Jeremiah 17:14
Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.
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(14) Heal me.—The prophet, consciously or unconsciously, contrasts himself with the deserters from Jehovah. He needs “healing” and “salvation,” but he knows where to seek for them, and is sure that his Lord will not leave the work incomplete. The prayer of the prophet is like that of the Psalmist (Psalm 6:2; Psalm 30:2). In “thou art my praise” we have an echo of Deuteronomy 10:21; Psalm 71:6.

Jeremiah 17:14. Heal me, O Lord, &c. — Most interpreters understand the prophet as addressing God here in his own behalf. He represents himself as a person wounded, or sick, either with a sense of the dishonour done to God by the sins of the people, or with their reproaches poured upon himself, and he begs of God to heal him, God only having power to do it. Save me, for thou art my praise — It is from thee only that I expect relief and comfort in all my troubles: and as I acknowledge that all the blessings I enjoy come from thee, so it is to thee I return all thanks and praise.

17:12-18 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.Shall be written in the earth - i. e., their names shall quickly disappear, unlike those graven in the rock forever Job 19:24. A board covered with sand is used in the East to this day in schools for giving lessons in writing: but writing inscribed on such materials is intended to be immediately obliterated. Equally fleeting is the existence of those who forsake God. "All men are written somewhere, the saints in heaven, but sinners upon earth" (Origen).14-18. Prayer of the prophet for deliverance from the enemies whom he excited by his faithful denunciations.

Heal … save—not only make me whole (as to the evils of soul as well as body which I am exposed to by contact with ungodly foes, Jer 15:18), but keep me so.

my praise—He whom I have to praise for past favors, and therefore to whom alone I look for the time to come.

Most interpreters here understand the prophet speaking in these words to God for himself; he represents himself to God as a person wounded or sick, either with his sense of God’s dishonour by the sins of the people, or with their reproaches or threatenings, and beggeth of God to heal him, he being he in whose hand or power it was to heal him, and who could certainly do it. The argument is in those words, for thou art my praise, he whom alone I have reason to praise for mercies already received, to whom alone I owe all my good things.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed,.... These are the words of the prophet, sensible of his own sins and backslidings, and of the part which he himself had in these corrupt and declining times; and being conscious of his own impotency to cure himself; and being fully satisfied of the power of the Lord to heal him; and being well assured, if he was healed by him, he should be thoroughly and effectually healed; therefore he applies unto him. Sins are diseases; healing them is the forgiveness of them; God only can grant this: or this may have respect to the consolation of him, whose soul was distressed, grieved, and wounded, with the consideration of the sins of his people, and the calamities coming upon them on that account:

save me, and I shall be saved; with a temporal, spiritual, and eternal salvation; save me from the corruptions of the times, from the designs of my enemies; preserve me to thy kingdom and glory; there are none saved but whom the Lord saves, and those that are saved by him are saved to a purpose; they can never perish:

for thou art my praise; the cause of it, by reason of mercies bestowed; the object of it, whom he did and would praise evermore, because of his favours, particularly the blessings of healing and salvation by him; see Psalm 103:1.

Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; {n} save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.

(n) He desires God to preserve him that he fall not into temptation, considering the great contempt of God's word, and the multitude that fall from God.

14. See introd. note on Jeremiah 17:9-10. Jeremiah prays that God’s character for faithfulness may be vindicated in his own case.

14–18. See introd. summary to section.

Verses 14-18. - A prayer of the prophet in this his hour of need. He who makes his boast of Jehovah may reckon upon his help. This is Jeremiah's principle. He prays for healing, Heal me... and I shall be - rather, that I may be - healed. He is one of those "broken in heart," whom Jehovah alone can "heal" (Psalm 147:3). Jeremiah 17:14The prophet's prayer for rescue from his enemies. - Jeremiah 17:14. "Heal me, Jahveh, that I may be healed; help me, that I may be holpen, for Thou art my praise. Jeremiah 17:15. Behold, they say to me, Where is the word of Jahveh? let it come, now. Jeremiah 17:16. I have not withdrawn myself from being a shepherd after Thee, neither wished for the day of trouble, Thou knowest; that which went forth of my lips was open before Thy face. Jeremiah 17:17. Be not to me a confusion, my refuge art Thou in the day of evil. Jeremiah 17:18. Let my persecutors be put to shame, but let not me be put to shame; let them be confounded, but let not me be confounded; bring upon them the day of evil, and break them with a double breach."

