Jeremiah 11:21
Therefore thus said the LORD of the men of Anathoth, that seek your life, saying, Prophesy not in the name of the LORD, that you die not by our hand:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) Thus saith the Lord.—The “men of Anathoth,” it would seem, had at first tried to stop the preaching of Jeremiah by threats, as Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, had tried to stop that of Amos (Amos 7:12-13). Failing in this, after the manner of the men of Nazareth in their attack on the Christ (Luke 4:28-29), and of the later Jews in their dealings with St. Paul, they conspired against his life (Acts 9:23; Acts 9:29; Acts 14:19; Acts 23:12).

Jeremiah 11:21. Thus saith the Lord of the men that seek thy life — That are combined to kill thee; saying, Prophesy not in the name of the Lord

The meaning is, that those men of Anathoth threatened that they would kill him if he did not cease to prophesy such things as he did in the name of the Lord, namely, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, the desolation of Judea, and the carrying away of the people into captivity. For if he had spoken falsely in the name of the Lord, and promised them peace and prosperity, they would have heard him prophesy gladly: they were thus exasperated at him, and opposed his prophesying, because he told them those truths which they had no mind to hear. This passage sufficiently shows that Jeremiah is to be understood in the literal sense here, which, however, does not by any means forbid our considering him in this instance as a type of Christ, and prefiguring, by his sufferings, those of the Redeemer of mankind. It manifests also the usage which the prophets generally met with from their own countrymen, who became their enemies because they told them the truth. The people of their own towns, even their friends and relations, could not bear to hear the solemn warnings which they gave them, and the prediction of those judgments which were coming upon them for their sins.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.Like a lamb or an ox - Rather, "like a tame lamb." Jeremiah had lived at Anathoth as one of the family, never suspecting that, like a tame lamb, the time would come for him to be killed.

The tree with the fruit thereof - The words are those of a proverb or dark saying. All the Churches agree in understanding that under the person of Jeremiah these things are said by Christ.

21. Prophesy not—(Isa 30:10; Am 2:12; Mic 2:6). If Jeremiah had not uttered his denunciatory predictions, they would not have plotted against him. None were more bitter than his own fellow townsmen. Compare the conduct of the Nazarites towards Jesus of Nazareth (Lu 4:24-29). No text from Poole on this verse. Therefore thus saith the Lord of the men of Anathoth,.... That is, "unto", or "concerning the men of Anathoth", the townsmen of Jeremiah, and who were the persons that combined together to destroy him; of this place; see Gill on Jeremiah 1:1.

that seek thy life; or "soul"; that is, to take it away:

saying, prophesy not in the name of the Lord; without their leave, and such hard things as he did, unless he would prophesy smooth things, and then he might go on, otherwise he must expect to die:

that thou die not by our hand; or means; they intimate, that, should he persist in this way of prophesying, they should not stay to carry on a judicial process against him, to bring him and accuse him before a judge, or the sanhedrim, or any court of judicature; but should do as those called zealots in later times did; lay violent hands upon him, and dispatch him themselves at once; perhaps this they said after they found that the prophet had knowledge of their designs against him.

Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the men of {q} Anathoth, that seek thy life, saying, {r} Prophesy not in the name of the LORD, that thou die not by our hand:

(q) That is, both the priests and the rest of the people: for this town was the priests, and they dwelt in it, Jer 1:1.

(r) Not that they could not abide to hear God named; (for in this they would show themselves most holy) but because they could not abide to be sharply reproved, and therefore desired to be flattered Isa 30:10, to be maintained in their pleasures Mic 2:11 and not to hear vice condemned Am 7:12.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 21. - Prophesy not, etc. The men of Anathoth tried first of all to effect their object by threatening. In the name of the Lord should be rather, by the name, etc. The phrase is exactly parallel to Psalm 55:1, "Save me, O God, by thy Name, and judge me by thy strength." The Name of God is equivalent to his revealed presence or personality. Baal's prophets prophesied "by Baal" (Jeremiah 2:8), i.e. by an impulse thought to proceed from Baal; Jehovah's by the consciousness of his revealed presence. Neither 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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