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Jeremiah Chapter 49
Theme: Prophecies to nations surrounding Israel
The people who had been left Judah made the mistake of going down to Egypt. Their going there was in disobedience to God, and they in reality, went out of the frying pan into the fire. The war was over in the land of Israel. No enemy would want to come in to take that land now. The cities had been absolutely run over, burned, nothing was left except debris and wreckage. Only the ashes of a former civilization was left there. The remnant should have stayed. They could have built up their land, but instead they ran to Egypt. They did not know it, but Egypt would be the next big campaign of King Nebuchadnezzar. When he took Egypt, he would take these people for the second time. They would be captured again and they would suffer again. They thought they were running away from war, but instead ran head first into a war! They thought they were going to a land where they would have plenty to eat. They thought only of safety and full stomachs, but it did not work out that way!
Dear one, when our attitudes, actions and goals are not centered on a desire to live for the LORD, when God's Word is no longer our guide, we have sunk to a shaky low that will never bring peace, plenty or prosperity! History has great lessons to teach us IF we will just listen.
This chapter continues God's prophecies through Jeremiah concerning the judgment which was coming to the nations surrounding Israel.
The cup of trembling is still going around, and all the nations must drink of it, according to the instructions given to Jeremiah: 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) Chapter 49 puts the cup into the hands, (1). The Ammonites (vs. 1-6). (2). The Edomites (vs. 7-22). (3). The Syrians (v. 23-27). (4). The Kedarenes, and the kingdoms of Hazor (vs. 28-33). (5). The Elamites (v. 34-39).
The Cup of Trembling (Isa.51:17, 22; Zec.12:2), still goes around, and now all the nations around Israel must drink from it, according to the instructions given to Jeremiah by the LORD.
Prophecy of the Ammonites (49:1-6)
Jer. 49:1 Concerning the Ammonites, thus saith the LORD; Hath Israel no sons? hath he no heir? why then doth their king inherit Gad, and his people dwell in his cities?
Concerning the Ammonites, thus saith the LORD . . . to the Ammonites or against them, for what is said by the LORD, concerns them, their sins and their punishment, and is directed to them, and is a threat against them.
Hath Israel no sons? hath he no heir? . . . certainly Israel has sons who should possess the land. This is to be understood not of the ten tribes, sometimes called Israel, as being separate from the other two tribes; for these had long been ago carried captive, and left no heirs of their tribes. But of all Israel, including the tribes of Judah and Benjamin; who, though their brethren of the ten tribes were carried captive, and left no children to inherit, yet, being next in blood, were lawful heirs of their lands and possessions.
Why then doth their king inherit Gad? . . . that part of the land of Israel which belonged to the tribe of Gad; this, when the ten tribes were carried captive by the king of Assyria, and the Gadites among the rest, was seized on by the Ammonites, with their king at the head of them, and who might also pretend relationship, as being the children of Lot, the brother's son of Abraham. The Ammonites having gotten possession of the land, set up their idol in it, where temples were built for him, and altars erected, and sacrifices offered to him, so that he might be said to inherit it; and which must be very offensive to, and highly resented by the God of Israel.
And his people dwelt in his cities . . . the Ammonites dwelt in the cities belonging to the tribe of Gad, as if they were their own; who are called the people of Milcom or Molech, just as the Moabites are called the people of Chemosh, from the idol they worshipped (Jer.48>46).
*****The setting of this prophecy is not specifically given. After the fall of Samaria, Ammon expanded its territory to include some of the vacated territory. The prophet Amos took note of Ammon's fondness for seizing the territory of others (Am.1:13-15). Ammon was also behind the plot to kill Gedaliah (Jer.40:14). This treachery might have been what brought about this prophecy. The Israelites that had occupied the Transjordan, the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh (Num.32:20-22; Jos.1:12-15), were removed by Tiglath-pileser III in 733/34 B.C. Ammon, like Moab, was descended from Lot; her land lay north of Moab, from which it was separated by the Arnon River, and east of Reuben and Gad (Jos.13:24-25) on the same side of Jordan. It seized Gad when Israel was carried captive.
Jer. 49:2 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will cause an alarm of war to be heard in Rabbah of the Ammonites; and it shall be a desolate heap, and her daughters shall be burned with fire: then shall Israel be heir unto them that were his heirs, saith the LORD. (KJV)
Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD . . . they did come, in a very short time after this prophecy.
That I will cause an alarm of war to be heard in Rabbah of the Ammonites , . . Rabbah was the capital of the Ammonites in the times of David (1 Ki.11:1). This city the LORD threatens with war. The Chaldean army under Nebuchadnezzar, about five years after the destruction of Jerusalem, subdued the Ammonites, as Josephus states; and it shall be a desolate heap; be utterly destroyed; its walls broken down, and houses demolished, and made a heap of rubbish.
Her daughters shall be burnt with fire . . . Rabbah was the mother city, and the other cities of the Ammonites were her daughters, which are threatened to be destroyed with fire by the enemy; or it may mean the villages round about Rabbah, it being usual in Scripture for villages to be called the daughters of cities (Eze.16:46).
