After Jeremiah’s preaching in the Temple Courts and Kings Court were fully accomplished, the sermon he was commissioned to preach on the streets of all the Cities of Judah was revealed. In response to the preaching, persecution was incited and undertaken especially by the Men of Anathoth, the City of the Priests, which was Jeremiah’s hometown. At last, God’s retaliatory actions taken in defense of the Prophet Jeremiah are terrifyingly revealed and vindicated: Still during the reign of Jehoiakim, but at a different instance in time than the former message which was given in the Temple courts, the Lord said to the Prophet Jeremiah, “Proclaim all these words in the Cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem” (Jer. 11:6). Jeremiah’s ministry was not isolated to the Temple courts, nor was it isolated to the City of Jerusalem. Here we see the message PROCLAIMED! Jeremiah going to and fro throughout the Cities of Judah, proclaiming! And, of course, the message preached on the streets was thematically united with the message preached in the Temple courts. It is only right that Jeremiah began the prophetic proclamation there, as God said to the angel in the vision of Ezekiel, “begin at My Sanctuary” (Ezek. 9:6). This is because if righteousness prevails in the House of God, it will prevail everywhere else in Judah; and if sin prevails there so it will everywhere. Tragically, the latter was the case. Sin prevailed there and everywhere, so the Prophet was sent there and then everywhere! What was first proclaimed there must be then proclaimed everywhere, namely: the judgments of God against the sin of the people, the Church! Clear correlations can be made between the two messages of different locations by comparing Jeremiah 7:16, 21-28 with Jeremiah 11:3-8, 14.
The message Jeremiah preached throughout the Cities of Judah and Jerusalem is revealed in Jeremiah 11:1-17, and in the same series of events which transpired because of this, persecution arose (Jer. 11:18-23). The Men of Anathoth, the City where Jeremiah was from, conspired to kill Jeremiah (Jer. 11:18-23). Should we be surprised? The Lord said to Jeremiah, very specifically, “even thy brethren, and the House of thy father, even they have dealt treacherously with thee; yea, they have called a multitude after thee: believe them not, though they speak fair words unto thee” (Jer. 12:6). Shockingly, this was the City of the Priests! Even they dealt with a preacher of righteousness thus! They said to Jeremiah, “Prophesy not in the Name of the LORD, that thou die not by our hand” (Jer. 11:21). This conspiracy could have been stirred up by Jeremiah’s visit there, because of his bold and unrelenting open-air preaching on the streets of Anathoth, or perhaps while he was preaching abroad throughout all the Cities of Judah and Jerusalem, then his family, friends, and companions of Anathoth were contacted and bestirred by the men of other Cities to stop Jeremiah, like Jesus’ family tried to stop Jesus (John 7:1-9, Mark 3:21, 31-35, Matt. 12:46-50, Matt. 10:34-37). “So persecuted they the Prophets”, the Lord Jesus said (Matt. 5:12). So persecuted they Jeremiah!
So, what happened? Do you remember how the Lord promised to Jeremiah, “they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee” (Jer. 1:19)? The conspiracy was strong, a multitude was called after Jeremiah by his very own family and friends (Jer. 12:6). They vowed to kill him, saying: “Let us destroy the tree with the fruit thereof, and let us cut him off from the Land of the living, that his name be no more remembered” (Jer. 11:19). Shockingly, the LORD responded to them in real time through His servant Jeremiah (“thus saith the LORD of the Men of Anathoth, that seek thy life…” – Jer. 11:21), saying, “Behold, I will punish THEM: the young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine: And there shall be no remnant of them: for I will bring evil upon the Men of Anathoth, even the year of their visitation” (Jer. 11:22-23). Fearful!
In the same sequence of events, Jeremiah took time to speak with the LORD concerning His judgments (Jer. 12:1-4). Jeremiah mourned over the coming judgments, thinking, “How long…” (Jer. 12:4), but he did not properly identify with the personal affliction the Lord underwent theretofore by His own Family and House which had forsaken Him. Therefore when Jeremiah’s own family and friends forsook him, he called upon the LORD for the execution of judgment, protection, and vengeance (Jer. 11:20, 12:1-3), and the Lord answered him (Jer. 11:22-23)! Do you wonder why? It was personal to Jeremiah, so Jeremiah cried! And in this way Jeremiah feelingly experienced the pain of treachery which vindicated the acts of God’s vengeance formerly cited. The Lord compelled the Prophet into agreement with Himself by heaping upon him like personal experiences. In a similar way to Jeremiah’s cries for justice and vengeance, the LORD said to His own, “I have forsaken Mine House, I have left Mine heritage…”, and justifiably so (Jer. 12:7-11).
In summary, the location and duration of Jeremiah’s message is specified (Jer. 11:6), the message was very similar to the one delivered in the Temple Courts (Jer. 7:1-10:25), necessarily so. At the hazarding of Jeremiah’s life and the spending of his energy to prophesy, to wit, the men of Anathoth conspired to murder him (Jer. 11:18-23), it becomes clear that the hard and impenitent hearts of the people would be softened too late (Jer. 11:11-12). Fearfully, despite the fact that the LORD was looking, seeing, listening, hearing, speaking, and retaliating – executing judgment (Jer. 12:12) and proclaiming the safekeeping of an eventual remnant (Jer. 12:15-16) – the people sinned away their days of grace! What was the just punishment awaiting those who were spurning the affectionate and merciful appeals of God (Jer. 13:15-17)? The most terrifying and merciless judgments imaginable (Jer. 13:13-14).