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Jeremiah 25:15-29

Context
Judah and the Nations Will Experience God’s Wrath

25:15 So 1  the Lord, the God of Israel, spoke to me in a vision. 2  “Take this cup from my hand. It is filled with the wine of my wrath. 3  Take it and make the nations to whom I send you drink it. 25:16 When they have drunk it, they will stagger to and fro 4  and act insane. For I will send wars sweeping through them.” 5 

25:17 So I took the cup from the Lord’s hand. I made all the nations to whom he sent me drink the wine of his wrath. 6  25:18 I made Jerusalem 7  and the cities of Judah, its kings and its officials drink it. 8  I did it so Judah would become a ruin. I did it so Judah, its kings, and its officials would become an object 9  of horror and of hissing scorn, an example used in curses. 10  Such is already becoming the case! 11  25:19 I made all of these other people drink it: Pharaoh, king of Egypt; 12  his attendants, his officials, his people, 25:20 the foreigners living in Egypt; 13  all the kings of the land of Uz; 14  all the kings of the land of the Philistines, 15  the people of Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, the people who had been left alive from Ashdod; 16  25:21 all the people of Edom, 17  Moab, 18  Ammon; 19  25:22 all the kings of Tyre, 20  all the kings of Sidon; 21  all the kings of the coastlands along the sea; 22  25:23 the people of Dedan, Tema, Buz, 23  all the desert people who cut their hair short at the temples; 24  25:24 all the kings of Arabia who 25  live in the desert; 25:25 all the kings of Zimri; 26  all the kings of Elam; 27  all the kings of Media; 28  25:26 all the kings of the north, whether near or far from one another; and all the other kingdoms which are on the face of the earth. After all of them have drunk the wine of the Lord’s wrath, 29  the king of Babylon 30  must drink it.

25:27 Then the Lord said to me, 31  “Tell them that the Lord God of Israel who rules over all 32  says, 33  ‘Drink this cup 34  until you get drunk and vomit. Drink until you fall down and can’t get up. 35  For I will send wars sweeping through you.’ 36  25:28 If they refuse to take the cup from your hand and drink it, tell them that the Lord who rules over all says 37  ‘You most certainly must drink it! 38  25:29 For take note, I am already beginning to bring disaster on the city that I call my own. 39  So how can you possibly avoid being punished? 40  You will not go unpunished! For I am proclaiming war against all who live on the earth. I, the Lord who rules over all, 41  affirm it!’ 42 

1 tn This is an attempt to render the Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) which is probably being used in the sense that BDB 473-74 s.v. כִּי 3.c notes, i.e., the causal connection is somewhat loose, related here to the prophecies against the nations. “So” seems to be the most appropriate way to represent this.

2 tn Heb “Thus said the Lord, the God of Israel, to me.” It is generally understood that the communication is visionary. God does not have a “hand” and the action of going to the nations and making them drink of the cup are scarcely literal. The words are supplied in the translation to show the figurative nature of this passage.

3 sn “Drinking from the cup of wrath” is a common figure to represent being punished by God. Isaiah had used it earlier to refer to the punishment which Judah was to suffer and from which God would deliver her (Isa 51:17, 22) and Jeremiah’s contemporary Habakkuk uses it of Babylon “pouring out its wrath” on the nations and in turn being forced to drink the bitter cup herself (Hab 2:15-16). In Jer 51:7 the Lord will identify Babylon as the cup which makes the nations stagger. In v. 16 drinking from the cup will be identified with the sword (i.e., wars) that the Lord will send against the nations. Babylon is also to be identified as the sword (cf. Jer 51:20-23). What is being alluded to here in highly figurative language is the judgment that the Lord will wreak on the nations listed here through the Babylonians. The prophecy given here in symbolical form is thus an expansion of the one in vv. 9-11.

