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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Jeremiah 12:13

 

 

"They have sown wheat and have reaped thorns, They have strained themselves to no profit. But be ashamed of your harvest Because of the fierce anger of the LORD."

Adam Clarke Commentary

They have sown wheat, but shall reap thorns - All their projects shall fail: none of their enterprises shall succeed. They are enemies to God, and therefore cannot have his blessing.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:13". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/jeremiah-12.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Shall reap … shall not profit - Rather, have reaped … have profited nothing. The force of the proverb is that all their labors had ended only in disappointment.

And they shall be ashamed of your revenues - Or, yea, be ashamed of your produce - the produce of the fields.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:13". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/jeremiah-12.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

They have sown wheat, but shall reap thorns,.... Which may be understood literally, the land of Judea being cursed for their sins, and become barren and unfruitful, as the earth originally was for the sin of the first man, Genesis 3:19, or rather figuratively, which some interpret of the prophets as Kimchi, sowing the good seed of the word among the Jews; but it did not take place in them, and bring forth fruit; instead thereof thorns sprung up, or evil works were done by them, comparable thereunto; but it seems better to understand it of the people; not, as Jarchi, of their prayers, which were not accepted, because unattended with repentance and good works; but of their schemes, which they thought were prudently laid, in forming an alliance with Egypt, and sending thither for help against the Chaldeans, but all in vain; these proved in the issue like thorns, grievous and vexatious to them. The Septuagint version reads imperatively, "sow ye": and Jarchi makes mention of a copy, in which the word was pointed as to be so read, as in Hosea 10:12, and may be understood ironically. The Targum is,

"be ye not like those who sow wheat in untilled land, and can gather nothing but thorns.'

They have put themselves to pain, but shall not profit; were at a great deal of pains and trouble to make Egypt their ally, and send thither for assistance, and all to no purpose. Kimchi's father interprets this of their uneasiness and grief, at parting with so much money to the king of Egypt, without having any advantage by it; which is to be preferred to the sense Jarchi gives, of the people crying to God, and grieving because not regarded by him. Some render the words, "they have got an inheritance", as the Vulgate Latin; the land of Canaan, but they will not be able to keep it; it shall no longer be theirs, or any advantage to them.

And they shall be ashamed of your revenues; not the prophets of the evil works of the people, but rather the people of their own evil works; and, particularly, of their schemes, counsels, and preparations, to secure themselves against the enemy; of their alliances with other nations, and of vain confidences; the success not answering to the pains and expense they had been at; but these failing and disappointing them, would fill them with shame and confusion.

Because of the fierce anger of the Lord; against which there was no standing; this being infinitely more powerful than the Chaldean army, by the means of which it came upon them, and from which no schemes and alliances could protect them.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/jeremiah-12.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

m They have sown wheat, but shall reap thorns: they n have put themselves to pain, [but] shall not profit: and they shall be ashamed of o your revenues because of the fierce anger of the LORD.

(m) That is, the prophets.

(n) They lamented the sins of the people.

(o) For instead of amendment, you grew worse and worse, as God's plagues testified.


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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:13". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/jeremiah-12.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Description in detail of the devastation of the land (Micah 6:15).

they shall be ashamed of your — The change of persons, in passing from indirect to direct address, is frequent in the prophets. Equivalent to, “Ye shall be put to the shame of disappointment at the smallness of your produce.”


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/jeremiah-12.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

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.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:13". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/jeremiah-12.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Most interpreters understand this of the prophets, that they had been disappointed, after having faithfully cultivated the field of God and sown good seed, that thorns only had sprung up, and briars only had grown: but this is a strained exposition. The Prophet, I doubt not, sets forth the curse of God, which the people were soon to experience. I indeed readily admit, that when he speaks of sowing and reaping, the expression is metaphorical; but I have no doubt but that the Jews are said to sow in seeking aids here and there, in strengthening themselves by confederacies, and in devising means to repel dangers.

Hence he says, by way of concession, that they had sown wheat; for they had recourse to false counsels: but he speaks according to what they themselves thought; for they imagined that they were safe when they found that the Egyptians were ready to help them; and when they procured assistance from various quarters, they considered that they were acting wisely, and. thus they flattered themselves with a prosperous issue. The Prophet now laughs to scorn this vain confidence: but yet in words he allows that they were going on successfully: as a husbandman, while sowing, expects that he will have a good harvest, so also the Jews thought that they would have good fruit after having thus sown. But the Prophet says that they would be disappointed; for instead of wheat briars and thorns would grow, so that the issue would not answer their expectations. Thus the words of the Prophet would well harmonize: but to explain the passage of the prophets would by no means be suitable, as it will hereafter appear more clearly.

