Jeremiah 25:29
For, see, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should you be utterly unpunished? You shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword on all the inhabitants of the earth, said the LORD of hosts.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(29) I begin to bring evil . . .?—The thought is the same as that of 1Peter 4:17, “If judgment shall begin at the house of God . . .?” If this were His chastisement of those who were His chosen people, it followed à fortiori that those who were less favoured and had less claims should not escape. For them, as for Judah, the one wise and safe course was to accept their punishment and submit. (Comp. Jeremiah 49:12.)

25:15-29 The evil and the good events of life are often represented in Scripture as cups. Under this figure is represented the desolation then coming upon that part of the world, of which Nebuchadnezzar, who had just began to reign and act, was to be the instrument; but this destroying sword would come from the hand of God. The desolations the sword should make in all these kingdoms, are represented by the consequences of excessive drinking. This may make us loathe the sin of drunkenness, that the consequences of it are used to set forth such a woful condition. Drunkenness deprives men of the use of their reason, makes men as mad. It takes from them the valuable blessing, health; and is a sin which is its own punishment. This may also make us dread the judgments of war. It soon fills a nation with confusion. They will refuse to take the cup at thy hand. They will not believe Jeremiah; but he must tell them it is the word of the Lord of hosts, and it is in vain for them to struggle against Almighty power. And if God's judgments begin with backsliding professors, let not the wicked expect to escape.The metaphors denote the helplessness to which the nations are reduced by drinking the wine-cup of fury Jeremiah 25:15. 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 innocent."

By the city called by his name, or upon which his name was called, he means Jerusalem, elsewhere called the holy city. The apostle, 1 Peter 4:17, speaketh much to this purpose, The time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? If God spareth not the green tree, how shall he spare those that are dry and withered? Atheists and lewd and profane persons have little reason to promise themselves an escape from God’s righteous judgment, when they see God not sparing those that make the highest profession of him, and stand in some relation to him.

For I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth; it is in vain for you to promise yourselves an escape, for God is about to punish all your neighhours. For, lo, I begin to bring evil upon the city which is called by my name,.... Jerusalem, the city of God, the holy city, where his name was called upon, and he was worshipped; on this he would first bring down his judgments; and indeed he had already begun to bring evil on it; for this very year Nebuchadnezzar came up to besiege it, and carried some away captives:

and should ye be utterly unpunished? or could they expect to go free from punishment, who had so grossly sinned, and were guilty of such abominable idolatries, and had been the means of drawing in the people of God into the same; and therefore, since the professing people of God, who had been drawn in by their examples, were punished, they could not, they ought not, to think of escaping. See the like argument in Luke 23:31;

ye shall not be unpunished; or cleared, or acquitted, or go free; but made instances and examples of vindictive justice:

for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth,

saith the Lord of hosts; or I will call them that kill with the sword, as the Targum; who will obey the call, answer to it, and come forth and slay the inhabitants of the earth, and none shall escape.

For, lo, {x} 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.

