The Broken Covenant

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, “Hear the words of this [solemn] covenant, and speak to the men of Judah and to the people of Jerusalem. Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “Cursed is the man who does not heed the words of this covenant which I commanded your fathers at the time that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, ‘Listen to My voice and do according to all that I command you. So you shall be My people, and I will be your God,’ that I may complete the oath which I swore to your fathers, to give them a land [of plenty] [a]flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day.”’” Then I answered, “Amen (so be it), O Lord.”

And the Lord said to me, “Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: ‘Hear the words of this [solemn] covenant and do them. For I solemnly warned your fathers at the time that I brought them up from the land of Egypt, even to this day, warning them persistently, saying, “Obey My voice.” Yet they did not obey or incline their ear [to listen to Me], but everyone walked in the stubborn way of his [own] evil heart. Therefore I brought on them all [the suffering threatened in] the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but they did not.’”

Then the Lord said to me, “A conspiracy has been found among the men of Judah and among the people of Jerusalem. 10 They have returned to the wickedness of their ancestors who refused to hear My words; they have followed other gods [in order] to serve them. The house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken My [solemn] covenant which I made with their fathers.” 11 Therefore thus says the Lord, “Behold I am bringing disaster and suffering on them which they will not be able to escape; though they cry to Me, I will not listen to them. 12 Then the cities of Judah and the people of Jerusalem will go and cry to the [man-made] gods to whom they burn incense, but they cannot save them in the time of their disaster. 13 For [as many as] the number of your cities are your gods, O Judah; and [as many as] the number of the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to the shameful thing, altars to burn incense to Baal.

14 “Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, for I shall not listen when they cry to Me in the time of their disaster.

“What right has My beloved [to be] in My house
When she has done many vile things and acted treacherously [over and over again]?
Can vows and the meat of your sacrifices remove your wickedness from you and cancel the consequences of your sin,
So that you can [escape your judgment and] rejoice?”
The Lord [acknowledged you once as worthy and] called your name,
“A green olive tree, fair and beautiful in fruit and form”;
But with the roar of a great tempest
He has set fire to it,
And its branches are worthless.(A)

17 For the Lord of hosts, who planted you, has pronounced evil and horror against you because of the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done to provoke Me [to anger] by offering sacrifices and burning incense to Baal.

Plots against Jeremiah

Then the Lord gave me knowledge [of their plot], and I knew it;
So You [O Lord] revealed their deeds to me.
But I was like a gentle and tame lamb brought to the slaughter;
And I did not know that they had devised plots and schemes against me, saying,
“Let us destroy the tree with its fruit;
Let us cut him off from the land of the living,
That his name be remembered no longer.”
But, O Lord of hosts, who judges righteously,
Who tests the feelings and the heart (mind),
Let me see Your vengeance on them,
For to You I have committed my cause.

21 Therefore thus says the Lord regarding the men of Anathoth, who seek your life, saying, “Do not prophesy in the name of the Lord, so that you will not die by our hand.” 22 Therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, “Behold, I am about to punish them. Their young men will die by the sword, their sons and their daughters will die by famine; 23 and there will be no remnant [of the conspirators] left, for I will bring disaster and horror on the men of Anathoth in the year of their punishment.”


  1. Jeremiah 11:5 This phrase referred to the abundant fertility of the land of Canaan. Milk (typically that of goats and sheep) was associated with abundance; “honey” referred mainly to syrups made from dates or grapes and was the epitome of sweetness. Bees’ honey was very rare and was considered the choicest of foods.

Cross references

  1. Jeremiah 11:16 : Ps 52:8; Jer 21:14