Jer 12:1-17. Continuation of
the Subject at the Close of the Eleventh Chapter.
He ventures to expostulate with Jehovah as to the
prosperity of the wicked, who had plotted against his life (Jer 12:1-4); in reply he is told that he will
have worse to endure, and that from his own relatives (Jer 12:5, 6). The heaviest judgments, however,
would be inflicted on the faithless people (Jer 12:7-13); and then on the nations
co-operating with the Chaldeans against Judah, with, however, a promise
of mercy on repentance (Jer 12:14-17).
1. (Ps 51:4).
let me talk, &c.—only let me
reason the case with Thee: inquire of Thee the causes why such wicked
men as these plotters against my life prosper (compare Job 12:6; 21:7; Ps 37:1, 35; 73:3; Mal 3:15). It is right, when hard thoughts of
God's providence suggest themselves, to fortify our minds by
justifying God beforehand (as did Jeremiah), even before we hear
the reasons of His dealings.
2. grow—literally, "go on," "progress."
Thou givest them sure dwellings and increasing prosperity.
near in … mouth … far from …
reins—(Isa 29:13; Mt 15:8). Hypocrites.
3. knowest me—(Ps 139:1).
tried … heart—(Jer 11:20).
toward thee—rather, "with Thee," that
is, entirely devoted to Thee; contrasted with the hypocrites (Jer 12:2), "near in … mouth, and far
from … reins." This being so, how is it that I fare so ill, they
pull … out—containing the
metaphor, from a "rooted tree" (Jer 12:2).
prepare—literally, "separate," or "set
apart as devoted."
day of slaughter—(Jas 5:5).
4. land mourn—personification (Jer 14:2;
for the wickedness—(Ps 107:34).
He shall not see our last
end—Jehovah knows not what is about to happen to us
5:12) [Rosenmuller]. So the Septuagint. (Ps
10:11; Eze 8:12; 9:9).
Rather, "The prophet (Jeremiah, to whom the whole context
refers) shall not see our last end." We need not trouble ourselves
about his boding predictions. We shall not be destroyed as he says
5. Jehovah's reply to Jeremiah's
horses—that is, horsemen: the argument
a fortiori. A proverbial phrase. The injuries done thee by the
men of Anathoth ("the footmen") are small compared with those which the
men of Jerusalem ("the horsemen") are about to inflict on thee. If the
former weary thee out, how wilt thou contend with the king, the court,
and the priests at Jerusalem?
wherein thou trustedst, they wearied
thee—English Version thus fills up the sentence
with the italicized words, to answer to the parallel clause in the
first sentence of the verse. The parallelism is, however, sufficiently
retained with a less ellipsis: "If (it is only) in a land of peace thou
art confident" [Maurer].
swelling of Jordan—In harvest-time and
earlier (April and May) it overflows its banks (Jos 3:15), and fills the valley called the Ghor.
Or, "the pride of Jordan," namely, its wooded banks abounding in
lions and other wild beasts (Jer 49:19; 50:44; Zec
11:3; compare 2Ki 6:2). Maundrell says that between the Sea of Tiberias and
Lake Merom the banks are so wooded that the traveller cannot see the
river at all without first passing through the woods. If in the
champaign country (alone) thou art secure, how wilt thou do when thou
fallest into the wooded haunts of wild beasts?
6. even thy brethren—as in Christ's case
(Ps 69:8; Joh 1:11; 7:5; compare Jer 9:4; 11:19, 21; Mt
10:36). Godly faithfulness is
sure to provoke the ungodly, even of one's own family.
called a multitude after thee—(Isa 31:4). Jerome translates, "cry after thee with a loud
(literally, 'full') voice."
believe … not … though … speak
7. I have forsaken—Jehovah will forsake
His temple and the people peculiarly His. The mention of God's close
tie to them, as heretofore His, aggravates their ingratitude,
and shows that their past spiritual privileges will not prevent God
from punishing them.
beloved of my soul—image from a
wife (Jer 11:15; Isa 54:5).
8. is unto me—is become unto Me: behaves
towards Me as a lion which roars against a man, so that he withdraws
from the place where he hears it: so I withdrew from My people, once
beloved, but now an object of abhorrence because of their rebellious
cries against Me.
9. speckled bird—Many translate, "a
ravenous beast, the hyena"; the corresponding Arabic word means
hyena; so the Septuagint. But the Hebrew always
elsewhere means "a bird of prey." The Hebrew for "speckled" is
from a root "to color"; answering to the Jewish blending
together with paganism the altogether diverse Mosaic ritual.
The neighboring nations, birds of prey like herself (for she had
sinfully assimilated herself to them), were ready to pounce upon
assemble … beasts of …
field—The Chaldeans are told to gather the surrounding
heathen peoples as allies against Judah (Isa 56:9; Eze 34:5).
10. pastors—the Babylonian leaders
(compare Jer 12:12; Jer 6:3).
my vineyard—(Isa 5:1, 5).
trodden my portion—(Isa 63:18).
11. mourneth unto me—that is, before Me.
Eichorn translates, "by reason of Me,"
because I have given it to desolation (Jer 12:7).
because no man layeth it to
heart—because none by repentance and prayer seek to deprecate
God's wrath. Or, "yet none lays it to heart"; as in Jer 5:3 [Calvin].
12. high places—Before, He had
threatened the plains; now, the hills.
wilderness—not an uninhabited desert,
but high lands of pasturage, lying between Judea and Chaldea (Jer 4:11).
13. Description in detail of the devastation
of the land (Mic 6:15).
they shall be ashamed of your—The
change of persons, in passing from indirect to direct address, is
frequent in the prophets. Equivalent to, "Ye shall be put to the shame
of disappointment at the smallness of your produce."
14-17. Prophecy as to the surrounding nations,
the Syrians, Ammonites, &c., who helped forward Judah's calamity:
they shall share her fall; and, on their conversion, they shall share
with her in the future restoration. This is a brief anticipation of the
predictions in the forty-seventh, forty-eighth, and forty-ninth
pluck them out … pluck out …
Judah—(Compare end of Jer 12:16). During the thirteen years that the
Babylonians besieged Tyre, Nebuchadnezzar, after subduing
Cœlo-Syria, brought Ammon, Moab, &c., and finally Egypt, into
Antiquities, 10:9.7]. On the restoration of these nations, they
were to exchange places with the Jews. The latter were now in the midst
of them, but on their restoration they were to be "in the midst
of the Jews," that is, as proselytes to the true God (compare Mic 5:7;
Zec 14:16). "Pluck
them," namely, the Gentile nations: in a bad sense. "Pluck
Judah": in a good sense; used to express the force which was needed to
snatch Judah from the tyranny of those nations by whom they had been
made captives, or to whom they had fled; otherwise they never would
have let Judah go. Previously he had been forbidden to pray for the
mass of the Jewish people. But here he speaks consolation to the elect
remnant among them. Whatever the Jews might be, God keeps His
15. A promise, applying to Judah, as well as
to the nations specified (Am 9:14). As
to Moab, compare Jer 48:47;
as to Ammon, Jer 49:6.
16. swear by my name—(Jer 4:2;
Isa 19:18; 65:16); that is,
confess solemnly the true God.
built—be made spiritually and
temporally prosperous: fixed in sure habitations (compare Jer 24:6; 42:10; 45:4; Ps 87:4, 5; Eph 2:20,
21; 1Pe 2:5).
17. (Isa 60:12).