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Jeremiah, Chapter 25
Prophecy of the Seventy Years Captivity
Theme: God spells out seventy-year captivity
This Chapter deals with a prophecy which was given about seventeen or eighteen years before that of Chapter 24. We must keep in mind that the Book of Jeremiah is not in chronological order. The son of Josiah, Jehoiakim, was on the throne. He was not like his godly father. 2 Ki. 24:4 And also for the innocent blood that he shed: for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the LORD would not pardon. (KJV)
The prophecy of this Chapter is dated in the first year of Nebuchadrezzar, that remarkable year when the sword of the LORD began to be drawn. Here is, (1). A review of the prophecies that had been delivered to Judah and Jerusalem for many years past, by Jeremiah himself and other prophets, with the little regard given to them and the little success of them (vs. 1-7). (2). A very direct threat of the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem, by the king of Babylon, for their contempt of God, (3). and their continuance in sin (v. 8-11), to which is annexed a Promise of their deliverance out of their captivity in Babylon, after 70 years (vs. 12-14). (4). a prediction of the devastation of various other nations about, by Nebuchadrezzar, represented by a cup of fury put into their hands (vs. 15-28), by a sword sent among them (vs. 29-33), and a desolation made among the shepherds and their flocks and pastures (vs. 34-38) . . . so that we have here judgment beginning at the House of God, but not ending there.
Disregard of Prophecies That Had Been Delivered to Judah and
Jerusalem in the Past (Jer.25:1-7)
Jer. 25:1 The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; (KJV)
The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah . . . the fourth year of Jehoiakim (605 B.C.), is also mentioned (Jer. 36:1; 45:1; 46:2), and it marked a turning point in Jeremiah’s ministry. The Babylonians became the dominant power in the ancient Near East, and Jehoiakim sealed Judah’s fate by destroying the scroll of Jeremiah’s prophecies and disregarding the warning of the coming judgment.
That was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon . . . first year, Nebuchadnezzar reigned 605-562 B.C.
*****Chapters 25 to 51center on God’s jurisdiction over the nations and include His special plans for Israel. We see a final warning to God's people, Judah, here. Jehoiakim was a very evil king. The date set for this is pretty certain since it was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar. This is the date that Jeremiah spoke to them, not the day of the overthrow of Jerusalem.
Jer. 25:2 The which Jeremiah the prophet spake unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, (KJV)
This means that the message Jeremiah spoke concerned them all, and he spoke it to so many of them that he met with, in any public assembly at Jerusalem or elsewhere. The prophet was very obedient to the LORD in proclaiming the coming judgement. This prophecy was not just for Judah, but for Jerusalem as well.
Jer. 25:3 From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that is the three and twentieth year, the word of the LORD hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened. (KJV)
Thirteenth year (the time is 627-626 B.C.; Josiah ruled in 640-609 B.C.).
Three and twentieth year, Jeremiah began his ministry in the 13th year of Josiah (Jer.1:2), and had been faithful to preach repentance and judgment for 23 years. We remember that Jeremiah was just a youth when he began to prophesy the Words of the LORD to these people. He has been faithfully doing exactly what God has told him to do for 23 years. It seems clear that all the warnings he has given them has not been heeded.
Jer. 25:4 And the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear. (KJV)
And the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets . . . not only Jeremiah, but many others, Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah, and others.
Rising early and sending them . . . not only the prophet, but the LORD Himself is said to rise early, and sent His prophets to them. Which means His great care and concern for this people for their good (Jer. 7:25).
But ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear . . . which greatly aggravated their sin; that where they had one prophet after another sent to them, and sent by the LORD Himself. And the prophets rising early, being sent to do their message; and yet were not hearkened and attended to (Jer. 7:13). Jeremiah reminds them that God had given them sufficient warning by His prophets. The people did not even listen to the prophets much less take a warning from them.
Jer. 25:5 They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever: (KJV)
They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way . . . this was the substance of their discourses and prophecies of the prophets, plus what follows.
And from the evil of your doings . . . turn away from your evil way. Repent of your sins, and change your way, especially their idolatries, to which they were prone, and is after mentioned.
And dwell in the land that the LORD hath given unto you to your fathers for ever and ever . . . meaning the land of Canaan, which was given to them, and their fathers before them, by the LORD, for an everlasting possession (Gen.17:8), if they behaved towards Him right. They held the possession of it by their obedience to His Law. And now, apart from all that they had done, if they repented and changed, they would still dwell in the land, and enjoy it, and all the blessings and privileges of it.
*****The message had not changed. God told them over and over to turn from the worship of false gods and He would bless them in the land He had promised them. The land of promise (Heb.11:9) was to be theirs and their children’s, unto all generations . . . but they must stay loyal to God to receive the blessings.
Jer. 25:6 And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt. (KJV)
And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them . . . as long as they served the LORD, their God, they continued in their own land, and enjoyed all the blessings of it. For their government was a theocracy. God was their King; and as long as they served and worshipped God alone, He protected and defended them. But when they abandoned Him, and went after other gods, and served and worshipped them . . . it was then they were threatened to be turned out of their land, and carried captive into other lands. And yet, after all their idolatry, IF they would turn away from their idols, and stop the worship of them, the LORD was ready, willing and able to receive them kindly, and continue His favors to them.
And provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands . . . they greatly provoked the LORD with their idols, which they made with their own hands, and then fell down to worship them.
And I will do you no hurt . . . by sword, famine, pestilence, or captivity, specifying the hurt He had threatened them with, would not be done, IF they stopped their idolatrous worship. God never does any hurt to His TRUE worshippers, for He makes all things work together for their good (Rom.8:28).
Jer. 25:7 Yet ye have not hearkened unto me, saith the LORD; that ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt. (KJV)
Yet ye have not hearkened unto me, saith the LORD . . . even though it was the LORD Himself that spoke to them by His prophets; and even though it was greatly for their own good and advantage, they refused to listen to the prophets. The neglect of God and His Word were really to their disadvantage, and even their ruin.
That ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands, to your own hurt . . . even though not meaning to do either, they both provoked the LORD, and brought destruction upon themselves. Whatever is against the glory of God brings the hurt of man; and whatever provokes God has a very harmful effect to man in its results.
*****The warnings Jeremiah had brought from the LORD, had not been received. The wicked people even tried to kill Jeremiah (Jer.11:21; 20:1-2, 10) for bringing them such a message. God's wrath has reached its limit. The time for judgment is come.
Threat of the Destruction of Judah and Jerusalem,
Because of Their Contempt of God (Jer. 25:8-11)
Jeremiah had been prophesying for over 20 years, that judgment would fall on Judah . . . IF she did not turn from her evil ways and return to God. Some other prophets of Jeremiah’s time were Ezekiel, Daniel, Obadiah, Habakkuk and Zephaniah. Judah had every chance to hear the Truth and repent of her sinful ways, but she did not (Jer. 27:6).
Jer. 25:8 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Because ye have not heard my words, (KJV)
Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts . . . the LORD of armies . . . above and below; so the LORD can do what He pleases in Heaven and in Earth.
Because ye have not heard my words . . . that I sent to you by My prophets, so as you would obey them. The people heard them but did not make any decision to DO them,
for it is very clear that they had heard Jeremiah and the other prophets.
Jer. 25:9 Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations. (KJV)
Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD . . . the north (Jer.1:14-15). Though earlier references to the north were rather vague, the Chaldeans are clearly identified as the force God was raising up to punish Judah. Nebuchadnezzar's coronation was a fitting time to make this disclosure.
And Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land . . . My servant is the same term used to describe God's prophets (vs. 4). It must have been shocking for the people to hear Jeremiah say that a pagan Gentile would be called My servant. The LORD refers to Nebuchadnezzar as His servant. This does not mean that the king had a personal relationship with the LORD, although he later did come to recognize the greatness of the LORD (Dan. 4). The LORD was using him simply to carry out His judgment. Dear one, the LORD controls the hearts of kings (Prov. 21:1), whether they realize it or not, and uses the nations to accomplish His purposes and His will. God used a pagan king, Nebuchadnezzar, to accomplish His will, as He did Cyrus (Isa. 45:1).
And against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about . . . not only Judah and Jerusalem but all nations around them.
And will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations . . . utterly destroy, a term associated with the holy war in ancient Israel against her enemies (Jos.6:17). But now it is applied to Israel.
*****The LORD calls Nebuchadnezzar His servant! There are different ways of spelling Nebuchadrezzar. He was God's instrument of judgment.
Many people wonder why the land of Israel is not a land flowing with milk and honey today. There is a desperate need for water in that land. God said He would make it a perpetual desolation (Jer.49:13; Zep.2:9) and He is going to let the world know that He not only judged the people but He also judged their land. There is a judgment of God upon that land specifically, just as the curse of sin is on the entire Earth (Gen.3:17). The Earth produces only a small portion of what it is capable of producing . . . because of the curse of sin upon it.
Jer. 25:10 Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle. (KJV)
Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness . . . it may mean those nuptial songs, sung unto them by their friends at their festivals, and nuptial solemnities.
The voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride . . . expressing their mutual love unto, and delight in, each other; so agreeable to one another and their friends.
The sound of the millstones . . . either the voice of those that sing at the mill while grinding; or maybe the sound of the stones themselves used in grinding spices for the bride cakes or grinding corn for common use. And so, this means taking away corn from them, and the lack of corn. The logic is, there must be corn to grind, or there would be no need of a mill.
And the light of the candle . . . at their feasts, weddings or common use, indicating that houses would be desolate, without inhabitants. No light in them, no work to be done. All of this shows that they would be deprived of everything both for necessity and pleasure.
Jer. 7:34 Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: for the land shall be desolate. (KJV)
The apostle John seems to have borrowed some phrases from this. Rev. 18:22-24 And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; 23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. (KJV) . . . Compare 7:34; Rev. 18:23. They will have nothing to be happy about when the wrath of God falls upon them.
Jer. 25:11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. (KJV)
And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment . . . the complete land of Judah and Jerusalem shall be hopeless and in shock.
