Jeremiah 17:9
Parallel Verses
New International Version
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

New Living Translation
"The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?

English Standard Version
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

New American Standard Bible
"The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?

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

Holman Christian Standard Bible
The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable--who can understand it?

International Standard Version
"The heart is more deceitful than anything. It is incurable— who can know it?

NET Bible
The human mind is more deceitful than anything else. It is incurably bad. Who can understand it?

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"The human mind is the most deceitful of all things. It is incurable. No one can understand how deceitful it is.

Jubilee Bible 2000
The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who shall know it?

King James 2000 Bible
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

American King James Version
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?

Darby Bible Translation
The heart is deceitful above all things, and incurable; 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?

World English Bible
The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?

Young's Literal Translation
Crooked is the heart above all things, And it is incurable -- who doth know it?
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

17:5-11 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.

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 9, 10. - The crocked devices of the human heart, which is characterized as deceitful above all things (or, as Delitzsch, ' Biblical Psychology,' English translation, p. 340, "proud;" literally, uneven or rugged; comp. Isaiah 40:4; Habakkuk 2:4, Hebrew; Psalm 131:2, Hebrew), and desperately wicked, or rather, desperately sick (see Jeremiah 15:18, where it is explained by the words, "which refuseth to be healed"). The Septuagint reads this verse differently, "The heart is deep above all things, and it is a man."

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

The heart is deceitful above all things,.... This is the source of the idolatry and creature confidence of the Jews, sins which were the cause of their ruin; and though what is here said is particularly applicable to their hearts, yet is in general true of the heart of every man; which is "deceitful", and deceiving; and puts a cheat upon the man himself whose it is: it deceives him with respect to sin; it proposes it to him under the notion of pleasure; it promises him a great deal in it, but does not yield a real pleasure to him; it is all fancy and imagination; a mere illusion and a dream; and what it gives is very short lived; it is but for a season, and ends in bitterness and death: or it proposes it under the notion of profit; it promises him riches, by such and such sinful ways it suggests; but, when he has got them, he is the loser by them; these deceitful riches choke the word, cause him to err from the faith, pierce him through with many sorrows, and endanger the loss of his soul: it promises honour and preferment in the world, but promotes him to shame; it promises him liberty, but brings him into bondage; it promises him impunity, peace, and security, when sudden destruction comes: it deceives him in point of knowledge; it persuades him that he is a very knowing person, when he is blind and ignorant, and knows nothing as he ought to know; and only deceives himself; for there is no true knowledge but of God in Christ, and of a crucified Christ, and salvation by him; see 1 Corinthians 3:18 it deceives in the business of religion; it makes a man believe that he is a very holy and righteous man, and in a fair way for heaven, when he is far from that, and the character it gives him; in order to this, it suggests to him that concupiscence or lust, or the inward workings of the mind, are not sin; and it is only on this principle that it can be accounted for, that Saul, before conversion, or any other man, should be led into such a mistake, as to conclude that, touching the righteousness of the law, he was blameless: it represents other sins as mere peccadillos, as little sins, and not to be regarded; and even puts the name of virtue on vices; profuseness and prodigality it calls liberality, and doing public good; and covetousness has the name of frugality and good economy: it directs men to compare themselves and their outward conduct with others, that are very profane and dissolute; and from thence to form a good character of themselves, as better than others; and as it buoys up with the purity of human nature, so with the power of man's freewill to do that which is good, and particularly to repent at pleasure; and it puts the profane sinner upon trusting to the absolute mercy of God, and hides from him his justice and holiness; and it puts others upon depending upon the outward acts of religion, or upon speculative notions, to the neglect of real godliness; see James 1:22. The man of a deceitful heart, the hypocrite, tries to deceive God himself, but he cannot; he oftentimes deceives men, and always himself; so do the profane sinner, the self-righteous man, and the false teacher; who attempts to deceive the very elect, but cannot; yea, a good man may be deceived by his own heart, of which Peter is a sad instance, Matthew 26:33. The heart is deceitful to a very great degree, it is superlatively so; "above all", above all creatures; the serpent and the fox are noted for their subtlety, and wicked men are compared to them for it; but these comparisons fall short of expressing the wicked subtlety and deceit in men's hearts; yea, it is more deceitful to a man than the devil, the great deceiver himself; because it is nearer to a man, and can come at him, and work upon him, when Satan cannot: or "about", or "concerning all things" (q); it is so in everything in which it is concerned, natural, civil, or religious, and especially the latter. The Septuagint version renders it "deep"; it is an abyss, a bottomless one; there is no fathoming of it; the depths of sin are in it; see Psalm 64:6 and, seeing it is so deceitful, it should not be trusted in; a man should neither trust in his own heart, nor in another's, Proverbs 28:26, "and desperately wicked": everything in it is wicked; the thoughts of it are evil; the imaginations of the thoughts are so; even every imagination, and that only, and always, Genesis 6:5 the affections are inordinate; the mind and conscience are defiled; the understanding darkened, so dark as to call evil good, and good evil; and the will obstinate and perverse: all manner of sin and wickedness is in it; it is the cage of every unclean bird, and the hold of every foul spirit; all sin is forged and framed in it; and all manner of evil comes out of it, Revelation 18:1 yea, it is wickedness itself, Psalm 5:9, it is so even to desperation; it is "incurably wicked" (r), as it may be rendered; it is so without the grace of God, and blood of Christ:

