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Jeremiah 12:8

8. Mine heritage is unto me as a lion in the forest; it crieth out against me: therefore have I hated it.

8. Fuit mihi haereditas mea quasi leo in sylva; edidit contra me vocem suam; propterea odio ipsam habui.


God now shews the reason why he resolved to cast away the people; for it might appear at the first view very inconsistent, that God’s covenant, which he had made with Abraham and his seed, should become void. Hence he shews here that he was not too rigid in heavily punishing the Jews, and that he could not be accused of levity or inconstancy in rejecting or repudiating them.

Mine heritage, he says, has become like a lion in the forest; that is, they have not only acted insolently towards me, but they have even dared furiously to attack me, like a lion who roars against men in the forest. God then here complains of their contempt, and then he declares how furious was their impiety: for the Jews, as though seized by the rage of a wild beast, dared to make a violent attack on him. And the words, as they are connected, render the sin the more atrocious, My heritage, he says, has become to me as a lion in the forest: one’s heritage and patrimony, we know, is his delight; and then, they who possess small tenements live much more quietly than those who occupy large ones. God now shews that he was in his own heritage as though he was in a vast and wild forest, and also, that the fields which ought to have been his delight, and also his vineyards and meadows, were become places of the greatest horror, as though a lion were roaring and raging against unhappy men.

He says further, that it had sent forth its voice By these words he accuses the people of extreme wantonness; and such is to be found in the world at this day; for how audaciously do the Papists vomit forth their blasphemies against God? The unprincipled and the dregs of society hesitate not with a full mouth to be insolent towards God; and courtiers also and epicures, and those who admire themselves for their splendor and wealth, with what haughtiness do they rise up against; him; and how disdainfully do they reject every truth that is set before them! We therefore in this miserable age experience the very same thing which the Prophet deplores in the men of his own time, — that they raised their voices against God himself.

He therefore comes to this conclusion, — that he hated his own heritage. “Since then,” he says, “the Jews are become to me as lions in a forest, since they have rendered themselves a horror instead of a delight to me, what am I to do with them? Can I treat them as my patrimony and heritage? But they have put me to flight by their treachery, yea, by their diabolical fury. It is therefore nothing strange that I hate them, though they have been my heritage.” Thus the Prophet shews, that it availed the Jews nothing that they had been of old adopted, since they had repudiated themselves and had become alienated from God their Father.

Let us also hence learn, that whatever honor hypocrites at this day possess in the Church, they yet boast in vain; for though they may for a time be counted as the heritage of God, they are at the same time hated by God, inasmuch as they are within full of wickedness and of perverseness towards him; and then, when urged and pressed, they hesitate not to vomit forth their insolence. It follows: —

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