Jeremiah 17

 

חַטַּאת יְהוּדָה כְּתוּבָה בְּעֵט בַּרְזֶל בְּצִפֹּרֶן שָׁמִיר חֲרוּשָׁה עַל־לוּחַ לִבָּם וּלְקַרְנֹות מִזְבְּחֹותֵיכֶם׃   17:1

Jere. 17:1   The sin of Judah is being recorded

                              with a pen of iron

                      having a point of a diamond,

                              being engraved upon

                      the tablet of their heart

                              and on the horns of your altars.

כִּזְכֹּר בְּנֵיהֶם מִזְבְּחֹותָם וַאֲשֵׁרֵיהֶם עַל־עֵץ רַעֲןָן עַל גְּבָעֹות הַגְּבֹהֹות׃   17:2

Jere. 17:2   Their altars and their asherim

                              by a green tree upon the high hills

                      are like a reminder of their children.

The Hebrew of this verse is difficult to translate, so its translation is questionable and its meaning is obscure.  Several different translations appear in bibles, but the meaning seems to be almost universally accepted as the people remember their altars and asherim the same way they remember their children.  I have a suspicion that the more appropriate implication is that they had sacrificed their children on the altars, and so they were a constant reminder of their evil deeds.

הֲרָרִי בַּשָּׂדֶה חֵילְךָ כָל־אֹוצְרֹותֶיךָ לָבַז אֶתֵּן בָּמֹתֶיךָ בְּחַטָּאת בְּכָל־גְּבוּלֶיךָ׃   17:3

Jere. 17:3   “O mountain habitué in the field,

                               your wealth, all your treasures,

                      I will give for a spoil, your high places,

                               because of sin

                      throughout all your borders.”

The meaning of the phrase mountain habitué in the field is, I believe, meant to portray a people who spends its time on the hills with the altars and asherim and less time in the field doing its work.  I believe this because all the second-person pronouns in this verse are singular feminine (the antecedent being Jerusalem or Zion).

וְשָׁמַטְתָּה וּבְךָ מִנַּחֲלָתְךָ אֲשֶׁר נָתַתִּי לָךְ וְהַעֲבַדְתִּיךָ אֶת־אֹיְבֶיךָ בָּאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יָדָעְתָּ כִּי־אֵשׁ   17:4       קְדַחְתֶּם בְּאַפִּי עַד־עֹולָם תּוּקָד׃

Jere. 17:4   “And you shall be let loose,

                                even because of you,

                      from your inheritance that I gave to you,

                                and I shall make you serve your enemies

                      in a land that you do not know,

                                for you have kindled a fire in My ‘nostril.’

                      It shall burn forever.”

All the seven second-person pronouns in this verse, except for one, are singular and masculine, therefore (according to my theory) they refer to Judah.  The one exception is translated in the next to last English line as you have kindled.  To my way of thinking this implies that every resident of Judah has been sinful.

כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה אָרוּר הַגֶּבֶר אֲשֶׁר יִבְטַח בָּאָדָם וְשָׂם בָּשָׂר זְרֹעֹו וּמִן־יְהוָה יָסוּר לִבֹּו׃   17:5

Jere. 17:5   “Thus says the Lord:

                      ‘Cursed is the man

                                who would trust in humankind

                      and make flesh his strength

                                and whose heart turns away

                       from the Lord!’”

וְהָיָה כְּעַרְעָר בָּעֲרָבָה וְלֹא יִרְאֶה כִּי־יָבֹוא טֹוב וְשָׁכַן חֲרֵרִים בַּמִּדְבָּר אֶרֶץ מְלֵחָה וְלֹא תֵשֵׁב׃   17:6

Jere. 17:6   “And therefore he shall be

                                as a naked bush in the desert

                      that can not see when good might arrive,

                                inhabiting only the parched places

                      in the wilderness,

                                a land of saltiness that is uninhabitable.”

