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Jeremiah 17:19-20

Context
Observance of the Sabbath Day Is a Key to the Future 1 

17:19 The Lord told me, “Go and stand in the People’s Gate 2  through which the kings of Judah enter and leave the city. Then go and stand in all the other gates of the city of Jerusalem. 3  17:20 As you stand in those places 4  announce, ‘Listen, all you people who pass through these gates. Listen, all you kings of Judah, all you people of Judah and all you citizens of Jerusalem. Listen to what the Lord says. 5 

1 sn Observance of the Sabbath day (and the Sabbatical year) appears to have been a litmus test of the nation’s spirituality since it is mentioned in a number of passages besides this one (cf., e.g., Isa 56:2, 6; 58:13; Neh 13:15-18). Perhaps this is because the Sabbath day was the sign of the Mosaic covenant (Exod 31:13-17) just as the rainbow was the sign of the Noahic covenant (Gen 9:12, 13, 17) and circumcision was the sign of the Abrahamic covenant (Gen 17:11). This was not the only command they failed to obey, nor was their failure to obey this one the sole determining factor in the Lord’s decision to destroy Judah (cf. 7:23- 24; 11:7-8 in their contexts).

2 sn The identity and location of the People’s Gate is uncertain since it is mentioned nowhere else in the Hebrew Bible. Some identify it with the Benjamin Gate mentioned in Jer 37:13; 38:7 (cf. NAB), but there is no textual support for this in the Hebrew Bible or in any of the ancient versions.

3 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

4 tn The words “As you stand there” are not in the text but are implicit in the connection. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.

5 tn Heb “Listen to the word of the Lord, kings of Judah…Jerusalem who enter through these gates.” This sentence has been restructured to avoid a long complex English sentence and to put “Listen to what the Lord says” closer to the content of what he says.



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