4 tn There is some debate about the meaning of the verb here. Both BDB 172 s.v. גָּעַשׁ Hithpo and KBL 191 s.v. גָּעַשׁ Hitpol interpret this of the back and forth movement of staggering. HALOT 192 s.v. גָּעַשׁ Hitpo interprets it as vomiting. The word is used elsewhere of the up and down movement of the mountains (2 Sam 22:8) and the up and down movement of the rolling waves of the Nile (Jer 46:7, 8). The fact that a different verb is used in v. 27 for vomiting would appear to argue against it referring to vomiting (contra W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 1:674; it is “they” that do this not their stomachs).

5 tn Heb “because of the sword that I will send among them.” Here, as often elsewhere in Jeremiah, the sword is figurative for warfare which brings death. See, e.g., 15:2. The causal particle here is found in verbal locutions where it is the cause of emotional states or action. Hence there are really two “agents” which produce the effects of “staggering” and “acting insane,” the cup filled with God’s wrath and the sword. The sword is the “more literal” and the actual agent by which the first agent’s action is carried out.

6 tn The words “the wine of his wrath” are not in the text but are implicit in the metaphor (see vv. 15-16). They are supplied in the translation for clarity.

7 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

8 tn The words “I made” and “drink it” are not in the text. The text from v. 18 to v. 26 contains a list of the nations that Jeremiah “made drink it.” The words are supplied in the translation here and at the beginning of v. 19 for the sake of clarity. See also the note on v. 26.

9 tn Heb “in order to make them a ruin, an object of…” The sentence is broken up and the antecedents are made specific for the sake of clarity and English style.

10 tn See the study note on 24:9 for explanation.

11 tn Heb “as it is today.” This phrase would obviously be more appropriate after all these things had happened as is the case in 44:6, 23 where the verbs referring to these conditions are past. Some see this phrase as a marginal gloss added after the tragedies of 597 b.c. or 586 b.c. However, it may refer here to the beginning stages where Judah has already suffered the loss of Josiah, of its freedom, of some of its temple treasures, and of some of its leaders (Dan 1:1-3. The different date for Jehoiakim there is due to the different method of counting the king’s first year; the third year there is the same as the fourth year in 25:1).

12 sn See further Jer 46:2-28 for the judgment against Egypt.

13 tn The meaning of this term and its connection with the preceding is somewhat uncertain. This word is used of the mixture of foreign people who accompanied Israel out of Egypt (Exod 12:38) and of the foreigners that the Israelites were to separate out of their midst in the time of Nehemiah (Neh 13:3). Most commentators interpret it here of the foreign people who were living in Egypt. (See BDB 786 s.v. I עֶרֶב and KBL 733 s.v. II עֶרֶב.)

14 sn The land of Uz was Job’s homeland (Job 1:1). The exact location is unknown but its position here between Egypt and the Philistine cities suggests it is south of Judah, probably in the Arabian peninsula. Lam 4:21 suggests that it was near Edom.

15 sn See further Jer 47:1-7 for the judgment against the Philistines. The Philistine cities were west of Judah.

16 sn The Greek historian Herodotus reports that Ashdod had been destroyed under the Pharaoh who preceded Necho, Psammetichus.

17 sn See further Jer 49:7-22 for the judgment against Edom. Edom, Moab, and Ammon were east of Judah.

18 sn See further Jer 48:1-47 for the judgment against Moab.

19 sn See further Jer 49:1-6 for the judgment against Ammon.

20 map For location see Map1 A2; Map2 G2; Map4 A1; JP3 F3; JP4 F3.

21 sn Tyre and Sidon are mentioned within the judgment on the Philistines in Jer 47:4. They were Phoenician cities to the north and west of Judah on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in what is now Lebanon.

map For location see Map1 A1; JP3 F3; JP4 F3.

22 sn The connection with Tyre and Sidon suggests that these were Phoenician colonies. See also Isa 23:2.

