6 He shall be like a bush in the desert, Which does not sense the coming of good: It is set in the scorched places of the wilderness, In a barren land without inhabitant.
v’-ha-YAH k’-ar-AR ba-a-ra-VAH v’-LO yir-EH kee ya-VO TOV v’-sha-KHAN kha-ray-REEM ba-mid-BAR E-retz m’-lay-KHAH v’-LO tay-SHAYV
17:6 He shall be like a bush in the desert
To illustrate the difference between trusting in Hashem and trusting in man, Yirmiyahu paints a strong contrast between two vivid images. One who relies on man is compared to a small shrub in the barren and rocky desert. The Hebrew name for this plant is arar (ערער), similar to the Hebrew word for ‘childless,’ areeree (ערירי), invoking feelings of lifelessness and emptiness. Someone who relies on Hashem, however, is likened to a majestic tree with deep roots beside an ever-flowing river, growing tall and whose branches provide shelter from the heat (verse 8). Israel has two choices: They can trust in God and remain secure in their land, flourishing like the tree by the river, or they can cut themselves off from the Divine Presence and choose to be exiled to the wilderness of the arar.