Jeremiah 49:7
Concerning Edom, thus saith the LORD of hosts; Is wisdom no more in Teman? is counsel perished from the prudent? is their wisdom vanished?
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(7) Concerning Edom.—A short survey of the past history is necessary that we may enter into the force of the prophet’s words. On the journey of the Israelites to Canaan the Edomites were left unmolested (Numbers 14:21; Deuteronomy 2:4). Conquered by Saul (1Samuel 14:47), and yet more completely by David (2Samuel 8:14), they made an unsuccessful attempt to throw off the yoke in the time of Solomon (1Kings 11:14-22), but finally revolted with success in that of Joram (2Kings 8:20-22; 2Chronicles 21:8). Amaziah and Uzziah endeavoured to reassert dominion over them (2Kings 14:7; 2Kings 14:22), but under Ahaz they invaded Judah (2Chronicles 28:17), and in the reign of Zedekiah appear as an independent power seeking to ally themselves with that king against their common enemy Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 27:3). Soon, however, they allied themselves with the Chaldaeans, and were conspicuous for their triumphant exultation in the destruction of Jerusalem (Psalm 137:7; Lamentations 4:21; Ezekiel 35:15; Ezekiel 36:5). Obadiah had prophesied against them, probably shortly before Jeremiah’s utterance, and what we find here stands in the same relation to his language as the prophecy against Moab in Jeremiah 48 does to Isaiah 15, 16. Possibly, however, as Obadiah 1:11 seems to indicate, Obadiah was the later of the two. (See Introduction to Obadiah.)

Is wisdom no more in Teman . . .?—The exact locality of Teman has not been determined, but it is always closely connected with Edom, and, as the word means “south,” may describe that region of the Edomite country. Its fame for wisdom seems to have been proverbial. So Eliphaz the Temanite appears as the chief speaker among Job’s three friends (Job 2:11; Job 4:1). So Obadiah (Obadiah 1:8) speaks of the “wise men” of Edom. So Solomon’s wisdom excelled that of “the children of the East” (1Kings 4:30). The form of the questions implies that all three are to be answered in the affirmative.

Jeremiah 49:7. Concerning Edom — The destruction of Edom, or Idumea, is likewise foretold by Ezekiel, Joel, Amos, and Obadiah: see the margin. Is wisdom no more in Teman — “The eastern part of the world (by which is chiefly meant Arabia and the adjacent countries) was famous for the study of wisdom, or philosophy, as it was called in later times: see 1 Kings 4:30. The Edomites put in their claim to this prerogative, as appears from what is said here, and in the parallel place of Obadiah, Jeremiah 49:8, as also from the book of Job, where Eliphaz, one of the disputants, is called the Temanite, as being descended from Teman, Esau’s grandson, who gave name to the city or country of Teman, elsewhere mentioned. Is counsel perished from the prudent? — When God designs a people for destruction, he deprives them of that common prudence and foresight which are requisite for the due management of their affairs.” — Lowth. Here Edom, which boasted itself, and whose fame was spread abroad for wisdom and prudence, is described acting as if all its wisdom and prudence were gone.

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.Edom stretched along the south of Judah from the border of Moab on the Dead Sea to the Mediterranean and the Arabian deserts, and held the same relation to Judah which Moab held toward the kingdom of Israel. Although expressly reserved from attack by Moses Deuteronomy 2:5, a long feud caused the Edomites to cherish so bitter an enmity against Judah, that they exulted with cruel joy over the capture of Jerusalem by the Chaldaeans, and showed great cruelty toward those why fled to them for refuge.

Of the prophecies against Edom the first eight verses of Obadiah are also found in Jeremiah (see the marginal references). As Jeremiah wrote before the capture of Jerusalem, and Obadiah apparently after it (see Jeremiah 49:13-14), it might seem certain that Obadiah copied from Jeremiah. Others held the reverse view; while some consider that the two prophets may both have made common use of some ancient prediction. See the introduction to Obadiah.

The prophecy is divisible into three strophes. In the first Jeremiah 49:7-13, the prophet describes Edom as terror-stricken.

Jeremiah 49:7

Teman - A strip of land on the northeast of Edom, put here for Edom generally. Its inhabitants were among those "children of the East" famed for wisdom, because of their skill in proverbs and dark sayings.

