Jeremiah 49:34
The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against Elam in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying,
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(34) The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet against Elam . . .—It is noticeable that this is the only prophecy in Jeremiah 48, 49 with a date attached to it. Assuming the date to be rightly given, it indicates a time later than that of those that precede it, which belong probably to the group of predictions connected with Jeremiah 25. It has been maintained, however, by many critics that the absence of the name of Nebuchadnezzar, so prominent in Jeremiah’s predictions after the deportation of Jehoiachin, indicates an earlier rather than a later date, and that the compiler of the prophecies was mistaken in thus fixing the time of its delivery. The inference is, however, somewhat precarious, as the fact is common to the prophecies against the Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites, &c., that precede this. Elam, though commonly identified with Persia, as in Isaiah 11:11; Isaiah 21:2; Isaiah 22:6, appears to be used with a somewhat wider connotation for the tribes beyond the Tigris (Jeremiah 25:25). The tone of the prophecy seems to imply that Elam had been prominent among the enemies of the people of Jehovah (as in Isaiah 22:6), and this has led to the inference that they had taken part in the attack on Judah, as auxiliaries in the army of Nebuchadnezzar. It is significant that the thought that Elam is to be the instrument of Jehovah for the destruction of Babylon (Isaiah 21:2), and that out of it was to come the appointed deliverer of Israel, does not seem to have been present to the prophet’s mind. His horizon is, as it were, bounded for the time by the more immediate future.

Jeremiah 49:34. The word that came to Jeremiah against Elam — Elam we find to have been an independent, and even powerful kingdom, in the days of Abraham, Genesis 14:1. “But I am not of opinion with those writers,” says Blaney, “who hold that by Elam, in Scripture, Persia is always meant. There is no doubt but that when the monarchy of Persia was established under Cyrus, Elam was blended into and formed a part of it. But before that time Elam and Persia were two distinct kingdoms: of which this may be admitted for proof, that the kingdom of Persia, if Xenophon may be credited as an historian, was never subdued under the dominion of Nebuchadnezzar, but preserved its liberty in alliance with the Medes. Elam, on the contrary, is not only here prophesied of, as destined to become a part of the Babylonian conquests, but is actually spoken of, (Daniel 8:2,) as a province of the Babylonish empire; over which Daniel seems to have presided, having Shushan for the seat of his government. We may therefore conclude Elam to have been, as the name itself would lead us to suppose, the country called by heathen writers Elymais, which Pliny, in conformity with Daniel, describes as separated from Susiana, by the river Eulæus, or Ulay; Nat. Hist., lib. 6. cap. 31.”49:34-39 The Elamites were the Persians; they acted against God's Israel, and must be reckoned with. Evil pursues sinners. God will make them know that he reigns. Yet the destruction of Elam shall not be for ever. But this promise was to have its full accomplishment in the days of the Messiah. In reading the Divine assurance of the destruction of all the enemies of the church, the believer sees that the issue of the holy war is not doubtful. It is blessed to recollect, that He who is for us, is more than all against us. And he will subdue the enemies of our souls.Against Elam - Or, concerning Elam. This country, better known as Susiana, is the modern Chuzistan, and lies on the east of Chaldaea, from which it is separated by the Tigris. In the cuneiform inscriptions we find the Elamites on friendly terms with Babylon. The suggestion therefore that they served as auxiliaries in the Chaldaean army in the expedition against Judah is not improbable. It was in the first year of Zedekiah that this prophecy was written, and thus it is a little prior to the prophecies against Babylon Jeremiah 51:59, which immediately follow. The words, "the Elam," appear in the Septuagint in Jeremiah 25:14, followed by this prophecy, while in Jeremiah 26:1 we find, "In the beginning of the reign of king Zedekiah there was this word about Elam," followed in Jeremiah 49:2 by the prophecy (Jeremiah 46 of the Hebrew) against Egypt. This is a proof simply of the confusion which existed in the Egyptian transcripts of the prophecies relating to the nations. 34. Elam—part of Susiana, west of Persia proper, but used to designate Persia in general. Elam proper, or Elymais, nearer Judea than Persia, is probably here meant; it had helped Nebuchadnezzar against Judea; hence its punishment. It may have been idolatrous, whereas Persia proper was mainly monotheistic. Elam was the son of Shem, Genesis 10:22, his posterity were called Elamites; these were the Persians, as is most probable, though some judge that the Persians were at too great a distance from the Jews to be the people meant here, but we read of no other Elam in Scripture but in Persia, Daniel 8:2; and though they were indeed at a great distance, yet it is probable that Nebuchadnezzar, having conquered the Assyrians, might also make some inroads into Persia, the emperor of which afterward conquered Babylon. This prophecy being in the first year of Zedekiah must needs be long before the thing was done, for it was ten years before the king of Babylon took Jerusalem. The word of the Lord that came unto Jeremiah the prophet against Elam,.... The Persians, as it is commonly understood, who descended from Elam the son of Shem, Genesis 10:22; according to Josephus (w); but rather the country of Elymais is here designed; which, though in the times of Cyrus, was added to, and made a part of, the Persian empire, yet was a country distinct both from Persia and Media; and as such is spoken of by Pliny (x); though as near unto Persia, and bordering on Media; according to Stephanus (y), the Elymaites were a country that belonged to the Assyrians; and so Strabo (a) places the Elymaeans in Aturia or Assyria; and it seems very manifest that Elam served under Sennacherib, king of Assyria, when he besieged Jerusalem, Isaiah 22:6; and afterwards fell into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and became subject to him, which is the calamity here threatened them; for certain it is, that, in Belshazzar's time, Shushan in Elam was the royal seat of the kings of Babylon, Daniel 8:2; now this prophecy against Elam was delivered out

