Jeremiah 17:9
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

King James Bible
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

American Standard Version
The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?

Douay-Rheims Bible
The heart is perverse above all things, and unsearchable, who can know it?

English Revised Version
The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is desperately sick: who can know it?

Webster's Bible Translation
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Jeremiah 17:9 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

Jeremiah 17:2 is plainly meant to be a fuller and clearer disclosure of the sins written on the tables of Judah's heart, finding therein its point of connection with Jeremiah 17:1. The verse has no verbum finit., and besides it is a question whether "their children" is subject or object to "remember." The rule, that in calm discourse the subject follows the verb, does not decide for us; for the object very frequently follows next, and in the case of the infinitive the subject is often not mentioned, but must be supplied from the context. Here we may either translate: as their sons remember (Chald. and Jerome), or: as they remember their sons. As already said, the first translation gives no sense in keeping with the context. Rashi, Kimchi, J. D. Mich., Maur., Hitz. follow the other rendering: as they remember their children, so do they their altars. On this view, the verb. fin. יזכּרוּ is supplied from the infin. זכר, and the two accusatives are placed alongside, as in Isaiah 66:3 after the participle, without the particle of comparison demanded by the sense, cf. also Psalm 92:8; Job 27:15. Ng. calls this construction very harsh; but it has analogues in the passages cited, and gives the very suitable sense: Their altars, Astartes, are as dear to them as their children. Hitz. takes the force to be this: "Whenever they think of their children, they remember, and cannot but remember, the altars to whose horns the blood of their sacrificed children adheres. And so in the case of a green tree upon the heights; i.e., when they light upon such an one, they cannot help calling to mind the Asherahs, which were such trees." But this interpretation is clearly wrong; for it takes the second clause על עץ as object to זכר, which is grammatically quite indefensible, and which is besides incompatible with the order of the words. Besides, the idea that they remember the altars because the blood of their children stuck to the horns of them, is put into the words; and the putting of it in is made possible only by Hitz.'s arbitrarily separating "their Astartes" from "their altars," and from the specification of place in the next clause: "by the green tree." The words mean: As they remember their children, so do they their altars and Asherahs by every green tree. The co-ordination of Asherahs and altars makes it clear that it is not sacrifices to Moloch that are meant by altars; for the Asherahs have no connection with the worship of Moloch. Ng.'s assertions, that אשׁרים is the name for male images of Baal, and that there can be no doubt of their connection with child-slaughtering Moloch-worship, are unfounded and erroneous. The word means images of Asherah; see on 1 Kings 14:23 and Deuteronomy 16:21. Graf says that ר' על־עץdoes not belong to "altars and Asherahs," because in that case it would need to be ר' עץ תּחת, as in Jeremiah 2:20; Jeremiah 3:6, Jeremiah 3:13; Isaiah 57:5; Deuteronomy 12:2; 2 Kings 16:4; 2 Kings 17:10, but that it depends on זכר. This remark is not correctly expressed, and Graf himself gives על a local force, thus: by every green tree and on every high hill they think of the altars and Asherahs. This local relation cannot be spoken of as a "dependence" upon the verb; nor does it necessarily exclude the connection with "altars and Asherahs," since we can quite well think of the altars and Asherahs as being by or beside every green tree and on the hills. At the same time, we hold it better to connect the local reference with the verb, because it gives the stronger sense - namely, that the Jews not merely think of the altars and Asherahs which are by every green tree and upon the high hills, but that by every green tree and on the high hills they think of their altars and Asherahs, even when there are no such things to be seen there. Thus we can now answer the question before thrown out, in what respects the sin was ineffaceably engraven on the horns of the altar: It was because the altars and images of the false gods had entwined themselves as closely about their hearts as their children, so that they brought the sin of their idolatry along with their sacrifices to the altars of Jahveh. The offerings which they bring, in this state of mind, to the Lord are defiled by idolatry and carry their sins to the altar, so that, in the blood which is sprinkled on its horns, the sins of the offerers are poured out on the altar. Hence it appears unmistakeably that Jeremiah 17:1 does not deal with the consciousness of sin as not yet cancelled or forgiven, but with the sin of idolatry, which, ineradicably implanted in the hearts of the people and indelibly recorded before God on the horns of the altar, calls down God's wrath in punishment as announced in Jeremiah 17:3 and Jeremiah 17:4.

