Devotional Commentary on Jeremiah 11

The Lord spoke to Jeremiah again and cited the book of Moses, namely, Deuteronomy, since He gave many laws, rules, curses and blessings in this book. He wanted Jeremiah to tell the people to listen to the word of the covenant of Deuteronomy. Jeremiah used the word covenant (11:2) because law in Deuteronomy 27 is called covenant by God in chapter 28:1. So what is God doing in His citation from Moses? He paraphrases and substitute law (Torah) (Deuteronomy 27: 26) with covenant (berith) in Jeremiah 11:3. “Cursed is the man who does not heed/listen to the words of this covenant”. The laws of Moses all stands under the umbrella of the covenant and it is material whether God is talking of the law or the covenant since both are intertwined. Another difference is that with Moses God said that the people should “stand” in the law and here that they should “listen” to the covenant. In each case, stand and listen and do are all three the same.


God used the Book of Moses Deuteronomy and cite from three places (Deuteronomy 4:20) and (Deuteronomy 11:27) and elsewhere to string together a synopsis as to what He said anyway to Moses all the way through. God is entitled to summarize His own words. He said that He wants to remind them that He led them out of Egypt which is a firing furnace (verse 4). The bottom-line cited here by God does not change the message in Deuteronomy at all. It is the same.


The socalled Septuagint is a corrupt text and the translator paraphrase by jumping over the Hebrew to omit some Hebrew words. The phrase “according to all that I will command you” is changed in the Greek to “do all things which I commanded you” (verse 4). The survived text of the Greek dates to the days shortly after Constantine who instructed Eusebius to produce with haste 50 copies of the Bible in Greek. How hasty can you be? Now we know.


It is not only doing all things God commanded you (Greek) but as Jeremiah wrote: “according to all God commanded” because God has particular ways that He wants things. The Lord is talking about establishing an oath (not my oath) as the late Byzantine time Greek Septuagint translated wrongly) but an oath, that He swore unto the forefathers to give them a land that is overflowing with honey and milk. This land is an elusive promise. It slips away from them and is delayed since it is really heaven. It is Eden restored or recreated at the Eschaton. Hebrews 11:10 says that Abraham was looking forward to see this land but he did not, for it is not a city built by God. When Jeremiah heard the Lord spoke like this, he said what Abraham would say: “Amen, O Lord”. Let it be. Let this heavenly Jerusalem that You would build, let it come down now. Because of sin, it is elusive.


The Lord gave Jeremiah then the task of speaking to the people in the cities of Judah and Jerusalem saying : “Hear the words of this covenant and do them” (verse 6).


The Book of Deuteronomy contained the full aspects expected in the covenant. They are to listen to it and do them. Hearing includes for God the aspect of doing. There are many people coming to church to wash their souls but they return not doing what they heard. This is the problem here with the remnant in Jeremiah’s day. The Lord warned the forefathers of the remnant in Jeremiah’s day about the consequences when they do not keep the covenant. He warned them “at early morning”, until the day of Jeremiah, saying that they listen to His voice (verse 7).


God has to beg their interest since they are deceived and involved in things other than spiritual things pertaining to God and His revelation to them. They had Moses and Deuteronomy, heard it regularly but did not do it or keep it. “They went, each man according to the view of his evil heart” (verse 8).


Doing God’s will is not a case of been hyped up into emotional and psychological propaganda and now you just want to do regardless. Any religion that has just 1% or 10% of this ingredient, is wrong. God’s worship or no-worship is totally free. If you claim you follow Him but do not do then He will do what is said in the covenant expected to do.


The Lord then spoke to Jeremiah about a conspiracy that is among the remnant in Judah and Jerusalem (verse 9). The same iniquities that their forefathers found attractive and that have deceived them, also are attractive for the remnant of Jeremiah’s day. “They follow after other gods to worship them” (verse 10). They broke the covenant that was made with the forefathers.


