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Jeremiah 25:8-14

Context

25:8 “Therefore, the Lord who rules over all 1  says, ‘You have not listened to what I said. 2  25:9 So I, the Lord, affirm that 3  I will send for all the peoples of the north 4  and my servant, 5  King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and all the nations that surround it. I will utterly destroy 6  this land, its inhabitants, and all the nations that surround it 7  and make them everlasting ruins. 8  I will make them objects of horror and hissing scorn. 9  25:10 I will put an end to the sounds of joy and gladness, to the glad celebration of brides and grooms in these lands. 10  I will put an end to the sound of people grinding meal. I will put an end to lamps shining in their houses. 11  25:11 This whole area 12  will become a desolate wasteland. These nations will be subject to the king of Babylon for seventy years.’ 13 

25:12 “‘But when the seventy years are over, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation 14  for their sins. I will make the land of Babylon 15  an everlasting ruin. 16  I, the Lord, affirm it! 17  25:13 I will bring on that land everything that I said I would. I will bring on it everything that is written in this book. I will bring on it everything that Jeremiah has prophesied against all the nations. 18  25:14 For many nations and great kings will make slaves of the king of Babylon and his nation 19  too. I will repay them for all they have done!’” 20 

Jeremiah 25:17-18

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. 21  25:18 I made Jerusalem 22  and the cities of Judah, its kings and its officials drink it. 23  I did it so Judah would become a ruin. I did it so Judah, its kings, and its officials would become an object 24  of horror and of hissing scorn, an example used in curses. 25  Such is already becoming the case! 26 

Jeremiah 25:26

Context
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, 27  the king of Babylon 28  must drink it.

1 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”

sn See the study note on 2:19 for an explanation of this title.

2 tn Heb “You have not listened to my words.”

3 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

4 sn The many allusions to trouble coming from the north are now clarified: it is the armies of Babylon which included within it contingents from many nations. See 1:14, 15; 4:6; 6:1, 22; 10:22; 13:20 for earlier allusions.

5 sn Nebuchadnezzar is called the Lord’s servant also in Jer 27:6; 43:10. He was the Lord’s servant in that he was the agent used by the Lord to punish his disobedient people. Assyria was earlier referred to as the Lord’s “rod” (Isa 10:5-6) and Cyrus is called his “shepherd” and his “anointed” (Isa 44:28; 45:1). P. C. Craigie, P. H. Kelley, and J. F. Drinkard (Jeremiah 1-25 [WBC], 364) make the interesting observation that the terms here are very similar to the terms in v. 4. The people of Judah ignored the servants, the prophets, he sent to turn them away from evil. So he will send other servants whom they cannot ignore.

6 tn The word used here was used in the early years of Israel’s conquest for the action of killing all the men, women, and children in the cities of Canaan, destroying all their livestock, and burning their cities down. This policy was intended to prevent Israel from being corrupted by paganism (Deut 7:2; 20:17-18; Josh 6:18, 21). It was to be extended to any city that led Israel away from worshiping God (Deut 13:15) and any Israelite who brought an idol into his house (Deut 7:26). Here the policy is being directed against Judah as well as against her neighbors because of her persistent failure to heed God’s warnings through the prophets. For further usage of this term in application to foreign nations in the book of Jeremiah see 50:21, 26; 51:3.

7 tn Heb “will utterly destroy them.” The referent (this land, its inhabitants, and the nations surrounding it) has been specified in the translation for clarity, since the previous “them” referred to Nebuchadnezzar and his armies.

sn This is essentially the introduction to the “judgment on the nations” in vv. 15-29 which begins with Jerusalem and Judah (v. 18) and ultimately ends with Babylon itself (“Sheshach” in v. 26; see note there for explanation of the term).

8 sn The Hebrew word translated “everlasting” is the word often translated “eternal.” However, it sometimes has a more limited time reference. For example it refers to the lifetime of a person who became a “lasting slave” to another person (see Exod 21:6; Deut 15:17). It is also used to refer to the long life wished for a king (1 Kgs 1:31; Neh 2:3). The time frame here is to be qualified at least with reference to Judah and Jerusalem as seventy years (see 29:10-14 and compare v. 12).

9 tn Heb “I will make them an object of horror and a hissing and everlasting ruins.” The sentence has been broken up to separate the last object from the first two which are of slightly different connotation, i.e., they denote the reaction to the latter.

sn Compare Jer 18:16 and 19:8 and the study note at 18:16.

10 sn Compare Jer 7:24 and 16:9 for this same dire prediction limited to Judah and Jerusalem.

11 sn The sound of people grinding meal and the presence of lamps shining in their houses were signs of everyday life. The Lord is going to make these lands desolate (v. 11) destroying all signs of life. (The statement is, of course, hyperbolic or poetic exaggeration; even after the destruction of Jerusalem many people were left in the land.) For these same descriptions of everyday life applying to the end of life see the allegory in Eccl 12:3-6.

12 tn Heb “All this land.”

13 sn It should be noted that the text says that the nations will be subject to the king of Babylon for seventy years, not that they will lie desolate for seventy years. Though several proposals have been made for dating this period, many ignore this fact. This most likely refers to the period beginning with Nebuchadnezzar’s defeat of Pharaoh Necho at Carchemish in 605 b.c. and the beginning of his rule over Babylon. At this time Babylon became the dominant force in the area and continued to be so until the fall of Babylon in 538 b.c. More particularly Judah became a vassal state (cf. Jer 46:2; 2 Kgs 24:1) in 605 b.c. and was allowed to return to her homeland in 538 when Cyrus issued his edict allowing all the nations exiled by Babylon to return to their homelands. (See 2 Chr 36:21 and Ezra 1:2-4; the application there is made to Judah but the decree of Cyrus was broader.)

14 tn Heb “that nation.”

15 tn Heb “the land of the Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for the use of the term “Chaldeans.”

16 tn Heb “I will visit upon the king of Babylon and upon that nation, oracle of the Lord, their iniquity even upon the land of the Chaldeans and I will make it everlasting ruins.” The sentence has been restructured to avoid ambiguity and to conform the style more to contemporary English.

sn Compare Isa 13:19-22 and Jer 50:39-40.

17 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

18 tn Or “I will bring upon it everything that is to be written in this book. I will bring upon it everything that Jeremiah is going to prophesy concerning all the nations.” The reference to “this book” and “what Jeremiah has prophesied against the nations” raises issues about the editorial process underlying the current form of the book of Jeremiah. As the book now stands there is no earlier reference to any judgments against Babylon or any book (really “scroll”; books were a development of the first or second century a.d.) containing them. A common assumption is that this “book” of judgment refers to the judgments against Babylon and the other nations contained at the end of the book of Jeremiah (46:1–51:58). The Greek version actually inserts the prophecies of 46:151:58 here (but in a different order) and interprets “Which (= What) Jeremiah prophesied concerning all the nations” as a title. It is possible that the Greek version may represent an earlier form of the book. At least two earlier forms of the book are known that date roughly to the period dealt with here (Compare 36:1 with 25:1 and see 36:2, 4 and 36:28, 32). Whether reference here is made to the first or second of these scrolls and whether the Greek version represents either is impossible to determine. It is not inconceivable that the referent here is the prophecies which Jeremiah has already uttered in vv. 8-12 and is about to utter in conjunction with the symbolical act that the Lord commands him to perform (vv. 15-26, 30-38) and that these are proleptic of the latter prophecies which will be given later and will be incorporated in a future book. That is the tenor of the alternate translation. The verb forms involved are capable of either a past/perfect translation or a proleptic/future translation. For the use of the participle (in the alternate translation = Heb “that is to be written”; הַכָּתוּב, hakkatuv) to refer to what is proleptic see GKC 356-57 §116.d, e, and compare usage in Jonah 1:3; 2 Kgs 11:2. For the use of the perfect to refer to a future act (in the alternate translation “is going to prophesy,” נִבָּא, nibba’) see GKC 312 §106.m and compare usage in Judg 1:2. In support of this interpretation is the fact that the first verb in the next verse (Heb “they will be subjected,” עָבְדוּ, ’ovdu) is undoubtedly prophetic [it is followed by a vav consecutive perfect; cf. Isa 5:14]). Reading the text this way has the advantage of situating it within the context of the passage itself which involves prophecies against the nations and against Babylon. Babylon is both the agent of wrath (the cup from which the nations drink, cf. 51:7) and the recipient of it (cf. v. 26). However, this interpretation admittedly does not explain the reference to “this book,” except as a proleptic reference to some future form of the book and there would be clearer ways of expressing this view if that were what was definitely intended.

19 tn Heb “make slaves of them.” The verb form here indicates that the action is as good as done (the Hebrew prophetic perfect). For the use of the verb rendered “makes slaves” see parallel usage in Lev 25:39, 46 (cf. BDB 713 s.v. עָבַד 3).

20 tn Heb “according to their deeds and according to the work of their hands.” The two phrases are synonymous; it would be hard to represent them both in translation without being redundant. The translation attempts to represent them by the qualifier “all” before the first phrase.

21 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.

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

23 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.

24 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.

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

26 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).

27 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.

28 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.



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