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Wednesday, May 29th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 49

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-39

Chapter 49

Now in chapter 49, he speaks first of the Ammonites. Now, the Ammonites were those people who were north of Moab and east of the Jordan in the upper Jordan area, east of the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights, the area of the Ammonites.

Concerning the Ammonites, thus saith the LORD; Has Israel no sons? has he no heir? why then doth their king inherit Gad, for his people are dwelling in his cities? ( Jeremiah 49:1 )

Now you remember when the children of Israel came out of Egypt, and after their forty years or towards the end of their forty-year wandering, they came north and began to conquer some of the territory on the east side of Jordan in that Golan Heights and in the area that became Ammon. And when Joshua gathered the people together to begin their invasion of the land that God had promised, the tribe of Gad, the men from the tribe of Gad and Rueben, half the tribe of Manasseh, they came and they said to Joshua, "Look, this is great cattle country and we're cattlemen. We really don't care to go across the Jordan and to dwell on the other side. We're very happy here. Why don't you just let us have this land where we are? It's just great for us because it's good cattle country." Well, Joshua, his first reaction, he was quite upset. He could remember forty years earlier when they were ready to go into the land and the spies brought back the report that there were giants and the cities were high and walled. And so Joshua was upset because he thought, "Oh my, if we don't go in now we're never going to make it. If these guys start dissembling, then everybody will get discouraged. We won't go in." They said, "No, no, no, you don't understand. We'll send our men in to fight with you, but let our children or our family stay here and we'll come in and we'll fight as long as you need us until we've conquered the land. But then after the land has been conquered we'd like to come back and dwell here." And so it was granted to the tribe of Gad that they could take their portion on the east side of the Jordan in the country of the Amorites and all that they had smitten.

Well, their failure to come on into the land became critical later in their history. And they were the first of the tribes to fall to the enemies. And the Ammonites came against them and took their cities. Now here is a reference of Jeremiah to the fact that the cities that belonged to the tribes of Gad were now inhabited by the Ammonites. And so he says, "Is there no heir of Gad?" and so forth. "Why is it that the Ammonites are possessing the cities of Gad?"

Therefore, behold, the days will come, saith the LORD, that I will cause an alarm of war to be heard in Rabbah of the Ammonites ( Jeremiah 49:2 );

Now Rabbah is the modern Ammon in Jordan. So that will give you a little bit of the idea of the location.

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 ( Jeremiah 49:2 ).

Israel will get back that territory.

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. Why did you glory in the valleys, thy flowing valley, O backsliding daughter? that trusted in her treasures, saying, Who shall come unto me? 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 him that wandereth. And afterward I will bring again the captivity of the children of Ammon, saith the LORD ( Jeremiah 49:3-6 ).

Now he goes south and his next prophecy is against Edom, which is the area that is south from Moab, and probably at this time was the... where the rock city of Petra was in the boundaries of Edom, for there is a reference here to that rock city of Petra. So Edom, the descendants of Esau.

Concerning Edom, thus saith the LORD of hosts; Is wisdom no more in Teman? ( Jeremiah 49:7 )

Now Teman was one of the cities of Edom, and this is probably a reference to Eliphaz who was one of those men who came to comfort Job. Eliphaz the Temanite. And so this is the same Teman that was the home place of Eliphaz, the counselor of Job, and this is probably a reference to the fact that Eliphaz came with wisdom of the world to counsel with Job concerning his problems. "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, 'Is wisdom no more in Teman?'" You remember Job said to him, "Surely you are the people, and wisdom is going to die with you" ( Job 12:2 ).

is counsel perished from the prudent? is their wisdom vanished? Flee ye, turn back, dwell deep, O inhabitants of Dedan ( Jeremiah 49:7-8 );

Dedan is interesting. Of course, this area of Edom is now the area, much of it, of Saudi Arabia. Comes up into this area, the area of Dedan. It is interesting that when you realize that Dedan is this present Saudi Arabia, Sheba and Dedan would be identified as Saudi Arabia, to me it is very interesting as we look at the prophetic overview of our present day, for God tells us in Ezekiel that there would be the rebirth of the nation Israel and when the rebirth would take place, that He would put an evil thought into the minds of the leaders in Russia. And they would come forth with a mighty invading army to invade the land of Israel. And it gives the allies that would be coming with Russia: Libya, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, the Balkan States, eastern European states. And it says that when Russia makes this invasion that, "Sheba and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, and the young lions thereof, will say unto her, 'What are you doing invading this little land?'" ( Ezekiel 38:13 ) That isn't right. It's not fair. So right now there's the big to-do over whether or not we should sell these AWACS to Saudi Arabia. And Israel, of course, is putting a lot of pressure against the President at the present time, because he seems to be inclined to sell these AWACS to the Saudi Arabians and Israel is fearful that with the highly sophisticated detection gear within these planes, that Saudi Arabia will be able to intercept all of the radio signals and so forth and it will be a powerful tool in the Saudis' hands of knowing what Israel is planning. And so Israel is putting a lot of pressure against the administration to try to force them not to sell these AWACS to Saudi Arabia.

