Jeremiah 11
Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures

1. On 11:3. “The curse of the Law excites anger, but the curse of the covenant abashes. I have seen an atheist tremble at the words ‘If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema (1 Cor. 16:22).’ He remarked it himself, and sought to excuse himself by saying ‘it was motus incoluntarii.’ But it was the words of the covenant, Thou shalt love.” ZINZENDORF.

2. On 11:5. “Hic παίδευμα a laiet et pro ministris verbi. et pro eorum auditoribus. Ministri exemplo prophetæ monentur, ut similem in officio promtitudinem et animi alacritatem Deo probent, quemadmodum etiam de Jesaja legitur, 6:8. Auditores hic docentur, ut de voluntate Dei ex verbo moniti in corde suo dicant; amen, promti et parati ad obedientiam verbo præstandam.” FÖRSTER.

3. On 11:14. “Intercession for all men has good reason for it in the love which is due to one’s neighbor, and it is also commanded, 1 Tim. 2:1, 2, but on the part of those who offer it, a certain order is required so that it may be heard (Luke 13:8, 9; John 9:31).” LANGH Op. bibl.

4. On 11:15. “It is a snare to a man to blaspheme the holy, and after that to seek vows [after vows to make inquiry] (Prov. 20:24). For that is the manner of hypocrites, to offer St. Martin a penny and then steal a horse; and when they have opposed God and His word to the utmost, to turn afterwards to sacrifices, fasting and alms, and wish thus to exculpate themselves.” CRAMER.

5. On 11:16, 17. “God has appointed us to be trees of righteousness, plants of the Lord for His glory (Isa. 61:3). He, however, who bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down and cast into the fire (Matt. 7:19).” CRAMER. [“Every sin against God is a sin against ourselves, and so it will be found sooner or later.” HENRY.—S. R. A.]

6. On 11:18. “Although the human heart cannot be fathomed (Jer. 17:9), yet nothing can be hidden from God, and He frequently reveals secret counsels, so that they are known and manifest, as in the case of Absalom and Ahithophel (Isa. 8:10). Therefore do nothing in secret, in the hope that it will remain hidden, for the birds of heaven carry the voice, and the winged repeat it (Eccles. 10:20).” CRAMER.

7. On 11:20. “The first New Testament vengeance was executed on the cross, when an evildoer who had mocked at Jesus, cringed on the cross, and asked for a gracious remembrance. The Lamb of God could scarcely wait the time of vengeance: To-day, said He, shalt thou be with Me in Paradise. According to this may the Jeremiahs of our times, the preachers of righteousness, take the measure of their holy desire for vengeance.” ZINZENDORF. [“It is a comfort, when we are wronged that we have a God to commit our cause to: and our duty to commit it to Him, with a resolution to acquiesce in His definite sentence; to subscribe and not prescribe to Him.” HENRY.—S. R. A.]

8. On 11:20. “A teacher is advised to say this if he can, ‘I have ceased to concern myself about myself.’ DR. LUTHER says,

Once I grasped too many things:—

None staid; they all had wings:

But since I’ve weary grown,

And all away have thrown,

Not one from me has flown.

And do you ask, how can it be thus?—

Because I’ve cast my all on Jesus.

Messengers and servants, who concern themselves about their own injuries must have bad masters.” ZINZENDORF.

9. On 11:22. When the people will not endure the rod of Christ’s mouth, with which He smites the earth (Isai. 11:4), item His rods Beauty and Bands (Zech. 11:7), God sends one with the sword to preach, which is followed by the red spice, and then we see what the smooth preachers have effected (Isai. 30:10).” CRAMER.

10. On 12:1. “But can we conceive anything more humane and gracious than our dear Lord? We know beforehand that we are wrong; we do not doubt that He does all well, but it yet oppresses us. We should like to make a clean breast of it. Where shall we find one with whom we could do this? The fly on the wall, the domestic, the child, that comes in our way? Assuredly not! Straight to our Lord, the eternal and living God, with all our ill-humor, doubt, care, scruples! Pour out your heart before Him (Ps. 62:8).” ZINZENDORF.

11. On 12:1–3. “It is a common grievance, to live and experience that the ungodly are prosperous and the godly are unfortunate (Ps. 38:20; 73:12; Job 21:7; 31:2), against which David wrote the 32. Ps. Have recourse to the testimony that there is another life, when the tables will be turned and the evil will be recompensed with evil and the good with good (Isai. 65:13).” CRAMER.

