Chapter 12

1You are right, O Lord, when I contend with You, but I will argue with You. Why has the way of the wicked prospered, all who deal with treachery have peace?   אצַדִּ֚יק אַתָּה֙ יְהֹוָ֔ה כִּ֥י אָרִ֖יב אֵלֶ֑יךָ אַ֚ךְ מִשְׁפָּטִים֙ אֲדַבֵּ֣ר אוֹתָ֔ךְ מַדּ֗וּעַ דֶּ֚רֶךְ רְשָׁעִים֙ צָלֵ֔חָה שָׁל֖וּ כָּל־בֹּ֥גְדֵי בָֽגֶד:
You are right, O Lord, when I contend with You: When I debate with You, I know that you will be right in Your words, but I wish to argue with You so that You will let me know Your way.  
Why has the way of the wicked prospered?: That You have given greatness to Nebuchadnezzar the wicked, and you have made him succeed in destroying Your house? Another explanation is that he was crying and complaining about the men of Anathoth.  
have peace: Heb. שלו, an expression of שלוה, peace.  
2You have planted them, they have even taken root, they have even produced fruit. You are near in their mouths but far from their thoughts.   בנְטַעְתָּם֙ גַּם־שֹׁרָ֔שׁוּ יֵֽלְכ֖וּ גַּם־עָ֣שׂוּ פֶ֑רִי קָר֚וֹב אַתָּה֙ בְּפִיהֶ֔ם וְרָח֖וֹק מִכִּלְיֹתֵיהֶֽם:
3But You, O Lord, have known me, You see me, and You try my heart with You. Draw them out like sheep to the slaughter, and prepare them for the day of slaughter.   גוְאַתָּ֚ה יְהֹוָה֙ יְדַעְתָּ֔נִי תִּרְאֵ֕נִי וּבָֽחַנְתָּ֥ לִבִּ֖י אִתָּ֑ךְ הַתִּקֵם֙ כְּצֹ֣אן לְטִבְחָ֔ה וְהַקְדִּשֵׁ֖ם לְי֥וֹם הֲרֵגָֽה:
But You, O Lord, have known me: Also, concerning the men of Anathoth You have aided me, for You have known me.  
Draw them out like sheep to the slaughter: Draw them out of life to death (detache les in French, separate them, cut them off). Comp. (Joshua 8:6) “until we have drawn (התיקנו) them from the city.”  
and prepare them: Heb. הקדישם, prepare them.  
4How long will the land mourn and the grass of all the field dry out? " Because of the evil of its inhabitants, beasts and fowl are ended, for they said, "He will not see our end."   דעַד־מָתַי֙ תֶּאֱבַ֣ל הָאָ֔רֶץ וְעֵ֥שֶׂב כָּל־הַשָּׂדֶ֖ה יִיבָ֑שׁ מֵרָעַ֣ת יֽשְׁבֵי־בָ֗הּ סָֽפְתָ֚ה בְהֵמוֹת֙ וָע֔וֹף כִּ֣י אָֽמְר֔וּ לֹ֥א יִרְאֶ֖ה אֶת־אַֽחֲרִיתֵֽנוּ:
How long will the land mourn and the grass of all the field dry out?: Up to here are the prophet’s words, and the Holy Spirit replies to him, “Because of the evil of its inhabitants, beasts and fowl are ended.”  
will… mourn: Be waste.  
ended: (finira in French, will terminate).  
for they said: i.e., the inhabitants of this land have said.  
“He will not see our end.”: It is not revealed to Him what will be at our end.  
5For if you have run with footmen and they wearied you, how will you compete with horses, and in the peaceful land which you trust, how will you do in the heights of the Jordan?   הכִּ֣י אֶת־רַגְלִ֥ים | רַ֙צְתָּה֙ וַיַּלְא֔וּךָ וְאֵ֥יךְ תְּתַֽחֲרֶ֖ה אֶת־הַסּוּסִ֑ים וּבְאֶ֚רֶץ שָׁלוֹם֙ אַתָּ֣ה בוֹטֵ֔חַ וְאֵ֥יךְ תַּֽעֲשֶׂ֖ה בִּגְא֥וֹן הַיַּרְדֵּֽן:
For if you have run with foot men and they wearied you: Your kin, the priests like you and the men of your city come to kill you.  
with footmen: Heb. רגלים (pieton in O.F), pedestrian.  
