Jer 12.1-17 contains a prayer of Jeremiah with God’s answer, and it also has a word for the nations about their future if they turn to Yehovah after Babylon took them into captivity.
v 1…Righteous art thou, O Lord, that I would plead my case with thee; indeed I would discuss matters of justice with thee (as to why the wicked prosper; at times we may ask Yehovah about why this seems so, too): Why has the way of the wicked prospered (while the righteous suffer)? Why are all those who deal in treachery at ease (seem happy)?
v 2…Thou hast planted them, they have also taken root; they grow (progress), they have have even produces fruit (to themselves, not to God). Thou art near to their lips (often talked about God) but far from their mind (Hebrew “kidneys” which is synonymous for the heart, soul, mind, bowels, etc. They say one thing and do another).
v 3…But thou knowest me, O Lord (the secrets of his heart); thou seest me; and thou dost examine my hearts attitude toward thee (his affections and thoughts). Drag them off like sheep for the slaughter and set them apart for a day of carnage (the prosperous are like fattened sheep ripened for destruction. This tells us what would be their judgment in the destruction to come)!
v 4…How long is the land to mourn and the vegetation of the countryside to wither (even the land is cursed because of these people)? For the wickedness of those who dwell in it, animals and birds have been snatched away (no grass or seeds to eat because the land was barren), because men have said, “He (Jeremiah) will not see our latter end (He won’t be around long).”
v 5…If you have run with the footmen (Yehovah answers him) and they have tired you out (disgusted with his family and townsfolk and the pressure they put on him), then how can you compete with horses (kings, the priests, the powerful in strength at Jerusalem. If he can’t keep up now, what about later when it will really get tough-Psa 18.29; Jer 1.18-19)? If you fall down in a land of peace (his hometown and relatives), how will you do in the thicket (flooding) of the Jordan (when your enemies confront you and are full of pride, like the kings and princes of Judah)?
v 6…For even your brothers and the household of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you, even they have cried aloud after you. Do not believe them, even though they say nice things to you (Prov 26.25-put no confidence in them, it was not safe to be with them).”
v 7…I (Yehovah) have forsaken my house (the Temple), I have abandoned my inheritance (the people-Deut 37.9); I have given the beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies (this level of judgment shows the finality of it).
v 8…My inheritance (Israel) has become to me like a lion in the forest; she has roared against me (snarling against Yehovah); therefore (as a result) I have come to hate her (I will treat her as if I do).
v 9…Is my inheritance like a speckled bird to me (blended together paganism and the Torah)? Are the birds of prey against her on every side (Babylon and the neighboring nations)? Go, gather all the beasts of the field; bring them to devour ( an idiom for an impending disaster and slaughter)!
v 10…Many shepherds (kings, leaders) have ruined my vineyard (Israel), they have trampled down my field; they have made my pleasant field a desolate wilderness.
v 11…It (the land) has been made a desolation, desolate, it mourns before me; the whole land has been made desolate, because no man lays it to heart (they didn’t believe the prophets, intercede, or took notice of what they were predicting).
v 12…On all the bare heights in the wilderness destroyers have come (Babylon), for a sword of the Lord is devouring from one end of the land even to the other (very extensive); there is no peace for anyone.
v 13…They have sown wheat and have reaped thorns (hard work wasted). But be ashamed of your harvest because of the fierce anger of the Lord.”
v 14…Thus says the Lord concerning all my wicked neighbors who strike at the inheritance with which I have endowed my people Israel, “Behold I am about to uproot them from their land and will uproot the house of Judah from among them (the spoilers such as the Philistines, Syrians, Edomites, Ammonites and the Moabites, etc).
v 15…And it will come about that after I have uprooted them, I will again have compassion on them; and I will bring them back, each one to his inheritance and each one to his land (showing mercy on them as evidence that he is the one true God of all flesh; this will also happen at the end of the birth-pains).
v 16…Then it will come about that if they (the nations) will really learn the ways of my people (the Torah), to swear by my name (Yehovah), ‘As the Lord (Yehovah) lives,’ even as they (non-Jews) taught my people to swear by Baal, then they will be built up in the midst of my people (being grafted in-Eph 2.11-22).
v 17…But if they (non-Jews) will not listen, then I will uproot that nation, uproot and destroy it,” declares the Lord (sin is a reproach to any people-Prov 14.34).