|<< Jer 48
Jeremiah 49-50 Listen
1 Concerning the Ammonites, thus saith the LORD; Hath Israel no sons? hath he no heir? why then doth their king inherit Gad, and his people dwell in his cities?
2 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will cause an alarm of war to be heard in Rabbah of the Ammonites; and it shall be a desolate heap, and her daughters shall be burned with fire: then shall Israel be heir unto them that were his heirs, saith the LORD.
3 Howl, O Heshbon, for Ai is spoiled: cry, ye daughters of Rabbah, gird you with sackcloth; lament, and run to and fro by the hedges; for their king shall go into captivity, and his priests and his princes together.
4 Wherefore gloriest thou in the valleys, thy flowing valley, O backsliding daughter? that trusted in her treasures, saying, Who shall come unto me?
5 Behold, I will bring a fear upon thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts, from all those that be about thee; and ye shall be driven out every man right forth; and none shall gather up him that wandereth.
6 And afterward I will bring again the captivity of the children of Ammon, saith the LORD.
The Ammonites (descendants of Lot) were the neighbors of Israel that lived on the east side of the Jordan next door to the tribe of Gad, and through the centuries they had not been very good neighbors. Apparently after the Jews in Gad had been deported under Assyrian rule (after 721 B.C.), the Ammonites moved into their cities. This prophecy declares that the Ammonites will fall to the Babylonians. According to the Jewish historian Josephus (Antiq. X, 181 [ix.7]), Nebuchadnezzar conquered Ammon in the fifth year after the destruction of Jerusalem.
For additional background information regarding the Ammonites, see the notes on II Samuel 10/I Chronicles 19.
7 Concerning Edom, thus saith the LORD of hosts; Is wisdom no more in Teman? is counsel perished from the prudent? is their wisdom vanished?
8 Flee ye, turn back, dwell deep, O inhabitants of Dedan; for I will bring the calamity of Esau upon him, the time that I will visit him.
9 If grapegatherers come to thee, would they not leave some gleaning grapes? if thieves by night, they will destroy till they have enough.
10 But I have made Esau bare, I have uncovered his secret places, and he shall not be able to hide himself: his seed is spoiled, and his brethren, and his neighbours, and he is not.
11 Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in me.
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 go unpunished? thou shalt not go unpunished, but thou shalt surely drink of it.
13 For I have sworn by myself, saith the LORD, that Bozrah shall become a desolation, a reproach, a waste, and a curse; and all the cities thereof shall be perpetual wastes.
14 I have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent unto the heathen, saying, Gather ye together, and come against her, and rise up to the battle.
15 For, lo, I will make thee small among the heathen, and despised among men.
16 Thy terribleness hath deceived thee, and the pride of thine heart, O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, that holdest the height of the hill: though thou shouldest make thy nest as high as the eagle, I will bring thee down from thence, saith the LORD.
17 Also Edom shall be a desolation: every one that goeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss at all the plagues thereof.
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.
19 Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the swelling of Jordan against the habitation of the strong: but I will suddenly make him run away from her: and who is a chosen man, that I may appoint over her? for who is like me? and who will appoint me the time? and who is that shepherd that will stand before me?
20 Therefore hear the counsel of the LORD, that he hath taken against Edom; and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the inhabitants of Teman: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out: surely he shall make their habitations desolate with them.
21 The earth is moved at the noise of their fall, at the cry the noise thereof was heard in the Red sea.
22 Behold, he shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread his wings over Bozrah: and at that day shall the heart of the mighty men of Edom be as the heart of a woman in her pangs.
These are Esau's descendants. They lived southeast of Israel with a long history of hatred toward Israel. Edom had a long, colorful history with Israel going all the way back to Jacob and Esau. Edom was Esau's nickname, and the very way he came by this nickname was a sore subject found in Genesis 25 (see notes). Remember when Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of soup? Here's what Genesis 25:30 says, "And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom." Edom is the Hebrew word for "red." The very name of these people continually resurrected bad memories, and they lived up to these bad memories with their constant harassment of Israel over the centuries. Edom had sought to block Israels first entrance into Canaan (Numbers 20:14-21, see notes; Numbers 24:15-19, see notes).
Note these other conflicts with the Edomites:
Other prophets also prophesied concerning Edom:
The prophet Obadiah prophesies against these people in his one chapter. There is no promise of restoration after Nebuchadnezzar ransacks them. Click here to see the summary on the Book of Obadiah regarding Edom's prospects.
The Syrians...they'll fall too (Jeremiah 49:23-27)
23 Concerning Damascus. Hamath is confounded, and Arpad: for they have heard evil tidings: they are fainthearted; there is sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet.
24 Damascus is waxed feeble, and turneth herself to flee, and fear hath seized on her: anguish and sorrows have taken her, as a woman in travail.
25 How is the city of praise not left, the city of my joy!
26 Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, and all the men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the LORD of hosts.
