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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Jeremiah 12

 

 

Introduction

Jeremiah 11:1 to Jeremiah 12:6. The relation of the prophet to the (Deuteronomic) Covenant (Jeremiah 11:1-8); its subsequent abandonment, and the Divine punishment (Jeremiah 11:9-17); the plot at Anathoth (Jeremiah 11:18-23); the prophet's problem (Jeremiah 12:1-6). On the difficulties raised by this section, see Introduction, 2; it seems likely that, as Duhm and Cornill have argued, Jeremiah 11:1-14 is an unhistorical inference as to what the prophet might be expected to do at the time of the Deuteronomic Reformation in 621. If its historicity be accepted, then Jeremiah's initial approval must subsequently have passed into disapproval, in view of the religious externalism and false confidence which followed upon the Reformation. (See on Jeremiah 7:1-15, Jeremiah 8:8.)


Verses 1-6

Jeremiah 12:1-6. The Problem of Unrighteous Prosperity.—Jeremiah raises (for the first time in Hebrew literature) the problem of the prosperity of the unrighteous, apparently in connexion with his experiences at Anathoth. He ventures to complain (rather than "plead") unto Yahweh, since He should award adversity to the evildoers who dishonour Him in their inner man ("reins", see on Jeremiah 11:20), and he appeals for their punishment. God answers Jeremiah (Jeremiah 12:5) with the warning that he has worse trials to face than the troubles at Anathoth

Jeremiah 12:4 has little point in this context except for its close, "He shall not see our latter end", which apparently means that Jeremiah will not live to see the vengeance desired. For this, however, LXX reads, "God will not see our ways."

Jeremiah 12:5. thou art secure: the change of one letter gives the much better sense, "thou fleest".—the pride of Jordan denotes the semi-tropical jungle of the Jordan valley, marking the breadth of the river in flood, still the haunt of wild beasts; cf. Jeremiah 49:19, Zechariah 11:3. This was visible from Jeremiah's home, Anathoth.


Verses 7-17

Jeremiah 12:7-17. The Desolation of Judah by her Neighbours, and their Future.—This isolated prophecy is most naturally referred to the events of 2 Kings 24:1 f., when Jehoiakim had revolted against Nebuchadrezzar (c. 598). Yahweh laments His enforced abandonment of His house (a term here denoting the land rather than the Temple; cf. Hosea 8:1; Hosea 9:15), because Judah has challenged Him; now He sees her—a speckled bird—marked out for the attack of her neighbours. Nomad invaders (the "shepherds" of Jeremiah 12:10) have laid her waste, so that Yahweh Himself grieves; none has learnt the lesson in time. Jeremiah 12:13 is difficult (read "they shall be disappointed of their fruits", cf. mg.) because it does not suit the context; it must refer to the men of Judah. In Jeremiah 12:14-17, Yahweh says that He will exile these neighbours (Syrians, Moabites, Ammonites), but they shall be brought back if converted to Judah's religion (for the oath in Jeremiah 12:16; cf. Jeremiah 4:2).

Jeremiah 12:11. unto me: to my sorrow; cf. mg. of Genesis 48:7 (Driver).

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/jeremiah-12.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, September 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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