Jeremiah 12:13

13 They have sown wheat and have reaped thorns, they have tired themselves out but profit nothing. They shall be ashamed of their harvests because of the fierce anger of the Lord.

Jeremiah 12:13 Meaning and Commentary

Jeremiah 12:13

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.

Jeremiah 12:13 In-Context

11 They have made it a desolation; desolate, it mourns to me. The whole land is made desolate, but no one lays it to heart.
12 Upon all the bare heights in the desert spoilers have come; for the sword of the Lord devours from one end of the land to the other; no one shall be safe.
13 They have sown wheat and have reaped thorns, they have tired themselves out but profit nothing. They shall be ashamed of their harvests because of the fierce anger of the Lord.
14 Thus says the Lord concerning all my evil neighbors who touch the heritage that I have given my people Israel to inherit: I am about to pluck them up from their land, and I will pluck up the house of Judah from among them.
15 And after I have plucked them up, I will again have compassion on them, and I will bring them again to their heritage and to their land, everyone of them.

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