of life and true teaching) of living water, even the Lord (This verse had a fulfillment in the life of Yeshua. In John 7.1 through 8.11, Yeshua is at the festival of Sukkot. One of the themes for this festival was rain and water after the harvest. On Hoshana Rabbah, meaning the “great salvation” and the seventh day of Sukkot, Yeshua stands up and says he is the fountain of living water and whoever believes in him will have rivers of living water. He said this during a water pouring ceremony in the Temple. He is alluding to the Ruach Ha Kodesh which the believers in him will have flowing out of them after his resurrection-John 7.39. The next day of Sukkot is called “Shemini Atzeret” or the “eighth day”-Lev 23.36. He was in the Temple again in John 8.1-11, and they brought a woman caught in adultery. This was a trap and Yeshua knew it because they did not bring the man. They wanted to test him so they could accuse him of not obeying the Torah because such a one should be stoned. Knowing this, he begins writing on the ground. He says that whoever is without sin, let him cast the first stone at her. He is disqualifying the witnesses because they would have had to have seen the act, and the next question would have been, “Why were you there?” and “Where did the man go?” He is using the Torah to save her, and again, he writes on the ground. The Torah says there must be two witnesses to condemn her. He is using their consciences and hearts to convict them. Being Sukkot, Jer 17.13 was one of the verses that was studied because it deals with water. The day before, as we have said, Yeshua declared that he is the fountain of of living water described in Jer 17.13, and they turned away from him by trying to trap him with the woman taken in adultery. If he breaks the Torah command they will have grounds to kill him as a false prophet. As a result, he begins to write on the ground. What was he writing? Maybe he was writing the names of the people and their sins, beginning with the oldest. They took the hint and left him alone. So, Yeshua actually fulfilled this verse (gave it meaning) at the festival of Sukkot in John 7.1 through 8.11).
v 14…Heal me (Jeremiah senses his own sin), O Lord, and I will be healed (he can’t cure himself); save me and I will be saved (from corruption and the desires of his his enemies to kill him), for thou art my praise (the reason).
v 15…Look, they (his enemies) keep saying to me, “Where is the word of the Lord? Let it come now (Jeremiah prays for deliverance from his enemies, the ones he has agitated by his words. This tells us that his prophecies haven’t happened yet or come to pass).
v 16…But as for me (he is still a willing servant), I have not hurried away from being a shepherd after thee (he knew his calling and knew what he predicted was going to happen), nor have I longed for the woeful day (or wished for it, how could he; this is similar to the words of Yeshua in Luke 12.49-50. When judgment does come it will be too late for them and many will be lost, and this is what causes Jeremiah and Yeshua so much stress. For a deeper look into this concept, see the book, “Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus” by Roy Blizzard and David Biven, p. 78-103, Dstiny Image Pub.); thou thyself knowest the utterance of my lips was in they presence (he said what God had him say).
v 17…Do not be a terror to me (by abandoning him); thou art my my refuge in the day of evil (When Babylon comes or any outward calamity).
v 18…Let those who persecute me be put to shame, but as for me, let me not be put to shame (Jeremiah prays for justification); let them be dismayed (terrified) but let me not be dismayed (terrified). Bring on them the day of evil (punishment from Babylon but he did not want this day to come upon the people, just his persecutors), and crush them with two-fold destruction (meaning fully and completely)
v 19…Thus the Lord (Yehovah) said to me, “Go and stand in the public gate through which the kings (plural) of Judah come in and out (near the palace), as well as all the gates of Jerusalem (go to every gate and the most public places);
v 20…And say to them, ‘Listen to the word of the Lord, kings of Judah (this word concerns those of the highest rank and the lowest), and all Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who come in through these gates;
v 21.., Thus says the Lord , “Take heed for yourselves (and not sin), and do not carry any load on the sabbath day or bring anything in through the gates of Jerusalem (this was an issue relating to work and commerce. This tells us that the violation of the Sabbath contributed to the destruction of Judah-Num 5.32; Neh 10.31, 13.18-21; Amos 8.5. Yeshua “loosed” this command and the rabbinic laws of Beit Shammai in John 5.10-17 to advertise a healing by the one healed carrying his pallet. Beit Shamma said this was not permissible and took issue with Yeshua, but Beit Hillel said it was, which was the majority viwe).
v 22…And you shall not bring a load out of your houses on the sabbath day or do any work, but keep the sabbath day holy (it has a kedusha with legal limitations and restrictions; the kedusha of time is marked by limits on man’s activities of work and construction), as I commanded your forefathers.
v 23…Yet they did not listen or incline their ears, but stiffened their necks in order not to listen or take correction (about the sabbath-Jer 31.18).
v 24…But it will come about, if you listen attentively (diligently) to me,” declares the Lord, “to bring no load in through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but to keep the sabbath day holy by doing no work on it,
v 25…Then there will come in through the gates of this city kings and princes sitting on 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 will be inhabited forever (a long time).
v 26…They will come in from the cities of Judah and from the environs of Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin, from the lowland (Shephelah Valley), from the hill country, and from the Negev, bringing burnt offerings (olah), sacrifices (zevachim), grain offerings (minchah) and incense (levonah), and bringing sacrifices of thanksgiving (todah) to the house of the Lord (Beit Yehovah).
v 27…But if you do not listen to me to keep the sabbath day holy by not carrying a load and coming through the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day, then I shall kindle a fire (of judgment) in its gates, and it will devour the palaces of Jerusalem and not be quenched!”