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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Jeremiah 12:4

 

 

How long is the land to mourn And the vegetation of the countryside to wither? For the wickedness of those who dwell in it, Animals and birds have been snatched away, Because men have said, "He will not see our latter ending."

Adam Clarke Commentary

How long shall the land mourn - These hypocrites and open sinners are a curse to the country; pull them out, Lord, that the land may be delivered of that which is the cause of its desolation.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/jeremiah-12.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The Hebrew divides this verse differently. “How long shall the land mourn, and the herb of the whole field wither? Because of the wickedness of them that dwell therein cattle and fowl have ceased to be: for he will not see, say they, our latter end.” The people mock the prophet, saying, In spite of all his threatenings we shall outlive him.

Jeremiah complained that at a time of great general misery powerful men throve upon the ruin of others: even the innocent cattle and fowl suffered with the rest. To him it seemed that all this might have been cured by some signal display of divine justice. If God, instead of dealing with men by general and slow-working laws, would tear (out some of the worst offenders from among the rest, the land might yet be saved.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/jeremiah-12.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

How long shall the land mourn,.... The land of Judea, being desolate, and bringing forth no fruit, through the long drought that had been upon it:

and the herbs of every field wither; for want of rain to come upon it:

for the wickedness of them that dwell therein? this opens the cause, the reason of this dearth; it was the wickedness of the inhabitants of it: as the whole earth was originally cursed for the sins of men, so particular countries have had the marks of God's displeasure upon them, because of the sins of those that dwell in them. This clause, according to the accents, belongs to what follows, and may be read in connection with the next clause; either thus, "the herbs" of every field wither, I say, "because of the wickedness of the inhabitants of it, which consumes the beasts and the birds"F24So Gussetius, Ebr. Comment. p. 564. ; that is, which wickedness is the cause not only of the withering of the grass and herbs, but of the consumption of birds and beasts: or else, by repeating the interrogation in the preceding clause,

how long shall the earth mourn, &c.;

how long, for the malice of them that dwell in it, are the beasts and the birds consumedF25Thus Schmidt, after Luther. ? the one having no grass to eat; and the other no fruit to pick, or seeds to live upon; the barrenness being so very great and general.

Because they said; the Jews, the inhabitants of the land, the wicked part of them, and which was the greater:

he shall not see our last end; either the Prophet Jeremiah, who had foretold it; but they did not believe him, that such would be their end, and that he should live to see it; or such was their atheism and infidelity, that they said God himself should not see it; and so the Septuagint and Arabic versions read, "God shall not see".


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/jeremiah-12.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

How long shall the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell in it? the beasts are consumed, and the birds; because they said, e He shall not see our last end.

(e) Abusing God's leniency and his promises, they flattered themselves as though God would ever be merciful and not utterly destroy them therefore they hardened themselves in sin, till at length the beasts and insensible creatures felt the punishment of their stubborn rebellion against God.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:4". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/jeremiah-12.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

land mourn — personification (Jeremiah 14:2; Jeremiah 23:10).

for the wickedness — (Psalm 107:34).

beasts — (Hosea 4:3).

He shall not see our last endJehovah knows not what is about to happen to us (Jeremiah 5:12) [Rosenmuller]. So the Septuagint. (Psalm 10:11; Ezekiel 8:12; Ezekiel 9:9). Rather, “The prophet (Jeremiah, to whom the whole context refers) shall not see our last end.” We need not trouble ourselves about his boding predictions. We shall not be destroyed as he says (Jeremiah 5:12, Jeremiah 5:13).


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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 12:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/jeremiah-12.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

He — They were bold to say, neither the prophet nor any other should see their last end.


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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 12:4". "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

Jeremiah confirms the former sentence and more strongly reproves the Jews, who still continued obstinately to despise what he had said: “What do you mean, he says? for God’s judgment appears as to brute beasts and birds; and what have birds and sheep and oxen deserved? Ye know that there is no fault in miserable animals, and yet the curse of God is through them set before you; ye see that God is offended with brute animals, but the fault is doubtless in you. And will God spare you, when he has already begun, and long ago begun to inflict punishment on innocent animals? how can he hear with you to the end, who are full of so many and the most atrocious sins?” This then is a confirmation of his former doctrine.

