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Jeremiah 25:17-26

Context

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. 1  25:18 I made Jerusalem 2  and the cities of Judah, its kings and its officials drink it. 3  I did it so Judah would become a ruin. I did it so Judah, its kings, and its officials would become an object 4  of horror and of hissing scorn, an example used in curses. 5  Such is already becoming the case! 6  25:19 I made all of these other people drink it: Pharaoh, king of Egypt; 7  his attendants, his officials, his people, 25:20 the foreigners living in Egypt; 8  all the kings of the land of Uz; 9  all the kings of the land of the Philistines, 10  the people of Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, the people who had been left alive from Ashdod; 11  25:21 all the people of Edom, 12  Moab, 13  Ammon; 14  25:22 all the kings of Tyre, 15  all the kings of Sidon; 16  all the kings of the coastlands along the sea; 17  25:23 the people of Dedan, Tema, Buz, 18  all the desert people who cut their hair short at the temples; 19  25:24 all the kings of Arabia who 20  live in the desert; 25:25 all the kings of Zimri; 21  all the kings of Elam; 22  all the kings of Media; 23  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, 24  the king of Babylon 25  must drink it.

Jeremiah 25:32-38

Context

25:32 The Lord who rules over all 26  says,

‘Disaster will soon come on one nation after another. 27 

A mighty storm of military destruction 28  is rising up

from the distant parts of the earth.’

25:33 Those who have been killed by the Lord at that time

will be scattered from one end of the earth to the other.

They will not be mourned over, gathered up, or buried. 29 

Their dead bodies will lie scattered over the ground like manure.

25:34 Wail and cry out in anguish, you rulers!

Roll in the dust, you who shepherd flocks of people! 30 

The time for you to be slaughtered has come.

You will lie scattered and fallen like broken pieces of fine pottery. 31 

25:35 The leaders will not be able to run away and hide. 32 

The shepherds of the flocks will not be able to escape.

25:36 Listen to the cries of anguish of the leaders.

Listen to the wails of the shepherds of the flocks.

They are wailing because the Lord

is about to destroy their lands. 33 

25:37 Their peaceful dwelling places will be laid waste 34 

by the fierce anger of the Lord. 35 

25:38 The Lord is like a lion who has left his lair. 36 

So their lands will certainly 37  be laid waste

by the warfare of the oppressive nation 38 

and by the fierce anger of the Lord.”

1 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.

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

3 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.

4 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.

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

6 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).

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

8 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.)

9 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

16 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.

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

18 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.

19 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.

20 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.

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

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

23 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.

24 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.

25 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.

26 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”

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

27 tn Heb “will go forth from nation to nation.”

28 tn The words “of military destruction” have been supplied in the translation to make the metaphor clear. The metaphor has shifted from that of God as a lion, to God as a warrior, to God as a judge, to God as the author of the storm winds of destruction.

sn For the use of this word in a literal sense see Jonah 1:4. For its use to refer to the wrath of the Lord which will rage over the wicked see Jer 23:19; 30:23. Here it refers to the mighty Babylonian army which will come bringing destruction over all the known world. The same prophecy has just been given under the figure of the nations drinking the wine of God’s wrath (vv. 15-29).

29 sn The intent here is to emphasize the large quantity of those who are killed – there will be too many to insure proper mourning rites and proper burial.

30 tn Heb “Wail and cry out, you shepherds. Roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock.” The terms have been reversed to explain the figure.

sn The term “shepherd” has been used several times in the book of Jeremiah to refer to the leaders of the people who were responsible for taking care of their people who are compared to a flock. (See Jer 23:1-4 and the notes there.) Here the figure has some irony involved in it. It is the shepherds who are to be slaughtered like sheep. They may have considered themselves “choice vessels” (the literal translation of “fine pottery”), but they would be slaughtered and lie scattered on the ground (v. 33) like broken pottery.

