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6. Prophecy against the Ammonites
The Ammonites also, the brother nation of the Moabites, (Genesis 19:37) after centuries of various conflict (comp. Judges 3:13; Judges 10:7 sqq.; Judges 11:32; 1 Samuel 11:0; 2 Samuel 10:11; 2 Samuel 12:26; 2 Chronicles 20:0; 2 Chronicles 26:8; 2 Chronicles 27:5) in consequence of the deportation of the East-Jordanic tribes have appropriated a part of their territory. This fact forms the point of departure for the present prophecy. Older prophecies against Ammon are extant only by Amos (Jeremiah 1:13-15) and Zephaniah in consequence of a declaration against Moab, (Jeremiah 2:9-10). Of these Jeremiah has made considerable use of the prophecy of Amos. Comp. the exposition. There is at most an echo of the brief utterance of Zephaniah in the expression desolation, Jeremiah 49:2. coll. Zephaniah 2:9. Since Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldeans are not named, the prophecy must be older than the battle of Carchemish, and since the beginning agrees in form with the beginning of the first prophecy against Egypt (Jeremiah 46:2), and the prophecies against Moab (Jeremiah 48:1), Edom (Jeremiah 49:7) and Damascus (Jeremiah 49:23), the supposition is natural that the date of its origin is the same as that of these prophecies.
1 Against the children of Ammon.
Thus saith Jehovah: Has then Israel no children, of has he no heir?
Why then does Malcom inherit Gad and his people dwell in his cities?
2 Therefore behold, the days come, saith Jehovah,
That I cause the war-shout to be heard against Rabbah of the children of Ammon;
And she shall become a desolated heap,
And her daughter shall be burned with fire:
And Israel shall be heir to his heirs, saith Jehovah.
3 How Heshbon, for devastated is Ai!
Cry, ye daughters of Rabbah, gird on sackcloth;
Lament and run to and fro1 on the walls;
For Malcom must go into captivity,
His priests and his princes together.
4 Why boastest2 thou of the valleys?
Thy valley is flowing away,3 thou rebellious daughter,
Who trusted in her treasures;—“Who will come to me?”
5 Behold, I bring fear upon thee, saith the Lord, Jehovah Zebaoth,
From all thy neighbors;
And ye shall be driven away, each one before him;
And there shall be no gatherer of the fugitives.
6 But nevertheless I will turn the captivity of the children of Ammon,
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Four parts may be plainly distinguished. In the first (Jeremiah 49:1-2) the prophet alludes to the fact, from the theocratic point of view regarded as improper, that the Ammonites had taken possession of the Gadite territory (Jeremiah 49:1), and declares that this cannot remain so. Ammon must be involved in war, the capital with the neighboring cities destroyed, and Israel again put into possession of his country (Jeremiah 49:2). In the second part (Jeremiah 49:3) a brief specification follows, in the third (Jeremiah 49:4-5) a reason for the punitive judgment, with express indication, that the recompense would correspond exactly to the inculpation. In the fourth part (Jeremiah 49:6) the prophet concludes with a consolatory outlook into the future.
Jeremiah 49:1-2. Against … saith Jehovah.—The prophet here presupposes the possession of the Gadite territory by the Ammonites in consequence of the deportation of the East-Jordanic tribes by Tiglath-Pileser (2 Kings 15:29; 1 Chronicles 5:6; 1 Chronicles 5:26. Comp. Introd. to Jeremiah 48:0). Amos refers to former attempts by the Ammonites for the same object (Jeremiah 1:13).—Malcom. Jeremiah has Amos 1:15 in view. In this passage Malcom appears to me to be used in a double sense. Why should the king mentioned only with the people of the Ammonites? Why does Amos say of Damascus (Jeremiah 49:5) and Philistia (Jeremiah 49:8), “him that holdeth the sceptre,” and of Moab (Jeremiah 2:3) “the judge?” Did he not wish it to be understood that the expression used only of Ammon, wes to be taken here in a special sense? I believe, then, that Malcom (Am. 1:16) refers primarily to the King, but in such wise that an allusion to the God is also intended. This allusion was all the plainer, if the Ammonites really, as Movers supposes (Phœnic., I., S. 323. Comp. Herzog, Real-Enc., IX., S. 714), called the god מַלְכָּן, i.e., our king. With reference to this he might fitly, when the Ammonites were spoken of, be called מַלְכָּם by the Israelites. It is, therefore, unnecessary here, and in Jeremiah 49:3 to read מִלְכֹּם, as Ewald, Graf and Meier would do, after the example of the LXX. and Syr. Since we cannot express the specific meaning of the word by the translation, we have retained Malcom as if it were a proper name.—The war-shout, etc., is a reminiscence from Amos 1:14.—Rabbah Beni Ammon. This was the complete name of the city (comp. Deu 3:11; 2 Samuel 11:1; 2 Samuel 12:26 sqq). It was called Rabbah, the great, the capital, in contrast to the neighboring cities. Comp. Herz., R.-Enc. XII., S. 469.—A desolate heap, literally hill of desolation, therefore, heap of ruins. Comp. Joshua 8:28 and Zephaniah 2:9.—Burned with fire. This also reminds us of Amos 1:14 (comp. Olsh., § 242 b).
Jeremiah 49:3. Howl Heshbon … princes together. The immediate consequences of the war-shout being heard are specified. Heshbon is to howl. It was then an Ammonitish city. Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 48:2; Jeremiah 48:45. It is given as a reason that Ai is destroyed. What city this was is not to be ascertained. Venema’s and Ewald’s explanation (Rabba ita vastata est, ut jam sit tumulus ruderum) is forced. Graf would read עָר with reference to Rabbah. But Rabbah could be called ער only in the appellative sense, and then it must have the article. To suppose that Ai is transferred hither from Joshua 8:28, because there alone the expression “heap of desolation” occurs, is to attribute to the prophet either ignorance or carelessness. Many commentators therefore (J. D. Michaelis, Hitzig, comp. V. Raumer, S. 168, Anm. 150) are disposed to assume an East-Jordanic Ai, which expedient seems to me thus far the best.—There is no reason for taking daughters of Rabbah in a different sense here from Jeremiah 49:2.—Sackcloth. Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 48:37.—On the walls. I do not see why these should be regarded as the walls of a sheep-fold, as many would do. What is more natural in a city, against which the enemy is advancing, than to run up and down on the walls to take measures for defence? That the city walls may be meant is evident from Psalms 89:41 : Ezekiel 42:12—For Malcom, etc. These words are taken from Amos 1:15. Only in the present passage we have his priests for “he,” which is evidently not from misunderstanding, but to emphasize more plainly the intended meaning of Malcom. Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 48:7.
Jeremiah 49:4-5. Why boastest thou …. fugitives. Reason of the primitive judgment. The pride, the stubbornness, the security of Ammon must be correspondingly punished. Comp. Jeremiah 48:26; Jeremiah 48:30.—Rebellious daughter. Comp. Jeremiah 31:22.—Who will come to me? The Ammonites’ boast, Who will come to us? The Lord tells them, the enemies will come upon them, and that from all sides, yea, oven behind them, so that the Ammonites will be driven, straight before them, and because the enemies come from all sides will be so scattered that no one will be in a condition to collect the fugitives again.—Fear. Comp. Jeremiah 48:43-44.—Each one before him. Comp. “every man straight before him,” Joshua 6:6; Joshua 6:20; Joshua 5:13.—Gatherer. Comp. Isaiah 13:14; Isaiah 56:8; Nahum 3:18.
Jeremiah 49:6. But nevertheless …. Jehovah. Ammon also is to share in the salvation of the future, which is to issue from Israel unto all nations. Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 48:47 and Jeremiah 49:39.
Jeremiah 49:3; Jeremiah 49:3.—התשוטט. On the form comp. OLSH ., § 67, Anm., 272, a.
Jeremiah 49:4; Jeremiah 49:4.—הִתְהַלֵּל. invariably denotes to boast, to brag. The object of the boasting is most frequently connected by בְּ. Comp. Jeremiah 4:2; Jeremiah 9:22-23; Psalms 49:7, etc.
Jeremiah 49:4; Jeremiah 49:4.—זכ עמקך. The explanation of Ewald and Graf, “of the luxuriance, the superfluity of thy valley” would suit the connection, but the abstract rendering of זָכ is an objection, since this form (קָם) elsewhere is used almost wholly in the formation of participles, very rarely of substantives of concrete meaning, as עָכ people, זָב city. זָב occurs (in the masc. form) only of a man with emission of seed (Leviticus 15:4), in the fem. of a woman with emission of blood (Leviticus 15:19), and of Canaan as a land flowing with milk and honey (Exodus 3:8; Exodus 3:17; Leviticus 20:24; Numbers 13:27, etc.) Hence the explanation: thy valley flows away, passes away, or redundat sanguine confossorum, does not correspond to the use of the word elsewhere. I would, therefore, explain with Schleussner quid gloriaris vallibus tuis? (quod scilicet) fœcunda sit vallis tua? Thus one idea is expressed independently of the preposition.
