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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Jeremiah 11

 

 

Verses 1-23

4. FOURTH DISCOURSE

( Jeremiah 11-12)

With An Appendix. Chap13

The three chapters 11–13 are headed in common by a longer superscription ( Jeremiah 11:1) such as those with which Jeremiah is accustomed to introduce the greater sections. A similar one occurs again in Jeremiah 14:1. But chaps11,12 only form a connected whole, as will hereafter be shown. In the passage Jeremiah 12:14, where the prophet speaks of the wicked neighbors by which the inheritance of Israel was assailed, an allusion has been found to the event reported in 2 Kings 24:2 and the time of composition of this discourse determined accordingly. (So Dahler, Maurer, Hitzig, Umbreit, Graf). The discourse would accordingly pertain to the end of the reign of Jehoiakim. But in this case Jeremiah must have named the Chaldeans as the instruments of punishment, as he does without exception in all the discourses delivered after the battle of Carchemish. The fact that the Chaldeans are not mentioned is a sure sign that the discourse was delivered before the date mentioned, which falls in the fourth year of Jehoiakim ( Jeremiah 25:1; Jeremiah 46:2). Since now in the lifetime of Josiah a violation of covenant in the degree with which the people are reproached in Jeremiah 11:9-13 (observe especially Jeremiah 11:13) is not to be thought of, and the three months’ reign of Jehoahaz is scarcely worth consideration, we are referred to the first years of Jehoiakim, consequently the same period to which the preceding discourse ( Jeremiah 7:10) belongs. If what is said in Jeremiah 12:9 sqq. of wicked neighbors has some reference to 2 Kings 24:2 it can only be that we may perceive in the latter the at least partial fulfilment of the former. Comp. the comments on Jeremiah 12:14.—Ch13 is not connected with chaps11,12. It forms a well-compacted whole, the time and origin of which may be perceived partly from its silence with respect to the Chaldeans, and partly from what is said concerning the pride of the king. It must likewise belong to the first years of Jehoiakim. Comp. the preliminary remarks on Jeremiah 13. The principle of chronological arrangement is here also perceptible.

That Jeremiah 12:7-17 is not a later addition, as Maurer, Hitzig and Graf suppose, is evident, as it seems to me, from the structure of the whole.

The fundamental thought of the discourse is:

The contrast of the covenant and conspiracy

(קֶשֶׁר and בְּרִית)

1. Reminder of the recent renewal under Josiah of the covenant between Jehovah and the peoples, Jeremiah 11:1-8.

2. First stage of the conspiracy; entire Israel, instead of keeping the covenant with Jehovah, conspires against Him, Jeremiah 11:9-13.

3. Punishment of the conspiracy an inevitable, severe judgment, Jeremiah 11:14-17. (Appendix to the previous strophe).

4. Second stage of the conspiracy: the plot of the Anatotites, Jeremiah 11:18-23.

5. Third stage of the conspiracy: the plot in the prophet’s own family, Jeremiah 12:1-6.

6. The conspiracy of Israel punished by the conspiracy of the neighbors against them, Jeremiah 11:7-13.

7. Solution of all antitheses by the final union of all in the Lord, Jeremiah 12:14-17.

Jeremiah 11

1. Reminder of the recent renewal under Josiah of the Covenant between Jehovah and the people

Jeremiah 11:1-8

1 The word which came to Jeremiah from Jehovah, saying:

2 Hear ye the words of this covenant,

And speak ye to the men of Judah,

And to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

3 And say to them: Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel:

Cursed[FN1] be the man who hears not the words of this covenant,

4 Which I commanded to your fathers

In the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt,

And out of the iron furnace, saying,

Hearken ye unto my voice and do them [my commands]

According to all that which I command you;

So shall ye be my people and I will be your God;

5 To perform the oath which I swore to your fathers;

To give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day.

And I said, Amen, Jehovah!

6 And Jehovah said unto me,

Proclaim all these words in the city of Judah

And in the streets of Jerusalem, saying,

Hear ye the words of this covenant and do them!

7 For I testified to your fathers on the day[FN2]

That I brought them out of the land of Egypt,

Even to this day urgently and unceasingly:

Hearken ye unto my voice!

8 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear,

And went, every man in the hardness of his wicked heart;

And I brought upon them all the words of this covenant,

Which I commanded them to keep; but they kept them not.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

This is strophe forms the basis of the discourse. It must therefore, to be understood, be rendered in closest connection with what follows. It relates how the Lord once (in the 18 th year of king Josiah, 2 Kings 22), after the discovery of the book of the law, admonished to the observance of the covenant formed between him and their fathers, and especially according to the standard of the 5 th book of the Torah, both on the whole ( Jeremiah 11:1-5) and particulars (i. e., by repeated proclamation in the cities of Judah and streets of Jerusalem, Jeremiah 11:6-8) indicating both the blessed consequences of covenant-fidelity ( Jeremiah 11:4-5) and the ruinous consequences of infidelity ( Jeremiah 11:8). In so far as Jeremiah 11:10 relates the breach of the covenant so expressly enjoined in this strophe it is seen that this injunction must have been made previously, that therefore this strophe gives a representation of a past fact. But so far as the strophe reports only this inculcation of the covenant it is clear that it points to something later than its redintegration.

