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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Jeremiah 11

Verses 1-5

JEREMIAH - CHAPTER 11

JUDAH’S BREACH OF THE COVENANT

The position of covenant-relationship, to which Israel was exalted at Mt Sinai, placed upon her the responsibility of fidelity to the terms of that covenant. If Judah rejects her covenant-obligations, then she forfeits her right to the blessings offered those who walk in the sphere of covenant-fellowship with Jehovah, her God.

Most scholars view this prophetic message as being delivered in connection with the discovery of the scroll containing "the book of the law" (2 Kings 22:8) in the temple (621 B.C.), and the reformation of religious life to which king Josiah called his people - requiring the rejection of every idol, to worship Jehovah alone as God.

Vs. 1-5: THE PRINCIPLES OF THE COVENANT RESTATED

1. Jeremiah is commanded to hear the words of the covenant and to relay the essence of it to the men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, (comp. Exodus 19:5).

2. A curse rests upon everyone who refuses to heed the words of God’s covenant, (Jeremiah 17:5; Deuteronomy 27:26; Galatians 3:10).

3. "Covenant" here refers specifically to the Mosaic Covenant (Deuteronomy 11:18; Deuteronomy 27:15-26; Deuteronomy 28:13; Deuteronomy 29:9) wherein God set forth His purpose for Israel when He delivered them from the affliction of Egypt, (vs. 3-5; Deuteronomy 4:20; 1 Kings 8:51).

a. It required obedience from the people of the covenant -obedience to the voice of Jehovah their God.

b. So would they BE His people, and He their God (Deuteronomy 6:3; Deuteronomy 11:9; Deuteronomy 26:9); a people who refuse to obey the voice of the Lord have no right to claim the blessings of His covenant.

c. Fidelity to their covenant-responsibilities would enable God to fulfill, to them, the blessings long ago pledged to their ancient fathers, of a land flowing with milk and honey.

d. The choice of Judah, therefore, is between THE BLESSING and THE CURSE of the Lord.

4. Jeremiah answered the Lord, saying, "AMEN" (So be it!) "O LORD"!

a. He knew that the choice God offered was a fair one.

b. And he yearned to see Judah choose the path of OBEDIENCE and blessing, rather than that of DISOBEDIENCE and the curse.

Verses 6-8

Vs. 6-8; GOD’S FAITHFULLNESS TO HIS COVENANT

1. Jeremiah is to call upon the whole of Judah to hear and obey the words of God’s covenant, (vs. 6; comp. Jeremiah 3:12; Jeremiah 7:2).

2. From the day that He delivered them from Egypt, the Lord has earnestly protested the nation’s careless attitude toward the covenant - urging them to obey His word as they had pledged themselves to do at Mt Sinai, (vs. 7; 1 Samuel 8:9; Exodus 15:26; 2 Chronicles 36:15).

3. But their fathers refused to hear and obey, (vs. 8a; Jeremiah 7:24; Jeremiah 9:14; Jeremiah 35:15; Ezekiel 20:8).

a. Walking after the stubbornness of their own willful hearts they have violated the stipulations of the covenant through their apostasy.

b. Only by a genuine spiritual renewal, on the part of the nation, could they be restored to covenant fellowship and blessing; but this required repentance, and they were NOT READY FOR THATI

4. Thus, the Lord is bringing upon them ALL the words of His covenant - with specific reference, here, to His threatenings against the rebellion and disobedience of their unbelieving hearts, (vs. 8b; Leviticus 26:14-43; Deuteronomy 8:19; Deuteronomy 28:15).

Verses 9-13

Va. 9-13: AN EVIL CONSPIRACY

1. The revolt of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, is regarded by God as a conspiracy against Himself - though they did not actually regard it as such themselves, (vs. 9; comp. Ezekiel 22:25-28; Hosea 6:7-11).