(x) That is Jerusalem, read Jer 25:12.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
29. called by my name] See on Jeremiah 7:10.Verse 29. - I will call for a sword. It is probably that awful sword referred to in ver. 16 (see note). The enumeration of the heathen nations begins with Egypt and goes northwards, the peoples dwelling to the east and west of Judah being ranged alongside one another. First we have in Jeremiah 25:20 the races of Arabia and Philistia that bordered on Egypt to the east and west; and then in Jeremiah 25:21 the Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites to the east, and, Jeremiah 25:22, the Phoenicians with their colonies to the west. Next we have the Arabian tribes of the desert extending eastwards from Palestine to the Euphrates (Jeremiah 25:23, Jeremiah 25:24); then the Elamites and Medes in the distant east (Jeremiah 25:25), the near and distant kings of the north, and all kingdoms upon earth; last of all the king of Babylon (Jeremiah 25:26). כּל־הערב, lxx: πάντας τοῦς συμμίκτους, and Jerome: cunctusque qui non est Aegyptius, sed in ejus regionibus commoratur. The word means originally a mixed multitude of different races that attach themselves to one people and dwell as strangers amongst them; cf. Exodus 12:38 and Nehemiah 13:3. Here it is races that in part dwelt on the borders of Egypt and were in subjection to that people. It is rendered accordingly "vassals" by Ew.; an interpretation that suits the present verse very well, but will not do in Jeremiah 25:24. It is certainly too narrow a view, to confine the reference of the word to the mercenaries or Ionian and Carian troops by whose help Necho's father Psammetichus acquired sole supremacy (Graf), although this be the reference of the same word in Ezekiel 30:5. The land of Uz is, acc. to the present passage and to Lamentations 4:21, where the daughter of Edom dwells in the land of Uz, to be sought for in the neighbourhood of Idumaea and the Egyptian border. To delete the words "and all the kings of the land of Uz" as a gloss, with Hitz. and Gr., because they are not in the lxx, is an exercise of critical violence. The lxx omitted them for the same reason as that on which Hitz. still lays stress - namely, that they manifestly do not belong to this place, but to Jeremiah 25:23. And this argument is based on the idea that the land of Uz ( ̓Αυσῖτις) lies much farther to the north in Arabia Deserta, in the Hauran or the region of Damascus, or that it is a collective name for the whole northern region of Arabia Deserta that stretches from Idumaea as far as Syria; see Del. on Job 1:1, and Wetzstein in Del.'s Job, S. 536f. This is an assumption for which valid proofs are not before us. The late oriental legends as to Job's native country do not suffice for this. The kings of the land of the Philistines are the kings of the four towns next in order mentioned, with their territories, cf. Joshua 13:3; 1 Samuel 6:4. The fifth of the towns of the lords of the Philistines, Gath, is omitted here as it was before this, in Amos 1:7. and Zephaniah 2:4, and later in Zechariah 9:5, not because Gath had already fallen into premature decay; for in Amos' time Gath was still a very important city. It is rather, apparently, because Gath had ceased to be the capital of a separate kingdom or principality. There is remaining now only a remnant of Ashdod; for after a twenty-nine years' siege, this town was taken by Psammetichus and destroyed (Herod. ii. 157), so that thus the whole territory great lost its importance. Jeremiah 25:21. On Edom, Moab, and the Ammonites, cf. Jeremiah 49:7-22; Jeremiah 48:1; Jeremiah 49:1-6. Jeremiah 25:22. The plural: "kings of Tyre and Sidon," is to be understood as in Jeremiah 25:18. With them are mentioned "the kings of the island" or "of the coast" land, that is, beyond the (Mediterranean) Sea. האי is not Κύπρος (Cyprus), but means, generally, the Phoenician colonies in and upon the Mediterranean. Of the Arabian tribes mentioned in Jeremiah 25:23, the Dedanites are those descended from the Cushite Dedan and living ear Edom, with whom, however, the Abrahamic Dedanite had probably mingled; a famous commercial people, Isaiah 21:13; Ezekiel 27:15, Ezekiel 27:20; Ezekiel 38:13; Job 6:19. Tema is not Tm beyond the Hauran (Wetzst. Reiseber. S. 21 and 93ff.; cf. on the other hand, the same in Del.'s Job, S. 526), but Tem situated on the pilgrims' route from Damascus to Mecca, between Tebk and Wadi el Kora, see Del. on Isaiah 21:14; here, accordingly, the Arabian tribe settled there. Buz is the Arabian race sprung from the second son of Nahor. As to "hair-corners polled," see on Jeremiah 9:25. - The two appellations ערב and "the mixed races that dwell in the wilderness" comprehend the whole of the Arabian races, not merely those that are left after deducting the already (Jeremiah 25:23) mentioned nomad tribes. The latter also dwelt in the wilderness, and the word ערב is a general name, not for the whole of Arabia, but for the nomadic Arabs, see on Ezekiel 27:21, whose tribal chieftains, here called kings, are in Ezek. called נשׂיאים. In Jeremiah 25:25 come three very remote peoples of the east and north-east: Zimri, Elamites, and Medes. The name Zimri is found only here, and has been connected by the Syr. and most comm. with Zimran, Genesis 25:2, a son of Abraham and Keturah. Accordingly זמרי would stand for זמרני, and might be identified with Ζαβράμ, Ptol. vi. 7, 5, a people which occupied a territory between the Arabs and Persians - which would seem to suit our passage. The reference is certainly not to the Ζεμβρῖται in Ethiopia, in the region of the later priestly city Mero (Strabo, 786). On Elam, see on Jeremiah 49:34.

