Jeremiah 25:1
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;
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(1) In the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah.—We are carried back in the present arrangement of Jeremiah’s prophecies to a much earlier period than that of the preceding chapter. It is the fourth (in Daniel 1:1, the third) year of the reign of Jehoiakim, who had been made king by Pharaoh-nechoh after his defeat of Josiah and capture of Jerusalem. Since the prophet had been called to his work, B.C. 629, a great revolution had been brought about in the relations of the colossal monarchies of the East. Nineveh had fallen (B.C. 606) under the attacks of Cyaxares the Mede, and Nabopolassar the Chaldaean. Nebuchadnezzar, the son of the latter, though his father did not die till the following year, was practically clothed with supreme authority, and had defeated Pharaoh-nechoh at Carchemish, on the banks of the Euphrates, in B.C. 605. The form of the name used here, Nebuchadrezzar, corresponds with the Assyrian, Nabu-kudu-ur-uzur. (Jeremiah 46:1; 2Kings 23:29; 2Chronicles 35:20.) He was now the master of the East, and it was given to Jeremiah to discern the bearings of the new situation on the future destinies of Judah, and to see that the wisdom of its rulers would be to accept the position of tributary rulers under the great conqueror instead of rashly seeking either to assert their independence or to trust to the support of Egypt, crushed as she was by the defeat at Carchemish. The clear vision of the prophet saw in the Chaldaean king the servant of Jehovah—in modern phrase, the instrument of the designs of the Providence which orders the events of history—and he became, from that moment, the unwelcome preacher of the truth—that the independence of Judah had passed away, and that nothing but evil could follow from fanatical attempts, or secret intrigues and alliances, aiming at resistance.

Jeremiah 25:1. The word that came to Jeremiah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim — It is probable this revelation was made to the prophet in the early part of that year; for the defeat of the Egyptians at Carchemish, and the subsequent taking of Jerusalem, are both placed in the same year: but from Jeremiah 25:9 it appears that Nebuchadnezzar had but just entered upon his expedition when the Lord sent this word to Jeremiah, and had not yet carried into execution any of those designs for which God there says he would take and send him. The reader will observe, the fourth year of Jehoiakim was seven years and some months before Jeconiah was carried into captivity, as appears from 2 Kings 23:36; 2 Kings 24:8-15, and eighteen years before the taking of the city and the more general captivity; which shows that this prophecy was delivered at least six or seven years before that in the preceding chapter. That was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar — That is, according to the Jewish mode of computing his reign, from the time of his being associated with his father in the empire before he set out on his Syrian expedition. But the Babylonians do not reckon his reign to have begun till two years after, upon his father’s death.

25:1-7 The call to turn from evil ways to the worship and service of God, and for sinners to trust in Christ, and partake of his salvation, concerns all men. God keeps an account how long we possess the means of grace; and the longer we have them, the heavier will our account be if we have not improved them. Rising early, points out the earnest desire that this people should turn and live. Personal and particular reformation must be insisted on as necessary to a national deliverance; and every one must turn from his own evil way. Yet all was to no purpose. They would not take the right and only method to turn away the wrath of God.The fourth year - See Daniel 1:1 note. This invasion of Judaea, in which Daniel was carried captive to Babylon, was according to the date of the years the fourth, but according to the actual time the third, year of the Jewish king. Nebuchadnezzar was not yet fully king, but associated with his father Nabopalassar. CHAPTER 25

Jer 25:1-38. Prophecy of the Seventy Years' Captivity; and after That the Destruction of Babylon, and of All the Nations That Oppressed the Jews.

1. fourth year of Jehoiakim—called the third year in Da 1:1. But probably Jehoiakim was set on the throne by Pharaoh-necho on his return from Carchemish about July, whereas Nebuchadnezzar mounted the throne January 21, 604 B.C.; so that Nebuchadnezzar's first year was partly the third, partly the fourth, of Jehoiakim's. Here first Jeremiah gives specific dates. Nebuchadnezzar had previously entered Judea in the reign of his father Nabopolassar.Their disobedience to the prophets reproved, Jeremiah 25:1-7. The seventy years of captivity foretold, Jeremiah 25:8-11; and after that the destruction of Babylon, Jeremiah 25:12-14. By a cup of wine is fore shown the destruction of all nations, Jeremiah 25:15-33. The howling of the shepherds, Jeremiah 25:34-38.

The fourth year of Jehoiakim was seven years and odd months before Jeconiah or Jehoiachin his son was carried into captivity, as appears from 2 Kings 23:36 24:8,15, and eighteen years before the taking of the city, and the more general captivity; which argueth that this prophecy is misplaced, and set after the former, whereas in order of time it was sixteen or seventeen years before it. This is said to be

the first year of Nebuchadrezzar (called by Ptolemy, Nabopolassar). It is said, Daniel 1:1, that this Nebuchadrezzar came up in the third year of Jehoiakim; to which is answered, that the first year of Nebuchadrezzar’s reign must be understood of his absolute reign, which concurred partly with the third, partly with the fourth year of Jehoiakim; they say he was before a sharer in the kingly government with his father, but this was the first year that he had the name of king entirely given unto him.

The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah,.... Not only in the city of Jerusalem, but in the whole land of Judea. This prophecy concerns them all; their repentance and reformation, to which they are exhorted; or their invasion, desolation, and captivity, with which they are threatened. Before the prophet was sent to the king of Judah only, Jeremiah 22:1; now to all the people:

in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah; in the latter part of the third, and beginning of the fourth year of his reign; see Daniel 1:1;

this was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon: in which he began to reign with his father, for he reigned two years with him; who is the Nabopolassar of Ptolemy. This was in the year of the world 3397, and before Christ 607, according to Bishop Usher (f).

