Jeremiah 11:14
Therefore pray not you for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry to me for their trouble.
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(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.


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.

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. Having set forth the curse to which transgressors of the law are exposed, God commands the prophet to proclaim the words of the covenant to the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem, and to call upon them to do these. "All these words" are those subsequently specified, i.e., the commandments of the law (cf. Jeremiah 11:2). Jeremiah is to proclaim these, because, in spite of unremitting exhortation to hear and give heed to the voice of the Lord, the fathers had paid no regard thereto. קתא, not: read aloud (Hitz., Graf), but: proclaim, make known, as in Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:12, etc. העיד with בּ, to testify against any one, equivalent to: solemnly to enforce on one with importunate counsel and warning; cf. Deuteronomy 30:19; Psalm 50:7, etc. On השׁכּם והעד, see at Jeremiah 7:13. - But they have not hearkened, Jeremiah 11:8, running almost literally in the words of Jeremiah 7:24. "And I brought upon them," etc., i.e., inflicted upon them the punishments with which transgressors of the law were threatened, which curses had been, in the case of the greater part of the people, the ten tribes, carried to the extreme length, i.e., to the length of their banishment from their own land into the midst of the heathen; cf. 2 Kings 17:13.
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