12. On 12:3. “The prosperity of the ungodly should exhort them to repentance by the long-suffering of God (Rom. 2:4). But when even this does not avail, there are still people of this world, who have their portion in this life, who fill only their belly (Ps. 17:14) and carry nothing away. What profit then is there to them even if they had the whole world, and suffer injury to their souls (Matth. 16:26. The rich man in Luke 16:23).” CRAMER.

13. On 12:4. “It is strange that even in the people of God the Epicurean opinion has found acceptance, that God sits idly in the heavens, caring nothing about what goes on below, doing neither that which is good nor that which is evil, (Zeph. 1:12), seeing not what men do (Ezek. 8:10, 9:9), and that future things are altogether hidden both from him and his prophet. So powerful is the devil among the children of unbelief.” CRAMER.

14. On 12:4. “Tales hodie sunt Epicuri de grege porci, quibus sæpe est in ore, the devil is not so black, hell is not so hot, as the parson in the pulpit makes out. Sed his historia divitis epulonis occinenda (Luke 16). Nam ibi—Christ puts forth his hand into hell-fire, snatches a brand out therefrom, and holds it in the face of all Epicureans, as though He would say, Smell, smell, how hot hell-fire is.” FÖRSTER.

15. On 12:5. “I have heard that an able preacher, when he had to deliver a trial sermon for the position of court-preacher, took this text. The exposition is plain. No servant of the Lord should long for more respectable, rich, discreet, sociable hearers. Let every one approve himself thoroughly in all changes, and be sure of his cause and lean not to his own understanding.” ZINZENDORF.

16. On 12:6. “Many must add to this, wife, child, colleague, domestics, and whatever more the Saviour mentions, which may be against a man. One is often offered by his mother to the dear God (i. e. dedicated to the pastoral office) but in an altogether different sense; and when he afterwards walks as becomes him, according to the gospel of Christ, those are his bitterest enemies, who hoped that he might comfort them in all their travail, and who not only do not gain anything from his labors as a witness, but must bear the shame and ridicule, that their son, brother, cousin, husband, father, friend, etc. will yet render them all unfortunate.” ZINZENDORF.

17. On 12:7, sqq. “They are sweet words and beautiful names with which the Lord baptizes and names His city, and it is so hard for it to be punished by God for its sins that we are long in learning to consider our own account.” (Rom. 11:21). CRAMER.

18. On 12:7, sqq. “The heart of a believer is God’s most cherished abode, but if man corrupt it with wilful sin, God must forsake this house.” (Isai. 59:2). STARKE.

19. On 12:10, sqq. “A servant of the Lord who should follow on twelve hirelings or wolves may depend on this, that he will find nothing else than a house, a vineyard of the Lord, but a desecrated house, an uprooted vineyard, in which many preparations are needed before he can proceed to his regular work.” ZINZENDORF.

20. On 12:14, sqq. “The Christian church has a triple consolation. 1. That its enemies will be punished; 2. That God again has mercy on it; 3. That it also converts a part of its enemies and gathers them into its little flock of believers.” CRAMER.

21. On 12:16. “Some time since I found in the so-called Herrnhut lot-book for the year 1737 the words in the vision of Isaiah, 59:17: Thy destroyer and they that made thee waste shall go forth of thee! Under them were these two lines, ‘let them rather remain and attach them to us.’ This is what Jeremiah says; they may yet come out right.—Paul has confirmed it by his example. Within three days he was a persecutor, a false teacher, a poor sinner, a justified sinner, a witness, an apostle. With joy would I bestow the same happiness on every one of those, whom I at this moment cannot regard otherwise than as the enemies, of the cross of Christ.” ZINZENDORF.


1. On 11:1–10 there is extant a homily of ORIGEN (the 9th in Lommatzsch’s ed.) likewise on 11:18–12:9 (the 10th) and on 12:11–13:1 (the 11th.)

2. FÖRSTER remarks that 11:19, 20 accords with Matth. 22:15 sqq. (XXIII. Sunday after Tr.) and that the persecution of Jeremiah corresponds to the sufferings of the Lord. Likewise that 12:2 bears relation to Luke 16:19 sqq. (I. Sund. after Trin.) and 12:7 to Acts 6:8 sqq. (St. Stephen’s day, Sunday after Christmas), and to Luke 19:41 sqq. (X. after Trin.)

