Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Ch. Jeremiah 25:1-38. Prediction of the supremacy of Babylon
The reply of the prophet to Zedekiah’s message, comprised in the last four chapters, has come to an end. Accordingly we here return to a prophecy delivered during the time of Jehoiakim. It extends throughout the ch., with the exception of Jeremiah 25:12-14, where see notes. The ch. points out (i) the cause of the coming overthrow of Judah (Jeremiah 25:1-7), (ii) Babylon’s victory and subsequent ruin in requital for their deeds (8–14), (iii) the wine-cup of God’s fury to be drunk by all nations from Egypt to the Eastern kingdoms Elam, Media, and Babylon (15–29), (iv) the judgement to come upon all peoples of the earth (30–38).
Important and difficult questions arise in connexion with this chapter. (i) It has come down to us in the MT. in what is apparently by no means its original form. In the Hebrew Jeremiah 25:1-13 predict judgement as about to fall not only upon Judah and Jerusalem, but (Jeremiah 25:9-11) upon the “nations round about,” all of whom shall be laid waste and serve Babylon for seventy years, while at the end of that period Jehovah will bring on Babylon itself (Jeremiah 25:13 “that land”) the judgement foretold in extenso in chs. 50, 51. Schwally (The words of the Book of Jeremiah against the Heathen, ZATW, 1888, pp. 177 ff., quoted by Co.) rejects the whole of these vv. as not containing “the characteristic impress” of Jeremiah’s theology, viz. the thought of the possibility of the people’s conversion. Co. replies, however, that at such a crisis as had now arrived, the known world in general, and not only Judah, was ripe for judgement, and that the prophet must have realised that Nebuchadrezzar would take ruthless advantage of his great victory. Gi. thinks the main part of the passage to be genuine and introduced by Baruch from a clear recollection of his master’s utterances. Du. considers a large part of Jeremiah 25:1-14 to be genuine, and to have formed originally the close of the first edition of the Roll as dictated to Baruch, and repeated to him for inclusion in the second edition together with the subsequent additions (Jeremiah 36:32), such as we have here in chs. 26 ff. Du. and Co. hold that the original form of the passage dealt only with the coming fate of the Jewish nation, and scarcely at all with that of others, and that the additions were made in order suitably to preface the insertion in the immediate context of the prophecies against foreign nations, now indeed found in chs. 46–51, but in LXX (see further below) following upon Jeremiah 25:13. These additions, Co. thinks, had only reached their first stage at the time when the LXX Version was made, while they now culminate in Jeremiah 25:12-14 (see on those vv.).
The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon;1. in the fourth year] In the earlier part of the Book we have not any prophecy so closely dated as the present Cp. ch. Jeremiah 3:6 and Jeremiah 26:1 (“In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim”). The addition of the year of Nebuchadrezzar marks more forcibly the fact that it was a turning-point in history (see Introduction, p. xvi.). The prophecy was delivered about 604 b.c., after the arrival of the news of the victory of Nebuchadrezzar at Carchemish. The main objects of the prophet were to point out the sins of the past, and to give advice for the future. That advice was to accept the result of the battle of Carchemish, and to yield to Babylon as the power which God had appointed to bear rule over Palestine and the other kingdoms for the next seventy years.
the same was … Babylon] The LXX omit: probably a gloss.
The which Jeremiah the prophet spake unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying,2. spake unto all the people] The events of ch. 36 (see Jeremiah 25:26 there) had not yet occurred. Jeremiah was still at liberty.
From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that is the three and twentieth year, the word of the LORD hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened.3. these three and twenty years] Josiah reigned thirty-one years, and it was in the thirteenth year of that king (ch. Jeremiah 1:2) that Jeremiah was called. He therefore prophesied for eighteen or nineteen years in that reign. To this we are to add the reign of Jehoahaz (three months), and more than three years of Jehoiakim.
but ye have not hearkened] Omit with LXX. See next note.