7. Prophecy against Edom (Jeremiah 49:7-22)
On account of their relationship to the Israelites, the Edomites, in consequence of an express divine command, were not treated as enemies on the journey to Canaan (Deuteronomy 2:4; Deuteronomy 23:7). Saul, however, conquered them (1 Samuel 14:47). David subjected them entirely (2 Samuel 8:14). In this state of dependence they remained after Hadad’s attempt at revolution had failed (1 Kings 11:14-22) till the reign of Joram, when they revolted (2 Kings 8:20-22; 2 Chronicles 21:8). Amaziah and Uzziah indeed made by no means unsuccessful attempts to bring them, again into subjection (2 Kings 14:7; 2 Kings 14:22), but their success was not lasting. In the reign of Ahaz the Edomites again invaded Judea (2 Chronicles 28:17), and in the time of the Chaldeans we also find their ambassadors among those who came to Zedekiah to consult concerning means to be taken in common (Jeremiah 27:3); but at the destruction of Jerusalem they are on the side of the Chaldeans, greeting the destruction of the long hostile city (comp. אֵיבַת עוֹלם, Ezekiel 35:5) with scornful triumph (Lamentations 4:21; Ezekiel 35:15; Ezekiel 36:5; Psalms 137:7).
As regards the date of out prophecy, the construction of the superscription (לֶֽאְדֶוֹם), as well as the nonmention of the Chaldeans, point to the same. date at which the other portions with similar superscription, at the head of which is the first against Egypt (Jeremiah 46:1-12), originated, i.e., the time immediately before the battle of Carchemish. Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 46:1-2, and Introd. to the Prophecies against the Nations.
Of special importance for our prophecy is its relation to the prophecy of Obadiah directed against Edom. They correspond to each other as follows:
Jeremiah 49:7 and Obadiah 1:8.
Jeremiah 49:9 and Obadiah 1:5.
Jeremiah 49:10 and Obadiah 1:6-7.
Jeremiah 49:14 and Obadiah 1:1.
Jeremiah 49:15 and Obadiah 1:2.
Jeremiah 49:16 and Obadiah 1:3-4.
That Jeremiah drew from Obadiah, and not vice versâ, has been shown by Caspari (Der Proph. Obadja ausgel. Leipzig, 1842) in such an exhaustive manner that there can be no further question on this point. The quotations then from Obadiah extend only to Jeremiah 49:8 of his prophecy. On the other hand, the following context (Obadiah 1:9 sqq.) has frequent points of contact with Joel, which is not the case in the previous context, and it is just in these verses that the indubitable references to the capture of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans are found (comp. Obadiah 1:10; Obadiah 1:16). Hence recently either the old theory has been retained (held by Augusti, Krahmer, Ewald, Meier in Zeller’s Jahrb. I. 3, S. 526) of the use of an older source in common on the part of Jeremiah and Obadiah (comp. Meier, die proph. BB. d. A. T. übersetzt u erk., S. 368 [The proph. Books of the O. T. transl. and explained]), or it is supposed that Obadiah 1:9-21 was a later addition, composed after the Chaldean catastrophe. This is not the place to enter into this difficult investigation specially or with the precision which it requires. I content myself therefore with putting two questions: Is it then so decidedly demonstrated that Obadiah quotes Joel and not Joel ?Obadiah 1:2. How is it, that in Jeremiah 49:12-14 Edom is only warned against committing hostilities against Judah “in the day of their calamity?” Such hostilities had certainly been already committed (Jeremiah 49:10-11; Jeremiah 49:15-16). But is it not clear from the turn which the discourse takes (with וְאַל) in Jeremiah 49:12 that the prophet distinguishes two points of time, a past and a future? Once already have the Edomites greeted the calamity of Jerusalem with malicious joy. When now they are warned against doing this again, is it not presupposed that Jerusalem is still by no means wholly destroyed, but that the really great day of calamity is still impending (observe the בָּיוֹם וי repeated eight times in Jeremiah 49:12-14)? Would it not accordingly be exegetically more exact to suppose that the prophet, finding occasion in the hostility displayed by the Edomites in a transient occupation of Jerusalem, warns them from a repetition on the great day of Jerusalem, which he foresees as in evitable, and on the presupposition that this warning will not avail, threatened them with a just recompense?
Of the other older prophecies against Edom (Isaiah 34:5-17; Amos 1:11-12; Joel 4:19) Jeremiah hat made no use.
The whole prophecy is plainly to be discriminated into three parts. The first (Jeremiah 49:7-13) has for its topic the judgment to be executed on Edom according to the elements of its outward appearance (Jeremiah 49:7-10) and itsobjective inward ground, which is the decree of Jehovah. The second part (Jeremiah 49:14-18) is predominantly occupied with the statement of the subjective ground of the visitation, i.e., with the guilt of Edom. The third part (Jeremiah 49:19-22) brings before us the subject of the destination, that is, the instrument thereof, chosen by Jehovah.
1. The judgment on Edom in its external appearance and objective reason
7 Against Edom. Thus saith Jehovah Zebaoth:
Is there no longer wisdom in Teman?
Hath counsel vanished from the intelligent?4
Is their wisdom expended?5
8 Flee, turn, bow low,6 ye inhabitants of Dedan! For
the destruction of Esau I bring upon him,
The time, when I visit him.
9 If vintagers come to thee they will leave no gleanings,
If thieves by night they destroy their fill.
10 For I have stript Esau bare, discovered his hiding places,
And he cannot hide himself.7
His seed is destroyed and his brethren and his neighbors.
And he is no more.
11 Leave8 thy orphans, I will preserve their life,
And let thy widows confide9 in me.
12 For thus saith Jehovah, Behold,
They, whose rule it was not to drink the cup, must drink it.
And art thou10 to remain unpunished?
No, but thou shalt drink.
13 For I have sworn by myself, saith Jehovah,
That Bozrah shall become a desolation,
A reproach, a desert11 and a curse;
And all her cities shall become desolate for ever.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
The destruction of Edom is described, 1. as it appears outwardly, 2. according to its inner reason in the divine decree. First the irresistible nature of the attack is set forth, in opposition to which all the renowned wisdom of Edom will be unavailing (Jeremiah 49:7). The Dedanites, the neighbors and commercial allies of Edom, are warned to consult their own safety (Jeremiah 49:8). The enemies will come, and, like vintagers or thieves, make a clean sweep (Jeremiah 49:9). It will turn out that Edom’s material means of defence, his rock fortresses regarded as impregnable, together with his own and his allied offensive forces, cannot avert destruction (Jeremiah 49:10). This must be so, because it is the will of Jehovah. This is seen in Jehovah’s taking charge, as it were, of the widows and children of the Edomites, which presupposes the death of their guardians (Jeremiah 49:11). Jehovah must permit their death, as without being unjust, He cannot spare Edom the cup which Israel had to drink. Edom must therefore drain it irrevocably (Jeremiah 49:12) for Jehovah in accordance with the imperative demands of His justice) has sworn, that Edom will be a prey to everlasting desolation (Jeremiah 49:13). Thus the strophe concludes, and from the similarity of this conclusion with Jeremiah 49:18 it is seen, that in both cases we have a larger section of the discourse.
Jeremiah 49:7. Against Edom … expended. Wisdom and intelligence are necessary in carrying on war (Proverbs 24:6) and where these fail, all is lost. This lack is observable in Edom. This is the more striking since the wisdom of Edom and especially of Teman was celebrated from of old. Comp. Obadiah 1:8; Job 2:11 (Teman was the home of Eliphaz); Bar 3:22-23. On Teman comp. Herz., R.-Enc., III., S. 650. [Cowles on this verse.—S. R. A.]
Jeremiah 49:8. Flee … visit him. On Dedan comp. rems. on Jeremiah 25:23. They were not Edomites but neighbors (Ezekiel 25:13), and at all events connected with them by mercantile intercourse (comp. Isaiah 21:13). Hence they are also threatened by the tempest which is breaking over Edom. They are therefore admonished to look to their own safety.—For, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 49:32; Jeremiah 46:21; Jeremiah 6:15.
Jeremiah 49:9-10. If vintagers … no more. Jeremiah 49:9 is taken from Obadiah 1:5. The sense is clear. It could not be so if we should render the sentence interrogatively, as many do, in too servile adherence to the passage in Obadiah. Jeremiah 49:10 reminds us of Obadiah 1:6, though there we read “searched out” and “sought up” for stript bare and discovered. These terms applied to Esau refer to the uncommonly strong fortress-dwellings, occupied by the Edomites. Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 49:16.—His seed is destroyed, etc. “Both the real Edomites and the descendants of related and other nations, which were mingled with them, as the Amalekites, Genesis 36:12; Horites, Genesis 36:20; Simeonites, 1 Chronicles 4:42 and neighboring tribes, as Dedan, Jeremiah 49:8. Tema and Buz, Jeremiah 25:23” are to be destroyed says Graf. He also justly remarks that the expression his brethren and his neighbors appears to have been occasioned by “men of thy confederacy” and “men of thy peace” in Obadiah 1:7.—And he is no more. Comp. Isaiah 19:7.
