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Jeremiah 49


(The parentheses represent poetic literary units)

Prophecy Against Ammon Judgment On Ammon Against Ammon The Lord's Judgment On Ammon Prophecy Against Ammon
49:1-6 49:1-5
Prophecy Against Edom Judgment On Edom Against Edom The Lord's Judgment On Edom Prophecy Against Edom
49:7-11 49:7-11
49:12-13 49:12-13   49:12-13 49:12-13
(14-16) 49:14-16 49:14-16
49:17-19 (17-18)   49:17-22 49:17-18
  (19)     49:19-22
49:20-22 49:20-22
Prophecy Against Damascus Judgment On Damascus Against Damascus The Lord's Judgment On Damascus Prophecy Against the Towns of Syria
49:23-27 49:23-25
Prophecy Against Kedar and Hazor Judgment On Kedar and Hazor Against Kedar and Hazor The Lord's Judgment on the Tribe of Kedar and the City of Hazor Prophecy Against The Arab Tribes
49:28-29 49:28-33
Prophecy Against Elam Judgment On Elam Against Elan The Lord's Judgment of Elam Prophecy Against Elam
49:34 49:34-35a 49:34 49:34-39 49:34-35a
49:35-38   49:35b-36
49:39   49:39

READING CYCLE THREE (see introductory section)


This is a study guide commentary,which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.



A. This chapter deals with the prophecies against

1. Ammon, vv. 1-6

2. Edom, vv. 7-22

3. Syria, vv. 23-27

4. Kedar and Hazor, vv. 28-33

5. Elam, vv. 34-39


B. Many cities are listed, as in chapter 48 (judgment on Moab).

1. Ammon, vv. 1-6

a. Rabbah, vv. 2,3

b. Heshbon, v. 3

c. Ai, v. 3

2. Edom, vv. 7-22

a. Teman, v. 7

b. Dedan, v. 8

c. Bozrah, vv. 13,22

3. Syria, vv. 23-27

a. Damascus, vv. 23,34,27

b. Hamath, v. 23

c. Arpad, v. 23

d. "the city of praise, "the town of My joy," v. 25 (i.e., Damascus)


C. As there was a ray of hope and restoration related to Moab in 48:47 (cf. 12:14-17), so now there is also a ray of hope and restoration for

1. Ammon, v. 6

2. Elam, v. 39


D. There is a recurrent emphasis on YHWH speaking.

1. thus says the Lord, vv. 1b, 2g, 12a, 18, 28

2. declares the Lord, vv. 2b, 6c, 13b, 16h, 31b, 32d, 38c, 39c

3. declares the Lord God of hosts, v. 5b

4. thus says the Lord of hosts, vv. 7b, 26c, 35a

5. a message from the Lord, v. 14

It is possible that v. 25 is also a word from YHWH, but not probable; see note.


1Concerning the sons of Ammon. Thus says the Lord:
"Does Israel have no sons?
Or has he no heirs?
Why then has Malcam taken possession of Gad
And his people settled in its cities?
2Therefore behold, the days are coming," declares the Lord,
"That I will cause a trumpet blast of war to be heard
Against Rabbah of the sons of Ammon;
And it will become a desolate heap,
And her towns will be set on fire.
Then Israel will take possession of his possessors,"
Says the Lord.
3"Wail, O Heshbon, for Ai has been destroyed!
Cry out, O daughters of Rabbah,
Gird yourselves with sackcloth and lament,
And rush back and forth inside the walls;
For Malcam will go into exile
Together with his priests and his princes.
4How boastful you are about the valleys!
Your valley is flowing away,
O backsliding daughter
Who trusts in her treasures, saying,
'Who will come against me?'
5Behold, I am going to bring terror upon you,"
Declares the Lord God of hosts,
"From all directions around you;
And each of you will be driven out headlong,
With no one to gather the fugitives together.
6But afterward I will restore
The fortunes of the sons of Ammon,"
Declares the Lord.

49:1 "Ammon" These people (like Moab) were descendants of Lot by his own daughter (cf. Gen. 19:38). Therefore, they were relatives of Abraham's family. Their territory was northeast of Moab on the eastern side of Jordan. A group known as "Amorites" lived next to the Jordan River and the Ammonites to the east, closer to the desert. Their capital was Rabbath. They were a potent rival to King Saul, but a vassal to Kings David and Solomon.