And hence we also learn that he did not speak for his own sake, nor express his own private feelings, but that he defended the doctrine which he had announced, that the Jews might know that God was angry with them, and that they were not to expect that he would always conceal himself, though he for a time connived at them.

How long, he says, shall the land mourn? or, How long should the land mourn? for thus it ought to be rendered; and should every herb become dry? “What!” he says, “is not God’s judgment visible in herbs and flocks and beasts and birds? Since it is so, and the whole fault is in you, shall ye be spared? Will God pour forth his whole wrath on herbs, on sheep, and on cattle? and shall you be at the same time exempted from his judgment?”

And more clearly still does he express his meaning, when he says, Because they have said, He shall not see our end Here the Prophet briefly shews that the wrath of God was seen in herbs as well as in brute animals, because he was despised by the people. Since then evil proceeded from them, should it not return on their own heads? It could not surely be otherwise. But he speaks expressly of the end; for the Jews were so stupified by their prosperity, that they thought that God was no longer adverse to them: “Ha! what have we to do with God? we are already beyond the reach of danger.” As then they thus perversely rejected God, he upbraids them with the thought, that they were to give no account to God. It is not indeed probable that they openly, or with a full mouth, as they say, vomited forth such a blasphemy; but we know that Scripture often speaks in this manner, “God shall not see;” “God will not look on Jacob.” Though the ungodly did not speak so insolently, yet they no doubt thought thati they could set up many hinderances to prevent God’s hand from reaching them. Hence Jeremiah, according to the usual manner of Scripture, justly lays this to their charge, — that they thought that they were now as it were unknown to God and beyond the reach of his care, so that he would not see their end; in other words, that they had no concern with God, because they were on all sides so well fortified, that the hand of God could not reach them. (57)

How long shall mourn the land And the grass of every field wither? For the evil of those who dwell in it, Swept away has been the beast and the bird, Though they have said, “Hewill not see our end.”

The third line connects better with what follows than with what precedes it; and it is so rendered in the Syriac. The word for “beast,” though in a plural form, is used elsewhere as a singular, Psalms 73:22; and so it is here, and so rendered by the Vulgate and the Targum. Ed.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:4". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/jeremiah-12.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Jeremiah 12:4 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.

Ver. 4. How long shall the land mourn?] For the sake of those wicked wretches aforementioned.

The beasts are consumed, and the birds.] See Jeremiah 4:25-26.

Because they said, He shall not see our last end.] God shall not, and so they deny his providence and prescience; or the prophet shall not, though now he thunder out our punishment with so great vehemence. Compare Jeremiah 11:23.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/jeremiah-12.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Jeremiah 12:4. Because they said, &c— And yet they said, &c. He will not regard our ways; Houbigant; who follows the LXX. According to our interpretation the meaning is, that those impious people said that God had no regard for human affairs. The word אחרית acharith, rendered last end, signifies, as in Proverbs 23:18, reward or recompence.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/jeremiah-12.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The prophet seems to give a reason of his former passion and prayer against those wicked men he before reflected on, because they were the cause of the nation’s ruin, which is also asserted by the psalmist, Psalms 107:34. A land is said to mourn, metaphorically, when it is brought to an ill complexion, and looketh unpleasantly, the grass and green herbs in it being destroyed by enemies, or drought, or vermin. Nay, the effects of their wicked courses reached to the very beasts and birds, because they were so presumptuous as to conclude that they should do well enough, neither the prophet nor any other should see their last end.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:4". 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

4. How long shall the land mourn — In the second verse the prophet intimates his temptation growing out of the prosperity of the wicked. And yet here he speaks of the whole land as if lying under the shadow of a universal curse. But there is here no incongruity. An individual may be wicked and prosperous, but when wickedness and corruption prevail there is general misery. In the aggregate, the amount of practical righteousness in any community will accurately measure the amount of well-being in the same community.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/jeremiah-12.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The prophet continued to ask the Lord how long the promised judgment on the land would last. He knew it would come because of the people"s rebellious and defiant attitude, even saying that they could hide their sins from the Lord.


