Jeremiah 11

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Read Jeremiah 11

The Covenant Is Broken

11 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Listen to the terms of this covenant and tell them to the people of Judah and to those who live in Jerusalem. 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— 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. Then I will fulfill 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.”

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 followthem. From the time I brought your ancestors up from Egypt until today, I warned them again and again, saying, “Obey me.” 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.’”

Then the Lord said to me, “There is a conspiracy among the people of Judah and those who live in Jerusalem. 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. 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. 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. 13 You, Judah, have as many gods as you have towns; and the altars you have set up to burn incense to that shamefulgod Baal are as many as the streets of Jerusalem.’

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.

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.”

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.

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.

Plot Against Jeremiah

18 Because the Lord revealed their plot to me, I knew it, for at that time he showed me what they were doing. 19 I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; I did not realize 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.”
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.

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 Lordor you will die by our hands”— 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. 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.”

Go Deeper

This chapter begins with a reminder of the covenant that God had established with His people centuries before. At the time of the exodus as the Israelites were anxiously awaiting their opportunity to enter the promised land, God established the Mosaic Covenant. This covenant built upon the Abrahamic Covenant, going all the way back to Genesis 12:7 when God promised land to Abraham’s offspring. The Mosaic Covenant was how the Israelites were to fulfill their end of the covenant: by following God’s laws.

As we know, they wandered and strayed from their end of the bargain. God’s people ended up wandering from God’s instructions. They disregarded God’s Word and built idols of their own. Judah even had as many idols as they did cities (v. 13)! As a result of their unfaithfulness, all of the curses God had promised (Deuteronomy 27) were headed their way due to their stubbornness and wickedness. Their actions had reached such a tipping point that God told Jeremiah he wasn’t going to hear Israel’s prayers anymore (v. 14). 

Towards the end of this chapter, Jeremiah reveals that he has been preaching and prophesying to people that want to kill him. They had grown tired of the message he was delivering (on behalf of Yahweh), so they wanted him put to death despite having only done what God instructed him to do. As we have discussed previously in our study of Jeremiah, he is the prophet most often compared to Jesus and the plot to kill them, despite both only trying to fulfill the will of God, is yet another way there are similarities between the two. 

Reading this chapter today, there are elements of it that are difficult for us to stomach. The idea of God not hearing the prayers of His people can be hard for us to reconcile. We, however, have the benefit of reading this chapter through the lens of the Gospel. Because we (as followers of Jesus) have the Holy Spirit, we aren’t cut off from God. We have an Advocate (John 14:16)! Even when we wander and even when we stray, God offers us a pathway of repentance that draws us back to Him.


  1. What stuck out to you as you first read this passage? Why?
  2. Why is it so important to know about the covenants? Why are they such an important piece in understanding the story of scripture?
  3. After reading this chapter, how does it impact the way you will follow Jesus today?

Did You Know?

Dr. Thomas Constable, a retired seminary professor from Dallas Theological Seminary, has this note on the timing of this passage:

“Most scholars believe that it dates from the reign of Josiah, perhaps after the discovery of the Law but before he initiated his reforms (about 621 B.C.; cf. 2 Chronicles 34:8-33).”

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2 thoughts on “Jeremiah 11”

  1. Ella Snodgrass

    V19 & 20 stuck out to me. The message of a prophet of God is rarely well received, because truthfully we want to continue in our evil ways. We turn a deaf ear to their message and even retaliate against them. When Jeremiah realized the people were plotting his demise, he didn’t hide, wallow in pity or isolate, he called upon God for help. “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.” What does it look like to commit our cause to God? One Bible scholar explains it this way, to commit our cause to the Lord is to bring your time, talents, and treasures into full alignment with his will and purpose. Committing our way to the Lord is an act of trust. Praying that God will capture our attention through the words of Jeremiah so that we fully commit to him and let go of our sinful, selfish ways.

  2. God has said and is saying “hear My voice”. We give our life to Jesus for salvation, but do we turn to truly follow HIM? John 6:66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”
    Jesus had a large following of disciples but when He was teaching about Himself being the bread of life, they could not understand due to it all being superficial and not heart believing. (John chapter 6) They wanted what sounded good but nothing to do with the harder parts of following Jesus. In Jeremiah is the same things. They wanted land flowing with milk and honey but did not want to give up their “toys ie idols”. God said, well quite praying for them. WOW! sounds harsh but He had given them a multitude of chances. Most of the time we have to hit a “rock bottom” in order to see the plank in our eye. Our humanity has proven that the law cannot change our hearts or free us from the wrath of sin. We need atonement for our sins of the past, present, and future. We received that in Jesus Christ! Our story is thankfully different from Jeremiah’s due to what Jesus has done for us on that cross! He gave us salvation free and clear BUT GOD still expects respect and us being afraid of being not near, not trusting, not walking or seeking Him. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7. Let us be a people not just of lip service but of HEART, hand and hand walking with God people.

    God thank You for the sacrifice Jesus gave for me. Thank You that I do not take it for granted. Thank You for heart service to and for You. Thank You that I have Your love goggles on to see Your people through and a voice to speak Your words only. God thank You for directing my path today in these minutes for You in Jesus name amen.

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