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THE BURNED BRANCHES AND THE SWELLING OF JORDAN
(Chaps. 11, 12)
I have but little to say on these two chapters, solemn and searching as they assuredly are. It is the continued expostulation of the Lord with the people who were ever upon His heart, however much they had loved to wander.
He goes back to the beginning, the time of their sorrow and slavery when He found them in Egypt and brought them out of the iron furnace. In the joy of deliverance they had sworn obedience to His commandments, but their whole subsequent history had only manifested their faithlessness; in result of which the curse - the only thing the law could give to them or any other - rested upon them (Jeremiah 11:1-8).
Again and again warned and entreated, both Israel and Judah had broken the covenant and joined themselves to idols (Jeremiah 11:9-10). Judgment, at last, must fall upon them, and they would cry in vain for deliverance to their self-chosen gods, powerless to save. Altars to their shameful idols were seen everywhere; but no prayer nor cry of need went up to Him who alone could deliver: now He declares, "I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto Me for their trouble" (Jeremiah 11:13-14). She whom He still called "My beloved" (Jeremiah 11:15) had no longer any place in His house, for on the ground of her responsibility all had been forfeited.
Jeremiah 11:16 is doubtless the text of the apostle's dissertation in the 11th of Romans. The branches in the olive tree of blessing, "fair, and of goodly fruit," are to be destroyed with the fire of judgment. The apostle indeed tells us what the prophet does not - that wild olive branches were to be grafted in their place; though, if they continue not in GOD's goodness, they too shall be cut off, and Israel grafted in again; for "God is able." (Romans 11:23)
Jeremiah himself speaks in Jeremiah 11:18-20, taking, as another has said, "the place of the faithful remnant who have the testimony of God." Persecuted, he appeals to the One on whose errands he ran, and He to whom vengeance belongs assures him of righteous recompense upon "the men of Anathoth;" (Jeremiah 11:23) for it was true of him as of our Lord that a prophet in his own country and city is without honor.
It is quite in keeping with the Old Testament and GOD's government to find Jeremiah here praying for the destruction of these enemies of the Lord. It is certainly not the grace of the gospel, but according to the righteousness of GOD's moral government. We see the same thing in the fifth chapter of Revelation, which of itself should show that the souls under the altar are clearly Jewish martyrs in the tribulation period, after the present dispensation of grace is closed, and not Christian martyrs, whose prayer would rather be, "Father, forgive them," (Luke 23:34) or, "Lay not this sin to their charge." (Acts 7:60)
In chap. 12 the prophet pleads with GOD in regard to the vengeance soon to fall. There is something intensely beautiful and touching in the holy familiarity with which he addresses the High and Lofty One that inhabiteth Eternity. One is reminded of Abraham overlooking the cities of the plains.
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Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Jeremiah 11". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34