Jeremiah 25:10
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.
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(10) The voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness.—The language is mainly an echo of Jeremiah 7:34; Jeremiah 16:9, but there are new features in the cessation of “the sound of the millstone,” i.e., of the grinding of corn by female slaves for the mid-day meal (Exodus 11:5; Matthew 24:41), and the lighting of the candle when the day’s work was done (Matthew 5:15). No words could paint more terribly the entire breaking up of family life, not only in its occasional festivities, but in its daily routine. The imagery reappears in Revelation 18:22-23.

Jeremiah 25:10. Moreover, I will take from them the voice of mirth, &c. — See the note on Jeremiah 7:34; Jeremiah 16:9. The sound of the millstones and the light of the candle — There shall be no longer any marks of trade carried on, even respecting the common necessaries of life, such as the grinding of corn; and there will be no use of candles, where the inhabitants are dispersed and destroyed; nor will there be occasion for such illuminations as are usual on festival solemnities, in the time of general desolation, Jeremiah 25:11. See the like expressions used, Revelation 18:22; where we may observe that St. John exactly follows the Hebrew text; whereas the LXX., in this place, instead of the sound of the millstones, read οσμην μυρου, the smell of ointment. From which, and several other places of the New Testament, it appears that the apostles and evangelists did not implicitly follow the Greek translation, but only when they thought it consistent with the original text. See Lowth. Mr. Harmer has an excellent observation on this place, which the reader will be glad to see. “The time for grinding their corn is in the morning; which consideration makes the prophet’s selecting the noise of millstones, and the lighting up of candles, as circumstances belonging to inhabited places, appear in a view which no commentators, that I have examined, have taken any notice of. I am indebted to Sir John Chardin’s MS. for the knowledge of this fact. It informs us that ‘in the East they grind their corn at break of day; and that when one goes out in a morning, he hears everywhere the noise of the mill, and that it is the noise that often awakens people.’ It has been commonly known that they bake every day; and that they usually grind their corn as they want it; but this passage informs us, that it is the first work done in a morning, as well as that this grinding of their mills makes a considerable noise, and attracts every ear; and as the lighting up of candles begins the evening, there is an agreeable contrast observable in these words, I will take from thee, &c., the sound of millstones and the light of the candle. And their whole land shall be a desolation — Gloomy shall be the silence of the morning, melancholy the shadows of the evening; no cheerful noise to animate the one, no enlivening ray to soften the gloom of the other. Desolation shall every where reign. A land may abound with habitations, and furnish an agreeable abode, where the voice of mirth is not heard; none of the songs, the music, and the dances of nuptial solemnities; but in the East, where no millstones are heard in the morning, no light seen in the evening, it must be a dreary dismal solitude.” — Chap. 4. obs. 4. See also chap. 3. obs. 18.

25:8-14 The fixing of the time during which the Jewish captivity should last, would not only confirm the prophecy, but also comfort the people of God, and encourage faith and prayer. The ruin of Babylon is foretold: the rod will be thrown into the fire when the correcting work is done. When the set time to favour Zion is come, Babylon shall be punished for their iniquity, as other nations have been punished for their sins. Every threatening of the Scripture will certainly be accomplished.Take from them ... the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle - (or, lamp). To denote the entire cessation of domestic life. The one was the sign of the preparation of the daily meal, the other of the assembling of the family after the labors of the day were over. 10. (Jer 7:34; Re 18:23). The land shall be so desolated that even in the houses left standing there shall be no inhabitant; a terrible stillness shall prevail; no sound of the hand-mill (two circular stones, one above the other, for grinding corn, worked by two women, Ex 11:5; Mt 24:41; in daily use in every house, and therefore forbidden to be taken in pledge, De 24:6); no night-light, so universal in the East that the poorest house has it, burning all night.

candle—lamp (Job 21:17; 18:6).

I will take away all your mirth and jollity, whether used at weddings, or at any of your merry meetings; I will leave you nothing to rejoice in; your very wedding times shall be times of mourning and lamentation. Nay, I will not only deprive you of your mirth, but of those things that are necessary for you, as necessary as bread and light; the millstone shall not move; you shall not have the light so much as of a candle. See the like expressions Revelation 18:22,23. God here threatens not only to take away their superfluities, and what he had hitherto lent them for their pleasure and delight, but also what they had for their necessary sustenance, and to capacitate them to do their ordinary works.