The Jerome Biblical Commentary (p. 334) reminds us that Ammon

1. rejoiced at the fall of Jerusalem (cf. Ezek. 25:1-7)

2. their king, Baalis, encouraged Ishmael to assassinate the new Babylonian governor, Gedaliah (cf. 40:11-16)




The MT has "their king." All of these names are a word play on the Hebrew word for "king," מלך (BDB 572). In I Kgs. 11:5,33, this Ammonite national deity is called "Milcom," but in v. 7 "Molech" (TEC), which is the more common name of this fertility god. See Special Topic at 2:33.

The UBS Text Project (p. 304) gives "Milcom" a "B" rating.

▣ "Gad" This refers to the tribal allocation of Gad (cf. Num. 32:33-37; Josh. 13:24-28). It included the territory of the Amorites and part of the territory of Ammon.

The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of the tribe of Manasseh asked for and received their tribal inheritance on the eastern side of the Jordan River (cf. Josh 13:8).

The exact reference to Ammon expanding into the territory once held by the tribe of Gad is during the period of Assyrian power (i.e., Tiglath-pileser III in 734-732 b.c., cf. II Kgs. 15:29).

49:2 "a trumpet" The word is not in the MT, only the construct "cry of battle" (BDB 929 construct 536). It may refer to

1. a particular battle cry

2. the blast of a trumpet (see SPECIAL TOPIC: HORNS USED BY ISRAEL at 4:5)


▣ "towns" This term (BDB 123 I) is literally "daughters," but is often used in an idiomatic way (i.e., BDB 123 I, #4) for "surrounding villages" (cf. Num. 21:25,32; Jdgs. 1:27; Neh. 11:25-31). In v. 3 it is difficult to know if the word means

1. inhabitants of Rabbah

2. villages around Rabbah


49:3 This series of imperatives calls on the Ammonites to grieve over their defeat and exile.

1. wail - BDB 410, KB 413, Hiphil imperative

2. cry out - BDB 858, KB 1042, Qal imperative

3. gird. . .sackcloth - BDB 291, KB 291, Qal imperative

4. lament - BDB 704, KB 763, Qal imperative

5. rush back and forth - BDB 1001, KB 1439, Hithpolel imperative or possibly "gash yourselves," REB, cf. 48:37; this line is missing in the LXX)


▣ "Ai" A city by this name is unknown in Ammon. NJB changes it to "Ar." The LXX has "Gai." The best explanation comes from R. K. Harrison (Tyndale OT Commentary, "Jeremiah," p. 179). He notes that when "Ai" is used for a city it always has the article, but there is no article here. The word itself (BDB 743) means "ruins" and, therefore, is a reference to Heshbon's destruction.

49:4 Ammon had some knowledge of YHWH. Instead of trusting in Him they trusted in

1. their geography (i.e., fertile valleys, lit. "flowing," BDB 264, KB 206)

2. their treasures (i.e., possibly revenue from trading routes, cf. 48:7)

The JPSOA translates the first two lines as:

"Why do you glory in strength,

 Your strength is drained"

They interpret the Hebrew root (BDB 770) "valley" as coming from an Akkadian root for "strength" (cf. NRSV, TEV, REB, NET).

49:5 Josephus (Antiq. 10.9.7) mentions that Ammon was devastated by Nebuchadnezzar in his twenty-third year (i.e., 582 b.c.).

49:6 This is another promise of restoration like 48:47 (cf. 12:14-17). The same terminology is also used of Elam in v. 39. These promises have an eschatological orientation, not to these specific nationalities, but to the promised inclusion of "the nations" through Israel's God and His Messiah (i.e., Ps. 22:27; 66:1-4; 86:8-10; Isa. 2:2-4; 12:4-5; 25:6-9; 42:6-12; 45:22-23; 49:5-6; 51:4-5; 56:6-8; 60:1-3; 66:23; Micah 4:1-4; Mal. 1:11; John 3:16; 4:42; I Tim. 2:4; Titus 2:11; II Pet. 3:9; I John 2:1; 4:14)! Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

7Concerning Edom.
Thus says the Lord of hosts,
"Is there no longer any wisdom in Teman?
Has good counsel been lost to the prudent?
Has their wisdom decayed?
8Flee away, turn back, dwell in the depths,
O inhabitants of Dedan,
For I will bring the disaster of Esau upon him
At the time I punish him.
9If grape gatherers came to you,
Would they not leave gleanings?
If thieves came by night,
They would destroy only until they had enough.
10But I have stripped Esau bare,
I have uncovered his hiding places
So that he will not be able to conceal himself;
His offspring has been destroyed along with his relatives
And his neighbors, and he is no more.
11Leave your orphans behind, I will keep them alive;
And let your widows trust in Me."

