Jeremiah 49 Commentary

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Ammon and Edom

Turn to Jeremiah 49.

We continue the section in Jeremiah that has God promising judgement for several nations of Jeremiah’s time. They had not submitted to God’s authority – oftentimes by not submitting to Babylon. And therefore they would not “live.” Just like what happened to Judah.

And in the first 22 verses of chapter 49 we’ll see judgement promised on the nations of Ammon and Edom.

You might want to reference the maps at the back of your Bible. Have one hand in the text of Jeremiah and the other hand in the maps section of your Bible.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Ammonites | 1-6

First Ammon. Conquered – according to Flavius Josephus – in 582 BC.

It was a nation east of Israel and northeast of Moab.

KJV Jeremiah 49:1 ¶ Concerning the Ammonites, thus saith the LORD;

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Ammon Took Israel’s Land

And to begin with, the Lord is going to remind the people of Ammon of something they did to God’s people, northern Israel, a while ago.

It turns out that Ammon took Israel’s land when Israel went into exile about 150 years before Jeremiah’s time (722 BC).

Hath Israel no sons?
hath he [no heir/no one remaining to inherit his land]?

why then doth [their king/you people who worship Milcom/Heb:Malcam/Molech] [inherit/take possession of] [the territory of…] Gad,
and his people [dwell/live/have settled] in his cities?

Two things. First Gad was the tribe of Israel whose land was immediately west of Ammon. Gad was between Ammon on the east and the Jordan River on the west.

Second, God says in the KJV that “their king” inherited possession of this land of Gad. And in context you’d be led to believe that the king in focus here is Israel’s king.

But the word translated “their king” is actually in Hebrew Malcam. Malcam was another name for Molech, one of the false gods Ammon would have worshipped.

In other words then, God is asking rhetorically whether Israel had descendants to inherit the land of Gad which God gave to that nation. And then he says it’s as if Israel has no sons because Molech and the people who worship him have set up shop in the land of Gad.

But the problem is that Israel does have sons and eventually they would repossess that land. And so God is saying that it’s premature and really inappropriate for Israel’s land – Gad in particular – to be taken by Ammon.

And when God speaks of Ammon taking the land, he speaks in terms of their false god Malcam doing it. Obviously, God knows that their idol is no god at all. But he’s identifying here the people with their god.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
God Will Give Ammon’s Stolen Land Back to Israel

Well, because Ammon took Israel’s land, God says that he’s going to give it back to Israel someday. And he’s going to make this happen by destroying Ammon.

2 [Therefore/Because you did that], behold, the days come, saith the LORD,
that I will cause [an alarm of war/the sound of the battle cry/a trumpet blast of war] to be heard in Rabbah [the capital city…] of the Ammonites;

and it shall be a [desolate heap/mound covered with ruins],
and [her daughters/its villages] shall be burned with fire:

then shall Israel [be heir unto them that were his heirs/take their land back from those who took it from them], saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Ammon Will Cry B/C Their God Will Be Exiled

Ammon will cry out in pain when they are exiled.

3 [Howl/Wail], [O/you people in] Heshbon, for Ai [in Ammon…] is [spoiled/destroyed]:
cry [out in anguish…], ye [daughters of/people in the villages surrounding] Rabbah,

[gird you with/put on] sackcloth; [lament/and cry out in mourning],
and run to and fro [by the hedges/covered with gashes/inside the walls];

for [their king/your god Milcom/Malcam] shall go into [captivity/exile],
and his priests and his [princes/officials] [together/along with].

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Ammon is Arrogant

God then points to Ammon’s arrogance.

4 Wherefore [gloriest thou/do you brag] [in/about] [the valleys/your great power],
[thy flowing valley/your power is ebbing away], [O backsliding daughter?/you rebellious people of Ammon.]

that trusted in her [treasures/riches], saying,
Who [shall come unto/would dare to attack] me?

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
God Will Bring Fearful Invasion and Exile

And of course, Ammon’s arrogance would appear to be as foolish as it truly was once God dealt with them. And as with the other nations, God would indeed deal with Ammon by bringing a fearful invader to exile them.

5 Behold, I will bring a [fear/terror] upon thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts,
from [all those that be about thee/every side/all directions around you];

and ye shall be [driven out/scattered in] every [man right forth/direction];
and none shall gather [up him that wandereth/the fugitives back together].

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
God Will Restore Ammon

And yet, despite the ruin that God would bring to Ammon, God finishes his prophesy against that nation by promising to restore Ammon in the future.

