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Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
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CHAPTER 11

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.

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).

3. (De 27:26; Ga 3:10).

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).

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 itHebrew, Amen. Taken from De 27:15-26. Jeremiah hereby solemnly concurs in the justice of the curses pronounced there (see Jer 11:3).

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).

7. rising early—(Jer 7:13).

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).

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).

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).

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).

13. shameful thingHebrew, "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].

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.

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).

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].

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).

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.

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.

devices—(Jer 18:18).

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.

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).

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).

22. The retribution of their intended murder shall be in kind; just as in Messiah's case (Ps 69:8-28).

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.

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