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5. THIRD STAGE OF THE CONSPIRACY: THE PLOT IN THE PROPHET’S OWN FAMILY
1 Thou maintainest justice, O Jehovah, when I plead with thee.
Only on matters of judgment will I speak with thee.
Why is the way of the wicked prosperous?
Why do all live in peace, who practise knavery?
2 Thou hast planted them and they have taken root;
They grow up, they also bear fruit:
Thou art near in their mouth, but far from their reins.
3 But thou, O Jehovah, knowest me,
Regard me and prove my heart towards thee:1
Pluck them out as sheep to the slaughter,
And set them apart for the day of execution.
4 How long shall the land mourn,
And the green of the whole plain wither?
From the wickedness of those who dwell in it,
Beast and bird are consumed;2
For they say, he shall not see our end,
5 If thou hast run with footmen and they wearied thee,
How mayest thou contend3 with the horses?
And in a land of peace thou wast secure,
But how wilt thou do in the pride of Jordan?
6 For even thy brethren and the house of thy father,
Even they have practised knavery towards thee;
Even they with a loud cry4 have pursued thee.
Trust them not when they speak good to thee.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
This strophe attaches itself closely to the preceding, proving conspiracy even in the narrowest circle, in the family of the prophet, where it was the least to be expected. After the prophet had given the Lord to understand his dissatisfaction that the ungodly, of whom Jeremiah 11:0 treats, still pursue their course in safety (Jeremiah 12:1-2) and after he has expressed the hope of his justification and their destruction (Jeremiah 12:3) the more confidently, that these people infect the air, as it were, with the poisonous breath of their unbelief, and render the land uninhabitable (Jeremiah 12:4), the Lord answers him: If even the enmity of those at a distance is so intolerable, what wilt thou do when the members of thine own family treacherously waylay thee (Jeremiah 12:5-6)?
Jeremiah 12:1-3. Thou maintainest justice … day of execution. The prophet (compare Jonah before Nineveh) has waited in vain for the performance of the threatenings pronounced in Jeremiah 11:11-21, etc. He now ventures to speak to the Lord concerning it. He knows that the Lord will maintain the right (comp. Psalms 51:6; Job 9:2-3 sqq.; Job 39:32; Romans 3:4; Romans 9:20) he will only therefore inquire into His judgments (Jeremiah 1:16; Jeremiah 4:12) in order to receive illumination. On אַךְ comp. Jeremiah 5:5. Bring forth fruit, reference to Jeremiah 11:17-18. Comp. Psalms 37:35.—Near, etc. Refutation of the objection that these people serve Jehovah. It is only lip-service, while their hearts are alienated (Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:8). The prophet on the other hand can appeal for the rectitude of his disposition to the knowledge of the Searcher of hearts, whom, moreover, for the sake of perfect satisfaction, he invites to a renewed observation and trial of his heart.—Pluck them out. On the subject matter comp. Job 21:27 sqq.; Psalms 7:9, Psalms 7:10, Psalms 7:11, 73; Malachi 3:13 sqq., etc.—נתק comp. Jeremiah 6:29.—set them apart. Comp. Jeremiah 6:4; Jeremiah 22:7; Jeremiah 51:27; Isaiah 13:3. In the words pluck them, etc., Jeremiah has expressed what in his opinion is to be done to the ungodly (comp. Psalms 49:15 sqq.) In what follows he supports this opinion from another point of view.
Jeremiah 12:4. How long shall the land mourn … not see our end. In this verse a contradiction has been found to the preceding, and Hitzig would therefore strike out the verse here and insert it at Jeremiah 14:1-9. But Graf correctly remarks that the wicked (Jeremiah 12:1) also appear as guilty in the curse of barrenness, as this calamity is ever regarded as a divine punishment (Jeremiah 3:3; Jeremiah 5:24-25; Jeremiah 14:2 sqq.; Jeremiah 23:10; Hosea 4:3). I add to this, that it is not single wicked individuals who are designated as the authors of the adversity of all their fellow-citizens, but that the “inhabitants of the land,” the men generally (as in fact in Jeremiah 11:9 the whole population is accused) are considered guilty of the destruction of innocent irrational creatures. 2. That by the sentence for they say, etc., their unbelieving scorn of the divine word proclaimed by the prophet is especially represented as the cause of this curse which has come upon the whole land. When in Jeremiah 12:1 it is said “the way of the ungodly is prosperous; all they live in peace who practise knavery,” this is to be understood relatively. In the midst of the national calamity it is comparatively still well with them.—We shall not see. The subject must be the prophet. אַחֲרִית is the last, extreme end, the final fate (comp Isaiah 46:10). When they say that the prophet will not see their extremity, their final fate, they mean that they will survive him, that he will perish before them. Comp. on the subject Jeremiah 5:13. [Henderson:—“I take this to be impersonal: No one shall see our end; that is, it shall not be realized, we shall not be destroyed. The worldly Jews flattered themselves that they might securely pursue their ungodly course, disbelieving all the predictions of calamity uttered by the prophet.”—S. R. A.]