6 ¶ [And afterward/Yet in days to come] I will [bring again the captivity/reverse the ill fortune/restore the fortunes] of the children of Ammon, saith the LORD.

And it’s quite likely that Ammon was allowed to return to its land after Babylon fell to Persia. And even to this day, the area under discussion is populated. Rabbah – which was the capital of ancient Ammon – is modern Amman, which is the capital of Jordan. The point is – there are people there today.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Edom | 7-22

Next we get to God’s promise to judge the nation of Edom. That’s the nation that descended from Esau – Jacob’s brother. They were south and east of Israel and south of Moab – which itself was south of Ammon.

But before we get into the passage, I want to make a correction from our last lesson. In that message I said that the book of Obadiah spoke of Moab’s mistreatment of Israel when they were invaded by the Assyrians. Actually, Obadiah is about Edom’s mistreatment of Israel. And actually, Obadiah is not about Israel but about Judah. And the events pointed to in that book stem from the Babylonian invasion of Judah rather than the Assyrian invasion of northern Israel.

So, with that out of the way, let’s get to God’s promise to judge Edom.

7 Concerning Edom, thus saith the LORD of hosts;

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Wise Counselors Turned Foolish

To begin with, God was planning to do what he often does when he judges a nation. He makes their wisest people fools.

Is wisdom no [more/longer to be found] in Teman?
is [counsel/good advice] [perished/lost] from the [prudent/counselors]?
is their wisdom [vanished/turned bad/decayed]?

Teman was the name of one of Esau’s grandsons. There was a city in the south of Edom named after him. And in this context, Teman basically represents poetically all of Edom.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Foreign Nations to Flee from Edom

And when the wise men of a nation turn fools and God’s judgement is obviously on that nation, it’s not unheard of that the resident aliens in that land will discern the signs of the times and leave. And that’s what we see urged on some of Edom’s resident aliens in verse 8.

8 Flee ye, turn back,
[dwell deep/dwell in the depths/take up refuge in remote places], O inhabitants of Dedan;

for I will bring [the calamity/disaster] [of/on the descendants of] Esau upon him,
[the/it is] time that I will [visit/punish] him.

Dedan was a land in the desert south and east of Edom. This group from that land had apparently immigrated to Edom at some point – probably because of something positive they saw happening in Edom. But when God’s judgement falls of Edom, they will want to run from it.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Edom’s Fate Worse Than Being Robbed

And that’s because Edom’s fate is worse than if a man were robbed by thieves, according to verses 9 and 10.

9 If grapegatherers come to thee [to pick grapes…],
would they not leave some [gleaning grapes/grapes behind]?

if [thieves/robbers] [came…] by night,
they will [destroy/pillage] till they have [enough/what they need].

And the answer to that first question is “yes.” An ancient grape gatherer leaves some grapes behind typically. Just like a thief usually leaves something behind – he doesn’t steal every single thing in the house he robs.

But that’s not how God was going to be when he judged Edom. There would be nothing left when he was done with them.

10 But I have made Esau bare,
I have uncovered his [secret/hiding] places, and he shall not be able to hide himself:

his [seed/children] is spoiled, and his [brethren/relatives], and his neighbours, and he is [not/no more].

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Yet, God Will Care for the Needy

Yet, interestingly enough in the next breath, God says that he will care for the needy among Edom.

11 Leave [behind…] thy [fatherless children/orphans], I will preserve them alive;
and let thy widows [trust in/depend on] me.

Orphans and widows were two groups in the Old Testament that God often spoke of being concerned for. And here too he says that he will take care of any orphans and widows that are left in Edom.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Edom Won’t Escape Judgement

And perhaps God’s concern for the orphans and widows of Edom would lead us to believe that he would want to take it easy on that nation. But we’re going to see now that he cannot allow them to escape this punishment.

12 ¶ For thus saith the LORD;

Behold, they whose judgment was not to drink of the cup have assuredly drunken;
and art thou he that shall [altogether/completely] go unpunished?

thou shalt not go unpunished,
but thou shalt surely drink of [it/the cup of my wrath].

In other words, relatively innocent people are going to be caught up in this punishment – including some of those orphans and widows just mentioned. That’s unavoidable when war breaks out – innocent people die.

But since that’s the case, it’s not as if God can exempt Edom from this doom. Innocent people have died. And would it be right for guilty Edom to avoid that same fate?

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Sworn Destruction

Well, the answer is no. Edom cannot avoid destruction. After all, God tells Edom that he has sworn to destroy them.

