Jeremiah 17:19-27

Thus YHWH said to me, “Go and stand in the public gate, through which the kings of Judah come in and go out, as well as in all the gates of Jerusalem; and say to them, `Listen to the word of YHWH, kings of Judah, and all Judah and all inhabitants of Jerusalem who come in through these gates:
‘Thus says YHWH, “Take heed for yourselves, and do not carry any load on the sabbath day or bring anything in through the gates of Jerusalem. You shall not bring a load out of your houses on the sabbath day nor do any work, but keep the sabbath day holy, as I commanded your forefathers. Yet they did not listen or incline their ears, but stiffened their necks in order not to listen or take correction. But it will come about, if you listen attentively to Me,” declares YHWH, “to bring no load in through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but to keep the sabbath day holy by doing no work on it, then there will come in through the gates of this city kings and princes sitting on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their princes, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and this city will be inhabited forever. They will come in from the cities of Judah and from the environs of Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin, from the lowland, from the hill country and from the Negev, bringing burnt offerings, sacrifices, grain offerings and incense, and bringing sacrifices of thanksgiving to the house of YHWH. “But if you do not listen to Me to keep the sabbath day holy by not carrying a load and coming in through the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in its gates and it will devour the palaces of Jerusalem and not be quenched.”‘”

As near as I can tell, there are at least four reasons to keep the Sabbath.  First, it reflects simple obedience to YHWH.  Second, YHWH himself, as Creator, sat enthroned over his creation and rested on the seventh day (Gen. 2:1-3).  Third, it reflects a creation principle for mankind: battle for dominion followed by rest and order.  Finally, as YHWH’s vassels on earth, we acknowledge our fealty with praise and offerings as he commanded.

Keil writes of this passage, “Safety appointed to the people lies in the Decalogue” (289).  YHWH promises prosperity and protection if they will only obey.  Obedience is something I need to take more seriously.  Maybe I’ll rest here for a day and think about it….

About Benj

I’m a native North Jerseyan, transplanted to Pennsylvania...lived and taught in Eastern Europe for six years…Old Testament professor, ordained minister, occasional liturgist…husband to Corrie…father to Daniel and Elizabeth.
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1 Response to Jeremiah 17:19-27

  1. Susan Giffone says:

    I happened to be scanning through Romans and came across Romans 14:5, which hit me in a new way, and calls into question the idea of observing a day of rest and/or worsip at all. Bear with me: read this:

    “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.”

    I know his main point is that we should not consider ourselves superior to others because our religious observance is different or more thorough, or more “correct”. But he doesn’t seem to be saying, “just pick a day, any day, and rest and worship on that day.” He seems to be saying, “Pick one day or pick them all.” What do you think?

    Jewish tradition would dictate that we rest on Saturday. Christian tradition would dictate that we assemble and worship and fellowship on Sunday. American tradition dictates that we reserve Saturday for running errands and Sunday for sleeping in and reading the Times.

    What do you think this scripture means for those of us who wish to craft a weekly routine for ourselves and our families?

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