how will you compete with horses: To run with the horses. That is to say, If even your brethren the priests come to kill you, surely the princes of Judah will rise up against you to kill you. This is the reason for My anger against them, and this is the reason for the success of the enemy. And so did Jonathan render: This is the reply, etc. And, according to the Midrash of our Rabbis (Sanhedrin 96a): If you are amazed about the reward for the three steps that Nebuchadnezzar ran in My honor in the days of Merodach-baladan, why I gave him so much greatness, how much more will you be amazed when you see the payment of reward that I will pay the righteous who ran before Me like horses!  
will you compete: (aastir in O.F.).  
and in the peaceful land that you trust: there they wearied you.  
how will you do in the heights: The princes of Judah. The pride of the Jordan is symbolic since it is a place of lions and tigers, and Jonathan taught us this in many places. And here he paraphrased. And how do you expect to do against the wild beasts that are on the height of the Jordan?“And behold, as a lion ascends from the height of the Jordan,” Jonathan renders in two places (infra 49:19, 50:44): like a lion that ascends from the height of the Jordan.  
6For, even your brethren, and your father's household, they too have dealt treacherously with you, they too have called a gang after you; do not believe them although they speak cordially to you.   וכִּ֧י גַם־אַחֶ֣יךָ וּבֵית־אָבִ֗יךָ גַּם־הֵ֙מָּה֙ בָּ֣גְדוּ בָ֔ךְ גַּם־הֵ֛מָּה קָֽרְא֥וּ אַֽחֲרֶ֖יךָ מָלֵ֑א אַל־תַּֽאֲמֵ֣ן בָּ֔ם כִּֽי־יְדַבְּר֥וּ אֵלֶ֖יךָ טוֹבֽוֹת:
have called a gang after you: Heb. מלא, a group of men.  
7I have abandoned My House, I have forsaken My inheritance; I have delivered My soul's beloved into the hand of her enemies.   זעָזַ֙בְתִּי֙ אֶת־בֵּיתִ֔י נָטַ֖שְׁתִּי אֶת־נַֽחֲלָתִ֑י נָתַ֛תִּי אֶת־יְדִד֥וּת נַפְשִׁ֖י בְּכַ֥ף אֹֽיְבֶֽיהָ:
My soul’s beloved: My treasured people.  
8My inheritance was to Me like a lion in the forest; she raised her voice against Me; therefore, I hated her.   חהָֽיְתָה־לִּ֥י נַֽחֲלָתִ֖י כְּאַרְיֵ֣ה בַיָּ֑עַר נָֽתְנָ֥ה עָלַ֛י בְּקוֹלָ֖הּ עַל־כֵּ֥ן שְׂנֵאתִֽיהָ:
she raised her voice against Me: The cry of her violent deeds has ascended before Me.  
9Is My inheritance to Me a speckled bird of prey? Are there birds of prey around her? Go, gather all the beasts of the field; come to eat.   טהַעַ֨יִט צָב֚וּעַ נַֽחֲלָתִי֙ לִ֔י הַעַ֖יִט סָבִ֣יב עָלֶ֑יהָ לְכ֗וּ אִסְפ֛וּ כָּל־חַיַּ֥ת הַשָּׂדֶ֖ה הֵתָ֥יוּ לְאָכְלָֽה:
Is… a speckled bird of prey?: The ‘heh’ is that of the interrogative. Therefore, it is vowelized with a ‘pattah.’ Are they like a speckled bird of prey, stained with blood, around which other birds gather? Another explanation:  
Is… a speckled bird of prey: One bird is speckled, and all the birds gather around it to eat it because they hate it.  
Are there birds of prey around her?: Are these armies fowl of the heavens, the swift troops that are around her?  
10Many shepherds have destroyed My vineyard, they have trampled My field; they have made My delightful field into a desert waste.   ירֹעִ֚ים רַבִּים֙ שִֽׁחֲת֣וּ כַרְמִ֔י בֹּֽסְס֖וּ אֶת־חֶלְקָתִ֑י נָֽתְנ֛וּ אֶת־חֶלְקַ֥ת חֶמְדָּתִ֖י לְמִדְבַּ֥ר שְׁמָמָֽה:
Many shepherds: The commanders of the troops of Nebuchadnezzar’s army, as it is stated above (6:3): “Shepherds and their flocks shall come to her.”  
they have trampled: Heb. בססו, an expression of trampling. Cf. (Zech. 10:5) “And they shall be like mighty men trampling (בוסים) the mire of the streets.”  
My field: Heb. חלקתי, (campagne in French), countryside.  
11He has made it a waste; the wasted one mourns before Me; the entire land is waste because no one lays it to his heart.   יאשָׂמָהּ֙ לִשְׁמָמָ֔ה אָֽבְלָ֥ה עָלַ֖י שְׁמֵמָ֑ה נָשַׁ֙מָּה֙ כָּל־הָאָ֔רֶץ כִּ֛י אֵ֥ין אִ֖ישׁ שָׂ֥ם עַל־לֵֽב:
the wasted one mourns before Me: Heb. עלי, lit. on Me.  
