Jer 25:1-38. Prophecy of the
Seventy Years' Captivity; and after That the Destruction of Babylon,
and of All the Nations That Oppressed the Jews.
1. fourth year of Jehoiakim—called the
third year in Da 1:1. But
probably Jehoiakim was set on the throne by Pharaoh-necho on his return
from Carchemish about July, whereas Nebuchadnezzar mounted the
throne January 21, 604 B.C.; so that
Nebuchadnezzar's first year was partly the third, partly the
fourth, of Jehoiakim's. Here first Jeremiah gives specific
dates. Nebuchadnezzar had previously entered Judea in the reign of his
3. From the thirteenth year of Josiah, in
which Jeremiah began to prophesy (Jer 1:1), to the end of Josiah's reign, was
nineteen years (2Ki 22:1);
the three months 2 Kings 23. 31) of Jehoahaz' reign, with the not quite
complete four years of Jehoiakim (Jer 25:1), added to the nineteen years, make up
twenty-three years in all.
4. rising early—(See on Jer 7:13). "The prophets" refer to Urijah, Zephaniah,
Habakkuk, &c. It aggravates their sin, that God sent not merely one
but many messengers, and those messengers, prophets; and, that during
all those years specified, Jeremiah and his fellow prophets spared
no effort, late and early.
5. Turn … dwell—In Hebrew
there is expressed by sameness of sounds the correspondence between
their turning to God and God's turning to them to permit them to
dwell in their land: Shubu … shebu, "Return"
… so shall ye "remain."
every one from …
evil—Each must separately repent and turn from his
own sin. None is excepted, lest they should think their guilt
extenuated because the evil is general.
6. He instances one sin, idolatry, as
representative of all their sins; as nothing is dearer to God than a
pure worship of Himself.
7. Though ye provoke Me to anger (De 32:21), yet it is not I, but
yourselves, whom ye thereby hurt (Pr 8:36; 20:2).
9. the north—(see on Jer 1:14, 15). The Medes and other northern peoples,
confederate with Babylon, are included with the Chaldeans.
my servant—My agent for punishing
27:6; 43:10; compare Jer 40:2). Compare Isa 44:28; Cyrus, "My shepherd." God makes even
unbelievers unconsciously to fulfil His designs. A reproof to the Jews,
who boasted that they were the servants of God; yet a heathen
king is to be more the servant of God than they, and that as the agent
of their punishment.
10. (Jer 7:34; Re 18:23). The land shall be so desolated that
even in the houses left standing there shall be no inhabitant; a
terrible stillness shall prevail; no sound of the hand-mill (two
circular stones, one above the other, for grinding corn, worked by two
women, Ex 11:5; Mt 24:41; in daily use in every house, and
therefore forbidden to be taken in pledge, De 24:6); no night-light, so universal in
the East that the poorest house has it, burning all night.
candle—lamp (Job 21:17;
11. seventy years—(Jer 27:7). The exact number of years of Sabbaths
in four hundred ninety years, the period from Saul to the Babylonian
captivity; righteous retribution for their violation of the Sabbath
(Le 26:34, 35; 2Ch 36:21). The seventy years probably begin from
the fourth year of Jehoiakim, when Jerusalem was first captured, and
many captives, as well as the treasures of the temple, were carried
away; they end with the first year of Cyrus, who, on taking Babylon,
issued an edict for the restoration of the Jews (Ezr 1:1). Daniel's seventy prophetic
weeks are based on the seventy years of the captivity (compare
13. all … written in this book, which
Jeremiah … prophesied against all … nations—It
follows from this, that the prophecies against foreign nations
(forty-sixth through fifty-first chapters) must have been already
written. Hence the Septuagint inserts here those prophecies. But
if they had followed immediately (Jer 25:13), there would have been no propriety in
the observation in the verse. The very wording of the reference shows
that they existed in some other part of the book, and not in the
immediate context. It was in this very year, the fourth of Jehoiakim
36:1, 2), that Jeremiah was
directed to write in a regular book for the first time all that
he had prophesied against Judah and foreign "nations"
from the beginning of his ministry. Probably, at a subsequent time,
when he completed the whole work, including the forty-sixth through
fifty-first chapters, Jeremiah himself inserted the clause, "all that
is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the
nations." The prophecies in question may have been repeated, as others
in Jeremiah, more than once; so in the original smaller collection they
may have stood in an earlier position; and, in the fuller subsequent
collection, in their later and present position.
