Jeremiah 11

Listen to Jeremiah 11
1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
2 Hear ye the words of this covenant, and speak unto the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem;
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,
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:
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.
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.
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.
8 Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination[a] 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.
9 And the LORD said unto me, A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
10 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.
11 Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape;[b] and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them.
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.[c]
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.
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.[d]
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.
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.
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.
18 And the LORD hath given me knowledge of it, and I know it: then thou shewedst me their doings.
19 But I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter; and I knew not that they had devised devices against me, saying, Let us destroy the tree[e] with the fruit thereof, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be no more remembered.
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.
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:
22 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, I will punish[f] them: the young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine:
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.

Jeremiah 11 Commentary

Chapter 11

The disobedient Jews reproved. (1-10) Their utter ruin. (11-17) The people would be destroyed who sought the prophet's life. (18-23)

Verses 1-10 God never promised to bestow blessings on his rational creatures, while they persist in wilful disobedience. Pardon and acceptance are promised freely to all believers; but no man can be saved who does not obey the command of God to repent, to believe in Christ, to separate from sin and the world, to choose self-denial and newness of life. In general, men will hearken to those who speak of doctrines, promises, and privileges; but when duties are mentioned, they will not bend their ear.

Verses 11-17 Evil pursues sinners, and entangles them in snares, out of which they cannot free themselves. Now, in their distress, their many gods and many altars stand them in no stead. And those whose own prayers will not be heard, cannot expect benefit from the prayers of others. Their profession of religion shall prove of no use. When trouble came upon them, they made this their confidence, but God has rejected it. His altar shall yield them no satisfaction. The remembrance of God's former favours to them shall be no comfort under troubles; and his remembrance of them shall be no argument for their relief. Every sin against the Lord is a sin against ourselves, and so it will be found sooner or later.

Verses 18-23 The prophet Jeremiah tells much concerning himself, the times he lived in being very troublesome. Those of his own city plotted how they might cause his death. They thought to end his days, but he outlived most of his enemies; they thought to blast his memory, but it lives to this day, and will be blessed while time lasts. God knows all the secret designs of his and his people's enemies, and can, when he pleases, make them known. God's justice is a terror to the wicked, but a comfort to the godly. When we are wronged, we have a God to commit our cause to, and it is our duty to commit it to him. We should also look well to our own spirits, that we are not overcome with evil, but that by patient continuance in praying for our enemies, and in kindness to them, we may overcome evil with good.

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. imagination: or, stubbornness
  • [b]. to escape: Heb. to go forth of
  • [c]. trouble: Heb. evil
  • [d]. trouble: Heb. evil
  • [e]. the tree...: Heb. the stalk with his bread
  • [f]. punish: Heb. visit upon

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO JEREMIAH 11

This chapter gives an account of the covenant God had made with the people of the Jews; their breach of it; and the evils threatened them on that account; and particularly against the men of Anathoth, for their ill treatment of the prophet. It begins with the order to Jeremiah to rehearse the words of the covenant in the ears of the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Jer 11:1-3, which covenant is described by the sanction of it; a curse in case of disobedience; and a promise of being their God, and bringing them into the good land, in case of obedience; and by the time when it was made, when the Israelites were brought out of Egypt, Jer 10:3-5, which order, the prophet agreeing to, is repeated, Jer 10:5,6 declaring the earnest protestation and exhortation of God to obey it, which they not observing, were threatened with the curses of it, Jer 11:7,8, the present Jews doing as their forefathers had done, breaking the covenant, particularly by their idolatry, are threatened also with punishment they should not escape, Jer 11:9-11 which is aggravated by a resolution to show no regard to their cries, Jer 11:11, by the impotence of their idols to save them, though so numerous, Jer 11:12,13, by forbidding the prophet to pray for them, Jer 11:14, by their having no longer a place and protection in the house of God, because of their wickedness, Jer 11:15, by comparing their former and present state together, having been as a beautiful and fruitful olive tree, but now burnt, and its branches broken, Jer 11:16, next follows an account of a design of the men of Anathoth against the prophet, to take away his life, which he was ignorant of, till the Lord gave him knowledge of it, Jer 11:17-19, when he imprecates vengeance on them, Jer 11:20, and, under a spirit of prophecy from the Lord, foretells their utter ruin and destruction, Jer 11:21,22.

Jeremiah 11 Commentaries