3. On 11:16, 17. The divine election is never intended to be a license from all discipline. Indeed when men break the covenant, the Lord interposes with punishment, which may proceed to instantaneous destruction. Surely God’s gifts and calling are without repentance. If the branches cut off abide not in unbelief they shall be graffed in; for God is able to graft them in again, Rom. 11:23, 29.

4. On 11:21. That which the people of Anathoth say here to Jeremiah, the people of this world say everywhere and at all times to the preachers of the truth. Comp. 2 Tim. 4:3, 4. It is important then to preach the word, to be instant in season and out of season; to reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine (2 Tim. 4:2).

5. On 12:5. It is not becoming that we prescribe to God, to what extent He shall lay burdens upon us. Our patience and steadfastness are as elastic and extensible as our faith is firm and rock-like (Petrine, Matth. 16:18).

6. On 12:14–17. When mankind depart from God they lose the bond of unity and of peace. They are divided then into parties, which contend with and exterminate each other. But when these have again united themselves with the Lord, the unity of the members is restored. Therefore there is liberty, equality and fraternity only in the Lord.

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,

(CHAPTERS 11–12)


The three chapters 11–13 are headed in common by a longer superscription (11:1) such as those with which Jeremiah is accustomed to introduce the greater sections. A similar one occurs again in 14:1. But chaps. 11 and 12 only form a connected whole, as will hereafter be shown. In the passage 12:14, where the prophet speaks of the wicked neighbors by which the inheritance of Israel was assailed, an allusion has been found to the event reported in 2 Kings 24:2 and the time of composition of this discourse determined accordingly. (So DAHLER, MAURER, HITZIG, UMBREIT, GRAF). The discourse would accordingly pertain to the end of the reign of Jehoiakim. But in this case Jeremiah must have named the Chaldeans as the instruments of punishment, as he does without exception in all the discourses delivered after the battle of Carchemish. The fact that the Chaldeans are not mentioned is a sure sign that the discourse was delivered before the date mentioned, which falls in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (25:1; 46:2). Since now in the lifetime of Josiah a violation of covenant in the degree with which the people are reproached in 11:9–13 (observe especially Jer 11:13) is not to be thought of, and the three months’ reign of Jehoahaz is scarcely worth consideration, we are referred to the first years of Jehoiakim, consequently the same period to which the preceding discourse (Jer 7:10) belongs. If what is said in 12:9 sqq. of wicked neighbors has some reference to 2 Kings 24:2 it can only be that we may perceive in the latter the at least partial fulfilment of the former. Comp. the comments on 12:14.—Ch. 13 is not connected with chaps. 11 and 12. It forms a well-compacted whole, the time and origin of which may be perceived partly from its silence with respect to the Chaldeans, and partly from what is said concerning the pride of the king. It must likewise belong to the first years of Jehoiakim. Comp. the preliminary remarks on Jer 13. The principle of chronological arrangement is here also perceptible.

That 12:7–17 is not a later addition, as MAURER, HITZIG and GRAF suppose, is evident, as it seems to me, from the structure of the whole.

The fundamental thought of the discourse is:

The contrast of the covenant and conspiracy

(קֶשֶׁר and בְּרִית)

1. Reminder of the recent renewal under Josiah of the covenant between Jehovah and the peoples, 11:1–8.

2. First stage of the conspiracy; entire Israel, instead of keeping the covenant with Jehovah, conspires against Him, 11:9–13.

3. Punishment of the conspiracy an inevitable, severe judgment, 11:14–17. (Appendix to the previous strophe).

4. Second stage of the conspiracy: the plot of the Anatotites, 11:18–23.

5. Third stage of the conspiracy: the plot in the prophet’s own family, 12:1–6.

6. The conspiracy of Israel punished by the conspiracy of the neighbors against them, 11:7–13.

7. Solution of all antitheses by the final union of all in the Lord, 12:14–17.


1. Reminder of the recent renewal under Josiah of the Covenant between Jehovah and the people


1          The word which came to Jeremiah from Jehovah, saying:

2     Hear ye the words of this covenant,

And speak ye to the men of Judah,

And to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

3     And say to them: Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel:

Cursed1 be the man who hears not the words of this covenant,

4     Which I commanded to your fathers

In the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt,

And out of the iron furnace, saying,

Hearken ye unto my voice and do them [my commands]

According to all that which I command you;

So shall ye be my people and I will be your God;

5     To perform the oath which I swore to your fathers;

To give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day.

