Jeremiah 12:9

9 Is 1my heritage to me like 2a hyena's lair? Are the 3birds of prey against her all around? Go, 4assemble all the wild beasts; bring them to devour.

Jeremiah 12:9 Meaning and Commentary

Jeremiah 12:9

Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird
Or, "is not mine heritage unto me as a speckled bird?" F2 as a bird of various colours, delightful to look at, as the peacock, so Jerom interprets it here; it was so formerly, but not so now; or as a bird of various colours, and unusual, which other birds get about, look on, hate, and peck at. Some think this refers to the motley party coloured religion the Jews had embraced, consisting of various rites and ceremonies of the Heathens; on which account they thought they looked beautiful and comely, when they were hated and rejected of God for them; but the word signifies rather to be dipped or stained, as with blood, and so denotes a bird of prey that is stained with the blood of others; a fit emblem of the cruelty of the Jews, in shedding the blood of the prophets. Some, because a word near akin to this signifies a finger, render it a "fingered bird" F3; that is, a bird with talons or claws; like fingers, a ravenous bird, and it comes to the same sense as before. But the Septuagint take it, to be not a bird, but a beast, and render it by the hyena; and which Bochart F4 approves of, since the word in the Arabic language signifies such a creature; and Schindler observes, that (ebu) , with the Arabians, is the name of a creature between a wolf and a middling dog, which agrees with the hyena. The word here used, in the Talmudic F5 language signifies a she leopard or panther, so called from its variety of spots; and is the same, as Maimonides says F6, which, in the Arabic language, is called (ebula) ; with the Targumists it is used for a kind of serpents or vipers. So the valley of Tzeboim is rendered, in the Targum, the valley of vipers, ( 1 Samuel 13:18 ) . And it is said F7, (ewbu) , the word in the text,

``this is from a white drop (or seed), and yet it has three hundred and sixty five kinds of colours, according to the number of the days of a solar year.''
The birds round about are against her;
or, "are not the birds round about against her?" the birds of prey? they are; meaning the neighbouring nations, that under Nebuchadnezzar came up against Jerusalem to take and destroy it. Come ye, assemble all ye beasts of the field, come to devour;
this is an invitation to the enemies of the people of the Jews, comparable for their fierceness and savageness to the beasts of the field, to come and destroy them; and shows that their destruction was by divine permission, and according to the will of God. Compare with this ( Revelation 19:18 ) . The Targum interprets it of those that kill with the sword; kings of the earth, and their armies.

F2 So V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Calvin, Jarchi, and Kimchi.
F3 (ewbu jyeh) "avis digtata", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Gusetius; "ales unguibus praedita", Cocceius.
F4 Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 3. c. 11. col. 830, 838, 839.
F5 T. Bab. Bava Kama, fol. 16. 1.
F6 In Misn. Bava Kama, c. 1. sect. 4.
F7 Bereshit Rabba, sect. 7. fol. 6. 2.

Jeremiah 12:9 In-Context

7 "I have forsaken my house; I have abandoned my heritage; I have given the beloved of my soul into the hands of her enemies.
8 My heritage has become to me like a lion in the forest; she has lifted up her voice against me; therefore I hate her.
9 Is my heritage to me like a hyena's lair? Are the birds of prey against her all around? Go, assemble all the wild beasts; bring them to devour.
10 Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard; they have trampled down my portion; they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.
11 They have made it a desolation; desolate, it mourns to me. The whole land is made desolate, but no man lays it to heart.

Cross References 4

  • 1. [See ver. 7 above]
  • 2. Isaiah 46:11
  • 3. Isaiah 46:11
  • 4. Jeremiah 7:33; Isaiah 56:9; [Ezekiel 39:17; Revelation 19:17]
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.