14. serve themselves—(Jer 27:7;
30:8; 34:10). Avail
themselves of their services as slaves.
them also—the Chaldees, who heretofore
have made other nations their slaves, shall themselves also in
their turn be slaves to them. Maurer
translates, "shall impose servitude on them, even them."
recompense them—namely, the Chaldees
and other nations against whom Jeremiah had prophesied (Jer 25:13), as having oppressed the Jews.
their deeds—rather, "deed," namely,
their bad treatment of the Jews (Jer 50:29; 51:6, 24; compare 2Ch 36:17).
15. wine cup—Compare Jer 13:12, 13, as to this image, to express
stupefying judgments; also Jer 49:12; 51:7. Jeremiah often embodies the imagery of
Isaiah in his prophecies (La 4:21; Isa 51:17-22; Re
16:19; 18:6). The wine cup
was not literally given by Jeremiah to the representatives of the
different nations; but only in symbolical vision.
16. be moved—reel (Na 3:11).
18. Jerusalem—put first: for "judgment
begins at the house of God"; they being most guilty whose religious
privileges are greatest (1Pe 4:17).
kings—Jehoiakim, Jeconiah, and
as it is this day—The accomplishment
of the curse had already begun under Jehoiakim. This clause, however,
may have been inserted by Jeremiah at his final revision of his
prophecies in Egypt.
19. Pharaoh—put next after Jerusalem,
because the Jews had relied most on him, and Egypt and Judea stood on a
common footing (Jer 46:2, 25).
20. mingled people—mercenary foreign
troops serving under Pharaoh-hophra in the time of Jeremiah. The
employment of these foreigners provoked the native Egyptians to
overthrow him. Psammetichus, father of Pharaoh-necho, also had given a
settlement in Egypt to Ionian and Carian adventurers [Herodotus, 2.152, 154]. (Compare Jer 50:37;
see on Isa 19:2, 3; Isa 20:1; Eze 30:5. The term is first found in Ex 12:38.
Uz—in the geographical order here,
between Egypt and the states along the Mediterranean; therefore not the
"Uz" of Job
1:1 (north of
Arabia-Deserta), but the northern part of Arabia-Petræa, between
the sea and Idumea (La 4:21; see
remnant of Ashdod—called a "remnant,"
because Ashdod had lost most of its inhabitants in the twenty-nine
years siege by Psammetichus. Compare also see on Isa
20:1. Gath is not mentioned because it was overthrown in the same
21. Edom … Moab …
Ammon—joined together, as being related to Israel (see Jer
22. all the kings of Tyrus—the petty
kings of the various dependencies of Tyre.
isles—a term including all maritime
regions (Ps 72:10).
23. Dedan—north of Arabia (Ge 25:3, 4).
Tema … Buz—neighboring tribes
north of Arabia (Job 32:2).
all … in … utmost
corners—rather, "having the hair cut in angles," a heathenish
custom (see on Jer 9:26).
24. mingled people—not in the same sense
as in Jer
25:20; the "motley crowd," so
called in contempt (compare Jer 49:28, 31; 50:37). By a different pointing it may be
translated the "Arabs"; but the repetition of the name is not likely.
Blaney thinks there were two divisions
of what we call Arabia, the west (Araba) and the east. The west
included Arabia-Petræa and the parts on the sea bordering on
Egypt, the land of Cush; the east, Arabia-Felix and Deserta. The latter
are "the mixed race" inhabiting the desert.
25. Zimri—perhaps the Zabra
mentioned by Ptolemy between Mecca and
Medina. Zimran also, as Dedan, was one of Abraham's sons by
Elam—properly, west of Persia; but
used for Persia in general.
26. Sheshach—Babylon; as the parallelism
51:41 proves. In the
Cabalistic system (called Athbash, the first Hebrew
letter in the alphabet being expressed by the last) Sheshach
would exactly answer to Babel. Jeremiah may have used
this system (as perhaps in Jer 51:41)
for concealment at the time of this prediction, in the fourth year of
Jehoiakim, while Nebuchadnezzar was before Jerusalem. In Jer 51:41 there can be no concealment, as Babylon
is expressly mentioned. Michaelis more
simply explains the term "brazen-gated" (compare Isa 45:2); others, "the house of a prince."
