|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:7-13 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.
Verse 13. - A description in proverbial language of the absence of "peace" (literally, soundness, i.e. prosperity, security), from which "all flesh" in Judah at this time shall suffer. The trouble of sowing has been in vain, for they have reaped thorns (so we must render grammatically, and not shall reap, and in the next clause shall not profit ought to be have not profited). And they shall be ashamed of your revenues; rather, be ashamed then of your produce; but it is more natural to emend the pronominal suffix, and render, and are ashamed of their produce (the Authorized Version seems to have very nearly taken this easy step). It is, of course, the produce of husbandry which is referred to.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
They have sown wheat, but shall reap thorns,.... Which may be understood literally, the land of Judea being cursed for their sins, and become barren and unfruitful, as the earth originally was for the sin of the first man, Genesis 3:19, or rather figuratively, which some interpret of the prophets as Kimchi, sowing the good seed of the word among the Jews; but it did not take place in them, and bring forth fruit; instead thereof thorns sprung up, or evil works were done by them, comparable thereunto; but it seems better to understand it of the people; not, as Jarchi, of their prayers, which were not accepted, because unattended with repentance and good works; but of their schemes, which they thought were prudently laid, in forming an alliance with Egypt, and sending thither for help against the Chaldeans, but all in vain; these proved in the issue like thorns, grievous and vexatious to them. The Septuagint version reads imperatively, "sow ye": and Jarchi makes mention of a copy, in which the word was pointed as to be so read, as in Hosea 10:12, and may be understood ironically. The Targum is,
"be ye not like those who sow wheat in untilled land, and can gather nothing but thorns.''
They have put themselves to pain, but shall not profit; were at a great deal of pains and trouble to make Egypt their ally, and send thither for assistance, and all to no purpose. Kimchi's father interprets this of their uneasiness and grief, at parting with so much money to the king of Egypt, without having any advantage by it; which is to be preferred to the sense Jarchi gives, of the people crying to God, and grieving because not regarded by him. Some render the words, "they have got an inheritance", as the Vulgate Latin; the land of Canaan, but they will not be able to keep it; it shall no longer be theirs, or any advantage to them.
And they shall be ashamed of your revenues; not the prophets of the evil works of the people, but rather the people of their own evil works; and, particularly, of their schemes, counsels, and preparations, to secure themselves against the enemy; of their alliances with other nations, and of vain confidences; the success not answering to the pains and expense they had been at; but these failing and disappointing them, would fill them with shame and confusion.
Because of the fierce anger of the Lord; against which there was no standing; this being infinitely more powerful than the Chaldean army, by the means of which it came upon them, and from which no schemes and alliances could protect them.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. Description in detail of the devastation of the land (Mic 6:15).
they shall be ashamed of your—The change of persons, in passing from indirect to direct address, is frequent in the prophets. Equivalent to, "Ye shall be put to the shame of disappointment at the smallness of your produce."
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