Jeremiah 12:5-6. If thou hast run with the footmen … when they speak good to thee. To the question of the prophet (Jeremiah 12:1-2) the Lord makes no other answer than this: the power of the ungodly, of which thou complainest, is not the worst. Still worse is threatening thee, the enmity of the members of thine own family. Here is evidently the point of the climax begun in Jeremiah 11:9, the conspiracy of his associates in the nation, the town and the family. The last is the most deplorable.—In a land, etc. Instead of wast secure, בּוֹטֵחַ, Hitzig would read בּוֹרֵחַfleeing. The expression would certainly be more correct. But the structure of the second member is not like that of the first. Here it is not admitted that the prophet has hitherto had an evil experience. The Lord says, thy condition hitherto has been comparatively secure, as of a man who lives in a peaceful country. The attacks previously made left thee in a condition of security compared with what is before thee. It is evident that here there is a climax, the second member of the sentence being stronger than the first.—Pride of Jordan, (בגאוֹן הי׳) Hitzig, Meier, Graf understand by this the bank of the Jordan overgrown with trees and tall reeds (comp. Raumer, Paläst. IV. Aufi. S. 68), which according to Jeremiah 49:19; Jeremiah 50:44; Zechariah 11:3 serves for the residence of lions (comp. Köhler, Sach. II. S. 109). Since nothing is known of inundations of the Jordan as particularly extensive and dangerous, this explanation may be correct, though the expression in itself (comp. Job 38:11) might certainly be used of inundations. In Jeremiah 12:6 we perceive the traces of a conspiracy; on the one hand behaviour intended to awaken confidence, on the other בֶּגָד, treachery which manifests itself in this, that behind the back of him who is threatened (אַֽהֲרֶיךָ designates absence, removal to such a distance, as to be out of hearing of a call) they loudly cry and agitate against him.—On the subject matter comp. Matthew 10:36; Matthew 13:57.
Jeremiah 12:3; Jeremiah 12:3.—אִתָּךְ depends on לִבִּי. The meaning is as in 2 Samuel 16:17; Zechariah 7:9.
Jeremiah 12:4; Jeremiah 12:4.—ספתה. On the construction comp. Naegelsb. Gr. § 105, 4 b.
Jeremiah 12:5; Jeremiah 12:5.—תְּתַֽחֲרֶה Tiphel. Comp. Jeremiah 22:15; Gesen. § 55, 5; Ewald, § 132 a; Olsh. § 255 a.
Jeremiah 12:6; Jeremiah 12:6.—מָלֵא as adverb (Nahum 1:10) = plene, plena voce. Comp. Jeremiah 4:5; Jeremiah 4:12.
6. THE CONSPIRACY OF ISRAEL PUNISHED BY THE CONSPIRACY OF THE NEIGHBORS AGAINST THEM
7 I have forsaken my house, repudiated my heritage;
I have given the desire of my soul into the hands of her enemies.
8 My heritage is become to me as a lion in the forest;
It has roared against5 me, therefore have I hated it.
9 Is my heritage to me a parti-colored bird?6 Birds round about it?
Go, assemble ye all the beasts of the field,
Fetch7 them to devour.
10 Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard.
They have trodden under foot my ground property,
Have made the ground property of my desire a barren waste.
11 They8 have made it a desert, it mourneth towards me as a desert.
Desolated was the whole land, for there was no one who took it to heart.
12 On all the heights in the desert are come spoilers:
For Jehovah has a sword, which devours from land’s-end to land’s-end.
