Jeremiah 9:12 [study!]
American Standard Version (ASV 1901) 
Who is the wise man, that may understand this? and [who is] he to whom the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken, that he may declare it? wherefore is the land perished and burned up like a wilderness, so that none passeth through?
King James Version (KJV 1769)
Who [is] the wise man, that may understand this? and [who is he] to whom the mouth of the LORD hath spoken, that he may declare it, for what the land perisheth [and] is burned up like a wilderness, that none passeth through?
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
Who is the wise man that may understand this? And [who is] he to whom the mouth of the LORD has spoken, that he may declare it? Why is the land ruined, laid waste like a desert, so that no one passes through?
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
Who [is] the wise man that may understand this? and [who is he] to whom the mouth of the LORD hath spoken, that he may declare it, for what the land perisheth [and] is burned up like a wilderness, that none passeth through?
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
Who is a wise man, that he may understand this? and he to whom the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken, that he may declare it? Why is the land perished, burnt up like a wilderness, so that none passeth through?
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
Who, is the man that is wise, That he may discern this? And, unto whom, hath the mouth of Yahweh spoken, That he may declare it? For what cause, Hath the land perished, Hath it been burned as a wilderness, that no man passeth through?
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
Who [is] the wise man? and he understandeth this, And he to whom the mouth of Jehovah spake? And he doth declare it, For what hath the land perished? It hath been burnt up as a wilderness, Without any passing through.
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
Who is the wise man, that may understand this, and to whom the word of the mouth of the Lord may come that he may declare this, why the land hath perished, and is burnt up like a wilderness, which none passeth through?
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) 
Who [is] the wise man that may vnderstand this, and [who is he] to whom the mouth of the LORD hath spoken, that hee may declare it; for what the land perisheth, [and] is burnt vp like a wildernesse that none passeth through?
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
Who is the wise man, that he may understand this? and he that has the word of the mouth of the Lord [addressed] to him, let him tell you wherefore the land has been destroyed, has been ravaged by fire like a desert, so that no one passes through it.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008)  
Who [is] the wise man, that may understand this? and [who is he] to whom the mouth of Yahweh hath spoken, that he may declare it, for what the land perisheth [and] is burned up like a wilderness, that none passeth through?
An interrogitive pronoun of persons, as H4100
is of things, who?
(occasionally, by a peculiar idiom, of things); also (indefinitely) whoever
; often used in oblique construction with prefix or suffix.
] the wise
, (that is, intelligent, skilful or artful).
Contracted for H0582
(or perhaps rather from an unused root meaning to be extant
); a man
as an individual or a male person; often used as an adjunct to a more definite term (and in such cases frequently not expressed in translation.).
that may understand
A primitive root; to separate
mentally (or distinguish
), that is, (generally) understand
Stem - Qal (See H8851
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811
Count - 19885
Apparently contracted from H0226
in the demonstrative sense of entity
; properly self
(but generally used to point out more definitely the object of a verb or preposition, even
Irregular feminine of H2089
(often used adverbially).
and [who is he
(Used only in the shortened constructive form (the second form)); a primitive particle, properly denoting motion towards
, but occasionally used of a quiescent position, that is, near
; often in general, to
whom the mouth
; the mouth
(as the means of blowing
), whether literally or figuratively (particularly speech
); specifically edge
; adverbially (with preposition) according to
; (the) self Existent
or eternal; Jehovah
, Jewish national name of God.
A primitive root; perhaps properly to arrange
; but used figuratively (of words) to speak
; rarely (in a destructive sense) to subdue
Stem - Piel (See H8840
Mood - Perfect (See H8816
Count - 2121
that he may declare
A primitive root; properly to front
, that is, stand boldly out opposite; by implication (causatively), to manifest
; figuratively to announce
(always by word of mouth to one present); specifically to expose
Stem - Hiphil (See H8818
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811
Count - 4046
Properly the same as H5920
used as a preposition (in the singular or plural, often with prefix, or as conjugation with a particle following); above
, or against
(yet always in this last relation with a downward aspect) in a great variety of applications.
A primitive particle; properly interrogitive what?
); but also exclamations like what!
), or indefinitely what
, and even relatively that which
); often used with prefixes in various adverbial or conjugational senses.
From an unused root probably meaning to be firm
; the earth
(at large, or partitively a land
A primitive root; properly to wander
away, that is lose
oneself; by implication to perish
Stem - Qal (See H8851
Mood - Perfect (See H8816
Count - 12562
] is burned up
A primitive root; to burn
or set on fire
; figuratively to desolate
Stem - Niphal (See H8833
Mood - Perfect (See H8816
Count - 1429
like a wilderness,
in the sense of driving
; a pasture
(that is, open field, whither cattle are driven); by implication a desert
; also speech
(including its organs).
