Jeremiah 12

1Jeremiah complaining of the prosperity of the wicked prayeth against them. 5God sheweth him what ill usage he might expect from others, seeing his own kindred dealt so ill with him. 7God lamenteth the desolation of his heritage; 14he threateneth their evil neighbours, but promiseth restoration and grace to the penitent.

1RIGHTEOUS art 1thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: 2yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments: Whereforea doth the 3way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?

1 The meaning is: Thou wouldst be justified in all Thy doings (as Psalm 51:4), if I would reason, plead or dispute with Thee about Thy judgments, manner or course of government, which Thou keepest with the wicked and the godly; of which the following words. Compare Psalm 73:2, 3, etc.

2 Or, yet let me reason or plead with thee, that is, make my complaint unto Thee. Compare Jer. 4 on verse 12. Hebr. speak judgment with thee.

a Job 21:7; Psalm 73:11, 12; Hab. 1:3.

3 That is, their purposes and actions. See Gen. 6 on verse 12. This has respect especially to the men of Anathoth, whereof is spoken in the previous chapter and verse 5, but may be also further applied to other like wicked men in general.

2Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they 4grow, yea, they 5bring forth fruit: thou art 6near in their mouth,b and far from their 7reins.

4 That is, grow up, mature further, spread themselves out.

5 Hebr. make fruit. See Psalm 1 on verse 3; Hosea 8 on verse 7.

6 They speak and boast of Thee. See Isa. 29:13; Mat. 15:8.

b Isa. 29:13.

7 See Jer. 11 on verse 20.

38But thou, O LORD, knowestc me: thou hast seen me, and triedd mine heart 9toward thee: 10pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and 11prepare them for the day of slaughter.

8 By this consideration the prophet raises himself, strengthening himself by good conscience and faith on God’s Providence.

c Psalm 17:3; 139:1.

d Jer. 11:20.

9 Or, which is with thee, or, how the same is towards, or with thee; that is, Thou knowest that I do sincerely and faithfully keep close unto Thee, and do separate myself from falsehood and wickedness, and that therefore I must suffer. Compare Gen. 5:22; Hosea 9:8; Micah 6:8, with the annotations.

10 Other, but thou pullest them away, namely, as sheep unawares from the flock to slay them. This prayer of the prophet is indeed a prophecy and doctrine concerning the sudden and unexpected change of the temporal happiness and prosperity of wicked hypocrites and persecutors of the godly prophets, especially of his countrymen of Anathoth.

11 That is, set them apart, ordain them, prepare them, Compare Jer. 6 on verse 4.

4How long shall the land 12mourn, and the herbs of every field wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein? the beastse are consumed, and the birds; because they said, 13He shall not see our last 14end.

12 That is, be in such a miserable condition?

e Jer. 4:25; 7:20; 9:10.

13 Namely, the Lord, or Jeremiah, who daily tell us of our approaching desolation, but (they will say) they are both ignorant of it; for which contempt, obstinacy, security and heinous denial of God’s Providence, the land itself is so miserably wasted.

14 Hebr. hindmost, utmost, last. See Deut. 32:20; Prov. 14:12.

515If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou 16contend with horses? and if in the land of 17peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?

15 God intends here, and in the sequel, to comfort and cheer up the prophet in his troubles, as if He said: Art thou so fainthearted and troubled, because thy countrymen of Anathoth, who are as footmen, deal so ill with thee, how wilt thou then be able to stand it out against the unbridled, proud great ones of Jerusalem, who are as horses or riders? This must not grieve thee, for, thou must yet undergo and overcome far greater and sorer persecution.

16 Namely, in battle or controversy, that is, have to do with them?

17 Since the water (to speak this way) runs quietly and softly in the land, being as it were peace and rest in comparison of that which is to come, how wilt thou do then when the waters overflow on every side? Here one may, by the swelling of Jordan, understand the pride of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, or the approaching desolation of the entire land. Of the swelling of Jordan see Joshua 3:15; 1 Chron. 12:15; Jer. 49:19; 50:44. Other, If they weary thee in a land of peace (compare Psalm 41:9) where thou trustest thyself, that is, in thy native land, where thou conceivest that thou ougtest to be out of danger; and where they are not altogether so rude as they are at Jerusalem and at court.

6For even thy brethren, and the house of thy father, even they have dealt treacherously with thee; yea, they have called a 18multitude after thee: 19believef them not, though they speak 20fair words unto thee.

18 Or, with a full assembly, by troops. Compare Jer. 4 on verse 5.

19 Or, do not trust them. See Jer. 9:4.

f Prov. 26:25.

20 Hebr. good things, as 2 Kings 25:28; Jer. 52:32.

7¶I have forsaken mine 21house, I have left mine 22heritage; I have given the 23dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies.

