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Jeremiah’s Sixth Prophecy (Reign of Josiah). The Broken Covenant entails a Curse
These chapters form a connected prophecy. They probably belong to Josiah’s time, for (a) ’the words of this covenant’ (Jeremiah 11:3) seem to refer to the reading of the newly discovered law mentioned in 2 Kings 23:3; (b) Jeremiah has not yet removed from Anathoth to Jerusalem (Jeremiah 11:21), and (c) the apparent allusion (Jeremiah 12:4) to a drought accords with similar references in prophecies belonging to Josiah’s reign (Jeremiah 3:3; Jeremiah 5:24).
1-4. The prosperity of the wicked perplexes Jeremiah.
1. Wherefore, etc.] The question was one which much exercised men of pre-Christian times who had no clear view of any but temporal rewards and punishments. See Psalms 37, 39, 49, 73, and Job (specially Jeremiah 21:7) The plots of his fellow-townsmen at Anathoth (see Jeremiah 11) were probably the occasion of this outburst of Jeremiah’s.
2. Near in their mouth, etc.] They honour God with their lips but their heart is far from Him.
4. A drought has been sent in punishment. He shall not see, etc.] Jeremiah’s denunciations are derided by his enemies.
5, 6. God’s answer to the prophet’s appeal. By two proverbial expressions He shows him that he must prepare to endure worse things than any he has yet been called upon to face. He has been in danger at Anathoth, but greater dangers await him at Jerusalem. Let him therefore be strong and play the man.
5. Swelling] RV ’pride,’ referring to the luxuriant vegetation on the banks, which formed a source of danger, as a covert for wild beasts.
7-13, A lament over the desolate land. Some scholars think that this passage belongs to the time after the first siege and capture of Jerusalem, where Jehoiachin was led into captivity.
8. The v. indicates the hostile attitude of the people to God.
9. The figures to represent the coming desolation are, first, that of birds assembling round one of their own kind and maltreating it, because its plumage attracts their attention as unusual, and then that of hungry beasts of prey.
10. Pastors] leaders of the invading armies: cp. Jeremiah 6:3, where they axe called ’shepherds.’
12. High places through] RV ’the bare heights in’: no spot shall escape.
13. And they shall be ashamed] RV ’And ye shall,’ etc. Revenues] RV ’fruits.’
14. Mine evil neighbours] Syrians, Edomites, Moabites and others who would feel that Judah’s difficulty formed their opportunity. Both they and Judah shall be punished by exile; but God will restore them in His mercy. If the heathen will but seek to serve God, they shall share in the blessings He has in store for Judah after they have suffered and repented.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany