And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Shall serve the king of Babylon seventy-years.—This is the first mention of the duration of the captivity. The seventy years are commonly reckoned from B.C. 606, the date of the deportation of Jehoiakim and his princes, to B.C. 536, when the decree for the return of the exiles was issued by Cyrus. In 2Chronicles 36:21 the number is connected with the land “enjoying her Sabbaths,” as though the long desolation came as a retribution for the people’s neglect of the law of the Sabbatical year, and, perhaps, also for their non-observance of the weekly Sabbaths. (Isaiah 56:4; Jeremiah 17:21-22.) For the apportionment of the reigns of the Babylonian kings that made up the seventy years, see the Chronological Table in the Introduction. Symbolically the number, as the multiple of seven and ten, represents the highest measure of completeness (comp. Matthew 18:22).Jeremiah 25:11. These nations shall serve the king of Babylon — That is, Nebuchadnezzar and his successors, collectively considered; seventy years — “This period of the nation’s servitude must be computed from the defeat of the Egyptians at Carchemish, in the same year that this prophecy was given, when Nebuchadnezzar reduced the neighbouring nations of Syria and Palestine, as well as Jerusalem, under his subjection. This was near two years before the heathen chronologers in general begin his reign, his father being still living. After his father’s death, according to Ptolemy’s canon, he reigned forty-three years; Ilverodamus, or Evil-merodach, his son two, Neriglissar four, and Nabonadius, supposed to be Belshazzar, the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, seventeen; to which, if we add two years of Darius the Mede, who is said, Daniel 9:1, to have been made king over the realm of the Chaldeans, we shall find the nations to have continued all that time, nearly seventy years, in subjection, more or less, to the king of Babylon. But after the accession of Cyrus, who put an end to the Babylonish monarchy, the nations could serve the king of Babylon no longer, because there was no longer a king of Babylon to serve; for the kings of Persia were never called kings of Babylon; but Babylon became itself a subject and dependant province, under a subordinate governor, and began from that instant to experience, in some degree, those divine visitations which terminated at length in what is so justly called, in the next verse, perpetual desolations.” — Blaney. See notes on Jeremiah 29:10; and Ezra 1:1.Jeremiah 29:10).
seventy years. When they determined we are plainly enough told, Ezra 1:1, in the first year of Cyrus the king of Persia, but when they commenced is more disputed; for we read of three carryings into that captivity: the one in the third and fourth year of Jehoiakim, when it should seem that Nebuchadrezzar only carried away some few persons to be bred in his court, amongst whom were Daniel and the three children, Daniel 1:1,2, &c.; a second seven years after, in Jeconiah’s time, 2 Kings 24:15,16; the last and most general eleven years after, in the eleventh year of Zedekiah: it seemeth most probable that the seventy years must be reckoned from the second; for Jeremiah, Jeremiah 29:1, &c., writing to those then in captivity, tells them, that when seventy years should be accomplished, God would bring them back. This is confirmed by Ezekiel, Jeremiah 40:1, where the fourteenth year after the taking of the city is expressly said to be the twenty-fifth year of their captivity.
and an astonishment; to all other nations, and to all persons that pass through, beholding the desolations of it:
and other nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years; both the Jews, and other nations of Egypt, reckoning from the date of this prophecy, the fourth year of Jehoiakim's reign, when Daniel and others were carried captive, Daniel 1:1; to the first year of Cyrus.And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)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.Verse 11. - Shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Widely different opinions are held as to the meaning of this prophecy. The most probable view is that "seventy" is an indefinite or round number (as in Isaiah 23:17), equivalent to "a very long time." This is supported by the analogy of Jeremiah 27:7, where the captivity is announced as lasting through the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar, his son, and his grandson - a statement evidently vague and indefinite (see ad loc.), and in any case not answering to a period of seventy years. Besides, we find the "seventy years" again in Jeremiah 29:10, a passage written probably eleven years later. Others think the number is to be taken literally, and it is certainly true that from B.C. 606, the fourth year of Jehoiakim, to the fall of Babylon, B.C. 539, sixty-seven years elapsed. But is it desirable to press this against the internal evidence that Jeremiah himself took the number indefinitely? Jeremiah 25:3. "From the thirteenth year of Josiah, son of Amon king of Judah, unto this day, these three and twenty years, came the word of Jahveh to me, and I spake to you, from early morn onwards speaking, but ye hearkened not. Jeremiah 25:4. And Jahveh sent to you all His servants, the prophets, from early morning on sending them, but ye hearkened not, and inclined not your ear to hear. Jeremiah 25:5. They said: Turn ye now each from his evil way and from the evil of your doings, so shall ye abide in the land which Jahveh hath given to your fathers from everlasting to everlasting. Jeremiah 25:6. And go not after other gods, to serve them and to worship them, that ye provoke me not with the work of your hands, and that I do you no evil. Jeremiah 25:7. But ye hearkened not to me, to provoke me by the work of your hands, to your own hurt. Jeremiah 25:8. Therefore thus hath said Jahveh of hosts: Because ye have not heard my words, Jeremiah 25:9. Behold, I send and take all the families of the north, saith Jahveh, and to Nebuchadrezzar my servant (I send), and bring them upon this land, and upon its inhabitants, and upon all these peoples round about, and ban them, and make them an astonishment and a derision and everlasting desolations, Jeremiah 25:10. And destroy from among them the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the mill and the light of the lamp. Jeremiah 25:11. And this land shall become a desert, a desolation, and these peoples shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years."
The very beginning of this discourse points to the great crisis in the fortunes of Judah. Jeremiah recalls into the memory of the people not merely the whole time of his own labours hitherto, but also the labours of many other prophets, who, like himself, have unremittingly preached repentance to the people, called on them to forsake idolatry and their evil ways, and to return to the God of their fathers - but in vain (Jeremiah 25:3-7). The 23 years, from the 13th of Josiah till the 4th of Jehoiakim, are thus made up: 19 years of Josiah and 4 years of Jehoiakim, including the 3 months' reign of Jehoahaz. The form אשׁכּים might be an Aramaism; but it is more probably a clerical error, since we have השׁכּם everywhere else; cf. Jeremiah 25:4, Jeremiah 7:13; Jeremiah 35:14, etc., and Olsh. Gramm. 191, g. For syntactical reasons it cannot be 1st pers. imperf., as Hitz. thinks it is. On the significance of this infin. abs. see on Jeremiah 7:13. As to the thought of Jeremiah 25:4 cf. Jeremiah 7:25. and Jeremiah 11:7. לאמר introduces the contents of the discourses of Jeremiah and the other prophets, though formally it is connected with ושׁלח, Jeremiah 25:4. As to the fact, cf. Jeremiah 35:15. וּשׁבוּ, so shall ye dwell, cf. Jeremiah 7:7. - With Jeremiah 25:6 cf. Jeremiah 7:6; Jeremiah 1:16, etc. (ארע, imperf. Hiph. from רעע). הכעסוּני cannot be the reading of its Chet., for the 3rd person will not do. The ו seems to have found its way in by an error in writing and the Keri to be the proper reading, since למען is construed with the infinitive.
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