And these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years . . . seventy years was the whole length of the captivity of Jews to Babylon. After the captivity, Babylon was to be overthrown and the Jews were to return to their own land (Isa. 23:15-17; Jer. 25:11-12; 29:10; Dan. 9:2; Zech. 7:5). For more on the seventy years, see Special Comments at the end of this Chapter.
Promise of Their Deliverance Out of Their Captivity in Babylon,
After 70 Years (Jer.25:12-14)
Jer. 25:12 And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations. (KJV)
And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished . . . seventy years accounted from the time that the Jews were carried away in the time of Jeconiah or Jehoiachin (2 Ki. 24:15-16).
That I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD . . . this was fulfilled by Darius the king of Persia (Dan. 4:31). Of these seventy years Nebuchadnezzar reigned thirty-six (2 Ki. 25:27), Evil-merodach and Belshazzar at least two (Dan.8:1).
For their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations . . . although God, whose all the Creation is, and Who is the LORD of all the armies of His creatures, often makes use of heathens and other wicked men to punish His own people, yet He will in the end punish them too; and usually when He does punish them, it is with a more severe and grievous destruction than that by which He punishes His people (Isa. 27:7). As a result He threatens to make the Chaldeans a perpetual desolation.
Jer. 25:13 And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations. (KJV)
And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it . . . the ruin of Babylon is here foretold, as it had been, long before by Isaiah (Isa.13). The destroyers must themselves be destroyed, and the rod thrown into the fire, when the correcting work is done. This shall be done when seventy years are finished; for the destruction of Babylon must make way for the deliverance of the captives. There is doubt when these seventy years began; some date them from the captivity in the fourth year of Jehoiakim and first of Nebuchadrezzar, others from the captivity of Jehoiachin eight years after.
Even all that is written in this book . . . all written in this book. This book may represent the original volume that Jeremiah and Baruch put together which was destroyed (Jer.36:1-4, 23), or it could represent chapters 1-25.
Which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations . . . all the nations: Jeremiah prophesied judgments on surrounding nations (Chapters 46 to 49), while Babylon is the focus of judgment (Chapters 50 and 51).
Any time that God makes a statement, it shall absolutely happen. It may not happen as quickly as we expect, but it will happen. Jeremiah was not speaking his own words. He was speaking the Words of God.
Jer. 25:14 For many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of them also: and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands. (KJV)
For many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of them also . . . serve themselves of them: the Babylonians, who made other nations their slaves, would become the servants of nations.
And I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands . . . God does not overlook the actions of countries against His chosen people. The Babylonians had gone too far with their cruelty during the overthrow of Jerusalem. God takes vengeance on those who are against His people.
*****Jer 25:12-14. God threatened the destruction of that monarchy by Babylon, according to the prophecy of Jeremiah, and declared that their destruction was of themselves. God only recompensed them for their own deeds, and the works of their hands; which is not to be restrained to their extremes in executing vengeance, and the cruelty they used to the Israelites. This is to be more generally interpreted of all their wicked courses.
Prophecies Fulfilled by Babylon:
(1). Babylon will be like Sodom and Gomorrah (Isa.13:19).
(2). The city will never be inhabited again (Isa.13:20, Jer. 51:26).
(3). Tents will not be pitched their by Bedouins (Isa.13:20).
(4). Sheepfolds will not be built there (Isa.13:20).
(5). The ruins will be infested by desert creatures (Isa.13:21).
(6). Stones will not be removed for other construction projects (Jer. 51:26).
(7). The ancient city will not be frequently visited (Jer. 51:43).
(8). The site will be covered with swamps of water (Isa.14:23).
The Wine Cup of Fury
At the time this prophecy was given, Nebuchadnezzar had already deported Jehoiachin with all his nobles, soldiers, and craftsmen to Babylon. Those who remained under Zedekiah were all paying tribute (high taxes) to Babylon. All the kings after Josiah were evil. Jeremiah had pronounced final judgment . . . Nebuchadnezzar would come and destroy Jerusalem and take all but a small remnant into captivity. He has told them that the captivity will definitely last for seventy years. But that does not conclude his prophecy.
Jeremiah now gives them a picture using the figure of the wine cup of the wrath of God. This is a figure of speech that several of the prophets used. They spoke of the sin of man as he continues in rebellion against God.
Desolations by Other Nations Shown by the Emblem of a Cup of Wrath (Jer.25:15-28)
Jer. 25:15 For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it. (KJV)
For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand . . . wine cup (Jer.13:12-13; Rev.14:10: 16:19).
And cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it . . . Divine judgment is predicted against other nations. The pattern used here, judgment on Israel followed by universal judgment (25:18-26), is consistent in prophetic writings.
*****God's judgments are often in Scripture expressed under the idea of a cup of intoxicating drink, and their suffering is set out under the idea of drinking such a cup (Ps. 11:6; 60:3; 75:8; Job 21:20; Isa 51:17; Lam. 4:21; Eze. 23:32, 34). God made it so Jeremiah would see the appearance of such a cup in a vision, and told him to carry it to the nations to whom He sent him, to indicate to them that His wrath would be poured out on them, and that they would drink it.
