Observance of the Sabbath (Jer 17:21-17:23)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For the sake of your lives,

Take care

That you do not bear a burden

On the Sabbath day!

Do not bring it in

By the gates of Jerusalem!

Do not carry a burden

Out of your houses

On the Sabbath!

Do not do any work!

But keep the Sabbath day holy!

As I commanded your ancestors,

Yet they did not listen.

They did not incline their ear.

They stiffened their necks.

They would not hear.

They would not receive instruction.”

Here Jeremiah has Yahweh insist on the observance of the Sabbath that had not been followed by their ancestors. This insistence on the Sabbath observance was a strong post-exilic theme, not a pre-exilic emphasis. They were not to bear any burden on the Sabbath. Certainly, they should not bring anything in through the gates of Jerusalem. They should not even carry a heavy burden from their homes. In fact, they should not do any work on the Sabbath at all, but rather keep it holy. Yahweh had given this same commandment to their ancestors, but they never listened since they did not like instructions.