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FRAMEWORKS: Jeremiah 11: A Challenge to Obey & a Plot to kill


Part 1: v.1-17: The covenant is broken
Part 2: v.18-23: The Plot against Jeremiah

[Preliminary Comment: The first part of the chapter is all about the Lord instructing Jeremiah to put before the people ‘a new covenant' which in reality was a reminder of the old covenant to simply obey the Lord. They had again and again broken the old one and if they reject this latest appeal then all that is left is their destruction.

In the second part, a plot to kill Jeremiah is revealed and when Jeremiah prays, the Lord reassures him that He will deal with the plotters.]



Part 1: v.1-17: The covenant is broken


v.1,2 The Lord presents Jeremiah with a covenant

v.1  This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord:

v.2  ‘Listen to the terms of this covenant and tell them to the people of Judah and to those who live in Jerusalem.


v.3-5 The Covenant was simply obey me and I will be your God

v.3  Tell them that this is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: “Cursed is the one who does not obey the terms of this covenant –

v.4  the terms I commanded your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the iron-smelting furnace.” I said, “Obey me and do everything I command you, and you will be my people, and I will be your God.

v.5  Then I will fulfil the oath I swore to your ancestors, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey”– the land you possess today.'

I answered, ‘Amen, Lord.'


v.6-7 This covenant is to be heard throughout Judah

v.6  The Lord said to me, ‘Proclaim all these words in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: “Listen to the terms of this covenant and follow them.

v.7  From the time I brought your ancestors up from Egypt until today, I warned them again and again, saying, ‘Obey me.'

v.8  But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts. So I brought on them all the curses of the covenant I had commanded them to follow but that they did not keep.”'


[Comment: Jeremiah is to present to Judah a new clear and simple covenant, what is obviously a second chance but also a time when they need to make choices – either to obey or to disobey, and if the latter then their guilt will be doubly obvious.]



v.9,10 The people had broken the covenant the Lord originally made with them

v.9  Then the Lord said to me, ‘There is a conspiracy among the people of Judah and those who live in Jerusalem.

v.10  They have returned to the sins of their ancestors, who refused to listen to my words. They have followed other gods to serve them. Both Israel and Judah have broken the covenant I made with their ancestors.


[Comment: The fact is that the nation had again and again and again broken the original covenant made on Mount Sinai [Ex 19:5,6 and expanded in the following chapters] and so the new covenant is simply a call to restate the old one, a second chance to get it right with God.]



v.11-13 Now the judgment side of that covenant will be applied

v.11  Therefore this is what the Lord says: “I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape. Although they cry out to me, I will not listen to them.

v.12  The towns of Judah and the people of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods to whom they burn incense, but they will not help them at all when disaster strikes.

v.13  You, Judah, have as many gods as you have towns; and the altars you have set up to burn incense to that shameful god Baal are as many as the streets of Jerusalem.”


v.14 He is not to pray for this people

v.14  ‘Do not pray for this people or offer any plea or petition for them, because I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their distress.


v.15 Israel, God's beloved now used the temple to worship ‘other gods'

v.15  ‘What is my beloved doing in my temple
    as she, with many others, works out her evil schemes?
    Can consecrated meat avert your punishment?
When you engage in your wickedness,
    then you rejoice.'


[Comment: Jeremiah is told that because they broke the old covenant [and the Lord clearly doesn't believe they will keep this new simplified reminder covenant] He will no longer listen to this people and so Jeremiah shouldn't pray for them as they continue their wickedness in worshipping ‘other gods' in His temple.]



v.16 The Lord has seen Israel as a beautiful, fruitful olive tree – now to be destroyed

v.16  The Lord called you a thriving olive tree
    with fruit beautiful in form.
But with the roar of a mighty storm
    he will set it on fire,
    and its branches will be broken.


v.17 This destruction is purely because they rebelled against God with idolatry

v.17  The Lord Almighty, who planted you, has decreed disaster for you, because the people of both Israel and Judah have done evil and aroused my anger by burning incense to Baal.


[Comment: The Lord had viewed His people as a beautiful and fruitful tree but as she had never lived up to that, He would now destroy her, because they have set their ways to worship Baal,]



Part 2: v.18-23: The Plot against Jeremiah


v.18-20 Jeremiah appeals to the Lord to save him from conspirators

v.18  Because the Lord revealed their plot to me, I knew it, for at that time he showed me what they were doing.

v.19  I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; I did not realise that they had plotted against me, saying,

‘Let us destroy the tree and its fruit;
    let us cut him off from the land of the living,
    that his name be remembered no more.'
v.20  But you, Lord Almighty, who judge righteously
    and test the heart and mind,
let me see your vengeance on them,
    for to you I have committed my cause.


[Comment: Some clearly had not liked what Jeremiah was bringing and so were plotting his destruction [the first reference in the book to what will arise again later]. When the Lord showed him their plotting [what we would today call a word of knowledge] Jeremiah's response is to ask the Lord to deal with them.]



v.21-23 The Lord says he will punish them utterly

v.21  Therefore this is what the Lord says about the people of Anathoth who are threatening to kill you, saying, ‘Do not prophesy in the name of the Lord or you will die by our hands'–

v.22  therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish them. Their young men will die by the sword, their sons and daughters by famine.

v.23  Not even a remnant will be left to them, because I will bring disaster on the people of Anathoth in the year of their punishment.'


[Comment: Jeremiah is reassured by the Lord that He will destroy all those who have been plotting against him in Anathoth, a town some five miles north east of Jerusalem.]



Continue to Chapter 12