“The people of Hamath and Arpad 3 will be dismayed
because they have heard bad news.
Their courage will melt away because of worry.
Their hearts will not be able to rest. 4
49:24 The people of Damascus will lose heart and turn to flee.
Panic will grip them.
Pain and anguish will seize them
like a woman in labor.
49:26 For her young men will fall in her city squares.
All her soldiers will be destroyed at that time,”
says the Lord who rules over all. 8
49:27 “I will set fire to the walls of Damascus;
it will burn up the palaces of Ben Hadad.” 9
1 tn The words “The
2 sn Damascus is a city in Syria, located below the eastern slopes of the Anti-lebanon Mountains. It was the capital of the Aramean state that was in constant hostility with Israel from the time of David until its destruction by the Assyrians in 732
3 tn Heb “Hamath and Arpad.” There is no word for people in the text. The cities are being personified. However, since it is really the people who are involved and it is clearer for the modern reader, the present translation supplies the words “people of” both here and in v. 24. The verbs in vv. 23-25 are all to be interpreted as prophetic perfects, the tense of the Hebrew verb that views an action as though it were as good as done. The verbs are clearly future in vv. 26-27 which begin with a “therefore.”
sn Hamath was a city on the Orontes River about 110 miles (183 km) north of Damascus. Arpad was a city that was 95 miles (158 km) farther north from there. These two cities were in the path of the northern descent of the kings of Assyria and Babylonia and had been conquered earlier under the Assyrian kings (Isa 10:9; 36:19; 37:13). The apparent reference here is to their terror and loss of courage when they hear the news that Nebuchadnezzar’s armies are on the move toward them and Damascus. They would have been in the path of Nebuchadnezzar as he chased Necho south after the battle of Carchemish.
4 tc The meaning of this verse is very uncertain. The Hebrew text apparently reads “Hamath and Arpad are dismayed. They melt away because they have heard bad news. Anxiety is in the sea; it [the sea] cannot be quiet.” Many commentaries and English versions redivide the verse and read “like the sea” for “in the sea” (כַּיָּם [kayyam] for בַּיָּם [bayyam]) and read the feminine singular noun דְּאָגָה (dÿ’agam) as though it were the third masculine plural verb דָּאֲגוּ (da’agu): “They are troubled like the sea.” The translation follows the emendation proposed in BHS and accepted by a number of commentaries (e.g., J. Bright, Jeremiah [AB], 333; J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah [NICOT], 723, n. 1). That emendation involves reading נָמֹג לִבָּם מִדְּאָגָה (namog libbam middÿ’agah) instead of נָמֹגוּ בַּיָּם דְּאָגָה (namogu bayyam dÿ’agah). The translation also involves a double reading of “heart,” for the sake of English style, once in the sense of courage (BDB 525 s.v. לֵב 10) because that is the nuance that best fits “melts” in the English idiom and once in the more general sense of hearts as the seat of fear, anxiety, worry. The double translation is a concession to English style.
5 tn Heb “city of praise.”
6 tn Heb “city of joy.”
7 tc Or “Why has that famous city not been abandoned, that city I once took delight in?” The translation follows the majority of modern commentaries in understanding לֹא (lo’, “not”) before “abandoned” as a misunderstanding of the emphatic ל (lamed; so J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah [NICOT], 723, n. 3, and J. Bright, Jeremiah [AB], 333, n. c; see also IBHS 211-12 §11.2.10i and HALOT 485-86 s.v. II לְ for the phenomenon). The particle is missing from the Vulgate. The translation also follows the versions in omitting the suffix on the word “joy” that is found in the Hebrew text (see BHS note b for a listing of the versions). This gives a better connection with the preceding and the following verse than the alternate translation.
9 sn Ben-Hadad was a common name borne by a number of the kings of Damascus, e.g., one during the time of Asa around 900