13 For I have sworn [by myself/solemnly], saith the LORD,
that Bozrah shall become a [desolation/pile of ruins],

a reproach, a waste, and a curse;
and all the cities thereof shall [be perpetual wastes/lie in ruins forever].

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Edom and the Nations

And when God brings this punishment on Edom, it would involve many nations around them.

Of course, Babylon was one of those nations. Their role was to invade and destroy and exile.

But other nations would play their part in despising the destroyed Edom.

14 I have heard a [rumour/message] from the LORD,
and [an ambassador/a messenger/an envoy] is sent [unto/among] the [heathen/nations], saying,

Gather [ye/yourselves/your armies] together, and come against her,
and rise up to the battle.

15 For, lo, I will make thee [Edom…] small among the [heathen/nations],
and despised [among/by all] men.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Edom’s Arrogance Would Not Deliver Them

So, Edom would be despised after Babylon invaded them.

And that’s interesting because their pride previous to that defeat was notorious. And that pride deceived them. In their pride, they were thinking that they were invincible. But it would turn out that their pride wouldn’t deliver them from Babylon.

16 [Thy terribleness/The terror you inspire in others] hath deceived thee,
and the [pride/arrogance] of thine heart,

[O thou that/You may] [dwellest/make your home] in the clefts of the rock,
[that/you may] [holdest/occupy] the [height/highest places] of the hill:

[though/but even if] thou shouldest make thy nest as high as the eagle,
I will bring thee down from thence, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
The Reaction of Passersby

And the oft-repeated result of God’s punishment is here spoken of Edom. God previews the reaction of any passerby when they see Edom’s destruction.

17 ¶ Also Edom shall be [a desolation/an object of horror]:
every one that [goeth/passes] by it shall be [astonished/horrified/filled with horror],
and shall hiss [out their scorn…] at all the [plagues/wounds/disasters] thereof.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Edom to be Like Sodom and Gomorrah

Why this reaction of astonishment and hissing scorn? Because God will make Edom like Sodom and Gomorrah – those prototypical cities of destruction.

18 As in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah
and the neighbour cities thereof, saith the LORD,

no man shall abide there,
neither shall a son of man dwell in it.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Edom Will Flee

And so, Edom will flee with no ruler to stand against God’s punishment.

19 [Behold, he shall come up like a lion/A lion coming up] from the [swelling/thick undergrowth] [of/along the] Jordan [against the habitation of the strong/scatters the sheep in the pasture land around it/against a perennially watered pasture]:
[but/so too/for] I will [suddenly make/chase] [him/the Edomites] [run away from her/off their land]:

So, just like a lion coming up from the banks of the Jordan River – where he was in hiding in the thick vegetation – so, too would Babylon come to Edom. And just like sheep would be frightened and scattered at such an event, so too would Edom.

[and who is a chosen man/whomever I choose], that I [may/will] appoint over [her/it]?
for who is like me?
and who will [appoint me the time/summon me into court/call me to account]?
and who is that [shepherd/ruler] that will stand [before/up against] me?

So, with the metaphorical sheep of Edom being scattered by the metaphorical lion of Babylon – God pictures himself as seeking to appoint another shepherd over that nation – another ruler.

And if Edom didn’t like this setup, well, God says, who’s going to call me into court?

And then God’s last statement is either saying that no one can stand up against him. Or it’s saying again that he’s seeking another shepherd to rule over Edom.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
God’s Plan for Edom

And that all sounds like God has a plan for Edom. But it was a plan that involved the destruction of their people and their land.

20 Therefore hear the [counsel/plan] of the LORD, that he hath [taken/planned] against Edom;
and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the inhabitants of Teman:

Surely the [least/little ones] of the flock [shall draw them out/they shall drag off]:
surely he shall make their [habitations/pasture] desolate [with/because of] [them/what they’ve done].

Again, drawing from that theme of the lion scattering the sheep.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Edom’s Fate Known Far and Wide

And with the magnitude of Edom’s destruction, it would become known far and wide.

21 The earth [is moved/has quaked] at the noise of their [fall/downfall],
at the cry [of their anguish…] the noise [thereof/of that cry] was heard [in/at/all the way to] the [Red sea/Gulf of Aqaba].

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Babylon Coming

And the prophecy of Edom ends with one last reminder that Babylon is coming.

