Jeremiah 11:1-17 Curses For The Covenant Broken.
There is no doubt about the context in which this book of Jeremiah was written – cursing or blessing within the covenant. His words, from the LORD, here are words of the covenant, which Israel and Judah have broken, in this chapter in particular, the residents of Jerusalem (vv. 1-2). They were suffering the curses of the covenant for their failure to obey the LORD’s voice, and to act accordingly (vv. 3-4 Cf. Dt. 27:1-17). It was a covenant not based on works, but based on God’s grace in delivering their forefathers from bondage (Cf. Ex. 3:8; Dt. 4:20). This was a continuation of the covenant made with Abraham (Ps. 105:9-11). However, this redemption was not an end in itself, but it was for the purpose that the LORD would establish His oath within this covenant relationship, by planting His people in the promised land. To this Jeremiah proclaimed his ‘Amen’ – “So be it, LORD.” (v. 5) Those who are the doers of the law show themselves to be among those justified (Rom. 2:13).
This hearkens back to the curses of Deuteronomy 27 which received an ‘Amen’ from the people. The same response was called for among the cities of Judah, including Jerusalem – hearing and doing the words of the covenant LORD (v. 6 Cf. Dt. 27:26). They ought to have avoided the example of their forefathers who refused to listen to the LORD’s voice, or obey His word, and instead wandered for 40 years in the wilderness, where their corpses fell. They chose to follow the dictates of their evil hearts, therefore they were subject to the curses of the covenant, just as their descendants were in Jeremiah’s day (vv. 7-8 Cf. 7:26; 13:10; 35:15). Blessings only come through obedience (Lev. 26). The rebellion of the people was a conspiracy to return to the idolatry of their forefathers, thereby breaking the covenantal bond (vv. 9-10 Cf. Ezek. 20:18; 22:25). As a result, the LORD would abandon them to their gods (vv. 11-13 Cf. 2:28; Dt. 32:37; Pr. 1:28-30).
Jeremiah was told not to pray for the people, as this trouble was coming because of covenantal oaths taken (v. 14 Cf. Ps. 50:16). The LORD’s house was no longer their house, they were being excommunicated out of the church for breaking the covenantal bond. No amount of religious activity, even that which the law prescribed, could wash over their spiritual adultery, as they rejoiced in doing evil (v. 15). The once fruitful olive tree would be subject to the fire of judgment, with branches broken off through this excommunication (v. 16 Cf. 2:21; Ps. 52:8; Is. 5:2; Rom. 11:17). The LORD planted the nation, and made a covenant with them, but on the basis of that covenant the vast majority would suffer the curses of judgment through their ‘Amen’ oath. The LORD is always prepared to work through a remnant, even of one (Ex. 32:10). However, the people brought this judgment on themselves, their chief sin being to worship the idol Baal, which was spiritual adultery (v. 17).