Jer. 25:16 And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them. (KJV)
The sword that God sends among them is in judgement. This sword of the LORD could be the natural elements like lightning, but here it possibly speaks of war. They shall drink, just means they received the punishment God spoke upon them. Whether they want to or not, they shall drink it, and be disturbed, and be angry, and rage like men overcome with wine, because of those dreadful judgments which the LORD shall send among them. The wine cup was a symbol for overwhelming judgments.
Jer. 25:17 Then took I the cup at the LORD'S hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the LORD had sent me: (KJV)
Made all the nations to drink . . . clearly Jeremiah could not visit all the places (listed in verses 18-26), but in this vision he acted as if representatives from all those nations were present so he could make them drink in the message of wrath (verse 27), and understand there was no escape (verses 28-29).
*****This is not speaking of a literal cup, but is speaking of the message Jeremiah brought to them and repeated over and over, until they received it unto themselves. The nations, is speaking of all the lands around who had come against God's people.
Jer. 25:18 To wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse; as it is this day; (KJV)
To wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah . . . are mentioned first, because God's judgments began with them, as they usually do with the House of God (1 Pet. 4:17), and even now began. For the very year this prophecy was delivered, Nebuchadnezzar came up and besieged Jerusalem, and carried away some captives (Dan. 1:1). This was the beginning of what afterwards was more fully executed.
And the kings thereof, and the princes thereof . . . the kings Jehoiakim, Jeconiah and Zedekiah, with those of their families, the princes and their nobles.
To make them a desolation, an astonishment, a hissing, and a curse . . . to strip them of their crowns and kingdom, their wealth, riches and honor, and bring them into slavery and bondage. They would become an astonishment to some, to see the change that was made in them, and were scoffed and cursed by others.
As it is this day . . . they Jews were indeed then, a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse, and continue to be so in today’s world.
*****Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, the kings and the princes are mentioned first. Although this especially relates to the sin of Israel, it is not limited to God's own people. All the nations of the world are guilty, and just like a wine cup gets full, there is also a filling up of the wrath of God. A lesson to us today.
Jer. 25:19 Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people; (KJV)
Pharaoh . . . just as Egypt appears first among the oracles against foreign nations (Jer. 46), so it does here. Maybe Egypt's position as first in line for punishment goes back to Pharaoh Neco's killing Josiah and removing king Shallum.
*****Pharaoh is mentioned first after the kings of Judah. Not only because the Jews were in alliance with Egypt, and trusted them; but to show the vanity of their confidence and dependence on them. Because of this the judgments of God first took place on the king of Egypt. In the very year that this prophecy was delivered, Pharaoh-necho king of Egypt was smitten by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 46:2). The prophecy had a further accomplishment in Pharaoh-hophra, who was given into the hands of his enemies as foretold. Jer. 44:30 Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give Pharaohhophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies, and into the hand of them that seek his life; as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, his enemy, and that sought his life. (KJV). . . . And his servants, and his princes, and all his people: his menial servants, his domestics, and his nobles and peers of the realm, and all his subjects. It expresses an utter destruction of the kingdom of Egypt. And the particulars of it may be the rather given, to show the vain trust of the Jews in that people.
Then Jeremiah mentions Uz and the land of the Philistines and Ashkelon and Azzah and Ekron and Ashdod and Edom and Moab and Ammon and Tyre and Zidon and the kings of the isles which are beyond the sea (verse 22). They all shall take the wine cup of the wrath of God. Man's sin and continuous rebellion against God is like a wine cup that fills up with God's anger. When it is full, the judgment of God will break out upon the Earth.
We all should consider this as a lesson for today, because it fits the world today!
Jer. 25:20 And all the mingled people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod, (KJV)
And all the mingled people . . . a mixed company, reflecting the ethnic diversity of Egypt during that general period. The term is first found in: (Ex. 12:38; Num. 11:4). Foreign mercenaries made up a large part of the Egyptian army at that time, which included Greeks, Nubians and Libyans (Eze. 30:5). Not the Arabians, who are mentioned afterwards (Jer. 25:24); but rather a mixed people in the land of Egypt, such as came out of it along with the Israelites. Or rather a mixture of people of different nations that dwelt by the sea coasts, either the Mediterranean, or the Red sea, as others think.
And all the kings of the land of Uz . . . not the country of Job, called by the Greek’s Ausitis, but rather a country of Idumea, so called from Uz the son of Dishan, the son of Seir (Lam. 4:21).
And all the kings of the land of the Philistines . . . the petty kings of it, called the lords of the Philistines elsewhere, who were great enemies to the Jews. The prophecy of their destruction is in Chapter 47, and whose principal cities are next mentioned.
And Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod . . . of Ashkelon, and the sword in it, and their ruin (Jer. 47:5). Azzah is the same as Gaza, whose destruction is also foretold in (Jer. 47:1; Acts 8:26). Ekron was another of the cities of the Philistines (1 Sam. 5:10). Ashdod is the same as Azotus, another of their cities (Acts 8:40); called the remnant of Ashdod, because what remained, had once been a very strong and fortified place, but was so weakened and wasted by Psammetichus, king of Egypt, in a blockade of it, for the space of and twenty nine years, before he took it, that when he had got into it, what remained was only as the carcass of a city, to what it was before.
