11:6 The LORD said to me, “Proclaim all these [Jeremiah had no right to change God’s words, however hard they might seem] words [Jeremiah was to make God’s message clear, not easy] in the towns of [may indicate that Jeremiah had an itinerant ministry] Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: ‘Listen to the terms of this covenant [the Lord’s covenant with Moses and His people at Sinai (cf. Ex. 24:1-11); Josiah called for a reaffirmation of the old Mosaic covenant] and follow them.
11:7 [note broad review of Israel’s history; Jeremiah’s warnings were not without precedent] From the time I brought your forefathers up from Egypt until today, I warned [through His prophets] them again and again [God was persistent in warning the people], saying, “Obey me [God wanted for the people to fulfill the obligations of the covenant].”
11:8 But [sadly, the people did not heed God’s warnings] they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts. So [the fate of the Northern Kingdom should have served as a constant warning to Judah] I brought on them all the curses of the covenant [cf. Deut. 28:15] I had commanded them to follow but that they did not keep.’”
11:9 Then the LORD said to me, “There is a conspiracy [a metaphor; indicates that individuals had banded together; mutiny; resistance to Josiah’s policy of reform] among the people of Judah and those who live in Jerusalem.
11:10 They have returned [to turn back; when we turn from the Lord the only direction we can go is “back”] to the sins of their forefathers, who refused to listen to my words. They have followed other gods to serve them [constituted a breach of covenant]. Both the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken the covenant I made with their forefathers.
11:11 Therefore [introduces consequences of violating the covenant] this is what the LORD says [note the fruit of rebellion…]: ‘I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape [someone said that the wheels of God’s justice move slowly but when they come they grind finely]. Although they cry out to me, I will not listen to them [cf. Prov. 28:9; the hour of God’s patience has passed].
11:12 The towns of Judah and the people of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods [impotent and deaf idols] to whom they burn incense, but they will not help them at all [there was not the slightest shred of hope that their idols would help them when they faced the judgment of God (a sobering lesson they would learn too late)] when [not if] disaster strikes.
11:13 You have as many gods as you have towns, O Judah; and the altars you have set up to burn incense to that shameful god Baal are as many as the streets of Jerusalem.’
11:14 “Do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them [this was a specific command to Jeremiah in a particular historical context], because I will not [the reason: because the people were not repentant; cf. Prov. 28:9] listen when they call to me in the time of their distress.