Jeremiah 49:35
Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the chief of their might.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(35) I will break the bow of Elam.—As in Isaiah 22:6; Herod. vii. 61, Elam was conspicuous for its archers. We are reminded of the account which Herodotus gives (ii. 136) of the three things taught to the youth of Persia—to ride, to draw the bow, and to speak the truth. This weapon was “the chief of their might.”

Jeremiah 49:35-38. Behold, I will break the bow of Elam — The Elamites were famous archers, as this expression intimates, as also Isaiah’s words, Isaiah 22:6; And Elam bare the quiver. Strabo also says, that the mountainous parts of Elymais bred chiefly archers; στρατιωτας τρεφει τοξοτας τους πλειστους, lib. 16. p. 744. Livy, and other heathen writers, also speak of the Elymæan archers. Upon Elam will I bring the four winds, &c. — I will bring enemies upon Elam from every quarter; and scatter them to every quarter. Wars and commotions are metaphorically denoted by winds. And I will send the sword after them — Even after they are driven out of their own country, my judgments shall pursue them. And I will set my throne in Elam — As Nebuchadnezzar acted under the commission of God, and had authority from him to conquer this and the neighbouring nations, and is called God’s servant, the establishing of his power was in effect the setting up of the throne or dominion of Jehovah. Some, however, think this is spoken of the Persian monarchy, established there by Cyrus, who is expressly called, in Scripture, God’s anointed one, whom he had particularly chosen.

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.The bow was the national weapon of Elam, and therefore the "chief of their might," that on which their strength in war depended. 35. bow—Elam was famed for its bowmen (Isa 22:6).

chief of their might—in opposition to "bow," that is, bowmen, who constituted their main strength.

All those Eastern people were famous for the use of the bow, the Elamites in special, Isaiah 22:6: those bows were the chief of their offensive armour, though by the chief of their might may also be meant their most mighty and strong warriors. This prophecy is probably judged to be fulfilled when the Persians made a defection from the king of the Medes, who was son-in-law to Nebuchadnezzar. Others think that this prophecy was accomplished by Alexander the emperor of Greece, or rather by his successors.

Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I will break the bow of Elam,.... The inhabitants of this country were famous for their skill in archery; See Gill on Isaiah 22:6; this the Lord threatens to break, so that it, should be useless, and of no more service to them to defend themselves, or annoy others. Their strength, as the Targum; that in which their great strength and security lay; in which they put their trust and confidence, as follows:

the chief of their might; which may be interpreted, by way of apposition, of their bow, the chief instrument of their might and power; or may design their mighty men, the archers themselves, who should be destroyed, even Elam itself, and all the inhabitants of it; especially their warriors, who should be slain or carried captive.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will break the {h} bow of Elam, the chief of their might.

(h) Because the Persians were good archers, he shows that the thing in which they put their trust would not profit them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
35. the bow of Elam] For Elam’s prowess with the bow cp. Isaiah 22:6.

Verse 35. - The bow of Elam. So Isaiah in prophetic vision, "And Elam bare the quiver" (Isaiah 22:6). Jeremiah 49:35"Thus saith Jahveh of hosts: Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the chief part of their strength. Jeremiah 49:36. And I will bring upon Elam four winds from the four ends of the heaven, and I will scatter them towards all these winds; and there shall be no nation where the scattered ones of Elam shall not come. Jeremiah 49:37. And I will make Elam terrified before their enemies, and before those who seek their life; and I will bring on them evil, the heat of my wrath, saith Jahveh; and I will send after them the sword, until I consume them. Jeremiah 49:38. And I will place my throne in Elam, and will destroy thence king and princes, saith Jahveh. Jeremiah 49:39. But it shall be in the end of the days, that I will turn the captivity of Elam, saith Jahveh."

Elam's martial power is to be destroyed, and its population scattered to the four winds among all nations (Jeremiah 49:25.). The Lord will make them terrified before their enemies, and let them be pursued by the sword till they are swept away (Jeremiah 49:37). In the country itself He will hold a tribunal, and destroy king and priests out of it (Jeremiah 49:38). In Jeremiah 49:35, the bow, as the chief weapon of the Elamites (cf. Isaiah 22:6), is mentioned, by synecdoche, instead of all offensive and defensive weapons, for all the means of resistance and attack employed by this warlike nation. This, indeed, is shown by the apposition, "the first-fruits (i.e., the chief part) of their strength" or valour. To break the bow in pieces is thus equivalent to rendering defenceless. The plural suffix in גּבוּרתם points to Elam as a nation - the Elamites. Hitzig, Graf, and older expositors make an assumption which is both unnecessary and incapable of proof, that קשׁת stands for גבּורים, and means "the valiant, brave people of war," as in Isaiah 21:17 and 1 Samuel 2:4; but neither in these passages can the alleged meaning be fully made out.

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