in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah; perhaps in the first year of his reign, ten or eleven years before the destruction of Jerusalem; how long before it had its accomplishment is not certain:

saying: as follows:

(w) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 4. (x) Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 25, 26, 27. (y) De urbibus apud Cocceium in loc. (a) Geograph. l. 16. in principio, 507.

The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against {g} Elam in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying,

(g) That is Persia, so called for Elam the son of Shem.

34. Elam] now (approximately) Chuzistan, a country E. of the southern portion of Babylonia.

34–39 (= LXX. Chs. Jeremiah 25:14 to Jeremiah 26:1.). Prophecy against Elam

Here, as elsewhere in the group, the genuineness of this section is largely questioned. Even Rothstein, who is a decidedly conservative critic on the whole, rejects it. Co. on the other hand maintains that there is in it a Jeremianic kernel, expanded later. Gi. assigns its date to the time when Babylon had been overthrown by Persia. Sayce (HDB. I. 676) thinks that it has reference to the conquest of Anzan (one of the two ruling cities in Elam) by Teispes the Persian, the ancestor of Cyrus. Peake points out that the date assigned to it in Jeremiah 49:34, as differing from that prefixed to the group (Jeremiah 46:1-2), is itself in support of its genuineness, while the change in the situation in the course of the eight years (between the fourth year of Jehoiakim and the accession of Zedekiah [b.c. 604–597]) would naturally bring about a much greater interest in Elam, which, though distant from Palestine, was not by any means so far from Babylon and those who had meantime been deported there with Jehoiachin.