Then shall Israel be heirs unto them that were his heirs, saith the LORD . . . Israel shall inherit their land again, which the Ammonites pretended to be the lawful heirs of . . . and not only possess their own land, but the land of Ammon too. This was fulfilled not immediately upon the destruction of Ammon, but in part upon the return of the Jews from the Babylon captivity, when they repossessed their own country; and partly in the times of the Maccabees, when they subdued the Ammonites.
Jer. 49:3 Howl, O Heshbon, for Ai is spoiled: cry, ye daughters of Rabbah, gird you with sackcloth; lament, and run to and fro by the hedges; for their king shall go into captivity, and his priests and his princes together. (KJV)
Howl, O Heshbon . . . Heshbon was a city of Moab, though it formerly belonged to the Amorites (Jer.48:2); it was on the border of Ammon, near to Ai, now destroyed. Therefore it is called upon to howl and lament, because its destruction was also near at hand. Some say that the Ammonites were destroyed before the Moabites: but others have thought that Heshbon was a double city, divided by a river, which ran through it; and that that city which was on one side of the river belonged to Moab, and that on the other side to Ammon.
For Ai is spoiled . . . Ai was not that which was near Jericho in the land of Canaan, but a city in the land of Ammon, thought to be the Gaia of Ptolemy; this seems to be the first city in the country of Ammon that Nebuchadnezzar would lay waste.
Cry, ye daughters of Rabbah . . . Rabbah, the royal city before mentioned (verse 2); either the inhabitants of it, particularly the women, especially the younger women, who would be in the utmost distress on hearing the enemy was so near them, and what had befallen Ai.
Gird ye with sackcloth . . . as a token of calamity and mourning for it, as was usual.
Lament, and run to and fro by the hedges . . . some understand the hedges to be enclosures or fences of villages, like those of gardens, fields and folds, different from walls of cities, and fortified places; but others think it signifies the hedges in the fields, where being driven from their habitations, they would seek for shelter, and run about among them for safety, mourning their unhappy case.
For their king shall go into captivity; be taken and carried captive . . . either their principal governor; or rather Milcom their god, since it follows,
And his priests and his princes together . . . both priests and princes offering sacrifices to this idol, attending and supporting his worship: the same is said of Chemosh, the god of the Moabites (Jer.48:7).
Jer. 49:4 Wherefore gloriest thou in the valleys, thy flowing valley, O backsliding
daughter? that trusted in her treasures, saying, Who shall come unto me? (KJV)
Wherefore gloriest thou in the valleys, thy flowing valley . . . either flowing with water, or plenty of corn and grass.
O backsliding daughter? . . . the whole kingdom of Ammon is meant, all the people of it; who, descending from righteous Lot, may be called backsliders; and also being idolaters, revolting from the TRUE God, to worship idols. Backsliding = headstrong, rebellious, stubborn, as all backsliders are.
That trusteth in her treasures, saying, Who shall come unto me? . . . dwelling in valleys encompassed with mountains, and in fortified cities, and abounding in wealth and riches, whereby they were able to obtain men and arms to defend themselves; thinking that they were safe from any enemy, and that none could come close to them, and so lived at ease, and in great security.
Jer 49:5 Behold, I will bring a fear upon thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts, from all those that be about thee; and ye shall be driven out every man right forth; and none shall gather up him that wandereth. (KJV)
Behold, I will bring a fear upon thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts . . . the terrible army of the Chaldeans, which should strike them with a panic; who thought themselves so secure in their fortresses, trusting in their riches.
From all those that be about thee . . . meaning either from the Chaldeans, and the neighboring nations, that join and surround the Ammonites on all sides; or from all the borders of Ammon round about, where they would come; there would be a fear all round, a magormissabib. .Jer.20:3 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Pashur brought forth Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then said Jeremiah unto him, The LORD hath not called thy name Pashur, but Magormissabib. (KJV)
And ye shall be driven out every man right forth . . . driven out of their houses, cities and villages, never looking behind to see what had become of their families and friends; every one having more than enough to do to provide for his own safety. Right forth . . . you shall be glad to run, and never look back.
And none shall gather up him that wandereth . . . the stragglers that do not know which way to take, and where to run for safety. Everyone will just be intent on their own safety, that they will not concern themselves with others, to take them under their care; to take those that are on foot upon their horses or carriages, whom they overtake; or into their houses. Gather up . . . none will receive or take an interest in you.
Jer. 49:6 And afterward I will bring again the captivity of the children of Ammon, saith the LORD. (KJV)
And afterwards I will bring again the captivity of the children of Ammon, saith the LORD . . . maybe by Cyrus; for in the times of Judas Maccabeus, the children of Ammon were again a great and mighty people. Bring again the captivity . . . the captivity would be reversed. For the sake of righteous Lot their ancestor, the Ammonites will be restored (Jer.48:47) in the Messianic Age, just like their relatives in Moab.
Prophecy of the Edomites (Jer.49:7-22)
Jer. 49:7 Concerning Edom, thus saith the LORD of hosts; Is wisdom no more in Teman? is counsel perished from the prudent? is their wisdom vanished? (KJV)
Concerning Edom, thus saith the LORD of hosts . . . thus saith the LORD against the Idumeans, the posterity of Esau, who was called Edom. Some think this respects time yet future, and points at the destruction of Rome and the Romans, who with the Jews frequently go by the name of Edom. Others think that the Jews are meant, and their destruction, with whom the Idumeans were incorporated before the coming of Christ, and had Herod, an Idumean, king over them; but it seems best to understand the prophecy literally of the Idumeans themselves.
