Jeremiah 25:16
And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them.
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(16) They shall drink . . .—The words describe what history has often witnessed, the panic-terror of lesser nations before the onward march of a great conqueror—they are as if stricken with a drunken madness, and their despair or their resistance is equally infatuated. The imagery is one familiar in earlier prophets. (Isaiah 51:17; Isaiah 51:22; Habakkuk 2:16; Psalm 60:5; Psalm 75:8; Ezekiel 23:31.)

25:15-29 The evil and the good events of life are often represented in Scripture as cups. Under this figure is represented the desolation then coming upon that part of the world, of which Nebuchadnezzar, who had just began to reign and act, was to be the instrument; but this destroying sword would come from the hand of God. The desolations the sword should make in all these kingdoms, are represented by the consequences of excessive drinking. This may make us loathe the sin of drunkenness, that the consequences of it are used to set forth such a woful condition. Drunkenness deprives men of the use of their reason, makes men as mad. It takes from them the valuable blessing, health; and is a sin which is its own punishment. This may also make us dread the judgments of war. It soon fills a nation with confusion. They will refuse to take the cup at thy hand. They will not believe Jeremiah; but he must tell them it is the word of the Lord of hosts, and it is in vain for them to struggle against Almighty power. And if God's judgments begin with backsliding professors, let not the wicked expect to escape.Be moved - Rather, stagger. 16. be moved—reel (Na 3:11). Whether they will or no, they shall drink it, and be disturbed, and be mad, and rage like men overcome with wine, because of those dreadful judgments which I shall send amongst them. And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad,.... The judgments foretold shall come upon them, whether they will or not; which will have such effects upon them, as intoxicating liquor has on drunken persons; make them shake and tremble, and reel to and fro, and toss and tumble about, and behave like madmen:

because of the sword that I will send among them; this explains what is meant by the wine cup of fury, the sword of a foreign enemy that shall enter among them and destroy; and which would make them tremble, and be at their wits' end, like drunken and mad men.

And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them.
Verse 16. - And be moved, and be mad; rather, and reel to and fro, and behave themselves madly. The inspired writers do not scruple to ascribe all phenomena, the "bad" as well as the "good," to a Divine operation. "Shall there be evil in a city, and Jehovah hath not done it?" (Amos 3:6). "An evil spirit from Elohim came upon Saul, and he became frenzied" (1 Samuel 18:10; see also Isaiah 19:14; Isaiah 29:10; 1 Kings 22:19-23, and especially the very remarkable prologue of the Book of Job). To understand this form of expression, we must remember the strength of the reaction experienced by the prophets against the polytheism of the surrounding nations. It was not open to them to account for the existence of evil by ascribing it to the activity of various divinities; they knew Jehovah to be the sole cause in the universe. To us, "sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought," such a doctrine occasions "great searchings of heart," and is sometimes a sore trial of our faith. But the prophets were not logicians, and their faith, compared to ours, was as an oak tree to a sapling; hence they can generally (see, however, Isaiah 63:17) express the truth of the universal causation of Jehovah with perfect tranquility. Because of the sword. Here Jeremiah deserts the figure of the Cup, and, as most commentators think, uses the language of fact. It is not, however, certain that "the sword" means that of God's human instruments; Jehovah himself has a sword (Jeremiah 46:10; Jeremiah 47:6; Jeremiah 50:35-38; Isaiah 27:1; Isaiah 34:5; and elsewhere), just as he has a hand (Isaiah 8:11; Isaiah 59:1) and an arm (Isaiah 40:10; Isaiah 53:1). All these belong to a group of childlike symbolic expressions for the manifestation of the Deity. Jehovah's "sword" is described more fully in Genesis 3:24; it "turns hither and thither," like the lightning - a striking figure of the completeness with which God performs his work of vengeance (see also on ver. 27). 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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