Jeremiah – Chapter 11

The Plot to Kill G-d's Prophet

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

G-d spoke to Jeremiah, saying that he should tell the people to listen to the words of their covenant with G-d. A person who will not heed the covenant will be cursed. When G-d took the nation out of the “iron crucible” of Egypt, the deal was that they serve Him, rather than the Egyptians. He would fulfill the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the Jews would inherit the land. (Jeremiah responded “Amen” that G-d would rightfully curse those who refuse to comply with the covenant.)

G-d continued that Jeremiah should announce throughout Judah and Jerusalem to keep covenant and observe the mitzvos of G-d. The ancestors were warned every day since leaving Egypt to listen to G-d, but they still refuse, each preferring to do as he pleases. G-d punished them for non-compliance, as He said He would (Deut. 28), but they didn’t correct their behavior. It’s a conspiracy among the people, to return to the sins of earlier generations and to serve idols. The nations of Judah and Israel broke the covenant with G-d, so He will bring inescapable evil upon them. They will cry out to Him, but He won’t listen to them. When they’re exiled, the people will call upon the idols they worshipped, as if that will do any good. (There was an idol for every city and the streets were full of altars to Baal.)

As in chapter 7, G-d instructs Jeremiah not to pray for the people because He will not listen. Why do the people even bother going to the Temple, seeing all the evil they plan and do? They even stopped circumcising their children, which is the sign of the covenant with G-d! G-d had compared the people to a good olive tree, laden with fruit, but now the branches of this tree will be broken up and the leaves will be used as fuel for the fire. G-d planted this “tree,” but now they must be punished for the evil they’ve done.

G-d informed Jeremiah of the evil that people were planning to do to him (they didn’t care much for his criticism, even though it was intended to save them). He was like an animal about to be sacrificed and he had no idea! People from Jeremiah’s hometown, the priestly city of Anasos, had planned to poison him, but G-d “tipped him off.” G-d knows all the thoughts and deeds of a person, so it’s not as if such a plot could be concealed from Him. Jeremiah just asked that he should live to see how G-d punished those who plotted to murder him. G-d announced regarding the plotters of Anasos that they would die by the sword and their children would starve. They would be punished more harshly than the rest of the nation in that none of them would survive.

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