Moreover, I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness,.... At their festivals, and nuptial solemnities:

the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride; expressing their mutual love unto, and delight in, each other; so agreeable to one another and their friends: or it may mean those epithalamies, or nuptial songs, sung unto them by their friends:

the sound of the millstones; either the voice of those that sing at the mill while grinding; or rather the sound of the stones themselves used in grinding; either in grinding spices for the bride cakes; or rather in grinding corn for common use; and so denotes the taking away of bread corn from them, and the want of that. The sense is, there should be corn to grind, and so no use of the mill:

and the light of the candle; at their feasts and weddings, or rather, for common use; signifying that houses should be desolate, without inhabitants, no light in them, nor work to be done. The whole shows that they should be deprived of everything both for necessity and pleasure. John seems to have borrowed some phrases from hence, Revelation 18:22; in which he appears to have followed the Hebrew text, and not the Greek version. The Targum of the last clause is,

"the voice of the company of those that sing at the light of candles.''

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 {h} millstones, and the light of the candle.

(h) Meaning that bread and all things that would serve to their feasts would be taken away.

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.

Verse 10. - The sound of the millstones. Modern travel enables us (so conservative is the East) to realize the full force of this image. The hand-mill is composed of two stones. As a rule, "two women" (comp. Matthew 24:41) sit at it facing each other; both have hold of the handle by which the upper is turned round on the 'nether' millstone. The one whose right hand is disengaged throws in the grain as occasion requires, through the hole in the upper stone" (Dr. Thomson). "The labor," remarks Dr. Robinson, "is evidently hard; and the grating sound of the mill is heard at a distance, indicating (like our coffee-mills) the presence of a family and of household life" ('Biblical Researches,' 2:181). Add to this the light of the candle (or rather, lamp), and we have two of the most universally characteristic signs of domestic life. No family could dispense with the hand-mill, and, as the sermon on the mount implies, the poorest household had its "lamp" (Matthew 5:15 - the poverty of the family is indicated by the various uses to which the lamp-stand was applied). Comp. this verse with the imitation in Revelation 18:22, 23. Jeremiah 25:10For this obstinate resistance the Lord will cause the nations of the north, under Nebuchadrezzar's leadership, to come and lay Judah waste. "All the families of the north" points back to all the tribes of the kingdoms of the north, Jeremiah 1:14. ואל נבוך cannot be joined with "and take," but must depend from שׁלח in such a way that that verb is again repeated in thought. Ew. proposes to read ואת according to some codd., especially as Syr., Chald., Vulg. have rendered by an accusative. Against this Graf has justly objected, that then Nebuchadnezzar would be merely mentioned by the way as in addition to the various races, whereas it is he that brings these races and is the instrument of destruction in God's hand. Ew.'s reading is therefore to be unhesitatingly rejected. No valid reason appears for pronouncing the words: and to servant, to be a later interpolation (Hitz., Gr.) because they are not in the lxx. There is prominence given to Nebuchadnezzar by the very change of the construction, another "send" requiring to be repeated before "to Nebuchadrezzar." God calls Nebuchadnezzar His servant, as the executor of His will on Judah, cf. Jeremiah 27:6 and Jeremiah 43:10. The "them" in "and bring them" refers to Nebuchadnezzar and the races of the north. "This land" is Judah, the הזּאת being δεικτικῶς; so too the corresponding האלּה, "all these peoples round about;" so that we need have no doubt of the genuineness of the demonstrative. The peoples meant are those found about Judah, that are specified in Jeremiah 25:19-25. החרמתּים, used frequently in Deuteronomy and Joshua for the extirpation of the Canaanites, is used by Jeremiah, besides here, only in the prophecy against Babylon, Jeremiah 50:21, Jeremiah 50:26; Jeremiah 51:3. With לשׁמּה ולשׁרקה cf. Jeremiah 19:8; Jeremiah 18:16; the words cannot be used of the peoples, but of the countries, which have been comprehended in the mention of the peoples. With "everlasting desolations," cf. Jeremiah 49:13, Isaiah 58:12; Isaiah 61:4. - With Jeremiah 25:10 cf. Jeremiah 16:9; Jeremiah 7:34. But here the thought is strengthened by the addition: the sound of the mill and the light of the lamp. Not merely every sound of joyfulness shall vanish, but even every sign of life, such as could make known the presence of inhabitants.
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