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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Jeremiah 25



Verse 1

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;

Fourth year of Jehoiakim - called the year in Daniel 1:1. But probably Jehoiakim was set on the throne by Pharaoh-necho on his return from Carchemish about July, whereas Nebuchadnezzar mounted the throne January 21, 604 BC so that Nebuchadnezzar's first year was partly the third, partly the fourth of Jehoiakim. Here first Jeremiah gives specific dates. Nebuchadnezzar had previously entered Judea in the reign of his father Nabopolassar.

Verse 2

The which Jeremiah the prophet spake unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying,

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 3

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.

From the thirteenth year of Josiah, in which Jeremiah began to prophesy (Jeremiah 1:1), to the end of Josiah's reign was 19 years (2 Kings 22:1); the three months (2 Kings 23:31) of Jehoahaz' reign, with the not quite complete 4 years of Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 25:1), added to the 19 years, make up 23 years (Jeremiah 25:3) in all.

Verse 4

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.

The Lord hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them - (Jeremiah 7:13, note). "The prophets" refer to Urijah, Zephaniah, Habakkuk, etc. It aggravates their sin, that God sent not merely one, but many messengers, and those messengers prophets; and that during all those years specified Jeremiah and his fellow-prophets spared no effort, late and early.

Verse 5

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:

Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell. In Hebrew there is expressed by sameness of sounds the correspondence between their turning to God and God's turning to them to permit them to dwell in their land: Shubu ... shebu, "Return" ... so shall ye "remain."

Every one from his evil way. Each must separately repent and turn from his own sin. None is excepted, lest they should think their guilt extenuated because the evil is general.

Verse 6

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.

Go not after other gods. He instances one sin, as representative of all their sins, idolatry; as nothing is dearer to God than a pure worship of Himself.

Verse 7

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.

Provoke me to anger ... to your own hurt - though ye provoke me to anger (Deuteronomy 32:21), yet it is not me, but yourselves, whom ye thereby hurt (Proverbs 8:36; Proverbs 20:2).

Verse 8

Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Because ye have not heard my words,

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 9

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.

The north - (note, Jeremiah 1:14-15). The Medes and other northern peoples confederate with Babylon are included with the Chaldeans.

Nebuchadnezzar ... my servant - my agent for punishing (Jeremiah 27:6; Jeremiah 43:10 : cf. Jeremiah 40:2, which shows that Nehuzaradan, Nebuchadnezzar's captain, had even some consciousness of the divine mission which the Babylonian king fulfilled, in accordance with Jeremiah's prophecy - "The Lord thy God," said he to Jeremiah, "hath pronounced this evil upon this place"). Compare Isaiah 44:28, Cyrus, "my shepherd." God makes even unbelievers unconsciously to fulfill His designs. A reproof to the Jews, who boasted that they were the servants of God; yet a pagan king is to be more the servant of God than they, and that as the agent of their punishment.

Verse 10

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.

(Jeremiah 7:34; Revelation 18:23). The land shall be so desolated that even in the houses left standing there shall be no inhabitant; a terrible stillness shall prevail; no sound of the hand-mill (two circular stones, one above the other, for grinding corn, worked by two females, Exodus 11:5; Matthew 24:41; in daily use in every house, and therefore forbidden to be taken in pledge, Deuteronomy 24:6); no night-light, so universal in the East that the poorest house has it, burning all night.

Candle - lamp (Job 21:17; Job 18:6).

Verse 11

And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

Seventy years - (Jeremiah 27:7). The exact number of years of Sabbaths in 490 years, the period from Saul to the Babylonian captivity; righteous retribution for their violation of the Sabbath (Leviticus 26:34-35; 2 Chronicles 36:21). The 70 years probably begin from the 4th year of Jehoiakim, when Jerusalem was first captured, and many captives, as well as the treasure of the temple, were carried away: they end with the first year of Cyrus, who, on taking Babylon, issued an edict for the restoration of the Jews (Ezra 1:1). Daniel's 70 prophetic weeks are based on the seventy years of the captivity (cf. Daniel 9:2; Daniel 9:24).

