Jeremiah 49:12
For thus saith the LORD; Behold, they whose judgment was not to drink of the cup have assuredly drunken; and art thou he that shall altogether go unpunished? thou shalt not go unpunished, but thou shalt surely drink of it.
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(12) Behold, they whose judgment . . .—The imagery is taken up from Jeremiah 25:15. Even those of whom it might have seemed that they were exempted, by God’s decree, from drinking of the cup of His wrath, had drunk. Could Esau hope for immunity? The thought is parallel to that of 1Peter 4:17.

Jeremiah 49:12-13. They whose judgment was not to drink of the cup — Namely, of God’s wrath: see note on Jeremiah 25:15; have assuredly drunken — The Israelites, God’s peculiar people, who, in regard to the gracious promises which he had made to them and to their fathers, the near relation in which they stood to him, and the many pious persons who, from age to age, were found among them, might, in all human appearance, have expected mercy at God’s hands, have, nevertheless, suffered dreadful judgments. And art thou he that shall altogether go unpunished? — Is Edom the righteous nation, which, above all others, deserves to be exempted from punishment? There is a peculiar emphasis, says Blaney, in the pronoun הוא, he, which denotes that Edom was he, the people, to which the punishment was peculiarly due: see note on Jeremiah 25:29. I have sworn by myself — I have confirmed my threatening, as I have frequently confirmed my promises, by an oath; that Bozrah shall become a desolation, &c. — Bozrah, one of the chief cities of Idumea, is here put for that country in general, it being usual with the prophets to describe the destruction of a whole nation by the ruin of some one or more of its principal cities: see Jeremiah 49:23; Amos 1:8; Amos 1:12-14.

49:7-22 The Edomites were old enemies to the Israel of God. But their day is now at hand; it is foretold, not only to warn them, but for the sake of the Israel of God, whose afflictions were aggravated by them. Thus Divine judgments go round from nation to nation; the earth is full of commotion, and nothing can escape the ministers of Divine vengeance. The righteousness of God is to be observed amidst the violence of men.Translate it: "Behold they whose rule was not to drink of the cup shall surely drink etc." It was not the ordinary manner of God's people to suffer from His wrath: but now when they are drinking of the wine-cup of fury Jeremiah 25:15, how can those not in covenant with Him hope to escape?12. (Compare Jer 25:15, 16, 29).

they whose judgment was not to drink of the cup—the Jews to whom, by virtue of the covenant relation, it did not belong to drink the cup. It might have been expected that they would be spared. He regards not the merits of the Jews, for they were as bad or worse than others: but the grace and adoption of God; it is just and natural ("judgment") that God should pardon His sons sooner than aliens [Calvin].

That by

the cup is meant the wine cup of the Lord’s wrath, and that by those whose judgment was not to drink of it are meant the Jews, is not to be doubted; but the question is, how the prophet saith that it was not the judgment of the Jews to drink of this cup? The word here used is of so various significations as makes the fixing the sense of it here difficult; it cannot here signify justice, for in that sense it was the Jews’ judgment to drink of it; nor can it here (as it often doth) signify the effect of justice, God’s judicial dispensation; for they had drank of it, so it was their judgment. It must be taken in the most favourable sense imaginable. Either they who in regard of their relation to God, and God’s relation to them, might have looked upon it as none of their portion, yet have drank of it; or, they who in comparison with others did not deserve to drink of the cup, yet have drank of it: and can you think to escape? No, thou shalt not escape, but most surely drink of it. 1 Peter 4:17, The time is come that judgment is begun at the house of God; and if it first begin with that, where shall the end of others be? When an Israelite hath not escaped the justice of God, an Edomite must not expect it.

For thus saith the Lord,.... This that follows shows that what goes before is not said by way of promise and comfort, but threatening:

behold, they whose judgment was not to drink of the cup have assuredly drunken; meaning either some of the other nations, who had not dealt so ill with the Jews as the Edomites had, at least their sins were not so aggravated as theirs were; they being akin to the Jews, and having used them in a very injurious and scornful manner; or the Jews themselves, who, in comparison of them, had not deserved divine vengeance, signified by a cup, a portion of wrath, and punishment righteously allotted them, and which they had partook of, being carried captive into Babylon: for this is not to be understood strictly of proper justice, but in a comparative sense; for otherwise it was but just and right that they should be treated in the manner they were; only they were not so guilty as these were;

and art thou he that shalt altogether go unpunished? if lesser sinners are not let go free, how should it be thought that greater ones should? and especially if judgment had begun at God's own people, the wicked Edomite, could not expect to escape;

thou shalt not go unpunished, but thou shalt surely drink of it; the cup of wrath and vengeance; or have the just punishment inflicted on them threatened them.

For thus saith the LORD; {n} Behold, they whose judgment was not to drink of the cup have assuredly drank; and art thou he that shall altogether go unpunished? thou shalt not go unpunished, but thou shalt surely drink of it.

