Jeremiah 25:14
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.
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(14) Shall serve themselves of them.—Better, shall make them their servants. The English “serve themselves” (a Gallicism in common use in the seventeenth century), which occurs again in Jeremiah 27:7, is now ambiguous, and hardly conveys the force of the original. What is meant is that the law of retribution will in due time be seen in its action upon those who were now masters of the world. The thought is the same as that expressed in the familiar “Græcia capta ferum victorem cepit” of Horace (Ep II. i., 156).

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.Shall serve themselves of them also - i. e., shall impose forced labor upon the Chaldaeans, and reduce them also to servitude. 14. serve themselves—(Jer 27:7; 30:8; 34:10). Avail themselves of their services as slaves.

them also—the Chaldees, who heretofore have made other nations their slaves, shall themselves also in their turn be slaves to them. Maurer translates, "shall impose servitude on them, even them."

recompense them—namely, the Chaldees and other nations against whom Jeremiah had prophesied (Jer 25:13), as having oppressed the Jews.

their deeds—rather, "deed," namely, their bad treatment of the Jews (Jer 50:29; 51:6, 24; compare 2Ch 36:17).

God threateneth the destruction of that monarchy by the Persians, according to the prophecy of this prophet, and declareth that their destruction was of themselves, God did but recompense unto them their own deeds, and the works of their hands; which is not to be restrained to their excesses in executing Divine vengeance, and the cruelty they used to the Israelites, but more generally interpreted of all their wicked courses. For many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of them also,.... Take their cities, seize upon the kingdoms, spoil them of their wealth and riches, and bring them into servitude to them: these "many nations", which should and did do all this, were the Medes and Persians, and those that were subject to them, or were their allies and auxiliaries in this expedition; and the "great kings" were Cyrus and Darius, and those that were confederate with them:

and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands; as they have done to others, it shall be done to them; as they have served themselves of other nations, other nations shall serve themselves of them; as they have cruelly used others, they shall be used with cruelty themselves; and as they have made other countries desolate, their land shall become desolate also; not only their tyranny and cruelty, but all their other sins, shall receive a just recompence of reward.

For many nations and great kings shall be {l} served by them also: and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands.

(l) That is of the Babylonians as in Jer 27:7.

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.Verse 14. - For many nations... shall serve themselves of them else; i.e. put forced labor upon them also. The same phrase is used of the conduct of the Egyptians to the Israelites (Exodus 1:14). Of them also; and "also" suggests that the calamity of the Chaldeans is a retribution (comp. Isaiah 66:4), as the next clause, in harmony with Jeremiah 50:29, 51:24, emphatically declares. For 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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