He then says that they had sown wheat (he uses the plural number) and reaped thorns He intimates that they hoped for a good harvest, for they sowed wheat, as they thought; that is, they wisely, or rather astutely, provided for themselves, as they left undone nothing that was necessary for their safety; but they reaped, or shall reap thorns; for he speaks of what was future. He means that God would frustrate their expectation; for their sowing, from which they promised themselves so much, would prove fruitless.

He then adds, that they had obtained an inheritance, or had endured grief, but were not enriched Some render the first clause a little more harshly, that “theywere riJeremiah” But I readily excuse its harshness, if it suits the place: then the meaning would be, — that they tormented themselves with continual labors, and thus became rich; for we know that they who are extremely anxious about anything wear out themselves, and become in a manner their own executioners; and this would not be unsuitable to this place. However, a different view may be taken, — that the Prophet uses the expression, that they had obtained an heritage, not in its ordinary sense, as signifying, not that God gave them the land of Canaan as their hereditary possession, or that they had accumulated wealth, but that they had thus increased in their own esteem, because they had the Egyptians as their friends, and looked for help to the neighboring nations, and because they thought that they could by various stratagems prevent the Chaldeans from coming nigh them. Their heritage then was, that they were able to collect from various quarters such assistance as would render them safe, and repel all dangers. God then allows that they had obtained an heritage; but what then, he says? All this will not avail them, nor shall they be thereby enriched. He, in short, intimates that they would be thus deceived by trusting in helps so laboriously and sedulously acquired; for the aids in which they proudly trusted would vanish away, as well as all their counsels and designs; in a word, the vain attempts by which they thought to secure everything for themselves are laughed to scorn.

He adds, for the same purpose, that they were confounded on account of their produce They who understand this of the prophets read thus, “they were ashamed,” that is, “of their own labors;” but this is wholly foreign to the subject. He then continues in the same strain, — that the Jews were ashamed when they found the issue contrary to what they expected. He mentions “produce:” the noun conms from בא ba, which means to come or to enter; it has also other meanings. But the Hebrews call it produce, because it comes every year. He says then, that they were ashamed of their produce, because they received no fruit such as they expected. Thus Jeremiah carries on the same metaphor: they had sown, but thorns were found instead of wheat; they also obtained for themselves an heritage, or they wearied themselves with labor, but it was useless: they further promised to themselves a great and rich produce, but it came to nothing. We now then understand the meaning of the words.

But we must at the same time consider what the Prophet had in view. Doubtless he intended to shake off from the Jews that arrogance by which they blinded themselves, as though he had said, — “I see that I effect but little; for the Egyptians, who are to come to your aid, are as yet strong; ye think that they are prepared to oppose the Assyrians and Chaldeans, and ye have also other confederacies As then ye are thus well fortified, ye consider yourselves to be cut of the reach of danger; but the Lord will make you ashamed of this your presumption, for all your produce or provision will come to nothing.” The produce, we know, was the successful issue with which they flattered themselves, so that they thought that nothing would do them harm. This then is the meaning of the Prophet. (66)

He adds, Through the burning of the wrath of Jehovah They could not have been otherwise awakened, except they were made to think that God was angry with them. The Prophet then says, though the whole world might laugh him to scorn, that nothing would avail them, inasmuch as God fought against them. We must at the same time notice the change of person, They have been ashamed of your produce Some have on this account applied the verb, בשו, beshu, “they have been ashamed,” to the prophets; but it is an anomaly often found, and it is in this place very emphatical. Had he said, in the third person, “They were ashamed of their fruits,” it would have been less calculated to rouse their minds; but having previously spoken in disdain of the Jews, as he knew them to be deaf, he now, as he proceeds, turns his discourse to them, and says that they were ashamed; yes, he says, “Ye were ashamed of your fruits.” It is therefore a kind of modification; but it is only used that the Prophet might more sharply touch their feelings; for they had need of this kind of speaking, as a plain discourse would have produced no effect. It follows —

The meaning of being “wearied,” or sick with labor, is given only by the Syriac to the verb נחלו; all the other versions, as well as the Targum, give it the idea of “inheriting,” or possessing as an heritage. So Blayney renders it, “They have possessed,” etc. The verse then is as follows, —

13.They have sown wheats, but thorns have they reaped; They have got an heritage, but have not succeeded: Yea, ashamed have you been of your produce, Through the burnlung of the wrath of Jehovah.

