Jeremiah 11
Clarke's Commentary
The prophet proclaims the tenor of God's covenant with the Jews of old, Jeremiah 11:1-5; and then reproves them for their hereditary disobedience, Jeremiah 11:6-19. In consequence of this the Almighty is introduced, declaring he will show them no pity, Jeremiah 11:11-13; forbidding Jeremiah to intercede, Jeremiah 11:14; rejecting their sacrifices, Jeremiah 11:15; and in a word, condemning this fair but unfruitful tree to the fire, Jeremiah 11:16, Jeremiah 11:17. In what remains of the chapter the prophet predicts evil to his neighbors of Anathoth, who had conspired against him, Jeremiah 11:18-23. "Let us," said they, "destroy this tree, with the fruit thereof," etc., alluding to what Jeremiah had said in the sixteenth verse.

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
The word that came to Jeremiah - This discourse is supposed to have been delivered in the first year of the reign of Zedekiah. See Dahler.

Hear ye the words of this covenant, and speak unto the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem;
Hear ye the words of this covenant - It is possible that the prophet caused the words of the covenant made with their fathers in the desert (Exodus 24:4-8) to be read to them on this occasion; or, at least, the blessings and the cursings which Moses caused to be pronounced to the people as soon as they had set foot in Canaan, Deuteronomy 27, 28.

And say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel; Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant,
Cursed be the man that obeyeth not - After the reading, the prophet appears to sum up the things contained in what was read to them; as if he had said, "Ye hear what the Lord saith unto you: remember, the sum of it is this: The man is cursed who obeyeth not; and he is blessed who obeys. From these declarations God will not depart."

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:
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.
So be it, O Lord - Let thy promises be fulfilled; and let the incorrigible beware of thy threatenings!

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.
Proclaim all these words - Let the same covenant, with the blessings and cursings, be read in every city of Judah, and in all the streets of Jerusalem, that all the people may know their duty, their privileges, and their danger.

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.
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.
And the LORD said unto me, A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
A conspiracy is found - They were all fratres conjurati, sworn brothers, determined to cast off the Divine yoke, and no longer to have God to reign over them.

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.
They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers - A great reformation had taken place under the reign of Josiah, and the public worship of idols had been abolished, and most of the high places destroyed; but under the reign of his son and his successors, they had turned back again to idolatry, and were become worse than ever. It required a captivity to cure them of this propensity: and God sent one: after that, there was no idolatry among the Jews.

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.
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.
Go, and cry unto the gods - See Jeremiah 2:28.

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.
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.
Therefore pray not thou for this people - I am determined to give them up into the hands of their enemies; I will neither hear thy intercession, nor regard their prayers. Their measure is full.

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.
What hath my beloved to do in mine house - This has been supposed to refer to Abraham, Moses, or such eminent servants of God, whose intercession was very powerful. Were even they to appear as intercessors, their prayer should not be regarded. Others think that this is an endearing expression which properly belonged to the Israelites. When God took them into covenant with himself, they were espoused to him, and therefore his beloved; but now that they have forsaken him, and joined themselves to another, what have they to do with his house or its ordinances, which they wish now to frequent with vows and sacrifices, when they see the evil fast coming upon them? This is probably the sense of this very obscure passage. Dr. Blayney translates, "What hath my beloved to do in my house whilst she practiseth wickedness? Shall vows and holy flesh (sacrifices) be allowed to come from thee? When thou art malignant, shalt thou rejoice?"

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.
The Lord called thy name, A green olive tree - That is, he made thee like a green olive - fair, flourishing, and fruitful; but thou art degenerated, and God hath given the Chaldeans permission to burn thee up.

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.
And the LORD hath given me knowledge of it, and I know it: then thou shewedst me their doings.
The Lord hath given me knowledge of it - The men of Anathoth had conspired against his life, because he reproved them for their sins, and denounced the judgments of God against them. Of this God had given him a secret warning, that he might be on his guard.

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.
I was like a lamb or an ox - Dahler translates, "I was like a fattened lamb that is led to the slaughter." Blayney, "I was like a tame lamb that is led to slaughter." The word אלוף alluph, which we translate ox, is taken by both as an adjective, qualifying the noun כבש kebes, a lamb. It may probably signify a lamb brought up in the house-fed at home, (אלוף alluph), instructed or nourished at home; perfectly innocent and unsuspecting, while leading to the slaughter. This meaning the word will bear in Arabic, for alaf signifies accustomed, familiar, (to or with any person or thing); a companion, a comrade, an intimate friend. I therefore think that ככבש אלוף kechebes alluph signifies, like the familiar lamb - the lamb bred up in the house, in a state of friendship with the family. The people of Anathoth were Jeremiah's townsmen; he was born and bred among them; they were his familiar friends; and now they lay wait for his life! All the Versions understood אלוף alluph as an epithet of כבש kebes, a chosen, simple, innocent lamb.

Let us destroy the tree with the fruit - Let us slay the prophet, and his prophecies will come to an end. The Targum has, Let us put mortal poison in his food; and all the Versions understand it something in the same way.

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.
Let me see thy vengeance on them - Rather, I shall see (אראה ereh) thy punishment indicted on them.

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:
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:
Behold, I will punish them - And the punishment is, Their young men shall die by the sword of the Chaldeans; and their sons and daughters shall die by the famine that shall come on the land through the desolations occasioned by the Chaldean army.

And there shall be no remnant of them: for I will bring evil upon the men of Anathoth, even the year of their visitation.
The year of their visitation - This punishment shall come in that year in which I shall visit their iniquities upon them.

Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke [1831].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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