Jer. 25:21 Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon, (KJV)
These all were well-known and cruel enemies of Israel. The Edomites descended from Esau; and the Moabites and Ammonites from Moab and Ammon, the two sons of Lot by his daughters. Their destruction is prophesied in Chapters 48 and 49. Edom, Moab and Ammon were the nations beyond the Jordon (Josh.1:14), and were distant relatives of Israel.
Jer. 25:22 And all the kings of Tyrus, and all the kings of Zidon, and the kings of the isles which are beyond the sea, (KJV)
And all the kings of Tyrus, and all the kings of Zidon . . . two very ancient cities in Phoenicia, often mentioned together in Scripture, being near each other. Their ruin is foretold (Jer. 47:4).
And the kings of the isles which are beyond the sea . . . some understand this of Greece and Italy; others think it is Rhodes, Cyprus, and Crete, and other islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The words may be rendered, and the kings of the country by the seaside; and may mean those that dwell on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
Jer. 25:23 Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all that are in the utmost corners, (KJV)
Dedan is in northwestern Arabia on the caravan routes (Gen. 25:3-4).
Tema, and Buz . . . closely related places in northern Arabia. Tema was an oasis where the Babylonian king Nabonidus (556–539 B.C.) resided for some years.
And all that are in the utmost corners . . . or who cut the corners of the hair (Jer.9:26), referring to the manner in which their hair was cut (Lev. 21:5 ). But, based on the term utmost corners, it may mean the desert fringes, a remote area.
Jer. 25:24 And all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mingled people that dwell in the desert, (KJV)
And all the kings of Arabia . . . of Arabia Petraea or Petrea, also known as Rome's Arabian Province or simply Arabia, and was a frontier province of the Roman Empire beginning in the 2nd century; which consisted of the former Nabataean Kingdom in Jordan, southern Levant, the Sinai Peninsula and northwestern Arabian Peninsula. Its capital was Petra. It was bordered on the north by Syria, on the west by Iudaea and Aegyptus, and on the south and east by the rest of Arabia, known as Arabia Deserta and Arabia Felix.
And all the kings of the mingled people that dwell in the desert . . . the other Arabians or mixed people that dwell in the Arabian Deserts, as the Scenites, Nomades, Kedarenes and others. One says and all the kings of the Arabians, that dwell in tents in the desert. Of these, see the prophecy in (Jer. 49:28-29).
Jer. 25:25 And all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes, (KJV)
And all the kings of Zimri . . . of Arabia Felix, so called from Zimran, a son of Abraham by Keturah (Gen. 25:2). But its nearness with Elam and Media suggests an area east of the Tigris River.
And all the kings of Elam . . . or Persia; the area east of southern Mesopotamia, who are prophesied against in (Jer. 49:34).
And all the kings of the Medes . . . who commonly go together with the Persians.
Jer. 25:26 And all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth: and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them. (KJV)
And all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another . . . all under the government of the Chaldeans, all those princes that have dominions between the north and east.
All the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth . . . meaning in those parts of the world which were at that time known, with whom there was normal trade.
And the king of Sheshach shall drink after them . . . and the king of Babylon, who was last of all to drink of this cup of the LORD’S fury. That he is here meant is plain from (Jer. 51:41), where Sheshach is thus interpreted. Why Babylon is called Sheshach is a hard question, and not easily resolved. There are those who think the prophet gives Babylon another name here to avoid his hatred or disgust for the king of Babylon, but they do not consider the usual courage of this prophet.
*****We see the far reaching effect of the prophecy of Jeremiah in this. All of those listed above and in fact, the entire unsaved world had been warned of Jeremiah and of the judgement of God.
Jer. 25:27 Therefore thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you. (KJV)
Therefore thou shalt say unto them . . . to the several nations before mentioned and prophesied against.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel . . . the LORD of armies . . . the LORD of hosts is found 40 times in Isaiah and 81 times in Jeremiah.
Therefore thou shalt say unto them . . . the LORD of hosts is the Sovereign of the whole Universe, but in a special and unusual manner, He is the God of Israel.
Drink ye, and be drunken, and spew, and fall, and rise no more . . . as is sometimes the case of drunken men. They drink until they become drunk, and then they spew up what they have drunk. And attempting to walk, they fall, and sometimes never to rise again. Not only do they break their bones, but their necks, or fall into places where they are suffocated, or in one place or another, where they lose their lives. So it is indicated, that these nations would drink of the cup of God's wrath and fury and His judgments would come upon them in such a manner as that they would be obliged to part with all their riches, power, and authority. And they would fall and sink into such a ruinous condition, as that they would never be able to prosper again.
Because of the sword that I will send among you . . . by which they would be destroyed. One says, and ye shall not rise from before those that kill with the sword, whom I send among you.
*****The godless nations in question would fall to rise no more. The Jews would fall, but only for a time; then they would rise again. Therefore, the pet name is given, the God of Israel. The LORD makes them drink that cup, which is the judgment of God. All of the nations in the area of Israel and beyond it were to be judged by God because they had strayed so far away from Him. This reveals the fact that all the nations of the world are responsible to God.