בָּרוּךְ הַגֶּבֶר אֲשֶׁר יִבְטַח בַּיהוָה וְהָיָה יְהוָה מִבְטַחֹו׃   17:7

Jere. 17:7   “Blessed is the man

                                who would trust in the Lord

                      and whose trust is the Lord,

וְהָיָה כְּעֵץ שָׁתוּל עַל־מַיִם וְעַל־יוּבַל יְשַׁלַּח שָׁרָשָׁיו וְלֹא (יִרָא) [יִרְאֶה] כִּי־יָבֹא חֹם וְהָיָה עָלֵהוּ   17:8      רַעֲןָן וּבִשְׁנַת בַּצֹּרֶת לֹא יִדְאָג וְלֹא יָמִישׁ מֵעֲשֹׂות פֶּרִי׃

Jere. 17:8   and therefore he shall be

                               like a tree planted next to water

                      that it can spread out its roots by a river,

                               that will not be afraid when heat comes,

                      yet its foliage will be luxuriant,

                               that in a year of drought

                     will not be concerned,

                               yet will not desist from producing fruit.”

The word in parentheses is thought to be wrong.  The way it is spelled (minus the heh), it is translatable as will ... be afraid.  The “correction” in the brackets is translatable as will ... see.  Again, perhaps in ignorance, I don’t see why the original spelling and translation are not appropriate.  Especially since the Lord says the tree will also not be concerned in a drought.

עָקֹב הַלֵּב מִכֹּל וְאָנֻשׁ הוּא מִי יֵדָעֶנּוּ׃   17:9

Jere. 17:9   “The heart is more deceitful

                                than anything else,

                     and it is weak.  Who can know it?”

אֲנִי יְהוָה חֹקֵר לֵב בֹּחֵן כְּלָיֹות וְלָתֵת לְאִישׁ (כְּדַרְכֹּו) [כִּדְרָכָיו] כִּפְרִי מַעֲלָלָיו׃   17:10

Jere. 17:10   “I, the Lord, examine the heart, test the reins,

                                 so as to give to each according to his ways,

                        according to the fruit of his deeds.”

In this verse we have a real error.  The word in parentheses, translated as according to his ways, is spelled in the singular when it is should correctly be plural.  The spelling in the brackets adds a yad, making the word appropriately plural.

קֹרֵא דָגַר וְלֹא יָלָד עֹשֶׂה עֹשֶׁר וְלֹא בְמִשְׁפָּט בַּחֲצִי (יֹמֹו) [יָמָיו] יַעַזְבֶנּוּ וּבְאַחֲרִיתֹו יִהְיֶה נָבָל׃   17:11

Jere. 17:11   “A partridge brooding

                                 but has not borne young,

                        a procurer of wealth but not by justice,

                                 in the middle of his days will neglect it,

                        that at his end shall become a fool.”

In this verse we have another real error.  The word in parentheses, translated as his days, is spelled in the singular when is should also be plural.  The spelling in the brackets adds a yad, making the word appropriately plural.

כִּסֵּא כָבֹוד מָרֹום מֵרִאשֹׁון מְקֹום מִקְדָּשֵׁנוּ׃   17:12

Jere. 17:12   The Source of glory on high from the beginning,

                                 the Place of our sanctuary,

מִקְוֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָה כָּל־עֹזְבֶיךָ יֵבֹשׁוּ (יִסֹורַי) [וְסוּרַי] בָּאָרֶץ יִכָּתֵבוּ כִּי עָזְבוּ מְקֹור מַיִם־חַיִּים   17:13       אֶת־יְהוָה׃

Jere. 17:13   Hope of Israel! O Lord!

                                 All forsaking You shall be disappointed;

                        suffering, they shall be recorded in the earth,

                                 because they forsake

                        the Fountain of living water, the Lord.

The word in parentheses is also thought to be wrong.  The way it is spelled, it is translatable as shall be recorded.  The “correction” in the brackets, which assumes the yad is a vav prefix, is translatable as and shall be recorded.  Perhaps in ignorance once more, I don’t see why the original spelling and translation are not appropriate.

רְפָאֵנִי יְהוָה וְאֵרָפֵא הֹושִׁיעֵנִי וְאִוָּשֵׁעָה כִּי תְהִלָּתִי אָתָּה׃   17:14

Jere. 17:14   Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed!

                                 Save me and I shall be saved!

                        For You are my Glory.

הִנֵּה־הֵמָּה אֹמְרִים אֵלָי אַיֵּה דְבַר־יְהוָה יָבֹוא נָא׃   17:15

Jere. 17:15   Behold, they are saying to me,

                                “Where is the word of the Lord?

                        Let it come now!”

I believe this is a reference to the messiah promised by the true prophets as recorded in the Hebrew bible.  The last line could also be translated as Let him come now.