And the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear.4. The editor or copyist failed to perceive that it is the prophet, not Jehovah, who is speaking in Jeremiah 25:3. Moreover, the grammar in the Hebrew is suspicious, and this v. is an insertion suggested by such passages as Jeremiah 7:25, Jeremiah 11:7. By omitting it, and (with LXX) all after “unto me” in Jeremiah 25:7, we get a smooth and consistent text, the words being those of Jeremiah, not Jehovah, throughout.
They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever:
And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt.6. provoke me not] Read provoke not Jehovah, a correction easily made in the Hebrew.
Yet ye have not hearkened unto me, saith the LORD; that ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.7. unto me] i.e. Jeremiah.
saith the Lord] The words were inserted through the same error which led to the insertion of Jeremiah 25:4.
that ye might … own hurt] The gloss was suggested by the similar language of Jeremiah 25:6.
work of your hands] idols. Cp. Jeremiah 10:3; Jeremiah 10:9, Jeremiah 32:30; Deuteronomy 31:29.
Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Because ye have not heard my words,8, 9. saith the Lord … my servant] LXX omit, doubtless rightly, as a gloss which needlessly introduces harshness into the construction of the MT. It is remarkable, however, that neither do they recognise this title for Nebuchadrezzar elsewhere (Jeremiah 27:6 [Jeremiah 34:5], 43 :10), probably as being considered by them to be inapplicable to an idolater. For its application to him cp. Ezekiel 29:19 f.
8–14. Babylon’s victory and subsequent ruin.
Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.9. the families of the north] See ch. Jeremiah 1:14 f.
families] For the wide use of this word see on Jeremiah 3:14, and cp. Jeremiah 8:3.
utterly destroy] lit. as mg. devote, i.e. place them under a ban. LXX, reading otherwise two Hebrew letters often written rather similarly, lay waste. Cp. Deuteronomy 20:17.
an astonishment] a destruction. See on Jeremiah 5:30.
desolations] LXX (by a variation of one letter) reproach.
Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle.10. take from them] lit. as mg. cause to perish from them.
the voice of mirth, etc.] Cp. Jeremiah 7:34. Here mention of the millstones and of the candle (lamp) is added, typical of domestic labour and social cheer. See the same description somewhat amplified in Revelation 18:22 f.
millstones] See Dr.’s note for description of the hand-mill in daily use in an Eastern village.
And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.11. and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon] LXX have, “and they shall be servants among the heathen,” thus omitting “these,” and “the king of Babylon,” and probably indicating the original form of the Hebrew, which, however, they render inaccurately, as the construction of the verb here gives the sense not serve, but make to serve. The meaning is that “the families of the north” shall bring the Jews and the other nations into bondage.
seventy years] the approximate length of the Jewish captivity in Babylon as is clearly shewn by Jeremiah 29:10. It will have to be reckoned, not from the deportation of Jehoiachin’s time (2 Kings 24:14-16), but from (604 b.c.) the 4th year of Jehoiakim to (537 b.c.) the return. It is quite sufficient to make an approximation to the number seventy. The Jewish love for round numbers and especially for one so significant in symbolism, as having for its elements seven and ten, would cause the number seventy to their ears when used in such a connexion to stand for any number not differing by much from that amount.
