Showing posts from November, 2023

A Tricky Heart: Jeremiah 17:9-10

 Our (western) culture loves to talk about the heart. We repeat the saying “follow your heart” and use the heart as a symbol of romantic love. While the heart pervades society as an image of bliss and goodness, the Bible paints a much bleaker picture of the heart, “The heart is more deceitful than anything and is desperately sick; who can understand it? I, Yahweh, search the heart and examine the mind [lit: kidneys] And give to each person according to their ways, according to the fruit of their deeds.”  This infamous saying from Jeremiah 17:9-10 is found in an oracle of Jeremiah speaking the words of Yahweh. The context of the Book of Jeremiah makes it likely this verse is referring to the idolatrous syncretism the Judahites practiced—while they worshiped the idols of Ba’al and Asherah (17:1-2), they believed that this was compatible with worshiping Yahweh. Consulting several commentaries confirmed my hunch, Jeremiah 17:1-10 is a collection of wise sayings and not necessarily a cohesi