Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
Jer 11:1-23. Epitome of the Covenant Found in the Temple in Josiah's Reign. Judah's Revolt from It, and God's Consequent Wrath.
Hear ye the words of this covenant, and speak unto the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem;
2. this covenant—alluding to the book of the law (De 31:26) found in the temple by Hilkiah the high priest, five years after Jeremiah's call to the prophetic office (2Ki 22:8-23:25).
Hear ye—Others besides Jeremiah were to promulgate God's will to the people; it was the duty of the priests to read the law to them (Mal 2:7).
And say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel; Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant,
3. (De 27:26; Ga 3:10).
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:
4. in the day—that is, when. The Sinaitic covenant was made some time after the exodus, but the two events are so connected as to be viewed as one.
iron furnace—(De 4:20; 1Ki 8:51). "Furnace" expresses the searching ordeal; "iron," the long duration of it. The furnace was of earth, not of iron (Ps 12:6); a furnace, in heat and duration enough to melt even iron. God's deliverance of them from such an ordeal aggravates their present guilt.
do them—namely, the words of the covenant (Jer 11:3).
so, &c.—(Le 26:3, 12).
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.
5. oath—(Ps 105:9, 10).
a land flowing with milk and honey—(See on Nu 14:8).
as it is this day—These are the concluding words of God to the Israelites when formerly brought out of Egypt, "Obey … that I may at this time make good the promise I made to your fathers, to give," &c. [Maurer]. English Version makes the words apply to Jeremiah's time, "As ye know at this time, that God's promise has been fulfilled," namely, in Israel's acquisition of Canaan.
So be it—Hebrew, Amen. Taken from De 27:15-26. Jeremiah hereby solemnly concurs in the justice of the curses pronounced there (see Jer 11:3).
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.
6. Jeremiah was to take a prophetic tour throughout Judah, to proclaim everywhere the denunciations in the book of the law found in the temple.
Hear … do—(Ro 2:13; Jas 1:22).
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.
7. rising early—(Jer 7:13).
Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination 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.
8. imagination—rather, "stubbornness."
will bring—The words, "even unto this day" (Jer 11:7), confirm English Version rather than the rendering of Rosenmuller: "I brought upon them."
words—threats (Jer 11:3; De 27:15-26).
And the LORD said unto me, A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
9. conspiracy—a deliberate combination against God and against Josiah's reformation. Their idolatry is not the result of a hasty impulse (Ps 83:5; Eze 22:25).
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.
Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them.
11. cry unto me—contrasted with "cry unto the gods," (Jer 11:12).
not hearken—(Ps 18:41; Pr 1:28; Isa 1:15; Mic 3:4).
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.
12. cry unto the gods … not save—(De 32:37, 38). Compare this verse and beginning of Jer 11:13; Jer 2:28.
in the time of their trouble—that is, calamity (Jer 2:27).
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.
13. shameful thing—Hebrew, "shame," namely, the idol, not merely shameful, but the essence of all that is shameful (Jer 3:24; Ho 9:10), which will bring shame and confusion on yourselves [Calvin].
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.
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.
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.
15. my beloved—My elect people, Judea; this aggravates their ingratitude (Jer 12:7).
lewdness with many—(Eze 16:25). Rather, "that great (or, manifold) enormity"; literally, "the enormity, the manifold"; namely, their idolatry, which made their worship of God in the temple a mockery (compare Jer 7:10; Eze 23:39) [Henderson].
holy flesh—(Hag 2:12-14; Tit 1:15), namely, the sacrifices, which, through the guilt of the Jews, were no longer holy, that is, acceptable to God. The sacrifices on which they relied will, therefore, no longer protect them. Judah is represented as a priest's wife, who, by adultery, has forfeited her share in the flesh of the sacrifices, and yet boasts of her prerogative at the very same time [Horsley].
when thou doest evil—literally, "when thy evil" (is at hand). Piscator translates, "When thy calamity is at hand (according to God's threats), thou gloriest" (against God, instead of humbling thyself). English Version is best (compare Pr 2:14).
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.
16. called thy name—made thee.
olive—(Ps 52:8; Ro 11:17). The "olive" is chosen to represent the adoption of Judah by the free grace of God, as its oil is the image of richness (compare Ps 23:5; 104:15).
with … noise of … tumult—or, "at the noise," &c., namely, at the tumult of the invading army (Isa 13:4) [Maurer]. Or, rather, "with the sound of a mighty voice," namely, that of God, that is, the thunder; thus there is no confusion of metaphors. The tree stricken with lightning has "fire kindled upon it, and the branches are broken," at one and the same time [Houbigant].
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.
17. that planted thee—(Jer 2:21; Isa 5:2).
against themselves—The sinner's sin is to his own hurt (see on Jer 7:19).
And the LORD hath given me knowledge of it, and I know it: then thou shewedst me their doings.
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.
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 with the fruit thereof, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be no more remembered.
19. lamb—literally, a "pet lamb," such as the Jews often had in their houses, for their children to play with; and the Arabs still have (2Sa 12:3). His own familiar friends had plotted against the prophet. The language is exactly the same as that applied to Messiah (Isa 53:7). Each prophet and patriarch exemplified in his own person some one feature or more in the manifold attributes and sufferings of the Messiah to come; just as the saints have done since His coming (Ga 2:20; Php 3:10; Col 1:24). This adapted both the more experimentally to testify of Christ.
tree with … fruit—literally, "in its fruit" or "food," that is, when it is in fruit. Proverbial, to express the destruction of cause and effect together. The man is the tree; his teaching, the fruit. Let us destroy the prophet and his prophecies; namely, those threatening destruction to the nation, which offended them. Compare Mt 7:17, which also refers to prophets and their doctrines.
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.
20. triest … heart—(Re 2:23).
revealed—committed my cause. Jeremiah's wish for vengeance was not personal but ministerial, and accorded with God's purpose revealed to him against the enemies alike of God and of His servant (Ps 37:34; 54:7; 112:8; 118:7).
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:
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).
Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, I will punish them: the young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine:
22. The retribution of their intended murder shall be in kind; just as in Messiah's case (Ps 69:8-28).
And there shall be no remnant of them: for I will bring evil upon the men of Anathoth, even the year of their visitation.
23. (Jer 23:12).
the year of … visitation—The Septuagint translates, "in the year of their," &c., that is, at the time when I shall visit them in wrath. Jerome supports English Version. "Year" often means a determined time.