Jeremiah 11:18
And the LORD has given me knowledge of it, and I know it: then you showed me their doings.
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(18) And the Lord hath given me knowledge.—A new section opens abruptly, and the prophet speaks no longer of the sins of Israel and Judah at large, but of the “doings” of his own townsmen, of their plots against his life. Unless this is altogether a distinct fragment, connected, possibly, with Jeremiah 9:8, the abruptness suggests the inference that the plots of the men of Anathoth against him had suddenly been brought under his notice.

Jeremiah 11:18-19. And the Lord hath given me knowledge of it, &c. — This relates to the ill designs which the men of Anathoth had contrived against the prophet, which he here saith God had revealed to him. See the following verses. But I was like a lamb or an ox, &c. — A proverbial speech, expressing a false security, or insensibility of danger. Dr. Waterland, in agreement with the Vulgate, Bochart, and Houbigant, reads this clause, But I was like a gentle lamb; and Blaney, For I was like a tame lamb that is led to the slaughter. But Lowth justly observes, we may very well admit of the common translation. For the word יאלוŠhere used, certainly frequently signifies an ox, and the disjunctive particle, supplied by or, is elsewhere often understood, though not expressed. The meaning here is, that the prophet would have met with a fate similar to that of a slaughtered lamb or ox, if God had not revealed to him the designs of his enemies. Many commentators suppose that Jeremiah here speaks of his own sufferings as figurative of those of the Messiah. “All the churches agree,” says St. Jerome, “that these and the following words respect Jesus Christ and his passion. It was against his life that they formed their designs: he was the true lamb, meek and innocent. Jeremiah is here a figure of the divine Saviour; he here suffers from his brethren, and represents, in his person, him who was a man of grief, and tried by all sorts of afflictions.”

Let us destroy the tree with the fruit thereof — Let us not only put an end to his prophesying, but to his life. The Hebrew is literally, Let us destroy the tree (or the stock) with the bread thereof; and bread, it must be observed, is sometimes used for the corn of which bread is made, as Jeremiah 5:17. The meaning then is, Let us destroy the prophet and his doctrine. We have no other mention of this conspiracy but this here. It is, however, very plain, both from this verse and what follows, that the men of Anathoth (which was Jeremiah’s own town) were offended at his prophesying, and had conspired to kill him. 11:18-23 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.Rather, "gave me knowledge of it, and I knew it." Jeremiah shows Jeremiah 11:18-23, that the general conspiracy of the people against Yahweh and the special plot against himself was revealed to him by God. 18, 19. Jeremiah here digresses to notice the attempt on his life plotted by his townsmen of Anathoth. He had no suspicion of it, until Jehovah revealed it to him (Jer 12:6).

the Lord … thou—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.

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

This may be understood either more generally, as relating to all the wicked actions of his countrymen, to obviate their saying, How comest thou to know our doings? or else (which seemeth most probable) more specially, with relation to that conspiracy against him which is mentioned in the following verses. And the Lord hath given me knowledge of it,.... Either of what he had been declaring as the sins of these people; and of what he had been prophesying concerning punishment for their sins; what he had said was not of himself, did not arise from any pique or resentment in him against them; but it was of God, that knows all things, and had made known these things to him; and he had only faithfully related them as he had received them; or else of the malicious designs of the men of Anathoth to take away his life, after mentioned:

and I know it; and am sure of it; having it by divine revelation, and from that God that cannot lie, and will not deceive:

then thou shewedst me their doings. Some versions, as the Septuagint, Syriac; and Arabic, take the former words to be a prayer of the prophet's, "O Lord, make me know, or show me, or teach me, that I may know"; and these signify that his prayer was answered. The Lord showed him the sins of these people, and what punishments they deserved, and would be inflicted on them; or rather what they were doing in the dark, and what schemes they were contriving and attempting to put in execution against his life; but God was careful of it, and would not suffer them to do him any harm; and therefore made all known unto him; see Psalm 105:15.

And the LORD hath given me knowledge of it, and I know it: then thou didst show me {n} their doings.

(n) Who went about secretly to conspire my death.

18–23. See summary at commencement of section, and for the date of Jeremiah 11:18 to Jeremiah 12:6 see introd. notes on the section. The abruptness with which the mention of the plots against Jeremiah is here introduced suggests either that some introductory words have fallen out, or, better (with Co.), that we should transpose these vv. with Jeremiah 12:1-6. In this way “it” and “their” of Jeremiah 11:18 will be explained by Jeremiah 12:6, and the Lord’s warning in the latter v. will fit in with Jeremiah 11:18.Verse 18. - Here, as Naegelsbaeh puts it, begins the second stage of the "conspiracy." Hath given me knowledge, etc.; rather, gave me knowledge, and I knew it. Then; i.e. when I was in utter unconsciousness. Jeremiah had no presentiment of the murderous purpose of his townsmen, till by some "special providence" it came to his knowledge. Because of the covenant broken, the Lord will bring on Judah and Jerusalem evil out of which they shall not come forth, i.e., not merely, from which they shall not escape safely, but: in which they shall find no way of rescue; for it in this calamity they cry to the Lord, He will not hear them. Nor will the gods whom they serve, i.e., the false gods, help them then. As to "as many as are," etc., see on Jeremiah 2:28. "(The) Shame," i.e., Baal, as at Jeremiah 3:24.
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