XII The prophet complains of the prosperity of the wicked: by faith sees their ruin, ver. 1-4. God admonishes him of his brethren's treachery against him, and laments his heritage, ver. 5- 13. A return from captivity promised to the penitent, ver. 14-17.
Verse 1. Talk with thee - Not by way of accusing thee, but for my own satisfaction concerning thy judicial dispensations in the government of the world. Wherefore - I know thy ways are just and righteous, but they are dark; I cannot understand why thou doest this.
Verse 2. Far - Thou art far from their inward parts, they neither fear thee, nor love thee.
Verse 4. He - They were bold to say, neither the prophet nor any other should see their last end.
Verse 5. If - If thou art not able to encounter lesser dangers, how wilt thou be able to overcome greater? I have greater dangers for thee to encounter than those at Anathoth; if thou art so disturbed with them, how wilt thou be able to grapple with those at Jerusalem. Jordan - Anathoth seems to be understood by the land of thy peace, that is, the land of thy friends wherein thou hadst a confidence: if thy enemies there tire thee, what wilt thou do in the swellings of Jordan? In a place in which thou art like to meet with greater troubles, like the swelling of Jordan (which in harvest used to overflow its banks).
Verse 6. For even - The men of Anathoth, thine own town and country, and those of thy own family have conspired evil against thee secretly. A multitude - They have exposed thee to the rage of a multitude. Though - Tho' therefore they give thee fair words, yet repose no confidence in them.
Verse 7. My house - God by his house here understands the temple. Heritage - The wholebody of the Israelites, whom God threatens to leave with respect to his special providence.
Verse 8. As a lion - Those that were my sheep, are become like lions.
Verse 9. The birds round about - It is usual for other birds to flock about a strange coloured bird, such as they have not been used to see.
Verse 10. A wilderness - They have caused God to turn the country which he had chosen for his portion, into a wilderness.
Verse 11. They - Hebrew. He hath made it desolate: but it cannot be meant of God, for it is God that speaketh, and God is he mentioned in the next words; it must therefore either be understood of Nebuchadnezzar, the instrumental cause; or (one number being put for another) of the people or the rulers as the meritorious cause, and in that rueful state into which their sins had brought it, it cried onto God. Because - And one great cause of this sore judgment was, the peoples not seriously considering what God had done or was doing against it.
Verse 12. Are come - The prophet, as usual, speaks of a thing as already done, which was very shortly to be done. No flesh - No rank or order of men.
Verse 13. Shall not profit - All the works of their hands, all their counsels and deliberations should be of no profit unto them. Because - The fierce anger of God shall be so shewed, that the returns of their labours or estates, the profits of their trades, shall be so small, that they shall be ashamed of them.
Verse 14. Behold - I will bring the sword upon them also, and they shall be led into captivity; and tho' they may have made inroads upon my people, and carried away some of them, yet I will fetch them out of their captivity.
Verse 16. If - If they will leave their idolatries, and learn to worship me, and swear by my name the Lord liveth, that is, pay that homage which they owe to the Divine being to me, the living and true God. Then - They shall have a portion among my people, which was eminently fulfilled in the conversion of the Gentiles.