a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

Judgment on the Ammonites


Concerning the Ammonites.


Thus says the L ord:

Has Israel no sons?

Has he no heir?

Why then has Milcom dispossessed Gad,

and his people settled in its towns?


Therefore, the time is surely coming,

says the L ord,

when I will sound the battle alarm

against Rabbah of the Ammonites;

it shall become a desolate mound,

and its villages shall be burned with fire;

then Israel shall dispossess those who dispossessed him,

says the L ord.



Wail, O Heshbon, for Ai is laid waste!

Cry out, O daughters of Rabbah!

Put on sackcloth,

lament, and slash yourselves with whips!

For Milcom shall go into exile,

with his priests and his attendants.


Why do you boast in your strength?

Your strength is ebbing,

O faithless daughter.

You trusted in your treasures, saying,

“Who will attack me?”


I am going to bring terror upon you,

says the Lord G od of hosts,

from all your neighbors,

and you will be scattered, each headlong,

with no one to gather the fugitives.

6 But afterward I will restore the fortunes of the Ammonites, says the L ord.


Judgment on Edom

7 Concerning Edom.


Thus says the L ord of hosts:

Is there no longer wisdom in Teman?

Has counsel perished from the prudent?

Has their wisdom vanished?


Flee, turn back, get down low,

inhabitants of Dedan!

For I will bring the calamity of Esau upon him,

the time when I punish him.


If grape-gatherers came to you,

would they not leave gleanings?

If thieves came by night,

even they would pillage only what they wanted.


But as for me, I have stripped Esau bare,

I have uncovered his hiding places,

and he is not able to conceal himself.

His offspring are destroyed, his kinsfolk

and his neighbors; and he is no more.


Leave your orphans, I will keep them alive;

and let your widows trust in me.

12 For thus says the L ord: If those who do not deserve to drink the cup still have to drink it, shall you be the one to go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished; you must drink it. 13For by myself I have sworn, says the L ord, that Bozrah shall become an object of horror and ridicule, a waste, and an object of cursing; and all her towns shall be perpetual wastes.


I have heard tidings from the L ord,

and a messenger has been sent among the nations:

“Gather yourselves together and come against her,

and rise up for battle!”


For I will make you least among the nations,

despised by humankind.


The terror you inspire

and the pride of your heart have deceived you,

you who live in the clefts of the rock,

who hold the height of the hill.

Although you make your nest as high as the eagle’s,

from there I will bring you down,

says the L ord.

17 Edom shall become an object of horror; everyone who passes by it will be horrified and will hiss because of all its disasters. 18As when Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighbors were overthrown, says the L ord, no one shall live there, nor shall anyone settle in it. 19Like a lion coming up from the thickets of the Jordan against a perennial pasture, I will suddenly chase Edom away from it; and I will appoint over it whomever I choose. For who is like me? Who can summon me? Who is the shepherd who can stand before me? 20Therefore hear the plan that the L ord has made against Edom and the purposes that he has formed against the inhabitants of Teman: Surely the little ones of the flock shall be dragged away; surely their fold shall be appalled at their fate. 21At the sound of their fall the earth shall tremble; the sound of their cry shall be heard at the Red Sea. 22Look, he shall mount up and swoop down like an eagle, and spread his wings against Bozrah, and the heart of the warriors of Edom in that day shall be like the heart of a woman in labor.


Judgment on Damascus

23 Concerning Damascus.


Hamath and Arpad are confounded,

for they have heard bad news;

they melt in fear, they are troubled like the sea

that cannot be quiet.


Damascus has become feeble, she turned to flee,

and panic seized her;

anguish and sorrows have taken hold of her,

as of a woman in labor.


How the famous city is forsaken,

the joyful town!


Therefore her young men shall fall in her squares,

and all her soldiers shall be destroyed in that day,

says the L ord of hosts.


And I will kindle a fire at the wall of Damascus,

and it shall devour the strongholds of Ben-hadad.


Judgment on Kedar and Hazor

28 Concerning Kedar and the kingdoms of Hazor that King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon defeated.


Thus says the L ord:

Rise up, advance against Kedar!

Destroy the people of the east!


Take their tents and their flocks,

their curtains and all their goods;

carry off their camels for yourselves,

and a cry shall go up: “Terror is all around!”


Flee, wander far away, hide in deep places,

O inhabitants of Hazor!

says the L ord.

For King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon

has made a plan against you

and formed a purpose against you.



Rise up, advance against a nation at ease,

that lives secure,

says the L ord,

that has no gates or bars,

that lives alone.