; properly a part
of; hence (prepositionally), from
or out of
in many senses.
; properly failure
, that is, nothing
; usually (with preposition) without
, not yet
, because not
, as long as
A primitive root; to cross
over; used very widely of any transition
(literally or figuratively; transitively, intransitively, intensively or causatively); specifically to cover
Stem - Qal (See H8851
Mood - Participle Active (See H8814
Count - 5386
_ _ Rather, “Who is a wise man? (that is, Whosoever has inspired wisdom, 2 Peter 3:15); let him understand this (weigh well the evils impending, and the causes of their being sent); and he to whom the mouth of the Lord hath spoken (that is, whosoever is prophetically inspired), let him declare it to his fellow countrymen,” if haply they may be roused to repentance, the only hope of safety.
_ _ Two things the prophet designs, in these verses, with reference to the approaching destruction of Judah and Jerusalem: 1. To convince people of the justice of God in it, that they had by sin brought it upon themselves and that therefore they had no reason to quarrel with God, who did them no wrong at all, but a great deal of reason to fall out with their sins, which did them all this mischief. 2. To affect people with the greatness of the desolation that was coming, and the miserable effects of it, that by a terrible prospect of it they might be awakened to repentance and reformation, which was the only way to prevent it, or, at least, mitigate their own share in it. This being designed,
_ _ I. He calls for the thinking men, by them to show people the equity of God's proceedings, though they seemed harsh and severe (Jeremiah 9:12): “Who, where, is the wise man, or the prophet, to whom the mouth of the Lord hath spoken? You boast of your wisdom, and of the prophets you have among you; produce me any one that has but the free use of human reason or any acquaintance with divine revelation, and he will soon understand this himself, and it will be so clear to him that he will be ready to declare it to others, that there is a just ground of God's controversy with this people.” Do these wise men enquire, For what does the land perish? What is the matter, that such a change is made with this land? It used to be a land that God cared for, and he had his eyes upon it for good (Deuteronomy 11:12), but it is now a land that he has forsaken and that his face is against. It used to flourish as the garden of the Lord and to be replenished with inhabitants; but now it is burnt up like a wilderness, that none passeth through it, much less cares to settle in it. It was supposed, long ago, that it would be asked, when it came to this, Wherefore has the Lord done thus unto this land? What means the heat of this great anger? (Deuteronomy 29:24), to which question God here gives a full answer, before which all flesh must be silent. He produces out of the record,
_ _ 1. The indictment preferred and proved against them, upon which they had been found guilty, Jeremiah 9:13, Jeremiah 9:14. It is charged upon them, and it cannot be denied, (1.) That they have revolted from their allegiance to their rightful Sovereign. Therefore. God has forsaken their land, and justly, because they have forsaken his law, which he had so plainly, so fully, so frequently set before them, and had not observed his orders, not obeyed his voice, nor walked in the ways that he had appointed. Here their wickedness began, in the omission of their duty to their God and a contempt of his authority. But it did not end here. It is further charged upon them, (2.) That they have entered themselves into the service of pretenders and usurpers, have not only withdrawn themselves from their obedience to their prince, but have taken up arms against him. For, [1.] They have acted according to the dictates of their own lusts, have set up their own will, the wills of the flesh, and the carnal mind, in competition with, and contradiction to the will of God: They have walked after the imagination of their own hearts; they would do as they pleased, whatever God and conscience said to the contrary. [2.] They have worshipped the creatures of their own fancy, the work of their own hands, according to the tradition received from their fathers: They have walked after Baalim: the word is plural; they had many Baals, Baal-peor and Baal-berith, the Baal of this place and the Baal of the other place; for they had lords many, which their fathers taught them to worship, but which the God of their fathers had again and again forbidden. This was it for which the land perished. The King of kings never makes war thus upon his own subjects but when they treacherously depart from him and rebel against him, and it has become necessary by this means to chastise their rebellion and reduce them to their allegiance; and they themselves shall at length acknowledge that he is just in all that is brought upon them.
