Jeremiah 49


This chapter is a collection of prophecies relating to several

nations in the neighbourhood of Judea; and, like those

preceding, are supposed to have been fulfilled by the ministry

of Nebuchadnezzar during the thirteen years' siege of Tyre. The

chapter opens with a prophecy concerning the Ammonites, whose

chief city, Rabbah, shall be destroyed; and Malcom, the supreme

divinity of the people, with all his retinue of priests and

officers, carried into captivity, 1-5.

Promise that the Ammonites shall be restored to their liberty, 6.

Prophecy against the Edomites, (very like that most dreadful one

in the thirty-fourth chapter of Isaiah against the same

people,) who shall be utterly exterminated, after the

similitude of Sodom and Gomorrah, 7-22.

Prophecy against Damascus, 23-27;

and against Kedar, 28, 29.

Utter desolation of the kingdoms of Hazor foretold, 30-33.

The polity of the Elamites shall be completely dissolved, and

the people dispersed throughout the nations, 34-38.

The Elamites shall be delivered from their captivity in the

latter days, 39.

It wilt be proper here to observe that these predictions should

not be so explained as if they admitted of merely a private

interpretation; for, as Bishop Lowth remarks upon Isaiah's

prophecy concerning the Idumeans, "by a figure very common in

the prophetical writings, any city or people, remarkably

distinguished as enemies of the people and kingdom of God, is

put for those enemies in general;" therefore, it is under the

Gospel dispensation that these prophecies shall be accomplished

to their fullest extent upon all the antichristian nations

that have sinned after the similitude of the ancient enemies of

the people of God under the Mosaic economy.


Verse 1. CONCERNING THE AMMONITES] This prophetic discourse was

also delivered after the capture of Jerusalem.

Hath Israel no sons?-no heir?] The Ammonites, it appears, took

advantage of the depressed state of Israel, and invaded their

territories in the tribe of Gad, hoping to make them their own for

ever. But the prophet intimates that God will preserve the

descendants of Israel, and will bring them back to their forfeited


Why then doth their king] Malcom or Milcom, the

chief idol of the Ammonites. That the idol Milcom is here meant is

sufficiently evident from Jer 49:3, where it is said: "Milcom

(not their king) shall go into captivity; his PRIESTS and his

princes together." Milcom is also called Molech. Malcom is put

here for the Ammonites, as the people of Chemosh in the preceding

chapter are put for the Moabites in general.

Verse 3. Run to and fro by the hedges] It is supposed that this

may refer to the women making lamentations for the dead, that were

in general buried by the walls of their gardens; but others think

that it refers to the smaller cities or villages, called here the

daughters of Rabbah, the metropolis; the inhabitants of which

are exhorted to seek safety somewhere else, as none can be

expected from them, now that the enemy is at hand.

Verse 4. Wherefore gloriest thou] Though thy valleys be

fruitful, yet glory not in them. Though thou have much political

and military power, do not trust in them, nor in the multitude of

thy cities; a stronger than thou is coming against thee.

Verse 6. Afterward I will bring again] The Ammonites are

supposed to have returned with the Moabites and Israelites, on

permission given by the edict of Cyrus.

Verse 7. CONCERNING EDOM] This is a new and separate discourse.

Teman] A part of Idumea, put here for the whole country.

Verse 8. Dwell deep] An allusion to the custom of the Arabs,

who, when about to be attacked by a powerful foe, strike their

tents, pack up their utensils, lade their camels, which they can

do in a couple of hours, and set off to the great desert, and so

bury themselves in it that no enemy either will or can pursue,

as it is the Arabs alone that know the deserts, and can find water

and provender for their support.

Dedan] Was a city of Idumea, not far from Teman.

Verse 9. If grape-gatherers] Both in vintage and harvest every

grape and every stalk are not gathered; hence the gleaners get

something for their pains: but your enemies shall not leave one of

you behind; all shall be carried into captivity.

Verse 10. I have made Esau bare] I have stripped him of all

defence, and have discovered his hiding-places to his enemies.

Verse 11. Leave thy fatherless children] The connexion of this

with the context is not easy to be discerned; but, as a general

maxim, it is of great importance. Widows and orphans are the

peculiar care of God. He is as the best of fathers to the one, and

the most loving of husbands to the other. Even the widows and

orphans of Esau, who escape the general destruction, shall be

taken care of by the Lord.

Verse 12. Art thou he that shall altogether go unpunished?] A

similar form of speech appears, Jer 25:29. Others, less wicked

than thou, have been punished and canst thou expect to escape?

Thou shalt not escape.

Verse 13. Bozrah shall become a desolation] Bozrah, a city of

Idumea, is here put for the whole country.

Verse 14. I have heard a rumour] The Lord has revealed to me

what he is about to do to the Edomites.

An ambassador is sent] I believe this means only that God has

given permission, and has stirred up the hearts of these nations

to go against those whom he has doomed to destruction.

Verse 16. O thou that dwellest] All Idumea is full of mountains

and rocks, and these rocks and mountains full of caves, where, in

time of great heats, and in time of war, the people take shelter.

Verse 18. As in the overthrow of Sodom] The destruction of Sodom

and Gomorrah and the neighbouring cities was so terrible, that,

when God denounces judgments against incorrigible sinners, he

tells them they shall be like Sodom and Gomorrah.

No man shall abide there] It shall be so desolate as not to be

habitable. Travellers may lodge on the ground for a night; but it

cannot become a permanent dwelling.