Their camels shall become booty,

their herds of cattle a spoil.

I will scatter to every wind

those who have shaven temples,

and I will bring calamity

against them from every side,

says the L ord.


Hazor shall become a lair of jackals,

an everlasting waste;

no one shall live there,

nor shall anyone settle in it.


Judgment on Elam

34 The word of the L ord that came to the prophet Jeremiah concerning Elam, at the beginning of the reign of King Zedekiah of Judah.

35 Thus says the L ord of hosts: I am going to break the bow of Elam, the mainstay of their might; 36and I will bring upon Elam the four winds from the four quarters of heaven; and I will scatter them to all these winds, and there shall be no nation to which the exiles from Elam shall not come. 37I will terrify Elam before their enemies, and before those who seek their life; I will bring disaster upon them, my fierce anger, says the L ord. I will send the sword after them, until I have consumed them; 38and I will set my throne in Elam, and destroy their king and officials, says the L ord.

39 But in the latter days I will restore the fortunes of Elam, says the L ord.


With regard to the end of the verse, some give this explanation, “There will be none to say:” there is then a word to be understood, — “there will be none to say, Leave thy orphans to me, I will nourish or sustain them, or I will he a father to them; and thy widows, let them hope or trust in me, or rest on me.” For it is no small comfort to parents, when they know that their widows would have one to flee to, and also their orphans. When one dies and sees that his widow is destitute of every help, and sees that his orphans are miserable and needy, his paternal and conjugal love is grievously wounded. For is it more bitter than death itself, when the husband cannot provide any help for his widow, when he cannot provide any relief for his orphans. Hence some interpreters think that the ruin of this people is in this way exaggerated; that is, because no one would be found to bring comfort to parents, and to take as it were the place of the dead.

But the meaning would not be unsuitable, were the words deemed ironical, that the Prophet spoke in the person of God, Leave to me thy orphans, I will nourish them, and let thy widows rest on me, or trust in me: for it follows afterwards, Behold, they to whom there was no judgment, have drunk of the cup, etc. The passage then would not read amiss, if we consider that God taunts the Idumeans, and ironically declares that he would be a judge against them even after they were dead; for God’s vengeance, we know, reaches to the third and the fourth generation. As then he had before declared, that the Idumeans would be destroyed, their seed, their brethren, and their neighbors, so he now confirms the same thing, — “What! dost thou expect that I should be a father or a protector to thy orphans? that I should bring aid to thy widow? This thou expectest in vain from me.”

The Prophet, in a few words, very sharply goads the minds of the Idumeans, when God thus presents himself, and says by way of mockery, that he would be a protector to their orphans and widows; for they had indiscriminately vented their rage on orphans and women, and spared neither sex nor age. Then God shews here that there was no reason why they should expect any comfort as to their children, for he would be their avenger to the third and the fourth generation. And forced, no doubt, is what some say; at least I do not see how the words, I will nourish them, can comport with the rest of the context. This clause, then, I apply to God himself, because his vengeance would consume them with their brethren, their neighbors and their seed. And the irony is the most suitable to the whole passage; that is, that God meant to show, that he could bring no help to orphans or aid to widows, since they had been so cruel both to orphans and widows. 3838     Neither of the two explanations here given are satisfactory, though the first especially has been adopted by many, such as Henry and Scott. It is difficult to know the meaning of the Sept.; the Vulg. and the Syr. are literally our version. The Targ. goes wide astray, representing this verse as addressed to the people of Israel, of whom there is no mention here. Blayney supposes a typographical mistake, joins עזב to the preceding verse, and puts ה, to the next word, and gives this version, —
   And there is nothing of him left.
11. Shall I preserve the life of thy fatherless children?
Or shall thy widows trust in me?

   The questions he considers as strong negatives. The simpler view seems to be this: in the preceding verse the destruction not only of Esau, but also of his brethren and neighbours, is announced. His “seed” means his posterity, the nation, and he was was not to be, that is, as a kingdom. There would be still some “orphans” and “widows,” and as “brethren” and “neighbors” would be destroyed as well as Esau himself, as to all grown up people, forming the nation, and thus orphans and widows would be left helpless, God was pleased to give the promise here stated:

   Leave thy orphans, I will preserve them,
Thy widows also, in me let them trust.

   The last verb is both masculine and feminine, and refers both to the orphans and widows. This is substantially the explanation given by Venema, and is the most satisfactory. — Ed.
Then follows a confirmation —

VIEWNAME is study