_ _ 2. The judgment given upon this indictment, the sentence upon the convicted rebels, which must now be executed, for it was righteous and nothing could be moved in arrest of it: The Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, hath said it (Jeremiah 9:15, Jeremiah 9:16), and who can reverse it? (1.) That all their comforts at home shall be poisoned and embittered to them: I will feed this people with wormwood (or rather with wolf's-bane, for it signifies a herb that is not wholesome, as wormwood is though it be bitter, but some herb that is both nauseous and noxious), and I will give them water of gall (or juice of hemlock or some other herb that is poisonous) to drink. Every thing about them, till it comes to their very meat and drink, shall be a terror and torment to them. God will curse their blessings, Malachi 2:2. (2.) That their dispersion abroad shall be their destruction (Jeremiah 9:16): I will scatter them among the heathen. They were corrupted and debauched by their intimacy with the heathen, with whom they mingled and learned their works; and now they shall lose themselves, where they lost their virtue, among the heathen. They set up gods which neither they nor their fathers had known, strange gods, new gods (Deuteronomy 32:17); and now God will put them among neighbours whom neither they nor their fathers have known, whom they can claim no acquaintance with, and therefore can expect no favour from. And yet, though they are scattered so as that they will not know where to find one another. God will know where to find them all out (Psalms 21:8) with that evil which still pursues impenitent sinners: I will send a sword after them, some killing judgment or other, till I have consumed them; for when God judges he will overcome, when he pursues he will overtake. And now we see for what the land perishes; all this desolation is the desert of their deeds and the performance of God's words.
_ _ II. He calls for the mourning women, and engages them, with the arts they practise to affect people and move their passions, to lament these sad calamities that had come or were coming upon them, that the nation might be alarmed to prepare for them: The Lord of hosts himself says, Call for the mourning women, that they may come, Jeremiah 9:17. the scope of this is to show how very woeful and lamentable the condition of this people was likely to be. 1. Here is work for the counterfeit mourners: Send for cunning women, that know how to compose mournful ditties, or at least to sing them in mournful tunes and accents, and therefore are made use of at funerals to supply the want of true mourners. Let these take up a wailing for us, Jeremiah 9:18. The deaths and funerals were so many that people wept for them till they had no power to weep, as those, 1 Samuel 30:4. Let those therefore do it now whose trade it is. Or, rather, it intimates the extreme sottishness and stupidity of the people, that laid not to heart the judgments they were under, nor, even when there was so much blood shed, could find in their hearts to shed a tear. They cry not when God binds them, Job 36:13. God sent his mourning prophets to them, to call them to weeping and mourning, but his word in their mouths did not work upon their faith; rather therefore than they shall go laughing to their ruin, let the mourning women come, and try to work upon their fancy, that their eyes may at length run down with tears, and their eyelids gush out with waters. First or last, sinners must be weepers. 2. Here is work for the real mourners. (1.) There is that which is a lamentation. The present scene is very tragical (Jeremiah 9:19): A voice of wailing is heard out of Zion. Some make this to be the song of the mourning women: it is rather an echo to it, returned by those whose affections were moved by their wailings. In Zion the voice of joy and praise used to be heard, while the people kept closely to God. But sin has altered the note; it is now the voice of lamentation. It should seem to be the voice of those who fled from all parts of the country to the castle of Zion for protection. Instead of rejoicing that they had got safely thither, they lamented that they were forced to seek for shelter there: “How are we spoiled! How are we stripped of all our possessions! We are greatly confounded, ashamed of ourselves and our poverty;” for that is it that they complain of, that is it that they blush at the thoughts of, rather than of their sin: We are confounded because we have forsaken the land (forced so to do by the enemy), not because we have forsaken the Lord, being drawn aside of our own lust and enticed because our dwellings have cast us out, not because our God has cast us off. Thus unhumbled hearts lament their calamity, but not their iniquity, the procuring cause of it. (2.) There is more still to come which shall be for a lamentation. Things are bad, but they are likely to be worse. Those whose land has spued them out (as it did their predecessors the Canaanites, and justly, because they trod in their steps, Leviticus 18:28) complain that they are driven into the city, but, after a while, those of the city, and they with them, shall be forced thence too: Yet hear the word of the Lord; he has something more to say to you (Jeremiah 9:20); let the women hear it, whose tender spirits are apt to receive the impressions of grief and fear, for the men will not heed it, will not give it a patient hearing. The prophets will be glad to preach to a congregation of women that tremble at God's word. Let your ear receive the word of God's mouth, and bid it welcome, though it be a word of terror. Let the women teach their daughters wailing; this intimates that the trouble shall last long, grief shall be entailed upon the generation to come. Young people are apt to love mirth, and expect mirth, and are disposed to be gay and airy; but let the elder women teach the younger to be serious, tell them what a vale of tears they must expect to find this world, and train them up among the mourners in Zion, Titus 2:4, Titus 2:5. Let every one teach her neighbour lamentation; this intimates that the trouble shall spread