Jeremiah 11:1-2. The word which came … and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. The superscription is like Jeremiah 7:1.—Hear, etc. Since, as previously remarked, what follows is to be regarded as the narrative of a fact which occurred in former times, hear does not refer to the contents of the word proclaimed in Jeremiah 11:1, but of an earlier word. Jeremiah 11:1 refers therefore to the whole discourse, and before hear is to be supplied an introductory formula leading back to the real time of this inculcation of the covenant. The subject of hear is most probably according to Jeremiah 11:6, the people of Judah and Jerusalem. The words stand at the head as a general call of awakening and admonition. ודברתם, LXX, καὶ λαλήσεις, which recommends the reading ודִבַּרְתָּם. But according to the reading of the text it is the priests, elders and prophets, who in 2 Kings 22:1; 2 Chronicles 34:29, are expressly mentioned as participating in the covenant. There are as it were three concentric circles. The smallest represents Jeremiah, who would bring home to the people the importance of keeping the covenant. But it cannot be denied that the want of an express designation of the subject is remarkable. Perhaps the brevity of the expression may be thus explained that the prophet wished to give mere hints, knowing that these would be sufficient to recall to the memory of his hearers the former more extended discourses.—The words of this covenant. The pronoun this designates the covenant as one before their eyes and well-known. Comp. this passage with 2 Kings22, 23; 2 Chronicles 34 (Vid., especially 2 Kings 23:3, coll. Jeremiah 22:13; Jeremiah 23:2; 2 Chronicles 34:30), and there can be no doubt that by the words this covenant in Jeremiah 11:2-3; Jeremiah 11:6; Jeremiah 11:8, is meant that, the archives of which were contained in the book found by Hezekiah. The expression is found besides only in Deut. ( Jeremiah 5:3; Jeremiah 29:13). The expression, words of the covenant, besides 2 Kings 23:2; 2 Chronicles 34:30, is found only Deuteronomy 28:69; Deuteronomy 29:8, and in Jeremiah 34:18. This passage also (to anticipate) contains several references to Deuteronomy, from which it follows that the covenant-record, which both Jeremiah in this passage and the authors of the books of Kings and Chronicles ( 2 Kings 20, 23; 2 Chronicles 34) have in view, is to be understood at least primarily and especially to be Deuteronomy.—Men of Judah. Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 4:4. On the exchange of אֵל and עַל, see rems. on Jeremiah 10:1.

Jeremiah 11:3-5. And say to them … Amen, Jehovah! Jeremiah receives the special commission to present before the people the importance of keeping the covenant: cursing and blessing being dependent on it. While in Jeremiah 11:3; Jeremiah 11:5, the discourse seems to be addressed to the whole of the people, it turns in Jeremiah 11:6-8, to the particular portions. Further, while the prophet in Jeremiah 11:3-5 holds before the people the divine curse and blessing, he seeks in Jeremiah 11:6-8 to make an impression on them by pointing to the fulfilment of the curse already taken place on their disobedient fathers.—In the day, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 7:22; Jeremiah 34:13.—The pronoun them is to be referred to the plural conception of commands implied in according to all. comp. Naegelsb. Gr. §, 61, 1.—To perform the oath. In order to realize the existence of the oath, comp. Deuteronomy 8:18, coll.; Deuteronomy 27:26.—Amen, Jehovah Isaiah, as remarked, a quotation from Deuteronomy 27:15 sqq. The prophet gives it to be understood by this Amen, that he has understood the allusion contained in cursed, Jeremiah 11:3.

Jeremiah 11:6-8. And Jehovah said unto me … but they kept them not. The prophet here reads the commission given him in the 18 th year of Josiah, to make known the words of the covenant by reading them not only in the central sanctuary (comp. 2 Kings 23:1-3), but also by repeated readings in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. The prophet may have accompanied king Josiah on his circuit, which is spoken of in 2 Kings 23:15-20. Since it was the making known of a written document, the proclamation is most probably meant in the sense of reading, as קָרָא generally signifies to read aloud; comp. 2 Kings 22:8; 2 Kings 22:10; 2 Kings 22:16; 2 Kings 23:2; Jeremiah 36:6; Jeremiah 36:8; Jeremiah 36:10; Jeremiah 36:13, etc.For I testified. Comp Psalm 50:7, and the previously cited passages of Deut.—urgently. Comp. Jeremiah 7:13; Jeremiah 7:25.—But they hearkened not. Comp. Jeremiah 7:24.—hardness. Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 3:17.