And I said, Amen, Jehovah!

6     And Jehovah said unto me,

Proclaim all these words in the city of Judah

And in the streets of Jerusalem, saying,

Hear ye the words of this covenant and do them!

7     For I testified to your fathers on the day2

That I brought them out of the land of Egypt,

Even to this day urgently and unceasingly:

Hearken ye unto my voice!

8     But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear,

And went, every man in the hardness of his wicked heart;

And I brought upon them all the words of this covenant,

Which I commanded them to keep; but they kept them not.


This is strophe forms the basis of the discourse. It must therefore, to be understood, be rendered in closest connection with what follows. It relates how the Lord once (in the 18th year of king Josiah, 2 Kings 22), after the discovery of the book of the law, admonished to the observance of the covenant formed between him and their fathers, and especially according to the standard of the 5th book of the Torah, both on the whole (Jer 11:1–5) and particulars (i. e., by repeated proclamation in the cities of Judah and streets of Jerusalem, Jer 11:6–8) indicating both the blessed consequences of covenant-fidelity (Jer 11:4 and 5) and the ruinous consequences of infidelity (Jer 11:8). In so far as Jer 11:10 relates the breach of the covenant so expressly enjoined in this strophe it is seen that this injunction must have been made previously, that therefore this strophe gives a representation of a past fact. But so far as the strophe reports only this inculcation of the covenant it is clear that it points to something later than its redintegration.

Jer 11:1 and 2. The word which came … and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. The superscription is like 7:1.—Hear, etc. Since, as previously remarked, what follows is to be regarded as the narrative of a fact which occurred in former times, hear does not refer to the contents of the word proclaimed in Jer 11:1, but of an earlier word. Jer 11:1 refers therefore to the whole discourse, and before hear is to be supplied an introductory formula leading back to the real time of this inculcation of the covenant. The subject of hear is most probably according to Jer 11:6, the people of Judah and Jerusalem. The words stand at the head as a general call of awakening and admonition. ודברתם, LXX., καὶ λαλήσεις, which recommends the reading ודִבַּרְתָּם. But according to the reading of the text it is the priests, elders and prophets, who in 2 Kings 22:1; 2 Chron. 34:29, are expressly mentioned as participating in the covenant. There are as it were three concentric circles. The smallest represents Jeremiah, who would bring home to the people the importance of keeping the covenant. But it cannot be denied that the want of an express designation of the subject is remarkable. Perhaps the brevity of the expression may be thus explained that the prophet wished to give mere hints, knowing that these would be sufficient to recall to the memory of his hearers the former more extended discourses.—The words of this covenant. The pronoun this designates the covenant as one before their eyes and well-known. Comp. this passage with 2 Kings 22 and 23; 2 Chron. 34 (Vid., especially 2 Kings 23:3, coll. 22:13; 23:2; 2 Chron. 34:30), and there can be no doubt that by the words this covenant in Jer 11:2, 3, 6, 8, is meant that, the archives of which were contained in the book found by Hezekiah. The expression is found besides only in Deut. (5:3; 29:13). The expression, words of the covenant, besides 2 Kings 23:2; 2 Chron. 34:30, is found only Deut. 28:69; 29:8, and in Jer. 34:18. This passage also (to anticipate) contains several references to Deuteronomy, from which it follows that the covenant-record, which both Jeremiah in this passage and the authors of the books of Kings and Chronicles (2 Kings 20 and 23; 2 Chron. 34) have in view, is to be understood at least primarily and especially to be Deuteronomy.—Men of Judah. Comp. rems. on 4:4. On the exchange of אֵל and עַל, see rems. on 10:1.

Jer 11:3-5. And say to them … Amen, Jehovah! Jeremiah receives the special commission to present before the people the importance of keeping the covenant: cursing and blessing being dependent on it. While in Jer 11:3, 5, the discourse seems to be addressed to the whole of the people, it turns in Jer 11:6–8, to the particular portions. Further, while the prophet in Jer 11:3–5 holds before the people the divine curse and blessing, he seeks in Jer 11:6–8 to make an impression on them by pointing to the fulfilment of the curse already taken place on their disobedient fathers.—In the day, etc. Comp. 7:22; 34:13.—The pronoun them is to be referred to the plural conception of commands implied in according to all. comp. NAEGELSB. Gr. §, 61, 1.—To perform the oath. In order to realize the existence of the oath, comp. Deut. 8:18, coll.; 27:26.—Amen, Jehovah is, as remarked, a quotation from Deut. 27:15 sqq. The prophet gives it to be understood by this Amen, that he has understood the allusion contained in cursed, Jer 11:3.

