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Jeremiah 17:13

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Written on the earth - They shall never come to true honor. Their names shall be written in the dust; and the first wind that blows over it shall mar every letter, and render it illegible.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible
Verses 5-18

In the rest of the prophecy Jeremiah dwells upon the moral faults which had led to Judah‘s ruin.

Jeremiah 17:6

Like the heath - Or, “like a destitute man” Psalm 102:17. The verbs “he shall see” (or fear) and “shall inhabit” plainly show that a man is here meant and not a plant.

Jeremiah 17:8

The river - Or, “water-course” Isaiah 30:25, made for purposes of irrigation.

Shall not see - Or, “shall not fear Jeremiah 17:6.” God‘s people feel trouble as much as other people, but they do not fear it because they know

(1) that it is for their good, and

(2) that God will give them strength to bear it.

Jeremiah 17:9

The train of thought is apparently this: If the man is so blessed Jeremiah 17:7-8 who trusts in Yahweh, what is the reason why men so generally “make flesh their arm”? And the answer is: Because man‘s heart is incapable of seeing things in a straightforward manner, but is full of shrewd guile, and ever seeking to overreach others.

Desperately wicked - Rather, mortally sick.

Jeremiah 17:10

The answer to the question, “who can know it?” To himself a man‘s heart is an inscrutable mystery: God alone can fathom it.

Ways - Rather, way, his course of life. The “and” must be omitted, for the last clause explains what is meant “by man‘s way,” when he comes before God for judgment. It is “the fruit,” the final result “of his doings, i. e., his real character as formed by the acts and habits of his life.

Jeremiah 17:11

Rather, “As the partridge hath gathered eggs which it laid not, so … ” The general sense is: the covetous man is as sure to reap finally disappointment only as is the partridge which piles up eggs not of her own laying, and is unable to hatch them.

A fool - A Nabal. See 1 Samuel 25:25.

Jeremiah 17:12, Jeremiah 17:13

Or, “Thou throne … thou place … thou hope … Yahweh! All that forsake Thee etc.” The prophet concludes his prediction with the expression of his own trust in Yahweh, and confidence that the divine justice will finally be vindicated by the punishment of the wicked. The “throne of glory” is equivalent to Him who is enthroned in glory.

Jeremiah 17:13

Shall be written in the earth - i. e., their names shall quickly disappear, unlike those graven in the rock forever Job 19:24. A board covered with sand is used in the East to this day in schools for giving lessons in writing: but writing inscribed on such materials is intended to be immediately obliterated. Equally fleeting is the existence of those who forsake God. “All men are written somewhere, the saints in heaven, but sinners upon earth” (Origen).

Jeremiah 17:15

This taunt shows that this prophecy was written before any very signal fulfillment of Jeremiah‘s words had taken place, and prior therefore to the capture of Jerusalem at the close of Jehoiakim‘s life. “Now” means “I pray,” and is ironical.

Jeremiah 17:16

I have not hastened from - i. e., I have not sought to escape from.

A pastor to follow thee - Rather, “a shepherd after Thee.” “Shepherd” means “ruler, magistrate” (Jeremiah 2:8 note), and belongs to the prophet not as a teacher, but as one invested with authority by God to guide and direct the political course of the nation. So Yahweh guides His people Psalm 23:1-2, and the prophet does so “after Him,” following obediently His instructions.

The woeful day - literally, “the day of mortal sickness:” the day on which Jerusalem was to be destroyed, and the temple burned.

Right - Omit the word. What Jeremiah asserts is that he spake as in God‘s presence. They were no words of his own, but had the authority of Him before whom he stood. Compare Jeremiah 15:19.

Jeremiah 17:17

A terror - Rather, “a cause of dismay,” or consternation Jeremiah 1:17. By not fulfilling Jeremiah‘s prediction God Himself seemed to put him to shame.

Jeremiah 17:18

Confounded - Put to shame.

Destroy them … - Rather, break them with a double breaking: a twofold punishment, the first their general share in the miseries attendant upon their country‘s fall; the second, a special punishment for their sin in persecuting and mocking God‘s prophet.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The prophet acknowledges the favour of God in setting up religion. There is fulness of comfort in God, overflowing, ever-flowing fulness, like a fountain. It is always fresh and clear, like spring-water, while the pleasures of sin are puddle-waters. He prays to God for healing, saving mercy. He appeals to God concerning his faithful discharge of the office to which he was called. He humbly begs that God would own and protect him in the work to which he had plainly called him. Whatever wounds or diseases we find to be in our hearts and consciences, let us apply to the Lord to heal us, to save us, that our souls may praise his name. His hands can bind up the troubled conscience, and heal the broken heart; he can cure the worst diseases of our nature.
Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 150.4

Those who receive Christ are meek and lowly in heart. Christ opens within their hearts a living fountain of water, which springs up unto eternal life, refreshing the souls of others. The lives of those who eat the bread of life and drink the water of salvation are purified by the grace of God.... TDG 150.4

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 63.4

Look away from your wretchedness to the perfection of Christ. We cannot manufacture a righteousness for ourselves. Christ has in His hands the pure robes of righteousness and He will put it upon us. He will speak sweet words of forgiveness and promises. And He presents to the thirsty soul fountains of living waters, whereby we may be refreshed. He bids us to come unto Him with all our burdens, all our griefs, and He says we shall find rest. We must therefore believe that He speaks pardon, and we must show our faith by resting in His love.... TDG 63.4

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 300.5

We need to be anchored in Christ, rooted and grounded in the faith. Satan works through agents. He selects those who have not been drinking of the living waters, whose souls are athirst for something new and strange, and who are ever ready to drink at any fountain that may present itself. Voices will be heard, saying, “Lo, here is Christ,” or “Lo there,” but we must believe them not. We have unmistakable evidence of the voice of the True Shepherd, and He is calling upon us to follow Him. He says, “I have kept my Father's commandments.” He leads His sheep in the path of humble obedience to the law of God, but He never encourages them in the transgression of that law.... TMK 300.5

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 241.3

Look away from yourself to the perfection of Christ. We cannot manufacture a righteousness for ourselves. Christ has in His hands the pure robes of righteousness, and He will put them upon us. He will speak sweet words of forgiveness and promise. He presents to our thirsty souls fountains of living water whereby we may be refreshed. He bids us come unto Him with all our burdens, all our griefs, and He says we shall find rest.... TMK 241.3

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 216.4

The world is no longer his study and his god. He hungers for a knowledge of the Word which contains for him treasures that are to be constantly sought and are constantly satisfying—an inexhaustible mine of precious things to be sought for in faith, to be appropriated and communicated to others. He has discovered the fountain of living waters, the wells of salvation, from which he may continually draw, and there will be no diminishing of the supply.46 TMK 216.4

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