Jeremiah 49:11-13. Leave thy orphans … desolate forever. Hitzig sees in Jeremiah 49:11 a preliminary conclusion parallel to Jeremiah 49:6; Jeremiah 48:47. But Jeremiah 49:11 is no conclusion, being followed by two sentences with for, Jeremiah 49:12-13, of such a purport that no inference favorable to Edom can possibly be drawn from them. I therefore take Jeremiah 49:11 with Theodoret, Neumann and others, as irony. The Edomites are called upon, the men, namely; to leave their widows and orphans. Observe that it is not said, wives and children. The death of the men is presupposed. When Jehovah immediately adds that He will care for the survivors, this is a poor consolation for the Edomites who do not believe in Jehovah. For what other care but such as slaves receive, can be expected from Him, who announces as his unalterable determination so total a destruction of Edom, as in Jeremiah 49:13; Jeremiah 49:17-18; Jeremiah 49:20-21?—I will preserve, etc. Comp. Exodus 1:17-18; 2Sa 12:3; 1 Kings 18:5; Isaiah 7:21. We see from these passages that the meaning of the word is primarily negative: not kill, but secondarily positive: do what is necessary for the preservation of life.—Whose rule it was not, etc. It was an abnormal thing for Israel, the chosen people, to be obliged to drink the cup of wrath. I therefore take מִשְׁבָּט in the sense of norm, law, rule. Comp. Jeremiah 30:11; Jeremiah 8:7.—The cup. Comp. Jeremiah 25:15 sqq.—Unpunished. Comp. Jeremiah 25:29.—Have sworn, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 22:5.—A desolation. Comp. Jeremiah 25:11; Jeremiah 25:18; Jeremiah 44:6; Jeremiah 44:22.—Bozrah (Isaiah 34:6; Isaiah 63:1; Amos 1:11-12) was one of the most important cities of Edom (comp. Jeremiah 48:24) of which there are still remains under the name of Besseyra, i.e., Little Bozrah. Comp. Raumer, Pal., S. 278.—Desolate for ever. Comp. Jeremiah 25:9.
Jeremiah 49:7; Jeremiah 49:7.—מבנים Part. Kal from בִין Instead of the more usual Part. Niph. נִבֹנים (Genesis 41:33; Genesis 41:39, etc.). The form does not occur elsewhere.
Jeremiah 49:7; Jeremiah 49:7.—מָרַח is to overflow, overhang. So Exodus 26:12 of the overhanging curtain; Ezekiel 17:6, גֶפֶן סרַֹחַת, vitis patula, late effusa. Part. Pualסָרוּחַ, poured out, stretched out on the couch, Amos 6:4; Amos 6:7. סְרוּחֵי טְבוּלִים, Ezekiel 23:15, redundantes mitris d. i. gestantes mitras longe dependentes. Hence Niph. (which occurs here only), profusum, effusum esse, נָּבַק from בַָקק, Isaiah 19:3 coll. Jeremiah 19:7.
Jeremiah 49:8; Jeremiah 49:8.—As נֻסוּ can only be Imperative, הֶֽעֱמִיקוּ and הָפְּנוּ must also be taken as such. The former (on the construction with the Inf. comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 95, e) is also used in Jeremiah 49:30 as an Imperative. Other instances, הֶֽחֱשׁוּ 2 Kings 2:3; 2 Kings 2:5; הֵאתָיוּ, 2 Kings 12:19; comp. Olsh., § 256, a, b. הָפְנוּ is likewise a rare form, but not impossible or without analogy. Comp. הָשְׁכּבָה, Ezekiel 32:19; הַשַּמּוּ, Job 21:5; Olsh., § 260, coll. S. 631.
Jeremiah 49:10; Jeremiah 49:10.—ונחבה. לה׳ for לא, comp. Olsh., § 263, b. The perfect would hare to be translated: and does he hide himself, he cannot, which is forced. We should expect at least וְלֹא י׳ Ewald and Graf would punctuate נַרְבֹּה,comp. forms like נַהְתּוֹם נרְמהֹ נִקְרֹא (Olsh., § 263, c), and as regards the construction, Jeremiah 49:23. This expedient removes at least the great grammatical difficulties which נֶחְכָּה affords.
Jeremiah 49:11; Jeremiah 49:11.—On the Imperative form comp. Olshausen, § 234, a.
Jeremiah 49:11; Jeremiah 49:11.—תכסחו. Comp. Ezekiel 37:7. Except in connection with suffixes, we find only this and אחיה as examples of the abnormal affirmative. Comp. Olsh., S. 452 3.
Jeremiah 49:12; Jeremiah 49:12.—אתה הוא. Thou, such an one! Jeremiah 14:22; Psalms 44:6, comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 79, 3.
Jeremiah 49:13; Jeremiah 49:13.—Instead of חֹרֶב we find חָרְבָּה in the parallel passages.
2. THE JUDGMENT ON EDOM ACCORDING TO ITS SUBJECTIVE REASON
14 I have heard a report from Jehovah,
And a messenger is sent among the nations:
“Assemble yourselves and come up against her,
And rise ye for the war.”
15 For behold, I make thee small among the nations;
Despised among men.
16 Thy object of horror12 deceived thee,
The pride of thy heart,
Thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock,
Thou that occupiest the height of the hill.
Even though, like an eagle, thou buildest thy nest high,
I will bring thee down from thence, saith Jehovah.
17 And Edom shall become a wilderness;
Every one that passeth by shall be horrified,
And jeer on account of all her strokes.
18 As in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah,
And their neighboring cities, saith Jehovah,
No man will dwell there,
Nor a son of man sojourn in her.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Jeremiah proclaims in the words of Obadiah, that nations will be summoned to make war upon Edom, to make her small and despised (Jeremiah 49:14-15). To such a procedure has Edom given occasion by her idolatrous abominations and her pride. This pride is now to be punished (Jeremiah 49:16 and Edom is now to become a horrible waste and like Sodom and Gomorrah (Jeremiah 49:17-18). These verses are taken with modifications from Obadiah 1:1-4. The main thought is evidently expressed in Jeremiah 49:16; the statement of the subjective cause of the punitive judgment, impending over Edom.
Jeremiah 49:14-15. I have heard … among men. Hemistich 1 is taken from Obadiah 1:1 only with the alteration of “we have heard” (Israel) to “I have heard,” and “arise ye” to “assemble yourselves.” The report which the prophet bears directly from the Lord and the message (עִירviator, nutius, Proverbs 18:17; Proverbs 25:13; Isaiah 18:2; Isaiah 57:9) which is sent among the nations are of the same purport. We must regard the report however as expressing not only the command itself, but also that it has been issued. Hemist. 2 is extended in Jeremiah. It reads in Obadiah “Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle.” Jeremiah 49:15, taken from Obadiah 1:2, states the object of the war, for the attainment of which the nations are summoned. The words correspond to Jeremiah 49:11-13, expressing the decree of Jehovah concerning Edom, the execution of which is the object of the war. “For” is wanting in Obadiah. In small and despised there is evidently an antithesis to Edom’s pride (Jeremiah 49:16). Hemist. 2 reads in Obadiah, “thou art greatly despised.”
Jeremiah 49:16. Thy object of horror … saith Jehovah. We evidently have here the kernel of the strophe, that by which it is distinguished from the context, viz., the guilt of Edom is here stated, the subjective reason of her destruction. While Obadiah mentions as this reason only “the pride of thine heart” (Jeremiah 49:3), Jeremiah mentions also the “being a terror,” or, as I understand the word, the horror, i.e., the idol. We may well conceive that wishing to extend the text of his source the prophet would insert a word which would state the ground of Edom’s moral corruption. Whence does arise the moral pollution of the heathen world? According to Romans 1:0. from idolatry. Here also Jeremiah would say that it was really the idol which deceived Edom, pride being involved in idolatry.—The pride of thy heart is then in apposition to horror. It is in accordance with this that inaccessible rock-castles are designated as the ground of pride, for, were not all heathen idols local deities? Was not then the idol who had built these rocks and continually protected them the real lord on whom their proud confidence was founded?—Clefts of the rocks, etc. It appears to me beyond doubt that Jeremiah had here in view the peculiar character of the Edomite cities, especially the capital, which was called Sela (2 Kings 14:7; Isaiah 16:1). Comp, the remarks on Bozrah, Jeremiah 49:13. The second hemistich is abbreviated from Obadiah 1:4. Comp. Amos 9:2.
[“The descriptive points in this verse are wonderfully accurate. Petra, the ancient capital of Edom, for ages the main thoroughfare of the great trade and travel between India and Mesopotamia on the East, and Egypt and North Africa on the South-West; the seat therefore of wealth and art, perhaps of wisdom also, and culture, held a position of great military strength. It was built in a vast ravine, partly on the broad area inclosed by lofty precipitous walls of rock, which by some of nature’s mighty convulsions had been rent asunder, and partly in those very fronts of lofty rock, chiseled out with immense labor, so that the pillars of the temples and the apartments of its tombs and dwellings were wholly cut from the solid, eternal rock. Here—her nests built high in these crags like the eagle’s—old Petra eat in her pride and her strength, cherishing the vain fancy that no power could ever bring her down. But the Almighty spake and it was done!—The site of ancient Petra, for ages unknown, has been brought to light during the present century. A number of travelers have visited and explored it. Laborde, Dr. Robinson and others, have given full and precise statements of its wonderful ruins, placing Petra in the front rank of those ancient witnesses who bear their silent but resistless testimony to the precision of the old prophetic descriptions, and to the marvellous correspondence in the most minute details between prophecy and history—the prophecy of twenty centuries ago and the history of to-day.” Cowles.—S. R. A.]