31 tn The meaning of this line is debated. The Greek version does not have the words “lie scattered” and it reads the words “like broken pieces of fine pottery” (Heb “like choice vessels”; כִּכְלִי חֶמְדָּה, kikhli khemdah) as “like choice rams” (כְּאֵילֵי חֶמְדָּה, kÿele khemdah); i.e., “the days have been completed for you to be slaughtered and you will fall like choice rams.” The reading of the Greek version fits the context better, but is probably secondary for that very reason. The word translated “lie scattered” (תְּפוֹצָה, tÿfotsah) occurs nowhere else and the switch to the simile of “choice vessels” is rather abrupt. However, this section has been characterized by switching metaphors. The key to the interpretation and translation here is the consequential nature of the verbal actions involved. “Fall” does not merely refer to the action but the effect, i.e., “lie fallen” (cf. BDB 657 s.v. נָפַל 7 and compare Judg 3:25; 1 Sam 31:8). Though the noun translated “lie scattered” does not occur elsewhere, the verb does. It is quite commonly used of dispersing people and that has led many to see that as the reference here. The word, however, can be used of scattering other things like seed (Isa 28:25), arrows (2 Sam 22:15; metaphorical for lightning), etc. Here it follows “slaughtered” and refers to their dead bodies. The simile (Heb “ fallen like choice vessels”) is elliptical, referring to “broken pieces” of choice vessels. In this sense the simile fits in perfectly with v. 33.

32 tn Heb “Flight [or “place of escape”] will perish from the shepherds.”

sn Judging from Gen 14:10 and Judg 8:12 (among many others), it was not uncommon for the leaders to try to save their own necks at the expense of their soldiers.

33 tn Heb “their pastures,” i.e., the place where they “shepherd” their “flocks.” The verb tenses in this section are not as clear as in the preceding. The participle in this verse is followed by a vav consecutive perfect like the imperatives in v. 34. The verbs in v. 38 are perfects but they can be and probably should be understood as prophetic like the perfect in v. 31 (נְתָנָם, nÿtanam) which is surrounded by imperfects, participles, and vav consecutive perfects.

sn Jer 25:36-38 shifts to the future as though the action were already accomplished or going on. It is the sound that Jeremiah hears in his “prophetic ears” of something that has begun (v. 29) but will find its culmination in the future (vv. 13, 16, 27, 30-35).

34 tn For this meaning of the verb used here see HALOT 217 s.v. דָּמַם Nif. Elsewhere it refers to people dying (see, e.g., Jer 49:26; 50:30) hence some see a reference to “lifeless.”

35 tn Heb “because of the burning anger of the Lord.”

36 tn Heb “Like a lion he has left his lair.”

sn The text returns to the metaphor alluded to in v. 30. The bracketing of speeches with repeated words or motifs is a common rhetorical device in ancient literature.

37 tn This is a way of rendering the Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) which is probably here for emphasis rather than indicating cause (see BDB 473 s.v. כִּי 1.e and compare usage in Jer 22:22).

38 tc Heb “by the sword of the oppressors.” The reading here follows a number of Hebrew mss and the Greek version. The majority of Hebrew mss read “the anger of the oppressor.” The reading “the sword of the oppressors” is supported also by the parallel use of this phrase in Jer 46:16; 50:16. The error in the MT may be explained by confusion with the following line which has the same beginning combination (מִפְּנֵי חֲרוֹן [mippÿne kharon] confused for מִפְּנֵי חֶרֶב [mippÿne kherev]). This reading is also supported by the Targum, the Aramaic paraphrase of the OT. According to BDB 413 s.v. יָנָה Qal the feminine singular participle (הַיּוֹנָה, hayyonah) is functioning as a collective in this idiom (see GKC 394 §122.s for this phenomenon).

sn The connection between “war” (Heb “the sword”) and the wrath or anger of the Lord has already been made in vv. 16, 27 and the sword has been referred to also in vv. 29, 31. The sword is of course a reference to the onslaughts of the Babylonian armies (see later Jer 51:20-23).



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