There is no flesh that can find means to escape.
13 They have sown wheat and reaped thorns;
They have tormented themselves and will profit nothing:
So then—ye shall be ashamed of your revenue9
Before the fierceness of Jehovah’s wrath.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
As the undertakings of the conspirators against the prophet were virtually against the Lord also, so the prophet’s action is a symbol of the judgment which the Lord will inflict in larger and severer measure. Therefore what is said in Jeremiah 12:7-8 of abandoning house and heritage applies at the same time to the prophet who leaves his paternal house in Anathoth, and to the Lord who forsakes Israel. The positive punishment, however, which will consist in the combination of many enemies against Israel (Jeremiah 12:9-11) corresponds exactly to that triple combination against the Lord and His prophet, spoken of in Jeremiah 11:9 to Jeremiah 12:6.
Jeremiah 12:7-8. I have forsaken my house … have I hated it. After what, according to Jeremiah 12:6, his house has inflicted upon him, nothing is more natural than he should leave it. It is, therefore, a matter of course, to regard the prophet himself as the subject of the verb have forsaken. But in the course of the speech it certainly becomes evident that Jehovah is the forsaker and Israel the forsaken and abandoned house (Jeremiah 12:9 sqq.). Zwingli and Bugenhagen regard Jeremiah 12:7-8 as the words of the prophet. The former considers that Jehovah begins to speak at “Go.” I am of opinion, as already remarked, that the words are to be understood as having a double reference. The prophet declares that he has forsaken his father’s house in Anathoth, that he has abandoned his heritage, his beloved, to the hands of those, who from enmity towards its possessors would abuse it. Yea, he has been compelled to hate and shun his heritage, since it has become hostile to him, and no longer affords him any security. He, whose life the inmates of the house were seeking, was most threatened in the very house, which he was inhabiting with them. He therefore says that his heritage has become to him as a lion, which one meets in the forest; and that he does not fear the lion without reason, is seen from the fact that it has roared against him, in which is an evident allusion to “with a loud cry have pursued thee,” Jeremiah 12:6. At the same time, as all the commentators recognize, these words are perfectly applicable to Jehovah. The point of connection is this, that the inimical relation of the prophet and his house is only a symptom of the enmity which Israel, as an entire nation, cherish towards the Lord their God. Hence it results, that the perfects in this entire passage are not altogether prophetic perfects. For they are based on the fact that the prophet is obliged to speak of that which has occurred between himself and his house as of past facts. He cannot, ex. gr., speak otherwise in Jeremiah 12:7-8, than I have forsaken, repudiated, given, hated. But since this, at the same time, refers to Jehovah, these in so far still future facts are expressed by præterites, which yields the meaning that the action of the prophet as emblematical includes the action of Jehovah. Hence it is, that in accordance with the main fact in Jeremiah 12:7-8, the whole discourse is presented as in past time. In so far as the words of Jeremiah 12:7 refer to Jehovah, we may apply my house to the temple (comp. Jeremiah 7:2-10, etc.), and my heritage to the people of Israel (comp. Deuteronomy 32:9), while the desire of my soul (יְדִדוּת, ἅπ. λεγ., comp. Jeremiah 11:15; Psalms 84:2) refers to the whole.
Jeremiah 12:9. Is my heritage … to devour.—That עַיִט is a bird of prey, or collectively, birds of prey, is placed beyond doubt by Genesis 15:11; Isaiah 18:6; Ezekiel 39:4; Job 28:7. This meaning is therefore assured for this passage and Isaiah 46:11.—צָבוּעַ, according to &צְבָעִים צֶבַע, Judges 5:30 (comp. Aram. צְבַעtingere) can signify only the colored, variegated, as, from Jerome and the Syriac downwards, most of the commentators translate it: this parti-colored bird, which appears in their midst, is attacked by the other birds. Comp. the vouchers in Hitzig—לִיto me, is not equivalent to in relation to me, but merely expresses interest (Dat. ethicus). Whether the ה in the second הַעַיִט is an article or interrogative is doubtful. Grammatically the latter is preferable, but the former accords best with the sense. Olshausen, § 100, 1, maintains that it is grammatically admissible Taken as a question, it expresses astonishment (comp. Jeremiah 7:9).—Go is affirmative and confirmatory: yea, not only the birds, all birds (i.e., all nations) shall fall upon the heritage of the Lord.