A conversive vau before “succeeded” is supplied by many MSS., and by the Vulgate and Syriac. The way in which Calvin accounts for the change of person in the third line is ingenious; but an instance of what he says can hardly be found in one and the same clause. All the versions and the Targum regard the verb as ותבשו, the tau only being supplied.

Venema takes the verb to be an imperative in the second person plural, and gives this version, —

Therefore be ye ashamed of your fruits, By reason of the heat of the wrath of Jehovah.

But what the early versions warrant is more consistent with the context, and gives a better meaning. — Ed.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:13". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/jeremiah-12.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Jeremiah 12:13 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.

Ver. 13. They have sown wheat.] The prophets have, say some, but to no profit.

They shall put themselves to pain.] Or, They are sick, sc., for the affliction of Joseph. {as Amos 6:6} {See Trapp on "Amos 6:6"} Others (a) interpret it of the Jews, who sought to help themselves by this means and that, but lost their labours and their hopes together.

Because of the fierce anger of the Lord.] Quo laeso nihil est illaesum, tutum, et fidum hominibus.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/jeremiah-12.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

They have sown wheat, but shall reap thorns: if these words be understood literally, they only signify that God would blast the labours of the husbandman, and curse them in the field. The earth’s bringing forth thorns and thistles was part of the curse for the first transgression of man, Genesis 3:18. God’s blasting the labours of husbandmen is often threatened as a punishment of sin. See Leviticus 26:16 Deuteronomy 28:38. If it be taken metaphorically, it is expounded by the next words.

They have put themselves to pain, but shall not profit; that they should labour in vain, all the works of their hands, all their counsels and deliberations, should be of no profit or avail unto them.

They shall be ashamed of your revenues because of the fierce anger of the Lord; the fierce anger of God against them shall be so showed, that the returns of their labours or estates, the profits of their trades, &c., shall be so small that they shall be ashamed of them.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:13". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/jeremiah-12.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

13. Sown wheat… reap thorns — Apparently an aphorism for coming to the opposite of what is aimed at.

Revenues — Produce, the old meaning of this word.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:13". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/jeremiah-12.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Because of the coming invasion, the harvest that the Judahites would sow would turn out to be nothing but "thorns" (cf. Leviticus 26:16; Deuteronomy 28:38; Hosea 8:7; Micah 6:15). All their labors to bring something profitable to fruition would come to nothing, because their angry Lord would bring judgment on them.


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:13". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/jeremiah-12.html. 2012.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Fruits. They shall not satisfy your expectations or wants.


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:13". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/jeremiah-12.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

but. Some codices, with three early printed editions, Syriac, and Vulgate, read "but" in the text.

revenues = produce.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:13". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/jeremiah-12.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

They have sown wheat, but shall reap thorns - description in detail of the devastation of the land (Micah 6:15).

They shall be ashamed of your revenues. The change of persons, in passing from indirect to direct address is frequent in the prophets. Equivalent to, 'Ye shall be put to the shame of disappointment at the smallness of your produce.'


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/jeremiah-12.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(13) But shall reap thorns.—Better, have reaped thorns; and so in the next clause they have profited nothing. This which is truer to the Hebrew is also truer to the Prophet’s meaning. The sentence of failure is already written on everything. The best plans are marred, the “wheat” turned to “thorns.” The words are obviously of the nature of a proverbial saying, of the same type as that of Haggai 1:6.

They shall be ashamed.—The word is imperative, be ashamed.

Revenues.—The word had not acquired, at the time of the translation of 1611, the exclusively financial sense which now attaches to it, and was used as equivalent to increase or “produce” generally. By some commentators the words are referred to the conquerors, who are to be ashamed of their scanty spoil; by others to the conquered, who are to find all their hopes of increase disappointed. The latter seems preferable.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:13". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/jeremiah-12.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
sown
Leviticus 26:16; Deuteronomy 28:38; Micah 6:15; Haggai 1:6; 2:16,17
put
3:23-25; Isaiah 30:1-6; 31:1-3; 55:2; Habakkuk 2:13; Romans 6:21
they
or, ye.

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/jeremiah-12.html.

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