FN#1 - Jeremiah 11:3.—אָרוּר ו׳ Jeremiah 11:3, and the corresponding אָמֵן, Jeremiah 11:5, remind us of Deuteronomy 27:15 sqq, especially Deuteronomy 11:26.—iron furnace is found only in Deuteronomy 4:20 and (as a quotation) in 1 Kings 8:51. הָעֵד ו׳ is not exclusively yet especially peculiar to Deuteronomy, since besides Genesis 43:3; Exodus 19:21-22 it occurs in the Pentateuch only Deuteronomy 4:26; Deuteronomy 8:19; Deuteronomy 30:19; Deuteronomy 31:28; Deuteronomy 32:46.—שׁרִירוּת Jeremiah 11:3, is found in the Pentateuch only in Deuteronomy 29:18. Also the expressions so shall ye be my people, Jeremiah 11:4, and a land flowing, etc., are not indeed peculiar to, but very common in Deuteronomy. (Comp. in reference to the former Exodus 6:7; Leviticus 26:12; and Deuteronomy 4:20; Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 14:2; Deuteronomy 26:18; Deuteronomy 29:9; Deuteronomy 29:12,—in reference to the latter Exodus 3:8; Exodus 3:17, and Deuteronomy 6:3; Deuteronomy 11:9; Deuteronomy 26:9; Deuteronomy 26:15; Deuteronomy 27:3; Deuteronomy 31:20).

FN#2 - Jeremiah 11:7.—בְּיוֹם we should expect מיּוֹם. The former is perhaps occasioned by בְּיוֹם, Jeremiah 11:4.

2. ENTIRE ISRAEL, INSTEAD OF KEEPING THE COVENANT WITH JEHOVAH, ENTERS INTO CONSPIRACY AGAINST HIM

Jeremiah 11:9-13

9 And Jehovah said unto me,

A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah,

And among the citizens of Jerusalem.

10 They are returned to the sins of their fathers,

Who scorned to hear my words;

And are gone after other gods, to serve them.

The house of Israel, and the house of Judah

Have broken the covenant which I made with their fathers.

11 Therefore thus saith Jehovah, Behold!

I bring upon them evil, from which they cannot escape;

And they will cry to me, but I will not hear them.

12 And the cities of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem shall go,

And cry to the gods to which they burn incense,

But help them—this they will not at the time of their calamity.

13 For as the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah!

And as the number of the streets in Jerusalem

Have ye set up altars of shame,

Even altars to burn incense unto Baal.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

The Lord has made a covenant with the people, but when the people are regarded now (at the time when Jeremiah thus speaks), there is no longer any trace of it (the covenant made in the reign of Josiah) to be found, but only conspiracy. The prophet shows the existence of such a conspiracy in three stages: 1, in the entire people of Israel ( Jeremiah 11:9-10); 2, among the people of Anathoth ( Jeremiah 11:18-23); 3, in the prophet’s own family ( Jeremiah 12:1-6).—In this strophe the existence of such conspiracy among the people in general is just stated ( Jeremiah 11:9-10), then its punishment is announced, ( Jeremiah 11:11) which will be of such a nature that the gods will be unable to deliver from it ( Jeremiah 11:12), though Judah and Jerusalem worship so large a number of them ( Jeremiah 11:13).

Jeremiah 11:9-10. A conspiracy is found … which I made with their fathers. On is found (נִמְצָא), comp. Jeremiah 2:34; Jeremiah 5:26. קֶשֶׁר=conspiracy against the rightful Lord, in opposition to the covenant (בְרִית) which is in accordance with right and duty. In such conspiracies the time of the kings was especially rife (comp. 1 Kings 16:20; 2 Kings 12:20; 2 Kings 14:19; 2 Kings 15:15; 2 Kings 15:30; 2 Kings 17:4), as generally a disposition to conspire is attributed to the Jews (comp. Drechsler on Isaiah 8:12; Acts 23:12 sqq.).—The expression שָׁבוּ presupposes the covenant mentioned in Jeremiah 11:1 sqq, and proves that this section is to be regarded as a reminder of a past fact.—House of Israel, etc. A comprehensive survey: not merely Judah and Jerusalem ( Jeremiah 11:9), but Israel and Judah have broken the covenant.

Jeremiah 11:11-13. Therefore thus saith Jehovah … to burn incense to Baal. Announcement of punishment.—For gives the reason and explanation of the declaration of Jeremiah 11:12, that Israel will take refuge with the idols. This may happen because they have idols in Numbers, and offer to them numerous acts of worship.—as the number. Comp. Jeremiah 2:28.—altars of shame. Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 3:24; Hosea 9:10.