Verse 12

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. No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 13

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.

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. It follows from this, that the prophecies against foreign nations (Jeremiah 46:1-28; Jeremiah 47:1-7; Jeremiah 48:1-47; Jeremiah 49:1-39; Jeremiah 50:1-46; Jeremiah 51:1-64) must have been already written. Hence, the Septuagint insert here those prophecies. But if they had followed immediately Jeremiah 25:13, there would have been no propriety in the observation in the verse. The very wording of the reference shows that they existed in some other part of the book, and not in the immediate context. It was in this very year (Jeremiah 25:1), the fourth of Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 36:1-2), that Jeremiah was directed to write in a regular book, for the first time, all that he had prophesied against Judah and foreign "nations" from the beginning of his ministry. Probably at a subsequent time, when he completed the whole work, including Jeremiah 46:1-28; Jeremiah 47:1-7; Jeremiah 48:1-47; Jeremiah 49:1-39; Jeremiah 50:1-46; Jeremiah 51:1-64, Jeremiah himself inserted the clause "all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations." The prophecies in question may have been repeated, as others in Jeremiah, more than once; so in the original smaller collection they my have stood in an earlier position; and in the fuller subsequent collection in their latter and present position.

Verse 14

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 shall serve themselves of them - (Jeremiah 27:7; Jeremiah 30:8; Jeremiah 34:10) i:e., avail themselves of their services as slaves.

Of them also. The Chaldees, who heretofore have made other nations their slaves, shall themselves also, in their turn, be slaves to them. Maurer translates, 'shall impose servitude on them, even them.'

I will recompense them - namely, the Chaldees and other nations against whom Jeremiah had prophesied (Jeremiah 25:13), as having oppressed the Jews.

According to their deeds - rather, deed, namely, their bad treatment of the Jews (Jeremiah 50:29; Jeremiah 51:6; Jeremiah 51:24 : cf. 2 Chronicles 36:17).

Verse 15

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.

Wine-cup - cf. Jeremiah 13:12-13, as to this image, to express stupifying judgments; also Jeremiah 49:12; Jeremiah 51:7. Jeremiah often embodies the imagery of Isaiah in his prophecies (Lamentations 4:21; Isaiah 51:17-22; Rev. 16:19; 28:6 ). The wine-cup was not literally given by Jeremiah to the representatives of the different nations, but only in symbolical vision.

Verse 16

And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them.

They shall drink, and be moved - reel (Nahum 3:11).

Verse 17

Then took I the cup at the LORD's hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the LORD had sent me:

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 18

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;

Jerusalem - put first: for "judgment begins at the house of God;" they being most guilty whose religious privileges are greatest (1 Peter 4:17).

The kings thereof - Jehoiakim, Jeconiah, and Zedekiah.

As it is this day - the accomplishment of the curse has already begun under Jehoiakim. This clause, however, may have been inserted by Jeremiah at his final revision of his prophecies in Egypt.

Verse 19

Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people;

Pharaoh - put next after Jerusalem, because the Jews had relied most on him, and Egypt and Judea stood on a common footing (Jeremiah 46:2; Jeremiah 46:25).

Verse 20

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 - mercenary foreign troops serving under Pharaoh-hophra in the time of Jeremiah. The employment of these foreigners provoked the native Egyptians to overthrow him. Psammetichus, father of Pharaoh-necho, also had given a settlement in Egypt to Ionian and Carian adventurers (Herodotus. 2: 152,

154). Compare Jeremiah 50:37; note, Isaiah 19:1-3; Isaiah 20:1; Ezekiel 30:5. The Hebrew expression "the mingled people" [ haa`ereb (Hebrew #6154)] here is first found in Exodus 12:38; where, however, the article the is not prefixed.

