Jeremiah 49:2
Therefore, behold, the days come, said the LORD, that I will cause an alarm of war to be heard in Rabbah of the Ammonites; and it shall be a desolate heap, and her daughters shall be burned with fire: then shall Israel be heir to them that were his heirs, said the LORD.
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(2) Rabbah of the Ammonites.—More fully, of the children of Ammon.—Rabbah, or Rabbath, the “city of waters” (the word signifies “Great,” and the city was, as it were, the Megalopolis of Ammon), was the capital, and this was its full and formal title (Deuteronomy 3:11; 2Samuel 11:1; 2Samuel 12:26). It had been captured by Joab after the siege made memorable by the death of Uriah the Hittite. Jeremiah now predicts its destruction as Amos (Jeremiah 50:14) had done before him. Israel shall then re-enter on its occupation. Its site is now marked by ruins of a stately temple and theatres of the Syrian period (Tristram, Land of Israel, p. 540).

Jeremiah 49:2. Therefore I will cause the noise of war to be heard in Rabbah, &c. — The principal city of that country. Her daughters shall be burned with fire — That is, the lesser cities, which are reckoned so many daughters to the mother city. Then shall Israel be heir unto them that were his heirs — Hebrew, וירשׁ את ירשׁיו, Possidebit possessores suos, Vulgate, shall possess his possessors: or, as Blaney renders it, shall take to their possessions who have taken to his. “This is understood,” says he, “to have been fulfilled when Judas Maccabeus defeated the Ammonites, and took their towns, 1Ma 5:6, &c. Zephaniah speaks in like manner, Jeremiah 2:9, The residue of my people shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people shall possess them. But both prophets may, perhaps, refer to still future times, when Israel shall be finally restored to their own land, as is frequently foretold of them, and not only recover their own ancient possessions, but succeed, likewise, to the vacant possessions of their once hostile neighbours, long since extinct and irrecoverably lost.”49:1-6. Might often prevails against right among men, yet that might shall be controlled by the Almighty, who judges aright; and those will find themselves mistaken, who, like the Ammonites, think every thing their own on which they can lay their hands. The Lord will call men to account for every instance of dishonesty, especially to the destitute.Rabbah - i. e., the "great city." See 2 Samuel 12:27 note for a distinction between Rabbah, the citadel, and the town itself, lying below upon the Jabbok.

Daughters - i. e., unwalled villages (and in Jeremiah 49:3).

Shall Israel be heir ... - i. e., "shall be victor over his victors;" compare Micah 1:15.

2. Rabbah—"the great," metropolis of Ammon (2Sa 12:26-30). Its destruction is foretold also in Eze 25:5; Am 1:14, 15.

her daughters—the towns and villages, dependencies of the metropolis (Jos 15:45).

shall … be heir—shall possess those who possessed him. The full accomplishment of this is still future; partially fulfilled under the Maccabees (1 Maccabees 5:6).

Because the Ammonites had violently seized upon some part of the Jews’ land, and (as we have it, Amos 1:13,14) cruelly ripped up the women with child in Gilead, that they might enlarge their border, God threatens a war to Rabbah, Amos 1:14, calls it a fire, which should make Rabbah a heap. Of this Rabbah, as the head city of the Ammonites, we read Deu 3:11 Joshua 13:25 15:60. It was there where, in David’s time, Uriah was slain, 2 Samuel 11:1,17 12:26. It is threatened by Jeremiah in this chapter, and Ezekiel 25:5 Amos 1:13,14. We read not how or when this prophecy was fulfilled, whether by the Maccabees, /APC 1Ma 5:6, or rather after the coming of Christ, when most of these nations were destroyed. God threatens not only their metropolis, which was Rabbah their mother city, but all the other cities belonging to the Ammonites, which were as it were daughters to Rabbah. But how the last clause of this prophecy was ever fulfilled, if it were not in the time of the Maccabees, I cannot understand; for though they were swallowed up afterward by the Roman empire, yet Israel being also subdued by them, and scattered into all parts, it is not likely that many of them were suffered to, abide in any considerable numbers in a country so near their own. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord,.... Or, "are coming" (y); as they did, in a very little time after this prophecy:

that I will cause an alarm of war to be heard in Rabbah of the Ammonites; the metropolis of the Ammonites; it was their royal city in the times of David, 1 Kings 11:1; called by Polybius (z) Rabbahamana; and by Ptolemy (a) Philadelphia, which name it had from Ptolemy Philadelphus, who rebuilt it; this the Lord threatens with the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war, or the noise of warriors, as the Targum; the Chaldean army under Nebuchadnezzar, who, about five years after the destruction of Jerusalem, subdued the Ammonites, as Josephus (b) relates:

and it shall be a desolate heap; be utterly destroyed; its walls broken down, and houses demolished, and made a heap of rubbish: and

her daughters shall be burnt with fire: Rabbah was the mother city, and the other cities of the Ammonites were her daughters, which are threatened to be destroyed with fire by the enemy; or it may mean the villages round about Rabbah, it being usual in Scripture for villages to be called the daughters of cities; see Ezekiel 16:46; so the Targum here paraphrases it,

"the inhabitants of her villages shall be burnt with fire:''

then shall Israel be heirs unto them that were his heirs, saith the Lord: that is, shall inherit their land again, which the Ammonites pretended to be the lawful heirs of; yea, not only possess their own land, but the land of Ammon too: this was fulfilled not immediately upon the destruction of Ammon, but in part upon the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, when they repossessed their own country; and partly in the times of the Maccabees, when they subdued the Ammonites,

"Afterward he passed over to the children of Ammon, where he found a mighty power, and much people, with Timotheus their captain.'' (1 Maccabees 5:6)

and will more fully in the latter day, when the Jews shall be converted, and return to their own land, and the children of Ammon shall obey them, Isaiah 11:14; so Kimchi interprets it; and other Jewish writers understand it of the days of the Messiah, as Abarbinel observes.