3. THE PUNISHMENT OF THE CONSPIRACY IS AN INEVITABLE AND SEVERE JUDGMENT

Jeremiah 11:14-17

14 Therefore pray not thou for this people,

Nor raise for them crying and supplication;

For I hear not, if they cry unto me on account of their calamity.

15 What has my beloved to do in my house?

To practise it—the enormity?

Will crying and holy flesh take away from thee thy hurt?[FN3]

Then mayest thou exult!

16 “Green olive-tree, splendid with goodly fruit,”

Thus did Jehovah call thy name.

Amid rattling thunder he set fire to it;

And they broke—its branches.

17 And Jehovah Zebaoth, who planted thee,

Hath pronounced evil against thee

“On account of the wickedness of the house of Israel and the house of Judah

Which they practised to their own hurt,[FN4]

Provoking me and burning incense to Baal.”[FN5]

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

This section is closely attached to the preceding as an appendix. In Jeremiah 11:11 it was said that a punishment of Israel was determined upon, which they could not escape. For neither will the Lord hear their cries, nor the idols be able to help them.—The thought I hear not ( Jeremiah 11:11 b), is further explained in this strophe: 1. The Lord will not even hear the prophet ( Jeremiah 11:14 a); 2, nor the people ( Jeremiah 11:14 b) even though they offer prayers and sacrifices in His temple ( Jeremiah 11:15). Although the Lord even acknowledges Israel to be a beautiful olive-tree which He Himself planted, yet He must adhere to His determination to punish on account of the wickedness which Israel has practised ( Jeremiah 11:16-17).

Jeremiah 11:14-15. Therefore pray not thou … then mayest thou exult. At first the Lord explains that the intercession of the prophet will be of no avail in the same words as in Jeremiah 7:16 coll. Jeremiah 14:11. He then says that the people’s own supplication to avert the calamity will be in vain. This he elucidates in Jeremiah 11:14, by showing that this beseeching, though offered in the temple and with sacrifices, is only a deceptive mask, under which is hidden the object of continuing in sin. יְדִיד is not Jehovah nor the prophet, but the people, this being imperatively demanded by the sense of the question. What has my beloved to do in my house? can be asked only of such a beloved, whose appearance in the house of the Lord is not welcome. This can be Israel alone, who, although in themselves and originally the beloved of Jehovah, have yet been so estranged from Him, that the question may be fairly asked, what this faithless beloved (now ironically so called) has to do in the house of the Lord? The expression appears to be based on Deuteronomy 33:12, where Benjamin, in evident allusion to his dwelling in the vicinity of the national sanctuary, is called the beloved of Jehovah. Comp. besides Isaiah 5:1 : Psalm 60:7; Psalm 108:7; Psalm 127:2.—The answer to the question is: To practise it … the enormity. As to the construction of these words, the anticipation of the object by a pronoun is nothing unusual. Comp. Jeremiah 27:8; Jeremiah 51:56; 1 Samuel 9:13; Naegelsb, Gr. §, 77, 2.—But why this anticipation here? It presupposes that the object has been already mentioned, or is generally known. Now this מְזִמָּה, by which not any wickedness, but in accordance with the question, the hypocritical pseudo-worship of Jehovah is to be understood, has not been mentioned in the discourse hitherto. But in rhetorical vivacity the prophet presupposes as known, that which, now as before, deeply troubles him, and which by the initial words of the verse he has indicated with sufficient plainness. The thought and the expression recall unmistakably (as Maurer remarks) Jeremiah 7:10 : “and then ye come and stand before me in the house which bears my name, and say, we are hidden—to do all these abominations.” As here ( Jeremiah 7:10) the head of the wickedness is found in this, that Israel regard the temple-service as a sort of sow-washing ( 2 Peter 2:22), to which they betake themselves, not to purify themselves thoroughly, but only to make room for fresh filth, so in this passage the prophet says that Israel has nothing to do in the house of the Lord, but “to do it, the wickedness,” namely, that described in chap7, which, under the appearance of wishing to be freed from sin, only hides the object of more completely committing it. Accordingly מְזִמָּה is here to be taken in the sense in which it most frequently occurs, viz., in that of evil design, of purposed, conscious wickedness ( Psalm 10:2; Psalm 21:12; Psalm 139:20; Job 21:27, etc.). The more full-sounding form (comp. Olsh. § 133) has a rhetorical reason, as also the rarer suffix forms following כִי. This double form, (which does not occur elsewhere in Jeremiah) may both in itself and in its accumulation, be for the purpose of rhetorical effect and more particularly that of irony. With this agrees the distinctly ironical expression, then mayest thou exult, which bears reference to what has my beloved?etc., that Isaiah, to the manner in which the proud and secure people appeared in the temple. Not now, the prophet means to say, but then may you exult, when your prayers and sacrifices have helped you.

