Jeremiah 49:17
Also Edom shall be a desolation: every one that goes by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss at all the plagues thereof.
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(17) Edom shall be a desolation.—The words did not receive an immediate or even a rapid fulfilment. Idumæa was a populous and powerful country in the time of John Hyrcanus. Petra, as we have seen, was rebuilt by the Romans as a centre of trade and government, and had its baths, and theatres, and temples. But the end came at last, and there are few lands, once the seat of a thriving nation, more utterly desolate than that of Edom. From the ninth century of the Christian era it disappears from history (Robinson’s Researches, ii. 575).

Jeremiah 49:17-19. Edom shall be a desolation; every one shall hiss, &c. — See note on Jeremiah 18:16. As in the overthrow of Sodom, &c. — A proverbial expression, denoting an utter destruction. Behold, he shall come up like a lion, &c. — This is a description of Nebuchadnezzar’s marching with his army against Idumea, whom the prophet compares to a lion coming out of his den near Jordan. When that river swells, in the time of harvest, the lions, that lie in the thickets on the river side, are raised out of their coverts, and infest the country: see note on Jeremiah 12:5, and Maundrell’s Travels, pp. 81, 82. Against the habitation of the strong — Hebrew, אל נוה איתן, the strong folds, or rough pastures. The LXX. read εις τοπον Αιθαμ, to the place Aitham, considering the word which we render strong as a proper name. But I will suddenly make him run away from her — This clause should rather be rendered, I will rouse him up and make him, run upon her, the preposition מעל, here rendered from likewise signifying upon, and being so rendered by our translators, 1 Kings 9:5. To this purpose the Vulgate, quia subito currere faciam eum ad illam, because I will cause him to run suddenly against her. And who is a chosen man that I may appoint over her? — Namely, to spoil and destroy her. What select man shall I employ for this purpose? for it must be one who will do it effectually. Nebuchadnezzar, or his captain-general Nebuzar- adan, seems to be here meant. For who is like me? — Who is able, like me, to prepare instruments to perform his work? And who will appoint me the time? and who is that shepherd? &c. — Who will challenge me to meet him in the field, as if we were upon equal terms? or what leader or general can enter the lists with me? “The word shepherd often signifies a prince, or commander. But here it is used in opposition to the lion mentioned before; as if he had said, A shepherd may as well encounter a lion as the best appointed warrior contend with the Almighty, or those whom he makes the instruments of his vengeance.” — Lowth.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.Better, "And Edom shall become a terror: every passer by shalt be terrified, and shudder etc."17. (Compare 1Ki 9:8). The like is said of Babylon, Jeremiah 50:13: it appears from 1 Kings 9:8, that it was a kind of proverbial expression, when they would express a great desolation, or great plagues, that those who passed by such a place should be astonished, and hiss at it. Also Edom shall be a desolation,.... Not only Bozrah, its principal city, before spoken of, but the whole country of Idumea should be laid waste; its fortified cities destroyed; its riches plundered; and its inhabitants slain with the sword; or carried captive:

everyone that goeth by it shall be astonished; at the desolation made, so suddenly and so universally:

and shall hiss at all the plagues thereof; rejoice at them; clap their hands, and shake their heads, as the Targum; and hiss with their tongues, insulting and deriding them.

Also Edom shall be a desolation: every one that goeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss at all the plagues thereof.
17. Cp. Jeremiah 19:8.Verse 17. - A desolation; rather, an astonishment. The word is from the same root as the following verb. The phrase is characteristic of Jeremiah, who has no scruple in repeating a forcible expression, and so enforcing an important truth (comp. Jeremiah 25:11, 38; Jeremiah 50:23; Jeremiah 51:43). What so "astonishing" as the reverses of once flourishing kingdoms! For the Bible knows nothing of the "necessity" of the decay and death of nations. The "covenant" which Jehovah offers contains the pledge of indestructibility. Everyone that goeth by it, etc. Another self-reminiscence (see Jeremiah 19:8). Jeremiah 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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