49:7 "Edom" There is no hope given to Edom, as there is to the other nations. Edom was a perennial enemy of Judah.


▣ "wisdom. . .good counsel" There are several words used to describe Edom's reputation of having "wise men" (use of three questions). Job was probably from Edom (i.e., "the land of Uz," and one of his friends from Teman, a city in Edom).

1. wisdom (BDB 315)

2. counsel (BDB 420)

3. the prudent (BDB 106, KB 122, Qal active participle)

Jeremiah 9:23-24 is very clear that true wisdom is inseparably linked to a knowledge of YHWH.

▣ "Teman" This noun (BDB 412) means "south" (cf. Josh. 12:3; 13:4) or "south wind" (cf. Ps. 78:26). It is used as a designation for

1. a descendant of Esau, Gen. 36:11; I Chr. 1:36

2. an Arabian clan, Gen. 36:15; I Chr. 1:53

3. a territory or country, Gen. 36:34; Obadiah v. 9

4. a city, Jer. 49:7,20; Ezek 25:13; Amos 1:12


JPSOA, AB"gone stale"
REB"dispersed abroad"
Peshitta"taken away"

This verb (BDB 710, KB 769) in Qal means "to be loosed." This is the only occurrence of the verb in Niphal. The root has several senses and different lexicons list them differently.

1. BDB 710

a. verb

(1) Qal - go free, be unrestrained

(2)  Niphal - let loose in the sense of dismissed

b. noun - excess (cf. Exod. 26:12)

2. KB 769

a. verb

(1) to stink (Syrian)

(2) to stop

(3) obstinance

(4) falsehood

(5) hanging down

(6) projecting

(7) lounge around)

KB # (1) seems to fit the verb form and context best (KB 769 II), but it is found only here, which makes certainty impossible.

49:8 This is another series of imperatives, like v. 3, related to Edom's judgment.

1. flee away - BDB 630, KB 681, Qal imperative, cf. v. 24; 46:21

2. turn back - BDB 815, KB 937, Hophal imperative, cf. v. 24; 46:21

3. dwell in the depths - BDB 770, KB 847, Hiphil imperative (i.e., an attempt to hide, cf. v. 10, or possibly to leave the transJordan plateau and return to their original homeland, cf. NET Bible, p. 1432, #5)


▣ "Dedan" This was an Arabian tribe connected with Sheba (cf. Gen. 25:3; I Chr. 1:32). They are somehow related to Edom in Jer. 25:23 and Ezek. 25:13. The best guess is that a group/city/clan of them had settled in the territory of Edom; not that Edom's influence had spread that far south and east.

49:9-10 This is very similar to Obadiah 5-6.

49:9 "gleanings" This term (BDB 760) is from Lev. 19:9-10; 23:22; Deut. 24:20-22, where it describes YHWH's provision for the poor as it relates to harvesting a field. The grain which was not gathered the first time through and the grain in the corners was left for the poor to harvest enough to eat but not to gather in quantities to sell.

49:10 There is a play on the word "offspring" (lit. "seed," BDB 282) connected to "gleaning." Edom will be completely and utterly destroyed, nothing left.

▣ "and he is no more" This represents the MT. Some versions of the LXX change this to "and there is none to say," which gives a context to v. 11, thereby making specific who the speaker is (i.e., the invaders).

49:11 Is v. 11 (1) another ray of hope linked to v. 12 or (2) an affirmation of complete destruction of even the most vulnerable? The context fits #2 best (cf. v. 20).

12For thus says the Lord, "Behold, those who were not sentenced to drink the cup will certainly drink it, and are you the one who will be completely acquitted? You will not be acquitted, but you will certainly drink it. 13For I have sworn by Myself," declares the Lord, "that Bozrah will become an object of horror, a reproach, a ruin and a curse; and all its cities will become perpetual ruins."