Jeremiah 11:16-17. Green olive-tree … incense to Baal. The occasion of the thought, prayers, etc. will not avert thy calamity. This will be on this account, v.z., that the Lord, though He acknowledges Israel to be a beautiful olive-tree, planted by Himself, has determined to destroy him. The parable of the olive-tree in reference to Israel is found also in Psalm 52:10, 8]; Isaiah 17:6; Isaiah 24:13; Hosea 14:6.—Amid rattling, etc., (לקול) comp. on Jeremiah 10:13.—המולה synonymous with הָמוֹו, besides only in Ezekiel 1:24. The prophet compares the catastrophe threatening Israel to a tempest.—Set fire, etc., comp. Jeremiah 17:27; Jeremiah 21:14; Jeremiah 43:12; Jeremiah 49:27; Jeremiah 50:32; Amos 1:14.—They broke. Since an intransitive meaning of the original word cannot be proved, we must regard as the subject either (by a rapid transition from figure to reality) the enemies, or it is to be derived from another root רעע, the radical meaning of which is tumultuari, agitari, concitari (comp. Fuerst, H. W. B. and Concord, s. v.) The former is to be preferred, since fire is not followed by a mere shaking but a breaking of branches.—And Jehovah Zebaoth, etc. If in and they broke we perceived a partial transition into the sphere of reality (namely, in respect to the subject), here we perceive the transition to be complete. It is declared in plain words that the Lord has pronounced the judgment of condemnation on Israel, ( Jeremiah 19:15; Jeremiah 26:19). In the word planted only, which contains a corroborative point, as it traces not only the name but also the existence of the beautiful olive tree to God (comp. Jeremiah 2:21) is the figure still retained. On practised to their own hurt, comp. Jeremiah 7:19; Jeremiah 44:3.

Footnotes:

FN#3 - Jeremiah 11:15—The text here is certainly corrupt; 1, because, as it reads at present, it affords no intelligible meaning; 2, because the ancient translations indicate other readings. הָרַבִּים especially is unintelligible, whether we connect it with what goes before or after. The LXX. translate μὴ εὐχαὶ καὶ κρέα ἅγια ἀφελοῦσιν ἀπὸ σοῦ τας κακίας σου. They seem then to have read הַנְּדָרִים as some suppose, or more probably הָרָנִּים (Buxtorf, Maurer, Graf). This latter word, indeed, occurs only in Psalm 32:7 in the expression רנּי פלּט: but since the word is formed quite regularly (comp. עזֹ,רֹב,חֹק, etc.) the plural רָנִּים (instead of רֻנִּים, which elsewhere is certainly the form exclusively used: comp. Olsh, § 156), being analogous to the forms חָגּי,רָנִּי, etc. since further רִנָּה, also Jeremiah 7:16; Jeremiah 11:14; Jeremiah 14:12, coll. Psalm 17:1; 1 Kings 8:28, etc., signifies supplication, prayer, and is translated in Jeremiah 11:14; Jeremiah 14:12 by the LXX. δέησις, since finally the idea of “beseeching, crying,” corresponds exactly to קָרְאָם. I regard it as most probable that רנים was the original word in this place, but that the word, either purposely, because it does not occur elsewhere, or by mistake, was changed into the slightly differing form רבים. If the question begins with הָרָנִּים, the following ו in וּבְשַר ו׳ is entirely in place.—בְּשַׂר־קֹדֶשׁ is found also in Haggai 2:12 of the flesh of sacrifice, and seems here especially to indicate the Holocaus’a or burnt-offerings, in which the flesh of the animal is burnt ( Leviticus 1). The following words also are scarcely intelligible without an alteration of the text. We, therefore, after the example of many commentators, either render יַעַבְרוּ as Hiph. (like וַיַדְרְכוּ. 9, 2. Vide in loc.), or read יַעֲבִרוּ. We connect כִּי after מעליךְ (LXX, Ewald, Meier, etc.), and obtain the sense, Will thy prayers and sacrifices take away thy wickedness (רָעַה has the double sense=sin and punishment) from thee? The thought then corresponds exactly to the close of Jeremiah 11:14.

[Blayney renders: Shall vows and holy flesh be allowed to come from thee? When thou art malignant, shalt thou then rejoice? Noyes and Henderson, adhering to the text, render, the former: While many pollute it with wickedness?—The holy flesh shall pass away from thee. For when thou doest evil, thou rejoicest; the latter: Committing as she doth the manifold enormity? And the holy flesh hath passed away from thee. etc. It seems, however, strained to render this expression “pass away” of their sacrifices being unacceptable to God.—S. R. A.]