who can know it? angels do not, Satan cannot; only the spirit of a man can know the things of a man within him; though the natural man does not know the plague of his own heart; the Pharisee and perfectionist do not, or they would not say they were without sin; such rant arises from the ignorance of their own hearts; only a spiritual man knows his own heart, the plague of it, the deceitfulness and wickedness in it; and he does not know it all; God only knows it fully, as is expressed in the next words, which are an answer to the question; see 1 Corinthians 2:11.

(q) "de omnibus", vid. Noldium, p. 548. (r) "et immedicabili malo affectum", Gussetius; "incurabiliter aegrum", Cocceius.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

9. deceitful—from a root, "supplanting," "tripping up insidiously by the heel," from which Jacob (Ho 12:3) took his name. In speaking of the Jews' deceit of heart, he appropriately uses a term alluding to their forefather, whose deceit, but not whose faith, they followed. His "supplanting" was in order to obtain Jehovah's blessing. They plant Jehovah for "trust in man" (Jer 17:5), and then think to deceive God, as if it could escape His notice, that it is in man, not in Him, they trust.

desperately wicked—"incurable" [Horsley], (Mic 1:9). Trust in one's own heart is as foolish as in our fellow man (Pr 28:26).

Jeremiah 17:9 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Sin and Punishment of Judah
8"For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit. 9"The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? 10"I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.…
Cross References
Matthew 13:15
For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'

Mark 2:17
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Mark 7:21
For it is from within, out of a person's heart, that evil thoughts come--sexual immorality, theft, murder,

Mark 7:22
adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.

Romans 1:21
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Romans 7:11
For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.

Ephesians 4:22
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;

Genesis 8:21
The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: "Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.

2 Samuel 11:15
In it he wrote, "Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die."

Ecclesiastes 9:3
This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead.

Isaiah 1:5
Why should you be beaten anymore? Why do you persist in rebellion? Your whole head is injured, your whole heart afflicted.

Isaiah 1:6
From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness-- only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with olive oil.

Isaiah 6:10
Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed."
Treasury of Scripture

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

Jeremiah 16:12 And you have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, you walk …

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, …

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

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, …

Proverbs 28:26 He that trusts in his own heart is a fool: but whoever walks wisely, …

Ecclesiastes 9:3 This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that …

Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, …

Mark 7:21,22 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, …

Hebrews 3:12 Take heed, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of …

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

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