49:12 "the cup" The word "cup" (BDB 468) is often an idiom for judgment. As one drinks and becomes drunk with its physical and emotional consequences, the idiom of "cup" became a way to describe poor choices and their consequences. Some examples of this idiom:

1. Job 21:20

2. Psalm 60:3; 75:8

3. Isa. 29:9; 51:17; 63:6

4. Jer. 25:15-16,28; 49:12

5. Lamentations 4:21

6. Ezek. 23:32-34

It is used in the NT of

1. Jesus - Matt. 20:22; 26:38-42; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:47; John 18:11

2. the beast - Rev. 14:10; 16:19; 19:15


▣ "certainly drink" There are three infinitive absolutes and imperfect verbs of the same root used for emphasis in this verse.

1-2. drunk - BDB 1059, KB 1667 (twice)

3. acquitted - BDB 667, KB 720


49:13 "I have sworn by Myself" There is no one greater to swear by than YHWH Himself (cf. 22:5; 44:26; 51:14; Gen. 22:16; Isa. 45:23; Amos 6:8; Heb. 6:13,18). Oath taking was a cultural way of affirming the absolute trustworthiness/truthfulness of a statement or promise.

▣ "Bozrah" This was a major city (possibly the capital in the seventh century) in Edom. The "Bozrah" mentioned in 48:24 is an unknown site in Moab. The root for the city's name (BDB 131 II) is related to the verb for "grape-gathering" (lit. "those who cut off") in v. 9 (BDB 130, KB 148, Qal active participle).

▣ "an object of horror, a reproach, a ruin and a curse" This is a series of terms used to describe people's reaction to God's judgment.

1. a horror - BDB 1031 I, cf. Deut. 28:37; Jer. 5:30; 25:9,11,18,38; 29:18; 42:18; 44:12,22; 49:13,17; 50:23; 51:37,41

2. a reproach - BDB 357, cf. Jer. 24:9; 29:18; 42:18; 44:8,12

3. a ruin - BDB 351 II, cf. Ezek. 29:10; 38:8; Zeph. 2:4

4. a curse - BDB 887, cf. 24:9; 25:18; II Kgs. 22:19; Zech. 8:13


14I have heard a message from the Lord,
And an envoy is sent among the nations, saying,
"Gather yourselves together and come against her,
And rise up for battle!
15For behold, I have made you small among the nations,
Despised among men.
16As for the terror of you,
The arrogance of your heart has deceived you,
O you who live in the clefts of the rock,
Who occupy the height of the hill.
Though you make your nest as high as an eagle's,
I will bring you down from there," declares the Lord.

49:14 There is a literary relationship between this verse and the opening verses (i.e., 1-4) of Obadiah. I assume that Jeremiah has influenced Obadiah and thereby makes Obadiah an early post-exilic prophet (which goes against the order of the book in the scroll of the Minor Prophets).

YHWH's prophet is calling on a foreign invader to decimate Edom.

1. gather yourselves - BDB 867, KB 1062

2. come against her - BDB 97, KB 112, Qal imperative

3. rise up for battle - BDB 877, KB 1086, Qal imperative, cf. Obad. 1:1



NASB"As for the terror of you"
NKJV"Your fierceness"
NRSV"the terror you inspire"
TEV"your pride"
NJB"your reputation for ferocity"
JPSOA"your horrible nature"
REB"your overbearing arrognace"

This word (BDB 814) occurs only here. Most lexicons relate it to the verb listed just above it in BDB "shuddering" (cf. Job 21:6; Ps. 55:5; Isa. 21:4; Ezek. 7:18).

The AB (p. 331) speculates that it may relate to the name of an idol, possibly mentioned in I Kgs. 15:13 (twice), because the noun is feminine but the verb ("deceive," BDB 674, KB 728, Hiphil perfect) is masculine.

▣ "arrogance" Edom thought her topography (i.e., a high table land or plateau) would make her immune to invasion but she was mistaken.