Now though I oftentimes am concerned as far as what our nation is doing in the light of Bible prophecy, this is one thing that I can't really get upset over, because I know that when the showdown comes, Saudi Arabia will be speaking out against the Russian invasion. And so the Russian invasion of Israel. So though they may make a lot of anti-Israel noise, yet when the showdown comes, Saudi Arabia will be speaking up for Israel. Of course, Saudi Arabia is concerned because with Russia's invasion, the real target will probably be the tremendous oil reserves down there in Saudi Arabia. But Saudi Arabia will not be an enemy to Israel in that major conflict that is coming. And thus, it doesn't really, as I say, there are a lot of things that do concern me of supplying arms to various forces and all, but what we may supply to Saudi Arabia doesn't really bother me from a scriptural standpoint, knowing that when the showdown takes place, Saudi Arabia will be speaking up for Israel. So that's where, if you have the Word of God, you know you can just rest and you don't have to get all excited or worried about the selling of these sophisticated radar planes to Saudi Arabia. Someone put a whole bunch of packets in the office, you know, of seeking to get us involved in letter writing and so forth to put pressure on them not to sell. But there's some things I can get involved with, but this is one that it doesn't really concern me because I know a little bit more than what the government knows at this point.

So, "dwell deep, O inhabitants of Dedan."

for I will bring the calamity of Esau [the brother of Jacob, father of the Edomites] upon him, the time that I will visit him. If grape gatherers come to thee, would they not leave some gleaning grapes? if thieves by night, they will destroy till they have enough. 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 neighbors, and he is not. Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in me. 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. For I have sworn by myself ( Jeremiah 49:8-13 ),

Now, when God really wants to confirm what He is saying, He swears by Himself, because you should always swear by something greater than you, but there's nothing greater than God so He is stuck to having to swear by Himself. You can't go any higher. So, "I have sworn by myself in order to confirm the covenant, in order to just say, 'Hey, this is for sure.'"

that Bozrah shall become a desolation, a reproach, a waste, and a curse; and all the cities thereof shall be perpetual wastes ( Jeremiah 49:13 ).

And they are to the present day. You might find the tells, the ruins, but you won't find any of these cities.

I have heard a rumor 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. For, lo, I will make thee small among the heathen, and despised among men. Thy awesomeness hath deceived thee, and the pride of thine heart, O thou that dwellest ( Jeremiah 49:14-16 )

And here's a reference to that rock city of Petra. "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 there, saith the LORD. Also Edom shall be a desolation: every one that goeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss at all the plagues. As in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbor cities thereof, saith the LORD, no man shall abide there, neither shall a son of man dwell in it. 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 will be that shepherd that will stand before me? 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. The earth is moved at the noise of their fall; at the cry the noise thereof was heard even in the Red sea. 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 travail ( Jeremiah 49:16-22 ).

So God speaks of His judgment coming against Edom. Now he turns north to Damascus, the capital of Syria. Damascus, of course, is already fallen to Nebuchadnezzar.

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. 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. How is the city of praise not left, the city of my joy! 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. And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Benhadad ( Jeremiah 49:23-27 ).

Which is the sort of a title like Pharaoh was a title for the Egyptian leaders. Benhadad was the title for the leaders of Assyria.

Next the Lord speaks against Kedar and the kingdoms of Hazor. Now this is probably a nomadic group of people and not the city of Hazor in the upper Galilee region.

which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon shall smite, thus saith the LORD; Arise, go up to Kedar, and spoil the men of the east. Their tents and their flocks shall they take away: they shall take to themselves their curtains, and all of their vessels ( Jeremiah 49:28-29 ),

Their curtains would be the curtains, of course, of their tents. They're nomadic people. They're Bedouin type of people.

and their camels; and they shall cry unto them, Fear is on every side. 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 he's conceived a purpose against you. Arise, get you up unto the wealthy nation, that dwells without care, saith the LORD, which have neither gates nor bars, which dwell alone. 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. 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 ( Jeremiah 49:29-33 ).

And so the area of Hazor and Kedar, these nomadic, Bedouin type people. Even that was not to escape from Nebuchadnezzar.

Finally in this passage he comes against Elam. Next week we turn to Babylon and the destruction that God has predicted against Babylon. And that pretty much, of course, finishes the book of Jeremiah as far as chapters 50 and 51.