Is wisdom no more in Teman? . . . Teman was a city in Edom, which had its name from Teman, a grandson of Esau (Gen.36:11); whose descendants were called Temanites; one of which was Eliphaz, a friend of Job's (Job 2:11). It was a principal city, famous for men of wisdom; such as the person just mentioned. Maybe the grand senate of the country, or the chief counsellors, lived here; where schemes were formed for the good of the country in times of war or peace; or schools were kept here for the instruction of persons in various arts and sciences; and which had continued to this time, but now would be no more.
Is counsel perished from the prudent? . . . it was so, even from those that were the most famous for being careful and understanding men; they were now at their wits' end, and knew not what course to take, nor what advice to give, in this their time of distress.
Is their wisdom vanished?. . . or corrupted? According to the Rabbinical sense of the word; infatuated, and become good for nothing? Truly their wisdom was good for nothing, it was useless, disregarded and despised.
*****Edom, the Edomites were the posterity of Esau the eldest son of Isaac, but was disinherited (Gen.25). The blessing was given to his younger brother Jacob, who was head of the twelve tribes of Israel. The LORD promised him that he should have a fat, and plentiful country, even though his brother would be his lord; and foretold, that he would break his brother's yoke from off his neck (Gen.27:40): the land of Seir was his country. The Edomites drifted southward upon Canaan, the Israelites passed by their coasts to go into Canaan, their way lay through Edom, but their king refusing to allow them to go through, God ordered them to go another way. Balaam prophesied their ruin. They were enemies to the Israelites in the time of Saul, David and Amaziah, who slew ten thousand of them, and took Selah, calling it Joktheel (2 Ki,14:7). Many of God’s prophets foretold their ruin; Jeremiah, here in verse 7, Ezekiel 25:12-14, Joel 3:19, Amos 9:11-12, and others. Teman was a city of Edom.
Jer. 49:8 Flee ye, turn back, dwell deep, O inhabitants of Dedan; for I will bring the calamity of Esau upon him, the time that I will visit him. (KJV)
Flee ye, turn back, dwell deep, O inhabitants of Dedan . . . Dedan was a city of Arabia adjoining Idumea (Isa.21:13), they being neighbours to the Edomites are called to flee, and to get into caves, where they might dwell deep in the earth and have some security.
For I will bring the calamity of Esau upon him; which was determined concerning him, threatened to him, and was his just reward; meaning the utter destruction of the whole land.
The time that I will visit him . . . the time of his visitation; the time the LORD fixed to visit him in a way of wrath and punishment being come,
Jer. 49:9 If grapegatherers come to thee, would they not leave some gleaning grapes? if thieves by night, they will destroy till they have enough. (KJV)
If grape gatherers come to thee, would they not leave some gleaning grapes? . . . if gatherers of grapes, at the time of the vintage, should come into thy fields to gather the grapes, being ripe, would not they leave some for the poor to glean? Without a doubt they would, they would not take every bunch.
If thieves by night, they will destroy till they have enough . . . thieves who break into houses by night, will eat and drink until they are full, and carry off what serves their purpose; but seldom do take away everything in a house; they leave some things behind them . . . whereas it is suggested that the Chaldeans would take ALL away from the Edomites, leaving nothing (Oba.1:5).
Jer. 49:10 But I have made Esau bare, I have uncovered his secret places, and he shall not be able to hide himself: his seed is spoiled, and his brethren, and his neighbours, and he is not. (KJV)
But I have made Esau bare . . . but the LORD has made Esau bare by the hand of the Chaldeans; stripping everything valuable in his cities, castles, villages, people, wealth, and treasure.
I have uncovered his secret places . . . showing the Chaldeans where Esau’s substance and people were hidden; and they took everything.
And he shall not be able to hide himself . . . not even in his deep caves and dens of the earth, the enemy shall find him.
His seed is spoiled, and his brethren, and his neighbours . . . his children and his brethren, the Ammonites and Moabites; and his neighbors, the Philistines; or as many as were with him, and belonged to him.
And he is not . . . after all this, his kingdom is no more! Esau is no more a people and nation, because all are destroyed by the sword, or carried captive.
Jer. 49:11 Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in me. (KJV)
Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive . . . it is not clear who is speaking these words of compassion . . . it could be God, or maybe a kind survivor. Leave them with me; I will provide for them; they shall have food and raiment, and lack nothing to make them comfortable. To have such a friend, promising such things to a man, when he is forced to flee and leave his family, or is at the point of death, should certainly make him feel easy; but there would be none of the Edomites left to say such kind words, or do such a friendly part.
And let thy widows trust in me . . . let your widows trust in me; which, these could be considered as the words of God, for they certainly agree perfectly with Him, for He is the Father of the fatherless, and Judge of the widows (Ps.68:5); giving great encouragement to persons in such situations, to place their confidence in Him; for it is always right to do so.
