Jeremiah 25:9
Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.
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(9) The families of the north.—The phrase reminds us of the vision of “the seething pot from the face of the north” in Jeremiah 1:13, and includes all the mingled races, Scythians and others, who owned the sway of the Chaldæan king.

Nebuchadrezzar . . . my servant.—The use of the word which is applied by psalmists and prophets to David (Psalm 78:70; 2Samuel 7:8) and to the future Christ (Isaiah 42:1; Isaiah 52:13) is every way remarkable. It has its parallel, and, in fact, its explanation, in the language in which Isaiah speaks of Cyrus as the shepherd, the anointed, of Jehovah. (Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45:1) Each ruler of the great empires of the world was, in ways he knew not, working out the purposes of God. The phrase “I will utterly destroy” may be noted as specially characteristic of Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 2:34; Deuteronomy 3:6, et al.) and Joshua (Joshua 2:10; Joshua 6:21; Joshua 8:26).

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.The term families is probably used here to signify the widespread empire of Nebuchadnezzar.

My servant - This title, so remarkable in the Old Testament as the especial epithet, first of Moses, and then of the Messiah, is thrice given to Nebuchadnezzar, and marks the greatness of the commission entrusted to him.

9. the north—(see on [925]Jer 1:14, 15). The Medes and other northern peoples, confederate with Babylon, are included with the Chaldeans.

my servant—My agent for punishing (Jer 27:6; 43:10; compare Jer 40:2). Compare Isa 44:28; Cyrus, "My shepherd." God makes even unbelievers unconsciously to fulfil His designs. A reproof to the Jews, who boasted that they were the servants of God; yet a heathen king is to be more the servant of God than they, and that as the agent of their punishment.

I will put it into the heart of all those kings whose territories lie northward of Judea, and particularly into the heart of

Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, who in this work shall be

my servant; though you will not be my servants in obeying my commands, yet he shall serve me, Jeremiah 27:6 43:10. I will bring them and their armies up against this people, and I will put you out of hopes from your alliances with other nations, for he shall first bring them under his command: thus we read, 2 Kings 24:7, that the

king of Babylon had invaded the Egyptian dominions, and taken from the river of Egypt unto the river Euphrates all that pertained to the king of Egypt. And I will make the inhabitants of Jerusalem, not only a desolation, but a scorn, and reproach, and wonderment to the world. See Jeremiah 19:8.

Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,

saith the Lord,.... The Targum is, the kingdoms of the north, the same with those in Jeremiah 1:15; even all those kingdoms which were subject to the king of Babylon, and lay north of Judea:

and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon my servant: though a great king, he was a servant of the Lord of hosts; his servant, both as a creature of his make, and as a king that ruled under him; and as he was an instrument in his hand to chastise his people the Jews; though it was not knowingly and with intention that he served the Lord:

and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof; the land of Judea, and its inhabitants; this was the Lord's doing; it was he that stirred, up the king of Babylon, and by his secret instinct and powerful providence brought him and his armies into Judea to spoil it, and the inhabitants of it Jehovah as it were marched at the head of them, and led them on, and brought them against the Jews, and delivered them into their hands:

and against all these nations round about; Egypt and others; so that the Jews could have no help from them; nor would application to them, and alliance with them, signify anything:

and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations; both the Jews and their neighbours; who should be an astonishment to some, and a hissing to others, and remain desolate for a long time; even till the seventy years were ended after mentioned.

Behold, I will send and take all the {e} families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my {f} servant, and will bring them against this land, and against its inhabitants, and against all these nations {g} around, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an horror, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.

(e) The Chaldeans and all their power.

(f) So the wicked and Satan himself are God's servants, because he makes them serve him by constraint and turns that which they do out of malice to his honour and glory.

(g) As the Philistines, Ammonites, Egyptians and others.

9. the families of the north] See ch. Jeremiah 1:14 f.

families] For the wide use of this word see on Jeremiah 3:14, and cp. Jeremiah 8:3.

utterly destroy] lit. as mg. devote, i.e. place them under a ban. LXX, reading otherwise two Hebrew letters often written rather similarly, lay waste. Cp. Deuteronomy 20:17.

an astonishment] a destruction. See on Jeremiah 5:30.

desolations] LXX (by a variation of one letter) reproach.

Verse 9. - The families of the north (comp. Jeremiah 1:15, note). And Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant. This is the rendering of the Targum, the Syriac, and the Vulgate, and corresponds with the reading of a few extant manuscripts. The received text, however, reads, "and unto Nebuchadnezzar," etc. Neither reading is satisfactory. The latter one is intolerably harsh; the former makes Nebuchadnezzar a mere adjunct of the tribes of the north. In the other passages, moreover, where this king is solemnly entitled "my servant," the clause is the most prominent one in the sentence (see Jeremiah 27:6; Jeremiah 43:10). The words in question have a sort of family resemblance to the glosses which meet us occasionally both in the form of the Hebrew text represented by the Massoretic recension, and those by the principal ancient versions. The words are omitted by the Septuagint. My servant. Generally to be a "servant" of Jehovah or of any supposed deity is to be a worshipper. Thus Daniel is called by Darius, "servant of the living God" (Daniel 6:20), and thus Abdallah, "servant of Allah," has become a favorite surname of the followers of Mohammed. In the Book of Jeremiah itself (Jeremiah 30:10; Jeremiah 46:27, 28), and in Ezekiel (Ezekiel 37:25), "my servant" is the form in which Jehovah addresses his chosen people; and in the second part of Isaiah the suffering Messiah is so styled. Here, however, a foreign king is thus entitled. How is this to be explained? Cyrus, no doubt, in Isaiah 44:28, 45:1, is called "my shepherd" and "my anointed one;" but then Cyrus, in the view of the prophet, was a genuine though unconscious worshipper of the true God (Isaiah 41:25), whereas Nebuchadnezzar was known to be a polytheist and an idolater. We must, therefore, take "servant" to be applied to Nebuchadnezzar in a lower sense than to the other bearers of the title. The Hebrew 'ebbed, in fact, may be either "slave" in something approaching to the terrible modern sense, or in the sense in which Eliezer was one (i.e. little less than a son, and a possible heir, Genesis 24:2; Galatians 4:1), and which is still in full force in Arabia. An astonishment (see on Jeremiah 2:11). An hissing (comp. Jeremiah 18:16; Jeremiah 19:8). Jeremiah 25:9For 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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