Rather, it comes from the Babylonian goddess, Shach, by
reduplication of the first letter; from her Misael was named
Meshach by the Babylonians. The term Shace was applied to
a festival at Babylon, alluded to in Jer 51:39, 57; Isa 21:5. It was during this feast that
Cyrus took Babylon [Herodotus, 1]. Thus
Jeremiah mystically denotes the time of its capture by this term [Glassius].
27. rise no more—The heathen nations in
question should fall to rise no more. The Jews should fall but for a
time, and then rise again. Therefore, the epithet is given, "the God
28. if they refuse to take the cup—No
effort of theirs to escape destruction will avail.
29. If I spared not Mine elect people on
account of sin, much less will I spare you (Eze 9:6; Ob 16; Lu 23:31; 1Pe 4:17).
be unpunished—"be treated as
30. roar—image from a destructive lion
(Isa 42:13; Joe 3:16).
upon his habitation—rather, "His
pasturage"; keeping up the image of a lion roaring against the flock in
the pasture. The roar was first to go forth over Judea wherein were
"the sheep of His pasture" (Ps 100:3),
and thence into heathen lands.
shout … tread …
grapes—(Jer 48:33; Isa 16:9, 10).
31. controversy—cause at issue (Mic 6:2).
plead with all flesh—(Isa 66:16). God shows the whole world that He does
what is altogether just in punishing.
32. from the coasts—rather, "from the
uttermost regions." Like a storm which arises in one region and then
diffuses itself far and wide, so God's judgments shall pass "from
nation to nation," till all has been fulfilled; no distance shall
prevent the fulfilment.
not be lamented—(Jer 16:4, 6).
neither gathered—to their fathers, in
their ancestral tombs (Jer 8:2).
34. shepherds—princes (Jer 22:22). Here he returns to the Jews and
their rulers, using the same image as in Jer 25:30, "pasture" (see on Jer 25:30).
wallow yourselves—Cover yourselves as
thickly with ashes, in token of sorrow, as one who rolls in them (Jer
6:26; Eze 27:30) [Maurer].
Septuagint translates "rams," carrying out the image (compare
14:9, Margin; Zec 10:3).
days of your slaughter … of …
dispersions—rather, "your days for slaughter (that is,
the time of your being slain), and your dispersions (not 'of
your dispersions'), are accomplished (are come)."
pleasant vessel—Ye were once a
precious vessel, but ye shall fall, and so be a broken
vessel (see on Jer 22:28). "Your past
excellency shall not render you safe now. I will turn to your ignominy
whatever glory I conferred on you" [Calvin].
35. Literally, "Flight shall fail the
shepherds … escaping (shall fail) the principal," &c. (Am 2:14). The leaders will be the first
objects for slaughter; escape by flight will be out of their power.
37. habitations—rather, carrying out the
image "pastures" (see on Jer 25:30). The
pasturages where, peaceably and without incursion of wild
beasts, the flocks have fed, shall be destroyed; that is, the regions
where, heretofore, there was peace and security (alluding to the
name Salem, or Jerusalem, "possessing peace").
38. his covert—the temple, where
heretofore, like a lion, as its defender, by the mere terror of His
voice He warded off the foe; but now He leaves it a prey to the
fierceness of …
oppressor—rather, as the Hebrew, for "oppressor" is an
adjective feminine, the word "sword" is understood, which, in
46:16; 50:16, is expressed
(indeed, some manuscripts and the Septuagint read "sword"
instead of "fierceness" here; probably interpolated from Jer 46:16), "the oppressing sword." The
Hebrew for "oppressing" means also a "dove": there may be,
therefore, a covert allusion to the Chaldean standard bearing a dove on
it, in honor of Semiramis, the first queen, said in popular
superstition to have been nourished by doves when exposed at birth, and
at death to have been transformed into a dove. Her name may come from a
root referring to the cooing of a dove. That bird was held
sacred to the goddess Venus. Vulgate so translates "the anger of
his … anger—If the anger of
Nebuchadnezzar cannot be evaded, how much less that of God (compare