Jeremiah 25:8
Therefore thus said the LORD of hosts; Because you have not heard my words,
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Jeremiah 25:8-9. Therefore, because ye have not heard — That is, because ye have not hearkened to, nor obeyed my words, Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, &c. — All those kings whose territories lie northward of Judea, and particularly Nebuchadnezzar, who, in this work, shall be my servant; and will bring them against this land, &c. — I will lead, as commander in chief, them and their armies up against this people; and I will deprive you of all hopes of safety from your alliances with other nations, for the king of Babylon shall first subdue them. See 2 Kings 24:7. And will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment — Will make these countries, and their inhabitants, the objects of men’s scorn and reproach. See note on Jeremiah 24:9. And a perpetual desolation — It is often observed, that the Hebrew word עולם, here rendered perpetual, does not always imply eternity, or perpetuity, in a strict sense; but is sometimes taken for such a duration as had a remarkable period to conclude it. Thus it is said of a servant, in a certain case, Exodus 21:6, That he shall serve his master for ever — Which the Jews interpret as meaning, “till the next jubilee.” So here the sense of the word is to be restrained to the period of seventy years, mentioned Jeremiah 25:11.25:8-14 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.Turn ye - i. e., Repent ye; the great summons of God to mankind at all times (Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38; compare Matthew 3:2). 7. Though ye provoke Me to anger (De 32:21), yet it is not I, but yourselves, whom ye thereby hurt (Pr 8:36; 20:2). That is, because you have not hearkened to and obeyed my words; for it is manifest they had heard Jeremiah and the other prophets. Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts,.... Of armies above and below; and so can do what he pleases in heaven and in earth:

because ye have not heard my words; by the prophets, so as to obey them; they had heard them externally, but did not observe to do them.

Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Because ye have not heard my words,
8, 9. saith the Lord … my servant] LXX omit, doubtless rightly, as a gloss which needlessly introduces harshness into the construction of the MT. It is remarkable, however, that neither do they recognise this title for Nebuchadrezzar elsewhere (Jeremiah 27:6 [Jeremiah 34:5], 43 [50]:10), probably as being considered by them to be inapplicable to an idolater. For its application to him cp. Ezekiel 29:19 f.

8–14. Babylon’s victory and subsequent ruin.The prediction of this chapter is introduced by a full heading, which details with sufficient precision the time of its composition. Jeremiah 25:1. "The word that came (befell) to (על for אל) Jeremiah concerning the whole people of Judah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that is, the first year of Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon; Jeremiah 25:2. Which Jeremiah the prophet spake to the whole people of Judah and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying." - All the discourses of Jeremiah delivered before this time contain either no dates at all, or only very general ones, such as Jeremiah 3:6 : In the days of Josiah, or: at the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 26:1). And it is only some of those of the following period that are so completely dated, as Jeremiah 28:1; Jeremiah 32:1; Jeremiah 36:1; Jeremiah 39:1, etc. The present heading is in this further respect peculiar, that besides the year of the king of Judah's reign, we are also told that of the king of Babylon. This is suggested by the contents of this prediction, in which the people are told of the near approach of the judgment which Nebuchadnezzar is to execute on Judah and on all the surrounding nations far and near, until after seventy years judgment fall on Babylon itself. The fourth year of Jehoiakim is accordingly a notable turning-point for the kingdom of Judah. It is called the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, because then, at the command of his old and decrepit father Nabopolassar, Nebuchadnezzar had undertaken the conduct of the war against Pharaoh Necho of Egypt, who had penetrated as far as the Euphrates. At Carchemish he defeated Necho (Jeremiah 46:2), and in the same year he came in pursuit of the fleeing Egyptians to Judah, took Jerusalem, and made King Jehoiakim tributary. With the first taking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, i.e., in 606 b.c., begins the seventy years' Babylonian bondage or exile of Judah, foretold by Jeremiah in Jeremiah 25:11 of the present chapter. Nebuchadnezzar was then only commander of his father's armies; but he is here, and in 2 Kings 24:1; Daniel 1:1, called king of Babylon, because, equipped with kingly authority, he dictated to the Jews, and treated them as if he had been really king. Not till the following year, when he was at the head of his army in Farther Asia, did his father Nabopolassar die; whereupon he hastened to Babylon to mount the throne; see on Daniel 1:1 and 1 Kings 24:1. - In Jeremiah 25:2 it is again specified that Jeremiah spoke the word of that Lord that came to him to the whole people and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem (על for אל again). There is no cogent reason for doubting, as Graf does, the correctness of these dates. Jeremiah 36:5 tells us that Jeremiah in the same year caused Baruch to write down the prophecies he had hitherto delivered, in order to read them to the people assembled in the temple, and this because he himself was imprisoned; but it does not follow from this, that at the time of receiving this prophecy he was prevented from going into the temple. The occurrence of Jeremiah 36 falls in any case into a later time of Jehoiakim's fourth year than the present chapter. Ew., too, finds it very probable that the discourse of this chapter was, in substance at least, publicly delivered. The contents of it tell strongly in favour of this view.

It falls into three parts. In the first, Jeremiah 25:3-11, the people of Judah are told that he (Jeremiah) has for twenty-three years long unceasingly preached the word of the Lord to the people with a view to their repentance, without Judah's having paid any heed to his sayings, or to the exhortations of the other prophets, so that now all the kings of the north, headed by Nebuchadnezzar, will come against Judah and the surrounding nations, will plunder everything, and make these lands tributary to the king of Babylon; and then, Jeremiah 25:12-14, that after seventy years judgment will come on the king of Babylon and his land. In the second part, Jeremiah 25:15-29, Jeremiah receives the cup of the Lord's wrath, to give it to all the people to drink, beginning with Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, proceeding to the Egyptians and the nationalities in the west and east as far as Elam and Media, and concluding with the king of Babylon. Then in the third part, vv. 30-38, judgment to come upon all peoples is set forth in plain statement. - The first part of this discourse would have failed of its effect if Jeremiah had only composed it in writing, and had not delivered it publicly before the people, in its main substance at least. And the two other parts are so closely bound up with the first, that they cannot be separated from it. The judgment made to pass on Judah by Nebuchadnezzar is only the beginning of the judgment which is to pass on one nation after another, until it culminates in judgment upon the whole world. As to the import of the judgment of the Babylonian exile, cf. the remm. in the Comm. on Daniel, Introd. 2. The announcement of the judgment, whose beginning was now at hand, was of the highest importance for Judah. Even the proclamations concerning the other peoples were designed to take effect in the first instance on the covenant people, that so they might learn to fear the Lord their God as the Lord of the whole world and as the Ruler of all the peoples, who by judgment is preparing the way for and advancing the salvation of the whole world. The ungodly were, by the warning of what was to come on all flesh, to be terrified out of their security and led to turn to God; while by a knowledge beforehand of the coming affliction and the time it was appointed to endure, the God-fearing would be strengthened with confidence in the power and grace of the Lord, so that they might bear calamity with patience and self-devotion as a chastisement necessary to their well-being, without taking false views of God's covenant promises or being overwhelmed by their distresses.

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