Jer. 25:28 And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ye shall certainly drink. (KJV)
And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink . . . the cup is often used as a symbol of divine judgment (Ps. 75:8; Isa. 51:17, 22; Eze. 23:31-34; Rev. 14:10; 16:19). Christ Jesus drank the cup of divine wrath against sin for all men (Mark 10:38; 14:36; John 18:11). For cup as a sign of divine blessing, see (Ps. 23:5; 116:13).
The warning brought to all of them, is spoken of as the cup. God has given Jeremiah the commission to tell them all and if they do not take heed, to tell them again, until they do believe.
If they refuse to take the cup . . . no effort of theirs would allow them to escape God's destined punishment. They CANNOT refuse to take the cup! Again, a good lesson for us all.
By a Sword Sent Among Them (Jer.25:29-33)
Jer. 25:29 For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts. (KJV)
For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name . . . city called by My Name, Jerusalem (Dan. 9:18).
And should ye be utterly unpunished? . . . why would the LORD let them go unpunished?
Ye shall not be unpunished . . . be unpunished . . . as if innocent. The LORD would NOT let them go unpunished. He would punish each and every nation.
For I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts . . . this reaches to the time of the end, when the wrath of God will be poured out on ALL the world who have not taken heed to His warning (Rev. Chapters 16-18) . Dear one, IF God destroyed His beloved Jerusalem, because of their wickedness, He will do no less to ALL the nations who follow and worship false gods. Those who are faithful to God and Him alone, will be spared the wrath of God, but all who reject Him as their Savior and LORD, will suffer the wrath of God. Judgment begins at the house of God, then God punishes the others. If God did not spare His elect people because of sin, how much less would He spare these other nations (Eze. 9:6; Oba. 1:16; Luk. 23:31; 1 Pet. 4:17).
Verses 30-33: While embracing the judgments soon to come to Judah and other nations, this has end-time language . . . from one end of the Earth to the other . . . and shall be eventually fulfilled in the time of Tribulation Period (Rev. Chapters 6 to 19).
Jer. 25:30 Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. (KJV)
Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them . . . what follows, as well as what was declared, all that is spoken before the cup of fury all nations must drink of.
The LORD shall roar from on high . . . from, Heaven, like a lion, and in violent claps of thunder, in such dreadful dispensations of His wisdom, as will be both amazing and terrifying.
And utter his voice from his holy habitation . . . from Heaven, as before. And though it will be terrible, yet quite consistent with His holiness and justice.
He shall mightily roar upon his habitation . . . the Temple at Jerusalem, where the LORD had His residence . . . but now would be deserted by Him, and they would feel the effects of His Holy wrath in the destruction and desolation of it. Since the lecture is made to the nations of the world, and not to the Jews, it may be considered, in or out of His habitation, and so means Heaven, as before. All these expressions are intended to show both the certainty and terribleness of God’s Holy and righteous wrath.
He shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth . . . or answer with a shout; giving the onset for battle against the inhabitants of the Earth, as the general of an army. Consider the following Scripture which is about the same thing. Rev. 14:19-20 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs. (KJV)
*****Roar, the image of a destructive lion (Isa. 42:13; Hos. 11:10; Joel 3:16; Amos 3:8). From his holy habitation, referring to His Home in Heaven. Shout . . . tread . . . grapes, the workers that trod the grapes sang and shouted as they did their work (Jer. 48:33; Isa. 16:9-10). The LORD is described as being like one whose garments are splattered with the blood of His enemies, just like the treader of grapes is covered by grape juice (Isa. 63:1-3). While God is merciful and gracious, He also judges His enemies very severely. These two opposite sides of His character must always be kept in mind, because He is a God of love but also a God of wrath.
*****The judgment would not be confined just to Israel. Babylon will be God's instrument of judgment, and we know from history that Babylon did become the first great world power which dominated all the nations of the civilized world at that time.
Jer. 25:31 A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD. (KJV)
A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth . . . wars, and rumors of wars (Mat.24:6), everywhere, until the cup has gone around, and all nations have drank of it and have felt the power of God’s wrath for their sins.
For the LORD hath a controversy with the nations . . . will enter into a judicial process with them and will fight the point with them, that it may be clearly seen who is in the right, and who is in the wrong.
He will plead with all flesh . . . or enter into judgment with them, or reprove them in judgment. He will be too much for them; He will overcome them in judgment, and rebuke and condemn them. He will make it clear that He does nothing unjustly, but all according to the strict rules of justice and equity.
He will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD . . . to be destroyed by it, and none but them. And seeing they are such that deserve it, He is not to be charged with unrighteousness in so doing.
Verses 32-33: The judgment of Judah, the nations and Babylon in history predicts the final judgment and the great battle that will overtake the entire Earth in the end times (Isa. 34:2-3). The empire of Antichrist is described as Babylon the Great (Rev. Chapters 16-19). In the Battle of Armageddon, the Antichrist will be the leader (Rev. 19:19), and his armies shall be defeated by the Word of Christ, a sharp sword (Rev. 19:15, 21).