Jeremiah 12:10. Many pastors … a barren waste. The same matter in a new form. Comp. Jeremiah 6:3; Micah 5:4-5.—The ground property of my desire, comp. Jeremiah 3:19.
Jeremiah 12:11-12. They have made it a desert … find means to escape. Not only the inhabited country, but the plains which serve for pasturage with their hills (comp. Jeremiah 3:2; Jeremiah 3:21; Jeremiah 14:6), are laid waste, so that the devouring sword has swept through the whole land from one end to the other (comp. Jeremiah 6:25; Jeremiah 25:29, Jeremiah 46:10; Jeremiah 46:14).
Jeremiah 12:13. They have sown wheat. … Jehovah’s wrath. Total result:—No harvest, labor is vain,—weakness, shame. The thought is not, what a man soweth that shall he reap, but what a man soweth he shall not reap, the harvest shall fail, all the labor expended shall be lost. Of course it is a material harvest alone which is spoken of, comp. Deuteronomy 28:30 sqq.; Isaiah 65:21-22; Isaiah 62:8.—On tormented themselves, comp. Jeremiah 10:19 : Ezekiel 34:4; Ezekiel 34:21.—On profit comp. Isaiah 48:17.
Jeremiah 12:8; Jeremiah 12:8.—The expression נָתַן בְּקוֹל is found also in Psalms 46:7. Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 10:13.
Jeremiah 12:9; Jeremiah 12:9.—[Henderson: a speckled bird of prey. Noyes following the LXX.: a rapacious beast, a hyena; Blayney. the ravenous bird Tseboa.—S. R. A.]
Jeremiah 12:9; Jeremiah 12:9.—On הֵתָיוּ as an imperative form comp. Olsh. § 256 b, S. 568.
Jeremiah 12:11; Jeremiah 12:11.—The subject of שָׂמָהּ is formally undetermined (= they, comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 101, 2) but from the connection it is the previously mentioned enemies. Observe the play upon words שָׂם נָשַׁמָּה שְׁמֵמָה שְׁמָמָה שָׂמָהּ. The last is used with reference to שָׂמָהּ, while שָׂמָהּ לִשְׁמָמָה corresponds to לֹא שָׂם עַל־לֵב.
Jeremiah 12:13; Jeremiah 12:13.—It is not necessary to read מִתְּבוּאֹתֵיהֶם, after the LXX. The change of person need not offend (comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 101, Anm.) nor the emphatic Vau before the imperative (comp. rems. on Jeremiah 2:19).
7. SOLUTION OF ALL ANTITHESES BY THE FINAL UNION OF ALL IN THE LORD
14 Thus saith Jehovah against all my neighbors,10 the wicked,
Who attacked the inheritance which I gave to Israel, my people, to possess:
Behold I pluck them forth out of their land,
And the house of Judah I will pluck forth out of their midst.
15 And it shall come to pass, after I have plucked them out,
I will again have compassion upon them,
And bring them back11 every man to his heritage and every man to his land.
16 And it shall come to pass, if they learn the way of my people,
To swear by my name ‘Jehovah liveth,’
As they have taught my people to swear by Baal:
Then shall they be built in the midst of my people.
17 But if they hear not, I will utterly pluck up
And destroy such a nation, saith Jehovah.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Even in these concluding words the fundamental idea is evidently that of association. The conspiracy of the nations against the covenant people who have conspired against their Lord (Jeremiah 11:9; Jeremiah 12:6) has for its first consequence, that the two are associated in punishment (Jeremiah 12:14). But afterward when they have made common cause in penitence, and turning to the Lord, they are to be equally regarded in their redemption and re-establishment (Jeremiah 12:16). In this only is there dissimilarity, that in the heathen nations a possibility of disobedience and consequent total destruction is assumed, which is not the case with respect to Israel (Jeremiah 12:17).