"My mountain in the field" is taken by most comm. as a name for Jerusalem or Zion. But it is a question whether the words are vocative, or whether they are accusative; and so with the rest of the objects, "thy substance," etc., dependent on אתּן. If we take them to be vocative, so that Jerusalem is addressed, then we must hold "thy substance" and "thy treasures" to be the goods and gear of Jerusalem, while the city will be regarded as representative of the kingdom, or rather of the population of Judah. But the second clause, "thy high places in all thy borders," does not seem to be quite in keeping with this, and still less Jeremiah 17:4 : thou shalt discontinue from thine inheritance, which is clearly spoken of the people of Judah. Furthermore, if Jerusalem were the party addressed, we should expect feminine suffixes, since Jerusalem is everywhere else personified as a woman, as the daughter of Zion. We therefore hold "my mountain" to be accusative, and, under "the mountain of Jahveh in the field," understand, not the city of Jerusalem, but Mount Zion as the site of the temple, the mountain of the house of Jahveh, Isaiah 2:3; Zechariah 8:3; Psalm 24:3. The addition בּשׂדה may not be translated: with the field (Ges., de W., Ng.); for בּ denotes the means or instrument, or an accessory accompanying the principal thing or action and subservient to it (Ew. 217, f. 3), but not the mere external surroundings or belongings. Ng.'s assertion, that בּ, amidst equals together with, is due to an extreme position in an empirical mode of treating language. בּשׂדה means "in the field," and "mountain in the field" is like the "rock of the plain," Jeremiah 21:13. But whether it denotes "the clear outstanding loftiness of the mountain, so that for it we might say: My mountain commanding a wide prospect" (Umbr., Graf), is a question. שׂדה, field, denotes not the fruitful fields lying round Mount Zion, but, like "field of the Amalekites," Genesis 14:7, "field of Edom" (Genesis 32:4), the land or country; see on Ezekiel 21:2; and so here: my mountain in the land (of Judah or Israel). The land is spoken of as a field, as a level or plain (Jeremiah 21:13), in reference to the spiritual height of the temple mountain or mountain of God above the whole land; not in reference to the physical pre-eminence of Zion, which cannot be meant, since Zion is considerably exceeded in height of the highlands of Judah. By its choice to be the site of the Lord's throne amid His people, Mount Zion was exalted above the whole land as is a mountain in the field; and it is hereafter to be exalted above all mountains (Isaiah 2:2; Micah 4:1), while the whole land is to be lowered to the level of a plain (Zechariah 14:10). The following objects are ranged alongside as asyndetons: the Mount Zion as His peculiar possession and the substance of the people, all their treasures will the Lord give for a prey to the enemy. "Thy high places" is also introduced, with rhetorical effect, without copula. "Thy high places," i.e., the heights on which Judah had practised idolatry, will He give up, for their sins' sake, throughout the whole land. The whole clause, from "thy high places" to "thy borders," is an apposition to the first half of the verse, setting forth the reason why the whole land, the mountain of the Lord, and all the substance of the people, are to be delivered to the enemy; because, viz., the whole land has been defiled by idolatry. Hitz. wrongly translates בּחטּאת for sin, i.e., for a sin-offering.

Jeremiah 17:9 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Jeremiah 16:12 And you have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, you walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart...

Genesis 6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth...

Genesis 8:21 And the LORD smelled a sweet smell; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake...

Job 15:14-16 What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous...

Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was shaped in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Psalm 53:1-3 The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that does good...

Proverbs 28:26 He that trusts in his own heart is a fool: but whoever walks wisely, he shall be delivered.

Ecclesiastes 9:3 This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event to all: yes...

Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

Mark 7:21,22 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders...

Hebrews 3:12 Take heed, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

James 1:14,15 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed...

Cross References
Matthew 13:15
For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.'

Mark 2:17
And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."

Mark 7:21
For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,

Mark 7:22
coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.

Romans 1:21
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Romans 7:11
For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.

Ephesians 4:22
to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,

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