And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.12–14. See end of introductory note to this section. Of these vv., 12 and 14, as well as the latter part of 13, cannot be a genuine part of Jeremiah’s prophecies, to be dated, like the earlier part of the passage, in “the 4th year of Jehoiakim,” but are subsequent insertions when the Book was virtually completed as at present. Jeremiah 25:12 seems constructed out of Jeremiah 29:10 (the assignment of the definite “seventy years” is shewn to be authentic there by the whole tenor of that ch.), where the Heb. “everlasting desolations” (as mg. here) is identical with that in this v. together with Jeremiah 51:26; Jeremiah 51:62. Moreover, (i) all three vv. form a break in the subject-matter, while Jeremiah 25:15 f. give the reason for the punishment not of Babylon (Jeremiah 25:12-14) but of Judah and the other nations (Jeremiah 25:11), and (ii) Jeremiah 25:13 implies that the prophecies against foreign nations (chs. 46–51) and in particular against Babylon (chs. 50, 51) were already included in the Book, whereas this last prophecy, if by Jeremiah at all, which may well be doubted (see introd. note there), was not placed in the collection till long after this date (see also on Jeremiah 51:59-64 for date of that portion). Jeremiah 25:14 (absent from LXX) appears to be made up from Jeremiah 27:7 and Jeremiah 50:29, Jeremiah 51:24. Thus from the word “astonishment” in Jeremiah 25:11 we should proceed at once (Jeremiah 25:13) “and I will bring … this book,” continuing direct with Jeremiah 25:15 “For, etc.”
And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations.13. even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations] At this point there presents itself one of the most marked discrepancies between the Septuagint Version of Jeremiah and the Hebrew. (See Introd. iv. §§ 10 ff.) The Greek Version as it stands now ends the sentence with “in this book,” and reads as a new sentence, and title of the section on the nations, “What Jeremiah prophesied against the nations,” although it is probable that originally these words were, as in E.VV., merely descriptive of “even all … book.” Upon this follows, with the heading “The things of (concerning) Elam,” what with us appears as ch. Jeremiah 49:35-39, and then, although in a different order of grouping, the other prophecies against foreign nations including Babylon, which in the Hebrew text (and E.VV.) come at the end of the whole Book (chs. 46–51). Which arrangement (if either, which Co. doubts) is the original one? Against the LXX’s order it is urged that by the Greek arrangement the passing of sentence upon the nations (Jeremiah 25:15-38 [Jeremiah 32:1-24]) is made to follow, whereas it should naturally precede, the announcement of punishments as set forth in detail in the prophecies themselves. In favour of the order of the LXX as the original one are the following considerations: (a) It is unlikely that the words rendered “which Jeremiah hath prophesied, etc.” (Jeremiah 25:13) should be from the prophet himself, while the clause would form a natural heading to the collection of prophecies against foreign nations, occurring thus in the course of the Book (as in Ezekiel chs. 25–32). When Hebrew editors of the text removed them to the end, the clause in question was left behind (cp. the converse proceeding pointed out in note on Jeremiah 51:64) and considered to be the conclusion of the preceding sentence; (b) we should a priori expect these prophecies to appear here in company with the kindred matter (Jeremiah 25:15-38). There is however a third hypothesis, which deserves serious consideration, viz. that in both Hebrew and LXX texts these prophecies stood at the end of ch. 25, and were removed to the respective positions which they now occupy in the two texts, because (a) the general overthrow anticipated at the time of the battle of Carchemish, and set forth in the vision of the wine-cup, did not in fact occur, and (b) the modifications of an apocalyptic character, apparently introduced into the latter part of this ch. in order to apply its threatening to a last judgement of the world, rendered it no longer a suitable introduction to them. This view is strongly supported by Peake who argues that the closing words of Jeremiah 25:13 should be taken as indicating a stage at which the Hebrew, and not only the LXX, placed these prophecies at this point.
For many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of them also: and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands.14. shall serve themselves of them, even of them] lit. shall work by (means of) them, i.e. shall use them as slaves. As the Chaldaeans have done to the people of God, so shall He requite them.
For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it.15–29. The wine-cup of the Lord’s fury to be drunk by all the nations.
For confusion and dismay, expressed under the figure of intoxication, see below. Overthrow at the hands of the Chaldaeans is to be the fate of the nations.
