Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, May 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 11

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 2

Hear ye the words of this covenant, and speak unto the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem;

This covenant - alluding to the book of the law (Deut. 27:28 ) found in the temple by Hilkiah the high priest, five years after Jeremiah's call to the prophetic office (2 Kings 22:8-20; 2 Kings 23:1-25).

Hear ye the words of this covenant, and speak unto the men of Judah. Others besides Jeremiah were to promulgate God's will to the people; it was the duty of the priests to read the law to them (Malachi 2:7).

Verse 3

And say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel; Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant,

(Deuteronomy 27:26; Galatians 3:10).

Verse 4

Which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I command you: so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God:

In the day - i:e., when. The Sinaic covenant was some time after the exodus, but the two events are so connected as to be viewed as one.

Iron furnace - (Deuteronomy 4:20; 1 Kings 8:51). "Furnace" expresses the searching ordeal; "iron," the long duration of it. The furnace was of earth, not of iron (Psalms 12:6); a furnace in heat and duration enough to melt even iron. God's deliverance of them from such an ordeal of hard bondage in Egypt aggravates their present guilt.

Do them - namely, the words of the covenant (Jeremiah 11:3).

So shall ye be my people - (Leviticus 26:3; Leviticus 26:12, "If ye walk in my statutes, etc., I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people").

Verse 5

That I may perform the oath which I have sworn unto your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day. Then answered I, and said, So be it, O LORD.

Oath - (Psalms 105:9-10).

As it is this day. These are the concluding words of God to the Israelites at the time when formerly they were brought out of Egypt. "Obey, etc., that I may at this time make good the promise I made to your fathers, etc., to give," etc. (Maurer). The English version makes the words apply to Jeremiah's time, 'As ye know at this time that God's promise has been fulfilled,' namely, in Israel's acquisition of Canaan.

So be it - Hebrew, Amen. Taken from Deuteronomy 27:15-26. Jeremiah hereby solemnly concurs in the justice of the curses pronounced there (see Jeremiah 11:3).

Verse 6

Then the LORD said unto me, Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, Hear ye the words of this covenant, and do them.

Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah. Jeremiah was to take a prophetic tour throughout Judah, to proclaim everywhere the denunciations in the book of the law found in the temple.

Hear ye the words of this covenant, and do them - (Romans 2:13; James 1:22, "Be ye doers of the word, and not bearers only").

Verse 7

For I earnestly protested unto your fathers in the day that I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, even unto this day, rising early and protesting, saying, Obey my voice.

Rising early - (Jeremiah 7:13).

Verse 8

Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart: therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do; but they did them not.

Imagination - rather, stubbornness (note, Jeremiah 3:17).

Will bring. The words, "even unto this day" (Jeremiah 11:7), confirm the English version rather than the rendering of Rosenmuller: 'I brought upon them.'

Words - threats (Jeremiah 11:3; Deuteronomy 27:15-26).

Verse 9

And the LORD said unto me, A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Conspiracy - a deliberate combination against God and against Josiah's reformation. Their idolatry is not the result of a hasty impulse (Psalms 83:5; Ezekiel 22:25).

Verse 10

They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words; and they went They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words; and they went after other gods to serve them: the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their fathers.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 11

Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them.

Though they shall cry unto me - contrasted with "cry unto the gods," etc. (Jeremiah 11:12).

Not hearken - (Psalms 18:41; Proverbs 1:28, "Then shall they call unto me, but I will not answer: they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me;" Isaiah 1:15; Micah 3:4).

Verse 12

Then shall the cities of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem go, and cry unto the gods unto whom they offer incense: but they shall not save them at all in the time of their trouble.

Then shall the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem go and cry unto the gods unto whom they offer incense, but they shall not save them - (Deuteronomy 32:37-38). Compare with this verse and beginning of Jeremiah 11:13; Jeremiah 2:28.

In the time of their trouble - i:e., calamity (Jeremiah 2:27).

Verse 13

For according to the number of thy cities were thy gods, O Judah; and according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem have ye set up altars to that shameful thing, even altars to burn incense unto Baal.

Shameful thing - Hebrew, shame, namely, the idol, not merely shameful, but the essence of all that is shameful (Jeremiah 3:24; Hosea 9:10), which will bring shame and confusion on yourselves (Calvin).

Verse 14

Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble.