Jeremiah 49:17-18. And Edom … sojourn in her. These verses do not contain any reminiscences from Obadiah, but they do from Jeremiah himself and from other writings.—And Edom, etc., is formed after Jeremiah 25:11; Jeremiah 25:38. Comp. Jeremiah 50:13.—Every one that passeth. Comp. Jeremiah 19:8.—As in the overthrow, etc., is from Deuteronomy 29:22. Comp. Isaiah 13:19; Jeremiah 50:40. The expression neighboring cities points to Deuteronomy 29:22, where Admah and Zeboim are mentioned with Sodom and Gomorrah. Comp. Hosea 11:8.—No man will dwell, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 49:33; Jeremiah 50:40; Jeremiah 51:43.
Jeremiah 49:16; Jeremiah 49:16.—תִּפְלֶצֶת does not occur elsewhere. It is usually taken in the sense of terror = פַלָּצוּת (Jeremiah 21:4) and understood to mean the terror which Edom inspires. But because the following verb is in the masc. some have thought it necessary to separate תפלצתך from it and regard it as an isolated exclamation (comp. הפככם, Isaiah 29:16), which Schleussner renders O arrogantiam tuam; Hitzig, “fear to thee;” Graf, “horror at thee.” But this exclamation appears somewhat exaggerated. Why should a people, who are deceived by pride, be especially inspired with fear? Is not this very common! Was the pride of Edom greater than that of Moab (Jeremiah 48:29)? Or was it threatened with a worse fate? I find it more suitable to take תפלצת in the sense of מפלצת. The latter word in 1 Kings 15:13; 2 Chronicles 15:16 designates an idol, an idol-image. This is called a terror, an object of holy horror, as frequently פתַר, Genesis 31:42; פַחַר, Isaiah 8:13; אֵימִים, Jeremiah 50:38 are used in an analogous sense. The LXX. may have the same idea, translating ηπαιγνὶα σου, i.e., risus, jocus tuus. According to Schleussner, they had Priapus in mind, for which also Jerome holds מפּלצת in 1 Kings 15:0. and 2 Kings 15:0. Rabbis also, according to Kimchi’s testimony, have understood the word of עֲכֹרָה זָרָה i.e., idolatry. Among the moderns, J. D. Michaelis and Meier adopt this view. The gender of the verb is no hinderance, for the prophet could properly use the masc. when thinking of the person of the idol. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 60, 4.
3. THE INSTRUMENT CHOSEN BY JEHOVAH FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF EDOM
19 Behold, as a lion he cometh up
From the pride of Jordan to the evergreen pasturage,
For in a twinkling I drive him (Edom) from thence.13
And who is chosen?14 Him will I set over him.
For who is like me? And who will appoint me the time?
And who is the shepherd that would stand before me?
20 Therefore hear the counsel of Jehovah which He hath counselled against Edom,
And His thoughts, which he has thought concerning the inhabitants of Teman:
Verily they will be dragged along, the feeble little sheep;
Verily their pasturage will be astounded15 at them.
21 At the sound of their fall16 the earth trembles.
22 Behold, as an eagle he ascends and flies,
And extends his wings over Bozrah;
And the heart of the heroes of Edom on that day
Will be as the heart of a woman in anguish.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
This strophe also describes the destruction of Edom, but in such wise that the instrument in the hand of the Lord is prominent, without being mentioned by name. As a lion from the reed thickets of the Jordan falls upon a flock, which is pasturing on the luxuriant, ever-green meadows of the Gôr, so shall Edom be surprised in his rock-dwelling and be driven away in a twinkling. So shall a new shepherd, chosen ad hoc by the Lord Himself, be set over Edom, for the previous shepherds of Edom have no prerogative to maintain their position in spite of the Lord (Jeremiah 49:19). The new Shepherd, however, will not pasture the flock in the old way peaceably, but will drag them away, so that their pasturage will be astounded at the disappearance of the flock (Jeremiah 49:20). Thus the fall of Edom will be a violent one, so much so that the sound of it will be heard afar (Jeremiah 49:20). Again, in conclusion, the one who is called to the destruction of Edom is compared with an eagle (after Deuteronomy 28:49), who will extend his wings over Bozrah, which, is fortified indeed, but powerless against such an enemy, so that on that day even the heroes of Edom will be as faint-hearted as parturient women.
Jeremiah 49:19. Behold as a lion … before me. As in Jeremiah 46:18 with Carmel, and in Jeremiah 48:40 with an eagle, so here the instrument of the Lord is compared with a lion, one who lurks in the reedy margin of the Jordan (the pride of Jordan, “the luxuriant bushes and reeds growing on its banks, by which it is enclosed as by a green garland.” Köhler on Zechariah 11:3 coll.Jeremiah 12:5; Raumer, Pal. S. 58; Herzog, R.-Enc., VII., S. 8) and from thence makes his inroads on the flocks pasturing on the luxuriant evergreen meadows of the Jordan valley. For the Gor, though in general arid and infertile, where brooks flow down from the mountains to the Jordan has oases, which under the influence of the tropical climate are exceedingly fertile. Comp. Arnold in Herzog, R.-Enc., S. 10, etc. I am therefore of opinion that נְוֵת אֵיתָן does not directly signify the land of Edom, and thus is neither to be taken as “rock-dwelling” nor as “evergreen pasturage” with sole reference to the undisturbed possession of the land for centuries. I take it in the latter meaning, but I think that the expression is chosen because it admits of a double reference, to the oases of the Jordanic valley and to Edom itself, which may be thus designated both as the ancient residence of the Edomite nation, and with reference to the strength and indestructibility of its national defences (comp. Numbers 24:21; Micah 6:2). In referring the expression at the same time to Edom, a transition is formed from the comparison to the thing compared.—For in a twinkling. From the “For” we see that the prophet has in view the suddenness of the attack as a tertium comparationis. From the thickets of the Jordan lions could easily fall upon herds feeding near the bank (comp. Herzog, R-Enc. XI. S. 29). In like manner shall Edom be suddenly assailed and driven away from his pasturage.—And who is chosen? We see from this expression that the prophet had no definite person in view. He does not yet know who the chosen one is, but only that there will be one. Whoever it is will really obtain the supremacy over Edom, appointed to him. (Jeremiah 15:3; Jeremiah 51:27). The elder commentators understood Nebuchadnezzar, or even (interprete Luthero, as Förster says) Alexander the Great.—For who is like me? Edom’s princes of ancient and illustrious descent (Genesis 36:0.) might well be caught in the delusion of inviolable security. Here they are told that they have a higher power above them, who can remove them, and set others more pleasing to him in their place—Jehovah, namely, who has none like unto Him, (Comp. Caspari, Micha der Morast, S. 14 sqq.; Exodus 15:11), whom no one can bring to an account (Job 9:19), whom no earthly national shepherd (Jeremiah 10:21; Jeremiah 25:34; Jeremiah 23:1) can defy. [“To ‘appoint one the time’ is the ancient phrase for a legal indictment and summons. Who shall prosecute me before the court for this proceeding, i.e., set himself against me as an opponent, or an antagonist.” Cowles—S. R. A.]
Jeremiah 49:20-21. Therefore hear … Red Sea. As it is, therefore, undeniable that the Lord has power over all kingdoms of the nations, it is solemnly made known to all the world as the decree of the highest Majesty; the Edomites shall suffer the same fate from Him, who shall attack them like a lion, as the lion brings upon the weaker animals, i.e., they shall be dragged away (Jeremiah 15:3; Jeremiah 22:19)—carried into captivity. Thus will the land be desolated, as the prophet poetically expresses it in the words, the land will be horrified at the sudden stillness and desolation. There is a similar personification in Job 7:10, (Psalms 103:16). From this it follows 1. that the entire representation of these two verses is based on a figure of a place of pasturage; 2. that by the new shepherd, a conqueror is understood who will desolate the land and carry the people into captivity; 3. that the sentence with therefore, occasioned by the emphatic causal sentence of three clauses, Jeremiah 49:19, b, contains no more than an emphatically repeated inference (A, then B, therefore A), consequently the same thought in substance, which was already expressed in I will drive him from thence. On Jeremiah 49:20 a comp. Jeremiah 49:30; Jeremiah 18:11; Jeremiah 29:11; Isaiah 14:26-27; Isaiah 19:12—Teman, comp. Jeremiah 49:7. The city lay according to Jerome, five, according to Eusebius, fifteen Roman miles from Petra, comp. Raumer, Pal. S. 279.