7. Concerning Edom—a distinct prophecy, copied in part from Obadiah, but with the freedom of one himself inspired and foretelling a later calamity. Obadiah's was fulfilled probably in Sennacherib's time (compare Isa 34:5; Am 1:11); Jeremiah's about the same time as his preceding prophecies (Jer 49:12; Eze 25:12).

wisdom—for which the Arabs and the people of Teman (a city of Edom) in particular, were famed (Ge 36:15; 1Ki 4:30; see Job, everywhere; Ob 8).

vanished—literally, "poured out," that is, exhausted (compare Isa 19:3, Margin) [Maurer]. Or, as the kindred Ethiopic word means, "worn out" [Ludovicus De Dieu].

The Edomites were the posterity of Esau the eldest son of Isaac, but disinherited, the blessing being given to his younger brother Jacob, who was the head of the twelve tribes of the Israelites, Genesis 27:29. God there, Genesis 27:39, promised him that he should have a fat and plentiful country, though his brother should be his lord, and foretold that he should break his brother’s yoke from off his neck; the land of Seir was his country, Genesis 32:3. The Edomites coasted southward upon Canaan, the Israelites passed by their coasts to go into Canaan; their way lay through Edom, but their king refusing to suffer them to go through, God ordered them to go another way. Balaam prophesied their ruin, Numbers 24:18. They were enemies to the Israelites in Saul’s time, 1 Samuel 14:47, and in David’s time, 2 Samuel 8:14, and in Amaziah’s time, 2 Kings 14:7, who slew of them ten thousand, and took Selah, calling it Jokteel. Many of the prophets foretold their ruin. Jeremiah in this place, Ezekiel 25:12-14 Joel 3:19 Amos 9:12 Ob 1,8 Mal 1:4.

Teman was a city of Edom, mentioned also Ezekiel 25:13 Amos 1:12 Obadiah 1:9. Eliphaz, Job’s friend, was of this place, Job 2:11. It was a place famous for wise and prudent men, of which Eliphaz was not the meanest. The prophet asks what was become of all their counsel and wisdom, for which the Arabians, the Temanites in particular, were so famous. Now they were at their wits’ end.

Concerning Edom, thus saith the Lord of hosts,.... Or, "unto Edom" (i), thus saith the Lord; or, "against Edom" (k); all which is true, as observed on Jeremiah 49:1; meaning the Idumeans, the posterity of Esau, who was called Edom. Kimchi thinks this respects time yet future, and points at the destruction of Rome, and the Romans, who with the Jews frequently go by the name of Edom; and Abarbinel is of the same mind. And Cocceius is of opinion that the Jews are meant, and their destruction, with whom the Idumeans were incorporated before the coming of Christ, and had Herod, an Idumean, king over them; but it is best to understand the prophecy properly and literally of the Idumeans themselves;

is wisdom no more in Teman? a city in Edom, which had its name from Teman, a grandson of Esau, Genesis 36:11; whose descendants were called Temanites; one of which was Eliphaz, a friend of Job's, Job 2:11; it was a principal city, famous for men of wisdom; such an one was the person just mentioned: perhaps the grand senate of the country, or the chief counsellors, dwelt here; where schemes were formed for the good of the country in times of war or peace; or schools were kept here for the instruction of persons in various arts and sciences; and which had continued to this time, but now would be no more. The Targum is,

"is there no more wisdom in the south?''

but Jarchi better interprets it of Edom, which lay south to the land of Israel;

is counsel perished from the prudent? it was so, even from those that were the most famous for being prudent and understanding men; they were now at their wits' end, and knew not what course to take, nor what advice to give, in this their time of distress. The Targum renders it "from the children"; the sons of the Temanites, strangely degenerated from their ancestors;

is their wisdom vanished? or corrupted, as the Targum; or does it stink? according to the Rabbinical sense of the word; or infatuated, and become good for nothing? verily it was, it was useless, disregarded and despised.

(i) "ad Idumeam", V. L. "ad Edom", Pagninus, Montanus. (k) "Contra", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Schmidt.

Concerning Edom, thus saith the LORD of hosts; Is wisdom no more in {i} Teman? hath counsel perished from the prudent? hath their wisdom vanished?

(i) Which was a city of Edom, called by the name of Teman Eliphaz's son, who came from Esau.

7. If Obadiah 1:8 is a later insertion there (so Wellhausen), it may have been introduced from this passage. Eliphaz the Temanite (Job 2:11, etc.) has been thought to illustrate a reputation for wisdom on the part of Teman.

Is wisdom no more in Teman?] This and the succeeding questions are a pointed way of calling attention to the stupefying suddenness and completeness of the calamity.

Teman] a district in the N. of Edom. Cp. Ezekiel 25:13; Amos 1:12.