Therefore pray not for this people ... There is a climax of guilt which admits of no further intercessory prayer (Exodus 32:10, in the Chaldee version, 'leave off praying;' Jeremiah 7:16; 1 Samuel 16:1; 1 Samuel 15:35; 1 John 5:16). Our mind should be at one with God in all that He is doing, even in the rejection of the reprobate.

For their trouble - on account of their trouble. Other manuscripts read, 'in the time of their trouble'-a gloss from Jeremiah 11:12.

Verse 15

What hath my beloved to do in mine house, seeing she hath wrought lewdness with many, and the holy flesh is passed from thee? when thou doest evil, then thou rejoicest.

My beloved - my elect people, Judea: this aggravates their ingratitude (Jeremiah 12:7).

She hath wrought lewdness with many - (Ezekiel 16:25); rather, 'that great (or manifold) enormity;' literally, the enormity, the manifold-namely, their idolatry, which made their worship of God in the temple a mockery (cf. Jeremiah 7:10; Ezekiel 23:39). (Henderson.)

The holy flesh is passed for thee - (Haggai 2:12-14; Titus 1:15), namely, the sacrifices, which, through the guilt of the Jews, were no longer holy - i:e., acceptable to God. The sacrifices on which they relied will therefore no longer protect them. Judah is represented as a priest's wife, who, by adultery, has forfeited her share in the flesh of the sacrifices, and yet boasts of her prerogative at the very same time (Horsley).

When thou doest evil, then thou rejoicest - literally, 'when thy evil' (is at hand). Piscator translates, 'When thy calamity is at hand (according to God's threats), thou gloriest' (against God, instead of humbling thyself). The English version is best (cf. Proverbs 2:14. Contrast 1 Corinthians 13:6, "Rejoiceth not in iniquity").

Verse 16

The LORD called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken.

Called thy name - made thee.

Olive - (Psalms 52:8; Romans 11:17). The "olive" is chosen to represent the adoption of Judah by the free grace of God, as its oil is the image of richness (cf. Psalms 23:5; Psalms 104:15).

With the noise of a great tumult - or, 'at the noise,' etc., namely, the tumult of the invading army (Isaiah 13:4). (Maurer.) Or rather, 'with the sound of a mighty voice-namely, that of God - i:e., the thunder; thus there is no confusion of metaphors. The tree stricken with lightning has 'fire kindled upon it, and the branches are broken,' at one and the same time (Houbigant).

Verse 17

For the LORD of hosts, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against thee, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offering incense unto Baal.

The Lord of hosts, that planted thee - as "a noble vine" (Jeremiah 2:21; Isaiah 5:2).

Which they have done against themselves - the sinner's sin is to his own hurt (note, Jeremiah 7:19).

Verses 18-19

And the LORD hath given me knowledge of it, and I know it: then thou shewedst me their doings.

Jeremiah here digresses to notice the attempt on his life plotted by his townsmen of Anathoth. He had no suspicion of it until Yahweh revealed it to him (Jeremiah 12:6).

The Lord hath given me knowledge of it ... then thou showedst me their doings. The change of person from the third to the second accords with the excited feelings of the prophet.

Then - when I was in peril of my life.

Thou showedst me their doings - those of the men of Anathoth. His thus alluding to them, before he has mentioned their name, is due to his excitement.

Verse 19. Like a lamb ... brought to the slaughter, [ kebes (H3532)] - literally, a pet lamb of not more than a year old, such as the Jews often had in their houses, for their children to play with; and the Arabs still have (2 Samuel 12:3). His own familiar friends had plotted against the prophet. The language is exactly the same as that applied to Messiah (Isaiah 53:7). Each prophet and patriarch exemplified in his own person some one feature or more in the manifold attributes and sufferings of the Messiah to come; just as the saints have done since His coming (Galatians 2:20; Philippians 3:10; Colossians 1:24). This adapted both the more experimentally to testify of Christ.

Devised devices against me - (Jeremiah 18:18).

Let us destroy the tree with the fruit thereof - literally, in its fruit or food, i:e., when it is in fruit. Proverbial, to express the destruction of cause and effect together. The man is the tree; his teaching, the fruit. Let us destroy the prophet and his prophecies-namely, those threatening destruction to the nation, which offended them. (Compare Matthew 7:17, "Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit," which also refers to prophets and their doctrines.

Verse 20

But, O LORD of hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I revealed my cause.

O Lord of hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins and the heart - (Revelation 2:23, "All the churches shall know that I am He which searcheth the reins and hearts").

