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Individuals Are Challenged to Put Their Trust in the Lord[a]

The Lord says,

“I will put a curse on people
who trust in mere human beings,
who depend on mere flesh and blood for their strength,[b]
and whose hearts[c] have turned away from the Lord.
They will be like a shrub[d] in the arid rift valley.[e]
They will not experience good things even when they happen.
It will be as though they were growing in the stony wastes in the wilderness,[f]
in a salt land where no one can live.
My blessing is on those people who trust in me,
who put their confidence in me.[g]

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  1. Jeremiah 17:5 sn Verses 5-11 are a collection of wisdom-like sayings (cf. Ps 1) that set forth the theme of the two ways and their consequences. It has as its background the blessings and the curses of Deut 28 and the challenge to faith in Deut 29-30, which climaxes in Deut 30:15-20. The nation is sinful, and God is weary of showing them patience. However, there is hope for individuals within the nation if they will trust in him.
  2. Jeremiah 17:5 tn Heb “who make flesh their arm.” The “arm” is the symbol of strength, and the flesh is the symbol of mortal man in relation to the omnipotent God. The translation “mere flesh and blood” reflects this.
  3. Jeremiah 17:5 sn In the psychology of ancient Hebrew thought the heart was the center not only of the emotions but of the thoughts and motivations. It was also the seat of moral conduct (cf. its placement in the middle of the discussion of moral conduct in Prov 4:20-27, i.e., in v. 23).
  4. Jeremiah 17:6 tn This word occurs only here and in Jer 48:6. It has been identified as a kind of juniper, which is a short shrub with minute leaves that look like scales. For a picture and more discussion see Fauna and Flora of the Bible, 131.
  5. Jeremiah 17:6 tn The עֲרָבָה (ʿaravah) refers to the rift valley. As a geographic feature it extends from Galilee to the Gulf of Aqaba, but individual passages typically refer to only a portion of it. The areas of the rift valley around the Dead Sea and to the south are known to be arid and inhospitable.
  6. Jeremiah 17:6 tn A מִדְבָּר (midbar, “wilderness”) receives less than twelve inches of rain per year and therefore cannot support trees and has little plant life.
  7. Jeremiah 17:7 tn Heb “Blessed is the person who trusts in the Lord, and whose confidence is in the Lord.” However, because this is a statement of the Lord and the translation chooses to show that the blessing comes from him, the first person is substituted for the divine name.

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