The experience Jeremiah had had in his calling seemed to contradict the truth, that trust in the Lord brings blessing (Jeremiah 17:7.); for his preaching of God's word had brought him nothing but persecution and suffering. Therefore he prays the Lord to remove this contradiction and to verify that truth in his case also. The prayer of Jeremiah 17:14, "heal me," reminds one of Psalm 6:3; Psalm 30:3. Thou art תּהלּתי, the object of my praises; cf. Psalm 71:6; Deuteronomy 10:21. - The occasion for this prayer is furnished by the attacks of his enemies, who ask in scorn what then has become of that which he proclaims as the word of the Lord, why it does not come to pass. Hence we see that the discourse, of which this complaint is the conclusion, was delivered before the first invasion of Judah by the Chaldeans. So long as his announcements were not fulfilled, the unbelieving were free to persecute him as a false prophet (cf. Deuteronomy 18:22), and to give out that his prophecies were inspired by his own spite against his people. He explains, on the contrary, that in his calling he has neither acted of his own accord, nor wished for misfortune to the people, but that he has spoken by the inspiration of God alone. 'לא אצתּי cannot mean: I have not pressed myself forward to follow Thee as shepherd, i.e., pressed myself forward into Thy service in vain and overweening self-conceit (Umbr.). For although this sense would fall very well in with the train of thought, yet it cannot be grammatically justified. אוּץ, press, press oneself on to anything, is construed with ל, cf.Josh. Jeremiah 10:13; with מן it can only mean: press oneself away from a thing. מרעה may stand for מהיות , cf. Jeremiah 48:2, 1 Samuel 15:23; 1 Kings 15:13 : from being a shepherd after Thee, i.e., I have not withdrawn myself from following after Thee as a shepherd. Against this rendering the fact seems to weigh, that usually it is not the prophets, but only the kings and princes, that are entitled the shepherds of the people; cf. Jeremiah 23:1. For this reason, it would appear, Hitz. and Graf have taken רעה in the sig. to seek after a person or thing, and have translated: I have not pressed myself away from keeping after Thee, or from being one that followed Thee faithfully. For this appeal is made to places like Proverbs 13:20; Proverbs 28:7; Psalm 37:3, where רעה does mean to seek after a thing, to take pleasure in it. But in this sig. רעה is always construed with the accus. of the thing or person, not with אחרי, as here. Nor does it by any means follow, from the fact of shepherds meaning usually kings or rulers, that the idea of "shepherd" is exhausted in ruling and governing people. According to Psalm 23:1, Jahveh is the shepherd of the godly, who feeds them in green pastures and leads them to the refreshing water, who revives their soul, etc. In this sense prophets, too, feed the people, if they, following the Lord as chief shepherd, declare God's word to the people. We cannot in any case abide by Ng.'s rendering, who, taking רעה in its literal sense, puts the meaning thus: I have not pressed myself away from being a shepherd, in order to go after Thee. For the assumption that Jeremiah had, before his call, been, like Amos, a herd of cattle, contradicts Jeremiah 1:1; nor from the fact, that the cities of the priests and of the Levites were provided with grazing fields (מגרשׁים), does it at all follow that the priests themselves tended their flocks. "The day of trouble," the ill, disastrous day, is made out by Ng. to be the day of his entering upon the office of prophet - a view that needs no refutation. It is the day of destruction for Jerusalem and Judah, which Jeremiah had foretold. When Ng. says: "He need not have gone out of his way to affirm that he did not desire the day of disaster for the whole people," he has neglected to notice that Jeremiah is here defending himself against the charges of his enemies, who inferred from his prophecies of evil that he found a pleasure in his people's calamity, and wished for it to come. For the truth of his defence, Jeremiah appeals to the omniscience of God: "Thou knowest it." That which goes from my lips, i.e., the word that came from my lips, was נך פּניך, before or over against thy face, i.e., manifest to Thee.

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