Jeremiah 17 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Jeremiah 17 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

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.

God will enslave the people of Judah because they worshipped the wrong gods. And his anger will last forever. How long does God's anger last?
This worship included the burning of their own children, see chapter 7:31.

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.

God tells us not to trust anyone, not even our family or friends, by saying: "Cursed be the man that trusteth in man."
The author of the SAB laughs at the Bible, but can only do so by quoting just half of the context. There are three items mentioned in this curse:
  1. Trusting in man,
  2. and making flesh his arm
  3. and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
That man is cursed. But also trusting in man is not the trust in the sense the author of the SAB seems to understand it: as in believing them. But the meaning of trust here is expecting our delivery and salvation from it. No one, how much the good intentions of someone else, can utterly rely on that person to deliver him. That person may not be able to help him in time of need, but God can.

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?

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked."
Everyone is a wicked liar.
This is especially said of one's own heart, and every true Christian can confirm it: my own heart is deceitful above all things. After The Fall there is nothing that is not affected by sin, not even our own heart. And we are very eager to trust in our own goodness or our own desires and intentions. But God knows us like no one else does, verse 12.

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.

On salvation by faith alone see 2 Cor. 5:10.
On what you must do to be saved, see Acts 16:30-31.
On the meaning of searching the reins, see Ps. 7:9.

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.

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.

Jeremiah asks God to bring evil upon his enemies and to "destroy them with double destruction."
Jeremiah should pray that those who persecuted him would succeed?

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.

If you don't honor the Sabbath, God will burn you to death unquenchable fire.
God resteth on the seventh day. It's a commandment that proceeds any other in the Bible. But the burning here is not of the people as the author of the SAB has it, but of the gates and the palaces of Jerusalem.