King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Jeremiah 12

Jeremiah complains of the prosperity of the wicked. (1-6) The heavy judgments to come upon the nation. (7-13) Divine mercy to them, and even to the nations around. (14-17)

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Jeremiah complains of the prosperity of the wicked

1 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?

2 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.

3 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.

4 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.

5 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?

6 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.

The heavy judgments to come upon the nation

7 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.

8 Mine heritage is unto me as a lion in the forest; it crieth out against me: therefore have I hated it.

9 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.

10 Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.

11 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.

12 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.

13 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.

Divine mercy to them, and even to the nations around

14 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.

15 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.

16 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.

17 But if they will not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation, saith the LORD.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Is just. Heb. “judgment.” Sept. “I will make my apology to thee.” Jeremias had been grievously persecuted by his countrymen: he therefore mentions a subject which has been the source of much perplexity. The success of the wicked is a temptation for weak souls. See Job xxi. Ps. lxxii. 3. Hab. i. 13. C. — The prophets often speak in their names, not being ignorant or doubtful of the justice of divine providence. W.

Ver. 2. Reins. They have thy name in their mouth, but not in their heart. Is. xxix. 13. Mat. xv. 8.

Ver. 3. Gather. God orders his prophet to announce the misery of the wicked.

Ver. 4. Mourn? Is not this a proof of my providence in chastising Juda? This famine is specified C. viii. 13. and xiv. 4. C. — Last end. Two letters seem to be transposed in Heb. as the Sept. read “ways.” Kennicott. — The impious blaspheme as if all were ruled by chance. C.

Ver. 5. Horses. If thou hast been terrified at the threats of thy fellow-citizens, how wilt thou withstand those of Jerusalem? (M.) or he speaks to Juda, who would not be able to resist the Chaldees, since the Philistines, &c. had routed the Jews, though destitute of cavalry. — Jordan, or the nations of Ammon, &c. on that side. C. — Prot. “if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt,” &c. H.

Ver. 6. To thee. Edom, &c. made a league with Sedecias, which they broke. They always bore a hatred to the Jews, though sprung from the same stock. C. xxvii. 1. Lam. iv. 21. C.

Ver. 7. Soul; people, (H.) whose punishment was decreed. Say not, therefore, that the wicked always prosper.

Ver. 9. As a. Sept. “a den of the hyena:” Alex. “robbers.” Grabe inserts, “or a den around it?” H. — They have read auss, “a den,” instead of hait, “a bird.” Bochart, (iii. 11.) however, shews that the latter word denotes various wild beasts, and nearly follows the Sept. Though the inheritance be most charming, it shall not pass unpunished. C.

Ver. 10. Pastors; princes of my people, as well (H.) as of the Chaldees. C. vi. 3.

Ver. 11. Heart, to seek God and the cause of their misfortunes.

Ver. 13. Fruits. They shall not satisfy your expectations or wants.

Ver. 14. Land. Nabuchodonosor led the Ammonites, &c. into captivity, five years after the Jews. Jos. Ant. x. 11. C. — After the children are chastised, the rod is burnt. W.

Ver. 15. Land; the Jews, as well as their neighbours. C. xlix. 6. M. Is. xxiii. 15. Ezec. xvi. 55.

Ver. 16. People. After the captivity, converts were more cherished. Yet the predictions concerning the call of the Gentiles were accomplished only by the preaching of the gospel. C.