The Meaning of Jeremiah 11:20 Explained

Jeremiah 11:20

KJV: But, O LORD of hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I revealed my cause.

YLT: And O Jehovah of Hosts, judging righteousness, Trying reins and heart, I do see Thy vengeance against them, For unto Thee I have revealed my cause.'

Darby: But thou, Jehovah of hosts, who judgest righteously, who triest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I revealed my cause.

ASV: But, O Jehovah of hosts, who judgest righteously, who triest the heart and the mind, I shall see thy vengeance on them; for unto thee have I revealed my cause.

What does Jeremiah 11:20 Mean?

Verse Meaning

The prophet prayed to Almighty Yahweh, who evaluates people"s motives and intentions, to judge them for their evil plans (cf. Psalm 17:13-14; Psalm 99:8; Psalm 149:7; Isaiah 34:8; Isaiah 35:4). He would not take vengeance himself, but he trusted the Lord to take vengeance for him (cf. Jeremiah 20:12).

Context Summary

Jeremiah 11:1-20 - The Penalty Of A Broken Covenant
This and the following two chapters belong to the earlier ministry of Jeremiah, when he still dwelt in his native home of Anathoth. The prophet refers to the covenant which had been lately renewed by Josiah, 2 Kings 22:1-20 and 2 Kings 23:1-37, and quotes largely from the book of Deuteronomy, which had been recently read in the hearing of the people. To that covenant the prophet reverently gives his endorsement, Jeremiah 11:5. His amen reminds us of Him who is God's Amen, and in whom all the promises of God are ratified forever, 2 Corinthians 1:20. Shall we not learn, like our Lord in Matthew 11:26, to look into the Father's face and say, "Even so?" We must do so, that one day we may join with the redeemed in crying, "Amen, Hallelujah," Revelation 19:4.
The repeated relapses of Israel into idolatry were in part due to the licentious rites associated with such worship. The people were seduced from their allegiance to Jehovah by the fascination of passion; and herein we are reminded of the many times that we have been beguiled into sinful thoughts and imaginings, in spite of God's earnest solicitations and protestation, "rising early and protesting." As long as the soul is wedded to its evil ways, it is impervious to the entrance of God's light and love. "There is a sin unto death," says the Apostle, "I do not say that he shall pray for it," a saying which is closely akin to the solemn prohibition of Jeremiah 11:14, "Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them." [source]

Chapter Summary: Jeremiah 11

1  Jeremiah proclaims God's covenant;
8  rebukes the peoples' disobeying thereof;
11  prophesies evils to come upon them;
18  and upon the men of Anathoth, for conspiring to kill him

What do the individual words in Jeremiah 11:20 mean?

But Yahweh of hosts You who judge righteously Testing the mind and the heart let me see Your vengeance on them for to You I have revealed - my cause -
וַֽיהוָ֤ה צְבָאוֹת֙ שֹׁפֵ֣ט צֶ֔דֶק בֹּחֵ֥ן כְּלָי֖וֹת וָלֵ֑ב אֶרְאֶ֤ה נִקְמָֽתְךָ֙ מֵהֶ֔ם כִּ֥י אֵלֶ֖יךָ גִּלִּ֥יתִי אֶת־ רִיבִֽי ס

וַֽיהוָ֤ה  But  Yahweh 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יהוה 
Sense: the proper name of the one true God.
צְבָאוֹת֙  of  hosts 
Parse: Noun, common plural
Root: צָבָא 
Sense: that which goes forth, army, war, warfare, host.
שֹׁפֵ֣ט  You  who  judge 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Participle, masculine singular construct
Root: שָׁפַט  
Sense: to judge, govern, vindicate, punish.
צֶ֔דֶק  righteously 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: צֶדֶק  
Sense: justice, rightness, righteousness.
בֹּחֵ֥ן  Testing 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Participle, masculine singular
Root: בָּחַן  
Sense: to examine, try, prove.
כְּלָי֖וֹת  the  mind 
Parse: Noun, feminine plural
Root: כִּלְיָה  
Sense: kidneys.
וָלֵ֑ב  and  the  heart 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Noun, masculine singular
Root: לֵב 
Sense: inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding.
אֶרְאֶ֤ה  let  me  see 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect Cohortative if contextual, first person common singular
Root: רָאָה 
Sense: to see, look at, inspect, perceive, consider.
נִקְמָֽתְךָ֙  Your  vengeance 
Parse: Noun, feminine singular construct, second person masculine singular
Root: נְקָמָה  
Sense: vengeance.
מֵהֶ֔ם  on  them 
Parse: Preposition-m, Pronoun, third person masculine plural
Root: הֵם 
Sense: they, these, the same, who.
אֵלֶ֖יךָ  to  You 
Parse: Preposition, second person masculine singular
Root: אֶל  
Sense: to, toward, unto (of motion).
גִּלִּ֥יתִי  I  have  revealed 
Parse: Verb, Piel, Perfect, first person common singular
Root: גָּלָה  
Sense: to uncover, remove.
אֶת־  - 
Parse: Direct object marker
Root: אֹות 
Sense: sign of the definite direct object, not translated in English but generally preceding and indicating the accusative.
רִיבִֽי  my  cause 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular construct, first person common singular
Root: רִיב 
Sense: strife, controversy, dispute.
ס  - 
Parse: Punctuation