7–22 (= LXX. Ch. Jeremiah 29:8-23). Prophecy against Edom

The fact that there is a great similarity with Obadiah (Jeremiah 49:7; Jeremiah 49:9-10 a, and 14–16 corresponding respectively with Obadiah 1:8; Obadiah 1:5 f., 1–4) raises a difficult question as to the origin of the passages common to the two prophecies. The two main views are as follows: (a) that both are based on an older prophecy, Ob. preserving a more original form (so Dr., G. A. Smith, and others), and (b) that Ob.’s original work consisted of his Jeremiah 49:1-5; Jeremiah 49:7; Jeremiah 49:10-11; Jeremiah 49:13-15 b, and was not a prophecy of coming ruin, but a description of it as already existent (so Wellhausen, followed by Gi., Du., Co. and others). Ob., as it stands, is evidently (see Jeremiah 49:10 ff.) subsequent to the fall of Jerusalem (b.c. 586). From what we have said above, it follows that the corresponding parts of this section are later, either as an addition to a genuine Jeremianic utterance of the fourth year of Jehoiakim (see introd. note on chs. 46–51), or as forming a part of the section which is wholly post-exilic; the former of these two hypotheses being on the whole preferable. Co. points out the skill with which (on the former hypothesis) the incorporator of the Ob. passages avoided all references (so Obadiah 1:10 ff.) to the overthrow of Jerusalem. The expansion in later times of a Jeremianic prophecy against Edom is a priori likely for reasons similar to those mentioned in introd. note to Jeremiah 48:1-10.

The bitterness of the tone in which Edom is addressed finds parallels in Lamentations 4:21, as also in Psalm 137:7; Ezekiel 25:12-14; Ezekiel 35:15; Obadiah 1:10-16, and is no doubt based upon a sense of the closeness of the tie of kinship between Edom and Israel.

The contents of the section may be summarized as follows.

(i) Jeremiah 49:7-12. Have the prudent of Teman lost their wisdom? Flee into hiding from coming troubles, ye people of Dedan. Ye shall be utterly despoiled. Leave to Jehovah the charge of your widows and orphans. Ye shall yourselves assuredly drink the wine of destruction. (ii) Jeremiah 49:13-22. Bozrah and the other cities shall be laid waste. The nations are summoned to fight against her. She shall be held in contempt, though erst so proud. She shall be brought down from her loftiness and jeered at, overthrown and without inhabitant as were Sodom and Gomorrah. The foe as a lion shall drive her away. Such is Jehovah’s purpose. The far-reaching sound of her fall shall make the earth to tremble. At the swoop of the enemy the anguish of Edom shall be great.

The affinity which existed between the two nations made the unnatural exultation of Edom over the fallen fortunes of the Jews most offensive. See, in addition to the above passages, Amos 1:11, and for an apparent reference to the fulfilment of this prophecy against Edom, Malachi 1:3.