Uz - in the geographical order here, between Egypt and the states along the Mediterranean; therefore not the "Uz" of Job 1:1 (north of Arabia Deserta), but the northern part of Arabia Petrea, between the sea and Idumea (Lamentations 4:21; see Genesis 36:20; Genesis 36:28).

The remnant of Ashdod - called a remnant because Ashdod had lost most of its inhabitants in the 29 years' siege by Psammetichus. Compare also Isaiah 20:1, note. Gath is not mentioned, because it was overthrown in the same war.

Verse 21

Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon,

Edom and Moab, and the children of Ammon - joined together, as being related to Israel (see Jeremiah 48:1-47; Jeremiah 49:1-39).

Verse 22

And all the kings of Tyrus, and all the kings of Zidon, and the kings of the isles which are beyond the sea,

All the kings of Tyrus - the petty kings of the various dependencies of Tyre.

Isles - a term including all maritime regions (Psalms 72:10, "The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents").

Verse 23

Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all that are in the utmost corners,

Dedan - North of Arabia (Genesis 25:3-4).}

Tema and Buz - neighbouring tribes north of Arabia (Job 32:2).

And all that are in the utmost corners - rather, 'having the hair cut in angles,' a paganish custom (see note, Jeremiah 9:26).

Verse 24

And all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mingled people that dwell in the desert,

Mingled people - not in the same sense as Jeremiah 25:20; the motley crowd, so called in contempt (cf. Jeremiah 49:28; Jeremiah 49:31; Jeremiah 50:37). By a different pointing it may be translated, the Arabs; but the repetition of the name is not likely. Blaney thinks there were two divisions of what we call Arabia, the West (Araba) and the East-the West included Arabia Petrea and the parts on the sea bordering on Egypt-the land of Cush; the East, Arabia Felix and Deserta. The latter are 'the mixed race' inhabiting the desert.

Verse 25

And all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes,

Zimri - perhaps the Zabra mentioned by Ptolemy, between Mecca and Medina. Zimran also, as Dedan, was one of Abraham's sons by Keturah (Genesis 25:2).

Elam - properly, west of Persia; but used for Persia in general.

Verse 26

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.

Sheshach - Babylon; as the parallelism in Jeremiah 51:41 proves. In the Cabalistic system (called Athbash; the first Hebrew letter in the alphabet being expressed by the last) Sheshach would exactly answer to Babel. Jeremiah may have used this system (as perhaps in Jeremiah 51:41) for concealment at the time of this prediction, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, while Nebuchadnezzar was before Jerusalem. In Jeremiah 51:41 there can be no concealment, as Babylon is expressly mentioned. Michaelis more simply explains the term 'brazen-gated' (cf. Isaiah 45:2): others, from the Persian language, 'the house of a prince.' Rather it comes from the Babylonian goddess Shach, by reduplication of the first letter; from her Misael was named Meshach by the Babylonians. The term Shace was applied to a festival at Babylon, alluded to in Jeremiah 51:39; Jeremiah 51:57; Isaiah 21:5. It was during this feast that Cyrus took Babylon (Herodotus, 1:). Thus Jeremiah mystically denotes the time of its capture by this term (Glassius).

Verse 27

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.

Thus saith the Lord God of ... Israel ... fall, and rise no more - the pagan nations in question should fall to rise no more. The Jews should fall but for a time, and then rise again. Therefore the epithet is given, "the God of Israel."

Verse 28

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.

If they refuse to take the cup ... Ye shall certainly drink - no effort of theirs to escape destruction will avail.

Verse 29

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.

I ... bring evil on the city ... called by my name, and should ye be ... unpunished - if I spared not mine elect people on account of sin, much less will I spare you. "I begin to bring evil" implies, that in bringing evil He "begins" with His elect people, as being the most guilty, in the fact of their having greater privileges than the pagan (Ezekiel 9:6, "Slay ... and begin at my sanctuary;" Obadiah 1:16; Luke 23:31; 1 Peter 4:17).

