Jeremiah 11

The Word Made Fresh

1This is what the LORD said to Jeremiah:

2Listen to the words of this agreement and repeat them to the people of Judah and Jerusalem. 3Tell them, “This is what the LORD God of Israel says: Anyone is cursed who does not abide by this agreement, 4which I made with your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the iron-smelting furnace. I told them, ‘Listen to me and do all I tell you to do, and you will be my people and I will be your God, 5and I will keep the promise I gave your ancestors that I would give them a land rich with milk and honey – the land you live in today.’”

I answered, “Yes, LORD.” 5Then the LORD told me to announce all this in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. Tell them, “Listen to this agreement and obey all of it. 7I warned your ancestors again and again when I brought them out of Egypt, and continuously down to this very day, to obey my voice. 6But they didn’t listen and continued to act stubbornly. So, I sent to them all the terms of this agreement, but they did not obey them.”

9Then the LORD told me that the people of Judah and Jerusalem have entered into a conspiracy 10to go back to the sinful ways of their ancestors, who refused to obey the LORD. They went after other gods and served them. The people of Judah and Israel have broken the agreement God made with their ancestors. 11“So, says the LORD, I’m going to send them a disaster they can’t escape, and no matter how loudly they cry out to me, I won’t listen to them. 12Then the people of Jerusalem and the cities of Judah will cry out to their gods, the ones to whom they made offerings, but their gods will never save them when they are in trouble. 13You have as many gods as you do towns, Judah. You have built altars to them on every street in Jerusalem – altars where you make offerings to Baal.

14As for you, Jeremiah, don’t pray for this people, not a single cry for help on their behalf, because I will not listen when they cry out to me in their time of troubles. 15What right do my beloved people have to enter my house when they have done such evil things? Do you think many sacrifices and promises can stay your punishment so you can have a big party? 16The LORD used to call you “a green olive tree, filled with delicious olives,” but now God will set a roaring fire to it and its branches will be burned up. 17The LORD Almighty, who put you here, has pronounced a sentence for your evil because of all the things the people of Judah have done. They have provoked me to anger by making offerings to Baal.

18The LORD made it known to me and showed me their wicked deeds.
19But I was like a lamb led to the slaughterhouse,
and I didn’t know they were plotting against me,
saying, “We’ll destroy the tree and its fruit,
and cut him off from the living
so that his name will be utterly forgotten.”
20But you, LORD Almighty, are a fair judge
who examines the heart and the mind.
Let me see your punishment for them,
because I have committed my cause to you.

21So, this is what the LORD has to say about the people of Anathoth who are plotting to take away your life: “You shall not prophesy in the LORD’s name, or you will die by my hand.” 22The LORD Almighty says: “I am going to punish them. Their young men will die in battle. Their children will die by famine, 23and there will be nothing left of them because I will bring disaster upon Anathoth when the time has come for them to be punished.”


1-5: God tells Jeremiah to remind the people of the covenant they have with God.

6-8: Jeremiah is to read the covenant (the Law) to them and warn them that if they are not obedient, they will suffer the consequences spelled out in the covenant (go back and read Deuteronomy 31:16-21; it will make your spine tingle).

9-13: God tells Jeremiah that his people have reverted to the sins of their ancestors who refused to listen to God (God spoke to them through Moses), and when disaster strikes and they cry out to God, God will not hear them. They will cry out to their false gods to no avail.

14-17: God tells Jeremiah not to pray for them — there are some prayers God will refuse to answer. Their destruction will be the result of their having worshiped the Canaanite deities (the “Baals”).

18-20: Jeremiah has been reporting what God has told him about what the future will bring. Now he steps back into the present, solemn with the realization that the people have actually been opposing him. He tells God he is committed to being the prophet God has called him to be and asks the favor of being allowed to see the devastations take place.

21-23: Apparently Jeremiah has been threatened by the people of his hometown, Anathoth (probably by the priests, among whom had been Jeremiah’s father Hilkiah — see 1:1), saying that his life is in danger if he continues to prophesy in the name of the LORD. God’s response is that, when the calamity overtakes the country, the people of Anathoth will be caught up in the disaster. In other words, they aren’t listening, either. Anathoth was indeed overrun by Sennacherib and the Assyrians, and then by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians. Only a small number returned to the town after the Exile (see Ezra 2:23).


Jeremiah continues to accuse the people of Judah and Israel of turning away from God and worshiping other gods. How do we make decisions in life – by whether or not it will profit us, or whether or not it will demonstrate our faithfulness?