Jeremiah 25:25
And all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) Zimri.—The name occurs nowhere else in the Bible or out of it as the name of a country. It is possibly connected with Zimran, the eldest son of Abraham by Keturah (Genesis 25:2), and points, therefore—as does its position here—to a nomad tribe in Arabia lying between the Red Sea, Arabia, and the Persian Gulf. The name Zabram occurs in Greek geographers as that of a city on the Red Sea west of Mecca, and there was a Zimara on the Upper Euphrates. “Elam,” properly applied to the region of which Susa was the capital (Daniel 8:2), was extended by the Hebrew writers to the whole of Persia. (See Notes on Genesis 10:22; Genesis 14:1-12; Isaiah 21:2.) As in the last of these references, it is coupled here with Media.

Jeremiah 25:25-26. All the kings of Zimri — Those descended from Zimran, one of Abraham’s sons, by Keturah; all of whom he sent to settle in the east country, Genesis 25:2; Genesis 25:6. It is probable that these descendants of Zimran were the same that Pliny mentions among the inhabitants of Arabia, by the name of Zamareni. And all the kings of Elam — Namely, of Persia. And all the kings of the Medes — Who were descended from Madai, the son of Japhet. The Medes and Persians were commonly confederates and partakers of the same prosperity or adversity. And all the kings of the north far and near — “By the kings of the north that were near, the kings of Syria are probably meant: see Jeremiah 49:23. Those that were afar off may mean the Hyrcanians and Bactrians, who are reckoned in Xenophon’s Cyropœdia, lib. 1., among them that were subjected or oppressed by the king of Babylon, and perhaps others besides of the neighbouring nations that were compelled to submit to the Babylonian yoke. All these lay to the north of Judea, and at a great distance.” And all the kingdoms of the world, &c. — It is justly observed by Blaney, that this must be understood with a limitation to that part of the continent with which the Jews had some correspondence, or acquaintance; just as Πασα η οικουμενη stands for the whole Roman empire, Luke 2:1. “The ambition of a prince like Nebuchadnezzar, who aimed at universal monarchy, could not but occasion great confusion and distress, both among those who felt, and among those who dreaded, the power of his arms.” And the king of Sheshach shall drink after them — Here the speech of Jehovah is resumed, which was broken off at the end of Jeremiah 25:16. That Sheshach means Babylon, appears clearly from Jeremiah 51:41. “But, among the reasons that have been assigned for this name,” says Blaney,” I have met with none that I think satisfactory. שׁכךְ, signifies to subside, and sink down; and may perhaps allude to the low situation of Babylon, which did not derive its strength from being built, like many other great cities, upon the heights of a rock, but stood upon a large flat, or plain, cowering, as it were, amidst the waters that surrounded it, and by which it was rendered in some parts inaccessible to an enemy.”

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.Zimri - Probably a district between Arabia and Persia. "Elam" is put in Scripture for the whole of Persia. 25. Zimri—perhaps the Zabra mentioned by Ptolemy between Mecca and Medina. Zimran also, as Dedan, was one of Abraham's sons by Keturah (Ge 25:2).

Elam—properly, west of Persia; but used for Persia in general.

All the kings of Zimri; those descended from Zimran, Abraham’s son by Keturah, Genesis 25:2 (the Zamarens, as some think, mentioned by Pliny). By the Elamites are meant the Persians, descended from Shem, Genesis 10:22. Elam is also mentioned Isaiah 22:6. See also Jeremiah 49:34. The Medes came from Madai the son of Japheth, Genesis 10:2; they are usually joined with the Persians, Daniel 5:28.

And all the kings of Zimri,.... Of Arabia Felix, so called from Zimran, a son of Abraham by Keturah, Genesis 25:2; the same whom Pliny (n) calls Zamerenes;

and all the kings of Elam; or Persia; who are prophesied against in Jeremiah 49:34;

and all the kings of the Medes; who commonly go together with the Persians.

(n) Nat. Hist. I. 6. c. 28.

And all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
25. and all the kings of Zimri] LXX omit, and the name is found here only. Du. ingeniously conjectures that it may be a fictitious one intended by a late editor to hint covertly at the Romans, the Hebrew consonants of which have (combined) the same numerical value. This, however, would make the insertion a very late one. Cp. note on Sheshach below.

Elam] a province of the Assyrian Empire. See on Jeremiah 49:34.