Jer. 49:12 For thus saith the LORD; Behold, they whose judgment was not to drink of the cup have assuredly drunken; and art thou he that shall altogether go unpunished? thou shalt not go unpunished, but thou shalt surely drink of it. (KJV)
For thus saith the LORD . . . what follows shows that what was said before is not said by way of promise and comfort, but as a threat of what is to come.
Behold, they whose judgment was not to drink of the cup have assuredly drunken . . . meaning some of the other nations, who had not dealt so badly with the Jews as Edom had, at least their sins were not as aggravated as Edom’s were; they being kin to the Jews, and having used them in a very cruel and scornful way.
And art thou he that shalt altogether go unpunished? . . . if lesser sinners are not let go free, how would anyone think that the greater ones should, especially if judgment had begun at God's own people, the wicked Edomite, could not expect to escape. Art thou he that shall altogether go unpunished? . . . a similar form of speech appears in: 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) . . . Others, less wicked than they, have been punished, how can they expect to escape? They shalt not escape.
Thou shalt not go unpunished, but thou shalt surely drink of it . . . the cup of God’s Holy wrath and vengeance has just inflicted punishment as He had threatened them. When an Israelite has not escaped the justice of God, an Edomite cannot expect it.
Jer. 49:13 For I have sworn by myself, saith the LORD, that Bozrah shall become a desolation, a reproach, a waste, and a curse; and all the cities thereof shall be perpetual wastes. (KJV)
For I have sworn by myself, saith the LORD . . . this he did, because the LORD could swear by no greater, and to show the certain and infallible accomplishment of the event, and the importance of it; and which was so extraordinary, that it was scarcely thought reliable, therefore an oath is used to confirm it.
That Bozrah shall become a desolation, a reproach, a waste, and a curse . . . not Rome as some think; nor Jerusalem, nor Bozrah of Moab (Jer.48:24); but Bozrah of Idumea (Isa.63:1), the royal city of Edom. This would be completely destroyed, and be spoken of shamefully, and used to express a curse. It may be put for the whole country of Edom, since Bozrah was the capital.
And all the cities thereof shall be perpetual wastes . . . either those in the neighborhood of Bozrah, and belonging to it, it being the capital or mother city; or all the cities in the land of Edom; so general would be the desolation.
Jer. 49:14 I have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent unto the heathen, saying, Gather ye together, and come against her, and rise up to the battle. (KJV)
I have heard a rumour from the LORD . . . a report concerning the destruction of Edom, made to him in a dream or vision, by the Spirit of God, as a spirit of prophecy.
And an ambassador is sent to the Heathen . . . a messenger from God to stir up the Chaldeans against Edom.
Saying, gather ye together, and come against her, and rise up to the battle . . . get your forces together, and come against Bozrah or Edom, to invade and subdue it. Attack it in a military way, do not doubt victory (Oba.1:1).
*****An ambassador . . . speaking in the way of earthly princes, who would send their representatives to other princes to state what was on their minds to them. The LORD has motivated them to come against Edom, so here we have the call to battle for the Chaldeans.
Jer. 49:15 For, lo, I will make thee small among the heathen, and despised among men. (KJV)
For, lo, I will make thee small among the Heathen . . . David and Joab had already humbled Edom (2.Sam.8:14), but this means what Edom would be, which was the reason of gathering the Chaldeans against them, to reduce their number, weaken their strength, and destroy their substance, making them a small, weak and contemptible people.
And despised among men . . . because of the fewness of their men, the devastation of their country, the depletion of their wealth and riches, their poverty and cruelty (Oba.1:2).
*****Edom shall be totally destroyed; their destruction would NOT be like the gleaning of grapes, where the gatherers were content with taking just the principal clusters: nor like thieves, who take for their hunger, and when they have enough leave the rest.
Jer. 49:16 Thy terribleness hath deceived thee, and the pride of thine heart, O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, that holdest the height of the hill: though thou shouldest make thy nest as high as the eagle, I will bring thee down from thence, saith the LORD. (KJV)
Thy terribleness hath deceived thee, and the pride of thine heart . . . some render thy terribleness asthine idol (1 Ki.15:13). Obadiah in his prophecy against Edom uses similar expressions (Oba.1:3-4).
O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock . . . Edom was a mountainous country, here it is said the Edomites dwelled in the clefts of the rocks, meaning places that they thought were not reachable and accessible, high in the hills. But the LORD lets them know that there was NO place that He could not reach.
That holdest the height of the hill . . . that dwelt on the tops of hills and mountains, and in towers and fortified places built upon them, some think it refers to Mount Seir.
Though thou shouldest make thy nest as high as the eagle, I will bring thee down from thence, saith the LORD . . . for if they dwell as high as the eagle, yet the LORD would bring them down, even though they might think themselves safe.
Jer. 49:17 Also Edom shall be a desolation: every one that goeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss at all the plagues thereof. (KJV)
Also Edom shall be a desolation . . . not only Bozrah, its principal city, before spoken of, but the whole country of Idumea would be laid waste; its fortified cities destroyed; its riches plundered; and its inhabitants slain with the sword; or carried captive.
Everyone that goeth by it shall be astonished; at the desolation made, so suddenly and so universally.
