Jeremiah 12:7
I have forsaken my house, I have left my heritage; I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies.
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(7) I have forsaken mine house.—The speaker is clearly Jehovah, but the connection with what precedes is not clear. Possibly we have, in this chapter, what in the writings of a poet would be called fragmentary pieces, written at intervals, and representing different phases of thought, and afterwards arranged without the devices of headings and titles and spaces with which modern bookmaking has made us familiar. So far as a sequence of thought is traceable, it is this, “Thou complainest of thine own sufferings, but there are worse things yet in store for thee; and what after all are thine, as compared with those that I, Jehovah, have brought upon mine heritage, dear as it is to me?”

I have left.—Better, I have cast away.

Into the hand.—Literally, the palm, as given over utterly, unable to resist, and not needing the “graspof the whole hand.

Jeremiah 12:7. I have forsaken my house — My temple, where I had placed my name. I have already withdrawn my favourable regard and presence from it, and shall withhold those manifestations of my power and goodness, which I have been wont to make to the people who come thither to worship me, and I will shortly give it up to utter desolation. I have left my heritage — The whole body of my people, with respect to my special providence over them and care of them, which have been such that, in comparison with them, I might seem to neglect all other countries. I have given the dearly beloved of my soul, &c. — That is, that nation, which was once my dearly beloved, precious in my sight, and honourable above any people; into the hands of her enemies — I have determined to deliver her into their power, and they shall tyrannise over, oppress, and enslave her at their pleasure. God terms the Jewish nation his dearly beloved here, to aggravate their sin in returning him hatred for his love, and their folly and misery in throwing themselves out of the favour of one who had such a kindness for them, and was mighty to protect and save them.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.Yahweh shows that the downfall of the nation was occasioned by no want of love on His part, but by the nation's conduct.

Left - More correctly, cast away.

7. I have forsaken—Jehovah will forsake His temple and the people peculiarly His. The mention of God's close tie to them, as heretofore His, aggravates their ingratitude, and shows that their past spiritual privileges will not prevent God from punishing them.

beloved of my soul—image from a wife (Jer 11:15; Isa 54:5).

God by his

house here understandeth the temple, which God is said here to have forsaken with respect to his gracious manifestations in it to the people that came thither to worship him. By his

heritage he means the whole body of the Israelites, called God’s heritage not in this chapter only, but Jeremiah 2:7 Joel 2:17 Micah 7:14: whom God threateneth to leave with respect to his special providence, by which he had taken care of them; upon which account Canaan is called the land which God cared for, Deu 11:12; that is, so cared for, as in comparison with them he might seem to neglect all other countries.

I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hands of her enemies; that is, he had given that nation which was once his dearly beloved into the hands or power of their enemies. I have forsaken my house,.... The temple, where the Lord took up his residence, and vouchsafed his presence to his people; this was fulfilled in the first temple, when it was destroyed by the Chaldeans; and more fully in the second, when Christ took his leave of it, Matthew 23:38 and when that voice was heard in it, a little before the destruction of Jerusalem, as Josephus (a) relates,

"let us go hence.''

So the Targum,

"I have forsaken the house of my sanctuary.''

I have left mine heritage: the people whom he had chosen for his inheritance, whom he prized and valued, took care of, and protected as such; see Deuteronomy 32:9.

I have given the dearly beloved of my soul; whom he heartily loved and delighted in, and who were as dear to him as the apple of his eye:

into the hands of her enemies; the Chaldeans. This prophecy represents the thing as if it was already done, because of the certainty of it, and to awaken the Jews out of their lethargy and stupidity; and by the characters which the Lord gives of them it appears what ingratitude they had been guilty of, and that their ruin was owing to themselves and their sins.

(a) De Bello Jud. l. 6. c. 5. sect. 3.

I have forsaken {g} my house, I have left my heritage; I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies.

(g) God wills the prophet to denounce his judgments against Jerusalem, even though they will both by threatenings and flatteries labour to silence him.

7. mine house] shewn by the parallelism of the clauses to mean, not the Temple, but the nation itself; so in Hosea 8:1; Hosea 9:15.

Ch. Jeremiah 12:7-17. Devastation of Judah to be wrought by hostile neighbours, who shall be punished by exile unless they submit to the God of Israel

Jehovah in pathetic language deplores the necessity of permitting the devastation of His land.