Finally, to make the list complete, Jeremiah 25:26 mentions the kings of the north, those near and those far, and all the kingdoms of the earth. המּמלכות with the article in stat. constr. against the rule. Hence Hitz. and Graf infer that הארץ may not be genuine, it being at the same time superfluous and not given in the lxx. This may be possible, but it is not certain; for in Isaiah 23:17 we find the same pleonastic mode of expression, and there are precedents for the article with the nomen regens. "The one to (or with) the other" means: according as the kingdoms of the north stand in relation to one another, far or near. - After the mention of all the kings and peoples on whom the king of Babylon is to execute judgment, it is said that he himself must at last drink the cup of wrath. שׁשׁך is, according to Jeremiah 51:41, a name for Babylon, as Jerome states, presumably on the authority of his Jewish teacher, who followed the tradition. The name is formed acc. to the Canon Atbash, in virtue of which the letters of the alphabet were put one for the other in the inverse order (ת for א, שׁ for ב, etc.); thus שׁ would correspond to ב and כ to ל. Cf. Buxtorf, Lex. talm. s.v. אתבשׁ and de abbreviaturis hebr. p. 41. A like example is found in Jeremiah 51:1, where כּשׂדּים is represented by לב קמי yb d. The assertion of Gesen. that this way of playing with words was not then in use, is groundless, as it also Hitz.'s, when he says it appeared first during the exile, and is consequently none of Jeremiah's work. It is also erroneous when many comm. remark, that Jeremiah made use of the mysterious name from the fear of weakening the impression of terror which the name of Babylon ought to make on their minds. These assumptions are refuted by Jeremiah 25:12, where there is threatening of the punishment of spoliation made against the king of Babylon and the land of the Chaldeans; and by Jeremiah 51:41, where alongside of Sheshach we find in parallelism Babylon. The Atbash is, both originally and in the present case, no mere playing with words, but a transposition of the letters so as to gain a significant meaning, as may plainly be seen in the transposition to לב , Jeremiah 51:1. This is the case with Sheshach also, which would be a contraction of שׁכשׁך (see Ew. 158, c), from שׁכך, to sink (of the water, Genesis 8:1), to crouch (of the bird-catcher, Jeremiah 5:26). The sig. is therefore a sinking down, so that the threatening, Jeremiah 51:64 : Babel shall sink and not rise again, constitutes a commentary on the name; cf. Hgstb. Christ. iii. p. 377. The name does not sig. humiliation, in support of which Graf has recourse partly to שׁחה, partly to the Arabic usage. For other arbitrary interpretations, see in Ges. thes. p. 1486.

(Note: As has been done with the whole or with parts of Jeremiah 25:12-14, so too the last clause of Jeremiah 25:26 is pronounced by Ew., Hitz., and Graf to be spurious, a gloss that had ultimately found its way into the text. This is affirmed because the clause is wanting in the lxx, and because the prophet could not fitly threaten Babylon along with the other nations (Hitz.); or because "the specification of a single kingdom seems very much out of place, after the enumeration of the countries that are to drink the cup of wrath has been concluded by the preceding comprehensive intimation, 'all the kingdoms of the earth' " (Gr.). Both reasons are valueless. By "shall drink after them" Babylon is sufficiently distinguished from the other kings and countries mentioned, and the reason is given why Babylon is not put on the same footing with them, but is to be made to drink after them.)

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