Jeremiah 12:14. Thus saith Jehovah … pluck forth out of their midst. The enemies who, according to Jeremiah 12:9, combine against Israel, are here seen to be chiefly their neighbors; comp. 2 Kings 24:2, to which passage, however, I refer not as the occasion, but as the, at least, partial fulfilment of our prophecy. The Syrians, Moabites and Ammonites, are here mentioned, and in Psalms 137:7 the Edomites also, as auxiliaries of the Chaldees in the work of Judah’s destruction.—Judah and the neighboring nations will meet the same fate, because they have both sinned against Jehovah: Judah directly, the others indirectly; for what they did against Judah, was against Judah’s God.—Out of their midst refers to the geographical position of Judah, and at the same time to Jeremiah 12:9.—The carrying away of Judah involves their liberation from the attacks of their neighbors. Comp. besides Jeremiah 25:15 sqq.
Jeremiah 12:15-17. And it shall come to pass … destroy such a nation, saith Jehovah. Every nation shall be brought back (comp. Jeremiah 46:26; Jeremiah 48:47; Jeremiah 49:6; Jeremiah 49:39), therefore also Israel. Consequently they are alike in this.—The highest and most glorious stage of the association is this, that the nations will be one among themselves and with Judah in the true worship of Jehovah, which is expressed as swearing by His name alone (comp. Jeremiah 4:2; Jeremiah 5:7; Deuteronomy 6:13; Deuteronomy 10:20). In this is, at the same time, given the unity of God with men; He in them, they in Him (John 17:21; John 17:23). It is noteworthy that the nations are to be built (בְּתוֹךְ עַמִּי) in the midst of my people. Before Israel was in their midst (Jeremiah 12:7; Jeremiah 12:9); now they are in the midst of Israel. Israel is now not merely the ideal, but the real stock which bears all. (Comp. Romans 11:17 sqq.—Isaiah 45:22 sqq.; Isaiah 56:1 sqq.; 65. and 66.).—In this only a dissimilarity between Israel and the nations comes fairly to light, that the possibility of resistance to the loving purpose of God is presupposed of the latter, but not of the former (comp. Jeremiah 30:10-11).—On learn the ways, comp. Jeremiah 10:2; Jeremiah 2:33.
Jeremiah 12:14; Jeremiah 12:14.—שׁכני, transition to the first person, as in Jeremiah 14:15. The connection with the preceding strophe is unmistakable. Comp. נַֽחֲלָה and נָתַשׁ with נַֽהֲלָה and נָטַשׁ, Jeremiah 12:7, sqq.
Jeremiah 12:15; Jeremiah 12:15—On אָשׁוּב ו׳. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 95, g., Anm.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. On Jeremiah 11:3. “The curse of the Law excites anger, but the curse of the covenant abashes. I have seen an atheist tremble at the words ‘If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema (1 Corinthians 16:22).’ He remarked it himself, and sought to excuse himself by saying ‘it was motus incoluntarii.’ But it was the words of the covenant, Thou shalt love.” Zinzendorf.
2. On Jeremiah 11:5. “Hic παίδευμα a laiet et pro ministris verbi. et pro eorum auditoribus. Ministri exemplo prophetæ monentur, ut similem in officio promtitudinem et animi alacritatem Deo probent, quemadmodum etiam de Jesaja legitur, Jeremiah 6:8. Auditores hic docentur, ut de voluntate Dei ex verbo moniti in corde suo dicant; amen, promti et parati ad obedientiam verbo præstandam.” Förster.
3. On Jeremiah 11:14. “Intercession for all men has good reason for it in the love which is due to one’s neighbor, and it is also commanded, 1 Timothy 2:1-2, but on the part of those who offer it, a certain order is required so that it may be heard (Luke 13:8-9; John 9:31).” Langh Op. bibl.
4. On Jeremiah 11:15. “It is a snare to a man to blaspheme the holy, and after that to seek vows [after vows to make inquiry] (Proverbs 20:24). For that is the manner of hypocrites, to offer St. Martin a penny and then steal a horse; and when they have opposed God and His word to the utmost, to turn afterwards to sacrifices, fasting and alms, and wish thus to exculpate themselves.” Cramer.
5. On Jeremiah 11:16-17. “God has appointed us to be trees of righteousness, plants of the Lord for His glory (Isaiah 61:3). He, however, who bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down and cast into the fire (Matthew 7:19).” Cramer. [“Every sin against God is a sin against ourselves, and so it will be found sooner or later.” Henry.—S. R. A.]
