Then took I the cup at the LORD's hand, and made all the nations to drink, to whom the LORD had sent me:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Then took I the cup . . .—The words describe the act of the prophet as in the ecstasy of vision. One by one the nations are made to drink of that cup of the wrath of Jehovah of which His own country was to have the first and fullest draught. It is a strange example of the literalism of minds incapable of entering into the poetry of a prophet’s work, that one commentator (Michaelis) has supposed that the prophet offered an actual goblet of wine to the ambassadors of the states named, who were then, as he imagines, assembled at Jerusalem, as in Jeremiah 27:3.Jeremiah 25:17. Then took I the cup — It is not to be imagined that Jeremiah went round in person to all the nations and kings here enumerated, with a cup of wine in his hand, but, doubtless, what is here related passed in a vision, in which it was represented to his view. This, either by writing, or by some special messenger, he communicated to the several kings and nations to which God ordered him to publish it. Or, he himself actually did what is figuratively designed, that is, he publicly announced the judgments of God severally against them, as we find in the chapters mentioned in the note on Jeremiah 25:13.
and made all the nations to drink, unto whom, the Lord had sent me; not that he travelled through each of the nations with a cup in his hand, as an emblem of what wrath would come upon them, and they should drink deep of; but this was done in vision, and also in prophecy; the prophet publishing the will of God, denouncing his judgments upon the nations, and declaring to them what would befall them.Then took I the cup at the LORD's hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the LORD had sent me:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)17. Then took I the cup] not in any literal sense, but in vision; yet “not a mere allegory, but a psychic experience, in which Jeremiah really seems to himself to be forcing the goblet on the nations which he enumerates.” Pe.Verse 17. - Then took I the cup... and made all the nations to drink. It is too pro-sale to suppose either that Jeremiah made a journey to "all the nations," or that he actually went through the form of presenting the cup to the ambassadors who (it is conjectured, comp. Jeremiah 27:3b) had come to Jerusalem to take measures against the common foe (so J. D. Michaelis). But the supposition arises (as Keil has well observed) out of an imperfect comprehension of the figure. It is not a cup with wine which the prophet receives from Jehovah, but a wine-cup filled with the wine of God's fury, which wine (one may add) is no more a literal wine than the "sword of Jehovah" is a literal sword. The "making all the nations to drink" is simply a way of expressing the prophet's firm faith that the word of Jehovah will not "return unto him void " - that a prophecy once uttered must fulfill itself; and "sent me," in the last clause, merely means "entrusted me with a message" (comp. Proverbs 26:6). For the fulfillment of this detailed prediction, see on Jeremiah 46-51. Jeremiah 25:9, but, as in Jeremiah 25:9, to be understood of the land of Judah; and "all these peoples" are those who dwelt around Judah. The meaning is unquestionably, that Judah and the countries of the adjoining peoples shall lie waste, and that Judah and these peoples shall serve the king of Babylon; but the thought is so distributed amongst the parallel members of the verse, that the desolation is predicated of Judah only, the serving only of the peoples - it being necessary to complete each of the parallel members from the other.
The term of seventy years mentioned is not a so-called round number, but a chronologically exact prediction of the duration of Chaldean supremacy over Judah. So the number is understood in 2 Chronicles 36:21-22; so too by the prophet Daniel, when, Daniel 9:2, in the first year of the Median king Darius, he took note of the seventy years which God, according to the prophecy of Jeremiah, would accomplish for the desolation of Jerusalem. The seventy years may be reckoned chronologically. From the 4th year of Jehoiakim, i.e., 606 b.c., till the 1st year of the sole supremacy of Cyrus over Babylon, i.e., 536 b.c., gives a period of 70 years. This number is arrived at by means of the dates given by profane authors as well as those of the historians of Scripture. Nebuchadnezzar reigned 43 years, his son Evil-Merodach 2 years, Neriglissor 4 years, Labrosoarchad (according to Berosus) 9 months, and Naboned 17 years (43 + 2 + 4 + 17 years and 9 months are 66 years and 9 months). Add to this 1 year - that namely which elapsed between the time when Jerusalem was first taken by Nebuchadnezzar, and the death of Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar's accession - add further the 2 years of the reign of Darius the Mede (see on Daniel 6:1), and we have 69 3/4 years. With this the biblical accounts also agree. Of Jehoiakim's reign these give 7 years (from his 4th till his 11th year), for Jehoiachin's 3 months, for the captivity of Jehoiachin in Babylon until the accession of Evil-Merodach 37 years (see 2 Kings 25:27, according to which Evil-Merodach, when he became king, set Jehoiachin at liberty on the 27th day of the 12th months, in the 37th year after he had been carried away). Thus, till the beginning of Evil-Merodach's reign, we would have 44 years and 3 months to reckon, thence till the fall of the Babylonian empire 23 years and 9 months, and 2 years of Darius the Mede, i.e., in all 70 years complete. - But although this number corresponds so exactly with history, it is less its arithmetical value that is of account in Jeremiah; it is rather its symbolical significance as the number of perfection for God's works. This significance lies in the contrast of seven, as the characteristic number for works of God, with ten, the number that marks earthly completeness; and hereby prophecy makes good its distinguishing character as contrasted with soothsaying, or the prediction of contingent matters. The symbolical value of the number comes clearly out in the following verses, where the fall of Babylon is announced to come in seventy years, although it took place two years earlier.
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