FN#4 - Jeremiah 11:17.—[Henderson: Which they committed against themselves.]

FN#5 - Jeremiah 11:17.—On the infinitives לְקַטֵּר,לְהַכְעִסֵני. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr. § 95, e.

2. SECOND STAGE OF THE CONSPIRACY: THE PLOT OF THE ANATHOTHITES

Jeremiah 11:18-23

18 And Jehovah instructed me and I learned.

Then didst thou show me their doings.

19 But I was as a tame sheep, that is led to the slaughter,

And remarked not, that they had had thoughts concerning me:

“Let us destroy the tree with its fruit,

And extirpate him from the land of the living,

That his name may no more be mentioned.”

20 But Jehovah Zebaoth judges with justice;

He tries the reins and heart.

I shall see thy vengeance on them,

For on thee have I devolved my cause.

21 Therefore this saith Jehovah of the men of Anathoth,

Who sought after thy life, saying:

“Prophesy not in the name of Jehovah,

That thou die not[FN6] by our hand”—

22 Therefore thus saith Jehovah Zebaoth:

Behold, I visit them,

The young men shall die by the sword;

Their sons and their daughters shall die of famine.

23 And there shall be no remnant of them,

For I will bring calamity on the men of Anathoth

In the year of their visitation.[FN7]

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

The prophet here also evidently speaks of a conspiracy, and of one which existed in a narrower circle (the city of Anathoth). Jeremiah 11:18 opens with the declaration that in what follows a fact will be communicated, of which the prophet received intelligence only from the Lord. In Jeremiah 11:19 it is stated that this fact consisted in a plot against the life of the prophet. In Jeremiah 11:20 the prophet expresses his hope that the Lord will avenge him. Jeremiah 11:21-23 announce the vengeance of the Lord in response.

[Henderson:—A lamb that has been tamed so as to be familiar and play with children. One such is commonly to be found in the house of the Arab.—S. R. A.]—With its fruit. Hitzig would read בְּלֵחֹוin its cap (comp. Deuteronomy 34:7; Ezekiel 21:3) because לֶחֶם signifies corn, not the fruit of a tree. But the idea of the product afforded by the tree such as serves for food is here essential. Comp. Jeremiah 11:21 b. Since, as it is acknowledged לחם originally meant food in general (comp. Genesis 47:12; Isaiah 65:25; Job 28:5; Proverbs 27:27) we here also understand by it the edible product of the tree. This is certainly the fruit in opposition to the sap, wood, leaves, etc. On בְּ = cum comp. Naegelsb.Gr. § 112, 5, a.

Jeremiah 11:20-23. But Jehovah Zebaoth … in the year of their visitation. Jeremiah 11:20 is repeated almost verbatim in Jeremiah 20:12 coll. Jeremiah 17:10.—Tries. The prophet appeals for a confirmation of his innocence to the omniscient God.—גליתי׳. The form according to Piel. from גָלָה. The connection however requires the meaning “to shove, to roll,” which is also favored by the analogy of the passages, Psalm 22:9; Psalm 37:5; Proverbs 16:3, comp. Ewald, § 121, a.prophesy not. Comp. Amos 2:12; Amos 7:13. Doubtless the plot was to perform the unsuccessful threatening.—In Jeremiah 11:22 the introductory formula is repeated after the interruption.—I will bring calamity, comp. Jeremiah 19:15; Jeremiah 23:12.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. On Jeremiah 11:3. “The curse of the Law excites anger, but the curse of the covenant abashes. I have seen an atheist tremble at the words ‘If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema ( 1 Corinthians 16:22).’ He remarked it himself, and sought to excuse himself by saying ‘it was motus incoluntarii.’ But it was the words of the covenant, Thou shalt love.” Zinzendorf.

2. On Jeremiah 11:5. “Hic παίδευμα a laiet et pro ministris verbi. et pro eorum auditoribus. Ministri exemplo prophetæ monentur, ut similem in officio promtitudinem et animi alacritatem Deo probent, quemadmodum etiam de Jesaja legitur, Jeremiah 6:8. Auditores hic docentur, ut de voluntate Dei ex verbo moniti in corde suo dicant; amen, promti et parati ad obedientiam verbo præstandam.” Förster.

3. On Jeremiah 11:14. “Intercession for all men has good reason for it in the love which is due to one’s neighbor, and it is also commanded, 1 Timothy 2:1-2, but on the part of those who offer it, a certain order is required so that it may be heard ( Luke 13:8-9; John 9:31).” Langh Op. bibl.

4. On Jeremiah 11:15. “It is a snare to a man to blaspheme the holy, and after that to seek vows [after vows to make inquiry] ( Proverbs 20:24). For that is the manner of hypocrites, to offer St. Martin a penny and then steal a horse; and when they have opposed God and His word to the utmost, to turn afterwards to sacrifices, fasting and alms, and wish thus to exculpate themselves.” Cramer.