Jer 11:6-8. And Jehovah said unto me … but they kept them not. The prophet here reads the commission given him in the 18th year of Josiah, to make known the words of the covenant by reading them not only in the central sanctuary (comp. 2 Kings 23:1–3), but also by repeated readings in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. The prophet may have accompanied king Josiah on his circuit, which is spoken of in 2 Kings 23:15–20. Since it was the making known of a written document, the proclamation is most probably meant in the sense of reading, as קָרָא generally signifies to read aloud; comp. 2 Kings 22:8, 10, 16; 23:2; Jer. 36:6, 8, 10, 13, etc.For I testified. Comp Ps. 50:7, and the previously cited passages of Deut.—urgently. Comp. 7:13, 25.—But they hearkened not. Comp. 7:24.—hardness. Comp. rems. on 3:17.

[1]Jer 11:3.—אָרוּר ו׳ Jer 11:3, and the corresponding אָמֵן, Jer 11:5, remind us of Deut. 27:15 sqq., especially Jer 11:26.—IRON FURNACE is found only in Deut. 4:20 and (as a quotation) in 1 Ki. 8:51. הָעֵד ו׳ is not exclusively yet especially peculiar to Deut., since besides Gen. 43:3; Exod. 19:21, 22 it occurs in the Pentateuch only Deut. 4:26; 8:19; 30:19; 31:28; 32:46.—שׁרִירוּת Jer 11:3, is found in the Pentateuch only in Deut. 29:18. Also the expressions so shall ye be my people, Jer 11:4, and a land flowing, etc., are not indeed peculiar to, but very common in Deuteronomy. (Comp. in reference to the former Exod. 6:7; Levit. 26:12; and Deut. 4:20; 7:6; 14:2; 26:18; 29:9; 29:12,—in reference to the latter Exod. 3:8, 17, and Deut. 6:3; 11:9; 26:9, 15; 27:3; 31:20).

[2]Jer 11:7.—בְּיוֹם we should expect מיּוֹם. The former is perhaps occasioned by בְּיוֹם, Jer 11:4.

And the LORD said unto me, A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem.


9          And Jehovah said unto me,

A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah,

And among the citizens of Jerusalem.

10     They are returned to the sins of their fathers,

Who scorned to hear my words;

And are gone after other gods, to serve them.

The house of Israel, and the house of Judah

Have broken the covenant which I made with their fathers.

11     Therefore thus saith Jehovah, Behold!

I bring upon them evil, from which they cannot escape;

And they will cry to me, but I will not hear them.

12     And the cities of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem shall go,

And cry to the gods to which they burn incense,

But help them—this they will not at the time of their calamity.

13     For as the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah!

And as the number of the streets in Jerusalem

Have ye set up altars of shame,

Even altars to burn incense unto Baal.


The Lord has made a covenant with the people, but when the people are regarded now (at the time when Jeremiah thus speaks), there is no longer any trace of it (the covenant made in the reign of Josiah) to be found, but only conspiracy. The prophet shows the existence of such a conspiracy in three stages: 1, in the entire people of Israel (Jer 11:9, 10); 2, among the people of Anathoth (Jer 11:18–23); 3, in the prophet’s own family (12:1–6).—In this strophe the existence of such conspiracy among the people in general is just stated (Jer 11:9 and 10), then its punishment is announced, (Jer 11:11) which will be of such a nature that the gods will be unable to deliver from it (Jer 11:12), though Judah and Jerusalem worship so large a number of them (Jer 11:13).

Jer 11:9 and 10. A conspiracy is found … which I made with their fathers. On is found (נִמְצָא), comp. 2:34; 5:26. קֶשֶׁר=conspiracy against the rightful Lord, in opposition to the covenant (בְרִית) which is in accordance with right and duty. In such conspiracies the time of the kings was especially rife (comp. 1 Kings 16:20; 2 Kings 12:20; 14:19; 15:15, 30; 17:4), as generally a disposition to conspire is attributed to the Jews (comp. DRECHSLER on Isa. 8:12; Acts 23:12 sqq.).—The expression שָׁבוּ presupposes the covenant mentioned in Jer 11:1 sqq., and proves that this section is to be regarded as a reminder of a past fact.—House of Israel, etc. A comprehensive survey: not merely Judah and Jerusalem (Jer 11:9), but Israel and Judah have broken the covenant.

