|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:1-6 When we are most in the dark concerning God's dispensations, we must keep up right thoughts of God, believing that he never did the least wrong to any of his creatures. When we find it hard to understand any of his dealings with us, or others, we must look to general truths as our first principles, and abide by them: the Lord is righteous. The God with whom we have to do, knows how our hearts are toward him. He knows both the guile of the hypocrite and the sincerity of the upright. Divine judgments would pull the wicked out of their pasture as sheep for the slaughter. This fruitful land was turned into barrenness for the wickedness of those that dwelt therein. The Lord reproved the prophet. The opposition of the men of Anathoth was not so formidable as what he must expect from the rulers of Judah. Our grief that there should be so much evil is often mixed with peevishness on account of the trials it occasions us. And in this our favoured day, and under our trifling difficulties, let us consider how we should behave, if called to sufferings like those of saints in former ages.
Verse 3. - Hast seen me, and tried; rather, seest me, and triest. Pull them out. Perhaps this is correct, and there is an allusion to the figure of the plant in Ver. 2. But the verb need mean no more than "separate" (comp. Jeremiah 6:29). Prepare them; literally, consecrate them, as victims for the sacrifice.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But thou, O Lord, knowest me,.... The Lord knew him before he was born, Jeremiah 1:5, he knew what he designed him for, and what use he would make of him; and he knew him now, and loved him, and cared for him, as his prophet; he knew his sincerity and faithfulness, and took notice of it, with what integrity he performed his office, and discharged his duty; and he knew that all his enemies said of him were scandal and reproach, lies and calumnies.
Thou hast seen me; his inside, his heart, and all in it; for all things are naked and open to the eyes of an omniscient God:
and tried mine heart towards thee; he had tried him by various afflictive providences, and his heart was found towards God; the affections and desires of his soul were towards him, and he remained faithful and upright before him, and not like the wicked before mentioned.
Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter; either out of the fold, or from a fat pasture; so fat sheep are plucked from the rest, in order to be killed: this shows that their riches, affluence, and plenty, served but to ripen them for ruin and destruction, and were like the fattening of sheep for slaughter; which the prophet, by this imprecation, suggests and foretells would be their case, as a righteous judgment upon them; see James 5:5.
Prepare them for the day of slaughter; or, "sanctify them" (w); set them apart for it: this, doubtless, refers to the time of Jerusalem's destruction by the Chaldeans.
(w) "et sanctifica eos", V. L. Montanus; "segrega", Piscator; "destina", Schmidt; "consecra", Cocceius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. knowest me—(Ps 139:1).
tried … heart—(Jer 11:20).
toward thee—rather, "with Thee," that is, entirely devoted to Thee; contrasted with the hypocrites (Jer 12:2), "near in … mouth, and far from … reins." This being so, how is it that I fare so ill, they so well?
pull … out—containing the metaphor, from a "rooted tree" (Jer 12:2).
prepare—literally, "separate," or "set apart as devoted."
day of slaughter—(Jas 5:5).
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