Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Jeremiah
Book: Jeremiah
Chapter: 17

The fatal consequences of the Idolatry of the Jews. (1-4) The
happiness of the Man that trusts in God; the End of the opposite
character. (5-11) The malice of the Prophet's enemies. (12-18)
The observance of the Sabbath. (19-27)

1-4 The sins which men commit make little impression On their
minds, yet every Sin is marked in the Book of God; they are all
So graven upon the table of the Heart, that they will all be
remembered By the Conscience. That which is graven in the Heart
will become Plain in the Life; men's actions show the desires
and purposes of their hearts. What need we have to humble
ourselves before God, who are So vile in his sight! How should
we depend On his Mercy and Grace, begging of God to search and
prove us; not to suffer us to be deceived By our own hearts, but
to create in us a Clean and holy nature By his Spirit!

5-11 He who puts confidence in Man, shall be like the Heath in
a Desert, a Naked tree, a sorry shrub, the product of Barren
ground, useless and worthless. Those who trust to their own
Righteousness and strength, and think they can do without
Christ, make Flesh their Arm, and their souls cannot prosper in
graces or comforts. Those who make God their Hope, shall
flourish like a tree always green, whose Leaf does not wither.
They shall be fixed in peace and satisfaction of mind; they
shall not be anxious in a Year of Drought. Those who make God
their Hope, have enough in him to make up the want of all
Creature-comforts. They shall not cease from yielding Fruit in
Holiness and good Works. The Heart, the Conscience of Man, in
his corrupt and fallen state, is deceitful above all things. It
calls evil good, and good evil; and cries peace to those to whom
it does not belong. Herein the Heart is desperately wicked; it
is deadly, it is desperate. The case is bad indeed, if the
Conscience, which should set right the errors of other
faculties, is a leader in the delusion. We cannot know our own
hearts, nor what they will do in an Hour of Temptation. Who can
understand his errors? Much less can we know the hearts of
others, or depend upon them. He that believes God's Testimony in
this matter, and learns to watch his own Heart, will find this
is a correct, though a sad picture, and learns many lessons to
direct his conduct. But much in our own hearts and in the hearts
of others, will remain unknown. Yet whatever wickedness there is
in the Heart, God sees it. Men may be imposed upon, but God
cannot be deceived. He that gets riches, and not By right,
though he may make them his Hope, never shall have joy of them.
This shows what vexation it is to a worldly Man at Death, that
he must leave his riches behind; but though the wealth will not
follow to another world, guilt will, and Everlasting Torment.
The rich Man takes pains to get an estate, and sits brooding
upon it, but never has any satisfaction in it; By sinful Courses
it comes to nothing. Let us be Wise in time; what we get, let us
get it honestly; and what we have, use it charitably, that we
may be Wise for eternity.

12-18 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.

19-27 The Prophet was to lay before the rulers and the people
of Judah, the command to keep holy the Sabbath Day. Let them
strictly observe the fourth command. If they obeyed this Word,
their prosperity should be restored. It is a Day of Rest, and
must not be made a Day of labour, unless in cases of necessity.
Take heed, watch against the profanation of the Sabbath. Let not
the soul be burdened with the cares of this world On Sabbath
days. The streams of religion run Deep or shallow, according as
the banks of the Sabbath are kept up or neglected. The degree of
strictness with which this ordinance is observed, or the neglect
shown towards it, is a good test to find the state of spiritual
religion in any land. Let all, By their own Example, By
attention to their families, strive to check this evil, that
national prosperity may be preserved, and, above all, that souls
may be saved.