The genuineness of the passage as a whole has been challenged by Schwally and Du., but on insufficient grounds, although it has probably received a certain editorial expansion. Co. considers the whole ch. to have a genuine Jeremianic basis, and Gi. agrees as to Jeremiah 25:15-19, but brackets Jeremiah 25:20-31 as later insertions, adducing among other reasons the placing of Judah and her neighbours on a level of comparison, contrary to the spirit of the genuine portions of Jeremiah, and the vagueness of the expressions, “all the kings of Tyre,” “of Zidon,” etc. (Jeremiah 25:22).
the cup of the wine of this fury] The likening of disaster to a bitter and intoxicating draught is frequent in the Bible. See chs. Jeremiah 13:12 f., Jeremiah 49:12, Jeremiah 51:7; Job 21:20; Psalm 60:3; Psalm 75:8; Isaiah 51:17; Isaiah 51:22; Ezekiel 23:31; Habakkuk 2:15; Revelation 14:8; Revelation 17:4; Revelation 18:3.
And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them.
Then took I the cup at the LORD'S hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the LORD had sent me:17. Then took I the cup] not in any literal sense, but in vision; yet “not a mere allegory, but a psychic experience, in which Jeremiah really seems to himself to be forcing the goblet on the nations which he enumerates.” Pe.
To wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse; as it is this day;18. The list which follows is one which has evidently been expanded. The LXX omit “all the kings of the land of Uz” (Jeremiah 25:20), “all the kings of Arabia” [or (see note there) “all the kings of the mingled people”] (Jeremiah 25:24), and “all the kings of Zimri” (Jeremiah 25:25). Gi. and Co. accordingly consider that this phrase marks additions throughout. It will also be observed that in Jeremiah 25:20 Philistia is virtually enumerated (“Ashkelon, etc.”) twice. In Jeremiah 25:18 Co. would omit all after “Judah,” and put Pharaoh at the head of the list to be displaced afterwards by a scribe jealous for the precedence of his country even in a list of this character!
We may perceive a certain system (south to north) in the enumeration. After Jerusalem and Judah the prophet takes in order the furthest south (Egypt), south-east (Uz), south-west (Philistines), east (Edom, etc.), west (Tyre, etc.), east and northwards (Dedan, etc. to the Medes), and finally the north far and near (Jeremiah 25:26).
kings] For the suspicious character of the use of the pl. see end of introd. note on Jeremiah 19:3-9.
and a curse] not in LXX, and probably introduced here from Jeremiah 24:9.
as it is this day] absent from LXX, and evidently added after b.c. 586 in the time of the exile.
Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people;19. Pharaoh] a name belonging not to an individual but (cp. Kaiser and Czar) to the monarch as such. The word has been somewhat altered in shape by its transmission to us through Hebrew. It is the hieroglyph Per-âa, meaning great house (cp. Sublime Porte), and gradually became the title of the ruler himself.
And all the mingled people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod,20. and all the mingled people] here denoting foreigners living in Egypt. This phrase (and so in Jeremiah 25:24) means those who sojourned in a country for commercial or other purposes without losing their own nationality. Cp. Jeremiah 50:37 (referring to foreigners living in Babylon); Exodus 12:38; 1 Kings 10:15; Ezekiel 30:5; Nehemiah 13:3.
and all the kings of the land of Uz] very possibly a gloss (omitted by LXX). Uz was an Aramaean tribe, apparently E. or N.E. of Edom. Cp. Lamentations 4:21; Job 1:1. Co. suggests that it may have been familiarity with the latter passage that induced a copyist to insert the clause here, as naming a place better known than some of the others. For other mentions of Uz see Genesis 10:23; Genesis 22:21; Genesis 34:28.
the remnant of Ashdod] It was captured after twenty-nine years’ siege by the Egyptian king Psammetichus (who reigned b.c. 666–610). See Rawlinson, Herod. II. 157. The expression “remnant” therefore has its significance.
Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon,
And all the kings of Tyrus, and all the kings of Zidon, and the kings of the isles which are beyond the sea,22. Zidon] the ordinary form of the name in the O.T. Cp. Jeremiah 27:3, Jeremiah 47:4. Sidon, as the Greek form, is that which occurs in the N.T.
isle] mg. coastland, lit. where a mariner betakes himself for refuge or rest; hence used of the colonies planted by Phoenicians on the shores of the Mediterranean.
Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all that are in the utmost corners,23. Dedan] a tribe descended from Abraham by his wife Keturah (Genesis 10:7) and dwelling S.E. of Edom. Their caravans maintained a trade between Tyre and Arabia (Ezekiel 27:15; Ezekiel 27:20; Ezekiel 38:13).
Tema] the modern Teimâ, about 250 miles S.E. of Edom. They were descendants of Ishmael (Genesis 25:15).
Buz] See Genesis 22:21. Elihu is called a Buzite (Job 32:2).
all that have the corners of their hair polled] See on Jeremiah 9:26.
And all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mingled people that dwell in the desert,24. and all the kings of Arabia] LXX omit.
Arabia] lit. dwellers in the steppes (ărâbâh), “a tribe (or group of tribes) somewhere in N. Arabia; cf. Isaiah 21:13 … after Old Testament times it was gradually extended so as to denote the whole of what we now know as ‘Arabia.’ But in the Old Testament the rend. ‘Arabia’ suggests far more than what is really meant.” Dr.
the mingled people] See note on Jeremiah 25:20, but in the unvocalised Hebrew the clause is identical with the preceding. Thus one of them only is genuine.
And all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes,25. and all the kings of Zimri] LXX omit, and the name is found here only. Du. ingeniously conjectures that it may be a fictitious one intended by a late editor to hint covertly at the Romans, the Hebrew consonants of which have (combined) the same numerical value. This, however, would make the insertion a very late one. Cp. note on Sheshach below.
Elam] a province of the Assyrian Empire. See on Jeremiah 49:34.
And all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth: and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them.26. of the world] rightly omitted by LXX. It is clear that Jeremiah 25:25-26 bear traces of modification in consonance with later Jewish views as to the end of the dispensation.
which are upon the face of the earth] This would not suggest to the Jewish ear, as it does to us, the thought of absolutely universal dominion on the part of Babylon. This we see from such passages as Daniel 2:38; Daniel 4:22, where the sense intended to be conveyed cannot be in accordance with the sense of the words taken literally.
Sheshach, etc.] This clause also is absent from LXX, and doubtless is a later insertion. Sheshach=Babel (Babylon) in accordance with a system of cypher writing. It took different forms, of which this (called Atbash) consists in substituting the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet for the first, the last but one for the second and so on. ShShCh will on this principle take the places of BBL. Cp. Jeremiah 51:41, where Sheshach and Babylon occur in parallel clauses. See also in Jeremiah 51:1, where the Hebrew (Le B Ka Ma Y) becomes, when thus transmuted, CaSDIM = Chaldaeans, the actual rendering of the Septuagint. They omit Sheshach in Jeremiah 51:41. The word to the Hebrew ear suggested sinking, humiliation, and thus alluded to Babylon’s eventual punishment, which, however, is foreign to the thought of the passage.
shall drink after them] The turn of Babylon itself shall come to perish.
Therefore thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you.27–29. There is some reason to consider these vv. a later insertion. For (i) the nations (Jeremiah 25:17) had already been made to drink, (ii) Jehovah (“and thou shalt say”) suddenly becomes the speaker, instead of, as in the previous vv., the prophet himself, (iii) the implication (Jeremiah 25:29) that the guilt of other nations is greater than that of Judah is inconsistent with such passages as Jeremiah 2:10 f.
And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ye shall certainly drink.
For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts.29. called by my name] See on Jeremiah 7:10.
Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth.30. The Lord shall roar] as a lion coming forth from his covert, and terrifying by his approach the shepherds and their flocks. There is no escape and the slain cover the earth. Cp. Amos 1:2.
fold] For mg. pasture cp. Jeremiah 10:25, Jeremiah 23:3.
a shout] lit. a vintage shout, the cry with which the treaders of the grapes used to cheer their toil. So Jehovah will trample down the nations. Cp. Jeremiah 48:33, where see note; Isaiah 16:10. Here, however, it is the battle shout. Cp. Jeremiah 51:14.
30–38. The judgement to come upon all the peoples of the earth. The description is characterized by Oriental hyperbole. A considerable amount is adapted from elsewhere, and the eschatological character of the whole tends to throw serious doubts upon the genuineness of the passage.
A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD.31. A noise] lit. a crash, battle-din. So in Jeremiah 51:55; Isaiah 13:4; Isaiah 17:12; Hosea 10:14; Amos 2:2.
plead] See on Jeremiah 2:9.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.
And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground.33. the slain of the Lord] For the phrase cp. Isaiah 66:16.
they shall not … gathered] omitted by LXX and apparently inserted here by MT. from Jeremiah 8:2.
Howl, ye shepherds, and cry; and wallow yourselves in the ashes, ye principal of the flock: for the days of your slaughter and of your dispersions are accomplished; and ye shall fall like a pleasant vessel.34. wallow yourselves in ashes] rather, sprinkle yourselves. See on Jeremiah 6:26. The words “in ashes” are added in E.VV. only because they occur in the Hebrew of the other passage.
principal of the flock] not equivalent to “shepherds,” but rather, chief among the sheep, i.e. wealthy ones of the people, whose rank and riches avail nothing now.
and I will break you in pieces] mg. (less well) and I will disperse you. Aq. Symm. Theod. Vulg. read, and your dispersions. The Hebrew is difficult in point of grammar.
like a pleasant vessel] By altering one Hebrew consonant, we can render with LXX like choice rams. But the reading “rams” might easily arise through the influence of “principal of the flock” just before, and to this we may add that the figure of a vessel in such a connexion has been already used by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 22:28). Cp. also 2 Chronicles 32:27; 2 Chronicles 36:10; Hosea 13:15; Nahum 2:9.
And the shepherds shall have no way to flee, nor the principal of the flock to escape.35. And the shepherds, etc.] For the idiom in mg. flight shall perish from the shepherds, and escape from, etc., cp. Job 11:20 mg.; Psalm 142:4 (Hebrews 5); Amos 2:14.
A voice of the cry of the shepherds, and an howling of the principal of the flock, shall be heard: for the LORD hath spoiled their pasture.36. Cp. Zechariah 11:3.
And the peaceable habitations are cut down because of the fierce anger of the LORD.37. Co. for metrical reasons transfers the last two clauses of Jeremiah 25:38 to end Jeremiah 25:35. He also omits the second part of Jeremiah 25:37, joining “and the peaceable … silence” to Jeremiah 25:36.
He hath forsaken his covert, as the lion: for their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the oppressor, and because of his fierce anger.38. He hath forsaken his covert] a repetition of the figure with which the section opened. As the lion seeks other shelter, when that which he has dwelt in hitherto is destroyed, so Jehovah forsakes his land now that it has become desolate. But perhaps we should omit “as,” and read “the lion leaves his covert,” i.e. the very jungle is cleared away in devastation. The future fate of Judah is spoken of as already accomplished.
the fierceness of the oppressing sword] Observe the italics in text. Owing to the word rendered “oppressing” being scarcely found elsewhere except as an adjective in the expression “oppressing sword” (Jeremiah 46:16 and Jeremiah 50:16), a reading which by a slight alteration of the Hebrew for “fierceness” (supported by LXX) we obtain here, we may safely adopt it, discarding “the fierceness of.” The Vulg. renders the Hebrew word above referred to in its more ordinary sense of a dove, i.e. Nebuchadnezzar, in reference to the Jewish belief that his standards bore that device.
and because of his fierce anger] This clause is not found in LXX, but is wanted for parallelism, and so very possibly to be retained.