5. On Jeremiah 11:16-17. “God has appointed us to be trees of righteousness, plants of the Lord for His glory ( Isaiah 61:3). Hebrews, however, who bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down and cast into the fire ( Matthew 7:19).” Cramer. [“Every sin against God is a sin against ourselves, and so it will be found sooner or later.” Henry.—S. R. A.]

6. On Jeremiah 11:18. “Although the human heart cannot be fathomed ( Jeremiah 17:9), yet nothing can be hidden from God, and He frequently reveals secret counsels, so that they are known and manifest, as in the case of Absalom and Ahithophel ( Isaiah 8:10). Therefore do nothing in secret, in the hope that it will remain hidden, for the birds of heaven carry the voice, and the winged repeat it ( Ecclesiastes 10:20).” Cramer.

7. On Jeremiah 11:20. “The first New Testament vengeance was executed on the cross, when an evildoer who had mocked at Jesus, cringed on the cross, and asked for a gracious remembrance. The Lamb of God could scarcely wait the time of vengeance: To-day, said Hebrews, shalt thou be with Me in Paradise. According to this may the Jeremiahs of our times, the preachers of righteousness, take the measure of their holy desire for vengeance.” Zinzendorf. [“It is a comfort, when we are wronged that we have a God to commit our cause to: and our duty to commit it to Him, with a resolution to acquiesce in His definite sentence; to subscribe and not prescribe to Him.” Henry.—S. R. A.]

8. On Jeremiah 11:20. “A teacher is advised to say this if he can, ‘I have ceased to concern myself about myself.’ Dr. Luther says,

Once I grasped too many things:—

None staid; they all had wings:

But since I’ve weary grown,

And all away have thrown,

Not one from me has flown.

And do you ask, how can it be thus?—

Because I’ve cast my all on Jesus.

Messengers and servants, who concern themselves about their own injuries must have bad masters.” Zinzendorf.

9. On Jeremiah 11:22. When the people will not endure the rod of Christ’s mouth, with which He smites the earth ( Isaiah 11:4), item His rods Beauty and Bands ( Zechariah 11:7), God sends one with the sword to preach, which is followed by the red spice, and then we see what the smooth preachers have effected ( Isaiah 30:10).” Cramer.

10. On Jeremiah 12:1. “But can we conceive anything more humane and gracious than our dear Lord? We know beforehand that we are wrong; we do not doubt that He does all well, but it yet oppresses us. We should like to make a clean breast of it. Where shall we find one with whom we could do this? The fly on the wall, the domestic, the child, that comes in our way? Assuredly not! Straight to our Lord, the eternal and living God, with all our ill-humor, doubt, care, scruples! Pour out your heart before Him ( Psalm 62:8).” Zinzendorf.

11. On Jeremiah 12:1-3. “It is a common grievance, to live and experience that the ungodly are prosperous and the godly are unfortunate ( Psalm 38:20; Psalm 73:12; Job 21:7; Job 31:2), against which David wrote the32. Ps. Have recourse to the testimony that there is another life, when the tables will be turned and the evil will be recompensed with evil and the good with good ( Isaiah 65:13).” Cramer.

12. On Jeremiah 12:3. “The prosperity of the ungodly should exhort them to repentance by the long-suffering of God ( Romans 2:4). But when even this does not avail, there are still people of this world, who have their portion in this life, who fill only their belly ( Psalm 17:14) and carry nothing away. What profit then is there to them even if they had the whole world, and suffer injury to their souls ( Matthew 16:26. The rich man in Luke 16:23).” Cramer.

13. On Jeremiah 12:4. “It is strange that even in the people of God the Epicurean opinion has found acceptance, that God sits idly in the heavens, caring nothing about what goes on below, doing neither that which is good nor that which is evil, ( Zephaniah 1:12), seeing not what men do ( Ezekiel 8:10; Ezekiel 9:9), and that future things are altogether hidden both from him and his prophet. So powerful is the devil among the children of unbelief.” Cramer.

14. On Jeremiah 12:4. “Tales hodie sunt Epicuri de grege porci, quibus sæpe est in ore, the devil is not so black, hell is not so hot, as the parson in the pulpit makes out. Sed his historia divitis epulonis occinenda ( Luke 16). Nam ibi—Christ puts forth his hand into hell-fire, snatches a brand out therefrom, and holds it in the face of all Epicureans, as though He would say, Smell, smell, how hot hell-fire is.” Förster.

15. On Jeremiah 12:5. “I have heard that an able preacher, when he had to deliver a trial sermon for the position of court-preacher, took this text. The exposition is plain. No servant of the Lord should long for more respectable, rich, discreet, sociable hearers. Let every one approve himself thoroughly in all changes, and be sure of his cause and lean not to his own understanding.” Zinzendorf.