22 Behold, [he/a nation] shall [come/mount] up and [fly/swoop] as the eagle, and spread his wings [over/against] Bozrah:
and at that day shall the heart of the [mighty men/soldiers] of Edom be as the heart of a woman in [her pangs/labor].

Notice that God does not promise to restore Edom in the future like he typically has with the other nations. Egypt and Moab were promised restoration. So was Judah. Philistia and now Edom have not been issued such promises.

Next we’ll see God’s promise to punish Damascus, Kedar, Hazor, and Elam.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary vv. 23-39
Damascus, Kedar, Hazor, and Elam

We’re still in the section of Jeremiah that runs from chapter 46 through chapter 51.

In this section we’re told of the fate of the nations of Jeremiah’s day – namely, the ones that did not submit to God’s authority. And because of their lack of submission they would not live. God would have to punish them. And he would do that just like he did with Judah – by bringing Babylon to destroy them.

And so, in this section we’ve seen God’s promise to destroy Egypt in chapter 46. The Philistines in chapter 47. Moab in chapter 48. And then the first 22 verses of chapter 49 last time spoke of the destruction of Ammon and Edom.

Now in verses 23-39 of chapter 49 we have the punishment of four geographical areas – Damascus, Kedar, Hazor, and Elam.

And then next time we’ll see Babylon’s destruction in chapters 50 and 51.

Now, I just want to say that in the world of running – especially in the context of running longer races like marathons – there’s a phenomenon called “hitting the wall.” It’s a condition caused by glycogen being depleted from your muscles and liver. And it’s usually accompanied by negative feelings that urge the runner to quit.

Now, this is our 54th lesson in this book. We’ve been studying this book for over a year. To top it off, we’re now in a section that – to me – doesn’t seem to be a climax point. The climax of the book seemed to be in the previous section that we’ve recognized as the “Bitter End of Judah.” So, now we’re in a section that continually plays the same note of judgement on nations – most of which don’t even exist today.

I’m just saying that I feel like I’m “hitting the wall.” And it could be that some of you feel that way, too.

But the advice offered to those who are experiencing this condition in the running world includes taking the next step – for example, a runner should have in his mind the goal of taking the next city block.

So, with God’s help we’re going to take the next “city block” and cover the rest of Jeremiah 49 today!

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Damascus | 23-27

But for today, we’ll start with God’s prophecy against the ancient city of Damascus.

KJV Jeremiah 49:23 Concerning Damascus.

You might want to turn to the maps in the back of your Bible as we deal with the geography in this chapter.

Unlike most of the other geographical areas that God has dealt with in this section – which have all been nations (Egypt, Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Edom) – Damascus was and still is today a city – not a nation.

To this day, Damascus is located northeast of Israel. Today it’s in the nation of Syria. In Old Testament times it was sometimes referred to as the capital of Aram and sometimes of Syria.

This city was often hostile to Israel. David brought Damascus under subjection to Israel. But a later king – Ahaz – saw in that city an idolatrous altar whose pattern he brought back to Israel to make a replica. And eventually Assyria came through about the time they conquered Israel in 722 BC and they conquered Damascus as well.

And yet, the city apparently recovered after that. And so, now God is addressing the reconstituted city of Damascus in this chapter about 150 years after it was initially taken by Assyria.

Now, God starts by stating that not only Damascus – but two other cities on the way to Damascus will be weakened as Babylon comes to destroy them.

Here are the two other cities to begin with.

Hamath [is confounded/will be dismayed [prophetic perfect-“good as done”]/are put to shame],
and Arpad:

Let’s get some geography in our mind at this point.

Damascus is a little north and east of Mount Hermon which is on the northern border of northern Israel.

Hamath is about 100 miles north of Damascus. And Arpad is about 100 miles north of Hamath.

Why are these two other cities mentioned here? Probably because they would have been on the path of Nebuchadnezzar as he entered this land area from the north. He would have started at Arpad, come down to Hamath, and then entered Damascus – from north to south.

So, Hamath and Arpad are confounded, as we’ve already heard…

for they have heard [evil tidings/bad news]:
they are [fainthearted/disheartened];

there is [sorrow/anxiety] [on/by] the sea;
it cannot be [quiet/calmed].

Damascus is about 60 miles from the Mediterranean Sea. Hamath and Arpad are also fairly close to the sea. I assume this is why the sea is brought into the action here – because of its proximity to these cities.

So, that was the weakness of Hamath and Arpad – cities north of Damascus that would have served as stopping points for Nebuchadnezzar.

And now in verse 24 we have Damascus itself being weakened.