The little sheep. Comp. Jeremiah 14:3; Jeremiah 48:4. The “smallest of the flock” are the weakest, most helpless, who are least adapted for flight or resistance, and most for being dragged away.—[Henderson adheres to the A. V., making “the smallest of the flock” the nominative.—S. R. A.]—At the sound, &c., immediate effect of the overthrow of the power of Edom. Comp. Ezekiel 26:15; Ezekiel 31:16; Isaiah 13:13; Jeremiah 51:29.—The whole passage, Jeremiah 49:19-21, is repeated and applied to Babylon (Jeremiah 50:44-46).
Jeremiah 49:22. Behold … in anguish. That which is in Jeremiah 49:19 declared by means of a figure taken from a lion, is here repeated in the form of a figure derived from an eagle. The first half of the verse is taken from Jeremiah 48:40, the second from Jeremiah 48:41. The reason of the assailer of Bozrah appearing here as an eagle may be that the “castellated rock” of this city is designated as accessible only to an eagle. Comp. Raumer, Pal. S. 278; Schubert, Reise in das Morgenland. II. S. 426.
Jeremiah 49:19; Jeremiah 49:19.—The construction as in Zephaniah 3:7 coll. Proverbs 12:19. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 95 g, Anm.—מֵעָלֶיהִָ is undoubtedly to be referred to נָוֶה, although this word is elsewhere used as a masc. (Isaiah 27:10; Isaiah 33:20), since the idea of “country” lies at its basis. Comp. rems, on תפלצת Jeremiah 49:16.
Jeremiah 49:19; Jeremiah 49:19.—מִי is used as e.g. in Exodus 24:14. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 79, 6.—אֵלֶיהָ for עָלֶיהָ. Comp. remarks on Jeremiah 10:1.
Jeremiah 49:20; Jeremiah 49:20.—ישׁים Hiphil (on. the form comp. Olsh., S. 577, 8; Numbers 21:30) is to be taken as the direct causative: stuporem efficere, to produce astonishment and horror not in others, but in one’s self, i.e., to be horrified. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 18, 3. [“אִס־לֹא if not, a strong mode of asseveration for the purpose of expressing the certainty of any event.” Henderson.—S. R. A.]
Jeremiah 49:20; Jeremiah 49:20.—נִפלָם is infinitive. Comp. 2 Samuel 1:10; Olshausen, § 245 b.
Jeremiah 49:21; Jeremiah 49:21.—צְעָקָה the main idea placed emphatically in advance, which is more accurately defined in the following context. Comp. Ewald, § 309, b.
Jeremiah 49:21; Jeremiah 49:21.—[“For קוֹלָהּ which refers to צְָעָקה, we find the less appropriate reading קוֹלָם in eighty-four MSS.: it has been originally in fourteen more; it is in three by correction, and is in the text of twenty-one printed editions. The only version which supports it is the Targum.” Henderson. Hitzig however approves of this reading as the more difficult, referring it to חארץ, the land, i.e. the population thereof.—S. R. A.]
8. Prophecy against Damascus
Out of a large number of small kingdoms (thirty-two are mentioned in 1 Kings 21:1; 1 Kings 21:16) with which the Israelites after the period of the Judges had to endure many conflicts, (Jdg 3:8; 1 Samuel 14:47; 2 Samuel 8:10.), a large one was formed after David’s death by Rezon, with Damascus for its capital (1 Kings 11:23-24). With this great Syrian kingdom also the two kingdoms of Israel had to endure many and severe conflicts, (1 Kings 15:18 sqq.;1 Kings 20:1 sqq.;1 Kings 22:1 sqq.; 2 Kings 5:1 sqq.; 1 Kings 6:8 sqq.; 1 Kings 8:28-29; 1 Kings 12:17; 1 Kings 13:3; 1 Kings 14:25; 1 Kings 16:5-6), till at last the Assyrians, solicited by Ahaz of Judah, (2 Kings 16:7-10), fell upon Syria and brought the country permanently under their dominion (2 Kings 16:9). We need not seek the fulfilment of Jeremiah’s prophecy of the destruction of Damascus in a particular “conquest and devastation of the country by Nebuchadnezzar.” (Graf). For even if Nebuchadnezzar did seize Syria and Damascus and treat them with a certain degree of hostility (whether as an Assyrian province or as an Egyptian tributary) yet the prophet’s perspective extends over the whole future of Damascus (comp. the Introd. to chh. 50, 51.). He sees in one picture what in the fulfilment will be divided into many stages, comp. Herzog R.-Enc. III., S. 260.
As regards the date of the prophecy both the superscription and the purport of it indicate that it formed part of that Sepher, beginning with Jeremiah 46:1, which owes its origin to the period before the battle of Carchemish. Comp. Introd. to the Prophecies against the Nations
23 Against Damascus.
Ashamed are Hamath and Arpad,
For a bad report have they heard: they are dissolved.19
In the sea there is terror,20 it cannot rest.
24 Enfeebled is Damascus, she turns to flee,
Anguish and sorrow lay hold on her like a parturient.
25 How! Is not the city of renown abandoned,
The place of my delight?
26 Hence her youths fall in the streets,
And all men of war shall perish, on that day, saith Jehovah Zebaoth,
27 And I kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus,
Which shall devour the palaces of Benhadad.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
An enemy coming from the north threatens first Hamath and Arpad, which are thus thrown into commotion, like a tempestuous sea (Jeremiah 49:23). This agitation reaches also Damascus, hence discouragement, anxiety, in part flight (Jeremiah 49:24). The city is not abandoned by all the troops (Jeremiah 49:25), hence a great blood-bath and destruction of the army in the streets (Jeremiah 49:26) and destruction of the city by fire (Jeremiah 49:27).
Jeremiah 49:23. Against Damascus … cannot rest. The superscription is as in Jeremiah 46:2; Jeremiah 48:1; Jeremiah 49:1; Jeremiah 49:7. I cannot at all discover that the superscription is too limited, as Graf supposes, for in fact this brief utterance is occupied only with Damascus, the cities Hamath and Arpad being mentioned only to designate the successive advance of the calamity and the direction in which the enemy comes. It is a matter of course that the fall of the capital involves that of the kingdom, hence the superscription is incorrect neither in itself nor in relation to the purport of the passage. According to Numbers 34:8 Hamath is to be the northern limit of the land to be occupied by Israel. The boundaries were also really extended thus far at times. Comp. 2 Kings 14:28 with 2 Chronicles 8:4. The city was situated on the Orontes to the North of Damascus, and was afterwards called Epiphania by the Greeks. Comp. Jerome on Amos 6:2; Amos 6:14. Arpad, which is always named together with Hamath (Isaiah 10:9, comp. Delitzsch on the passage; Jeremiah 36:19; Jeremiah 37:13), must have been situated in the neighborhood of this city. We thus see that the prophet expects the enemy from the North, as it was natural that the army of the Egyptians then in northern Syria should turn his gaze in that direction. Hamath and Arpad stand confounded in consequence of the evil tidings. They flow away, dissolve, pass away with anguish.—The following words are taken verbatim from Isaiah 57:20. Jeremiah has doubtless from this passage the idea of the sea in general in his mind. The expression נָמֹגוּ had directed his thoughts to that passage and still exerts some influence. He thus imagines these cities as a wildly agitated sea. In the swaying hither and thither of the waves is mirrored the inward unrest and anguish. It is not then the real sea that is meant (Hitzig), but the human multitude compared to a sea. (Comp. Isaiah 17:12; Isaiah 8:7-8).
Jeremiah 49:24-27. Enfeebled … Benhadad. The bad report reaches even the capital, and this in consequence falls into critical agitation. Despair seizes on the inhabitants. A part turns to flight. (Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 46:5; Jeremiah 46:21). Anguish takes hold upon them.—How? Is not, etc. We are not justified in regarding the negative as a strong affirmation, or taking abandoned in the sense of, left free, spared. Rather does the prophet say really: how then is the city not forsaken? (Comp. 2 Samuel 1:14). He is astonished and complains, that it has not been abandoned. This would have been better for the Syrians. For just because it has not been, their youths fall in their streets and their whole army is destroyed. Flight might have saved them.—City of renown, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 51:41; Isaiah 60:18; Isaiah 62:7.—My refers to the prophet and there is no irony in it. He lamented that the city was not abandoned. He has a human pity for the destroyed city as he has a human joy in its beauty. Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 48:31. [The Vulg., Syr., Chald., omit my. Boothroyd maintains that this omission is necessary to make good sense!—S. R. A.].—The youths. Comp. Jeremiah 9:20.
Jeremiah 49:27. And I kindle. The whole verse in its main constituents is taken from Amos 1:2. Comp. Amos 1:4; Amos 1:7; Amos 1:10; Amos 1:12; Amos 1:14; Amos 2:2; Amos 2:5.—In the wall, not on the wall, for the wall itself does not burn, but within the wall, so that all which the wall includes is consumed by the fire. The palaces of Benhadad are the royal palaces, since Benhadad (there were three of them, 1 Kings 15:18; 1Ki 15:20; 1 Kings 20:1-3; 2 Kings 6:24; 2 Kings 8:7; 2 Kings 8:9; 2 Kings 13:3; 2 Kings 13:24-25) was the best known name of Syrian kings.
