Jeremiah 25:1. In the fourth year of Jehoiakim—the first year of Nebuchadrezzar. Daniel says the third year, Daniel 1:1. The campaign could not be less than a year; the variation arises from the periods of calculation. Dean Prideaux, with great care places the fall of Nineveh in the twenty ninth year of Josiah, and that Nebuchadrezzar, then a martial prince, joined his forces to those of the Medes in the overthrow of that city. He served under his father about five years, till this expedition against the nations of Syria. This reckoning anticipates the computation of Ptolemy’s canon by two years, which two years Nebuchadrezzar reigned with his father. According to this account, the scriptures reckon his reign to continue five and forty years. See the notes on Jeremiah 52:31. According to the common computation it lasted but forty three. But Daniel 2:1, writing in Chaldee, follows the computation in use among the Chaldeans.
Jeremiah 25:3. From the thirteenth year of Josiah— unto this day, that is the three and twentieth year. For Jeremiah prophesied nineteen years under Josiah, who reigned thirty one years, and this was the beginning of Jehoiakim’s fourth year.
Jeremiah 25:9. Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon my servant. Kings and princes are the great instruments of providence with respect to human affairs. Some of them God raises up to be executioners of his judgments upon a sinful people. Such was Saul, of whom the Lord said, I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath. Hosea 13:11. Such was Nebuchadrezzar here spoken of, whom God calls his servant, because he wrought for him, and executed his judgments upon Tyre. Ezekiel 19:20. Providence made use of his ambition and desire of conquest, and prospered his arms, in order to punish the neighbouring nations for their sins. See a like instance in the king of Assyria, whom God calls the rod of his anger. Isaiah 10:5. And in later times, Attila the Hun called himself Flagellum Dei, the Scourge of God, ordained to punish that corruption of manners which had overrun christendom in the western part of the Roman empire.
Perpetual desolations. It is a common observation, that the Hebrew word ôlam does not always signify eternity, or perpetuity in a strict sense, but is sometimes taken for such a duration as had a remarkable period to conclude it. Thus it was said of a servant, that he shall serve his master for ever, Exodus 21:6; which the Jews expound as meaning, till the next jubilee. So here the sense of the word is to be restrained to the period of seventy years, mentioned Jeremiah 25:11.
Jeremiah 25:11. These nations shall serve the king of Babylon. That is, Nebuchadnezzar and his successors. The word king is elsewhere used collectively for a succession of kings in the same family or kingdom. See the note on Isaiah 24:14.
Seventy years. This computation of seventy years captivity, is to be reckoned from the first year of Nebuchadnezzar, which is coincident with the third ending, and the fourth beginning of Jehoiakim, see Jeremiah 25:1, when the king of Babylon made his first attempt upon Judea. Daniel 1:1-3. From which time to the first year of Cyrus’s reign over the Assyrian monarchy, is just seventy years. Whereas the prophet Zechariah 1:12, who reckons the seventy years captivity completed in the second year of Darius, commences his computation from the besieging of the city; and when he prolongs his computation to the fourth year of Darius, he dates it from the destruction of the city and temple: chap. 7:1-5.
Jeremiah 25:12. When seventy years are accomplished, I will punish the king of Babylon. These years are reckoned from the fourth year of Jehoiakim, when Daniel, with many other Jews, and their nobles were led into captivity. Daniel 1:1-3. Others reckon from the eleventh year of Zedekiah, according to 2 Chronicles 36:11; 2 Chronicles 36:20-21. But the land enjoying her sabbaths does not precisely supersede the former calculation. A third opinion is, that the seventy years should be reckoned from the captivity of Jeconiah, according to Jeremiah 22:24-26. Ezekiel fairly reckons the captivity as begun fourteen years before Jerusalem was destroyed, Ezekiel 40:1; and as this prophet mentions twelve years, the captivity must be reckoned one year prior to Zedekiah, who reigned but eleven years.
Jeremiah 25:14. Many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of them also. Those kings and nations who were Cyrus’s confederates. See Jeremiah 1:2; Jeremiah 41, Jeremiah 51:17.
Jeremiah 25:15. Take the wine-cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations to whom I send thee to drink it. God’s judgments are metaphorically represented by a cup of intoxicating liquors, because they fill men with astonishment, and bereave them of their common judgment and discretion. See the note on Isaiah 51:17. Compare Psalms 75:8. Jeremiah 48:26; Jeremiah 49:12; Jeremiah 51:31. Habakkuk 2:16. Revelation 14:10; Revelation 16:19. In the two last passages St John plainly alludes to this place, and expresses the sense of the original more fully and exactly than the Septuagint do. See the note upon Jeremiah 25:10.