Jer 11:11-13. Therefore thus saith Jehovah … to burn incense to Baal. Announcement of punishment.—For gives the reason and explanation of the declaration of Jer 11:12, that Israel will take refuge with the idols. This may happen because they have idols in numbers, and offer to them numerous acts of worship.—as the number. Comp. 2:28.—altars of shame. Comp. rems. on 3:24; Hos. 9:10.

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     Therefore pray not thou for this people,

Nor raise for them crying and supplication;

For I hear not, if they cry unto me on account of their calamity.

15     What has my beloved to do in my house?

To practise it—the enormity?

Will crying and holy flesh take away from thee thy hurt?3

Then mayest thou exult!

16     “Green olive-tree, splendid with goodly fruit,”

Thus did Jehovah call thy name.

Amid rattling thunder he set fire to it;

And they broke—its branches.

17     And Jehovah Zebaoth, who planted thee,

Hath pronounced evil against thee

“On account of the wickedness of the house of Israel and the house of Judah

Which they practised to their own hurt,4

Provoking me and burning incense to Baal.”5


This section is closely attached to the preceding as an appendix. In Jer 11:11 it was said that a punishment of Israel was determined upon, which they could not escape. For neither will the Lord hear their cries, nor the idols be able to help them.—The thought I hear not (Jer 11:11b), is further explained in this strophe: 1. The Lord will not even hear the prophet (Jer 11:14a); 2, nor the people (Jer 11:14b) even though they offer prayers and sacrifices in His temple (Jer 11:15). Although the Lord even acknowledges Israel to be a beautiful olive-tree which He Himself planted, yet He must adhere to His determination to punish on account of the wickedness which Israel has practised (Jer 11:16 and 17).

Jer 11:14 and 15. Therefore pray not thou … then mayest thou exult. At first the Lord explains that the intercession of the prophet will be of no avail in the same words as in 7:16 coll. 14:11. He then says that the people’s own supplication to avert the calamity will be in vain. This he elucidates in Jer 11:14, by showing that this beseeching, though offered in the temple and with sacrifices, is only a deceptive mask, under which is hidden the object of continuing in sin. יְדִיד is not Jehovah nor the prophet, but the people, this being imperatively demanded by the sense of the question. What has my beloved to do in my house? can be asked only of such a beloved, whose appearance in the house of the Lord is not welcome. This can be Israel alone, who, although in themselves and originally the beloved of Jehovah, have yet been so estranged from Him, that the question may be fairly asked, what this faithless beloved (now ironically so called) has to do in the house of the Lord? The expression appears to be based on Deut. 33:12, where Benjamin, in evident allusion to his dwelling in the vicinity of the national sanctuary, is called the beloved of Jehovah. Comp. besides Isa. 5:1: Ps. 60:7; 108:7; 127:2.—The answer to the question is: To practise it … the enormity. As to the construction of these words, the anticipation of the object by a pronoun is nothing unusual. Comp. 27:8; 51:56; 1 Sam. 9:13; NAEGELSB., Gr. §, 77, 2.—But why this anticipation here? It presupposes that the object has been already mentioned, or is generally known. Now this מְזִמָּה, by which not any wickedness, but in accordance with the question, the hypocritical pseudo-worship of Jehovah is to be understood, has not been mentioned in the discourse hitherto. But in rhetorical vivacity the prophet presupposes as known, that which, now as before, deeply troubles him, and which by the initial words of the verse he has indicated with sufficient plainness. The thought and the expression recall unmistakably (as MAURER remarks) 7:10: “and then ye come and stand before me in the house which bears my name, and say, we are hidden—to do all these abominations.” As here (7:10) the head of the wickedness is found in this, that Israel regard the temple-service as a sort of sow-washing (2 Pet. 2:22), to which they betake themselves, not to purify themselves thoroughly, but only to make room for fresh filth, so in this passage the prophet says that Israel has nothing to do in the house of the Lord, but “to do it, the wickedness,” namely, that described in chap. 7, which, under the appearance of wishing to be freed from sin, only hides the object of more completely committing it. Accordingly מְזִמָּה is here to be taken in the sense in which it most frequently occurs, viz., in that of evil design, of purposed, conscious wickedness (Ps. 10:2; 21:12; 139. 20; Job 21:27, etc.). The more full-sounding form (comp. OLSH. § 133) has a rhetorical reason, as also the rarer suffix forms following כִי. This double form, (which does not occur elsewhere in Jeremiah) may both in itself and in its accumulation, be for the purpose of rhetorical effect and more particularly that of irony. With this agrees the distinctly ironical expression, then mayest thou exult, which bears reference to what has my beloved?etc., that is, to the manner in which the proud and secure people appeared in the temple. Not now, the prophet means to say, but then may you exult, when your prayers and sacrifices have helped you.