וַאֲנִי לֹא־אַצְתִּי מֵרֹעֶה אַחֲרֶיךָ וְיֹום אָנוּשׁ לֹא הִתְאַוֵּיתִי אַתָּה יָדָעְתָּ מֹוצָא שְׂפָתַי נֹכַח פָּנֶיךָ הָיָה׃   17:16

Jere. 17:16   Now I have not shrunk

                                 from being the shepherd following You,

                        and the woeful day I do not desire.

                                 You know -- what comes out of my lips

                        is obvious in Your presence.

Jeremiah once more interjects his own plea to the Lord.  He continues for the next two verses.  While he says that he does not desire the woeful day in this verse, notice that in v. 17:18 below he wishes his enemies (the men of Anathoth) much harm.

אַל־תִּהְיֵה־לִי לִמְחִתָּה מַחֲסִי־אַתָּה בְּיֹום רָעָה׃   17:17

Jere. 17:17   Do not be for a ruin to me!

                                 You are my Refuge in the time period of evil.

יֵבֹשׁוּ רֹדְפַי וְאַל־אֵבֹשָׁה אָנִי יֵחַתּוּ הֵמָּה וְאַל־אֵחַתָּה אָנִי הָבִיא עֲלֵיהֶם יֹום רָעָה וּמִשְׁנֶה שִׁבָּרֹון   17:18 שָׁבְרֵם׃

Jere. 17:18   Let my persecutors be shamed,

                                 but let not me be shamed!

                        Let them be dismayed,

                                 but let not me be dismayed!

                        Bring upon them the time period of evil

                                 with double destruction to cripple them!

כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה אֵלַי הָלֹךְ וְעָמַדְתָּ בְּשַׁעַר בְּנֵי־(עָם) [הָעָם] אֲשֶׁר יָבֹאוּ בֹו מַלְכֵי יְהוּדָה וַאֲשֶׁר   17:19        יֵצְאוּ בֹו וּבְכֹל שַׁעֲרֵי יְרוּשָׁלִָם׃

Jere. 17:19   Thus said the Lord to me:  “Go and stand at the gate of the children of the people through which the kings of Judah shall enter and through which they shall leave, as well as at all the gates of Jerusalem,

Once more we have another real error.  The word in parentheses, translated as people, is spelled without the heh prefix, which would make the translation the people.  The spelling in the brackets adds the heh.

וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵיהֶם שִׁמְעוּ דְבַר־יְהוָה מַלְכֵי יְהוּדָה וְכָל־יְהוּדָה וְכֹל יֹשְׁבֵי יְרוּשָׁלִָם הַבָּאִים בַּשְּׁעָרִים   17:20 הָאֵלֶּה׃

Jere. 17:20   and say to them, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, kings of Judah, and all of Judah, and all inhabitants of Jerusalem who come through these gates!’”

Listen, Israel!  Pay attention.  These next few verses are a clear message about the Sabbath.  Have eyes to see and ears to hear!

כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה הִשָּׁמְרוּ בְּנַפְשֹׁותֵיכֶם וְאַל־תִּשְׂאוּ מַשָּׂא בְּיֹום הַשַּׁבָּת וַהֲבֵאתֶם בְּשַׁעֲרֵי יְרוּשָׁלִָם׃   17:21

Jere. 17:21   Thus says the Lord:  “Listen, for the sake of your souls, and do not carry a burden on the day of the Sabbath or bring in through the gates of Jerusalem.”

What do these words mean to you?  What they mean to me is clear -- No business on the Sabbath.

וְלֹא־תֹוצִיאוּ מַשָּׂא מִבָּתֵּיכֶם בְּיֹום הַשַּׁבָּת וְכָל־מְלָאכָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ וְקִדַּשְׁתֶּם אֶת־יֹום הַשַּׁבָּת    17:22      כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתִי אֶת־אֲבֹותֵיכֶם׃

Jere. 17:22   “And you may not remove any burden from your houses on the day of the Sabbath. And you shall not do any business.  Thus you must hallow the day of the Sabbath, as I commanded your fathers.”

