Jeremiah 11:14
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) Therefore pray not.—The words imply, as in Jeremiah 7:16, that the prophet’s human feelings had led him to pour his soul in passionate intercession that the penalty might be averted. He is told that it is at once too early and too late for that prayer. The people have not yet been moved to repentance, and their cry is simply the wail of suffering. The discipline must do its work, and the judgment they have brought down on themselves can be stayed no longer.

11:11-17 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.A parenthesis. As in Jeremiah 7:16, all intercession is forbidden, and for this reason. Prayer for others for the forgiveness of their sins avails only when they also pray. The cry of the people now was that of the guilty smarting under punishment, not of the penitent mourning over sin.14. There is a climax of guilt which admits of no further intercessory prayer (Ex 32:10, in the Chaldee version, "leave off praying"; Jer 7:16; 1Sa 16:1; 15:35; 1Jo 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 Jer 11:12.

Once before, and we shall find once after this, Jeremiah 14:11, God forbiddeth the prophet to pray for this people; hence ariseth a question how the prophet is excused from sin, in praying for them after this prohibition, especially when God had assured him that he would not hear.

Solut.

1. God (say some) sometimes forbiddeth prayers for persons and people to stir them up to more fervent prayer.

2. We find the like done by Moses, Exodus 32:10, and 1 Samuel 15:35 16:1. Others say,

3. That we must not understand these words as an absolute prohibition to Jeremiah, but for the terrifying of the people.

4. God speaks only of a temporal evil, and willeth Jeremiah not to be too positive in his prayers for them, that they might be delivered from that; but he might pray for the pardon of their sins, and their deliverance from the eternal vengeance of God.

5. He might not pray for the obstinate part of this people, but for the elect of God amongst them.

Therefore pray not thou for this people,.... If for a remnant among them, yet not for the body of the people; and if for their spiritual and eternal good, yet not for their temporal salvation; their temporal ruin was certain; the decree was gone forth, and there was no revoking it; and this is said, not so much by way of prohibition of the prophet, as by way of threatening to the people, to show that as their own prayers should not profit them, so they should not have the benefit of the prayers of good men, their sin was a sin unto death, at least temporal death, and must not be prayed for, 1 John 5:16,

neither lift up a cry or prayer for them; more words are used, to show the divine resolution, how inexorable he was, and how desperate was their condition, and their ruin sure; these words are repeated from Jeremiah 7:16,

for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble; for, as he would not hear their prayers when they should cry to him to be delivered from their trouble, it cannot be thought that he should hear the prayers of others for them, The Targum understands this of the prayers of the prophet for them, paraphrasing the words thus,

"for there is no acceptance before me (or it is not pleasing to me) when thou shall pray for them before me, in the time of their evil;''

neither their prayers, nor the prophet's for them, would be acceptable to God, or of any avail, he being determined to bring evil upon them.

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

(i) Read Jer 7:16,14:11.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. Therefore pray not thou] Cp. ch. Jeremiah 7:16.

Verse 14. - Therefore pray not thou, etc. First Jehovah declares that even the intercession of the prophet will be of no avail (see on Jeremiah 7:16), and then that the belated supplications of the people themselves will be ineffectual to avert the calamity. For their trouble. The four most ancient versions, and some of the extant Hebrew manuscripts, read "in the time of their trouble" (as in Ver. 12). The confusion between the two readings is easy, and the reading of the versions is to be preferred. Jeremiah 11:14Neither entreaty on their behalf nor their hypocritical worship will avert judgment. - Jeremiah 11:14. "But thou, pray not for this people, neither lift up for them cry or prayer; for I hear them not in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble. Jeremiah 11:15. What would my beloved in my house? they who practise guile? Shall vows and holy flesh remove they calamity from thee? then mayest thou exult. Jeremiah 11:16. A green olive, fair for its goodly fruit, Jahveh called thy name; with the noise of great tumult He set fire to it, and its branches brake. Jeremiah 11:17. And Jahveh of hosts, that planted thee, hath decreed evil against thee, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah which they themselves have done, to provoke me, in that they have offered odours to Baal."

