Jeremiah 17 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Jeremiah 17)

Verse 1

[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;

Graven — Nor is it a thing done in secret, but it is engraven upon the horns of their altars. God's altar was four-square, and at each corner there was a rising part made of brass, these were called the horns of the altar. Now their sin is said to be engraven upon the horns of the altar, because the blood of the sacrifices which they offered to idols was sprinkled there, or because their altars had some inscription upon them, declaring to what idol that altar was consecrated.

Verse 2

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

Their children — This shewed how inveterate they were in this sin of idolatry, that they taught it their children.

Verse 3

[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.

My mountain — Jerusalem stood at the foot of an hill, and part of it on the side of it, upon the top of which hills, were many pleasant fields.

Verse 4

[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.

For ever — For a long time; so the word ever is often taken.

Verse 9

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

The heart — There is nothing so false and deceitful as the heart of man; deceitful in its apprehensions of things, in the hopes and promises which it nourishes, in the assurances that it gives us; unsearchable by others, deceitful with reference to ourselves, and abominably wicked, so that neither can a man know his own heart, nor can any other know that of his neighbour's.

Verse 11

[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.

Hatcheth them not — Having lost them, either by some man that has taken them from her, or by some vermin or wild beast.

A fool — Shall lose it again before he dies, and then shall understand what a fool he was.

Verse 13

[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.

Depart — From what I have revealed to them as thy will, shall have no portion beyond the earth.

Verse 14

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

For thou art — He whom alone I have reason to praise for mercies already received.

Verse 15

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

Where — Daring the vengeance of God.

Verse 16

[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.

I hastened not — As I did not seek the office of a prophet, so when thou wast pleased to call me to it, I did not decline.