This section has no connexion with the preceding or subsequent context. It may safely be dated late in Jehoiakim’s reign, as relating to the attack upon Judah on the part of Chaldaeans, Syrians, Moabites, and Ammonites (see 2 Kings 24:1 f.), under the figure of birds of prey attacking one whose plumage attracts their attention as unusual. Du. places Jeremiah 12:14-17 in the 2nd cent. b.c. He considers “the evil neighbours” of Jeremiah 12:14 to mean the persons of various nationalities who were living in the land in the time of John Hyrcanus and his son. He compares Zechariah 14:16 ff.; Isaiah 19:16 ff. as having a similar reference. But, as Pe. says, we do not in those passages, as here, read of exile followed by restoration, nor would a writer of the 2nd cent. b.c. have put into the mouth of Jeremiah a prediction which in fact was not realised.

The section may be subdivided thus.

(i) Jeremiah 12:7-13. Jehovah’s heritage has turned as a savage beast against Him. Therefore He has given her over to be the prey of neighbouring nations. She is like a speckled bird attacked by her own kind. The country is laid waste, because its inhabitants took no serious thought. The culture of the land brings no produce, because of the wrath of Jehovah.

(ii) Jeremiah 12:14-17. Judah’s foes shall themselves be driven into exile—permanent, if they refuse to hear Jehovah; but, if they turn to Him, they shall be restored to their lands.Verses 7-17. - A separate prophecy. The key to it is in 2 Kings 24:1, 2, where it is related that, after Jehoiakim's rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar, "Jehovah sent against him bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it." The prophecy falls into two strophes or sections, Vers. 7-13 and Vers. 14-17. In the first we have a complaint of the desolation produced by the guerilla warfare; in the second, a prediction of the captivity of the hostile peoples, not, however, without a prospect of their return home and conversion to Jehovah. It is evident enough that this passage stands in no connection with what precedes. The whole tone is that of a description of present scenes and not of the future. Sometimes, no doubt, a prophet, in the confidence of faith, represents the future as though it were already past; but there is always something in the context to determine the reference and prevent ambiguity. Here, however, there is nothing to indicate that the description relates to the future; and it is followed by a prediction which presupposes that the preceding passage refers to the literal past. Verse 7. - I have forsaken mine house. The "house" is here not the temple, but the people of Israel, as the parallel clause shows (see Hosea 8:1, and setup. Hebrews 3:6; 1 Timothy 3:15). Jehovah, not the prophet, is evidently the speaker. I have left; rather, I have east away. Into the hand of her enemies. The Hebrew is more expressive: "Into the palm of the hand." Bonomi ('Nineveh and her Palaces,' p. 191) has an engraving from the monuments of guests at a banquet, holding their drinking-vessels in the deeply hollowed palm of their hand. So here the people of Israel, in her weak, fainting state, needs only to be held in the quiet pressure of the palm of the hand. The remark and the illustration are due to Dr. Payne Smith. "Righteous art Thou, Jahveh, if I contend with Thee; yet will I plead with Thee in words. Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper, are all secure that deal faithlessly? Jeremiah 12:2. Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root; grow, yea, bring forth fruit. Near art Thou in their mouth, yet far from their reins. Jeremiah 12:3. But Thou, Jahveh, knowest me, seest me, and triest mine heart toward Thee. Tear them away like sheep to the slaughter, and devote them for a day of slaughter. Jeremiah 12:4. How long is the earth to mourn and the herb of the field to wither? For the wickedness of them that dwell therein, gone are cattle and fowl; for they say: He sees not our end. Jeremiah 12:5. If with the footmen thou didst run and they wearied thee, how couldst thou contend with the horses? and if thou trustest in the land of peace, how wilt thou do in the glory of Jordan? Jeremiah 12:6. For even thy brethren and they father's house, even they are faithless towards thee, yea, they call after thee with full voice. Believe them not, though they speak friendly to thee."

The prophet's complaint begins by acknowledging: Thou art righteous, Lord, if I would dispute with Thee, i.e., would accuse Thee of injustice. I could convict Thee of no wrong; Thou wouldst appear righteous and prove Thyself in the right. Psalm 51:6; Job 9:2. With אך comes in a limitation: only he will speak pleas of right, maintain a suit with Jahveh, will set before Him something that seems incompatible with God's justice, namely the question: Why the way of the wicked prospers, why they that act faithlessly are in ease and comfort? On this cf. Job 21:7., where Job sets forth at length the contradiction between the prosperity of the wicked and the justice of God's providence. The way of the wicked is the course of their life, their conduct. God has planted them, i.e., has placed them in their circumstances of life; like a tree they have struck root into the ground; they go on, i.e., grow, and bear fruit, i.e., their undertakings succeed, although they have God in their mouth only, not in their heart.

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