We have already, in Jeremiah 7:16, met with the declaration that the Lord will not accept any intercession for the covenant-breaking people (Jeremiah 11:14); the termination of this verse differs slightly in the turn to takes. - בּעד רעתם the ancient commentators have almost unanimously rendered: tempore mali eorum, as if they had read בּעת (this is, in fact, the reading of some codd.); but hardly on sufficient grounds. בּעד gives a suitable sense, with the force of the Greek ἀμφί, which, like the German um, passes into the sense of wegen, as the English about passes into that of concerning. - In Jeremiah 11:15-17 we have the reason why the Lord will hear neither the prophet's supplication nor the people's cry in their time of need. Jeremiah 11:15 is very obscure; and from the Masoretic text it is hardly possible to obtain a suitable sense. "The beloved" of Jahveh is Judah, the covenant people; cf. Deuteronomy 33:12, where Benjamin is so called, and Jeremiah 12:7, where the Lord calls His people ידידוּת נפשׁי. "What is to my beloved in my house?" i.e., what has my people to do in my house - what does it want there? "My house" is the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, as appears from the mention of holy flesh in the second clause. The main difficulty lies in the words עשׂותהּ המזמּתה הרבּים. Hitz. takes עשׂותהּ to be the subject of the clause, and makes the suffix point back to ידידי, which, as collective, is to be construed generis faem.: what should the accomplishment of his plans be to my beloved in my house? But as adverse to this we must note, a. the improbability of ידיד as used of the people being feminine; b. the fact that even if we adopt Hitz.'s change of המזמּתה into המזמּות, yet the latter word does not mean plans or designs to bring offerings. The phrase is clearly to be taken by itself as a continuation of the question; and the suffix to be regarded, with Ew., Umbr., etc., as pointing, in the Aramaic fashion, to the object following: they who practise guile. מזמּה, a thinking out, devising, usually of hurtful schemes, here guile, as in Psalm 139:20; Job 21:27. What is meant is the hypocrisy of cloaking their apostasy from God by offering sacrifices in the temple, of concealing their idolatry and passing themselves off as worshippers of Jahve. On the form מזמּתה, see Ew. 173, g, Gesen. 80, Rem. 2,f. הרבּים makes no sense. It belongs manifestly to the words which follow; for it can neither be subject to עשׂותהּ, nor can it be joined to המזמּתה as its genitive. The lxx render: μὴ εὐχαὶ καὶ κρέα ἅγια ἀφελοῦσιν ἀπὸ σοῦ τὰς κακίας σου; and following this, Dathe, Dahl., Ew., Hitz. hold הנדרים to be the original reading. On the other hand, Maur., Graf, and Ng. think we should read הרנּים (after Psalm 32:7) or הרנּים myinirah, crying, loud supplication; on the ground of Buxtorf's hint, Anticrit. p. 661, that probably the Alexandrians had הרבּים in their text, but, changing the ב for נ, read הרנים. We must make our choice between these two conjectures; for even if הרבּים did not stand in the codex used by the Alexandrians, it cannot have been the original word. The form רנּים is, indeed, sufficiently attested by רנּי פלט, Psalm 32:7; but the meaning of exultation which it has there is here wholly out of place. And we find no case of a plural to רנּה, which means both exultation and piteous, beseeching cry (e.g., Jeremiah 7:16). So that, although רנּה is in the lxx occasionally rendered by δέησις (Jeremiah 11:14; Jeremiah 14:12, etc.) or προσευχή (1 Kings 8:28), we prefer the conjecture הנדרים; for "vow" is in better keeping with "holy flesh," i.e., flesh of sacrifice, Haggai 2:12, since the vow was generally carried out by offering sacrifice. - Nor do the following words, 'יעברוּ מעליך וגו, convey any meaning, without some alteration. As quoted above, they may be translated: shall pass away from thee. But this can mean neither: they shall be torn from thee, nor: they shall disappoint thee. And even if this force did lie in the words, no statement can begin with the following כּי רעתכי gniwollo. If this be a protasis, the verb is wanting. We shall have to change it, after the manner of the lxx, to יעברוּ מעליכי רעתכי: shall vows and holy flesh (sacrifice) avert thine evil from thee? For the form יעברוּ as Hiph. cf. ידרכוּ, Jeremiah 9:2. "Thine evil" with the double force: thy sin and shame, and the disaster impending, i.e., sin and (judicial) suffering. There is no occasion for any further changes. אז, rendered ἤ by the lxx, and so read או by them, may be completely vindicated: then, i.e., if this were the case, if thou couldst avert calamity by sacrifice, then mightest thou exult. Thus we obtain the following as the sense of the whole verse: What mean my people in my temple with their hypocritical sacrifices? Can vows and offerings, presented by you there, avert calamity from you? If it could be so, well might you shout for joy.

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