Jeremiah 49:23; Jeremiah 49:23.—נָמֹג used frequently of the effect of fear in loosening the compagines corporis; Exodus 15:15; Joshua 2:9; Joshua 2:24; Psalms 75:4; Isaiah 14:31.
Jeremiah 49:23; Jeremiah 49:23.—בים ראגה Since the following words הַשְׁקֵט לֹא יוּכָל are taken verbatim from Isaiah 57:20, the previous words in Isaiah may rule the previous words here. There we read וְהָרְשָׁעִים בַּיםָ נִגְרָשׁ. It would now be certainly most convenient to read כַּיָם in the present passage instead of בַּיָם. Jeremiah however does not quote the last words accurately as a whole. And כים also is not without difficulty. We should expect it to be in the construct state. I therefore think that the reading in the text is the correct one.—רְּאָגָה is fear, terror, unrest. Comp. Joshua 22:24; Proverbs 12:25; Ezekiel 4:16; Ezekiel 12:18-19. The subst. in Jeremiah here only; the verb in Jeremiah 17:8; Jeremiah 38:19; Jeremiah 42:16.
Jeremiah 49:24; Jeremiah 49:24.—רֶטֶט. ἅπ. λεγ. a Syrian word, without doubt chosen purposely. Comp. רְתֵת, Hosea 13:1.
Jeremiah 49:24; Jeremiah 49:24.—הֲגְֶזִיקָהּ is so punctuated by the Masoretes that it is evident they took Damascus for the subject (terrorem prehendit) having in view passages like Isaiah 13:8; Job 18:20; Job 21:6. But the punctuation הֶֽחֶזִיקָה would correspond better to Jeremiah’s usage. Comp. Jeremiah 6:24; Jeremiah 8:21; Jeremiah 50:43.
9. Prophecy against Kedar and the Kingdoms of Hazor
From Damascus the prophet turns his gaze eastward to the bordering Arabians, comprised in the designation of the title. In Jeremiah 25:23-24 Jeremiah mentions among the populations to be subdued by Nebuchadnezzar several Arabian tribes. We feel impelled to suppose that the limits of the Arabian conquests of Nebuchadnezzar were undefined in the mind of the prophet, for we shall be obliged to distinguish a real and ideal dominion of that ruler, though the boundary line between the two is a vague one. It is unnecessary to inquire after a special occasion for this prophecy. Nebuchadnezzar being now universal ruler, the Arabs, being the immediate southern neighbors of his native country, cannot possibly be omitted from subjection to his power. Moreover, the Arabs had enough to do with the Israelites from the time of Gideon (comp. Judges 6-8; 2 Chronicles 17:11; 2 Chronicles 21:16-17; 2 Chronicles 26:7).—As regards the date of this prophecy we have in the mention of Nebuchadnezzar’s name a sure proof that it was written later than most of its sisters in chh. 46–49, for only a single one of these (the second against Egypt, Jeremiah 46:13-28) mentions Nebuchadnezzar. If his expedition against the Arabian tribes were really the first, which he made after his ascension to the throne (comp. the exeg. rems. on Jeremiah 49:28-29) this prophecy might be ascribed most fitly to the time in which he was preparing for the undertaking.
28 Against Kedar and the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadnezzar23 the king of Babylon smote,
Thus saith Jehovah:
Arise, go up against Kedar,
And spoil ye the sons of the east.24
29 Their tents and their flocks shall they take,
Their curtains and all their utensils;
And their camels shall they take for themselves,25
And shall cry over them, “Terror round about.”
30 Flee, run apace, stoop, ye inhabitants of Hazor, saith Jehovah,
For Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon hath planned a plan against you,
And hath had thoughts against you.
31 Up! Move against a nation at ease,26
That dwelleth securely, saith Jehovah.
They have neither doors27 nor bolts,
They dwell apart by themselves.
32 And their camels shall become a prey,
And the multitude of their flocks a plunder;
And I scatter to all (the four) winds, those with cropped hair-corners,
And from all sides I bring their destruction, saith Jehovah.
33 And Hazor shall become a habitation for jackals,
A desolation in perpetuity:
Not a man shall dwell there,
Nor a son of man sojourn therein.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Plunder, desolation and dispersion by Nebuchadnezzar are proclaimed to the pastoral tribes living in Arabia to the East of Palestine. First the enemies are called upon to advance, and with war-cries to fall upon the Arabs and spoil them (Jeremiah 49:28-29). The Arabs, however, are admonished to flee and hide themselves, to escape the plans formed against them (Jeremiah 49:30). Hereupon the enemies are summoned anew to the attack, and are told, as if to allure them, that they have to deal with a people at peace and not intrenched behind bulwarks (Jeremiah 49:31). Rich booty is placed before them in prospect. Dispersion on all sides will be the result, corresponding to the attack on all sides (Jeremiah 49:32). The land shall be devastated and cease to be a habitation for man (Jeremiah 49:33).
Jeremiah 49:28-29. Against Kedar … terror round about. Kedar is named in Genesis 25:13 as the second son of Ishmael, with which the Arabian tradition agrees. Comp. Herzog, R.-Enc. I. S. 463. [Comp. Keil and Delitzsch, Comm. on the Pentateuch (Eng. Ed) Vol. I. p. 264]. They lived “in the desert between Arabia Petræa and Babylonia” (Knobel, Gen. S. 212), and are frequently mentioned as rich in flocks, living in tents (Song of Solomon 1:5; Psalms 120:5; Isaiah 42:11; Isaiah 60:7; Ezekiel 27:21) and celebrated for their skill in archery (Isaiah 21:16-17). Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 2:10.—Hazor, different from the localities of this name in Palestine (Joshua 11:1-3; Joshua 12:19; Joshua 19:36; Judges 4:5; 1 Kings 9:15; 1 Kings 15:29—Joshua 15:23; Joshua 15:25—Nehemiah 11:33), is mentioned here only as a district in Arabia. According to Niebuhr (Ass. u. Bab., S. 210 coll. 428), Hazor is “the present Hadshar, a district which occupies the whole north-eastern corner of Nedshed, and to which in the wider sense the coast lands of Lachsa also belong.” This corner is formed by the southern course of the Euphrates and the Persian Gulf. With regard to the meaning of the name it is natural to think of Isaiah 42:11 and to suppose that חָצוֹר denotes the inhabitants of the הֲצֵרִים, i.e. villages without walls and gates (comp. Genesis 25:16). Delitzsch remarks on Isaiah 42:11, “the settled Arabs are still called Hadarije in distinction from Wabarije, the tent Arabs; hadar, חָצֵר is the fixed dwelling-place in contrast to bedû, the steppe, where the tents are erected temporarily now here and now there.” Accordingly קֵדָר and חָצוֹר are related not as opposites, but only as the more limited and more extended idea, and Jeremiah would address his words to Kedar and to all other Arabs dwelling in חֲצֵרִים. With this would accord not only the Chaldean incursion generally, which it is easier to regard as directed against a settled people than against nomads, but especially the description of the devastation in Jeremiah 49:23, which seems to presuppose not the pasturage of a passing horde but the abiding-place of men who build houses. It seems opposed to this, however, that in Jeremiah 49:29 the tents and curtains of the attacked are spoken of, according to which part of them at least were tent-dwellers. It is also surprising that in Isaiah 42:11 the Kedarenes are inhabitants of חצרים, while elsewhere (comp. the passages cited) they are described as tent-dwellers. I believe that all may be united in the hypothesis that there were some Kedarenes living in tents and some in villages, and that the text has in view both these and also the other tribes settled in villages of northern Arabia.—Which Nebuchadnezzar, etc. These words appear to be a later addition, as otherwise the prophecy characterizes itself as a vaticinium post eventum. Yet even Hitzig remarks, the addition is “contained in the LXX. and preserving the older form of the proper name as in Jeremiah 44:30 is relatively very old, and probably genuine and certainly contains historical truth, which is not handed down elsewhere.” Niebuhr (Ass. u. Bab., S. 209, 10) and Duncker (Genh. des. Alterth., I. S. 827) are of opinion that Nebuchadnezzar, after returning from the victory of Carchemish, had strengthened his internal dominion, first taking into consideration “the extension of his dominion over the Arabs on the lower Euphrates, in North Arabia and the Syrian desert” (Duncker). It is to be remarked in this connection, that according to Ctesias, whose statement Duncker regards as credible (S. 801, 806 Anm. 2, etc.), the Babylonians had already brought Arabs with them to the siege of Nineveh.—The expression “sons of the East” is the “general designation of the Arabs, especially the nomad tribes of northern Arabia” (Arnold in Herz., R.-Enc. I. S. 460). Comp. Judges 6:3; Judges 6:33; Judges 7:12; Judges 8:10; 1 Kings 5:10; Job 1:3; Isaiah 11:14; Ezekiel 25:4; Ezekiel 25:10.—Curtains are the mats or canvas of which the tents consist. Comp. Jeremiah 4:20; Jeremiah 10:20.—Terror, etc. Magor missabib. Comp. Jeremiah 6:15; Jeremiah 20:3; Jeremiah 20:10; Jeremiah 46:5.