2. Following a time of outward reformation, Judah is turning again to the iniquities of her forefathers, (vs. 10).

a. Refusing to hear the word of the Lord (Jeremiah 3:10; Jeremiah 13:10; Psalms 78:8-11), they are turning to serve other gods, (vs. 10a; Judges 2:11-13).

b. Both Israel and Judah have BROKEN THE COVENANT that God made with their ancient fathers, (vs. 1 Ezekiel 16:59; Hosea 8:1).

3. Now Judah faces INESCAPABLE JUDGMENT because of her sins, (vs. 11-12).

a. Though they cry to Jehovah, He will not hearl

b. Then they will go to the gods to whom they offer incense; but that will be a total waste, for there is NO LIFE in them i

4. Since Judah and Jerusalem have been filled with the shameful incense-altars of Baal (Jeremiah 3:24), God will abandon them unto Baal until they learn the wretchedness of their evil way! (vs. 13).

Verses 14-17

Va. 14-17: PROPHETIC INTERCESSION FORBIDDEN

1. Jeremiah is forbidden to pray for the deliverance of this idolatrous people who insist on bowing to Baal, (vs. 14); the Lord will no more hear such a prayer than he will hear the cry of their calamity in the day of judgment!

2. Since His beloved has committed acts of wickedness, she has no right in His house; meaningless vows and carnal rituals will not so cleanse her filthiness as to enable her to rejoice when disaster strikes! (vs. 15).

3. Though the Lord once regarded her as "a green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit," her ruin will come like that of a tree struck by lightning in the midst of an electrical storm, (vs. 16); her branches will be utterly consumed.

4. The Lord, who planted her, has been goaded to vengeance by her persistent chasing after other lovers - despising the love of Him Who is faithful and true! (vs. 17).

Verses 18-23

Vs. 18-23: A PLOT AGAINST JEREAAIAH’S LIFE

1. Jeremiah had already been warned that he would face danger and opposition because of his faithful ministry, (Jeremiah 1:17-19).

2. These verses describe the opposition he encountered from the people of Anathoth - his own birthplace, (comp. Matthew 10:36).

a. Since the days of Solomon there had dwelt here a group of priests (kindred of Jeremiah) who had been excluded from the priestly function at Jerusalem, (1 Kings 2:26).

b. Jeremiah’s fidelity to the Lord, and to the godly Josiah, had aroused within them such bitterness as made them beastly.

3. Until God told him of their plot, Jeremiah was as a trustful, unsuspecting lamb being led to the slaughter, (vs. 18-19; comp. Isaiah 53:7).

a. They threatened to cut him off in the prime and vigor of life if he would not cease to prophesy in the name of the Lord, (vs. 19b, 21 b).

b. Murder was their obvious intention; his name should be no more remembered if they succeeded.

c. Like his Lord, the prophet would "learn obedience" through suffering, (Hebrews 5:8-9).

4. Having committed his case into the hands of His righteous and knowing Lord, Jeremiah asks for vengeance upon his enemies, (vs. 20; comp. Jeremiah 18:21; 2 Chronicles 36:17).

a. He knows that God will do what is right.

b. His Lord tests the reins (kidneys) - the seat of one’s innermost feelings, (Proverbs 23:16; Psalms 16:7; Psalms 73:21); and He knows the heart -the seat of understanding, (Proverbs 15:14; Proverbs 20:5).

5. The Lord answers that He will, indeed, punish the men of Anathoth; but He will do it according to His own schedule, (vs. 21 a; 22­-23; Jeremiah 21:14).

a. Their young men will die by the sword; their young women of starvation, (Jeremiah 18:21).

b. God will not even spare a remnant of the conspirators (Jeremiah 6:9); according to Ezra 2:23 only 128 men of Anathoth returned from the exile.

c. Their calamity will come in the year God has appointed for their punishment, (comp. Jeremiah 23:12).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Jeremiah 11". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/jeremiah-11.html. 1985.