27 And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Benhadad.
Damascus was the capital city of Syria just northeast of Israel. In verse 27, Benhadad was the general designation for the kings of Syria; it meant "Son of Hadad." Hadad is a name with several notorious Syrian roots. First of all, it was the name of one of the supreme gods in Syria. Benhadad (prefix "Ben" means "son") was also the name of a dynasty that ruled Damascus in the ninth and eighth centuries B.C. If that's not confusing enough, it was also the name of some individual Syrian kings (I Kings 15:18,20 - see notes; II Kings 13:24, see notes). Nebuchadnezzar took his army through Syria in 605 B.C.
Kedar and Hazor fall (Jeremiah 49:28-33)
28 Concerning Kedar, and concerning the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon shall smite, thus saith the LORD; Arise ye, go up to Kedar, and spoil the men of the east.
29 Their tents and their flocks shall they take away: they shall take to themselves their curtains, and all their vessels, and their camels; and they shall cry unto them, Fear is on every side.
30 Flee, get you far off, dwell deep, O ye inhabitants of Hazor, saith the LORD; for Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath taken counsel against you, and hath conceived a purpose against you.
31 Arise, get you up unto the wealthy nation, that dwelleth without care, saith the LORD, which have neither gates nor bars, which dwell alone.
32 And their camels shall be a booty, and the multitude of their cattle a spoil: and I will scatter into all winds them that are in the utmost corners; and I will bring their calamity from all sides thereof, saith the LORD.
33 And Hazor shall be a dwelling for dragons, and a desolation for ever: there shall no man abide there, nor any son of man dwell in it.
Not much is known about these tribes. Their fall is prophesied. They inhabited the desert between Babylon and Israel.
Elam's fall (Jeremiah 49:34-39)
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,
35 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the chief of their might.
36 And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come.
37 For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies, and before them that seek their life: and I will bring evil upon them, even my fierce anger, saith the LORD; and I will send the sword after them, till I have consumed them:
38 And I will set my throne in Elam, and will destroy from thence the king and the princes, saith the LORD.
39 But it shall come to pass in the latter days, that I will bring again the captivity of Elam, saith the LORD.
Ancient Elam was located east of the Tigris River in Mesopotamia. The Assyrians sacked Susa, Elam's capital, in 646 B.C. This prophecy during King Zedekiah's reign would appear to be a second round by the conquering Babylonians.
1 The word that the LORD spake against Babylon and against the land of the Chaldeans by Jeremiah the prophet.
2 Declare ye among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not: say, Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces.
3 For out of the north there cometh up a nation against her, which shall make her land desolate, and none shall dwell therein: they shall remove, they shall depart, both man and beast.
4 In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the LORD their God.
5 They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.
6 My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace.
7 All that found them have devoured them: and their adversaries said, We offend not, because they have sinned against the LORD, the habitation of justice, even the LORD, the hope of their fathers.
8 Remove out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be as the he goats before the flocks.
9 For, lo, I will raise and cause to come up against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country: and they shall set themselves in array against her; from thence she shall be taken: their arrows shall be as of a mighty expert man; none shall return in vain.
10 And Chaldea shall be a spoil: all that spoil her shall be satisfied, saith the LORD.
11 Because ye were glad, because ye rejoiced, O ye destroyers of mine heritage, because ye are grown fat as the heifer at grass, and bellow as bulls;
12 Your mother shall be sore confounded; she that bare you shall be ashamed: behold, the hindermost of the nations shall be a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert.
13 Because of the wrath of the LORD it shall not be inhabited, but it shall be wholly desolate: every one that goeth by Babylon shall be astonished, and hiss at all her plagues.
14 Put yourselves in array against Babylon round about: all ye that bend the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrows: for she hath sinned against the LORD.
15 Shout against her round about: she hath given her hand: her foundations are fallen, her walls are thrown down: for it is the vengeance of the LORD: take vengeance upon her; as she hath done, do unto her.
16 Cut off the sower from Babylon, and him that handleth the sickle in the time of harvest: for fear of the oppressing sword they shall turn every one to his people, and they shall flee every one to his own land.
17 Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away: first the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones.
18 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria.
19 And I will bring Israel again to his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied upon mount Ephraim and Gilead.
20 In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.
21 Go up against the land of Merathaim, even against it, and against the inhabitants of Pekod: waste and utterly destroy after them, saith the LORD, and do according to all that I have commanded thee.
22 A sound of battle is in the land, and of great destruction.
23 How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken! how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations!
24 I have laid a snare for thee, and thou art also taken, O Babylon, and thou wast not aware: thou art found, and also caught, because thou hast striven against the LORD.
25 The LORD hath opened his armoury, and hath brought forth the weapons of his indignation: for this is the work of the Lord GOD of hosts in the land of the Chaldeans.
26 Come against her from the utmost border, open her storehouses: cast her up as heaps, and destroy her utterly: let nothing of her be left.
27 Slay all her bullocks; let them go down to the slaughter: woe unto them! for their day is come, the time of their visitation.
28 The voice of them that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the LORD our God, the vengeance of his temple.
29 Call together the archers against Babylon: all ye that bend the bow, camp against it round about; let none thereof escape: recompense her according to her work; according to all that she hath done, do unto her: for she hath been proud against the LORD, against the Holy One of Israel.
