William Kelly Major Works Commentary
Righteous art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?Jeremiah Chapter 12
This is pursued in the first four verses of Jeremiah 12, where the prophet complains to Jehovah of the prosperity of the wicked in the land - so much the more grievous a stumbling-block because He was as near in their mouth as far from their reins.
This is answered in verses 5-13, where Jehovah prepares the tried spirit of His servant for greater ills, and declares He has forsaken His house and heritage, giving the love of His soul (as He calls His people Israel) into the enemies' hands. Desolation therefore was coming, and the sword of Jehovah.
Nevertheless even here Jehovah warns all His evil neighbours who sought to profit by the disasters of the Jews. "Behold, I will pluck them out of their land, and pluck out the house of Judah from among them. And it shall come to pass, after that I have plucked them out I will return, and have compassion on them, and will bring them again, every man to his heritage, and every man to his land. And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, The Lord liveth, as they taught my people to swear by Baal; then shall they be built up in the midst of my people. But if they will not obey, 1 will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation, saith the Lord." (Ver. 14-17.)
Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins.
But thou, O LORD, knowest me: thou hast seen me, and tried mine heart toward thee: pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and prepare them for the day of slaughter.
How long shall the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein? the beasts are consumed, and the birds; because they said, He shall not see our last end.
If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?
For even thy brethren, and the house of thy father, even they have dealt treacherously with thee; yea, they have called a multitude after thee: believe them not, though they speak fair words unto thee.
I have forsaken mine house, I have left mine heritage; I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies.
Mine heritage is unto me as a lion in the forest; it crieth out against me: therefore have I hated it.
Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her; come ye, assemble all the beasts of the field, come to devour.
Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.
They have made it desolate, and being desolate it mourneth unto me; the whole land is made desolate, because no man layeth it to heart.
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.
They have sown wheat, but shall reap thorns: they have put themselves to pain, but shall not profit: and they shall be ashamed of your revenues because of the fierce anger of the LORD.
Thus saith the LORD against all mine evil neighbours, that touch the inheritance which I have caused my people Israel to inherit; Behold, I will pluck them out of their land, and pluck out the house of Judah from among them.
And it shall come to pass, after that I have plucked them out I will return, and have compassion on them, and will bring them again, every man to his heritage, and every man to his land.
And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, The LORD liveth; as they taught my people to swear by Baal; then shall they be built in the midst of my people.
But if they will not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation, saith the LORD.