Jeremiah 25:17. Then took I the cup at the Lord’s hand, and made all the nations to drink. The words, in pursuance of the same metaphor, import the prophet’s obeying God’s command, and denouncing his judgments upon all the several nations hereafter mentioned: compare Jeremiah 25:28. The prophets are said to do that which they declare it is God’s purpose to do: see the note on Jeremiah 10:1. If we explain the words more strictly to the letter, we may suppose the cup of God’s wrath represented to the prophet in a vision, as mystical Babylon was represented to St. John, with a golden cup in her hand, Revelation 17:4, which he was commanded to hand round to the nations here specified.
Jeremiah 25:20. All the kings of the land of the Philistines. The Philistines had five lords over their several divisions. See Joshua 13:3, 1Sa_6:6, and the foregoing note. Each division had their particular prince or governor. See Numbers 31:8. This custom is still observed in the more rude and barbarous parts of the world. These prophecies against twenty kings and rulers were all strikingly fulfilled by the Assyrian armies under Nebuchadnezzar. They were an overflowing scourge to all the nations of the west.
Azzah, a noted city of the Philistines, commonly rendered Gaza, according to the Greek pronunciation, which usually expresses the Hebrew letter ain by a gamma.
The remnant of Ashdod. Ashdod or Azotus was first besieged and taken by Tartan, according to the prophecy of Isaiah 20:1. It was afterwards taken by Psammiticus, according to Herodotus, lib. 2. cap. 157. They so far ruined it, and impaired its ancient greatness, that it is here called “the remnant,” or poor remains of Ashdod.
Jeremiah 25:22. The kings of the isles beyond the sea. Or rather, the region by the sea side, as the words are translated in the margin of our bibles, for so the word beneber signifies. The phrase designates the nations living upon the coast of the Mediterranean sea.
Jeremiah 25:23. Dedan was built, it would seem, by Dedan, son of Ishmael. Genesis 25:3. Tema, the same, Jeremiah 25:15. Buz, by Buz, the brother of Uz. Genesis 22:21. Job 32:2.
Jeremiah 25:26. The king of Sheshach shall drink after them. By Sheshach is meant Babylon, as appears by comparing chap. 51. Some think Sac was the name of an idol worshipped there, from whence the Hebrew name Misael was changed by the Chaldeans into Meshach. This idol gave the name of Saccthea to a public festival celebrated at Babylon, and mentioned by Autheneus, lib. 14. cap. 10. St. Jerome mentions upon the place a sort of cypher commonly used, which consisted in putting the last letter of the alphabet first, and so writing on. By this inverted order of the Hebrew letters, Sheshach is equivalent to Babel. The prophets sometimes express the places they prophesy against by dark circumlocutions. So Babylon is called the desert of the sea. Isaiah 21:1. Jerusalem the valley of vision. Isaiah 21:1. The Roman empire is expressed by that which with- holdeth. 2 Thessalonians 2:6. And some commentators suppose the names mentioned in Micah 1:10-15, to be the names of noted places in Judea, disguised and altered from their true sound.
Jeremiah 25:27. Drink ye, and be drunken. See Jeremiah 25:16. The imperative is here put for the future. See the like figure in Isaiah 2:9; Isaiah 6:9; Isaiah 23:16.
Jeremiah 25:28. If they refuse to take the cup at thine hand. If they either do not believe thy threatenings, or else disregard them, as thinking themselves sufficiently provided against any hostile invasion, you shall let them know that the judgments denounced against them are God’s irreversible decree.
Jeremiah 25:29. For lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name; and should ye be utterly unpunished? Judgment often begins at the house of God, for the correction of his people, and to be a warning to others: but the heaviest strokes of it are reserved for the ungodly. Compare Jeremiah 49:12, 1Pe_4:17-18. Luke 23:31.
Jeremiah 25:30. The Lord shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation. God speaks by his judgments, and when they are very terrible, they may fitly be compared to the roaring of a lion, which strikes a consternation into those that hear it. Compare Amos 1:2; Amos 3:8. Joel 2:11; Joel 3:16.
Jeremiah 25:38. The fierceness of the oppressor. יונה jovonah, feminine of dove. Though it generally denotes oppression, yet some contend, that as mythology transformed Semiramis into a dove, the Assyrians carried a dove on their ensigns. Her reign was that of a falcon; happy if she became a dove at last.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Jeremiah 25". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany