Jeremiah 11:16 MEANING

Jeremiah 11:16
(16) A green olive tree.--The parable is essentially the same, though a different symbol is chosen, as that of the vine of Isaiah 5:1; Jeremiah 2:21, or the fig-tree of Luke 13:6. The olive also was naturally a symbol of fertility and goodness, as in Psalm 52:8; Hosea 14:6; Zechariah 4:3; Zechariah 4:11. In the words "the Lord called thy name" we have the expression of the Divine purpose in the "calling and election" of Israel. This was what she was meant to be.

Fair, and of goodly fruit.--The words point, as before, to the ideal state of Israel. She had made no effort to attain that ideal, and therefore the thunderstorm of God's wrath fell on it. The word for "tumult" is used in Ezekiel 1:24 for the sound of an army on its march, and is probably used as combining the literal or figurative meaning.

Verse 16. - A green olive tree. The olive tree is "one of the most thriving, hardy, and productive trees in the East" (it was the first tree elected king in the parable, Judges 9:8), and with its "foliage of a deep, perennial green," furnishes a striking symbol of healthful beauty. A psalmist, speaking in the character of the typical righteous man, compares himself to a "green olive tree in the house of God' (Psalm 52:8). The word rendered "green "is one of those which are the despair of translators (see on Jeremiah 2:20). It gives a picture in itself. We seem to see a flourishing, sappy tree, with abundance of pliant, gracefully moving, perennially green branches. With the noise of a great tumult. Either the tumult of the melee of battle is meant (the same uncommon word is used with such a reference in Ezekiel 1:24) or the crashing of thunder. "With a rushing mighty sound" would be a more forcible rendering. (For the concluding figure, comp. Ezekiel 31:12.) He hath kindled fire, etc. There is no occasion to explain this as merely the perfect of prophetic certitude. It was literally true that the fire of war had already devastated the fairest portion of the Holy Land. Israel (expressly referred to in Ver. 17) had already been carried into captivity, and Judah was, to the prophetic eye, as good as destroyed. Here, no doubt, that wonderful perfect of faith does come in.

11:11-17 Evil pursues sinners, and entangles them in snares, out of which they cannot free themselves. Now, in their distress, their many gods and many altars stand them in no stead. And those whose own prayers will not be heard, cannot expect benefit from the prayers of others. Their profession of religion shall prove of no use. When trouble came upon them, they made this their confidence, but God has rejected it. His altar shall yield them no satisfaction. The remembrance of God's former favours to them shall be no comfort under troubles; and his remembrance of them shall be no argument for their relief. Every sin against the Lord is a sin against ourselves, and so it will be found sooner or later.The Lord called thy name a green olive tree,.... That is, compared the Jewish church and people to one, and made them as one, very prosperous and flourishing in the enjoyment of privileges, civil and religious, being highly favoured with the word and ordinances: fair, and of goodly fruit; which, for a while, brought forth the fruit of good works; and, while such, was amiable and goodly to look upon; was, as the Syriac version is, "fair with fruit, and beautiful in sight"; and whereas it might have been expected she would have so continued, and been still as a green olive tree in the house of God, as David says, Psalm 52:8, now it was otherwise, she was become barren, dry, and fruitless: and therefore it follows:

with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it: that is, by means of the Chaldean army, which came with a mighty rushing noise, as a numerous army does; the Lord hath destroyed it, and burnt it with fire; what the Chaldeans did is ascribed to God, because it was done according to his will, and by his direction and overruling providence:

and the branches of it are broken; the high and principal ones, the king, princes, and nobles, their palaces, and the house of God. The apostle seems to have respect to this passage in Romans 11:17. The Targum is,

"as an olive tree that is beautiful in form and comely of sight, whose branches overshadow the trees, so the Lord hath magnified thy name among the people; but now that thou hast transgressed the law, the armies of the people, who are strong as fire, shall come against thee, and helps shall be joined to them.''

Courtesy of Open Bible