In these few verses in which the sins of the Sabbath are described, the two sins mentioned are carrying burdens through the gates of the city and conducting business.  As I’ve remarked elsewhere (for example, Exod. 20:11) about the Sabbath  proscriptions, I believe that they are far less stringent than the sages and rabbis have assumed.  Why is carrying burdens prohibited?  Because they consist of the wares of the business man.  These verses seem to support my theories about the Sabbath.  See the words:  “... you may not remove any burdens (conduct business) from your houses ....”  Doesn’t that tell us that we may leave our houses, but not for conducting business?  Does this not provide evidence for my contention that Moses’ command in Exod. 16:29 was a temporary admonition?

וְלֹא שָׁמְעוּ וְלֹא הִטּוּ אֶת־אָזְנָם וַיַּקְשׁוּ אֶת־עָרְפָּם לְבִלְתִּי (שֹׁומֵעַ) [שְׁמֹועַ] וּלְבִלְתִּי קַחַת מוּסָר׃   17:23

Jere. 17:23   “But they did not listen or offer their ear; they stiffened their necks not to hear and not to receive correction.”

The word in parentheses, translated as to hear, is also thought to be misspelled.  Once again, I see nothing wrong with the spelling.  The word is intended to be an infinitive, and as far as I can tell, its spelling is correct.

וְהָיָה אִם־שָׁמֹעַ תִּשְׁמְעוּן אֵלַי נְאֻם־יְהוָה לְבִלְתִּי הָבִיא מַשָּׂא בְּשַׁעֲרֵי הָעִיר הַזֹּאת בְּיֹום הַשַּׁבָּת   17:24 וּלְקַדֵּשׁ אֶת־יֹום הַשַּׁבָּת לְבִלְתִּי עֲשֹׂות־(בֹּה) [בֹּו] כָּל־מְלָאכָה׃

Jere. 17:24   “So it will be, if you diligently listen to Me,” says the Lord, “so as not to bring in any burden through the gates of this city on the day of the Sabbath, and to hallow the day of the Sabbath by not doing any business on it,

The word in parentheses, translated as on it (where the pronoun it refers to the Sabbath), is also thought to be wrong.  The way it is spelled, it has a feminine suffix.  The “correction” in the brackets, which exchanges the heh for a vav, makes the suffix masculine.  Perhaps in ignorance once more, I don’t see why the original spelling and translation are not appropriate.  The word for Sabbath can be either masculine or feminine.

וּבָאוּ בְשַׁעֲרֵי הָעִיר הַזֹּאת מְלָכִים וְשָׂרִים יֹשְׁבִים עַל־כִּסֵּא דָוִד רֹכְבִים בָּרֶכֶב וּבַסּוּסִים הֵמָּה   17:25  וְשָׂרֵיהֶם אִישׁ יְהוּדָה וְיֹשְׁבֵי יְרוּשָׁלִָם וְיָשְׁבָה הָעִיר־הַזֹּאת לְעֹולָם׃

Jere. 17:25   then kings and princes sitting on the throne of David shall enter through the gates of this city, riding by chariot and on horses, they with their princes, men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and this city shall be inhabited forever,

וּבָאוּ מֵעָרֵי־יְהוּדָה וּמִסְּבִיבֹות יְרוּשָׁלִַם וּמֵאֶרֶץ בִּנְיָמִן וּמִן־הַשְּׁפֵלָה וּמִן־הָהָר וּמִן־הַנֶּגֶב מְבִאִים   17:26 וְזֶבַח וּמִנְחָה וּלְבֹונָה וּמְבִאֵי תֹודָה בֵּית יְהוָה׃ עֹולָה

Jere. 17:26   and they shall come from the cities of Judah and from all around Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the valleys and from the mountains, and from the south, bringing in burnt offerings and sacrifices and meal offerings and frankincense, and assortments of thanksgiving to the house of the Lord.”

וְאִם־לֹא תִשְׁמְעוּ אֵלַי לְקַדֵּשׁ אֶת־יֹום הַשַּׁבָּת וּלְבִלְתִּי שְׂאֵת מַשָּׂא וּבֹא בְּשַׁעֲרֵי יְרוּשָׁלִַם בְּיֹום   17:27 הַשַּׁבָּת וְהִצַּתִּי אֵשׁ בִּשְׁעָרֶיהָ וְאָכְלָה אַרְמְנֹות יְרוּשָׁלִַם וְלֹא תִכְבֶּה׃

Jere. 17:27   “But if you do not listen to Me, to sanctify the Sabbath day, so as not to carry a burden and enter through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle a flame on its gates that will consume the palaces of Jerusalem, and it will not be quenched.”

 

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