The section may be summarized thus. Elam’s bow shall be broken. She shall be scattered in flight among all nations, and pursued by Divine wrath till she is consumed, while Jehovah shall rule supreme in Elam. Yet in the end she shall return.Verses 34-39. - Concerning Elam. The title places this prophecy later than these in Jeremiah 48:1-49:33; viz. at the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah. From this filet, and from the absence of any reference to Nebuchadnezzar as the instrument of Elam's humiliation, Ewald conjectures that the Elamites had been concerned in the events which led to the dethronement and captivity of Jehoiachin. Dr. Payne Smith is inclined to accept this hypothesis, remarking that the Elamites "appear perpetually as the allies of Merodach-baladan and his sons in their struggles for independence." We are not yet, however, in possession of information as to the relations of Elam to the great Babylonian empire which rose upon the ruins of the Assyrian. Ewald's conjecture is a possibility, and no more. And what was Elam? One of the most ancient kingdoms in the world (see Genesis 14.). Geographically it was the tract of country., partly mountainous, partly lowland, lying south of Assyria and east of Persia proper, to which Herodotus gives the name of Cissia, and the classical geographers that of Tusis or Tusiaua. This is clear, says Sehrader, from the Persian text of the Behistun inscription of Darius. It is fro-quently mentioned under the name "Ilam," or "Ilamti," in the Assyrian inscriptions, especially in those of Sargon, Sennacherib, and Assurbauipal. In B.C 721 Sargon states that he annexed a district or province of Elam (and hence, perhaps, we must explain the mention of the Elamites in the Assyrian army in Isaiah 22:6), which was, doubtless, one cause of the embittered feeling towards Assyria of the portion which remained independent. The annals of the heroic struggle of Merodach-baladan contain repeated reference to the King of Elam. Assurbanipal made no less than three invasions of Elam, and the singular pretext for the third is, curiously enough, associated with the remarkable fourteenth chapter of Genesis. It was this - that the Elamite king had refused to deliver up an image of the goddess Nana, which Kudur-nankhundi, an ancient Elamite monarch, had carried oft, and which had remained 1635 or (perhaps) 1535 years in Elam. This king has been plausibly conjectured to be a member of the same dynasty as "Chedorlaomer [ = Kudur-Lagamar] King of Elam." This time it was all over with Elam; Shushan itself was plundered and destroyed, and far and wide the country was laid waste. That so restless and courageous a people should have become famous among the surrounding nations was only to be expected; and it is a striking proof of this that Ezekiel, in describing the companions whom fallen Egypt would meet with in Hades, mentions "Elam and all her multitude" (Ezekiel 32:24). The fact that the Septuagint has the heading twice over - first very briefly (in Jeremiah 25:14, where it is followed by this prophecy), and then at full length (in Jeremiah 26:1, at the end of the prophecy of Elam) - has been variously explained. It is, at any rate, clear that there is some confusion in the present text of this translation. In connection with this prediction it is interesting to notice one of the results of a new cuneiform discovery among some tablets acquired in 1878 by the British Museum. At the very time when Nebuchadnezzar was taking an oath of allegiance from Zedekiah, he was also engaged in hostilities against Elam. "We do not know," says Mr. Pinches, "what brought the Babylonians into hostilities with the Elamites, but the result of the expedition was to bring the whole kingdom of Elam within the boundaries of the Babylonian monarchy" (Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, 7:214). "Concerning Kedar and the Kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon smote." (The Kethib נבוּכדראצּור is perhaps merely an error in transcription occasioned by the occurrence of the preceding חצור). Kedar, the Kedarenes, a Bedouin nation descended from Ishmael, dwelling in tents throughout the region between Arabia Petraea and Babylonia (see on Genesis 25:13 and Ezekiel 27:21), is here, no doubt, a general name for all the nomadic tribes and shepherd nations of Arabia. Hazor elsewhere occurs only as the name of various cities in Palestine (Joshua 11:1; Joshua 15:23, Joshua 15:25; Joshua 19:23; Nahum 11:33), of which we need not think here, since it is Arabians who are spoken of. No locality or region of this name in Arabia is known. Jeremiah appears to have formed the name for the purpose of designating those Arabians who dwelt in חצרים, "courts" or "villages," and who thus differed from the Bedouins proper, or nomads and dwellers in tents; cf. Isaiah 42:11 with Genesis 25:16. The settled Arabians are to this day called Hadarijeh, in contrast with Wabarijeh, who dwell in tents. "Hadar, חצר, is the settled dwelling-place, in contrast with bedû, the steppe, where the tents are pitched, sometimes here, sometimes there, and only for a time" (Delitzsch on Isaiah 42:11). "The kingdoms of Hazor" are the regions of the settled tribes, ruled by their own princes or sheiks; cf. Jeremiah 25:24.

