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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 father Nabopolassar.
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."
6. He instances one sin, idolatry, as representative of all their sins; as nothing is dearer to God than a pure worship of Himself.
9. the north--(see on
Jer 1:14, 15).
The Medes and other northern peoples, confederate with Babylon, are
included with the Chaldeans.
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,
in daily use in every house, and therefore forbidden to be taken in
no night-light, so universal in the East that the poorest house
has it, burning all night.
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 Da 9:2, 24).
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 (Jer 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.
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
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].
Isa 19:2, 3;
The term is first found in
22. all the kings of Tyrus--the petty kings of the various dependencies
23. Dedan--north of Arabia
(Ge 25:3, 4).
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
26. Sheshach--Babylon; as the parallelism in Jer 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].
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
30. roar--image from a destructive lion
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.
Here he returns to the Jews and their rulers, using the same
image as in
"pasture" (see on