12:1a Righteous [art] thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee:
yet let me speak with thee of [thy] judgments: Why doth the
way of the wicked b prosper? [why] are they all happy
that deal very treacherously?
(a) The prophet confesses God to be just in all his doings,
although man is not able to give a reason for all his
(b) This question has been always a great temptation to the
godly, to see the wicked enemies of God in prosperity,
and his dear children in adversity, as in
(Job 21:7, Ps 37:1,73:3, Hab 1:3).
12:2 Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they
grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou [art] near in their
mouth, and far from their c reins.
(c) They profess God in mouth, but deny him in heart, which
is here meant by the reins, (Isa 29:13, Mt 15:8).
12:3 But thou, O LORD, knowest me: thou hast seen me, and tried
my heart toward thee: pull them out like sheep for the
slaughter, and d prepare them for the day of slaughter.
(d) The Hebrew word is "sanctify them", meaning that God
would be sanctified in the destruction of the wicked to
whom God for a while gives prosperity, that afterward
they would the more feel his heavy judgment when they
lack their riches which were a sign of his mercy.
12:4 How long shall the land mourn, and the herbs of every field
wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell in it? the
beasts are consumed, and the birds; because they said, e
He shall not see our last end.
(e) Abusing God's leniency and his promises, they flattered
themselves as though God would ever be merciful and not
utterly destroy them therefore they hardened themselves
in sin, till at length the beasts and insensible
creatures felt the punishment of their stubborn
rebellion against God.
12:5 If thou hast run with the f footmen, and they have
wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and
[if] in the land of peace, [in which] thou didst trust,
[they wearied thee], then how wilt thou do in the swelling
(f) Some think that God reproves Jeremiah, in that he would
reason with him, saying that if he was not able to
march with men, then he was far unable to dispute with
God. Others, by the footmen mean them of Anathoth: and
by the horsemen, them of Jerusalem who would trouble
the prophet worse than his own countrymen did.
12:7 I have forsaken g my house, I have left my heritage; I
have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of
(g) God wills the prophet to denounce his judgments against
Jerusalem, even though they will both by threatenings
and flatteries labour to silence him.
12:8 My heritage is to me as a h lion in the forest; it crieth
out against me: therefore have I hated it.
(h) Ever ranting and raging against me and my prophets.
12:9 My heritage [is] to me [as] a i speckled bird, the birds
around [are] against her; come ye, assemble all the beasts
of the field, come to devour.
(i) Instead of bearing my livery and wearing only my
colours, they have change and diversity of colours of
their idols and superstitions therefore their enemies
as thick as the fowls of the air will come about them
to destroy them.
12:10 Many shepherds have destroyed my k vineyard, they have
trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant
portion a desolate wilderness.
(k) He prophecies of the destruction of Jerusalem, by the
captain of Nebuchadnezzar, whom he calls pastors.
12:11 They have made it desolate, [and being] desolate it
mourneth to me; the whole land is made desolate, because
no man layeth l [it] to heart.
(l) Because no man regards my word, or the plagues that I
have sent on the land.
12:13m They have sown wheat, but shall reap thorns: they n
have put themselves to pain, [but] shall not profit: and
they shall be ashamed of o your revenues because of the
fierce anger of the LORD.
(m) That is, the prophets.
(n) They lamented the sins of the people.
(o) For instead of amendment, you grew worse and worse, as
God's plagues testified.
12:14 Thus saith the LORD against all my evil p neighbours,
that touch the inheritance which I have caused my people
Israel to inherit; Behold, I will pluck them out of their
land, and pluck out the house of Judah from among them.
(p) Meaning the wicked enemies of his Church who
blasphemed his Name, and whom he would punish after he
had delivered his people.
12:15 And it shall come to pass, after I have plucked them out I
q will return, and have compassion on them, and will
bring them again, every man to his heritage, and every man
to his land.
(q) After I have punished the Gentiles I will have mercy
12:16 And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn
the r ways of my people, to swear by my name, The s
LORD liveth; as they taught my people to swear by Baal;
then shall they be built t in the midst of my people.
(r) The true doctrine and manner to serve God.
(s) Read (Jer 4:2).
(t) They will be of the number of the faithful, and have a
place in my Church.