6. On Jeremiah 11:18. “Although the human heart cannot be fathomed (Jeremiah 17:9), yet nothing can be hidden from God, and He frequently reveals secret counsels, so that they are known and manifest, as in the case of Absalom and Ahithophel (Isaiah 8:10). Therefore do nothing in secret, in the hope that it will remain hidden, for the birds of heaven carry the voice, and the winged repeat it (Ecclesiastes 10:20).” Cramer.
7. On Jeremiah 11:20. “The first New Testament vengeance was executed on the cross, when an evildoer who had mocked at Jesus, cringed on the cross, and asked for a gracious remembrance. The Lamb of God could scarcely wait the time of vengeance: To-day, said He, shalt thou be with Me in Paradise. According to this may the Jeremiahs of our times, the preachers of righteousness, take the measure of their holy desire for vengeance.” Zinzendorf. [“It is a comfort, when we are wronged that we have a God to commit our cause to: and our duty to commit it to Him, with a resolution to acquiesce in His definite sentence; to subscribe and not prescribe to Him.” Henry.—S. R. A.]
8. On Jeremiah 11:20. “A teacher is advised to say this if he can, ‘I have ceased to concern myself about myself.’ Dr. Luther says,
Once I grasped too many things:—
None staid; they all had wings:
But since I’ve weary grown,
And all away have thrown,
Not one from me has flown.
And do you ask, how can it be thus?—
Because I’ve cast my all on Jesus.
Messengers and servants, who concern themselves about their own injuries must have bad masters.” Zinzendorf.
9. On Jeremiah 11:22. When the people will not endure the rod of Christ’s mouth, with which He smites the earth (Isaiah 11:4), item His rods Beauty and Bands (Zechariah 11:7), God sends one with the sword to preach, which is followed by the red spice, and then we see what the smooth preachers have effected (Isaiah 30:10).” Cramer.
10. On Jeremiah 12:1. “But can we conceive anything more humane and gracious than our dear Lord? We know beforehand that we are wrong; we do not doubt that He does all well, but it yet oppresses us. We should like to make a clean breast of it. Where shall we find one with whom we could do this? The fly on the wall, the domestic, the child, that comes in our way? Assuredly not! Straight to our Lord, the eternal and living God, with all our ill-humor, doubt, care, scruples! Pour out your heart before Him (Psalms 62:8).” Zinzendorf.
11. On Jeremiah 12:1-3. “It is a common grievance, to live and experience that the ungodly are prosperous and the godly are unfortunate (Psalms 38:20; Psalms 73:12; Job 21:7; Job 31:2), against which David wrote the 32. Ps. Have recourse to the testimony that there is another life, when the tables will be turned and the evil will be recompensed with evil and the good with good (Isaiah 65:13).” Cramer.
12. On Jeremiah 12:3. “The prosperity of the ungodly should exhort them to repentance by the long-suffering of God (Romans 2:4). But when even this does not avail, there are still people of this world, who have their portion in this life, who fill only their belly (Psalms 17:14) and carry nothing away. What profit then is there to them even if they had the whole world, and suffer injury to their souls (Matthew 16:26. The rich man in Luke 16:23).” Cramer.
13. On Jeremiah 12:4. “It is strange that even in the people of God the Epicurean opinion has found acceptance, that God sits idly in the heavens, caring nothing about what goes on below, doing neither that which is good nor that which is evil, (Zephaniah 1:12), seeing not what men do (Ezekiel 8:10; Ezekiel 9:9), and that future things are altogether hidden both from him and his prophet. So powerful is the devil among the children of unbelief.” Cramer.
14. On Jeremiah 12:4. “Tales hodie sunt Epicuri de grege porci, quibus sæpe est in ore, the devil is not so black, hell is not so hot, as the parson in the pulpit makes out. Sed his historia divitis epulonis occinenda (Luke 16:0). Nam ibi—Christ puts forth his hand into hell-fire, snatches a brand out therefrom, and holds it in the face of all Epicureans, as though He would say, Smell, smell, how hot hell-fire is.” Förster.
15. On Jeremiah 12:5. “I have heard that an able preacher, when he had to deliver a trial sermon for the position of court-preacher, took this text. The exposition is plain. No servant of the Lord should long for more respectable, rich, discreet, sociable hearers. Let every one approve himself thoroughly in all changes, and be sure of his cause and lean not to his own understanding.” Zinzendorf.