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/jeremiah-12.html. 2012.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Jeremiah 12:4. How long shall the land mourn? — As it doth under thy judgments inflicted upon it; for the wickedness of them that dwell therein — Lord, shall they themselves prosper, who ruin all about them? The wickedness of the people is here represented as having brought a great calamity upon the land, under which all living creatures, even the beasts of the earth, and the fowls of heaven, as well as the human race, were now suffering grievously. This calamity was a long drought, or want of rain, which happened, it seems, in the latter end of Josiah’s, and the beginning of Jehoiakim’s reign. It is mentioned Jeremiah 3:3; and Jeremiah 8:13; and Jeremiah 9:10; Jeremiah 9:12; and more fully afterward, chap. 14. Some of its effects are here noticed; namely, that the herbs of every field were withered, and the beasts and birds consumed. If they would have been brought to repentance by this lesser judgment, the greater would have been prevented. Because they — The wicked men; said, He shall not see our last end — Namely, Jeremiah, whom these abandoned Jews threatened to kill, as if they were not willing he should see the fulfilling of his prophecies concerning the calamities to come on Judea. Not that they believed what he predicted would really come to pass, but they spake thus in a sarcastical manner, as much as to say, Be it so, that the calamities which thou denouncest against us shall come upon us, yet we will take care that thou shalt not have the pleasure of seeing them fulfilled upon us.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/jeremiah-12.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Mourn? Is not this a proof of my providence in chastising Juda? This famine is specified [in] chap. viii. 13., and xiv. 4. (Calmet) --- Last end. Two letters seem to be transposed in Hebrew, as the Septuagint read "ways." (Kennicott) --- The impious blaspheme as if all were ruled by chance. (Calmet)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/jeremiah-12.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

How long . . . ? Figure of speech Erotesis.

wickedness = lawlessness. Hebrew. rasha". App-44.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:4". "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

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.

How long shall the land mourn - personification (Jeremiah 14:2; Jeremiah 23:10).

For the wickedness - (Psalms 107:34, "A fruitful land (He turneth) into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein").

Beasts - (Hosea 4:3).

He shall not see our last end - Yahweh knows not what is about to happen to us (Jeremiah 5:12). (Rosenmuller.) So Septuagint (Psalms 10:11; Ezekiel 8:12; Ezekiel 9:9). Rather, 'The prophet (Jeremiah, to whom the whole context refers) shall not see our last end.' We need not trouble ourselves about his boding predictions. We shall not be destroyed as he says (Jeremiah 5:12-13).


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 12:4". "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

(4) How long shall the land mourn . . .—The Hebrew punctuation gives a different division, How long shall the land mourn, and the herbs of the whole field (i.e., all the open country) wither? For the wickedness of them that dwell therein, cattle and birds perish, for, say they, he (i.e., the prophet) will not see our latter end (i.e., we shall outlive him, though he prophesies our destruction). A slightly different reading, however, adopted by the LXX. and by some modern scholars, would give for the last clause, “He (God) seeth not our ways,” i.e., will leave us unpunished. The opening words point to a time of distress, probably of drought and famine. But out of this wretchedness, the men who were Jeremiah’s enemies—the forestallers, and monopolists, and usurers of the time—continued to enrich themselves, and scornfully defied all his warnings.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/jeremiah-12.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
long
9:10; 14:2; 23:10
the herbs
Psalms 107:34; Joel 1:10-17
the beasts
4:25; 7:20; Hosea 4:3; Habakkuk 3:17; Romans 8:22
He
5:13,31; Psalms 50:21; Ezekiel 7:2-13

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/jeremiah-12.html.

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