Jeremiah 49:30-33. Flee … therein. On flee, etc., comp. Jeremiah 49:8. On planned a plan comp. Jeremiah 49:20; Jeremiah 18:11.—At ease. Comp. Judges 18:7.—Apart by themselves. Comp. Jeremiah 15:17; Numbers 23:9; Deuteronomy 33:28.—And I scatter, etc. Comp. Ezekiel 5:12; Ezekiel 12:14.—Cropped hair-corners. Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 9:25; Jeremiah 25:23.—From all sides. Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 48:28; 1 Kings 5:4
Jeremiah 49:8; Jeremiah 46:21.—Shall become, etc., Jeremiah 49:33. Comp. Jeremiah 49:18; Jeremiah 9:10; Jeremiah 10:22; Jeremiah 51:37; Jeremiah 50:40.
Jeremiah 49:28; Jeremiah 49:28.—The ו with which the king’s name is written in the Chethibh is due to a scriptural error occasioned by the word הָצור standing just before.
Jeremiah 49:28; Jeremiah 49:28.—ושׁדדו. On the singular imperative form comp. Olsh. § 235, 6.
Jeremiah 49:29; Jeremiah 49:29.—ישׂאו להם. The pronoun is grammatically more correctly referred to the enemies of the Arabs (comp. Numbers 16:6; Deuteronomy 2:35; Deuteronomy 3:7; Naegelsb. Gr., § 81, 1 b) since the reference to the Arabs must have been expressed by מז.
Jeremiah 49:31; Jeremiah 49:31.—The form שְׁלֵיו formed like זְעֵיר (comp. Olsh. § 180, Anm.) is found here only. Elsewhere שָׁלֶו (Job 16:12; Job 20:20) or שָׁלֵיו (Job 21:23).
Jeremiah 49:31; Jeremiah 49:31.—לא דלתים by this are meant not house-doors, but city gates. Comp. Deu 3:5; 1 Samuel 23:7.
10. Prophecy against Elam
Elam is mentioned in the Old Testament in Genesis 10:22; Genesis 14:1; Genesis 14:9; Isaiah 11:11; Isaiah 21:2; Isaiah 22:6; Jeremiah 25:25 Ezekiel 32:24; Daniel 8:2; Ezra 4:9. Comp. supra ad Jeremiah 25:25. It is here mentioned as the representative of the more remote populations, beyond the Tigris, all those who are enumerated in the catalogue of nations beyond the Tigris in Jeremiah 25:25-26. M. Niebuhr assumes as certain a victorious war of Nebuchadnezzar with Elam between the ninth and twentieth years of his reign (Ass. u. Bab. S. 212). In this, however, he relies not on positive historical testimony but only on inferences, the correctness of which may be disputed. We are further in no need of an actual overthrow of Elam by Nebuchadnezzar. The kernel of the prophecy is an idea which retains its truth even if Nebuchadnezzar had never made war on Elam.
Why Jeremiah chose Elam as the representative of the eastern nations is not apparent. The supposition of Ewald (Proph. d. A. B., II. S. 130), that “the wild warlike Elamites had acted as auxiliaries shortly before in the deportation of Jehoiachin and the first great deportation of the people, and in this had shown themselves particularly cruel,” does not appear to be well-founded. For 1. if the Elamites already served in the army of Nebuchadnezzar they needed not to be subjugated; 2. the superscription affords no sure criterion of the date. For it is highly probable that it is placed here by mistake, as we shall show on Jeremiah 49:34. The prophecy does not mention Nebuchadnezzar by name, and we must therefore regard it as of the same date as the others in chh. 46–49. against the nations (except Jeremiah 46:13 sqq. and Jeremiah 49:28-33).
34 The word of Jehovah which came to Jeremiah the prophet with respect to Elam,
in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, saying,
35 Thus saith Jehovah Zebaoth:
Behold, I will break the bow of Elam,
The chief part of their strength.
36 And I will bring upon Elam four winds from the four corners of heaven,
And will scatter them to all those winds;
And there shall be no nation whither the dispersed of Elam28 shall not come.
37 And I will terrify29 Elam before their enemies,
And before those who seek their life;
And I will bring calamity upon them,
The fierceness of my anger, saith Jehovah;
And I will send the sword after them,
Until I have utterly consumed them.
38 And I will set my throne in Elam,
And destroy king and prince from thence, saith Jehovah.
39 And it shall be at the end of days,
I will turn the captivity of Elam, saith Jehovah.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
The bow of the Elamites, wherein their strength consists, shall be broken (Jeremiah 49:35). They shall be attacked and scattered on all sides (Jeremiah 49:36), and be pursued to destruction (Jeremiah 49:37). In the country itself the Lord will hold strict judgment and exterminate all the rulers (Jeremiah 49:38). Yet in the distant future Elam also shall be liberated and obtain salvation (Jeremiah 49:39).
Jeremiah 49:34. The word … Judah. There are well-founded doubts as to the authenticity of this superscription. We have hitherto found without an exception, that in all prophecies which are older than the battle of Carchemish, Jeremiah never mentions Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldeans, while in all the oracles subsequent to this catastrophe he knows and names Nebuchadnezzar as the Lord’s chosen instrument. If now this prophecy really dates from the beginning of Zedekiah’s reign, why is not Nebuchadnezzar mentioned? Why are the agents of the punishment spoken of in as general a manner as in the older prophecies? Or must not Nebuchadnezzar be necessarily regarded as the agent, as Graf supposes (S. 576)? I hold it quite impossible for Jeremiah in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah to have thought of any other than Nebuchadnezzar as an instrument of the execution, or to have left this point even in suspense. Compare only Jeremiah 27:5 sqq., where the whole earth, with all that is thereon, is given over without exception or reserve to the Chaldean king. Add to this an external circumstance. Unreliable as the Alexandrian translation in general is, yet in some circumstances it may serve to indicate the original form of the text (comp. Graf, Einl. S. LVII.). This is here the case. As is well-known the prophecies against the nations have in the LXX. their place immediately after that indication of a Sepher, containing them, in Jeremiah 25:13, and this prophecy against Elam is at their head. It is introduced with the words: ἅ ἐπροφήτενσεν ‘Ιερμίας ἐπὶ τὰ ἔθνη τὰ Αἰλάμ. It further closes with the words: ἐν�́οντος Σεδεκίον βασολέως ἐγένετο ὁ λόγος ον̇̄τος περὶ Αὶλάμ, and these words form in addition the beginning of Jeremiah 26:0. However severely we may judge the arbitrariness of this translator, it must be admitted that this exceeds the customary degree thereof, which is substantially confined to abridgement (comp. Graf, Einl., S. XLIII.). What could have induced him to invent this postscript, since the brief oracle was sufficiently characterized by the prefixed words τά Αἰλάμ (evidently corresponding to the Hebrew לְעֵילָם, but on account of its brevity added as in apposition to the preceding ἐπὶ τὰ ἔθνη? Whence now that postscript? It is remarkable that in the LXX. the first verse of Jeremiah 27:0. (Heb.) is wanting. It is the verse with the undoubtedly false name of Jehoiakim! Now Jeremiah 27:0 stands in the closest topical relation to Jeremiah 25:0. In the symbolic Bending of the yoke it forms an actual commentary to the symbol of the cup of wrath, Jeremiah 25:15 sqq. Ch. 26 on the other hand belongs to a much earlier date, and is merely inserted here, because it likewise (as Jeremiah 27:0) has for its subject the conflict with the false prophets, and bears as date the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim. Compare the Introduction to the Ninth Discourse (Jeremiah 25:0), and the rems. on Jeremiah 27:1. This postscript now which the LXX. subjoins to the oracle against Elam suits exactly (only with the omission of the words περὶ Αἰλάμ) in the place of the verse wanting at the beginning of Jeremiah 27:0, and, which is a matter of importance, it contains the right king’s name, viz., that of Zedekiah. The supposition is thus pressed upon us that the prophecies against the nations originally had place immediately after Jeremiah 25:0, that Jeremiah 27:0 was connected directly therewith (without the intervention of Jeremiah 26:0), that the prophecy against Elam formed the conclusion of the oracle against the nations, and that by mistake the Diaskenast who altered that original order, removed Jeremiah 27:1, and attached it, as a postscript, to the oracle against Elam. In this behalf the words “against Elam,” had to be inserted. This alteration must have been made in very early times, for it makes itself felt in both the Hebrew text and in the LXX. only with this difference, that in the text, on which the LXX. was based, the misplaced words still stood at the close of the word directed against Elam, so that this had a superscription and a postscript, while in our Masoretic recension the postscript is made into the title by the assumption into it of the words אֶל־עֵילָם. For this purpose the form of the sentences must also have been altered, so that it was in correspondence with the superscription, Jeremiah 46:1 and Jeremiah 47:1, while in the Greek text (Jeremiah 26:1) the old form is still perceptible. Thus substantially Movers and Hitzig, with whom I feel compelled to agree in the main.
