Jeremiah 17:23
But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction.
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17:19-27 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.To yourselves - literally, "in your souls, i. e., in yourselves." They were to be on their guard from the depths of their own conscience, thoroughly and on conviction.

Bear no burden on the sabbath day - Apparently the Sabbath day was kept negligently. The country people were in the habit of coming to Jerusalem on the Sabbath to attend the temple service, but mingled traffic with their devotions, bringing the produce of their fields and gardens with them for disposal. The people of Jerusalem for their part took Jeremiah 17:22 their wares to the gates, and carried on a brisk traffic there with the villagers. Both parties seem to have abstained from manual labor, but did not consider that buying and selling were prohibited by the fourth commandment.

23. (Jer 7:24, 26). The Jews were a very covetous people, and their covetousness as well as their other lusts were temptations to them to profane the Lord’s sabbaths, Nehemiah 13:19 Ezekiel 20:2. But they obeyed not,.... Or, "heard not" (c); so as to observe and do; that is, their fathers did not; this command was very early disobeyed, and more or less in all intervening times:

neither inclined their ear; or listened attentively to what was said to them; but if they heard at all, it was in a very indifferent and careless manner, as if they cared not whether they heard or not; whereas persons intent on hearing bow the head, and turn the ear; and if they have one better than another, will turn that, in order to take in what they are attentive to; but so did not the Jewish fathers:

but made their neck stiff; or "hard" (d); and would not bend it, to take upon them the yoke of the commandments: a metaphor taken from untamed oxen, that will not submit the neck to the yoke, but draw back from it. The Septuagint and Arabic versions understand all this, not of the Jewish fathers of old, but of their children, even of the then present generation, rendering the words, "but hardened their neck more than their fathers"; they were more stiffnecked, refractory, and disobedient than they were; this was always the character of this people; as were the fathers, so were the children, if not worse; see Acts 7:51;

that they might not hear nor receive instruction; about the command of the sabbath, or any other: or "correction", or "discipline" (e); the yoke of which they were as unwilling to bear as the yoke of the commandments, Jeremiah 31:18.

(c) "non audiverunt", Pagninus, Montanus, Schmidt. (d) "sed obturarunt cervicem suam", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "indurarunt", Pagninus, Montanus, Schmidt. (e) "discliplinam", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Schmidt.

But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction.
23. Substantially the same as ch. Jeremiah 7:26.

instruction] correction. See on Jeremiah 6:8.Verse 23. - This verse is modeled on Jeremiah 7:26, 28. On this he founds his entreaty that the Lord will not bring him to confusion and shame by leaving his prophecies as to Judah unfulfilled, and gives his encouragement to pray in the clause: Thou art my refuge in the day of evil, in evil times; cf. Jeremiah 15:11. May God rather put his persecutors to shame and confusion by the accomplishment of the calamity foretold, Jeremiah 17:18. תּהיה pointed with Tsere instead of the abbreviation תּהי, cf. Ew. 224, c. הביא is imperat. instead of הבא, as in 1 Samuel 20:40, where the Masoretes have thus pointed even the הביא. But in the Hiph. the i has in many cases maintained itself against the , so that we are neither justified in regarding the form before us as scriptio plena, nor yet in reading הביאה. - Break them with a double breach, i.e., let the disaster fall on them doubly. "A double breach," pr. something doubled in the way of breaking or demolition. שׁבּרון is not subordinated to משׁנה in stat. constr., but is added as accus. of kind; cf. Ew. 287, h.
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