 17"Edom will become an object of horror; everyone who passes by it will be horrified and will hiss at all its wounds. 18Like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah with its neighbors," says the Lord, "no one will live there, nor will a son of man reside in it. 19Behold, one will come up like a lion from the thickets of the Jordan against a perennially watered pasture; for in an instant I will make him run away from it, and whoever is chosen I shall appoint over it. For who is like Me, and who will summon Me into court? And who then is the shepherd who can stand against Me?"

49:17 "an object of horror. . .hiss" See note at v. 13 for other words used to describe the shame and reproach. Here

1. everyone who passes by it will be horrified - BDB 1030, KB 1563, Qal imperfect, cf. Lev. 26:32; Jer. 18:16; 19:8; 50:13

2. everyone who passes by it will hiss - BDB 1056, KB 1656, Qal imperfect, cf. I Kgs. 9:8; Jer. 19:8; 50:13; Lam. 2:15


49:18 "like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah with its neighbors" Sodom and Gomorrah were the wicked cities destroyed by God in Genesis 19. Their destruction and lack of habitation became a cultural idiom (cf. Deut. 29:23; Isa. 1:9-10; 13:19; Jer. 23:14; 50:40; Lam. 4:6; Ezek. 16:46,48,49,53,55,56; Amos 4:11; Zeph. 2:9; Matt. 10:15; 11:23-24; Rom. 9:29; II Pet. 2:6; Jude v. 7; Rev. 11:8).

▣ "a son of man" This is the Hebrew construct ben-adam (i.e., Ezek. 2:1), which meant human person. In this verse it is parallel to "no one."

SPECIAL TOPIC: THE SON OF MAN (taken from notes in my commentary on Daniel 7:13)

49:19-21 This is very similar to 50:44-46, obviously common cultural idioms.

49:19 "like a lion from the thickets of the Jordan" At one time the Jordan River valley was heavily forested and had many wild lions.

▣ "whoever is chosen I shall appoint over it" This phrase is uncertain in the MT. Possibly Nebuchadnezzar was YHWH's choice for judgment and Cyrus for restoration (cf. Isa. 44:28; 45:1-7). Some commentators change this phrase so as to refer to a shepherd trying to protect the sheep from the lion (AB footnote e, p. 329).

20Therefore hear the plan of the Lord which He has planned against Edom, and His purposes which He has purposed against the inhabitants of Teman: surely they will drag them off, even the little ones of the flock; surely He will make their pasture desolate because of them. 21The earth has quaked at the noise of their downfall. There is an outcry! The noise of it has been heard at the Red Sea. 22Behold, He will mount up and swoop like an eagle and spread out His wings against Bozrah; and the hearts of the mighty men of Edom in that day will be like the heart of a woman in labor.

49:20 "the plan of the Lord" History and nations are in YHWH's control! He establishes and destroys (cf. 1:10). His ultimate plan is the redemption of all human beings (see Special Topic: YHWH's ETERNAL REDEMPTIVE PLAN at 1:5).

49:21 "at the Red Sea" See Special Topic below.


49:22 "He will mount up and swoop like an eagle" Nebuchadnezzar's army is depicted in this imagery in 4:13; 48:40; and Lam. 4:19. It denoted a swift, powerful, deadly attack.

▣ "Bozrah" This was an ancient capital of Edom, mentioned several times in judgment oracles (cf. Isa. 34:6; 63:1; Jer. 49:13,22; Amos 1:12).

▣ "a woman in labor" This was a recurrent idiom of fear and anguish (cf. 4:31; 30:6; 48:41; Isa. 13:8; 26:17; Micah 4:9-10). At that moment they were helpless!

23Concerning Damascus.
"Hamath and Arpad are put to shame,
For they have heard bad news;
They are disheartened.
There is anxiety by the sea,
It cannot be calmed.
24Damascus has become helpless;
She has turned away to flee,
And panic has gripped her;
Distress and pangs have taken hold of her
Like a woman in childbirth.
25How the city of praise has not been deserted,
The town of My joy!
26Therefore, her young men will fall in her streets,
And all the men of war will be silenced in that day," declares the Lord of hosts.
27"I will set fire to the wall of Damascus,
And it will devour the fortified towers of Ben-hadad."

