Jer. 11:1 ¶ The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,

Jer. 11:2 Hear ye the words of this covenant, and speak unto the men of Judah,

and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem;

Jer. 11:3 And say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel; Cursed

be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant,

Jer. 11:4 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:

Jer. 11:5 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.

 

This chapter begins with announcement of yet another message that God wants

Jeremiah to proclaim to the people of the Southern Kingdom. This message is

identified as directly related to the covenant that the LORD made with His

people after miraculously delivering them from slavery in Egypt. Jeremiah is to

remind the people that this covenant was conditional upon their obedience to

God’s commands. The LORD also directly relates their possession of the

“promised land” to the unconditional covenant that He had made with

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

 

I thought it was important to note that the LORD references His oath to

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as something yet to be done. When He chooses to fulfill that oath is dependent upon their descendants keeping covenant with the LORD as detailed by Moses in the book of Deuteronomy. The oath to “the fathers”

specifies that the children of Israel will remain in the land forever under God’s

protection and provision. This cannot happen until the Jewish people determine

to keep covenant with the LORD as established by His covenant with Moses.

 

Genesis 17:7–8 “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed

after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and

to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land

wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and

I will be their God.”

 

Deuteronomy 28:1–2 “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto

the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments

which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all

nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou

shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.”

 

Deuteronomy 28:58–64 “If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law

that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name,

THE LORD THY GOD; Then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the

plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and

of long continuance. Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which

thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee. Also every sickness, and every

plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon

thee, until thou be destroyed. And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the

stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the LORD thy

God. And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and

to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring

you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to

possess it. And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the

earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor

thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.”

 

Deuteronomy 30:1–6 “And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon

thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to

mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, And shalt

return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I

command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy

soul; That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon

thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God

hath scattered thee. If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from

thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: And the

LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and

thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy

fathers. And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to

love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest

live.”

 

I have probably used these quotes already in this study, but I think they are well

worth repeating since so many in the “church” today seem to be confused about

God’s continuing plan for the nation of Israel.

 

Jer. 11:6 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.

Jer. 11:7 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.

Jer. 11:8 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.

 

Jeremiah was obedient to God’s command. He spread the word throughout the

land that the LORD wanted His people to keep the covenant that had been

established with them through Moses. It is important to note that to know the

covenant was not good enough; God expects obedience—actions that prove their

commitment to and faith in Him. This truth is echoed by James; when one chooses

not to obey God’s word, he can deceive himself into thinking he is pleasing God

just by knowing His word.

 

James 1:22 “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own

selves.”

 

Jeremiah reminded the people that their forefathers refused to obey God. They

chose instead to live according to the desires of their sinful nature. The people

had misinterpreted God’s patience to mean that He would not follow through on

His promise, but they were sadly mistaken. You would have thought that the

capture of the Northern Kingdom by Assyria would have opened their eyes. I

guess they felt they had special protection because of the presence of the temple

in their midst.

 

People today also misinterpret God’s longsuffering. They seem to think that His

mercy and grace will prevent Him from judging our sin, but Peter tells us

differently.

 

2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness;

but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should

come to repentance.”

 

Jer. 11:9 And the LORD said unto me, A conspiracy is found among the men of

Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Jer. 11:10 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.

 

“conspiracy” = Hebrew: an (unlawful) alliance…conspiracy, treason

 

The LORD is basically declaring to Jeremiah that the people of the Southern

Kingdom are following in the footsteps of their forefathers. They are deliberately

rejecting the LORD to serve false gods. They have committed treason against the

God of Israel.

 

This is really a perplexing truth about humanity. We will go to the nth degree to

keep from recognizing YHWH, the self-existent, eternal, almighty God as LORD.

However, we will readily use our energy to serve false gods in accordance with the desires of the flesh and to our ultimate detriment, while rejecting our Creator who so wants to deliver us from bondage to sin and bless us for eternity.

 

The LORD is emphasizing that both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms had

broken covenant with Him. The Northern Kingdom had already experienced

His hand of judgment. Though He has been longsuffering, that same hand of

judgment is about to fall on Judah.

