Jeremiah 11 Bible Commentary

John Darby’s Synopsis

(Read all of Jeremiah 11)
The following commentary covers Chapters 11 and 12.

Israel addressed as responsible: Jeremiah pleads with God for them

Chapter 11 suggests some observations. God addresses Himself again to Israel on the ground of their responsibility, reminding them of the call to obedience, which had been addressed to them ever since their coming out of Egypt. God was about to bring on the people the evil with which He had threatened them. Jeremiah is not to intercede for them. Nevertheless He still calls Israel His "beloved"; but, being corrupted, what had she to do in His house? Whatever she might have been to Him, judgment was coming. At the end of the chapter Jeremiah takes the place of the faithful remnant who have the testimony of God. His position continually reminds us of the Psalms. We see the working of the Spirit of Christ often clearly expressed, but sometimes, it appears to me, in expressions more mingled with Jeremiah's personal position, and thereby less deep and less akin to the sentiments of Christ, although the same in principle with the Psalms. Jeremiah, on account of his faithfulness and his testimony, was exposed to the machinations of the wicked. Jehovah reveals these things to him; and, according to the righteousness which characterises the condition of the remnant, he calls for the vengeance of God. [1] This will be the means of deliverance for the remnant. He announces the judgment of these wicked men by the word of Jehovah. In Psalm 83 the same principles will be found, and the same wickedness in God's enemies; only there, these enemies are Gentiles, and the range of thought is wider. Israel and the knowledge of Jehovah are the object of the prayer in that Psalm. Compare also chapter 9 and Psalm 64. Here there is more intercession on Jeremiah's part; the psalm speaks of judgment. Compare also Psalm 69: 6, 7, and Jeremiah 15: 15. The words of the psalm being from the mouth of Christ Himself, the request is for others and infinitely more touching. This comparison of passages will help in understanding the relationship between the position of Jeremiah and that of the remnant described in the Psalms. We may also compare Psalm 73 with the beginning of chapter 12. This last chapter forms a part of the same prophecy as the preceding one. Jeremiah pleads with God on the subject of these judgments, but in a humble and submissive manner, which God accepts by making him feel (a painful necessity) the evil of the people more deeply. At the same time He sustains the prophet's faith by the personal interest He manifests in him. God makes him understand that He has forsaken His inheritance: the state of things was therefore no longer to be wondered at. At the same time He reveals His purposes of blessing to His people, and even to the nations among whom they will be dispersed, [2] if these nations would learn the ways of Jehovah.

[1] Righteousness characterises the saint as well as love, and has its place where there are adversaries to that love and to the blessing of the loved people. It is the Spirit of prophecy, not the gospel, no doubt because prophecy is connected with the government of God, not with His present dealings in sovereign grace. Hence in the Revelation vengeance is called for by the saints.

[2] We see at the same time the unchangeable love of God for His people, and the bond of His faithfulness which cannot be broken. He calls the nations, that surround the inheritance He had given to His people, His neighbours. We see also the setting aside of all that national system of which He had made Israel the centre, and which falls when Israel, the keystone of the arch, is taken away (v. 14). Afterwards, these nations are re-established, as well as Israel, and blessed if they acknowledge the God of Israel. The Lord Christ will re-unite the two things—the universal headship of man, and the union of nations round Israel as a centre—in His Person. He will be the one Man to whom the whole dominion is given; and Israel, as well as the various nations with their kings, shall be re-established, each in his own land and his own heritage (as before the time of Nebuchadnezzar), with the exception of Edom, Damascus, Hazor, and Babylon herself; that is to say, those nations which occupy Israel's territory, and Babylon which had absorbed and taken the place of all the others, and which must disappear by the judgment of God to give them their place again. (Compare chapter 46 and the following chapters.)