16. On Jeremiah 12:6. “Many must add to this, wife, child, colleague, domestics, and whatever more the Saviour mentions, which may be against a man. One is often offered by his mother to the dear God (i. e. dedicated to the pastoral office) but in an altogether different sense; and when he afterwards walks as becomes him, according to the gospel of Christ, those are his bitterest enemies, who hoped that he might comfort them in all their travail, and who not only do not gain anything from his labors as a witness, but must bear the shame and ridicule, that their Song of Solomon, brother, cousin, husband, father, friend, etc. will yet render them all unfortunate.” Zinzendorf.

17. On Jeremiah 12:7, sqq. “They are sweet words and beautiful names with which the Lord baptizes and names His city, and it is so hard for it to be punished by God for its sins that we are long in learning to consider our own account.” ( Romans 11:21). Cramer.

18. On Jeremiah 12:7, sqq. “The heart of a believer is God’s most cherished abode, but if man corrupt it with wilful sin, God must forsake this house.” ( Isaiah 59:2). Starke.

19. On Jeremiah 12:10, sqq. “A servant of the Lord who should follow on twelve hirelings or wolves may depend on this, that he will find nothing else than a house, a vineyard of the Lord, but a desecrated house, an uprooted vineyard, in which many preparations are needed before he can proceed to his regular work.” Zinzendorf.

20. On Jeremiah 12:14, sqq. “The Christian church has a triple consolation1. That its enemies will be punished; 2. That God again has mercy on it; 3. That it also converts a part of its enemies and gathers them into its little flock of believers.” Cramer.

21. On Jeremiah 12:16. “Some time since I found in the Song of Solomon -called Herrnhut lot-book for the year1737 the words in the vision of Isaiah 59:17 : Thy destroyer and they that made thee waste shall go forth of thee! Under them were these two lines, ‘let them rather remain and attach them to us.’ This is what Jeremiah says; they may yet come out right.—Paul has confirmed it by his example. Within three days he was a persecutor, a false teacher, a poor sinner, a justified sinner, a witness, an apostle. With joy would I bestow the same happiness on every one of those, whom I at this moment cannot regard otherwise than as the enemies, of the cross of Christ.” Zinzendorf.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 11:1-10 there is extant a homily of Origen (the 9 th in Lommatzsch’s ed.) likewise on Jeremiah 11:18 to Jeremiah 12:9 (the 10 th) and on Jeremiah 12:11 to Jeremiah 13:1 (the 11 th.)

2. Förster remarks that Jeremiah 11:19-20 accords with Matthew 22:15 sqq. (XXIII. Sunday after Tr.) and that the persecution of Jeremiah corresponds to the sufferings of the Lord. Likewise that Jeremiah 12:2 bears relation to Luke 16:19 sqq. (I. Sund. after Trin.) and Jeremiah 12:7 to Acts 6:8 sqq. (St. Stephen’s day, Sunday after Christmas), and to Luke 19:41 sqq. (X. after Trin.)

3. On Jeremiah 11:16-17. The divine election is never intended to be a license from all discipline. Indeed when men break the covenant, the Lord interposes with punishment, which may proceed to instantaneous destruction. Surely God’s gifts and calling are without repentance. If the branches cut off abide not in unbelief they shall be graffed in; for God is able to graft them in again, Romans 11:23; Romans 11:29.

4. On Jeremiah 11:21. That which the people of Anathoth say here to Jeremiah, the people of this world say everywhere and at all times to the preachers of the truth. Comp. 2 Timothy 4:3-4. It is important then to preach the word, to be instant in season and out of season; to reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine ( 2 Timothy 4:2).

5. On Jeremiah 12:5. It is not becoming that we prescribe to God, to what extent He shall lay burdens upon us. Our patience and steadfastness are as elastic and extensible as our faith is firm and rock-like (Petrine, Matthew 16:18).

6. On Jeremiah 12:14-17. When mankind depart from God they lose the bond of unity and of peace. They are divided then into parties, which contend with and exterminate each other. But when these have again united themselves with the Lord, the unity of the members is restored. Therefore there is liberty, equality and fraternity only in the Lord.

Footnotes:

FN#6 - Jeremiah 11:21.—On the construction of וְלֹא תָמוּת comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 89, 3 b.

FN#7 - Jeremiah 11:22.—שׁנַת פֹ׳ is not the accusative of the object but of the time. Comp. Jeremiah 10:15 בְּעֵת פְּקֻדָּתָם [Henderson renders it as the former; the year, etc.—S. R. A.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Jeremiah 11:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/jeremiah-11.html. 1857-84.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 12th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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