21 The temple, that is, I will assuredly forsake it. And so in the sequel.

22 That is, My people. See Jer. 10:16. Also in the next verse.

23 Hebr. the love of my soul, that is, whom I loved as a man loved his wife. Compare Jer. 11:15. Also injustice for unjust, Job 24:20.

8Mine heritage is unto me as a lion in the forest; it 24crieth out against me: therefore have I 25hated it.

24 Hebr. hast given, that is, she is stout, proud, wild and untamed, roaring against Me and My commandments, warnings and threatenings, as a lion in the forest.

25 And consequently, being disowned, rejected and forsaken by Me, as verse 7.

9Mine heritage is unto me as a 26speckled bird, the birds round about are against her; come ye, assemble all the beasts of the field, come to devour.g

26 That is, as a strange, unknown bird, which has (not My livery, but) many strange colors, to whom all other birds shall flock to destroy her. Other, Is not mine heritage unto me a fingered or clawed bird of prey, against whom the birds of prey fly round about? Namely, the enemies on every side; or, O ye birds, fly round about against her. Compare Isa. 18:6; Ezek. 39:17, etc.

g Jer. 7:33.

10Many 27pastorsh have destroyed my 28vineyard, they have trodden my 29portion under foot, they have made my 30pleasant portion a 31desolate wilderness.

27 That is, princes of Babel shall, etc. Compare Jer. 49:19, 20, with the annotations.

h Jer. 6:3.

28 The people of the Jews, as Isa. 5:1, etc.

29 Or, portion of land.

30 Hebr. portion of wish, or of desire.

31 Hebr. a wilderness of desolation or destruction.

1132They have made 33it desolate, and being desolate it mourneth unto me; the whole land is made desolate, because no man layeth it 34to heart.

32 Hebr. He hath made, that is, every one of the enemies, or, They have, etc.

33 My field.

34 Hebr. layeth or putteth it upon or to or in the heart (compare 2 Sam. 13:33, etc.), namely, what is preached by Jeremiah and other faithful prophets by God’s command.

12The spoilers are come upon all 35high places through the wilderness: for the 36sword of the LORD shall devour from the one end of the land even to the other end of the land: 37no flesh shall have 38peace.

35 Where commonly at other times and also at present they thought themselves to be safe and secure.

36 Compare Jer. 25 on verse 29; Jer. 47:6.

37 Hebr. all.

38 That is, no rest, prosperity for any living soul, or any person. See Gen. 6 on verse 12.

1339They have sowni wheat, but shall reap thorns: they have put themselves to 40pain, but shall not profit: and they 41shall be ashamed 42of your revenues because of the fierce anger of the LORD.

39 The Jews.

i Lev. 26:16; Deut. 28:38.

40 Or, have tormented themselves by great labor.

41 That is, thus ye shall be surely ashamed. Compare Psalm 37 on verse 3; Prov. 3 on verse 4. As such God speaks in His promises and threats, in regard of its certainty.

42 That is, for want of your revenues, which ye see do fail you.

14¶Thus saith the LORD against all 43mine evil neighbours, that 44touch the 45inheritance which I have caused my people Israel to inherit; Behold, I will 46pluck them out of their land, andj47pluck out the house of Judah from among them.

43 Who dwell round about My people and land, as Syrians, Ammonites, Moabites, Philistines, etc., who might also take Israel unawares at the occasion that I chastise them.

44 See Gen. 26 on verse 11.

45 Canaan. See Jer. 2:7.

46 By the enemies. See Jeremiah chapters 47, 48 and 49.

j Deut. 30:3; Jer. 32:37.

47 That is, redeem, deliver, in order that these wicked neighbors shall not wreak their fury on Judah. See similar use of the same word Jer. 1:17.

15And it shall come to pass, after that I have plucked 48them out I will return, and have 49compassion on them, and will bring them again, every man to his heritage, and every man to his land.

48 Those evil neighbors.

49 Compare Jer. 48 on verse 47.

16And it shall come to pass, if they will 50diligently learn 51the ways of my people, 52to swear by my name, The LORD liveth; as they taught my people to swear by Baal; then shall they be 53built in the midst of my people.

50 The saving religion, which I have prescribed unto My church, and which is in use among them. Compare Isa. 2:3, etc. This refers to the calling of the Gentiles.

51 Hebr. learning they shall learn.

52 That is, knowing and serving Me aright, according to My word. Compare Jer. 4:2, etc.

53 Being converted by the preaching of the Gospel and engrafted into My church, they shall with them enjoy the blessing of My covenant of grace. See Eph. 2:18, 19, 20, 21, 22.

17Butk if they will not obey, I will 54utterly pluck up and destroy that nation, saith the LORD.

k Isa. 60:12.

54 Hebr. rooting out, root out, or, plucking up, pluck up. Compare Isa. 60:12.