The Deceitful Heart

The sin of Judah is written down with an iron stylus;
With a diamond point it is engraved upon the tablet of their heart
And on the horns of their altars.

As they remember their children,
So they remember [in detail] their [pagan] altars and their [a]Asherim
Beside green trees on the high hills.

O [Jerusalem] My mountain in the countryside,
I will give [to the Babylonians, as the cost of your sin] your wealth and all your treasures as plunder,
And throughout your territory, your high places of sin.

And you will, through your own fault, let go of your [grip on your] inheritance
That I gave you;
And I will make you serve your enemies
In a land which you do not know;
For you have kindled a fire in My anger
Which will burn forever.

Thus says the Lord,
“Cursed is the man who trusts in and relies on mankind,
Making [weak, faulty human] flesh his strength,
And whose mind and heart turn away from the Lord.

“For he will be like a shrub in the [parched] desert;
And shall not see prosperity when it comes,
But shall live in the rocky places of the wilderness,
In an uninhabited salt land.

“Blessed [with spiritual security] is the man who believes and trusts in and relies on the Lord
And whose hope and confident expectation is the Lord.

“For he will be [nourished] like a tree planted by the waters,
That spreads out its roots by the river;
And will not fear the heat when it comes;
But its leaves will be green and moist.
And it will not be anxious and concerned in a year of drought
Nor stop bearing fruit.

“The heart is deceitful above all things
And it is [b]extremely sick;
Who can understand it fully and know its secret motives?(A)
“I, the Lord, search and examine the mind,
I test the heart,
To give to each man according to his ways,
According to the results of his deeds.
“Like the partridge that hatches eggs which she has not laid,
So is he who makes a fortune in ways that are unjust.
It will be lost to him before his days are over,
And in the end he will be [nothing but] a fool.”

A glorious throne, set on high from the beginning,
Is the place of our sanctuary (the temple).
O Lord, the hope of Israel,
All who abandon You will be shamed.
Those who turn away on earth will be written down,
Because they have abandoned the Lord, the fountain of living waters.
Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed;
Save me and I will be saved,
For You are my praise.
Behold, they keep saying to me,
“Where is the word of the Lord [that is, the disaster that you prophesied]?
Let it come now!”
But as for me, I have not tried to escape from being a shepherd [walking] after You,
Nor have I longed for the woeful day [of judgment];
You know that, whatever I said
Was [spoken] in Your presence and was from You.
Do not be a terror to me;
You are my refuge and my hope in the day of disaster.
Let those who persecute me be shamed, but as for me, protect me from shame;
Let them lose courage, but let me be undaunted.
Bring on them a day of tragedy,
And destroy them with double destruction!

The Sabbath Must Be Kept

19 Thus the Lord said to me, “Go and stand in the [c]public gate, through which the kings of Judah come in and go out, and [stand] also in all the gates of Jerusalem; 20 and say to them, ‘Listen to the word of the Lord, kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the people of Jerusalem who enter through these gates. 21 Thus says the Lord, “Pay attention for your own good, [and for the sake of your future] do not carry any load on the Sabbath day or bring anything in through the gates of Jerusalem. 22 You shall not carry a load out of your houses on the Sabbath day nor do any work, but keep the Sabbath day holy [by setting it apart as a day of worship], as I commanded your fathers. 23 Yet they would not listen and obey and control their behavior; but they were stiff-necked in order not to hear and take instruction.

24 But it will come about, if you listen diligently to Me,” says the Lord, “to bring no load in through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but keep the Sabbath day holy by doing no work on it, 25 then kings and princes who will sit on the throne of David will enter through the gates of this city, riding in chariots and on horses—the kings and their princes, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and this city will be inhabited and endure throughout the ages. 26 People will come from the cities of Judah and the places all around Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin, from the lowland, from the hill country and from the South (the Negev), bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, grain offerings and incense, and bringing sacrifices of thanksgiving to the house of the Lord. 27 But if you will not listen to Me and keep the Sabbath day holy by not carrying a load as you come in the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in her gates that cannot be extinguished, and it will devour the palaces of Jerusalem.”’”


  1. Jeremiah 17:2 Wooden carvings of the goddess Asherah.
  2. Jeremiah 17:9 Lit incurable.
  3. Jeremiah 17:19 Lit gate of the sons of the people.

Cross references

  1. Jeremiah 17:9 : Matt 13:15-17; Mark 7:21-23; Eph 4:20-24