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Jeremiah 49:28

28. Concerning Kedar, and concerning the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon shall smite, thus saith the LORD; Arise ye, go up to Kedar, and spoil the men of the east.

28. Ad Kedar, et regna Hazor, quae percussit Nabuchadrezar, rex Babylonis, sic dicit Jehova, Surgite, ascendite adversus Kedar, et perdite filios Kedem (vel, orientis).

 

There is here another prophecy added respecting the Kedareans, who inhabited a part of Arabia. There is elsewhere mention made of them, and it is probable that they were neighbors to the Syrians and not far from Judea; for David complained (if he was the author of that psalm) that he dwelt among the children of Kedar,

“Woe to me, because I am compelled to dwell in Mesech and with the children of Kedar,” (Psalm 120:5)

Whoever, then, composed that psalm, it is a probable conjecture that the Kedareans, though not contiguous to Judea, were not yet far distant; and we have said that they were the inhabitants of Arabia. And the Prophet adds, the children of Kedem; so some render the word, as though it were the name of a nation; and Moses tells us that Kedem was one of the sons of Ishmael. It may be that for this reason Jeremiah joined this people to the Kedareans, (Genesis 25:13-15.) But I am, however, inclined to the opinion, that he mentions here the children of the East, that is, with respect to Judea; not that they were nigh the Persians or other oriental nations, but he only points out a land to the east of Judea.

But why God took vengeance on that people, the cause is not expressed. It may yet have been that they formerly had much injured the Israelites; God therefore having long spared them at length appeared as their severe judge. And though the reason was unknown, yet it did good to the Jews to know, that God’s hand was extended to every part of the world to execute vengeance; for they might have hence concluded that they were justly punished, because they had rebelled against God; for we know that a servant who willfully and disdainfully disobeys his master, deserves double punishment. (Luke 12:47) When the Jews then saw that these barbarians, who were like wild beasts, could not escape God’s vengeance, they might have thought within themselves how just must have been God’s judgments executed on them, who had knowingly and willfully despised him. This then was one of the benefits to be derived from this prophecy.

And then, as we have elsewhere said, this general rule ought to be borne in mind, that when changes happen in the world, it is necessary, as men’s thoughts and feelings are evanescent, that this warning should be given, that God so rules in all these changes, that chance has no place in them. For when calamities, like a deluge, spread over the whole world, then we think, as it has been stated, that such a confusion happens by chance, and without any cause. For when God afflicts some portion, the difference may lead us to some reflection, — “One part is afflicted and another escapes;” but when evils overwhelm the whole world, then, there being no difference, we think that all things are in a state of confusion, nor can we collect our thoughts so as to know, that God so takes vengeance on all, that he yet regulates his judgments, as it is right, according to his infinite and incomprehensible wisdom and justice. As then this adjustment which God makes, as to his judgments, is not evident to the mind and perception of men, it was necessary, when God was at the same time fulminating through the whole world, that the Jews should be reminded to be ever attentive to the operations of his hand. They saw themselves ruined, they saw the same thing happening to the Egyptians and to all other contiguous nations; at length Assyria was to have its turn, then Chaldea, and afterwards the Medians and Persians. As then no part was to remain untouched, who would not have thought that all things revolved, as it were, through blind and uncertain fate? God, therefore, did not, without reason, forewarn the faithful, lest they should think, that in so great vicissitudes and violent changes, all things were indiscriminately mixed together, but that they might know that God, from heaven, regulated and overruled all these confusions. This is the reason why the Prophets so particularly spoke of the calamities of all nations.

Let us come now to the Kedareans: To Kedar, he says, and the kingdoms of Hazor These kingdoms, no doubt, included a large country, for it is hardly credible that Hazor was the name of a city; for who would have said, the kingdoms of Hazor, had it been only the name of a city? It is, indeed, certain, that there was a city of this name, as it is mentioned by Joshua. But here it means a large region, contiguous to the Kedareans. And he says that all these nations had been smitten by Nebuchadnezzar, because these barbarous men were probably but little known to the Jews. It must yet be observed, that they had not been as yet smitten by Nebuchadnezzar, that is, at the time the Prophet spoke of their destruction. But Jeremiah spoke thus, in order to confirm his prophecy, as though he had said, that what many disregarded, and even treated with disdain, was at length really fulfilled. For when he threatened ruin to these remote nations, it is probable that he was derided by his own people; and hence he says, that he had not spoken in vain, but that by the event itself his vocation was proved, because these were smitten as he had predicted.

And this is the prophecy, Arise ye, ascend against Kedar, and destroy the children of the East 4545     It is “Kedem” in the Sept., and “East” in the other versions and the Targum. Ed. Here the Prophet speaks of the Babylonians, and in the person of God, as his herald. And we have said that God’s servants commanded and ordered what was future with supreme authority, in order to gain more reverence and honor to their words or doctrine. For prophecies were despised by ungodly men, and they insultingly said, that they were only words. Hence the servants of God, to show that their words had accomplishment connected with them, assumed the person of God. Thus they boldly commanded the greatest kings, as Jeremiah does here, Arise ye; for whom does he here address? the king of Babylon, that greatest of monarchs, and also the Assyrians as well as the Chaldeans: and he commanded them to arise and to ascend, as though he had them ready for his service, even because he did not speak except by God’s command.

And such mode of speaking ought to be especially observed, that we may learn to embrace whatever is announced in God’s name, as though the thing itself were already before our eyes, and that we may also know that the power of the whole world, is in such a way under God’s control, that all the kingdoms of the earth are ready to fulfill his word. When, therefore, God himself speaks, we ought so to regard the efficacy of his word, as though heaven and earth were ready to obey and to fulfill what he has commanded. It follows, —


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