Jeremiah 11

CHAPTER XI

The prophet proclaims the tenor of God's covenant with the Jews

of old, 1-5;

and then reproves them for their hereditary disobedience, 6-19.

In consequence of this the Almighty is introduced, declaring he

will show them no pity, 11-13;

forbidding Jeremiah to intercede, 14;

rejecting their sacrifices, 15;

and in a word, condemning this fair but unfruitful tree to the

fire, 16, 17.

In what remains of the chapter the prophet predicts evil to his

neighbours of Anathoth, who had conspired against him, 18-23.

"Let us," said they, "destroy this tree, with the fruit

thereof," &c., alluding to what Jeremiah had said in the

sixteenth verse.

NOTES ON CHAP. XI

Verse 1. 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.

Verse 2. 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 (Ex 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, De 27:1-28:68.

Verse 3. 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."

Verse 5. So be it, O Lord] Let thy promises be fulfilled; and

let the incorrigible beware of thy threatenings!

Verse 6. 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.

Verse 9. 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.

Verse 10. 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.

Verse 12. Go, and cry unto the gods] See Jer 2:28.

Verse 14. 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.

Verse 15. 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?"

Verse 16. 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.

Verse 18. 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.

Verse 19. 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 alluph, which we translate ox, is taken by both as

an adjective, qualifying the noun kebes, a lamb. It may

probably signify a lamb brought up in the house-fed at home, (

alluph,) instructed or nourished at home; perfectly innocent and

unsuspecting, while leading to the slaughter. This meaning the

word will bear in Arabic, for [Arabic] alaf signifies accustomed,

familiar, (to or with any person or thing;) a companion, a

comrade, an intimate friend. I therefore think that

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 alluph as an

epithet of 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.

Verse 20. Let me see thy vengeance on them] Rather, I shall see

( ereh) thy punishment indicted on them.

Verse 22. 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.

Verse 23. The year of their visitation.] This punishment shall

come in that year in which I shall visit their iniquities upon

them.

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