(n) I have not spared my own people and how should I pity you?

12. they to whom it pertained not] for the metaphor See on Jeremiah 13:12, Jeremiah 25:15.

Verse 12. - Whose judgment was not, etc.; rather, to whom it was not due, etc. Jehovah condescends to speak from a human point of view. 'So, in Isaiah 28:21, the punishment of Jerusalem is celled his "strange work." Have assuredly drunken; rather, shall surely drink. Jeremiah 49:12Jeremiah 49:9 is a reproduction of Obadiah 1:5, but in such a way that what Obadiah brings forward as a comparison is directly applied by Jeremiah to the enemy: our prophet represents the enemy as grape-gatherers who leave nothing to glean, and as nocturnal thieves who destroy what is sufficient for them, i.e., destroy till they have enough, drag away and destroy as much as they can. The after-clauses, "they will not leave," etc., "they destroy," etc., are thus not to be taken as questions. The reference to Obadiah does not entitle us to supply הלוא from that passage. The connection here is somewhat different. The following verse is joined by means of כּי, "for;" and the thought, "for I have stripped Esau, I have discovered his secret places," shows that the enemy is to be understood by the grape-gatherers and nocturnal thieves: he will leave nothing to glean - will plunder all the goods and treasures of Edom, even those that have been hidden. On this subject, cf. Obadiah 1:6. חשׂף, "to strip off leaves, make bare" (Jeremiah 13:26), has been chosen with a regard to נחפּשׂוּ in Obadiah. ונחבּה לא יוּכל, lit., "and he hides himself, he will not be able to do it;" i.e., Esau (Edom) tries to hide himself; he will not be able to do it - he will not remain concealed from the enemy. There are not sufficient grounds for changing the perf. נחבּה equals נחבּא into the inf. abs. נחבּה, as Ewald and Graf do. "His seed is destroyed," i.e., his family, the posterity of Esau, the Edomites, his brethren," the descendants of nations related to the family, and of others similar who had intermingled with them, as the Amalekites, Genesis 36:12, Horites, Genesis 36:20., Simeonites, 1 Chronicles 4:42, "and his neighbours," the neighbouring tribes, as Dedan, Jeremiah 49:8, Thema and Buz, Jeremiah 25:23. "And he is not" is added to give intensity, as in Isaiah 19:7; cf. Jeremiah 31:15. The last idea is made more intensive by Jeremiah 49:11, "Leave your orphans and widows." Edom is addressed, and the imperative expresses what must happen. The men of Edom will be obliged to leave their wives and children, and these will be left behind as widows and orphans, because the men fall in battle. Yet the Lord will care for them, so that they shall not perish. In this comfort there is contained a very bitter truth for the Edomites who hated Jahveh. עזבה is the imperative (Ewald, 228, a), not infinitive (Hitzig); and תּבטחוּ is a rare form of the jussive for תּבטחנה, as in Ezekiel 37:7; cf. Ewald, 191, b. Reasons are given for these threats in Jeremiah 49:12 and Jeremiah 49:13, first in the thought that Edom cannot continue to be the only one unpunished, then in the bringing forward of the solemnly uttered purpose of God. "Those who should not be compelled to drink." Those meant are the Israelites, who, as the people of God, ought to have been free from the penal judgment with which the Lord visits the nations. If, now, these are not left (spared such an infliction), still less can Edom, as a heathen nation, lay claim to exemption. By this Jeremiah does not mean to say that nay injustice befalls the Jews if they are obliged to drink the cup of the wrath of God, but merely that their having been chosen to be the people of God does not give them any right to exemption from the judgments of God on the world, i.e., if they make themselves like the heathen through their sins and vices. The inf. abs. שׁתו for שׁתה intensifies: "ye shall (must) drink." The idea is founded on that pervading Jeremiah 25, and there is use made of the words in Jeremiah 25:29. The כּי in Jeremiah 49:13 is mainly dependent on the clause immediately preceding: "thou shalt certainly drink." On "by myself have I sworn" cf. Jeremiah 22:5. In the threat that Edom shall be laid waste there is an accumulation of words corresponding to the excitement of feeling accompanying an utterance under solemn oath. חרב is used instead of the more common חרבּה; cf. Jeremiah 25:18; Jeremiah 44:22, etc. חרבות עולם, as in Jeremiah 25:9. Bozrah was at that time the capital of the Edomites (cf. Jeremiah 49:22); it lay south from the Dead Sea, on the site of the village Buseireh (Little Bozrah), in Jebal, which is still surrounded by a castle and with ruins of considerable extent, and is situated on an eminence; see on Amos 1:12 and Genesis 36:33. "And all its cities," i.e., the rest of the cities of Idumea; cf. וּבנותיה, Jeremiah 49:2.
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