 

Jer. 11:11 ¶ 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.

 

This verse is a declaration that YHWH’s judgment is certain. This judgment

will bring evil upon his people—evil that cannot be escaped. Prayers of

repentance will fall on deaf ears once judgment starts. God is going to push the

mute button on Judah so to speak.

 

Jer. 11:12 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.

Jer. 11:13 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.

 

It is really a sad commentary that the people of God who have a history full of

miracles giving evidence of His power and desire to protect and provide for

them will respond to His judgment by praying to false gods. Those petitions will

die as soon as they are expressed; it will be as if they were never uttered. The

evil spirits that deceive the people through their pagan worship are nothing

before the power of Almighty God. What He purposes will always be

accomplished.

 

Isaiah 14:24 “The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall

it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:”

 

The LORD observes that to their shame there are as many altars to honor Baal as

there are streets in the city of Jerusalem.

 

Jer. 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.

 

God’s patience with His people has reached its limit. At this point He tells the

prophet that He is not to utter one prayer on behalf of the people. He also

emphasizes that His ears will be closed to any cries for help that they may

address to Him during their judgment.

 

I don’t think that is a truth that we focus on very much. God’s patience is not

without limit. We like to focus on God’s grace, mercy and love; but those

characteristics are balanced by his righteousness and judgment.

 

Psalms 9:7–8 “But the LORD shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for

judgment. And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to

the people in uprightness.”

 

Psalms 33:4–5 “For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth.

He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.”

 

Jer. 11:15 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.

 

“my beloved” = the people of Israel; in context of Jeremiah’s message—the

people of Judah

 

“mine house” = the temple

 

“she hath wrought lewdness with many” = worship rituals performed by the

Jewish people in honor of the false gods of the nations

 

I liked the CJB translation of the last part of the verse: “Offerings of consecrated

meat can no longer help, because it is when you are doing evil that you are happy.”

In other words, though they continue to go through the motions of worship at

the temple that were established to honor YHWH, there was no heart

involvement. They were just performing a ritual. They preferred instead to

participate in the worship rituals in honor of the false gods that fed the desires of

their flesh.

 

Jer. 11:16 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.

Jer. 11:17 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.

 

My paraphrase: The LORD had created Israel to be a beautiful and prosperous

nation. They had chosen to reject His covenant and its associated blessings and

bring down His hand of judgment. The result would be great destruction. The

reason for this judgment—their worship of Baal (representative of all false gods).

 

I liked the phrasing that JFB used in commenting on verse 17: “The sinner’s sin

is to his own hurt.”

 

Jer. 11:18 ¶ And the LORD hath given me knowledge of it, and I know it: then

thou shewedst me their doings.

Jer. 11:19 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.

 

At this point Jeremiah seems to begin speaking for himself. He is acknowledging

that the LORD had revealed to him how his own people were plotting to kill

him. Evidently they had concluded that if you don’t like the message, get rid of

the messenger.

 

As we continue to read, these enemies are identified as the “men of Anathoth,”

(v21—his hometown) most likely in reference to the priests there that did not like him speaking

against them.

 

Jeremiah 1:1 “The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in

Anathoth in the land of Benjamin:”

 

Jer. 11:20 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.

 

After receiving the LORD’s revelation, Jeremiah prays for God’s vengeance upon

his enemies in much the same way that David often prayed. Both were of the

mindset that their enemies were God’s enemies………….And if we are living our

lives so as to truly honor the Lord, that should be true of us as well.

 

Psalms 5:8–10 “Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make

thy way straight before my face. For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward

part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.

Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the

multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee.”

 

Jer. 11:21 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:

Jer. 11:22 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:

Jer. 11:23 And there shall be no remnant of them: for I will bring evil upon the

men of Anathoth, even the year of their visitation.

 

In these verses the LORD answers Jeremiah’s prayer. He tells Jeremiah that the

men of Anathoth that are seeking to murder him for declaring God’s word will

be punished. When He chooses to exact that punishment many will be killed

and their sons and daughters will die from hunger. None of the guilty will

survive.