Jer 11:16 and 17. Green olive-tree … incense to Baal. The occasion of the thought, prayers, etc. will not avert thy calamity. This will be on this account, v.z., that the Lord, though He acknowledges Israel to be a beautiful olive-tree, planted by Himself, has determined to destroy him. The parable of the olive-tree in reference to Israel is found also in Ps. 52:10 [8]; Isa. 17:6; 24:13; Hos. 14:6.—Amid rattling, etc., (לקול) comp. on 10:13.—המולה synonymous with הָמוֹו, besides only in Ezek. 1:24. The prophet compares the catastrophe threatening Israel to a tempest.—Set fire, etc., comp. 17:27; 21:14; 43:12; 49:27; 50:32; Am. 1:14.—They broke. Since an intransitive meaning of the original word cannot be proved, we must regard as the subject either (by a rapid transition from figure to reality) the enemies, or it is to be derived from another root רעע, the radical meaning of which is tumultuari, agitari, concitari (comp. FUERST, H. W. B. and Concord, s. v.) The former is to be preferred, since fire is not followed by a mere shaking but a breaking of branches.—And Jehovah Zebaoth, etc. If in and they broke we perceived a partial transition into the sphere of reality (namely, in respect to the subject), here we perceive the transition to be complete. It is declared in plain words that the Lord has pronounced the judgment of condemnation on Israel, (19:15; 26:19). In the word planted only, which contains a corroborative point, as it traces not only the name but also the existence of the beautiful olive tree to God (comp. 2:21) is the figure still retained. On practised to their own hurt, comp. 7:19; 44:3.


[3] Jer 11:15—The text here is certainly corrupt; 1, because, as it reads at present, it affords no intelligible meaning; 2, because the ancient translations indicate other readings. הָרַבִּים especially is unintelligible, whether we connect it with what goes before or after. The LXX. translate μὴ εὐχαὶ καὶ κρέα ἅγια ἀφελοῦσιν ἀπὸ σοῦ τας κακίας σου. They seem then to have read הַנְּדָרִים as some suppose, or more probably הָרָנִּים (BUXTORF, MAURER, GRAF). This latter word, indeed, occurs only in Ps. 32:7 in the expression רנּי פלּט: but since the word is formed quite regularly (comp. עזֹ ,רֹב ,חֹק, etc.) the plural רָנִּים (instead of רֻנִּים, which elsewhere is certainly the form exclusively used: comp. OLSH., § 156), being analogous to the forms חָגּי ,רָנִּי, etc. since further רִנָּה, also 7:16; 11:14; 14:12, coll. Ps. 17:1; 1 Ki. 8:28, etc., signifies supplication, prayer, and is translated in 11:14; 14:12 by the LXX. δέησις, since finally the idea of “beseeching, crying,” corresponds exactly to קָרְאָם. I regard it as most probable that רנים was the original word in this place, but that the word, either purposely, because it does not occur elsewhere, or by mistake, was changed into the slightly differing form רבים. If the question begins with הָרָנִּים, the following ו in וּבְשַר ו׳ is entirely in place.—בְּשַׂר־קֹדֶשׁ is found also in Hagg. 2:12 of the flesh of sacrifice, and seems here especially to indicate the Holocaus’a or burnt-offerings, in which the flesh of the animal is burnt (Levit. 1). The following words also are scarcely intelligible without an alteration of the text. We, therefore, after the example of many commentators, either render יַעַבְרוּ as Hiph. (like וַיַדְרְכוּ. 9, 2. Vide in loc.), or read יַעֲבִרוּ. We connect כִּי after מעליךְ (LXX., EWALD, MEIER, etc.), and obtain the sense, Will thy prayers and sacrifices take away thy wickedness (רָעַה has the double sense=sin and punishment) from thee? The thought then corresponds exactly to the close of Jer 11:14.