And shall hiss at all the plagues thereof . . . shall rejoice at them; clap their hands, and shake their heads, and hiss with their tongues, insulting and ridiculing them.
Jer.49:18 As in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbour cities thereof, saith the LORD, no man shall abide there, neither shall a son of man dwell in it. (KJV)
As in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah . . . which was so sudden and general, that nothing was left, or any spared; so would it be with Edom.
And the neighbour cities thereof, saith the LORD . . . the cities that were in the plain, Admah and Zeboim.
No man shall abide there, neither shall a son of man dwell in it . . . meaningthe race of Edom; no Idumean would inhabit it; otherwise those who conquered it would, and no doubt did. There seems to be some reference to the Dead Sea, these cities became, to which Edom is compared, and so were quite uninhabitable.
Jer. 49:19 Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the swelling of Jordan against the habitation of the strong: but I will suddenly make him run away from her: and who is a chosen man, that I may appoint over her? for who is like me? and who will appoint me the time? and who is that shepherd that will stand before me? (KJV)
Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the swelling of Jordan . . . He, Almighty God shall send His agent Nebuchadnezzar to the Edomites. The Edomites shall come out against the Chaldeans like a lion, as lions lurking about Jordan when it overflows, coming out to take their prey.
Against the habitation of the strong . . . the land of Edom, a country well-fortified, in which mighty men lived; mainly on Mount Seir, where their king was, and which was the fold of the mighty, the mighty shepherd or the strong place.
But I will make him suddenly run away from her . . . either the mighty shepherd, the king of Edom, from his fold, upon the approach of the lion, the king of Babylon. I will cause him to run upon it suddenly, causing the king of Babylon to come quickly into the land of Edom, seize it, conquer and be master of it.
And who is a chosen man that I may appoint over her? . . . a choice person in Nebuchadnezzar's army, fit to be made a deputy governor over the land of Edom?
For who is like me? . . . for wisdom and power; able to do whatever I please, and to furnish those with proper abilities to perform and accomplish whatever I give them in charge and commission to do.
And who will appoint me the time? . . . set a time to dispute the matter with me, or engage in war against me.
And who is that shepherd that will stand before me? . . . what king, what prince or ruler, who, in Scripture are often called shepherds? The king of Edom is mainly pointed to, whose habitation or fold is before mentioned. What could such a shepherd do? How could he possibly stand before the Almighty God, or any lion He should send? The Sovereign God will appoint the shepherd, political leader or conqueror over the land.
Jer.49:20 Therefore hear the counsel of the LORD, that he hath taken against Edom; and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the inhabitants of Teman: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out: surely he shall make their habitations desolate with them. (KJV)
Therefore hear the counsel of the LORD that he hath taken against Edom . . . the decree and purpose of the LORD, that He had taken into His Heart against the Idumeans, which was wisely formed, and upon just and good grounds.
And his purposes that he hath purposed against the inhabitants of Teman . . . a principal place in Edom, the inhabitants of which were famous for their wisdom (verse 7), and are here mentioned; there being no wisdom, nor understanding, nor counsel against the LORD, that would frustrate God’s purposes and plans, and which have always had and always will have their result (Pro.19:21).
Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out . . . not the Persians, the least of the sons of Japheth, nor the Israelites, particularly Rachel's sons, or the posterity of Joseph and Benjamin; but the common soldiers, the weakest and most feeble in the Chaldean army. Since princes are compared to shepherds, their people are like flocks; and now the least of these in Babylon's army would be a match for the strongest Edomites. They would draw them out of their dwellings, as dogs or wolves drag sheep out of the folds, and drag dead carcasses and devour them.
Surely he shall make their habitations desolate with them . . . the sheep shall be destroyed, and their folds shall be demolished. The inhabitants of Edom shall be slain with the sword, and their cities, towns, and villages, shall be laid waste. The weakest, the least of Nebuchadrezzar's forces shall drag them out of their lurking places.
Jer. 49:21 The earth is moved at the noise of their fall, at the cry the noise thereof was heard in the Red sea. (KJV)
The earth is moved at the noise of their fall . . . the fall of the Edomites; whose fall was from the height of greatness and glory to a very low condition. As the old saying goes: The higher they are, the harder they fall, and so it was with the Edomites. Possibly there may be a reference to the falling of rocks and hills, with which Edom abounded. This may regard either the noise and shout of the conquerors, when the Edomites fell, or the cry of the Edomites, when taken and destroyed; or the report of their destruction, when it came into the world.
At the cry, the noise thereof was heard in the Red sea . . . the ruin of the Edomites shall be so great, that all nations round about it shall be affected at the noise of their fall; and even though the Red Sea, or the weedy sea, is at a great distance from them, yet the noise shall reach there.
Jer. 49:22 Behold, he shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread his wings over Bozrah: and at that day shall the heart of the mighty men of Edom be as the heart of a woman in her pangs. (KJV)
Behold, he shall come up, and fly as the eagle . . . the king of Babylon with his army is compared to an eagle for his swiftness and greed, as before it was to a lion for his strength and fierceness.
And spread his wings over Bozrah . . . besiege that city, seize it; very fitly are the wings of an army expressed by the wings of this bird, meaning both their extent and force; the same is said concerning Moab (Jer.48:40).