Verse 25. - Zimri. The Zimri were a people to the northeast of Assyria, against whom various Assyrian kings waged war (Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, 1878, pp. 13, 15, 34; 'Records of the Past,' 5:41). Whether they axe to be connected with the Zimran of Genesis 25:2 seems doubtful; their locality hardly suits. Elam. Elam, one of the most ancient monarchies in the world (comp. Genesis 14.), is again coupled with Media in Isaiah 21:2. It was a region on the east of the lower Tigris, bounded westward by Babylonia, northward by Assyria and Media, southward by the Persian Gulf. To say that it is put either here or anywhere else in the Old Testament for the whole of Persia seems a mistake, as the Persians were hardly known before the time of Cyrus. Jeremiah 25:25The enumeration of the heathen nations begins with Egypt and goes northwards, the peoples dwelling to the east and west of Judah being ranged alongside one another. First we have in Jeremiah 25:20 the races of Arabia and Philistia that bordered on Egypt to the east and west; and then in Jeremiah 25:21 the Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites to the east, and, Jeremiah 25:22, the Phoenicians with their colonies to the west. Next we have the Arabian tribes of the desert extending eastwards from Palestine to the Euphrates (Jeremiah 25:23, Jeremiah 25:24); then the Elamites and Medes in the distant east (Jeremiah 25:25), the near and distant kings of the north, and all kingdoms upon earth; last of all the king of Babylon (Jeremiah 25:26). כּל־הערב, lxx: πάντας τοῦς συμμίκτους, and Jerome: cunctusque qui non est Aegyptius, sed in ejus regionibus commoratur. The word means originally a mixed multitude of different races that attach themselves to one people and dwell as strangers amongst them; cf. Exodus 12:38 and Nehemiah 13:3. Here it is races that in part dwelt on the borders of Egypt and were in subjection to that people. It is rendered accordingly "vassals" by Ew.; an interpretation that suits the present verse very well, but will not do in Jeremiah 25:24. It is certainly too narrow a view, to confine the reference of the word to the mercenaries or Ionian and Carian troops by whose help Necho's father Psammetichus acquired sole supremacy (Graf), although this be the reference of the same word in Ezekiel 30:5. The land of Uz is, acc. to the present passage and to Lamentations 4:21, where the daughter of Edom dwells in the land of Uz, to be sought for in the neighbourhood of Idumaea and the Egyptian border. To delete the words "and all the kings of the land of Uz" as a gloss, with Hitz. and Gr., because they are not in the lxx, is an exercise of critical violence. The lxx omitted them for the same reason as that on which Hitz. still lays stress - namely, that they manifestly do not belong to this place, but to Jeremiah 25:23. And this argument is based on the idea that the land of Uz ( ̓Αυσῖτις) lies much farther to the north in Arabia Deserta, in the Hauran or the region of Damascus, or that it is a collective name for the whole northern region of Arabia Deserta that stretches from Idumaea as far as Syria; see Del. on Job 1:1, and Wetzstein in Del.'s Job, S. 536f. This is an assumption for which valid proofs are not before us. The late oriental legends as to Job's native country do not suffice for this. The kings of the land of the Philistines are the kings of the four towns next in order mentioned, with their territories, cf. Joshua 13:3; 1 Samuel 6:4. The fifth of the towns of the lords of the Philistines, Gath, is omitted here as it was before this, in Amos 1:7. and Zephaniah 2:4, and later in Zechariah 9:5, not because Gath had already fallen into premature decay; for in Amos' time Gath was still a very important city. It is rather, apparently, because Gath had ceased to be the capital of a separate kingdom or principality. There is remaining now only a remnant of Ashdod; for after a twenty-nine years' siege, this town was taken by Psammetichus and destroyed (Herod. ii. 157), so that thus the whole territory great lost its importance. Jeremiah 25:21. On Edom, Moab, and the Ammonites, cf. Jeremiah 49:7-22; Jeremiah 48:1; Jeremiah 49:1-6. Jeremiah 25:22. The plural: "kings of Tyre and Sidon," is to be understood as in Jeremiah 25:18. With them are mentioned "the kings of the island" or "of the coast" land, that is, beyond the (Mediterranean) Sea. האי is not Κύπρος (Cyprus), but means, generally, the Phoenician colonies in and upon the Mediterranean. Of the Arabian tribes mentioned in Jeremiah 25:23, the Dedanites are those descended from the Cushite Dedan and living ear Edom, with whom, however, the Abrahamic Dedanite had probably mingled; a famous commercial people, Isaiah 21:13; Ezekiel 27:15, Ezekiel 27:20; Ezekiel 38:13; Job 6:19. Tema is not Tm beyond the Hauran (Wetzst. Reiseber. S. 21 and 93ff.; cf. on the other hand, the same in Del.'s Job, S. 526), but Tem situated on the pilgrims' route from Damascus to Mecca, between Tebk and Wadi el Kora, see Del. on Isaiah 21:14; here, accordingly, the Arabian tribe settled there. Buz is the Arabian race sprung from the second son of Nahor. As to "hair-corners polled," see on Jeremiah 9:25. - The two appellations ערב and "the mixed races that dwell in the wilderness" comprehend the whole of the Arabian races, not merely those that are left after deducting the already (Jeremiah 25:23) mentioned nomad tribes. The latter also dwelt in the wilderness, and the word ערב is a general name, not for the whole of Arabia, but for the nomadic Arabs, see on Ezekiel 27:21, whose tribal chieftains, here called kings, are in Ezek. called נשׂיאים. In Jeremiah 25:25 come three very remote peoples of the east and north-east: Zimri, Elamites, and Medes. The name Zimri is found only here, and has been connected by the Syr. and most comm. with Zimran, Genesis 25:2, a son of Abraham and Keturah. Accordingly זמרי would stand for זמרני, and might be identified with Ζαβράμ, Ptol. vi. 7, 5, a people which occupied a territory between the Arabs and Persians - which would seem to suit our passage. The reference is certainly not to the Ζεμβρῖται in Ethiopia, in the region of the later priestly city Mero (Strabo, 786). On Elam, see on Jeremiah 49:34.