49:23 "Damascus" This was the capital of the Syrian kingdom (i.e., Aramean kingdom, cf. Gen. 14:15; 15:2; I Kings 11:24; 15:18; 19:15; 20:34; II Kings 8:7,9; 14:28; 16:10-12; Isa. 7:8). It was north/northeast of Israel. It was part of the land bridge between Mesopotamia and Egypt. Caravans and armies took this route because of the desert to the east of Palestine. It was conquered by the Assyrian king, Tiglath-pileser in 733 b.c.

49:23-24 "they have heard bad news" This refers to the invasion of the Babylonian army. Notice the series of words used to describe their fear.

1. put to shame

2. heard bad news

3. disheartened

4. anxiety (this line of poetry is uncertain)

5. cannot be calmed 

6. helpless

7. turned away to flee

8. panic has gripped her

9. distress

10. pangs


49:24 "like a woman in childbirth" This is a recurrent metaphor (BDB 408) for fear and pain (cf. 6:24; 13:21; 22:23; 49:22; 50:43; Ps. 48:6; Isa. 13:8; 21:3; 42:14; Hos. 13:13; Micah 4:9,10).

49:25 It is hard to know who is speaking these words.


2. people of Syria

There is no reason why Damascus should be called "the city of praise" or "the town of My joy" by YHWH. Poetry is so condensed and figurative that it is often difficult to follow who is speaking. In the judgment of the nations poems of those who are being judged are often quoted as hypothetical of what they would/might have said.

▣ "has not been deserted" This goes against the rest of the context of judgment. Many scholars see the "not" (Hebrew לא) as a grammatical feature called "an emphatic lamedh" (Hebrew L) and, therefore, meaning, "has been completely deserted."

49:26 This is very similar to 50:30, obviously cultural idioms and war imagery (cf. v. 27; Amos 1:4) is/are repeated often in ANE poetry.

49:27 "Ben-hadad" This means "son of Hadad." Hadad was one of the fertility gods of the Ancient Near East (i.e., a storm/rain god, like Ba'al). Many of the kings of Syria were called by this name.

1. I Kings 15:18,20; II Chr. 16:2,4

2. I Kings 20 (mentioned by name 13 times)

II Kings 6:24; 8:7,9

3. II Kings 13:3,24,25; Amos 1:4


 28Concerning Kedar and the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon defeated. Thus says the Lord,
"Arise, go up to Kedar
And devastate the men of the east.
29They will take away their tents and their flocks;
They will carry off for themselves
Their tent curtains, all their goods and their camels,
And they will call out to one another, 'Terror on every side!'
30Run away, flee! Dwell in the depths,
O inhabitants of Hazor," declares the Lord;
"For Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has formed a plan against you
And devised a scheme against you.
31Arise, go up against a nation which is at ease,
Which lives securely," declares the Lord.
"It has no gates or bars;
They dwell alone.
32Their camels will become plunder,
And their many cattle for booty,
And I will scatter to all the winds those who cut the corners of their hair;
And I will bring their disaster from every side," declares the Lord.
33"Hazor will become a haunt of jackals,
A desolation forever;
No one will live there,
Nor will a son of man reside in it."

49:28 "Kedar" This name (BDB 871) originally referred to the second son of Ishmael (cf. Gen. 25:13; I Chr. 1:29). The family became a desert, nomadic clan (Bedouin) that lived in tents (cf. v. 29; Ps. 120:5; Song of Songs 1:5; Isa. 60:7).

Joesphus (Apion I.19) quotes a Babylonian historian, Berossus, saying that Nebuchadnezzar took over the area where they lived and controlled the caravan routes (I DB, International Dictionary of the Bible, vol. 3, pp. 3-4).

▣ "the kingdoms of Hazor" This does not refer to the Canaanite city that was defeated by both Joshua (cf. Josh. 11:1-15) and later Deborah/Barak (cf. Judges 4-5). The Hebrew word (BDB 347) could also be understood as "unwalled villages" (BDB 347, cf. Gen. 25:16; Isa. 42:11).

This refers to Arabian desert dwellers to the east of Ammon who were conquered by Nebuchadnezzar in about 598 b.c. This event is also recorded by Josephus.

Nebuchadnezzar is commanded by YHWH to conquer.

