Chapter 11 is divided into two parts: first, there is a general overview of covenant relationship (11:1-17); second, there is a particular prophecy spoken against the people who plotted against Jeremiah (11:18-23). Let us consider the first part. The covenant God has (had) with Israel started when the Lord brought them from Egyptian bondage (the “iron furnace”). The obligation the Lord placed on the Israelites was that they obey His word as expressed in that which He gave Moses. In turn, the Lord obligated Himself to give them the land of promise. Jeremiah repeated these words to a people not interested in hearing them. The consequence of this refusal to hear (Deuteronomy 28) is now about to come upon the disobedient in Jeremiah’s day. Because the people were so obstinate, the Lord made it plain to Jeremiah that he was not to even pray for them (11:14); as the people refused to hear the Lord the Lord returned the “favor” and refused to hear them.
The second part of this chapter pertains to Jeremiah’s lack of knowledge concerning that which some plotted against him. He did not realize the “behind the scenes activity” that was going on. When the Lord revealed it to him, Jeremiah classified himself as an innocent one (lamb) about to be slaughtered (sacrificed) in order to remove the continued threat the people saw in him (11:21). The Lord told Jeremiah that there would be opposition to him (1:8, 17), but he truly had no idea!