Jer. 25:32 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. (KJV)
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation . . . begin in one nation, and go on to another, first in Judea, and then in Egypt; etc. Evil will be like fire, that first consumes one house and then another. And so shall the cup go round from nation to nation, before prophesied of. So beginning at Judea, one nation after another was destroyed by the king of Babylon. Then he and his monarchy were destroyed by the Medes and Persians. And then they by the Macedonians; and then the Greeks by the Romans.
And a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth . . . this was first verified in the Chaldean army under Nebuchadnezzar, compared to a whirlwind (Jer. 4:13), and then in the Medes and Persians under Cyrus. And after that in the Greeks under Alexander. The great and last of all in the Romans under Titus Vespasian. This is not just speaking of a local happening but is speaking of worldwide judgement that shall come on all the Earth. Mankind has a choice to repent and turn to God or face the horrible things Jeremiah says here.
*****This describes the tremendous movement of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, as he moved out over the civilized world in his day and brought even Egypt and Tyre and Sidon, these great powers, under his sovereignty. The verses that close this chapter give a graphic description of the day of the LORD'S anger with the nations and their shepherds or kings.
Jer. 25:33 And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground. (KJV)
And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth . . . that those who would be slain by commission from the LORD in this time of His judgments would be in all places, and so numerous.
They shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground . . . that there would be none left to lament for or to bury the dead. But the dead bodies would lie and rot upon the Earth, and be as muck to it (Jer. 16:4).
*****Jerusalem was attacked and many died, so this is speaking of massive death. When Babylon took Jerusalem, there was no time to bury the dead, they were left for the vultures and the wild animals. This is speaking of the same thing on a more massive scale. It is even on a global scale. Rev. 19:17-18 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; 18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. (KJV)
Desolation among the Shepherds and
Their Flocks and Pastures (Jer.25:34-38)
Jer. 25:34 Howl, ye shepherds, and cry; and wallow yourselves in the ashes, ye principal of the flock: for the days of your slaughter and of your dispersions are accomplished; and ye shall fall like a pleasant vessel. (KJV)
Howl, ye shepherds, and cry . . . here Jeremiah returns to speaking to the Jews and their rulers, using the same image as in verse 30.
And wallow yourselves in the ashes . . . cover yourselves with ashes, as one who rolls in them, and howls and wails as a symbol of sorrow (Jer. 6:26; Eze. 27:30; Mic.1:8-10).
Ye principal of the flock . . . the leaders (Isa. 14:9; Jer.50:8; Zec. 10:3).
For the days of your slaughter and of your dispersions are accomplished . . . the days for slaughter, means the time of their being killed. And your dispersions have come.
And ye shall fall like a pleasant vessel . . . Israel was once a pleasant vessel, but ye shall fall, and be a broken vessel (Jer. 22:28). Your past quality shall not render you safe now. The LORD will now turn to their disgrace whatever glory He had given them.
*****This is speaking of all those who have represented the LORD on this Earth. Wallowing in the ashes shows extreme mourning for the things happening. The shepherd speaks of the preacher or prophet, who has led a group of people. This howling is the same as that (Rev. Chapter 18), when Babylon the great falls. Babylon is not only a city, but is the symbol of all evil. The wickedness on the unrepentant people has come.
Jer. 25:35 And the shepherds shall have no way to flee, nor the principal of the flock to escape. (KJV)
And the shepherds shall have no way to flee . . . there will be no way to flee for these shepherds. Although they may try to run, they will not be able to do it. Neither their dignity, the greatness of their power or the abundance of their riches, would make a way for them, because their enemies are so many, powerful and watchful.
Nor the principal of the flock to escape . . . this was especially verified in Zedekiah and his princes (Jer. 39:4).
*****Just as Jeremiah was there in Jerusalem to see the destruction, these wicked shepherds will see the destruction too.
Jer. 25:36 A voice of the cry of the shepherds, and an howling of the principal of the flock, shall be heard: for the LORD hath spoiled their pasture. (KJV)
A voice of the cry of the shepherds . . . of the kings and leaders.
And a howling of the principal of the flock, shall be heard . . . of the mighty ones of the people. What is before called for, is here represented as in fact, because of the certainty of it.
For the LORD hath spoiled their pasture . . . their pasture is their kingdoms, provinces, cities and towns, or their people, among whom they lived, and by whom they were supported. Still keeping up the symbol of the shepherd and flock, the LORD is said to do because He commanded it to be done as a punishment for their sins.
Jer. 25:37 And the peaceable habitations are cut down because of the fierce anger of the LORD. (KJV)
And the peaceable habitations are cut down . . . or the peaceable ones, the palaces and stately dwellings, in which they lived in great splendor and prosperity and in great peace, plenty and safety, are destroyed by the enemy, and are laid waste, and become desolate. Even those shepherds that lived at peace and quietly, and did not disturb themselves, nor disturbed others. But, as is usual in times of war, they share the same fate with their neighbors, who have been more troublesome and aggressive.
Because of the fierce anger of the LORD . . . the peaceable habitations shall be destroyed by the fierce anger of the LORD. He used His enemies as instruments in the destruction of them. Sin is the reason of God's wrath and fierce anger . . . and His wrath and anger is the cause of the destruction of wicked men and their lifestyles.
