This chapter contains a summary of the judgments denounced by Jeremiah against Judah, Babylon, and many other nations. It begins with reproving the Jews for disobeying the calls of God to repentance, Jeremiah 25:1-7; on which account their captivity, with that of her neighboring nations, during seventy years, is foretold, Jeremiah 25:8-11. At the expiration of that period, (computing from the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, to the famous edict of the first year of Cyrus), an end was to be put to the Babylonian empire, Jeremiah 25:12-14. All this is again declared by the emblem of that cup of wrath which the prophet, as it should seem in a vision, tendered to all the nations which he enumerates, Jeremiah 25:15-29. And for farther confirmation, it is a third time repeated in a very beautiful and elevated strain of poetry, Jeremiah 25:30-38. The talent of diversifying the ideas, images, and language, even when the subject is the same, or nearly so, appears no where in such perfection as among the sacred poets.
The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon;The word that came to Jeremiah - to the fourth year - This prophecy, we see, was delivered in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, and the chapter that contains it is utterly out of its place. It should be between chapters 35 and 36.
The defeat of the Egyptians by Nebuchadnezzar at Carchemish, and the subsequent taking of Jerusalem, occurred in this year, viz., the fourth year of Jehoiakim.
The first year of Nebuchadrezzar - This king was associated with his father two years before the death of the latter. The Jews reckon his reign from this time, and this was the first of those two years; but the Chaldeans date the commencement of his reign two years later, viz., at the death of his father.
The which Jeremiah the prophet spake unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying,
From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that is the three and twentieth year, the word of the LORD hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened.
And the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear.
They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever:
And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt.
Yet ye have not hearkened unto me, saith the LORD; that ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.That ye might provoke - Ye would not hearken; but chose to provoke me with anger.
Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Because ye have not heard my words,
Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.Behold, I will send - At this time Nebuchadrezzar had not invaded the land, according to this Version; but the Hebrew may be translated, "Behold I am sending, and have taken all the families;" that is, all the allies of the king of Babylon.
Instead of ואל reel, "and To Nebuchadrezzar," as in the common Hebrew Bible, seven MSS. of Kennicott's and De Rossi's, and one of my own, have ואת veeth, "And Nebuchadrezzar," which is undoubtedly the true reading.
Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle.I will take from them - See Jeremiah 7:34, and Jeremiah 16:9.
The sound of the mill-stones, and the light of the candle - These two are conjoined, because they generally ground the corn before day, by the light of the candle. Sir J. Chardin has remarked, that every where in the morning may be heard the noise of the mills; for they generally grind every day just as much as is necessary for the day's consumption. Where then the noise of the grill is not heard, nor the light of the candle seen, there must be desolation; because these things are heard and seen in every inhabited country.
And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.Shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years - As this prophecy was delivered in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, and in the first of Nebuchadnezzar, and began to be accomplished in the same year, (for then Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judea, and took Jerusalem), seventy years from this time will reach down to the first year of Cyrus, when he made his proclamation for the restoration of the Jews, and the rebuilding of Jerusalem. See the note on Isaiah 13:19 (note), where the subject is farther considered in relation to the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, and the city of Babylon.
And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.And that nation - הגוי ההוא haggoi hahu. Dr. Blayney contends that this should be translated his nation, and that ההוא hahu is the substantive pronoun used in the genitive case. It is certainly more clear and definite to read, "I will punish the king of Babylon, and His nation."
Will make it perpetual desolations - See the note on Isaiah 13:19, where the fulfillment of this prophecy is distinctly marked.
And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations.
For many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of them also: and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands.Many nations and great kings - The Medes and the Persians, under Cyrus; and several princes, his vassals or allies.
For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it.
And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them.Take the wine cup of this fury - For an ample illustration of this passage and simile, see the note on Isaiah 51:21.
Then took I the cup at the LORD'S hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the LORD had sent me:Then took I the cup - and made all the nations to drink - This cup of God's wrath is merely symbolical, and simply means that the prophet should declare to all these people that they shall fall under the Chaldean yoke, and that this is a punishment inflicted on them by God for their iniquities. "Then I took the cup;" I declared publicly the tribulation that God was about to bring on Jerusalem, the cities of Judah, and all the nations.
To wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse; as it is this day;
Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people;Pharaoh king of Egypt - This was Pharaoh-necho, who was the principal cause of instigating the neighboring nations to form a league against the Chaldeans.
And all the mingled people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod,All the mingled people - The strangers and foreigners; Abyssinians and others who had settled in Egypt.
Land of Uz - A part of Arabia near to Idumea. See on Job 1:1 (note).
Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon,
And all the kings of Tyrus, and all the kings of Zidon, and the kings of the isles which are beyond the sea,Tyrus and - Zidon - The most ancient of all the cities of the Phoenicians.
Kings of the isles which are beyond the sea - As the Mediterranean Sea is most probably meant, and the Phoenicians had numerous colonies on its coasts, I prefer the marginal reading, the kings of the region by the sea side.
Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all that are in the utmost corners,Dedan - Was son of Abraham, by Keturah, Genesis 25:3.
Tema - Was one of the sons of Ishmael, in the north of Arabia, Genesis 36:15.
Buz - Brother of Uz, descendants of Nahor, brother of Abraham, settled in Arabia Deserta, Genesis 22:21.
And all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mingled people that dwell in the desert,The mingled people - Probably the Scenite Arabians.
And all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes,Zimri - Descendants of Abraham, by Keturah, Genesis 25:2, Genesis 25:6.
Elam - Called Elymais by the Greeks, was on the south frontier of Media, to the north of Susiana, not far from Babylon.
And all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth: and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them.The kings of the north, far and near - The first may mean Syria; the latter, the Hyrcanians and Bactrians.
And the king of Sheshach shall drink after them - Sheshach was an ancient king of Babylon, who was deified after his death. Here it means either Babylon, or Nebuchadnezzar the king of it. After it has been the occasion of ruin to so many other nations, Babylon itself shall be destroyed by the Medo-Persians.
Therefore thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you.Be drunken, and spue - Why did we not use the word vomit, less offensive than the other, and yet of the same signification?
And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ye shall certainly drink.
For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts.The city which is called by my name - Jerusalem, which should be first given up to the destruction.
Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth.
A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.Evil shall go forth from nation to nation - One nation after another shall fall before the Chaldeans.
And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground.From one end of the earth - From one end of the land to the other. All Palestine shall be desolated by it.
Howl, ye shepherds, and cry; and wallow yourselves in the ashes, ye principal of the flock: for the days of your slaughter and of your dispersions are accomplished; and ye shall fall like a pleasant vessel.Howl, ye shepherds - Ye kings and chiefs of the people.
Ye shall fall like a pleasant tresses - As a fall will break and utterly ruin a precious vessel of crystal, agate, etc., so your overthrow will be to you irreparable ruin.
And the shepherds shall have no way to flee, nor the principal of the flock to escape.
A voice of the cry of the shepherds, and an howling of the principal of the flock, shall be heard: for the LORD hath spoiled their pasture.
And the peaceable habitations are cut down because of the fierce anger of the LORD.
He hath forsaken his covert, as the lion: for their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the oppressor, and because of his fierce anger.As the lion - Leaving the banks of Jordan when overflowed, and coming with ravening fierceness to the champaign country.