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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
Jeremiah 49

 

 

Verses 1-39

Jeremiah 49:1. Hath Israel no sons; hath he no heir? In this bold and striking manner the prophet commences his elegy on Ammon. The king of Ammon had in times of war, seized the cities of Gad. By every art he had aimed at aggrandizement, but could never do it by the clashing of interests. His army had invaded Gilead, and ripped up the women with child, that they might enlarge their territory. Amos 1:13.

Jeremiah 49:2. I will cause an alarm of war to be heard in Rabbah—and her daughters shall be burned with fire. Rabbah was the capital of Ammon, and the minor cities are called her daughters, as the cities of Judah are called the daughters of Zion, and they should be utterly destroyed with fire. Rabbah was built by Ammon the son of Lot, and was in great prosperity. Deuteronomy 3:11. It was taken by David, after great insolence had been offered to his ambassadors. When Tiglath Pileser had reduced Samaria, the Ammonites cruelly made war on the remains of the Israelites, and possessed themselves of all the eastern shores of the Jordan. Now, in turn, they themselves must drink the bloody cup. The city is situate near the source of the river Arnon, and still subsists under the name of Amman; but after Antiochus had rebuilt it, the name was changed to Philadelphia. Revelation 3:7.

Rabbah—shall be a desolate heap. At the time the prophet wrote, this city had existed for many ages, and gave no signs of approaching ruin. It was strong by nature, fortified by art, situate on the borders of an affluent stream, and in the midst of a fruitful country. Its ancient name is still preserved by the Arabs with little variation, and its scite is now “covered,” says Burckhardt, “with the ruins of private buildings.” A few years since, when this traveller visited the spot, he discovered the remains of many idol temples, a curved wall, a high arched bridge, the banks and bed of the river still paved in some places, an amphitheatre with ornamented columns, a very ancient strong castle, many cisterns and vaults, and a plain covered with ruins—monuments of splendour standing amidst “a desolate heap.” Thus it is that the truth of prophecy is confirmed by persons who intended not to pay any homage to revelation.

Jeremiah 49:3. Ai is spoiled. The Ammonites had crossed the Jordan, and gained some possessions on the western shore.

Jeremiah 49:6. I will bring again the captivity of Ammon. A remnant returned, but not the less at enmity with Israel; for with these Judas had wars. 1 Maccabees 5:6. These prophecies are all proved, and true to the letter. They could not be written after the events; therefore unbelief can find no plea.

Jeremiah 49:7; Jeremiah 49:22. Concerning Edom, or Idumea. The prophet opens his mission by three interrogations. Is wisdom no more in Teman? Is counsel perished from the prudent? Is their wisdom vanished? Why not send ambassadors of peace to meet the invading powers? Why be infatuated to your own destruction? The warning voice of the prophet was to save the nations. He exhorts them to flee in every direction, to flee to the eastern shores of the red sea. The gleaners of the vintage were coming, a hungry army without number, who should glean the land, and scarcely spare the women. The desolation should be as that of Sodom. The velocity of the invader, flying in chariots, should be like that of the eagle, and his anger like that of a lion driven from his lair by the swellings of Jordan: Jeremiah 12:5. Yea, the nations should be moved at the cry of Edom, and none to pity the desolations of Bozrah.

Jeremiah 49:28. The kingdoms of Hazor which Nebuchadrezzar shall smite. In Joshua’s time, Jabin king of Hazor was the most powerful prince, east of the waters of Merom, extending from the sources of Jordan towards the Euphrates, and eastward. Tadmor, afterwards Palmyra, was one of his cities. 2 Chronicles 8:4. He claimed a sort of sovereignty over all the municipal kings of the seven nations. With this prince Joshua fought, and put all the inhabitants of Hazor to the sword. The city was however restored by the Canaanites; and under Jabin they grievously oppressed the Israelites for twenty years. Judges 4.

The different names of this kingdom, according to the city in which the king reigned, has obscured its notice in history. Hadarezer, king of Zobah, is the same power with Hazor, of which we read in 1 Chronicles 23:3. David subdued this prince, and conquered all his dominions to the boundaries of Hamath. David also captured a thousand of his chariots, and took seven thousand cavalry and twenty thousand infantry prisoners of war. When the Syrians of Damascus came to succour their allies, David defeated them also with the slaughter of twenty two thousand. Nebuchadrezzar put a final period to this kingdom, and made it a province of Babylon.

Jeremiah 49:35. I will break the bow of ELamentations This nation was famed for archery, as is noted by Livy, lib. 37. Of the nature and results of this prediction, sacred criticism knows but little. It regards the western parts of Persia; and from the prophecy it appears that the Elamites sustained tremendous defeats from the Chaldeans. But in half a century or more, with Cyrus at their head, they laid the glory of Babylon in the dust.

REFLECTIONS.

Moab was distinguished for her pride, which made her fall the more mortifying; but Ammon gloried in her riches, having succeeded Gad on the banks of Jordan, and sent her camels abroad with merchandise; now all this wealth served merely to make the invader more greedy of the prey. May this be a warning to our own nation, for we are both rich and proud. The ruin of my poor neighbour whose lands I buy, may possibly be but the forerunner of the fall and ruin of my own house, as eventually proved by the fall of the Ammonites. May it contribute, with all other intimations of providence, to make us seek safety in the arms of divine protection.

While Jeremiah uttered predictions against Judah, against Moab, and against Ammon, he extended his eye to the dark tempest which overspread the whole of western Asia, to Edom, Damascus, and Elam, now Persia, and saw the rolling waterspouts settle in a vortex on Babylon, the scourge of nations. Thus when God begins he finishes his strange work. How weak then for mortals to trust in riches, in power, in wisdom, or in any arm of flesh, when they have neither might nor defence in the Lord. Surely he who can say, The Lord is my rock and my strong tower, is the wisest and happiest man. But the gentile nations against which Jeremiah prophesied were all enemies of the people of God, and nine of those nations had leagued to blot out the name of Israel. Psalms 83. Hence, in their fall we have a pledge, that all the enemies of the church shall waste away, and the righteous alone be exalted in the day of the Lord.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Jeremiah 49:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/jeremiah-49.html. 1835.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, November 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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