Jeremiah
Chapter 12

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

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 reins.

3 But thou, O LORD, knowest me: thou hast seen me, and tried mine heart toward thee: 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 every field wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein? the beasts are consumed, and the birds; because they said, He shall not see our last end.

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

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

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

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

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

10 Many pastors 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 desolate, and being desolate it mourneth unto me; the whole land is made desolate, because no man layeth it to heart.

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

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

14 Thus saith the LORD against all mine evil 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.

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

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

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

Commentary for Jeremiah 12

Jeremiah complains of the prosperity of the wicked. (1-6) The heavy judgments to come upon the nation. (7-13) Divine mercy to them, and even to the nations around. (14-17)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.

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.

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.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Jeremiah 12

  • Linda
    If Jeremiah was not able to handle the smaller trials in his life, he will not be able to handle the bigger trials for the simple reason. Things starts small and then they grow big. If he was not able to handle the small trials he would struggle in doing the bigger ones. He would need to trust in God to help him deal with the bigger and smaller trials.
  • A disciple
    BSP; I don't think Jeremiah was "complaining about smaller trials;" for from the whole tone of the chapter, he is evidently in deep spiritual discussion and prayer with the Lord about the evil condition of the people, and why the wicked are allowed so much room. Remember how God came to talk with Abraham about what was happening in Sodom? The Lord looks for like-minded friends to talk with.
  • BSP
    Verse 5: Jeremiah was complaining about the smaller trials he was facing, but he was going to go through even bigger trials. If he could not deal with his smaller trials, how would he be able to deal with the bigger trials?
  • Cleberson Williams
    12:3
    God know the heart of man and his limitations.
  • BJ
    12:10 Many pastors today are sugar coating the word. I have church in my home with up to 4 people. We go from 10:00 am til 4:00 - 6:00. It seems that many churches today are more about rituals than spreading the word of God. This is a warning to these pastors.
  • Mac
    Jesus said "come out of her" the church/government/worldly ways. Jesus said "the wolves (scribes pharisees. rabbis) were creeping into the church. Jesus said " You can not go to the father except thru himself". Jesus did NOT say to go back to these things. The whole purpose of this is because for those who accept
    Jesus and follow the commandments of God and do not worship baal will have eternal
  • Charlie
    america is a very covetous and prideful , idolatry is number
    one in the land, and false religions are in abundance,woe
    unto them who call evil good,and good evil:that put darkness
    for light,and light for darkness:that put bitter for sweet,and
    sweet for bitter.isaiah5-20.judgement is comming repent
    and bow to the lordship of jesus christ for salvation alone
  • R.Adams On verse 16
    " to swear by my name, The LORD liveth" Dont we always swear by Jesus name? Swearing here is more of taking an oath to God and His name being the most powerful of all, by what else would you swear an oath by to God? In His name, of course.

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Bible Trivia

What kind of speckled animal does Jeremiah compare himself with?
  • Lamb
  • Goat
  • Lion cub
  • Bird