Finally, to make the list complete, Jeremiah 25:26 mentions the kings of the north, those near and those far, and all the kingdoms of the earth. המּמלכות with the article in stat. constr. against the rule. Hence Hitz. and Graf infer that הארץ may not be genuine, it being at the same time superfluous and not given in the lxx. This may be possible, but it is not certain; for in Isaiah 23:17 we find the same pleonastic mode of expression, and there are precedents for the article with the nomen regens. "The one to (or with) the other" means: according as the kingdoms of the north stand in relation to one another, far or near. - After the mention of all the kings and peoples on whom the king of Babylon is to execute judgment, it is said that he himself must at last drink the cup of wrath. שׁשׁך is, according to Jeremiah 51:41, a name for Babylon, as Jerome states, presumably on the authority of his Jewish teacher, who followed the tradition. The name is formed acc. to the Canon Atbash, in virtue of which the letters of the alphabet were put one for the other in the inverse order (ת for א, שׁ for ב, etc.); thus שׁ would correspond to ב and כ to ל. Cf. Buxtorf, Lex. talm. s.v. אתבשׁ and de abbreviaturis hebr. p. 41. A like example is found in Jeremiah 51:1, where כּשׂדּים is represented by לב קמי yb d. The assertion of Gesen. that this way of playing with words was not then in use, is groundless, as it also Hitz.'s, when he says it appeared first during the exile, and is consequently none of Jeremiah's work. It is also erroneous when many comm. remark, that Jeremiah made use of the mysterious name from the fear of weakening the impression of terror which the name of Babylon ought to make on their minds. These assumptions are refuted by Jeremiah 25:12, where there is threatening of the punishment of spoliation made against the king of Babylon and the land of the Chaldeans; and by Jeremiah 51:41, where alongside of Sheshach we find in parallelism Babylon. The Atbash is, both originally and in the present case, no mere playing with words, but a transposition of the letters so as to gain a significant meaning, as may plainly be seen in the transposition to לב , Jeremiah 51:1. This is the case with Sheshach also, which would be a contraction of שׁכשׁך (see Ew. 158, c), from שׁכך, to sink (of the water, Genesis 8:1), to crouch (of the bird-catcher, Jeremiah 5:26). The sig. is therefore a sinking down, so that the threatening, Jeremiah 51:64 : Babel shall sink and not rise again, constitutes a commentary on the name; cf. Hgstb. Christ. iii. p. 377. The name does not sig. humiliation, in support of which Graf has recourse partly to שׁחה, partly to the Arabic usage. For other arbitrary interpretations, see in Ges. thes. p. 1486.

(Note: As has been done with the whole or with parts of Jeremiah 25:12-14, so too the last clause of Jeremiah 25:26 is pronounced by Ew., Hitz., and Graf to be spurious, a gloss that had ultimately found its way into the text. This is affirmed because the clause is wanting in the lxx, and because the prophet could not fitly threaten Babylon along with the other nations (Hitz.); or because "the specification of a single kingdom seems very much out of place, after the enumeration of the countries that are to drink the cup of wrath has been concluded by the preceding comprehensive intimation, 'all the kingdoms of the earth' " (Gr.). Both reasons are valueless. By "shall drink after them" Babylon is sufficiently distinguished from the other kings and countries mentioned, and the reason is given why Babylon is not put on the same footing with them, but is to be made to drink after them.)

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