16. On Jeremiah 12:6. “Many must add to this, wife, child, colleague, domestics, and whatever more the Saviour mentions, which may be against a man. One is often offered by his mother to the dear God (i. e. dedicated to the pastoral office) but in an altogether different sense; and when he afterwards walks as becomes him, according to the gospel of Christ, those are his bitterest enemies, who hoped that he might comfort them in all their travail, and who not only do not gain anything from his labors as a witness, but must bear the shame and ridicule, that their son, brother, cousin, husband, father, friend, etc. will yet render them all unfortunate.” Zinzendorf.
17. On Jeremiah 12:7, sqq. “They are sweet words and beautiful names with which the Lord baptizes and names His city, and it is so hard for it to be punished by God for its sins that we are long in learning to consider our own account.” (Romans 11:21). Cramer.
18. On Jeremiah 12:7, sqq. “The heart of a believer is God’s most cherished abode, but if man corrupt it with wilful sin, God must forsake this house.” (Isaiah 59:2). Starke.
19. On Jeremiah 12:10, sqq. “A servant of the Lord who should follow on twelve hirelings or wolves may depend on this, that he will find nothing else than a house, a vineyard of the Lord, but a desecrated house, an uprooted vineyard, in which many preparations are needed before he can proceed to his regular work.” Zinzendorf.
20. On Jeremiah 12:14, sqq. “The Christian church has a triple consolation. 1. That its enemies will be punished; 2. That God again has mercy on it; 3. That it also converts a part of its enemies and gathers them into its little flock of believers.” Cramer.
21. On Jeremiah 12:16. “Some time since I found in the so-called Herrnhut lot-book for the year 1737 the words in the vision of Isaiah 59:17 : Thy destroyer and they that made thee waste shall go forth of thee! Under them were these two lines, ‘let them rather remain and attach them to us.’ This is what Jeremiah says; they may yet come out right.—Paul has confirmed it by his example. Within three days he was a persecutor, a false teacher, a poor sinner, a justified sinner, a witness, an apostle. With joy would I bestow the same happiness on every one of those, whom I at this moment cannot regard otherwise than as the enemies, of the cross of Christ.” Zinzendorf.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
1. On Jeremiah 11:1-10 there is extant a homily of Origen (the 9th in Lommatzsch’s ed.) likewise on Jeremiah 11:18 to Jeremiah 12:9 (the 10th) and on Jeremiah 12:11 to Jeremiah 13:1 (the 11th.)
2. Förster remarks that Jeremiah 11:19-20 accords with Matthew 22:15 sqq. (XXIII. Sunday after Tr.) and that the persecution of Jeremiah corresponds to the sufferings of the Lord. Likewise that Jeremiah 12:2 bears relation to Luke 16:19 sqq. (I. Sund. after Trin.) and Jeremiah 12:7 to Acts 6:8 sqq. (St. Stephen’s day, Sunday after Christmas), and to Luke 19:41 sqq. (X. after Trin.)
3. On Jeremiah 11:16-17. The divine election is never intended to be a license from all discipline. Indeed when men break the covenant, the Lord interposes with punishment, which may proceed to instantaneous destruction. Surely God’s gifts and calling are without repentance. If the branches cut off abide not in unbelief they shall be graffed in; for God is able to graft them in again, Romans 11:23; Romans 11:29.
4. On Jeremiah 11:21. That which the people of Anathoth say here to Jeremiah, the people of this world say everywhere and at all times to the preachers of the truth. Comp. 2 Timothy 4:3-4. It is important then to preach the word, to be instant in season and out of season; to reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine (2 Timothy 4:2).
5. On Jeremiah 12:5. It is not becoming that we prescribe to God, to what extent He shall lay burdens upon us. Our patience and steadfastness are as elastic and extensible as our faith is firm and rock-like (Petrine, Matthew 16:18).
6. On Jeremiah 12:14-17. When mankind depart from God they lose the bond of unity and of peace. They are divided then into parties, which contend with and exterminate each other. But when these have again united themselves with the Lord, the unity of the members is restored. Therefore there is liberty, equality and fraternity only in the Lord.
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Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 22 / Ordinary 27