And at that day shall the heart of the mighty men of Moab be as the heart of a woman in her pangs . . . when just ready to be delivered; not only weak and nervous, but full of anguish and quite discouraged. Jer. 48:41 Kerioth is taken, and the strong holds are surprised, and the mighty men's hearts in Moab at that day shall be as the heart of a woman in her pangs. (KJV)
Prophecy of the Syrians (Jer. 49:23-27)
Jer. 49:23 Concerning Damascus. Hamath is confounded, and Arpad: for they have heard evil tidings: they are fainthearted; there is sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet. (KJV)
Concerning Damascus . . . this is to be understood, not only of the city of Damascus, but of the whole kingdom of Syria, of which Damascus was the capital (Isa.7:8).
Hamath is confounded, and Arpad . . . two cities in Syria; the first is thought to be Antioch of Syria, sometimes called Epiphania; and the other the same as Arvad, inhabited by the Aradians (2 Ki.18:34). The inhabitants of them were covered with shame, thrown into utmost confusion and dismay.
For they have heard evil tidings . . . of the Chaldean army invading the land of Syria, and of their coming against them; and possibly of their taking of Damascus their capital city. all which must be bad news unto them, and give them great uneasiness.
They are fainthearted . . . their hearts melted like wax, and flowed like water; they had no heart nor spirit left in them, because of fear of the enemy.
There is sorrow in the sea, it cannot be quiet. . . their courage would fail them, they would be as troubled as the sea is in a great storm, or as the people that lived near the sea would be troubled.
Jer. 49:24 Damascus is waxed feeble, and turneth herself to flee, and fear hath seized on her: anguish and sorrows have taken her, as a woman in travail. (KJV)
Damascus is waxed feeble . . . the inhabitants of Damascus, her hands hang down, not being able through fear to lift them up against the enemy.
And turneth herself to flee . . . instead of going out to meet the enemy, the inhabitants of this city considered running, and turned their backs to him so they could flee from him, and escape, but fell into his hands.
And fear hath seized on her . . . instead of seizing arms, and laying hold on them to defend herself, she seized on fear; or fear seized on her, and made her not able to stand up in her own defense.
Anguish and sorrows have taken her as a woman in travail. . . see verse 22. A phrase often used to express the sudden and inevitable destruction of a people, and their distress and inability to help themselves.
Jer.49:25 How is the city of praise not left, the city of my joy! (KJV)
How is the city of praise not left . . . the city of Damascus, famous for its antiquity, its wealth and riches, strength and power; and with the heathens for its devotion and superstition. It is called the city of praise, because it was a city highly praised, a city well known, which the prophet sees it to be destroyed, laments either for the king of Syria, or of the Syrian inhabitants.
The city of my joy! . . . these are either the words of the prophet, who had a great regard to the city of Damascus as ancient, well built and wealthy city, and laments its destruction, or maybe the king of it, who said this to one another as they fled (Amos 1:3-5).
Jer.49:26 Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, and all the men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the LORD of hosts. (KJV)
Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets . . . this is the LORD stating how it would be . . . her young men, her choice ones on whom its future prosperity depended; these would fall by the sword of the Chaldeans in the streets of the city, when they entered and took it.
And all the men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the LORD of hosts . . . soldiers and officers, men of strength and valor in whom the inhabitants of Damascus trusted for their defense; these would be cut off by the sword of the enemy at the time of the siege.
Jer.49:27 And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Benhadad. (KJV)
And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus . . . meaning that either a breach being made there to destroy the city would begin, and be carried on until it was completed; or that the houses built upon the wall would be set on fire by the Chaldeans, through the Divine permission, and according to His order and will, and therefore ascribed to Him, which would proceed further.
And it shall consume the palaces of Benhadad . . . not only the houses of the common people in general, but particularly the palaces of their king and his nobles. Benhadad being a name of one of the kings of Syria 1 Ki.20:1); and which, according to some was the name of the king of Syria at the time of the destruction of Damascus by Nebuchadnezzar. Benhadad was a common name of the kings of Syria, as Pharaoh and Ptolemy was with the Egyptians. It means the son of Hadad, which was the name of their idol; and was usual with the Assyrians and Babylonians.
Prophecy of the Kedarenes, and the Kingdoms of Hazor (Jer.49:28-33)
Jer. 49:28 Concerning Kedar, and concerning the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon shall smite, thus saith the LORD; Arise ye, go up to Kedar, and spoil the men of the east. (KJV)
Concerning Kedar, and concerning the kingdoms of Hazor . . . Hazor was the head city to several kingdoms in Joshua's time. This is a new prophecy concerning the Arabians; for Kedar was a son of Ishmael (Gen.25:13); whose successors inhabited Arabia Petraea. Hazor was Petra itself, the capital of the country, whose king had several minor kings and kingdoms under him. This is not the Hazor in the land of Canaan destroyed by Joshua, which had been the head of several kingdoms; and where Jabin king of Canaan afterwards reigned (Jos.11:10; Jud.4:2); though some think that some of those Hazorites in Joshua's time made their escape, and fled into these parts, and built a city, and called it Hazor.
Which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon shall smite, thus saith the LORD . . . this is not to be connected with what follows, but with what goes before; even though indeed the next words are the words of the LORD to the Chaldeans.
