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Jeremiah 12:11

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

11. Posuit vastitatem, luxit super me (vel, ad me) vastata (vel, vastatio, quidam adjective accipiunt, quidam volunt esse nomen substantivum, sed proprie שממה secundum grammaticam est vastatio, sed appositive loco participii capitur, quemadmodum continuo post subjicit,) vastata est omnis terra; quia (vel, tametsi) nemo posuit super cor (hoc est, nemo animum adjecit, quemadmodum alibi vidimus.)


There is a change of number in the verb שם shem; but there is no obscurity: for the Prophet means, that the Jews would be exposed to the outrage of all, so that every one would plunder and lay waste the land. He does not then speak only of all their enemies or of the whole army; but he also declares that every one would be their master, so as to vex, scatter, devour, and wholly to destroy them at his pleasure: in short, he sets forth the atrocity of their punishment, — that the whole land would not only be spoiled by the united army, but also by every individual in it. 6464     The Septuagint and Arabic render the verb as passive in the singular number, “It has been set a desolation.” We may take שמה as a passive participle, the ו being omitted, with ה, it, affixed. Then the verse would run thus, —
   11. Set it is an utter desolation; It has mourned before me (or, to me) being utterly desolate: Desolate has been the whole land, Though no man lays it to heart.

   “Utter desolation” is the meaning, for it is a reduplicate noun. Both the Vulgate and the Targum connect “being utterly desolate” with the next line, though not rightly: but both, as well as the Syriac, render the first verb, as though it were שמוה “They have set it.” Venema and Houbigant render עלי, in the second line, a preposition, and render the line thus, —

   It has mourned on account of desolation.

    — Ed.

He then adds that the land was in mourning before him. The Prophet seems to me to touch here the torpor of his own nation, because there was no one who had any regard for God; nay, they laughed at the judgments which were nigh at hand, and of which he had often spoken. Hence God says, that they would at length come to him when calamities oppressed them and caused them to mourn. “As then in peaceable times,” he says, “they are unwining to come to me, but are so refractory and untameable, that I can effect nothing by so many warnings, they shall come,” he says, “but in another state of mind, even in extreme mourning.”

He afterwards adds, No one lays on the heart What this means we have elsewhere explained. But the particle כי, ki, which is properly a causative, may be here rendered as an adversative. If we take it in its first and most proper sense, then a reason is here given why the Jews would be brought to a most grievous mourning, even because they had despised all the prophets, and wholly disregarded as a fable what they had so often heard from God’s mouth: and this is the view taken by most interpreters. But it may be also taken as an adversative, as in many other places, — “Though no one lays on the heart;” and thus it will be a complaint as to their perverse stupor, inasmuch as, when smitten by God’s hand, they did not perceive that they were punished for their sins, not that they were wholly insensible as to their evils. But what avails it to cry and to howl, as God’s Spirit speaks elsewhere, except, the hand of the smiter be perceived? The Jews then ought, had a spark of wisdom been in them, to have considered their sins, to have prayed for forgiveness, and to have repented, and also to have embraced the favor promised to them. But when they perversely added sins to sins, God justly expostulated with them, because they did not attend to the signs of his wrath, by which they ought not only to have been taught, but also subdued. It follows —

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