Jeremiah 49:35-39. Thus saith … saith Jehovah. It seems to me far-fetched to take קֶשֶׁח in the sense of viri fortes as Hitzig and Graf would do, after the example of the Targum and several Rabbis. This meaning also does not seem to me to be proved. For in Isaiah 21:17 the word is to be understood peculiarly (comp. Delitzsch, ad loc.). In 1 Samuel 2:4 and Hosea 1:5, it stands by synecdoche for all the means of attack and defence. And it is thus to be rendered here the rather as we know from history, that the Elamites were really celebrated as archers (comp. Isaiah 22:6; Livy 37:27; Herzog, R.-Enc., III. S. 748). The bow was the chief part of their strength (comp. Jeremiah 2:3; Amos 6:1; Amos 6:6). When Hitzig inquires “why limit the breaking to the bow?” the answer is, because it was the main element of their power. To break their bow was to render them defenceless. When this is done, the advance is made upon them positively; from the four corners of the heaven are the four winds to rage against them and drive them one to another, i.e., the four winds shall scatter them to the four winds (comp. Jeremiah 49:32; Zechariah 2:10; Zechariah 6:5). Without a figure, they shall be attacked on all sides and scattered on all sides, so that there will be no nation in which such Elamites are not to be found. That this is the sense is clear from Jeremiah 49:37, where the same thing is expressed without a figure.—In the country itself will the Lord erect His throne (comp. the related but not identical expression, Jeremiah 1:15 and Jeremiah 43:10), i.e., He will sit in judgment, and the heads of the people must appear to receive their sentences. But Elam also at the end of days shall share in the salvation which the Lord shall then bring to all nations by the Messiah (comp. Jeremiah 49:6; Jeremiah 48:47). It is also not to be doubted that this word of consolation Applies not to Elam alone, but to all the nations before mentioned.
Jeremiah 49:36; Jeremiah 49:36.—עוֹלָם in the Chethibh has expressions such as Jeremiah 49:13; Jeremiah 25:12; Jeremiah 51:26; Jeremiah 51:62, etc., in view.
Jeremiah 49:37; Jeremiah 49:37.—On הַחְתַּתִּ comp. Olsh., S. 563, 4,–46:26; Jeremiah 9:15.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. On Jeremiah 49:1. Has then Israel no heir? So the prophet tells the Ammonites. But to Israel himself he speaks differently; I will cast you out from my presence, as I cast out all your brethren, the whole seed of Ephraim (Jeremiah 7:15). Thus the Ammonites have no right in Israel, and Israel, although he has forfeited his claim with respect to Jehovah, still has a right to his country with respect to the Ammonites, which he will one day, through God’s grace, make good again. “Israel will one day possess and rule his possessors and rulers. This is Israel’s eternal calling, which, in spite of every sin, must again be manifested, and is fulfilled in the Christian church to which all nations are given as a possession. Even now Jeremiah by God’s word, of which he is the bearer, has power over Ammon as over all the heathen world. He surveys their whole character, and already holds judgment. In him is Israel’s majesty and triumph even though on this account he is most mocked by the Jews.” (Diedrich). As then the servants of Malcom occupied the territory of Israel, so since then have the servants of Mohammed occupied the territory of the Christian church in Asia and Europe. In both cases it was a judgment on the latter without conferring any right on the former. A time, however, will come when the restoration of Israel and of Christianity to their country, and their right will take place at the same time.
2. On Jeremiah 49:4-5. “The real confidence of the world is always on Mammon. They would satisfy the deity with their dead self-devised works, but with desire and the tension of all their powers does the world serve material interests, as they are now-a-days called? Soon, however, Ammon’s corn-fields are overflowed by enemies, then even their confidence gives way to despair.” Diedrich.
3. On Jeremiah 49:7. “We see here, how God puts to shame those who depend on their wisdom and craftiness, so that we may ask: is there no more wisdom or counsel among the wise? Is their wisdom come to naught? Paul also writes of this (1 Corinthians 1:19-20) from the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 24:14 coll. 9:23-24). Biblische Summarien, etc.
4. On Jeremiah 49:7 sqq. “Although Edom was the nation nearest to Israel both in relationship and acquaintance, it is thus only a precursor of Antichrist, who endeavors to hide a worldly character in Christian forms. Edom is irritated by the existence of Israel, the presence of the pure word of God is always a thorn in his conscience. From Edom came Herod who wanted to murder the child Jesus, and who also mocked the suffering Saviour. Edom was celebrated for wise proverbs; it possessed high mental endowments; but are not even these put to shame, when not accompanied by the fear of God?” Diedrich.
5. On Jeremiah 49:12. Israel was the chosen nation, the son of the house (comp. Exodus 4:22; Jeremiah 31:9), and yet he was severely chastised. Further, there were in Israel many just and pious men, who did not share the sins of their people, but zealously contended against them. But even these also had to bear the severe chastening. “Prophets and priests were also carried away to Babylon; Daniel. Ezekiel and pious men like Ananiah, Azariah, Mishael, and probably very many others,” says Theodoret. How then could another nation expect to be treated differently? Comp. Pro 11:31; 1 Peter 4:17-18. There will, however, be a similarity also in this that finally the chastisement of both, the chosen nation and the other, will redound to their eternal welfare. Comp. Jeremiah 49:39. “Justus est Dominus et rectum omne judicium ejus! Quæ etiam erat confessio Mauritii imperatoris, quam edebat, cum videret sanctum suam uxorem gladio feriri paulo post feriendus et ipse.” Förster. Psalms 119:137.
6. On Jeremiah 49:16. “Fortifications may be constructed and made due use of, but they must not be depended upon. For no fortification is too strong or too high when God is angry, and will punish. And he has various ways of bringing them into the hands of the enemies as, He can cause provisions to fail; or a spark to fall in a powder-magazine; water may be wanting; there may be pestilence or the dysentery or mutiny among the soldiers, or bribes may be used as scaling ladders. Then all is in vain.” Cramer. “What the world calls protection, cannot protect against God’s judgment; death mounts over all rocks.” Diedrich.
7. On Jeremiah 49:19. “God gives all authority and respect, and takes it all away. For He it is, who poureth contempt upon princes, Job 12:21; Psalms 107:40; Isaiah 40:23.” Cramer. [“We need not be surprised by such a searching question as that in the present passage concerning Christ, when we remember that Edom is the prophetical type of Christ’s enemies,” etc. Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]
8. On Jeremiah 49:25, “God can suffer moderate joyousness, but to be joyous from security and in an Epicurean manner, is commonly a preliminary to destruction, Matthew 24:39.” Cramer.
9. On Jeremiah 49:30. “Non est quo fugias a Deo irato, nisi ad Deum placatum, Augustin in Psalms 74:0.”—Förster.
10. On Jeremiah 49:38. Where judgment is held there is the Lord’s throne. For even the idea of judgment is divine, and all judges are the lower representatives of the highest judge. Woe to those judges who proceed so as to efface the idea which they represent. Well for us that there is a superior tribunal which will reverse all unjust judgments, and in all points bring true justice to the light, before which also summum jus will not be summa injuria.
11. On Jeremiah 49:39, “In promissione spondetur Persis vocatio ad regnum Christi, cujus primitiæ fuerunt Magi (Matthew 2:0.), qui et ob id a Chrysostomo Patriarchæ gentium appellantur.” Förster. [The fulfilment of this prophecy was seen, in part, when the Magi came to our Lord at Bethlehem; and still more on the day of Pentecost, when ‘Parthians, Medes and Elamites’ listened to the preaching of St. Peter at Jerusalem, and were received into the Christian church (Acts 2:9; Acts 2:14).” Wordsworth.—S. R. A.].
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
1. On Jeremiah 49:1-2. Lament and hope of the church with respect to lost territory. 1. The lament (Jeremiah 49:1). 2. The hope (a) with respect to the overcoming of opponents; (b) with respect to the reacquisition of the lost.
2. On Jeremiah 49:4-5. Warning against arrogance. 1. Whereon it depends (Jeremiah 49:4, trusted in her treasures, etc.). 2. What its end will be (destruction of its sources of help, fear, flight).
3. On Jeremiah 49:7. The insufficiency of human Wisdom 1. Its strength (the renowned wisdom of the Edomites was not unfounded). 2. Its weakness (it must fail before the strokes of the Lord).
3. On Jeremiah 49:11. A word of comfort for widows and orphans. 1. They have lost their human protectors and supporters. 2. Their shield is the Lord, if they trust in him.—“How blessed is God’s kind promise to widows and orphans. 1. It calms the heart of every dying father; 2. It comforts the heart of all who are left, orphans; 3. It encourages us all to trust ourselves with our children more faithfully to God. Florey, Biblisch. Wegweiser für geistl. Grabredner, 1861, S. 101.
5. On Jeremiah 49:12. The justice of the Lord. 1. It directs its strokes with strict impartiality against the children of the house and against strangers. 2. It always has in view the true welfare of those who are smitten.
6. On Jeremiah 49:15-16. The folly of those who would contend against God. 1. The ground of it (pride, earthly power). 2. Its fate (overthrow and destruction by divine omnipotence).
7. On Jeremiah 49:38-39. The Lord’s judgments. They are 1, irresistible; 2, directed not to complete destruction, but to amelioration and true well-being.
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Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Jeremiah 49". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Epiphany