Arise ye, go up to Kedar . . . said in a hostile way; invade that country, and possess it.
And spoil the men of the east . . . the Arabians, which lay east of Judea and Babylon: or, the children of Kedem, the same as Kedemah, another son of Ishmael Gen.25:15); whose future generations dwelt still more to the east.
Jer. 49:29 Their tents and their flocks shall they take away: they shall take to themselves their curtains, and all their vessels, and their camels; and they shall cry unto them, Fear is on every side. (KJV)
Their tents and their flocks shall they take away . . . the Kedarenes were a people whose business mostly lay in feeding flocks, and of which their substance consisted. They usually dwelt in tents, which they moved from place to place, because of pasture for their flocks; hence they were sometimes called Scenites, and sometimes Nomades (Ps.120:5), but now both their camps and their flocks, where lay their riches, would be taken away from them.
They shall take to themselves their curtains, and all their vessels, and their camels . . . their curtains made of skins of beasts, of which their tents were made; or with which they were covered to protect them from the severity of the weather; and all the furniture of them, their household goods; their vessels for home use; and tools for their calling and work; and their camels, which were much used in those countries for travelling from place to place; and on which they put their tents, curtains, and vessels, when they moved from one pasture to another . . . these they would take and flee with them; but the Chaldeans should seize them for themselves, as their booty and prey.
And they shall cry unto them, fear is on every side . . . or, magormissabib, a fear all round (Jer.20:3); this is the word the Chaldeans shall use, and with it frighten the Kedarenes out of their tents; or by the sound of their trumpets, the alarm of war, and by their shouts and cries, and the clashing of their arms, fear shall be all around them. When they see the Chaldean army coming, they shall say one to another, magormissabib, because fear is on all sides of us; nothing but ruin and destruction is present in every district.
Jer 49:30 Flee, get you far off, dwell deep, O ye inhabitants of Hazor, saith the LORD; for Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath taken counsel against you, and hath conceived a purpose against you. (KJV)
Flee, get you far off, dwell deep, O ye inhabitants of Hazor, saith the LORD . . . the same is said to the inhabitants of Dedan (verse 8).
For Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath taken counsel against you, and hath conceived a purpose against you . . . had set his mind on their destruction, and had looked for and figured ways and means to get it done; and so, since such a powerful an enemy had such a plan against them, it was time for them to run, and get as far away as they could, hiding themselves in the caves of the Earth.
Jer. 49:31 Arise, get you up unto the wealthy nation, that dwelleth without care, saith the LORD, which have neither gates nor bars, which dwell alone. (KJV)
Arise, get you up unto the wealthy nation . . . or get to the nation that is at ease, where the people live quietly and in peace; have no wars with their neighbors, nor any among themselves. These Kedarenes were not a very wealthy people: these words do not express the counsel and purpose of Nebuchadnezzar; or are an address of his to his army, commanding them to arise, and invade the country of Arabia; for they are the words of the LORD, and are addressed to him and his army to go up in an aggressive and hostile way against the Kedarenes.
That dwelleth without care, saith the LORD . . . not without the care of their flocks, or without providing things necessary for themselves and families; they were not a lazy people, that lived an idle and inactive life; but they lived confidently, having no thought nor care to defend themselves from an enemy; they had no fear of any, thinking that no one would think it worthwhile to give themselves trouble to invade them; their meanness they thought was a protection to them.
Which have neither gates nor bars . . . to their cities, or to their houses, being in no fear of an enemy to come and plunder them.
Which dwell alone . . . not in union with other nations; nor dwelling together in cities, towns, and villages. They were a common people; the greater part of them were scattered, some in one place, and some in another; living where it was best to feed their flocks.
Jer. 49:32 And their camels shall be a booty, and the multitude of their cattle a spoil: and I will scatter into all winds them that are in the utmost corners; and I will bring their calamity from all sides thereof, saith the LORD. (KJV)
And their camels shall be a booty . . . to the Chaldean army (verse 29).
And the multitude of their cattle a spoil; to the same . . . the Kedarenes had large flocks of sheep and a multitude of camels (Isa.60:6).
And I will scatter into all winds them that are in the utmost corners . . . them that were gone with their flocks to feed them in the uttermost parts of their land; who, on hearing of the Chaldean army being entered and ravaging their country, would leave their flocks, and flee and be dispersed into several parts of the world.
And I will bring their calamity from all sides thereof, saith the LORD . . . stating that Nebuchadnezzar would surround them with his army, and position his troops, placing some of them in one part, and some in another, that they would not be able to escape on any side. It means their utter destruction and desolation.
Jer 49:33 And Hazor shall be a dwelling for dragons, and a desolation for ever: there shall no man abide there, nor any son of man dwell in it. (KJV)
And Hazor shall be a dwelling for dragons, and a desolation for ever . . . the city of Hazor, the royal city, as well as the kingdoms of it; where their king and prime men lived; even this would be no more inhabited by men, but by dragons and the wild beasts of the field, and so remain forever, at least a long time (Isa.13:20).
There shall no man abide there, nor any son of man dwell in it . . . indicating the utter desolation of it (verse 18).