Verse 19. Behold, he shall come up like a lion] See the note on

Jer 12:5. The similitude used here is well illustrated by Dr.

Blayney: "When I shall occasion a like commotion in her (Idumea)

as a fierce and strong lion may be supposed to do in the

sheep-folds, then I will cause him (the man of whom it is said in

the preceding verse that he should not dwell in it) to run away

from her as the affrighted shepherds and their flocks run from the


A chosen man] Nebuchadnezzar. That is, God has chosen this man,

and given him a commission against Idumea.

Verse 20. The inhabitants of Teman] Taken here for the whole of

Idumea. These are a kind of synonyms which prevent monotony, and

give variety to the poet's versification.

Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out] They shall be

like timid sheep; the weakest foe shall overcome them.

Verse 21. The earth is moved] The whole state is represented

here as a vast building suddenly thrown down, so as to cause the

earth to tremble, and the noise to be heard at a great distance.

Verse 22. He shall come up and fly as the eagle] Nebuchadnezzar.

See Jer 48:40.

Verse 23. CONCERNING DAMASCUS.] This is the head or title of

another prophecy. Damascus was one of the principal cities of

Syria. It was taken by David, 2Sa 8:6, was retaken in the reign

of Solomon, 1Ki 11:24, &c., and regained its independence. Its

kings were often at war with the ten tribes, and once it joined

with them for the destruction of Judah. To defend himself against

these powerful enemies Ahaz made a league with the king of

Assyria, who besieged Damascus, took, and demolished it. From that

time we hear nothing of Damascus till we meet with it in this

prophecy. It appears to have been rebuilt and restored to some

consequence. It made an obstinate resistance to Nebuchadnezzar;

but was at last taken and sacked by him. At present it is both a

large and populous city, with considerable commerce.

Hamath is confounded] This is a city of Syria, on the Orontes.

The Greeks called it Epiphania.

Arpad] Not far from Damascus.

Sorrow on the sea] They are like the troubled sea, that cannot


Verse 25. How is the city of praise not left] Damascus is so

ruined that she can no more be called a praiseworthy or happy


Verse 27. The palaces of Ben-hadad.] Damascus was a seat of the

Syrian kings, and Ben-hadad was a name common to several of its



HAZOR] This is the title of another new prophecy.

Kedar was the name of one of the sons of Ishmael (Ge 25:13) who

settled in Arabia, and who gave name to a powerful tribe of Arabs

who used to traffic with the Tyrians in cattle. It appears from

this prophecy that Nebuchadnezzar got a commission to go against

and reduce them to great misery.

Verse 29. Their tents and their flocks] This description of

property shows that they were Scenite or Nomad Arabs; persons

who dwell in tents, and whose principal property was cattle,

especially camels, of the whole of which they were plundered by

the Chaldeans.

Verse 30. Dwell deep] Retire into the depths of the desert. See

on Jer 49:8.

Inhabitants of Hazor] I cannot find this place. It was no doubt

in Arabia, and a place of considerable importance; but it is now

no more.

Verse 31. The wealthy nation] goi sheleiv, "the

peaceable nation"-

Have neither gates nor bars] The Arabs, who had nothing but

their tents; no cities, nor even permanent villages.

Verse 32. The utmost corners] Even in these utmost inaccessible

recesses the sword and pillage shall reach them. "'The utmost

corners;' insulated coasts; the peninsula of Arabia."-Blayney.

Verse 33. Hazor shall be a dwelling for dragons] Shall be turned

into a wilderness.

A desolation for ever] Never to be re-peopled.

There shalt no man abide there] It may occasionally be visited,

but never made a permanent abode.

Verse 34. THE WORD-AGAINST ELAM] Another new head of prophecy.

As this was delivered in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah,

it can have no natural nor historical connexion with the other

prophecies in this various chapter. Some think that by Elam Persia

is always meant; but this is not at all likely. It was a part of

the Babylonian empire in the time of Daniel, (Da 8:2,) and is

most probably what is called Elymais by the Greeks. This, with

Susiana, Nebuchadnezzar subdued, and took from Astyages, king of


Verse 35. I will break the bow of Elam] They were eminent

archers; and had acquired their power and eminence by their

dexterity in the use of the bow. See Isa 22:6.

Strabo, Livy, and others speak of their eminence in archery.

Verse 36. Will I bring the four winds] Nebuchadnezzar and his

armies, gathered out of different provinces, and attacking this

people at all points in the same time.

There shall be no nation, &c.] They shall be scattered through

the one hundred and twenty-seven provinces of which the Babylonish

empire is composed.

Verse 38. I will set my throne in Elam] This is spoken either of

Nebuchadnezzar or Cyrus. It is certain that Cyrus did render

himself master of Elymais and Media, which are in the land of


Verse 39. I will bring again the captivity of Elam] As this is

to be in the latter days, probably it may mean the spiritual

freedom which these people would receive under the Gospel

dispensation. Under Cyrus, the Elamites, collected out of all

quarters, were united with the Persians, their neighbours, and

became, with them, masters of the east. See Calmet and Dahler.

There are still, however, difficulties on this subject. Who the

Elamites were is still a question. That which appears to be

nearest the truth is, that the Elamites and Persians were two

distinct people, and continued so till blended together under

Cyrus. It is in this light that I have considered the subject in

the preceding notes. Neighbouring people are frequently confounded

in history, and sometimes the name of a people is given to those

who have the same character.

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