[BLAYNEY renders: Shall vows and holy flesh be allowed to come from thee? When thou art malignant, shalt thou then rejoice? NOYES and HENDERSON, adhering to the text, render, the former: While many pollute it with wickedness?—The holy flesh shall pass away from thee. For when thou doest evil, thou rejoicest; the latter: Committing as she doth the manifold enormity? And the holy flesh hath passed away from thee. etc. It seems, however, strained to render this expression “pass away” of their sacrifices being unacceptable to God.—S. R. A.]

[4]Jer 11:17.—[HENDERSON: Which they committed against themselves.]

[5]Jer 11:17.—On the infinitives לְקַטֵּר ,לְהַכְעִסֵני. Comp. NAEGELSB. Gr. § 95, e.

And the LORD hath given me knowledge of it, and I know it: then thou shewedst me their doings.


18          And Jehovah instructed me and I learned.

Then didst thou show me their doings.

19     But I was as a tame sheep, that is led to the slaughter,

And remarked not, that they had had thoughts concerning me:

“Let us destroy the tree with its fruit,

And extirpate him from the land of the living,

That his name may no more be mentioned.”

20     But Jehovah Zebaoth judges with justice;

He tries the reins and heart.

I shall see thy vengeance on them,

For on thee have I devolved my cause.

21     Therefore this saith Jehovah of the men of Anathoth,

Who sought after thy life, saying:

“Prophesy not in the name of Jehovah,

That thou die not6 by our hand”—

22     Therefore thus saith Jehovah Zebaoth:

Behold, I visit them,

The young men shall die by the sword;

Their sons and their daughters shall die of famine.

23     And there shall be no remnant of them,

For I will bring calamity on the men of Anathoth

In the year of their visitation.7


The prophet here also evidently speaks of a conspiracy, and of one which existed in a narrower circle (the city of Anathoth). Jer 11:18 opens with the declaration that in what follows a fact will be communicated, of which the prophet received intelligence only from the Lord. In Jer 11:19 it is stated that this fact consisted in a plot against the life of the prophet. In Jer 11:20 the prophet expresses his hope that the Lord will avenge him. Jer 11:21–23 announce the vengeance of the Lord in response.

Jer 11:18 and 19. And Jehovah instructed me … no more be mentioned. The connection with ו shows that the following verses are closely connected with the preceding. The construction in Jer 11:18a is like 20:7a. By instructed me the prophet gives the Lord the glory and preintimates at the same time that it was something secret.—Their doings declares that this consisted in an act of wicked men.—Tame, comp. 3:4; 2 Sam. 12:3. [HENDERSON:—A lamb that has been tamed so as to be familiar and play with children. One such is commonly to be found in the house of the Arab.—S. R. A.]—With its fruit. HITZIG would read בְּלֵחֹוin its cap (comp. Deut. 34:7; Ezek. 21:3) because לֶחֶם signifies corn, not the fruit of a tree. But the idea of the product afforded by the tree such as serves for food is here essential. Comp. Jer 11:21b. Since, as it is acknowledged לחם originally meant food in general (comp. Gen. 47:12; Isai. 65:25; Job 28:5; Prov. 27:27) we here also understand by it the edible product of the tree. This is certainly the fruit in opposition to the sap, wood, leaves, etc. On בְּ = cum comp. NAEGELSB.Gr. § 112, 5, a.

Jer 11:20-23. But Jehovah Zebaoth … in the year of their visitation. Jer 11:20 is repeated almost verbatim in 20:12 coll. 17:10.—Tries. The prophet appeals for a confirmation of his innocence to the omniscient God.—גליתי׳. The form according to Piel. from גָלָה. The connection however requires the meaning “to shove, to roll,” which is also favored by the analogy of the passages, Ps. 22:9; 37:5; Prov 16:3, comp. Ewald, § 121, a.prophesy not. Comp. Am. 2:12; 7:13. Doubtless the plot was to perform the unsuccessful threatening.—In Jer 11:22 the introductory formula is repeated after the interruption.—I will bring calamity, comp. 19:15; 23:12.


[6]Jer 11:21.—On the construction of וְלֹא תָמוּת comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 89, 3 b.

[7]Jer 11:22.—שׁנַת פֹ׳ is not the accusative of the object but of the time. Comp. 10:15 בְּעֵת פְּקֻדָּתָם [HENDERSON renders it as the former; the year, etc.—S. R. A.]

Lange, John Peter - Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical

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