Prophecy of the Elamites (Jer.49:34-39)
Jer. 49:34 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against Elam in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying, (KJV)
The word of the LORD that came unto Jeremiah the prophet against Elam . . . Elam was a country east of the Tigris River. It was put in danger by Nebuchadnezzar as well as all other countries round about Babylon (Jer.25:25; 49:34-39; Dan.2:37-38). Elam, part of Susiana, west of Persia proper, but used to designate Persia in general. Elam proper, or Elymais, was nearer Judea than Persia, is probably here meant; it had helped Nebuchadnezzar against Judea; hence its punishment. It may have been idolatrous, whereas Persia proper was mainly monotheistic (belief in one God).
In the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah . . . possibly in the first year of his reign, ten or eleven years before the destruction of Jerusalem; how long before it had its accomplishment is not certain:
Saying: as follows:
Jer. 49:35 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the chief of their might. (KJV)
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I will break the bow of Elam . . . the inhabitants of this country were famous for their skill in archery (Isa.22:6) . . . this the LORD threatens to break, so that it would be useless, and be of no more service to them to defend themselves, or annoy others. Their strength in which their great strength and security lay; in which they put their trust and confidence, as follows,
The chief of their might . . . which may be interpreted, by way of their bow, the chief instrument of their might and power; or may mean their mighty men, the archers themselves, who would be destroyed, even Elam itself, and all the inhabitants of it; especially their warriors, who would be slain or carried captive.
Jer.49:36 And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come. (KJV)
And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven . . . the Targum interprets it the four kingdoms (Dan.7:2). Some think this had its success in the times of Alexander; or else after his death, in the times of his four successors; but rather in the times of Nebuchadnezzar, who would bring with him, in his army, people that dwelt in the several parts of the world, compared to the winds for their swiftness and strength; whose blast would be so great as to drive the Elamites to every part of the world, as every light thing is scattered by the wind.
And will scatter them towards all those winds . . . the four winds, east, west, north and south.
And there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come . . . those that are driven out of it, forced to flee from it, or are taken captive, would come into several nations of the world; so that there would not be any in which an Elamite was not.
Jer.49:37 For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies, and before them that seek their life: and I will bring evil upon them, even my fierce anger, saith the LORD; and I will send the sword after them, till I have consumed them: (KJV)
For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies . . . frightened; thrown into the utmost confusion, so that they shall have no heart nor spirit to go out against them, and meet them, and defend themselves; but make all haste to run from them, for such terror would seize them.
And before them that seek their life . . . a further description of their enemies; they being such, who are not content with their substance, seeking to take away their lives; nothing less would satisfy them, for they were cruel and blood thirsty.
And I will bring evil upon them, even my fierce anger, saith the LORD . . . and a greater evil than that cannot be; indicating that the destruction that would be made among them would be the effect of the wrath of God upon them for their sins.
And I will send the sword after them, till I have consumed them . . . meaning those that slay with the sword would go after those that fled, and destroy them, until the greater part of them were consumed; for all of them that were taken were not destroyed; otherwise there would have been none to return from captivity, as is promised at the close of this prophecy.
Jer. 49:38 And I will set my throne in Elam, and will destroy from thence the king and the princes, saith the LORD. (KJV)
And I will set my throne in Elam . . . either when Alexander subdued it, or Cyrus, or rather Nebuchadnezzar, whose palace probably was, as it is certain his successors was, in Shushan in Elam, as before observed from: Dan. 8:12 And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered. (KJV)
And will destroy from thence the king and the princes, saith the LORD . . . so that there would be no more kings of Elam, nor princes and nobles of their own, after this time.
*****Because mention is made of the kings of Elam in the times of Nebuchadnezzar (Jer.25:25); even though that is observed in the first year of his reign, some have thought that it is best to understand it of Cyrus, the LORD'S servant and anointed; and whose throne might well be called the throne of God, which the LORD gave him, and set him on in an eminent manner, not only there, but elsewhere. Ezra 1:2 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. (KJV)
When this country of Elam or Elymais became a part of the Persian Empire, they never had any more kings to reign over it separately.
Jer. 49:39 But it shall come to pass in the latter days, that I will bring again the captivity of Elam, saith the LORD. (KJV)
But it shall come to pass in the latter days . . . not in the times of Cyrus, when these people enjoyed their liberty, as the Jews and other nations did, freed by him from the Babylonian yoke; which cannot with propriety be called the latter days, being but seventy or eighty years at most after this prophecy; but in the times of the Messiah, which is often in prophecy called the latter days.
That I will bring again the captivity of Elam, saith the LORD . . . which was accomplished in a spiritual sense, when some of these people, the Elamites, were converted to Christ, and delivered by Him from the captivity of sin and Satan, and were brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Acts 2:9).
*****But, we have the like promise as to Moab (Jer.48:47), and to Ammon (verse 6), the same latter days either signify after many days, but more likely in the time of the Messiah. In the former sense it may refer to Cyrus, who conquered Persia, but in the final sense, I think it refers to the spiritual liberty which some of these heathens were brought into by the Gospel. We read in Acts 2:9, that some of the Elamites were at Jerusalem at Pentecost, and some of those were converted to Christ. Amen.
Book of Jeremiah
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