24 Damascus [is waxed feeble/has become helpless],
and turneth herself to flee,

and [fear/panic] hath [seized on/gripped] her:
[anguish/distress] and [sorrows/pangs] have taken her, as a woman in [travail/childbirth/labor].

Then we have this rather puzzling statement in verse 25.

25 How is the city of praise [not left/not been deserted/deserted],
the city [of my/that was once filled with] joy!

The “city of praise” is most certainly Damascus. Apparently it was a city praised by men for its strength, etc. That much is simple enough.

But the KJV says that Damascus was “not left.” It wasn’t forsaken.

Well, Forsaken by whom? I have to assume this is speaking of the city not being left or forsaken by Babylon. But we usually think of being forsaken as a bad thing. Yet, in this case, to have been left or forsaken by Babylon would have been a welcome thing. And yet, this city would not be ignored by the invading Babylonian army. So, that’s how Damascus – the city of men’s praise – was not left or forsaken.

But then God apparently is calling Damascus the city of his joy. How could God consider the city of a pagan nation that he now has to destroy the city of his joy?

I can’t say I fully understand God’s thoughts toward Damascus. But I am familiar with a story that has seemed a little mysterious to me – kind of like this verse. It involves Aram – the nation of which Damascus was the capital. And It’s found in 1 Kings 19 where God tells Elijah to go and anoint a man named Hazael to be king of Aram.

God sent his prophet to appoint a king over a non-Jewish nation. Did that ever strike you as peculiar? It has seemed to me like God is pretty much mostly concerned for Israel throughout the Old Testament. And yet, here he is showing concern for who rules Damascus – and apparently the Arameans accept God’s choice of king. They didn’t reject God’s anointed king over them.

So, I can’t necessarily explain why God calls Damascus the city of his joy. But I do think there is more to the relationship between God and Damascus than we would tend to assume or understand. But the Lord did definitely have an interest in that city.

Well, because Babylon wouldn’t leave this city alone – wouldn’t forsake it – verse 26…

26 Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets,
and all [the men of war/her soldiers] shall be [cut off/destroyed/silenced] in that day, saith the LORD of hosts.

And through the instrument of Babylon, God says…

27 And I will [kindle a/set] fire in the wall of Damascus,
and it shall [consume/devour] the [palaces/fortified towers] of Ben[-]hadad.

Ben Hadad was a name that was common to the kings of Damascus. There was a Ben Hadad in the time of king Asa of Judah around 900 BC according to 1 Kings 15.

About 50 years later in 850 BC there was another Ben Hadad in the time of Omri and Ahab according to 1 Kings 20.

And then fifty years after that there was one more Ben Haded in the time of Jehoash according to 2 Kings 13.

And that ends God’s prophecy against Damascus. And you’ll notice that God gives no promise of restoration for that city. I’m not quite sure if there’s any significance to that beyond the fact that these people had not promise that God would bring them back to their land after being exiled by Babylon.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Kedar and Hazor | 28-33

Moving on, God prophesies the destruction of these two places called Kedar and Hazor.

28 Concerning Kedar, and concerning the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchad[r/n]ezzar king of Babylon [shall smite/conquered/defeated], thus saith the LORD;

Now, Kedar is apparently a group of people descended from Ishmael – one of Abraham’s sons (according to Genesis 25:13). In Isaiah 21 this group is associated with the Temanites and Dedanites which were two Arabic tribes in the northern Arabian desert. Isaiah 60 says these people of Kedar were sheep breaders. Psalm 120 says they lived in tents. Isaiah 42 tells us they lived in unwalled villages.

Outside of Scripture, Assyrian records claim that this group was involved in fighting with Assyria starting in about 850 BC. And from Babylonian records we know that Babylon defeated this group in 599 BC – about 13 years before Judah fell to Babylon.

As for Hazor – we don’t hear anything else about this particular Hazor outside of this chapter in the Bible. There’s a Hazor in Israel but this is apparently a different group. This Hazor was likely similar to the people of Kedar who lived in tents out in the Arabian desert east of Ammon and Moab and Edom.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Kedar | 28-29

So, God starts his message to these two groups by first singling out Kedar. And though he’s speaking of Kedar, he’s actually addressing Babylon.

Arise ye [army of Babylon…], go up [to attack…] to Kedar,
and [spoil/lay waste/devastate] the men [of the east/who live in the eastern desert].

Again, this group lived to the east of Ammon, Moab, and Edom in the desert over there. And so, they’re referred to as “children of the east” here.

