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who had not deserved it so much as the Edomites; and [art] thou he [that] shalt altogether go unpunished? thou shalt not go 13 unpunished, but thou shalt surely drink [of it.] 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 14 thereof shall be perpetual wastes. 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: God by his secret influence shall gather them together, as 15 if he had sent an ambassador among them. For, lo, I will make 16 thee small among the heathen, [and] despised among men. Thy terribleness, that is, thy secure situation, 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 shouldst make thy nest as high as the eagle, I will bring thee down from 17 thence, saith the LORD. Also Edom shall be a desolation: every one that goeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss at 18 all the plagues thereof. 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, that is, Nebuchadnezzar, shall come up like a lion from the swelling of Jordan, against the habitation of the strong; like a lion driven from its den among the thickets, whenJordan overflowed its banks, and thereby was rendered more fierce; but I will suddenly make him run away from her, or, run upon her: and who [is] a chosen [man, that] I may appoint over her; or, I will give a charge to him that is a choice one (Nebuchadnezzar) against her for who [is] like me? and who will appoint me the time? and who [is] that shepherd that will stand before me? who will appoint a time to contend with me ? he shall be no more 20 able to do it than a shepherd to oppose an enraged lion. 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; the least of the soldiers shall prevail against and de stroy them: surely he shall make their habitations desolate with 21 them. The earth is moved at the noise of their fall, at the cry the noise thereof was heard in the Red sea; the neighbouring 22 country was astonished. 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.
Concerning Damascus, the capital of Syria, Hamath is confounded, and Arpad for they have heard evil tidings; they are faint hearted; [there is] sorrow on the sea; as in a storm 24 at sea; it cannot be quiet. Damascus is waxed feeble, [and] turneth herself to flee, and fear hath seized on [her] anguish 25 and sorrows have taken her, as a woman in travail. How is the
26 city of praise not left, the city of my joy !* Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, and all the men of war shall be cut 27 off in that day, saith the LORD of hosts. And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Benhadad, king of Syria.
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 29 east; that is, part of Arabia. 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; there shall be a universal panick. 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 31 you. Arise, ye Chaldeans, get you up unto the wealthy nation, that dwelleth without care, saith the LORD, which have neither gates nor bars, [which] dwell alone; like shepherds in tents. 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 33 sides thereof, saith the LORD. 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; its inhabitants, if not slain, shall be totally driven out of their country. 34 The word of the LORD that came toJeremiah the prophet against
Elam, the Persians, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah, 35 king of Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, famous for its archers, the chief of 36 their might. 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 37 of Elam shall not come. 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 con38 sumed them. And I will set my throne, the throne of Nebuchadnezzar, in Elam, and will destroy from thence the king and the princes, saith the LORD.
But it shall come to pass in the latter days, [that] I will bring again the captivity of Elam, saith the LORD; accordingly the Persians were afterwards famous under Cyrus, conquered Babylon, and became a powerful nation.
These are the words of the people, or of Jeremiah, who might have made a visit there, and been pleased with the place.
†They shall be invaded by many enemies, the Scythians and Chaldeans in particular, at the same time, as history informs us that they were.
E are taught from hence, that God observes and resents the injustice of men to one another; as in the case of the Ammonites, who seized the land of the Jews, and for that reason were dispossessed of it again. He marks the injustice of those who defraud persons of their substance; or even their heirs, though they know it not, and cannot right themselves. Fraud in the least instances is displeasing to him; and he will punish them that deal deceitfully.
2. How absurd is it for those who forsake God, to glory in their possessions, like the Ammonites, v. 4. who had a fruitful country and great treasures, while they were refractory and wicked. Many thus boast of their families, their honours and wealth, and make these their confidence, while they are destitute of religion : but God will bring a fear and terror upon them, which all their abundance cannot silence.
3. The eleventh verse suggests a comfortable lesson to widows and orphans. It intimates, that though it is a blessing and comfort to heads of families to have relations and friends who will take care of their dependents, when they are dead and impoverished; yet that God will take care of them, provide for them, and preserve them; that is, if they serve the God of their fathers, and trust in him.
4. If God sees it good to afflict his people, what have not his enemies to fear! v. 12. His design is only to correct and improve them; and if his corrections are so painful, and their cup of affliction so bitter, how dreadful must that be which he will put into the hands of the wicked? We may learn hence, what an evil thing and bitter sin is, and how angry God is with it.
5. From the whole chapter we are taught, how vain it is to think of escaping the judgments of God. Who can oppose his designs, or resist his power, when he will punish a wicked nation? not the fortifications of Rabbah, nor the wisdom of Edom, nor the palaces of Damascus, nor the obscurity of Kedar, nor the bows of Elam : He can appoint whom he will to execute his vengeance. Various as the characters, circumstances, situations, and religions of these several countries were, God appears as their supreme Lord and disposer. We should therefore seek his favour, and trust only in him, in whose hand is the fate of nations.
This and the next chapter foretell the fall of Babylon and the restoration of Israel and Judah, who were to survive their oppressors; and this long and sublime prophecy was sent to Babylon for the encouragement of the Jewish captives in that place.
HE word that the LORD spake against Babylon [and]
2 phet. Declare ye among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, [and] conceal not; publish the good news to those nations that are oppressed by the Chaldeans: say, Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her 3 idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces. 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.
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 with genuine contrition, they shall apply to Jehovah as the 5 true God, and not to idols. 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 6 forgotten. 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, 7 they have forgotten their resting place. 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; because God did not cast them off, but they rejected him, their adversaries 8 thought this was a sufficient reason for devouring them. 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; let the great men lead the way, set a good example, and go on resolutely.
For, lo, I will raise and cause to come up against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country; the Persians and Medes: and they shall set themselves in array against her; from thence she shall be taken their arrows [shall be] as of 10 a mighty expert man; none shall return in vain. And Chaldea shall be a spoil: all that spoil her shall be satisfied, saith the 11 LORD; they shall have abundance of plunder. 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; because ye exceeded the divine commission, took pleasure in the destruction of my people, and became luxurious by the plun12 der of so many other nations; Your mother shall be sore con
founded; she that bare you shall be ashamed: behold, the hindermost of the nations [shall be] a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert; or rather, it shall be the hindermost of the nations, 13 contemptible, and a wilderness. 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 14 all her plagues. Put yourselves in array against Babylon round about all ye that bend the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrows: 15 for she hath sinned against the LORD. Shout against her round about she hath given her hand, she hath surrendered herself: her foundations are fallen, her walls are thrown down for it [is] the vengeance of the LORD: take vengeance upon her: as 16 she hath done, do unto her. Cut off the sower from Babylon, and him that handleth the sickle in the time of harvest: (referring perhaps to the great quantity of land within the walls :) for fear of the oppressing sword they shall turn every one to his people, and they shall flee every one to his own land.
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 made an utter destruction of him as a nation. 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 19 king of Assyria. And I will bring Israel again to his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be 20 satisfied upon mount Ephraim and Gilead. 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; there shall be no more idolatry, their sins shall be pardoned, and God perfectly reconciled. The next verse is God's commission to Cyrus.
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; or, against the land of bitternesses go up; that is, against Babylon, so called because it had proveď such to the Jewish nation; ( upon it and its inhabitants visit, O sword, and utterly destroy their posterity;'* and do according to all that I have commanded thee.
22 A sound of battle [is] in the fand, and of great destruction. 23 How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken! 24 how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations! I have laid a snare for thee, and thou art also taken, O Babylon, and thou wast not aware; the city shall be taken by surprise: thou art found, and also caught, because thou hast striven against the 25 LORD. The LORD hath opened his armory, and hath brought forth the weapons of his indignation: for this [is] the work of 26 the Lord Gon of hosts in the land of the Chaldeans. Come