God then explained the punishment that He is weighing out for them. Evil will come upon them and they will be unable to escape (verse 11). Is this bad of God to bring disaster upon His people? No. In fact, He announce beforehand He is going to do it and furthermore, He shows them why He is doing it and finally asked them to avoid this situation by turning back. This is very normal that any teacher do to his student or father to his child.


The stupidity of the remnant is that they will go during this disaster and run to their gods to whom they burn incense to help them at the time of their misfortune (verse 12). Numerous were their gods and numerous the altars to burn for Baal incense and for the shameful thing (verse 13).


Then the Lord asked Jeremiah not to pray for these people: “and you, do not pray for this people” (verse 14). The Lord is not going to listen to them when they cry, it is too late. The Lord is not going to listen to them when they cry, it is too late.


The Lord then addresses the remnant with the word “My beloved” which is the same term that is used by God in Isaiah 5:1 in the Song of the Vineyard. Jeremiah is thinking of the content of Isaiah 5:1 because it deals with the Investigative Judgment followed by the Executive Judgment concerning His remnant that He was hoping would bear fruit but did not. The Eschaton or hell was the final future for those who did not reach the standard expected.


God then asked what His beloved remnant has to do in His place of worship because they perform many evil designs. “The holy flesh they removed from you” (remnant) and as a result of this, of this evil, the good turned bad remnant rejoice! (verse 15). What irony. Just like the beloved remnant of Isaiah 5 who was called a vineyard, so here in Jeremiah the beloved remnant is called “a leafy olive-tree fair with goodly fruit” by the Lord (verse 16). This now will receive the Executive Judgment that to the sound of a great tumult, He kindled a fire upon it in the Eschaton and they have broken its branches (verse 16). “And the Lord of Hosts Who planted you spoke evil concerning you, about the evil of the house of Israel and the house of Judah, which they did to them to provoke Me, to burn sacrifices to Baal.” This whole section should be placed side by side with Isaiah 5:1-12 since it deals with the same theme.


In vision the Lord showed Jeremiah their deeds: “And the Lord let me know, and I knew, then You showed me their deeds” (verse 18). This is a very difficult sentence. It seems as if Jeremiah was busy talking to his scribe Baruch and then talking directly to the Lord at the same time. The sentence “then You showed me their deeds” is in the original Hebrew but the corrupt text of the Greek Jeremiah that survived in the Byzantine copies of Constantine and Eusebius took shortcuts and just read “then I knew their deeds.” Finding a number of degenerative manuscripts of Jeremiah at Qumran will not help to prop up the Byzantine Greek text over against the original Hebrew. Cross-contamination from the caves to the church is the case here.


Jeremiah then cites a passage that sounds very Messianic from Isaiah 53:7, the lamb led to be slaughtered. Christ was to be slaughtered this way but Jeremiah thought he is dealt with in the same way the coming Messiah will be dealt with. The wanted to destroy his food and wood and killed him (verse 19). The corrupt Greek so-called Septuagint read only “from the living” but the original says “land of the living”.


What Jeremiah is abiding with in his heart, is the fact that the Lord is a just Judge (verse 20). He started to pray that he could see the vengeance against him. When he became aware of this problem, he ran to the Lord for solution : ”to You I have revealed my cause.” Punishment is meted out by the Lord for the men of Anathoth: Because they said to Jeremiah that he should not prophecy in the name of the Lord otherwise they will kill him (verse 21), therefore so said the Lord of Hosts that He will punish them. The young men shall die by the sword and the daughters through hunger (verse 22). There shall be no remnant and the Lord shall brought disaster to the men of Anathoth in the year of their remembrance.


The year of their remembrance may be the coming of the Babylonian disaster but could also go beyond that to the time of the Eschaton.

Dear Lord

When we see Your beloved remnant failing to keep Your covenant both in the Exodus as well as in Isaiah and in the time of Jeremiah, we ask ourselves how we are doing. Help us in our situation. Amen