Verses 7-10. - A startling picture of the judgment impending over Edom, the severity of which is to be inferred from the behaviour of the sufferers. Observe, no allusion is made by Jeremiah to any special bitter feeling of the Edomites towards the Israelites, such as is implied in Isaiah 34; Ezekiel 35, and other passages. With regard to the fulfilment of the prophecy, we may fairly quote in the first place Malachi 1:2-4. The agents in the desolation there referred to (still fresh in Malachi's recollection) are probably the Nabathaeans (an Arab race, though writing Aramaic), who, after occupying Edom, dropped their nomad habits, devoted themselves to commerce, and founded the kingdom of Arabia Petraea. Meantime the Edomites maintained an independent existence in the midst of the Jewish colonists, till John Hyrcanus compelled them to accept circumcision about B.C. 130. In spite of this enforced religious and political union, the Edomites remained perfectly conscious of their nationality, and we find them mentioned as a distinct factor in the community in Josephus' account of the great Jewish war. They pass away from history after the destruction of Jerusalem, A.D. 70. Verse 7. - Teman was celebrated for its "wisdom," i.e. for a practical moral philosophy, similar to that which we find in the less distinctly religions portions of the Book of Proverbs. It was this "wisdom" which formed the common element in the higher culture of the Semitic peoples, and of which the sacred narrator speaks when he says that "Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country" (1 Kings 4:30). One of Job's friends, Eliphaz, was a Temanite (Job 2:11). From ver. 20, however, it appears that Teman is here used for Edom in general, of which it formed a part. "Wisdom" was doubtless cultivated throughout Idumaea (Obadiah 1:8), the "land of Uz," in which Job dwelt, was probably in the east of Edom (see on Jeremiah 25:20). Is their wisdom vanished? The Hebrew, with its characteristic love for material symbols, has, "Is their wisdom poured out?" So in Jeremiah 19:7, "I will pour out [a different word, however, is used] the counsel of Judah." The body being regarded as a vessel, it was natural to represent the principle of life, both physical (Isaiah 53:12) and intellectual (as here), under the symbol of a liquid. Jeremiah 49:7Concerning Edom. - To the Edomites, whom Israel were to leave undisturbed in their possession, since they were a kindred nations (Deuteronomy 2:4), Balaam announces that "Edom shall become a possession," i.e., shall be taken possession of by the ruler rising out of Israel. We have shown, in the explanation given of Numbers 24:18, that up to the time of the exile this utterance had been fulfilled merely by feeble attacks being made, since the Edomites were only temporarily subdued by the Israelites, then soon made themselves independent again, and made war on Israel. On account of their implacable hostility towards the people of God, Ezekiel (Ezekiel 25:12.), as well as Jeremiah in this prophecy, announces ruin to them. The contents of the prophecy before us are as follow: The far-famed wisdom of Teman will not preserve Edom from the destruction with which Jahveh will visit it. The judgment of desolation that has been decreed shall inevitably come on it (Jeremiah 49:7-13). The nations shall wage war against it, and make it small; because of its proud trust in the strength of its dwelling-place, it shall become the laughing-stock of every passer-by (Jeremiah 49:14-18). As a lion from the reedy places of Jordan suddenly attacks a herd, the Lord will drag the Edomites from their rocky dwelling, so that the earth shall quake with the crash of their fall, and the anguish of death shall seize their heroes (Jeremiah 49:19-22). In this prophecy Jeremiah has relied much on Obadiah, Obadiah 1:1-9, and reproduced much of his expressions regarding the fall of Edom.

(Note: The use made of Obadiah by Jeremiah has been so convincingly proved, especially by Caspari in his commentary on Obadiah, that even Ewald and Graf, who place the prophecy of Obadiah in the time of the exile, acknowledge this use that has been made of it, and therefore hold that the first part of the book of Obadiah is a fragment of an older oracle. This is a hypothesis which we have already shown, in the introduction to Obadiah, to be untenable.)

According to what has been said, his address falls into three strophes. In the first (Jeremiah 49:7-13), the judgment breaking over Edom is depicted as one that cannot be averted, and as having been irrevocably decreed by the Lord; in the second (Jeremiah 49:14-18), it is set forth as to its nature and the occasion of its occurrence; and in the third (Jeremiah 49:19-22), as to its completion and consequences.

Jeremiah 49:7-13

The judgment as inevitable. - Jeremiah 49:7. "Thus saith Jahveh of hosts: Is there no more wisdom in Teman? has wisdom perished from those of understanding? is their wisdom [all] poured out? Jeremiah 49:8. Flee, turn ye! hide yourselves, ye inhabitants of Dedan; for I bring the destruction of Esau upon him, the time [when] I visit him. Jeremiah 49:9. If grape-gatherers come to thee, they will not leave gleanings; if thieves by night, they destroy what suffices them. Jeremiah 49:10. For I have stripped Esau, I have uncovered his secret places, and he cannot cover himself; his seed is destroyed, and his brethren, and his neighbours, and he is not. Jeremiah 49:11. Leave thine orphans, I will keep them alive; and let thy widows trust me. Jeremiah 49:12. For thus saith Jahveh: Behold, they whose judgment was not to drink the cup shall certainly drink it: and art thou he [who] shall be quite unpunished? thou shalt not be unpunished, but shalt certainly drink. Jeremiah 49:13. For by myself have I sworn, saith Jahveh, that Bozrah shall become a desolation, a reproach, a waste, and a curse; and all its cities shall become everlasting wastes."

In order to frighten Edom out of his carnal security, the prophet begins by depicting the horror of the judgment coming down on this people, before which his wise men shall stand not knowing what to advise, and unable to find out any means for averting the evil. Teman, the home of the wise Eliphaz (Job 2:11), is here, as in Amos 1:12, Obadiah 1:9, the region of that name in Gebalene, the northern district of Idumea; see on Amos 1:12. The question, "Is there no longer wisdom in Teman?" is ironical, and has a negative meaning. The following clauses also are to be taken as questions, not as assent to the question, as Hitzig and Graf infer from the omission of בּנים אם is not the plural of בּן, "son," but the participle of בּוּן fo elpici or בּין, and equivalent to נבנים; cf. Isaiah 29:14.

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