(f) Annales Vet. Test. p. 119.

The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the {a} fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon;

(a) That is, in the third year accomplished and in the beginning of the fourth: for though Nebuchadnezzar began to reign in the end of the third year of Jehoiakim's reign yet that year is not counted here because it was almost over, Da 1:1.

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.

Verse 1. - The first year of Nebuchadnezzar (comp. 2 Kings 24:12; 2 Kings 25:8; Jeremiah lit. 12: 32:1). Jeremiah 25:1The prediction of this chapter is introduced by a full heading, which details with sufficient precision the time of its composition. Jeremiah 25:1. "The word that came (befell) to (על for אל) Jeremiah concerning the whole people of Judah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that is, the first year of Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon; Jeremiah 25:2. Which Jeremiah the prophet spake to the whole people of Judah and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying." - All the discourses of Jeremiah delivered before this time contain either no dates at all, or only very general ones, such as Jeremiah 3:6 : In the days of Josiah, or: at the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 26:1). And it is only some of those of the following period that are so completely dated, as Jeremiah 28:1; Jeremiah 32:1; Jeremiah 36:1; Jeremiah 39:1, etc. The present heading is in this further respect peculiar, that besides the year of the king of Judah's reign, we are also told that of the king of Babylon. This is suggested by the contents of this prediction, in which the people are told of the near approach of the judgment which Nebuchadnezzar is to execute on Judah and on all the surrounding nations far and near, until after seventy years judgment fall on Babylon itself. The fourth year of Jehoiakim is accordingly a notable turning-point for the kingdom of Judah. It is called the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, because then, at the command of his old and decrepit father Nabopolassar, Nebuchadnezzar had undertaken the conduct of the war against Pharaoh Necho of Egypt, who had penetrated as far as the Euphrates. At Carchemish he defeated Necho (Jeremiah 46:2), and in the same year he came in pursuit of the fleeing Egyptians to Judah, took Jerusalem, and made King Jehoiakim tributary. With the first taking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, i.e., in 606 b.c., begins the seventy years' Babylonian bondage or exile of Judah, foretold by Jeremiah in Jeremiah 25:11 of the present chapter. Nebuchadnezzar was then only commander of his father's armies; but he is here, and in 2 Kings 24:1; Daniel 1:1, called king of Babylon, because, equipped with kingly authority, he dictated to the Jews, and treated them as if he had been really king. Not till the following year, when he was at the head of his army in Farther Asia, did his father Nabopolassar die; whereupon he hastened to Babylon to mount the throne; see on Daniel 1:1 and 1 Kings 24:1. - In Jeremiah 25:2 it is again specified that Jeremiah spoke the word of that Lord that came to him to the whole people and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem (על for אל again). There is no cogent reason for doubting, as Graf does, the correctness of these dates. Jeremiah 36:5 tells us that Jeremiah in the same year caused Baruch to write down the prophecies he had hitherto delivered, in order to read them to the people assembled in the temple, and this because he himself was imprisoned; but it does not follow from this, that at the time of receiving this prophecy he was prevented from going into the temple. The occurrence of Jeremiah 36 falls in any case into a later time of Jehoiakim's fourth year than the present chapter. Ew., too, finds it very probable that the discourse of this chapter was, in substance at least, publicly delivered. The contents of it tell strongly in favour of this view.

It falls into three parts. In the first, Jeremiah 25:3-11, the people of Judah are told that he (Jeremiah) has for twenty-three years long unceasingly preached the word of the Lord to the people with a view to their repentance, without Judah's having paid any heed to his sayings, or to the exhortations of the other prophets, so that now all the kings of the north, headed by Nebuchadnezzar, will come against Judah and the surrounding nations, will plunder everything, and make these lands tributary to the king of Babylon; and then, Jeremiah 25:12-14, that after seventy years judgment will come on the king of Babylon and his land. In the second part, Jeremiah 25:15-29, Jeremiah receives the cup of the Lord's wrath, to give it to all the people to drink, beginning with Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, proceeding to the Egyptians and the nationalities in the west and east as far as Elam and Media, and concluding with the king of Babylon. Then in the third part, vv. 30-38, judgment to come upon all peoples is set forth in plain statement. - The first part of this discourse would have failed of its effect if Jeremiah had only composed it in writing, and had not delivered it publicly before the people, in its main substance at least. And the two other parts are so closely bound up with the first, that they cannot be separated from it. The judgment made to pass on Judah by Nebuchadnezzar is only the beginning of the judgment which is to pass on one nation after another, until it culminates in judgment upon the whole world. As to the import of the judgment of the Babylonian exile, cf. the remm. in the Comm. on Daniel, Introd. 2. The announcement of the judgment, whose beginning was now at hand, was of the highest importance for Judah. Even the proclamations concerning the other peoples were designed to take effect in the first instance on the covenant people, that so they might learn to fear the Lord their God as the Lord of the whole world and as the Ruler of all the peoples, who by judgment is preparing the way for and advancing the salvation of the whole world. The ungodly were, by the warning of what was to come on all flesh, to be terrified out of their security and led to turn to God; while by a knowledge beforehand of the coming affliction and the time it was appointed to endure, the God-fearing would be strengthened with confidence in the power and grace of the Lord, so that they might bear calamity with patience and self-devotion as a chastisement necessary to their well-being, without taking false views of God's covenant promises or being overwhelmed by their distresses.

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