30 Therefore shall her young men fall in the streets, and all her men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the LORD.
31 Behold, I am against thee, O thou most proud, saith the Lord GOD of hosts: for thy day is come, the time that I will visit thee.
32 And the most proud shall stumble and fall, and none shall raise him up: and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it shall devour all round about him.
33 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The children of Israel and the children of Judah were oppressed together: and all that took them captives held them fast; they refused to let them go.
34 Their Redeemer is strong; the LORD of hosts is his name: he shall throughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon.
35 A sword is upon the Chaldeans, saith the LORD, and upon the inhabitants of Babylon, and upon her princes, and upon her wise men.
36 A sword is upon the liars; and they shall dote: a sword is upon her mighty men; and they shall be dismayed.
37 A sword is upon their horses, and upon their chariots, and upon all the mingled people that are in the midst of her; and they shall become as women: a sword is upon her treasures; and they shall be robbed.
38 A drought is upon her waters; and they shall be dried up: for it is the land of graven images, and they are mad upon their idols.
39 Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation.
40 As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbour cities thereof, saith the LORD; so shall no man abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein.
41 Behold, a people shall come from the north, and a great nation, and many kings shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.
42 They shall hold the bow and the lance: they are cruel, and will not shew mercy: their voice shall roar like the sea, and they shall ride upon horses, every one put in array, like a man to the battle, against thee, O daughter of Babylon.
43 The king of Babylon hath heard the report of them, and his hands waxed feeble: anguish took hold of him, and pangs as of a woman in travail.
44 Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the swelling of Jordan unto the habitation of the strong: but I will make them suddenly run away from her: and who is a chosen man, that I may appoint over her? for who is like me? and who will appoint me the time? and who is that shepherd that will stand before me?
45 Therefore hear ye the counsel of the LORD, that he hath taken against Babylon; and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the land of the Chaldeans: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out: surely he shall make their habitation desolate with them.
46 At the noise of the taking of Babylon the earth is moved, and the cry is heard among the nations.
And finally, Jeremiah turns to the fall of Babylon itself in chapters 50-51.
Following is an entry in the Columbia Encyclopedia regarding the city of Babylon:
One of the most important cities of the ancient Middle East, it was on the Euphrates River and was north of the cities that flourished in S Mesopotamia in the 3d millennium B.C. It became important when Hammurabi made it the capital of his kingdom of Babylonia. The patron god of Babylon, Marduk (identical with Bel), became a leading deity in the Neo-Babylonian pantheon. The city was destroyed (c.689 B.C.) by the Assyrians under Sennacherib, and its real splendor belongs to the later period of Babylonia after the city was rebuilt. The brilliant color and luxury of Babylon became legendary from the days of Nebuchadnezzar (d. 562 B.C.). The Hanging Gardens were one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The walls of Babylon, its palace, and the processional way with the famous Ishtar Gate were decorated with colorfully glazed brick. Among the Hebrews (who suffered the Babylonian captivity under Nebuchadnezzar) and the later Greeks the city was famed for its sensual living. Under the rule of Nabonidus the city was captured (538 B.C.) by Cyrus the Great and was used as one of the administrative capitals of the Persian Empire. In 275 B.C. its inhabitants were removed to Seleucia, which replaced Babylon as a commercial center.
Today, Babylon's ruins are south of Baghdad, Iraq about 55 miles. Saddam Hussein started restoration of Babylon and even built one of his palaces there. It would appear that the project will never be completed.
Note the demise of Babylon in verse 3, "For out of the north there cometh up a nation against her, which shall make her land desolate." The city was captured by the Medes/Persians in 538 B.C. under Cyrus the Great, just as Jeremiah prophesied. Beginning in verse 4 we see the return of the Jews prophesied. This happened under Cyrus the Great as well.
In verses 17-18 Jeremiah references the one-two punch, the deportation of Israel/Judah at the hands of the Assyrians and the Babylonians. He prophesies that the Babylonians will be punished just as the Assyrians had been by the Babylonians. He prophesies in verse 18, "Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria."
Jeremiah speaks of a return to the land by Israel beginning in verse 20. The Jews did return under Cyrus, but the stipulations of verse 20 weren't technically fulfilled at that time. Notice verse 20, "In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve." This spiritual (no iniquity found) condition of Israel will not be seen until the Messianic Kingdom beginning with the Millennium. Jeremiah spoke of this spiritual renewal in Jeremiah 31:31-34 (see notes), the same passage Paul quotes in Hebrews 8:8-12 (see notes). If it were not for the specifications of verse 20, we might assume this to be a prophecy regarding the return of Israel/Judah to their land beginning in 535 B.C. The returning exiles were very zealous toward God when they began their return in 535 B.C., but to say that they were without "iniquity" would certainly overstate their condition. It is for that reason that most Bible expositors place this complete fulfillment at the yet-future millennium, the Messianic age.
It seems fitting that Jeremiah spends so much time speaking of the demise of Babylon. This detailed prophecy continues on into Jeremiah 51 (see notes).