But Elam,

The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against Elam ( Jeremiah 49:34 )

Now Elam is in the area that a lot of the fighting has been going on in the Iran-Iraqi war. In fact, this strait that is through there that they are fighting over the control of, on the Iranian side was the area of Elam. So you're moving over in that direction.

"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, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the chief of their might. 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. 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: And I will set my throne in Elam, and will destroy from there the king and the princes, saith the LORD. But it shall come to pass in the latter days, that I will bring again the captivity of Elam, saith the LORD ( Jeremiah 49:34-39 ).

So these prophecies, and I have to admit, that there isn't much to get excited over as far as biblical exposition. It's a hard nut to crack and it's just something that because we're going straight through, we wade through it. There isn't a lot that you can really expound upon or exhort here. It's just showing God's judgment and the sureness of God's Word as He fulfilled each of these prophecies against these particular nations. And it's there for a reason. Thus we should read it, though it isn't the most exciting area in the scriptures to read. And we congratulate you for going through it. Each one of you in the class get an automatic A by having gone through it. But I'm sort of happy that it will be three years before we get back to it again, and hopefully we won't be here. And so we'll look at the whole thing from a different perspective next time around.

And so it does, though, point out again this marvelous prophetic aspect to the scriptures, how that God speaks of events before they take place in order that when they do take place, you might believe. Prophecy has been given really as a basis and a foundation for faith. And I think one of the strongest apologetics for the scriptures is that of the fulfilled prophecies. As we look around today and we see the world in which we live and as we look at the prophecies of the Bible and see how so many of these things that we are beholding today are actual fulfillments of God's Word is extremely exciting and it is very faith-building. Jesus said to His disciples, "I told you these things before they come to pass so that when they come to pass you might believe" ( John 13:19 ). And so God has given to us a good outline of what would be happening in these days in which we live. And pretty much as God has outlined, so we see it. And that should be enough to make any wise person believe. Of course, if you're stupid you're not going to believe anything anyhow. But any thinking person looking at the scriptures and looking at the world today is really forced to acknowledge that it's more than coincidence. That God indeed has spoken with great clarity of this day in which we live. Such things as satellite TV, computers, super weapons were all a part of the prophetic picture for the advent of these things was in a sense predicted. God tells about the two witnesses that will be put to death in Jerusalem and the whole world will see their dead bodies lying in the streets of Jerusalem. Impossible until satellite TV. But I've watched the other day a live broadcast from Jerusalem right there in my own family room. Now it's a possibility. Five years ago impossible; today possible.

The Lord said that people will be caused to receive a mark in their right hand or in their forehead and no one will be able to buy or sell without the mark. It would be totally impossible to go to a method of exchange using marks in the right hand or forehead--that would be totally impossible apart from computers. No way could you do that without computers. But now we have computers that are designed to do our banking for us. And already we are buying and selling without money using our credit cards. We're buying and selling without money, and there's only one step from the number on the credit card to the number inscribed in your right hand or in your forehead or the mark. It doesn't necessarily say number, but it says a mark. And we know that the computer is able to read these marks that are on your groceries with these scanners. So these things were all figured in, but they're here. And you could go right on down the line with the prophecies and you could show how that all around the world the events that are taking place are things that God has foretold. Things that would be taking place in the last days. So this only helps confirm the fact of the accuracy of prophecy as we look at predictions that were made and already fulfilled. They only confirm the accuracy of prophecies and confirm the fact that God is the author of the book. And it's good to be getting into the final chapters of prophecy, and we, as Jesus said, are looking up, lifting up our heads for we know that our redemption is very close.

Father, we thank You for Your sure word of prophecy. And as we read of Your judgments upon these nations roundabout Israel, and we realize, Lord, that Your judgment was righteous, for they had forsaken You. They were worshipping and serving other gods. They had sought to live independent of Thee. Even so, Lord, as we look around ourselves today, we see that the United States has settled on its lees, beginning to live after the flesh, beginning to smell of the flesh. We realize, Lord, that we can't escape Thy judgment, either. That in righteousness You must judge and that You will judge. Father, help us that we might be accounted worthy to escape these things that will be coming, that we might stand before Thee in that day. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

The Lord bless and give you a good week. And may you live in that consciousness of God's love. May you put God first in your life, not just as a phrase, "Oh yes, God first." May it become a reality. Remember what Jesus said to the church at Ephesus, "I have this against you, you've left your first love." There's a lack of that fervency. There's a coldness in your heart towards the things of God and His Spirit. There's been a drawing away after the flesh. Beginning to just get settled. Oh, may God cause you to remember from where you have fallen and to repent and to return to that first love and commitment and excitement of the things of the Lord. May the Lord draw you back to Himself in a full and complete surrender. In Jesus' name. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Jeremiah 49". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/jeremiah-49.html. 2014.
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