(y) "sunt venientes", Montanus, Schmidt. (z) Hist. l. 5. p. 414. (a) Geograph. l. 5. c. 15. (b) Antiqu. l. 10. c. 9. sect. 7.

Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will cause an alarm of war to be heard in {d} Rabbah of the Ammonites; and it shall be a desolate heap, and her daughters shall be burned with fire: then shall Israel be heir to them that were his heirs, saith the LORD.

(d) Which was one of the chief cities of the Ammonites, as were Heshbon and Ai: there was also a city called Heshbon among the Moabites.

2. Rabbah] now ‘Ammân, their capital city, on the river Jabbok, fourteen miles N.E. of Heshbon.

a desolate heap] See on Jeremiah 30:18.

her daughters] the minor cities depending on her; so Jeremiah 49:3.Verse 2. - The punishment of Ammon. Its capital, Rabbah (see 2 Samuel 12:26, 27), and the "daughter" cities (comp. Numbers 21:25, margin; Joshua 15:45 and Joshua 17:11 in the Hebrew), shall be laid waste. The alarm of war ("alarm" equivalent to "shout"), as in Jeremiah 4:19. A desolate heap. Fortified towns were built on "heaps, or slight elevations (comp. on Jeremiah 30:18), the Hebrew name for which (in the singular) is tel. The "heap" and the ruins of the town together are aptly called a "heap of desolation." Then shall Israel be heir, etc.; rather, then shall Israel dispossess those who dispossessed him (comp. ver. 1). The form of the phrase reminds us of Isaiah 14:2. No escape from destruction. - Jeremiah 48:39. "How it is broken! they howl. How hath Moab turned the back, for shame! And Moab becomes a laughing-stock and a terror to all his neighbours. Jeremiah 48:40. For thus saith Jahveh: Behold, he shall fly like the eagle, and spread his wings over Moab. Jeremiah 48:41. Kerioth is taken, and the strongholds are seized, and the heart of the heroes of Moab on that day become like the heart of a travailing woman. Jeremiah 48:42. And Moab is destroyed from being a people, because he hath boasted against Jahveh. Jeremiah 48:43. Fear, and a pit, and a snare, are against thee, O inhabitants of Moab, saith Jahveh. Jeremiah 48:44. He who flees from the fear shall fall into the pit, and he who goes up out of the pit shall be taken in the snare; for I will bring against it, against Moab, the year of their recompense, saith Jahveh."

The subject of חתּה in Jeremiah 48:39 is Moab viewed as a nation. הילילוּ might be imperative, but in this case we would be obliged to take בּושׁ also as an imperative (as Hitzig and Graf do). It is simpler to take both forms as perfects: "they howl...Moab turns the back, is ashamed" ( equals for shame). On היה לשׂחק, cf. Jeremiah 48:26. מחתּה, object of terror, as in Jeremiah 17:17. "All who are round about him," as in Jeremiah 48:17. "For (Jeremiah 48:40) the enemy rushes down upon Moab like an eagle, and seizes Kerioth and all his strongholds." The subject is left unnamed, as in Jeremiah 46:18, but it is Nebuchadnezzar. The figure of the eagle, darting down in flight on its prey, is founded on Deuteronomy 28:49 (on אל- for על, cf. Jeremiah 49:22). Kerioth, the capital, is taken (see on Jeremiah 48:24); so are the other strongholds or fastnesses of the country. The mere fact that קריּות has the article does not justify any one in taking it as an appellative, "the cities;" this appears from a comparison of Amos 2:2 with this verse. No plural of קריה occurs anywhere. Then the fear of death falls on the heroes of Moab like a woman in labour. מצרה, partic. Hiphil from צרר, uterum comprimens, is found only here and in Jeremiah 49:22, where the figure is repeated. Moab is annihilated, so that it is no longer a nation (cf. Jeremiah 48:2), because it has risen up in pride against the God of Israel; cf. Jeremiah 48:26. He who flees from one danger falls into the other. The play on the words פּחד, fear, horror, פּחת, pit, and פּח, spring-trap, as well as the mode in which it is carried out, is taken from Isaiah 24:17., - a prophecy of the judgment on the world; see a similar idea presented in Amos 5:19, but somewhat differently expressed. The Kethib הניס, perfect Hiphil, "he flees," is less suitable than the Qeri הנּס (after Isaiah). The last clause, "for I will bring," etc., is quite in Jeremiah's peculiar style; cf. Jeremiah 4:23; Jeremiah 23:12. אליה belongs to אל־מואב: the noun is anticipated by the pronoun, as frequently occurs; cf. Jeremiah 9:14; Jeremiah 41:3; Jeremiah 43:11.

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