Be unpunished - Hebrew, 'be treated as innocent' [ hinaaqeeh (Hebrew #5352) tinaaquw (Hebrew #5352), from naaqaah (Hebrew #5352), to be clean or pure].

Verse 30

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.

The Lord shall roar - image from a destructive lion (Isaiah 42:13; Joel 3:16).

Upon his habitation - rather, 'His pasturage;' keeping up the image of a lion roaring against the flock the pasture. The roar was first to go forth over Judea, wherein were "the sheep of His pasture" (Psalms 100:3), and thence into pagan lands.

He shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes - (Jeremiah 48:33; Isaiah 16:9-10). The shout of joy at the vintage, which latter represents the execution of judgment (Revelation 14:18-20).

Verse 31

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.

The Lord hath a controversy - a cause at issue (Micah 6:2) "with all nations."

Plead with all flesh - (Isaiah 66:16). God shows the whole world that He does what is altogether just in punishing.

Verse 32

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.

From the coasts - rather, 'from the uttermost regions.' Like a storm which arises in one region and then diffuses itself far and wide, so God's judgment shall pass "from nation to nation," until all has been fulfilled; no distance shall prevent the fulfillment.

Verse 33

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.

They shall not be lamented - (Jeremiah 16:4; Jeremiah 16:6).

Neither gathered - to their fathers, in their ancestral tombs (Jeremiah 8:2).

Dung - (Psalms 83:10).

Verse 34

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 - princes (Jeremiah 22:22). Here he returns from pronouncing judgments against the Gentile nations, to the Jews and their rulers, using the same image as in Jeremiah 25:30, "pasture," note. Wallow yourselves - cover yourselves as thickly with ashes, in token of sorrow, as one who rolls in them (Jeremiah 6:26; Ezekiel 27:30). (Maurer.)

Ye principal of the flock - leaders of the people. Septuagint translate, rams, carrying out the image (cf. Isaiah 14:9, margin; Zechariah 10:3).

The days of your slaughter and of your dispersions - rather, 'your days for slaughter (i:e., the time for your being slain) and your dispersions (not 'of your dispersion') are accomplished' (are come).

Like a pleasant vessel - ye were once a precious vessel, but ye shall fall, and so be a broken vessel, "wherein is no pleasure" (cf. Jeremiah 22:28, note). 'Your past excellency shall not render you safe now. I will turn to your ignominy whatever glory I conferred on you' (Calvin).

Verse 35

And the shepherds shall have no way to flee, nor the principal of the flock to escape.

The shepherds shall have no way to flee - literally, 'flight shall fail shepherds, etc., escaping (shall fail) the principal,' etc. (Amos 2:14). The leaders shall be the first objects for slaughter; escape by flight will be out of their power.

Verse 36

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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 37

And the peaceable habitations are cut down because of the fierce anger of the LORD.

Habitations - rather carrying out the image (Jeremiah 25:30, note), pastures. The pasturages where, peaceably and Habitations - rather carrying out the image (Jeremiah 25:30, note), pastures. The pasturages where, peaceably and without incursion of wild beasts, the flocks have fed shall be destroyed; - i:e., the regions where heretofore there was peace and security (alluding to the name Salem or Jerusalem, 'possessing peace') shall be no longer "peaceable habitations" (Isaiah 32:18).

Verse 38

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.

He hath forsaken his covert - the temple, where heretofore, like a lion, as its defender, by the mere terror of His voice, he warded off the foe; but now He leaves it a prey to the Gentiles (Calvin).

Their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the oppressor - rather, as the Hebrew for 'oppressor' [ hayownaah (Hebrew #3238)] is an adjective feminine, the word sword is understood, which, in Jeremiah 46:14; Jeremiah 50:16, is expressed (indeed, some manuscripts and Septuagint, the Arabic, and Targum read "sword" [ chereb (Hebrew #2719)] instead of "fierceness" [ ch


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 25:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

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