Jer. 25:38 He hath forsaken his covert, as the lion: for their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the oppressor, and because of his fierce anger. (KJV)
He hath forsaken his covert, as the lion . . . covert means lair, den, pavilion or tabernacle. A lion who leaves his lair is looking for something to kill and eat, which explains the fierceness of the anger of God upon the church and its people who have committed spiritual adultery.
For their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the oppressor . . . fierceness of the oppressor . . the word sword is understood (Jer. 46:16; 50:16), some manuscripts read sword instead of fierceness here.
And because of his fierce anger . . . His fierce anger . . . if the anger of Nebuchadnezzar cannot be avoided, how much less than that of Almighty God (Verse 37).
*****Just as a lion leaves his lair and enters the pasture and devastates the flock, so too will God act against Judah. The picture is that of God abandoning His Temple, where His glory had resided since the days of Solomon (1 Ki. 8:11). But now, the sin of Judah would drive Him away (Eze. 8:6).
The LORD has just ground of controversy with every nation and every person; and He will execute judgment on all the wicked. Who can avoid trembling when God speaks in displeasure? The days are fully come; the time fixed in the Divine counsels, which will make the nations completely desolate. The tender and delicate shall share the common calamity. Even those who used to live in peace, and did nothing to provoke, shall not escape. Blessed be our God, for there is a peaceable habitation above, for all the sons of peace. The LORD will preserve His church and all believers in all changes; for nothing can separate them from His love (Rom.8:38-39).
The Seventy Years Prophecy
This prophecy is famous in regard of its fixing the exact space of time in which the Jews abode in the captivity of Babylon, seventy years. When they were determined we are plainly enough told (Ezr.1:1), in the first year of Cyrus the king of Persia, but when they began is more disputed; for we read of three carryings into that captivity: the one in the third and fourth year of Jehoiakim, when it would seem that Nebuchadrezzar only carried away a few persons to be bred in his court, amongst whom were Daniel and the three children (Dan.1:1-2), a second seven years after, in Jeconiah's time (2 Ki.24:15-16); the last and most general, eleven years after, in the eleventh year of Zedekiah. It seems most probable that the seventy years must be calculated from the second; for Jeremiah (Jer.29:1), writing to those then in captivity, tells them that when seventy years should be accomplished, God would bring them back.
Seventy years (Jer.27:7). The exact number of years of Sabbaths in four hundred ninety years, the period from Saul to the Babylonian captivity; and was righteous retribution for their violation of the Sabbath (Lev. 26:34, 35; 2 Chr. 36:21). Some say that the seventy years probably begin from the fourth year of Jehoiakim, when Jerusalem was first captured, and many captives, as well as the treasures of the Temple, were carried away. They end with the first year of Cyrus, who, on taking Babylon, issued an edict for the restoration of the Jews (Ezr.1:1). Daniel's seventy prophetic weeks are based on the seventy years of the captivity (Dan.9:2, 24).
Seventy years is the normal lifespan of an individual (Ps. 90:10; Isa. 23:15). Historically this can be applied in two different ways. First, it could apply to the period from the first deportation in 605 B.C. to the end of the exile in 539/38 B.C. which is how Daniel, who had been taken in that initial group (Dan. 1:1-4), understood the duration (Dan. 9:1, 2). Second, it might apply to the period from the destruction of the Temple in 587/86 B.C. until it was rebuilt in 516/15 B.C. which is how Zechariah (1:12) reckoned the 70 years (Jer. 29:10).
The seventy years of captivity have been calculated differently. Some consider the number 70 to be a mere round number of a normal life span (Ps.90:10; Isa. 23:15). Others take the 70 years to be literal, but do not agree as to the starting point of the period. The two most widely held dates for the years involved in the prophecy are: (1). 605-536 B.C., beginning with the captivity of Daniel and ending with the return under Sheshbazzar and Zerubbabel (Dan.9:1-2; 2 Chr. 36:20-23; Ezra 1:1-3); and (2). 586-516 B.C., from the date of Jerusalem’s fall until the rebuilding of the Temple by Israel’s returning exiles (Hag.1:1-15).
I believe this 70 years of captivity in Babylon to be literal years. It appears that Daniel believed the 70 years to be literal as well. Dan. 9:1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; 2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. (KJV)
It appears from this, that Daniel knew Jeremiah and had great respect for his prophecies.
The seventy-year period of time is very important. When the people of Israel were about to enter the land, the LORD told them that every seventh year was to be a Sabbath in which the ground was to lie fallow (Lev.25). Not only did God promise blessing if His Word was obeyed, but He also warned of judgment if it was disobeyed. If they walked contrary to Him, He would walk contrary to them. We must consider that God foresaw their disobedience. Lev. 26:34-35 Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies' land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. 35 As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it. (KJV)
For about 490 years the Sabbatical year was not kept . . . seventy Sabbaths had been neglected. God tells the people through Jeremiah that for seventy years they will live in a strange country while their land has its rest. Then after the lost Sabbatical years have been made up, Israel will be permitted to return to the land. Read what Jeremiah says.
Book of Jeremiah
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