23 sn Dedan and Tema are mentioned together in Isa 21:13-14 and located in the desert. They were located in the northern part of the Arabian peninsula south and east of Ezion Geber. Buz is not mentioned anywhere else and its location is unknown. Judgment against Dedan and Tema is mentioned in conjunction with the judgment on Edom in Jer 47:7-8.

24 tn For the discussion regarding the meaning of the terms here see the notes on 9:26.

sn See Jer 9:26 where these are mentioned in connection with Moab, Edom, and Ammon.

25 tc Or “and all the kings of people of mixed origin who.” The Greek version gives evidence of having read the term only once; it refers to the “people of mixed origin” without reference to the kings of Arabia. While the term translated “people of mixed origin” seems appropriate in the context of a group of foreigners within a larger entity (e.g. Israel in Exod 12:38; Neh 13:3; Egypt in Jer 50:37), it seems odd to speak of them as a separate entity under their own kings. The presence of the phrase in the Hebrew text and the other versions dependent upon it can be explained as a case of dittography.

sn See further Jer 49:28-33 for judgment against some of these Arabian peoples.

26 sn The kingdom of Zimri is mentioned nowhere else, so its location is unknown.

27 sn See further Jer 49:34-39 for judgment against Elam.

28 sn Elam and Media were east of Babylon; Elam in the south and Media in the north. They were in what is now western Iran.

29 tn The words “have drunk the wine of the Lord’s wrath” are not in the text. They are supplied in the translation for clarity at the end of the list to serve as a transition to the next sentence which does not directly mention the cup or the Lord’s wrath.

30 tn Heb “the king of Sheshach.” “Sheshach” is a code name for Babylon formed on the principle of substituting the last letter of the alphabet for the first, the next to the last for the second, and so on. On this principle Hebrew שׁ (shin) is substituted for Hebrew ב (bet) and Hebrew כ (kaf) is substituted for Hebrew ל (lamed). On the same principle “Leb Kamai” in Jer 51:1 is a code name for Chasdim or Chaldeans which is Jeremiah’s term for the Babylonians. No explanation is given for why the code names are used. The name “Sheshach” for Babylon also occurs in Jer 51:41 where the term Babylon is found in parallelism with it.

31 tn The words “Then the Lord said to me” are not in the text. They are supplied in the translation for clarity, to connect this part of the narrative with vv. 15, 17 after the long intervening list of nations who were to drink the cup of God’s wrath in judgment.

32 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.”

sn See the study notes on 2:19 and 7:3 for explanation of this extended title.

33 tn Heb “Tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord….’” The translation is intended to eliminate one level of imbedded quotation marks to help avoid confusion.

34 tn The words “this cup” are not in the text but are implicit to the metaphor and the context. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.

35 tn Heb “Drink, and get drunk, and vomit and fall down and don’t get up.” The imperatives following drink are not parallel actions but consequent actions. For the use of the imperative plus the conjunctive “and” to indicate consequent action, even intention see GKC 324-25 §110.f and compare usage in 1 Kgs 22:12; Prov 3:3b-4a.

36 tn Heb “because of the sword that I will send among you.” See the notes on 2:16 for explanation.

37 tn Heb “Tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord…’” The translation is intended to eliminate one level of imbedded quote marks to help avoid confusion.

38 tn The translation attempts to reflect the emphatic construction of the infinitive absolute preceding the finite verb which is here an obligatory imperfect. (See Joüon 2:371-72 §113.m and 2:423 §123.h, and compare usage in Gen 15:13.)

39 tn Heb “which is called by my name.” See translator’s note on 7:10 for support.

40 tn This is an example of a question without the formal introductory particle following a conjunctive vav introducing an opposition. (See Joüon 2:609 §161.a.) It is also an example of the use of the infinitive before the finite verb in a rhetorical question involving doubt or denial. (See Joüon 2:422-23 §123.f, and compare usage in Gen 37:8.)

41 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”

sn See the study notes on 2:19 and 7:3 for explanation of this extended title.

42 tn Heb “Oracle of Yahweh of armies.”



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