far, shall go from house to house. People shall not need to sympathize with their friends; they shall all have cause enough to mourn for themselves. Note, Those that are themselves affected with the terrors of the Lord should endeavour to affect others with them. The judgment here threatened is made to look terrible. [1.] Multitudes shall be slain, Jeremiah 9:21. Death shall ride in triumph, and there shall be no escaping his arrests when he comes with commission, neither within doors nor without. Not within doors, for let the doors be shut ever so fast, let them be ever so firmly locked and bolted, death comes up into our windows, like a thief in the night; it steals upon us ere we are aware. Nor does it thus boldly attack the cottages only, but it has entered into our palaces, the palaces of our princes and great men, though ever so stately, ever so strongly built and guarded. Note, No palaces can keep out death. Nor are those more safe that are abroad; death cuts off even the children from without and the young men from the streets. The children who might have been spared by the enemy in pity, because they had never been hurtful to them, and the young men who might have been spared in policy, because capable of being serviceable to them, shall fall together by the sword. It is usual now, even in the severest military executions, to put none to the sword. It is usual now, even in the severest military executions, to put none to the sword but those that are found in arms; but then even the boys and girls playing in the streets were sacrificed to the fury of the conqueror. [2.] Those that are slain shall be left unburied (Jeremiah 9:22): Speak, Thus saith the Lord (for the confirmation and aggravation of what was before said), Even the carcases of men shall fall as dung, neglected, and left to be offensive to the smell, as dung is. Common humanity obliges the survivors to bury the dead, even for their own sake; but here such numbers shall be slain, and those so dispersed all the country over, that it shall be an endless thing to bury them all, nor shall there be hands enough to do it, nor shall the conquerors permit it, and those that should do it shall be overwhelmed with grief, so that they shall have no heart to do it. The dead bodies even of the fairest and strongest, when they have lain awhile, become dung, such vile bodies have we. And here such multitudes shall fall that their bodies shall lie as thick as heaps of dung in the furrows of the field, and no more notice shall be taken of them than of the handfuls which the harvestman drops for the gleaners, for none shall gather them, but they shall remain in sight, monuments of divine vengeance, that the eye of the impenitent survivors may affect their heart. Slay them not, bury them not, lest my people forget, Psalms 59:11.
Who is Is there not a wise man among you, that will search into the cause of all these threatened judgments.
Who [is] the (k) wise man, that may understand this? and [who is he] to whom the mouth of the LORD hath spoken, that he may declare it, for what the land perisheth [and] is burned up like a wilderness, that none passeth through?
(k) Meaning that they are all without sense and understanding and that God has taken his spirit from them.
- the wise:
Deuteronomy 32:29 O that they were wise, [that] they understood this, [that] they would consider their latter end!
Psalms 107:43 Whoso [is] wise, and will observe these [things], even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.
Hosea 14:9 Who [is] wise, and he shall understand these [things]? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD [are] right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.
Matthew 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
Revelation 1:3 Blessed [is] he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time [is] at hand.
Jeremiah 5:19-20 And it shall come to pass, when ye shall say, Wherefore doeth the LORD our God all these [things] unto us? then shalt thou answer them, Like as ye have forsaken me, and served strange gods in your land, so shall ye serve strangers in a land [that is] not yours. ... Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in Judah, saying,
Jeremiah 16:10-13 And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt shew this people all these words, and they shall say unto thee, Wherefore hath the LORD pronounced all this great evil against us? or what [is] our iniquity? or what [is] our sin that we have committed against the LORD our God? ... Therefore will I cast you out of this land into a land that ye know not, [neither] ye nor your fathers; and there shall ye serve other gods day and night; where I will not shew you favour.
Jeremiah 22:8-9 And many nations shall pass by this city, and they shall say every man to his neighbour, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this great city? ... Then they shall answer, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD their God, and worshipped other gods, and served them.
Deuteronomy 29:22-28 So that the generation to come of your children that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses which the LORD hath laid upon it; ... And the LORD rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as [it is] this day.
1 Kings 9:8-9 And at this house, [which] is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss; and they shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and to this house? ... And they shall answer, Because they forsook the LORD their God, who brought forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have taken hold upon other gods, and have worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath the LORD brought upon them all this evil.
Psalms 107:34 A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.
Ezekiel 14:23 And they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings: and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord GOD.
Ezekiel 22:25-31 [There is] a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof. ... Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.
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