12On all the rivulets in the pastureland have plunderers come, for the sword of the Lord consumes from one end of the land to the other end of the land; there is no peace for any flesh.   יבעַֽל־כָּל־שְׁפָיִ֣ם בַּמִּדְבָּ֗ר בָּאוּ שֹֽׁדְדִ֔ים כִּ֣י חֶ֚רֶב לַֽיהֹוָה֙ אֹֽכְלָ֔ה מִקְצֵ֥ה־אֶ֖רֶץ וְעַד־קְצֵ֣ה הָאָ֑רֶץ אֵ֥ין שָׁל֖וֹם לְכָל־בָּשָֽׂר:
13They sowed wheat, but they reaped thorns; they have become ill to no avail. Be ashamed of your increase, because of the fierce anger of the Lord.   יגזָֽרְע֚וּ חִטִּים֙ וְקֹצִ֣ים קָצָ֔רוּ נֶחְל֖וּ לֹ֣א יוֹעִ֑לוּ וּבֹ֙שׁוּ֙ מִתְּבוּאֹ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם מֵֽחֲר֖וֹן אַף־יְהֹוָֽה:
They sowed wheat, but they reaped thorns: They prayed, but their prayer was not accepted. Why? Because they did not plow for themselves a furrow of repentance and good deeds. Therefore, they sowed seeds resulting in thorns. A book in which זרעו is vowelized with a ‘chirik’ under the ‘zayin,’ is erroneous.  
they have become ill: Heb. נחלו, an expression of illness. They have become ill with their pain and their cry before Me, but they did not avail.  
of your increase: Of your deeds.  
14So says the Lord: Concerning all My wicked neighbors who touch the inheritance that I have given My nation, Israel, to inherit, behold I uproot them from upon their land, and the house of Judah I will uproot from their midst.   ידכֹּ֣ה | אָמַ֣ר יְהֹוָ֗ה עַל־כָּל־שְׁכֵנַי֙ הָֽרָעִ֔ים הַנֹּֽגְעִים֙ בַּֽנַּֽחֲלָ֔ה אֲשֶׁר־הִנְחַ֥לְתִּי אֶת־עַמִּ֖י אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל הִנְנִ֚י נֹֽתְשָׁם֙ מֵעַ֣ל אַדְמָתָ֔ם וְאֶת־בֵּ֥ית יְהוּדָ֖ה אֶתּ֥וֹשׁ מִתּוֹכָֽם:
My wicked neighbors: Egypt, Ammon and Moab, Tyre and Sidon, who were neighbors of Eretz Israel and were inflicting harm upon them.  
15And it shall come to pass, that after I uproot them, I will return and have pity on them, and I will restore them, each one to his inheritance and each one to his land.   טווְהָיָ֗ה אַֽחֲרֵי֙ נָתְשִׁ֣י אוֹתָ֔ם אָשׁ֖וּב וְרִֽחַמְתִּ֑ים וַֽהֲשִֽׁיבֹתִ֛ים אִ֥ישׁ לְנַֽחֲלָת֖וֹ וְאִ֥ישׁ לְאַרְצֽוֹ:
I will return and have pity on them: They all suffered close to the destruction of the Temple, and concerning each one it is stated in this Book, “I will return the exile of…”  
16And it shall be, if they learn the ways of My people to swear by My name, "As the Lord lives," as they taught My people to swear by Baal, they shall be built up in the midst of My people.   טזוְהָיָ֡ה אִם־לָמֹ֣ד יִלְמְדוּ֩ אֶת־דַּֽרְכֵ֨י עַמִּ֜י לְהִשָּׁבֵ֚עַ בִּשְׁמִי֙ חַי־יְהֹוָ֔ה כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֚ר לִמְּדוּ֙ אֶת־עַמִּ֔י לְהִשָּׁבֵ֖עַ בַּבָּ֑עַל וְנִבְנ֖וּ בְּת֥וֹךְ עַמִּֽי:
if they learn: If they proselytize.  
they shall be built up: an expression of building.  
17And if they do not heed, I shall uproot that nation, uprooting and destroying, says the Lord.   יזוְאִ֖ם לֹ֣א יִשְׁמָ֑עוּ וְנָ֨תַשְׁתִּ֜י אֶת־הַגּ֥וֹי הַה֛וּא נָת֥וֹשׁ וְאַבֵּ֖ד נְאֻם־יְהֹוָֽה: