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Jeremiah 25:8-12

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 

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.”



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