Unto thee have I revealed my cause - committed my cause. Jeremiah's wish for vengeance, "Let me see thy vengeance upon them," was not personal, but ministerial, and accorded with God's purpose revealed to him against the enemies alike of God and of His servant (Psalms 37:34; Psalms 54:7; Psalms 112:8; Psalms 118:7).

Verse 21

Therefore thus saith the LORD of the men of Anathoth, that seek thy life, saying, Prophesy not in the name of the LORD, that thou die not by our hand:

Prophesy not - (Isaiah 30:10, "Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits;" Amos 2:12; Micah 2:6). If Jeremiah had not uttered his denunciatory predictions, they would not have plotted against him. None were more bitter than his own fellow- townsmen. Compare the conduct of the Nazarites toward Jesus of Nazareth after he had preached in their synagogue, and declared, by reference to Elijah sent to the Gentile Naaman, and Elisha sent to the widow of Sarepta, near Sidon, the truth so unpalatable to Jews-the call of the Gentiles, and the rejection of Israel (Luke 4:24-29).

Verse 22

Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, I will punish them: the young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine:

Behold, I will punish them - the retribution of their intended murder shall be in kind. As they plotted that Jeremiah should die by their hands, so shall they die by the hand of the Lord. Just as in Messiah's case (Psalms 69:8-28).

Verse 23

And there shall be no remnant of them: for I will bring evil upon the men of Anathoth, even the year of their visitation.

And there shall be no remnant ... - (Jeremiah 23:12).

The year of their visitation - Septuagint translate, 'in the year of their,' etc. - i:e., at the time when I shall visit them in wrath. Jerome supports the English version. "Year" often means a determined time.


(1) The covenant which God makes with His people has privileges on the one hand attached to it, and obligations on the other. As He promises to be "our God," and to make us "His people," if we "obey His voice" (Jeremiah 11:4), so also He declares explicitly, "Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant" (Jeremiah 11:3). The remembrance of the "iron furnace" (Jeremiah 11:4) from which He has delivered His people, and the prospect of the heavenly land of promise, flowing with spiritual milk and honey (Isaiah 55:1), are considerations well calculated to stimulate believers to heartfelt gratitude to their loving Redeemer, and to diligent following after that "holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord."

(2) God's long-suffering toward the ungodly, and His earnest entreaties by His ministers, "rising early and protesting to them" (Jeremiah 11:7), are the most grievous aggravations of their guilt in "refusing to hear." Sinners are leagued in a foul and monstrous "conspiracy" (Jeremiah 11:9) against Him whom of all in the universe they have reason to love most, their Maker, their Preserver, their King, their Supreme Benefactor, Redeemer, and Lord. When therefore God at last is constrained to execute judgment on them, what "escape" can there be for them? (Jeremiah 11:11.) Their earthly confidences can no longer avail them (Jeremiah 11:12); their once pleasant sins now cause them unspeakable remorse; they cry to God at last in their time of trouble; but it is now the day of vengeance, and the day of grace is forever past. God will not any longer "hearken" now to those who would not hear Him then (Jeremiah 11:11). The godly must not any longer compassionate or intercede for those finally given over to wrath (Jeremiah 11:14). Past spiritual privileges cannot now avail, except to fill the abusers of them with the tormenting self-reproach that by their wicked neglect they have suffered "the holy flesh to pass from" them, and though once the favoured "green olive tree" (Jeremiah 11:16) in the house of God, they have become dead branches, doomed to be blasted forever with the ligh tning of God's righteous vengeance. Surely it is well said that the evil which sinners do is "against themselves" (Jeremiah 11:17). "Woe unto their soul" is their just sentence (Isaiah 3:9), "for they have rewarded evil unto themselves."

(3) They who form a "conspiracy" against the Lord (Jeremiah 11:9) will not scruple to conspire against their fellow-men (Jeremiah 11:18-19). The righteous torment the earthly-minded (Revelation 11:10), because they reprove their ungodly course both by precept and by example. The carnal hate to hear the truth concerning themselves and their ways, and like only to hear "smooth things" from ministers (Jeremiah 11:21). Therefore, they bear a grudge toward, and plot against those who tell them the unwelcome truth. How suicidal, that they should hate their truest friends! The righteous result is, whereas God knows and averts from His servants the evil designed against them by the ungodly, He will "punish and bring evil upon" the latter, "even the year of their visitation" (Jeremiah 11:22-23).

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 11". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/jeremiah-11.html. 1871-8.
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