(Note: According to Mrc. v. Niebuhr, Gesch. Ass. u. Bab. p. 210, "Hazor is the modern Hajar, a region which occupies the whole north-eastern corner of the Nejed, and to which, in the wider sense, Lascha, the region on the coast, also belongs" But חצור, from חצר, which corresponds to Arab. htsr or hdr, is fundamentally different from Arab. hjr or ḥjr.)

In the prophecy, the general designation, "children of the east," i.e., Orientals, alternates with Kedar: the former is the most common name given to the tribes living to the east of Palestine, in the wilderness: cf. Judges 6:3; Job 1:3; Ezekiel 25:4. Instead of this name, Josephus uses the designation "Arabians" (Ant. Ezekiel 25:6. 1); later, "Nabateans" or "Kedarenes" became common. Here also (Jeremiah 49:32) is used the special designation קצוּצי פאה cut (at) the corner (of the hair), which points to the custom, usual among several of these Bedouin tribes, of cropping the hair of the head and beard; see on Jeremiah 9:25 and Jeremiah 25:23.

Jeremiah 49:28

"Thus saith Jahveh, Arise, go up to Kedar, and destroy the children of the east. Jeremiah 49:29. Their tents and their flocks shall they take: their curtains, and all their vessels, and their camels shall they carry away for themselves; and they shall cry over them, Fear is on every side. Jeremiah 49:30. Flee! wander far, dwell deep, ye inhabitants of Hazor, saith Jahveh; for Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath taken counsel against you, and hath devised a plan against them. Jeremiah 49:31. Arise! go up against a nation at ease, dwelling carelessly, saith Jahveh; it has no gates nor bars - they dwell alone. Jeremiah 49:32. And their camels shall be a prey, and the multitude of their herds a spoil; and I will scatter them to every wind who have cut the corner [of their beards], and from all sides will I bring their destruction, saith Jahveh. Jeremiah 49:33. And Hazor shall be an habitation of jackals, a desolation for ever. No man shall dwell there, nor shall a son of man sojourn in it."

This prophecy consists of two brief strophes, which begin with a summons to the army of the enemy to wage war on the Arabians (Jeremiah 49:28 and Jeremiah 49:31), and then announce the execution of this order; the arrangement, moreover, is such that there is attached to the first strophe a summons to the Arabians to save themselves by flight (Jeremiah 49:30), while the other concludes with the threat that their territory shall be destroyed (Jeremiah 49:33).

Jeremiah 49:28-30

עלה is used with אל instead of על, to signify hostile advance against a nation or city. שׁדדוּ with Qametz-Hatuph (without Metheg) is imperative; cf. Ewald, 227, i, with 251, c. The verbs יקּחוּ and ישׂאוּ in Jeremiah 49:29 are not jussives (Ewald, Umbreit, etc.), but imperfects, describing what takes place in consequence of the order given. Tents and flocks of sheep and goats, curtains and vessels, together with camels, form the property and wealth of the nomads. נשׂא, to take away, carry off; להם, sibi. They call out over them, as if it were a watch-cry, "Horror around:" on this expression, see Jeremiah 6:25. This justifies the call addressed to them, "Flee," etc. To נסוּ is added נדוּ for the purpose of intensifying, and this again is further strengthened by appending מאד: "Use every effort to flee." העמיקוּ as in Jeremiah 49:8. A reason is given for the summons, in the statement that Nebuchadnezzar, as the instrument of Jahveh, has formed a plan against them; cf. Jeremiah 49:20 and Jeremiah 18:11. Instead of עליהם, many MSS and the ancient versions have עליכם, in conformity with the first member. In all probability, the original reading is "against them," inasmuch as "the discourse, as in other instances, makes a transition, in the last portion, from direct address to a calmer style of speaking" (Ewald).

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