Jeremiah 12

1 You are righteous, LORD, when I contend with you; yet I would reason the cause with you: why does the way of the wicked prosper? why are all they at ease who deal very treacherously? 2 You have planted them, yes, they have taken root; they grow, yes, they produce fruit. You are near in their mouth, and far from their heart. 3 But you, LORD, know me; you see me, and try my heart towards you. Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and prepare them for the day of slaughter. 4 How long shall the land mourn, and the herbs of the whole country wither? For the wickedness of those who dwell therein, the animals are consumed, and the birds; because they said, “He shall not see our latter end.” 5 “If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? Though in a land of peace you are secure, yet how will you do in the pride of the Jordan? 6 For even your brothers, and the house of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you; even they have cried aloud after you! Don’t believe them, though they speak beautiful words to you. 7 “I have forsaken my house. I have cast off my heritage. I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies. 8 My heritage has become to me as a lion in the forest. She has uttered her voice against me; therefore I have hated her. 9 Is my heritage to me as a speckled bird of prey? Are the birds of prey against her all around? Go, assemble all the animals of the field, bring them to devour. 10 Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard. They have trodden my portion under foot. They have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. 11 They have made it a desolation. It mourns to me, being desolate. The whole land is made desolate, because no man lays it to heart. 12 Destroyers have come on all the bare heights in the wilderness; for the sword of the LORD devours from the one end of the land even to the other end of the land. No flesh has peace. 13 They have sown wheat, and have reaped thorns. They have put themselves to pain, and profit nothing. You shall be ashamed of your fruits, because of the fierce anger of the LORD.” 14 the LORD says, “Concerning all my evil neighbors, who touch the inheritance which I have caused my people Israel to inherit: behold, I will pluck them up from off their land, and will pluck up the house of Judah from amongst them. 15 It shall happen, after that I have plucked them up, I will return and have compassion on them; and I will bring them again, every man to his heritage, and every man to his land. 16 It shall happen, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, ‘As the LORD lives;’ even as they taught my people to swear by Baal; then shall they be built up in the middle of my people. 17 But if they will not hear, then I will pluck up that nation, plucking up and destroying it,” says the LORD.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-6

When we are most in the dark concerning God’s dispensations, we must keep up right thoughts of God, believing that he never did the least wrong to any of his creatures. When we find it hard to understand any of his dealings with us, or others, we must look to general truths as our first principles, and abide by them: the Lord is righteous. The God with whom we have to do, knows how our hearts are toward him. He knows both the guile of the hypocrite and the sincerity of the upright. Divine judgments would pull the wicked out of their pasture as sheep for the slaughter. This fruitful land was turned into barrenness for the wickedness of those that dwelt therein. The Lord reproved the prophet. The opposition of the men of Anathoth was not so formidable as what he must expect from the rulers of Judah. Our grief that there should be so much evil is often mixed with peevishness on account of the trials it occasions us. And in this our favoured day, and under our trifling difficulties, let us consider how we should behave, if called to sufferings like those of saints in former ages.

Verses 7-13

God’s people had been the dearly-beloved of his soul, precious in his sight, but they acted so, that he gave them up to their enemies. Many professing churches become like speckled birds, presenting a mixture of religion and the world, with its vain fashions, pursuits, and pollutions. God’s people are as men wondered at, as a speckled bird; but this people had by their own folly made themselves so; and the beasts and birds are called to prey upon them. The whole land would be made desolate. But until the judgments were actually inflicted, none of the people would lay the warning to heart. When God’s hand is lifted up, and men will not see, they shall be made to feel. Silver and gold shall not profit in the day of the Lord’s anger. And the efforts of sinners to escape misery, without repentance and works answerable thereto, will end in confusion.

Verses 14-17

The Lord would plead the cause of his people against their evil neighbours. Yet he would afterwards show mercy to those nations, when they should learn true religion. This seems to look forward to the times when the fulness of the Gentiles shall come in. Those who would have their lot with God’s people, and a last end like theirs, must learn their ways, and walk in them.

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