1. rise - BDB 877, KB 1086, Qal imperative

2. go up - BDB 748, KB 828, Qal imperative

3. devastate - BDB 994, KB 1418, Qal imperative 

4. commands #1 and #2 are repeated in v. 31


▣ "the men of the east" This descriptive phrase can refer to different people groups on the eastern side of the Jordan (cf. Gen. 29:1; Jdgs. 6:3,33; 7:12; 8:10; I Kgs. 4:30; Job 1:3; Isa. 11:14; Jer. 49:28; Ezek. 25:4,10).

49:29 "Terror on every side" This phrase is used several times in Jeremiah (cf. 6:25; 20:3,10; 46:5; 49:29; Lam. 2:22). This would be similar imagery to "the four winds" of v. 36.

49:30 This is another series of three imperatives directed to Kedar and Hazor.

1. run - BDB 630; KB 681, Qal imperative

2. flee - BDB 626, KB 678, Qal imperative

3. dwell in the depths - BDB 770, KB 847, Hiphil imperative

This was common imagery; see v. 8.

▣ "a plan" Nebuchadnezzar's plan is really YHWH's plan (i.e., v. 20; 51:10,11; Isa. 14:24). Nebuchadnezzar is His instrument of judgment, as Cyrus will lager be His instrument of restoration.

49:32 "who cut the corners of their hair" This was a practice of several desert tribes (cf. 9:26; 25:23). It is uncertain if it was idolatrous (cf. Lev. 19:27) or societal (i.e., a ritual or a standard of appearance).

49:33 "a haunt of jackals" It is possible that the references to the destruction and lack of human habitation was

1. an idiom of complete and continuing devastation (cf. Isa. 34:10)

2. the presence of the demonic (i.e., cursed place), cf. 9:11; 10:22; Isa. 34:11-15

The NEB, based on new archaeological finds, was the first English translation to see these animals as possibly the demonic symbols of idols.

▣ "a son of man" See note at v. 18.

 34That which came as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet concerning Elam, at the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying:

49:34 "Elam" This represents the highland area east of the Tigris River. Over the centuries its territory expanded and contracted. Both Susa/Shushan and Persepolis were in its territory. Today it would be in Iran.

The Jerome Biblical Commentary (p. 335) mentions an account found in the "Babylonian Chronicles" that tells of Nebuchadnezzar defeating an Elamite king in about 597 b.c. The exiles in Babylon may have been hoping that Nebuchadnezzar would be defeated by Elam. This hope was dashed!

This prophecy is dated in the same time frame as 28:1. Zedekiah reigned from 597 b.c. to the fall and destruction of Jerusalem in 586 b.c.

35"Thus says the Lord of hosts,
'Behold, I am going to break the bow of Elam,
The finest of their might.
36I will bring upon Elam the four winds
From the four ends of heaven,
And will scatter them to all these winds;
And there will be no nation
To which the outcasts of Elam will not go.
37So I will shatter Elam before their enemies
And before those who seek their lives;
And I will bring calamity upon them,
Even My fierce anger,' declares the Lord,
'And I will send out the sword after them
Until I have consumed them.
38Then I will set My throne in Elam
And destroy out of it king and princes,'
Declares the Lord.
39'But it will come about in the last days
That I will restore the fortunes of Elam,'"
Declares the Lord.

49:35 "break the bow" This was an idiom for the destruction of a nation's military power (cf. 51:56; Psa. 46:9; Isa. 22:6). Apparently Elam was famous for its archers.

49:36 "the four winds of heaven" The number "four" is often used to represent the whole world. See Special Topic: Symbolic Numbers in Scripture at 15:9. The inhabitants of Elam will be scattered out of existence but notice God's promise in v. 39. See note at v. 6, where the same terminology and promise is given to Ammon (but not to Edom).

49:37 Again common imagery is used as before in 9:16.

49:38 "I will set My throne in Elam" This seems to be a reference to Nebuchandezzar's control of the area, functioning as YHWH's chosen vessel of judgment.

49:39 This is a repeated promise and hope (cf. 30:3,18; 31:23; 32:44; 33:7,11,26; 48:47; 49:6,39). See full note at 48:47 and 49:6. This seems to be an eschatological reference (cf. Deut. 30:3-5).

NASB, NRSV"I shall restore"
NKJV"I will bring back" 

The MT has "return" (BDB 996, KB 1477, Qal imperfect but the Qere form is Hiphil imperfect of the same verb).


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