29 Their tents and their flocks [shall they take/will be taken] away:
[they shall take to themselves/will be carried off] their curtains, and all their [vessels/equipment], and their camels;

Babylon will take their tents and flocks and curtains and vessels. And apparently – in addition to looting all their stud – Babylon would also verbally taunt them.

and [they/people] shall [cry/shout] unto them,
[Fear/Terror] is on [every side/all around you] [Magor Misabib…].

So, that’s Kedar. Also note the absence of a promise of return to their land.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Hazor | 30-33

Next, God turns his attention to Hazor.

30 Flee, get you far off, [dwell deep/dwell in the depths/take up refuge in remote places],
O ye inhabitants of Hazor, saith the LORD;

Just like God told the Dedanites who were living in Edom (Jer 49:8). It seems like when God was telling these nomadic groups to flee out into the desert he told them to “dwell deep.”

for Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath [taken counsel against/laid out plans to attack] you,
and hath [conceived/devised/formed] a [purpose/scheme/strategy] [against/on how to defeat] you.

Then God switches focus from addressing Hazor to addressing again the Babylonian army.

31 Arise [Army of Babylon…], get you up unto the [wealthy/at-ease/peaceful and secure] nation,
that dwelleth without care, saith the LORD,

which have neither gates nor bars [for protection…],
which dwell alone.

And because the well-armed Babylonian army would be attacking this peaceful and unprotected city, the following would inevitably be the case…

32 And their camels [shall be a booty/will be taken as plunder],
and the [multitude/vast herds] of their cattle [as…] a spoil:

So, that’s the fate of their stuff. Now, God foretells the fate of their own persons. What will happen to them?

and I will scatter [into all/to the four] winds them that [are in the utmost/cut the] corners;
and I will bring their [calamity/disaster] from all [sides thereof/every direction], saith the LORD.

And with the people exiled, other creatures would end up inhabiting their living spaces.

33 And Hazor shall be a dwelling for [dragons/jackals only],
and a desolation [for ever/permanently]:

So, it will be empty of all but jackals. And, to once more emphasize the fact that humans won’t reside there any more…

there shall no man abide there,
nor any son of man dwell in it.

And we see once more a prophecy that ends with no promise of future restoration.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Elam | 34-39

Last, God addresses Elam.

34 ¶ The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against Elam in the [beginning/early part] of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying,

This is probably 598 BC. A little over 10 years before the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC.

Now, Elam was in what is now Iran. It’s basically on the eastern border of ancient Babylon.

I think the geographical movement of the prophecies in this section is interesting.

We started far west with Egypt. Then we moved east to Philistia. Then we moved even further east with Ammon, Moab, and Edom. We moved north with Damascus. Then we came back father east with Kedar and Hazor. And now finally we’re really far to the east with Elam.

So, God has moved in his mind generally from west to east in his foretelling the destruction of these nations. And then of course for the next two chapters he’ll deal with another nation in the east – Babylon.

So, on to what God says about Elam.

To begin, God says he himself will destroy the military capacity of this nation.

35 ¶ Thus saith the LORD of hosts;

Behold, I will [break the bow/kill all the archers] of Elam,
[who are…] the chief [source…] of their [military…] might.

And with the military strength of that nation in ruins, God will send Babylon to conquer and exile them.

36 And upon Elam will I bring [enemies that are like…] the four winds from the four quarters of heaven,
and will scatter [them/Elam] toward all those winds;
and there shall be no nation whither the [outcasts/refugees] of Elam shall not come.

37 For I will cause Elam to be [dismayed/shattered/terrified] before their enemies,
and before them that seek [their life/to kill them]:

and I will bring [evil/calamity] upon them,
even my fierce anger, saith the LORD;

and I will send [the sword/armies] after them,
till I have consumed them:

And God would destroy their rulers so that he alone would rule over Elam – probably in the form of Babylon ruling over them.

38 And I will [set/establish] my [throne/sovereignty] [in/over] Elam,
and will destroy from thence [the/their] king and the princes, saith the LORD.

And for this final prophecy of this chapter, Elam is given the promise of future restoration.

39 ¶ But [it shall come to pass in the latter days/in days to come],
that I will [bring again/restore/reverse] the [captivity/fortunes/ill fortune] of Elam, saith the LORD.

And so, we’ve heard a lot about how Babylon was going to punish these nine people groups of the ancient world. But Babylon itself would eventually be the tenth nation to be judged by the Lord. We’ll see that next time.

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