"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? . . . Thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins." (Jeremiah 12:1-2)
How gracious of GOD to be thus talked with! Submissively, Jeremiah pours out his heart; not in complaint, but as seeking to know the mind of the Lord, and yet pleading that all may not be engulfed in the common ruin, but that the wicked may be separated from the mass, for the slaughter, and thus blessing come upon the mourning land (Jeremiah 12:1-5).
In the answer of GOD, it is made known to him that the mass are far from His thoughts of righteousness; and the prophet must have a deepened and more solemnizing sense of their iniquity.
He has been but running with footmen; and as they have hastened on in sin, he has been grieved at heart; but, like horses prepared for battle, like a charge of cavalry, is he to see the abounding evil: how can he contend with such? Thus far he has been in the land of peace, and hoping that widespread indignation might not be poured out; yet he has been wearied by their sin and rebellion. He is to see the judgment of GOD poured out in all its fury, as the swelling waters of Jordan in harvest-time (Joshua 3:15), sweeping all before them. In that day, both the righteous and the wicked will suffer in the desolating woes that are to be poured upon Judah. How, then, will he do? Even his nearest kinsmen will reject the word he brings, and deal treacherously with him (Jeremiah 12:5-6).
It is too late to plead for them. The Lord has forsaken His house and left His heritage. His "dearly beloved" (Jeremiah 12:7) is to be given into the hand of her enemies. Like a lion roaring in the forest, they have proudly defied Him; now, like a speckled bird persecuted of the birds of the wood, the assembled nations shall devote her to destruction.
Their pastors had spoiled them as a ruined vineyard and trodden His portion beneath their feet, and no man laid to heart the desolation ensuing; so from one end of the land to the other the sword of the Lord should devour and no flesh have peace. The awful reaping time had come, the day of the fierce anger of the Lord (Jeremiah 12:7-13).
In the last section of the chapter a word is addressed to the surrounding nations.
"His evil neighbors" (Jeremiah 12:14) He calls them, thus intimating His concern for Israel still; for they were not only Israel's neighbors, but His. Then blessing is foretold both for the chosen people about to be scattered and to any among the nations who turn to their GOD - which looks on to the Millennium.
The nation of Israel shall yet be the center of GOD's dealing with the earth, and shall be the means of blessing to the surrounding peoples. "But if they will not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation" saith the Lord" (Jeremiah 12:17).
~ end of chapter 5 ~
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Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany