Jeremiah 12:12
The spoilers are come on all high places through the wilderness: for the sword of the LORD shall devour from the one end of the land even to the other end of the land: no flesh shall have peace.
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(12) All high places.i.e., the bare treeless heights so often chosen as the site of an idolatrous sanctuary.

The sword of the Lord.—As in the cry of “the sword of Jehovah and of Gideon” (Judges 7:18) all man’s work in war is thought of as instrumental in working out a Will mightier than his own. The sword of the Chaldean invader was, after all, His sword. The thought was more or less the common inheritance of Israel, but it had recently received a special prominence from Deuteronomy 32:41.

No flesh shall have peace.—The context limits the prediction to the offenders of the cities of Judah. As peace was for the Israelite the sum and substance of all blessedness, so its absence was the extremest of all maledictions. “Flesh” is used, as in Genesis 6:3, for man’s nature as evil and corrupt.

Jeremiah 12:12-13. The spoilers — The Chaldean soldiers, described by the metaphor of a full wind of the high places, Jeremiah 4:11, are come upon all high places — Have made themselves masters of all the natural fastnesses and artificial fortresses in the country. The prophet, as usual, speaks of a thing as already done, which was very shortly to be done. For the sword of the Lord shall devour — Thus those people are called, whom God excited to invade Judea, as a punishment of the Jews for their sins: they were the Lord’s sword: from one end of the land even to the other — The numerous army of the invaders shall disperse themselves through the whole country, penetrating into every corner of it. No flesh shall have peace — No rank or order of men shall be exempt from the calamity, or able to enjoy any tranquillity. They — Namely, the inhabitants of the land; have sown wheat, but shall reap thorns — Have taken much pains, and been at much charge, but all shall turn to their prejudice. It is a proverbial expression, signifying men’s loss of time and labour; or rather, their receiving only vexation and injury as the fruit of those efforts from which they expected great advantage. It is here applied to the fruitless and destructive endeavours of the Jews to save themselves from the evils that threatened them, by courting the assistance and alliance of idolaters. They shall be ashamed of your revenues — Or, increase, as תבואתיכםshould rather be rendered: it alludes to the reaping of thorns, mentioned in the former part of the verse, as if he had said, You shall be ashamed of the small and inconsiderable returns you make of all your pains and labours: because of the fierce anger of the Lord — Which shall make all your designs abortive.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.Through - in. Even these remote scaurs do not escape, polluted as they had been by the nation's idolatries.

Shall devour - Or, devoureth. These hosts of war come as Yahweh's sword.

No flesh shall have peace - "Flesh" in Genesis 6:3 means mankind as sinners; here, Judah. "Peace" in Hebrew has the wider signification of "welfare, happiness." Hence, their salutation in life was, "Peace be to thee," and in death "In Peace" was engraved upon their sepulchres.

12. high places—Before, He had threatened the plains; now, the hills.

wilderness—not an uninhabited desert, but high lands of pasturage, lying between Judea and Chaldea (Jer 4:11).

The prophet (as very usually) speaketh of a thing as already done which was very shortly to be done; he saith they were come up because they should come up, and no places should be so high but they should climb them, none so strong but they should subdue them. The sword of the enemy is called

the sword of the Lord, because he ordereth and succeeds it, though the enemy manageth it; and he saith it shall be against all, of all ranks and orders, no flesh should have peace; by

no flesh he meaneth no ranks, no orders of men. The spoilers are come upon all high places through the wilderness,.... Of Judea; or which lay between Chaldea and Judea, through which the Chaldean army came; called here the "spoilers", because they spoiled and plundered all places where they came; nor could the high, strong, and fortified places withstand them, or escape their ravage and fury. De Dieu renders it, "upon all the plains in the wilderness"; where was pasture, land for cattle, as Kimchi serves; which were trodden down and spoiled by the soldiers, and made forage of.

For the sword of the Lord shall devour from the one end; of the land even the other end of the land; the sword of the Chaldeans is called the sword of the Lord, because it was drawn by his order and appointment, and was succeeded by him to do execution; and the calamity which it brought upon the land reached from one end of it to the other, so general and; extensive it was.

No flesh shall have peace; no inhabitant of Judea shall be in safety, but be exposed to the sword, or to captivity.

The spoilers are come upon all high places through the wilderness: for the sword of the LORD shall devour from the one end of the land even to the other end of the land: no flesh shall have peace.
12. bare heights] See on ch. Jeremiah 3:2.Verse 12. - Upon an high places thresh the wilderness; rather, upon all bare heights in the wilderness (see on Jeremiah 3:2). Hardly with a reference to their pollution by idolatry; the mention of "the wilderness" (or pasture-country) suggests that it is merely a feature in the impoverishment of the country (a contrast to Isaiah 49:9). The sword of the Lord shall devour; rather, the Lord hath a sword which devoureth. It is the heavenly sword (Isaiah 34:5), the symbol of Divine vengeance (see below on Jeremiah 46:5). In Jeremiah 12:5 and Jeremiah 12:6 the Lord so answers the prophet's complaint as to reprove his impatience, by intimating that he will have to endure still worse. Both parts of Jeremiah 12:5 are of the nature of proverbs. If even the race with footmen made him weary, how will he be able to compete with horses? תּחרה here and Jeremiah 22:15, a Tiph., Aramaic form for Hiph., arising by the hardening of the ה into ת-cf. Hosea 11:3, and Ew. 122, a - rival, vie with. The proverb exhibits the contrast between tasks of smaller and greater difficulty, applied to the prophet's relation to his enemies. What Jeremiah had to suffer from his countrymen at Anathoth was but a trifle compared with the malign assaults that yet awaited him in the discharge of his office. The second comparison conveys the same thought, but with a clearer intimation of the dangers the prophet will undergo. If thou puttest thy trust in a peaceful land, there alone countest on living in peace and safety, how wilt thou bear thyself in the glory of Jordan? The latter phrase does not mean the swelling of Jordan, its high flood, so as that we should with Umbr. and Ew., have here to think of the danger arising from a great and sudden inundation. It is the strip of land along the bank of the Jordan, thickly overgrown with shrubs, trees, and tall reeds, the lower valley, flooded when the river was swollen, where lions had their haunt, as in the reedy thickets of the Euphrates. Cf. v. Schubert, Resie, iii. S. 82; Robins. Bibl. Researches in Palestine, i. 535, and Phys. Geogr. of the Holy Land, p. 147. The "pride of the Jordan" is therefore mentioned in Jeremiah 49:19; Jeremiah 50:44; Zechariah 11:3, as the haunt of lions, and comes before us here as a region where men's lives were in danger. The point of the comparison is accordingly this: Thy case up till this time is, in spite of the onsets thou hast borne, to be compared to a sojourn in a peaceful land; but thou shalt come into much sorer case, where thou shalt never for a moment be sure of thy life. To illustrate this, he is told in Jeremiah 12:6 that his nearest of kin, and those dwelling under the same roof, will behave unfaithfully towards him. They will cry behind him מלא, plena voce (Jerome; cf. קראוּ מלאוּ, Jeremiah 4:5). They will cry after him, "as one cries when pursuing a thief or murderer" (Gr.). Perfectly apposite is therefore Luther's translation: They set up a hue and cry after thee. These words are not meant to be literally taken, but convey the thought, that even his nearest friends will persecute him as a malefactor. It is therefore a perverse design that seeks to find the distinction between the inhabitants of Anathoth and the brethren and housemates, in a contrast between the priests and the blood-relations. Although Anathoth was a city of the priests, the men of Anathoth need not have been all priests, since these cities were not exclusively occupied by priests. - In this reproof of the prophet there lies not merely the truth that much sorer suffering yet awaits him, but the truth besides, that the people's faithlessness and wickedness towards God and men will yet grow greater, ere the judgment of destruction fall upon Judah; for the divine long-suffering is not yet exhausted, nor has ungodliness yet fairly reached its highest point, so that the final destruction must straightway be carried out. But judgment will not tarry long. This thought is carried on in what follows.
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