Jeremiah 12:8
My heritage is to me as a lion in the forest; it cries out against me: therefore have I hated it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) As a lion in the forest.i.e., fierce, wild, untamed, uttering its sharp yells of passion. That mood was utterly unlovable, and therefore, speaking after the manner of men, the love which Jehovah had once felt for it was turned to hatred.

Jeremiah 12:8-9. My heritage is unto me as a lion in the forest — Those that were my lambs and sheep, following me, their chief shepherd, and the guidance of those prophets and pastors whom I set over them, are become like lions in the forest roaring against me, and rending and tearing the prophets whom I send unto them, and who speak to them in my name. It — My heritage; crieth out against me — They blaspheme my name, oppose my authority, and bid defiance to my justice. Therefore have I hated it — My disposition and conduct are changed toward them, and my heart is alienated from them, because their temper and behaviour are altered, and their hearts and ways alienated from me. My heritage is unto me as a speckled bird — Colorata, id est, fœdata sanguine, died or sprinkled with the blood of her prey. So R. Salomon interprets the words עישׂ צבוע, here used. Or, as some read it, Avis digitata, a bird with talons: so the margin; that is, a ravenous bird, uncis unguibus in prædam volans, says Buxtorf, flying on its prey with crooked claws. The meaning is, My people are become wild and savage, and, like a speckled, rapacious bird, are only fit for prey and deeds of violence. And as all the rest of the birds flock about such a one, and are ready to pull it in pieces; so have I stirred up all the enemies of my people to annoy them on every side; compared, in the next clause, to so many beasts of prey. See Jeremiah 2:15; Isaiah 56:9.12:7-13 God's people had been the dearly-beloved of his soul, precious in his sight, but they acted so, that he gave them up to their enemies. Many professing churches become like speckled birds, presenting a mixture of religion and the world, with its vain fashions, pursuits, and pollutions. God's people are as men wondered at, as a speckled bird; but this people had by their own folly made themselves so; and the beasts and birds are called to prey upon them. The whole land would be made desolate. But until the judgments were actually inflicted, none of the people would lay the warning to heart. When God's hand is lifted up, and men will not see, they shall be made to feel. Silver and gold shall not profit in the day of the Lord's anger. And the efforts of sinners to escape misery, without repentance and works answerable thereto, will end in confusion.Judah has not merely refused obedience, but become intractable and fierce, like an untamed lion. It has roared against God with open blasphemy. As His favor is life, so is His hatred death, i. e., Jerusalem's punishment shall be as if inflicted by one that hated her.8. is unto me—is become unto Me: behaves towards Me as a lion which roars against a man, so that he withdraws from the place where he hears it: so I withdrew from My people, once beloved, but now an object of abhorrence because of their rebellious cries against Me. That is, the reason why my heart is alienated from them, is because they are altered; those that were as my sheep, following me their chief Shepherd, and the guidance of those prophets and pastors which I set over them, are become like lions in the forest roaring against me, and rending and tearing the prophets which I sent unto them. Mine heritage is unto me as a lion in the forest,.... Which roars, and terrifies passengers from going that way; and which rends and tears in pieces all it meets with. This expresses the clamours of these people against God and his providences, and their rage, fierceness, and cruelty, against his prophets, sent in his name.

It crieth out against me; this is to be understood not of the cry of the oppressed through violence, for this is a cry to God, and not against him; or of idolaters to idols, as Baal's prophets to him, in the time of their service; which senses are mentioned by Kimchi: but either of their charging God with inequality and injustice, in the ways of his providence; or their blaspheming his name, and speaking ill of his ministry

Therefore have I hated it; which he showed by leaving his house, forsaking his heritage, and delivering his people into the hands of their enemies; the reason of which was not in himself, but them; the fault was not his, but theirs; this is all to be understood of the change in the dispensation of the divine Providence towards them; otherwise the love of God to his chosen in Christ is unchangeable; it is never turned into hatred, but remains invariably the same, as it did to those, among these people; who belonged to the election of grace; for, as the love before expressed to this people in general only respects external favours and privileges, which they were indulged with above all people; so this hatred of them signifies the taking away of such favours, and leaving them to become a prey to their enemies.

My heritage is to me as a {h} lion in the forest; it crieth out against me: therefore have I hated it.

(h) Ever ranting and raging against me and my prophets.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. as a lion] The open hostility of the people towards the Lord is likened by Him to the angry roar and fierce attack of a lion ranging the forest. He therefore withdraws and leaves it as some savage beast to the solitude that it has made for itself.Verse 8. - The reason why Jehovah has given up his people. Israel (or, more strictly, Judah) has proceeded to open hostility against his God. He is unto me - or rather, has become unto me - as a lion in the forest; a familiar circumstance (comp. on Ver. 5 and Jeremiah 4:7). Therefore have I hated it. "To hate" is a strong expression for the withdrawal of love, shown by the giving up of Israel into the power of his enemies, as Malachi 1:3 (Keil). "Righteous art Thou, Jahveh, if I contend with Thee; yet will I plead with Thee in words. Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper, are all secure that deal faithlessly? Jeremiah 12:2. Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root; grow, yea, bring forth fruit. Near art Thou in their mouth, yet far from their reins. Jeremiah 12:3. But Thou, Jahveh, knowest me, seest me, and triest mine heart toward Thee. Tear them away like sheep to the slaughter, and devote them for a day of slaughter. Jeremiah 12:4. How long is the earth to mourn and the herb of the field to wither? For the wickedness of them that dwell therein, gone are cattle and fowl; for they say: He sees not our end. Jeremiah 12:5. If with the footmen thou didst run and they wearied thee, how couldst thou contend with the horses? and if thou trustest in the land of peace, how wilt thou do in the glory of Jordan? Jeremiah 12:6. For even thy brethren and they father's house, even they are faithless towards thee, yea, they call after thee with full voice. Believe them not, though they speak friendly to thee."

The prophet's complaint begins by acknowledging: Thou art righteous, Lord, if I would dispute with Thee, i.e., would accuse Thee of injustice. I could convict Thee of no wrong; Thou wouldst appear righteous and prove Thyself in the right. Psalm 51:6; Job 9:2. With אך comes in a limitation: only he will speak pleas of right, maintain a suit with Jahveh, will set before Him something that seems incompatible with God's justice, namely the question: Why the way of the wicked prospers, why they that act faithlessly are in ease and comfort? On this cf. Job 21:7., where Job sets forth at length the contradiction between the prosperity of the wicked and the justice of God's providence. The way of the wicked is the course of their life, their conduct. God has planted them, i.e., has placed them in their circumstances of life; like a tree they have struck root into the ground; they go on, i.e., grow, and bear fruit, i.e., their undertakings succeed, although they have God in their mouth only, not in their heart.

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