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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 11

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-23

Jeremiah 11:14 . Pray not thou for this people. The Chaldaic and the LXX, Deprecate not the scourge of war coming upon them. We find the same sentiments more fully expressed in Ezekiel 14:0., confirming the doctrine, that there is a point with men and nations, when they sin beyond the power of recovery.

Jeremiah 11:16 . A green olive-tree. Israel is often compared to a vine, or a flourishing tree. Psalms 80:0. Isaiah 5:0, Isaiah 61:3. But now the lovely tree must wither, the vine must be rooted up. The holy flesh, Jeremiah 11:15, having committed adultery with Ashteroth, has lost its sanctity, and all its ancient glory.

Jeremiah 11:19 . Let us destroy the tree with the fruit thereof. This is an obscure text. There are almost as many readings as there are versions. The Chaldaic and the LXX read, Let us send or put wood into his bread; which seems to imply that they would beat him to death with rods, and thus destroy the tree with the fruit, by cutting it down. But the Hebrew word may be read flesh, either of man or beast. Of beasts, Leviticus 3:11; Leviticus 21:8; and of men, Job 6:7. Hence some read, Let us break or put wood in his flesh, by breaking the rods with scourging him. Consequently Jeremiah, viewing himself as a lamb, or as a bullock brought to the slaughter, could not but have a reference in the spirit to the sufferings of the Messiah. The holy prophets most assuredly did every thing with a view to his coming, and could not but associate all their sorrows and all their joys with those of the Saviour.


A new scene opens here. Jeremiah, going through the streets of Jerusalem and the cities of Judah with the covenant of God in his hand, the covenant to which they themselves had sworn at the great passover of king Josiah, still protests against the crimes of his country, and takes the ground where the feet of former prophets had stood. He accuses them of breaking the covenant by idolatry, to which their fathers had sworn in Horeb. The double apostasy being thus fully proved, he boldly announced the curse. Behold, saith the Lord, I bring evil upon them which they shall not escape; because, as he often said, their gods were more numerous than their cities, and their altars were more than the streets of Jerusalem. Oh to what a crisis did sin and apostasy bring this once glorious nation! Their sun set in the darkest clouds; and all their tide of prosperity was lost in the dregs of misery. Let the christian preacher learn of Jeremiah how to address incorrigible men, who have wickedly departed from the faith of their fathers.

The prophet not only developed sin, but faithfully discharged the more painful task of pronouncing sentence against his country. He averred that the Lord had prohibited prayer for their deliverance; that he was commissioned to pronounce a divorce between the Lord and his beloved, ironically so called; and that the holy flesh of burnt-offerings shall no longer expiate her guilt. This was coming to a full issue with the wicked; this was clinching the nail; and every audacious man who despises grace and justice must eventually expect to hear the same language.

If the human heart when closely pressed by the ministry be not awed by terror, or softened by repentance, it will revolt against the preacher. The men of Anathoth, a city of priests, menaced Jeremiah with massacre, if he did not cease to prophesy in the name of the Lord. Men given up to a reprobate mind cannot bear to be tormented before the time. When the princes of Judah solicited Zedekiah to put the prophet to death, they said, he weakened the hands of the men of war; but here the men of Anathoth had no reason to assign but the malice of their hearts. And these were the very priests whose impure hands had assisted to set up Ashtaroth in the house of the Lord. How lamentable that in every persecution of the saints, the priests have been foremost to move it.

We have lastly the recoil of vengeance on their own heads. The Lord declared that their young men should fall in the field, that their families should die with famine, and no remnant should escape. Hence the punishment on Anathoth was more severe than on Jerusalem. Let clergymen hear and be sanctified. The servant who knows his Lord’s will, and does it not, shall be beaten with many stripes.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Jeremiah 11". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/jeremiah-11.html. 1835.
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