Jeremiah 49:7
Concerning Edom, thus said 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. "Concerning the children of Ammon, thus saith Jahveh: Hath Israel no sons, or hath he no heir? Why doth their king inherit Gad, and his people dwell in his cities? Jeremiah 49:2. Therefore, behold, days are coming, saith Jahveh, when I will cause to be heard against Rabbah of the children of Ammon a war-cry; and it shall become a heap of ruins, and her daughters shall be burned with fire: and Israel shall heir those who heired him, saith Jahveh. Jeremiah 49:3. Howl, O Heshbon! for Ai is laid waste. Cry! ye daughters of Rabbah, gird yourselves with sackcloth; lament, and run up and down among the enclosures: for their king shall go into captivity, his priests and his princes together. Jeremiah 49:4. Why dost thou glory in the valleys? Thy valley flows away, O thou rebellious daughter, that trusted in her treasures, [saying], Who shall come to me? Jeremiah 49:5. Behold, I will bring a fear upon thee, saith the Lord Jahveh of hosts, from all that is round thee; and ye shall be driven each one before him, and there shall be none to gather together the fugitives. Jeremiah 49:6. But afterwards I will turn the captivity of the children of Ammon, saith Jahveh."

The address begins with a question full of reproach: "Has Israel, then, no sons who could take possession of his land as their inheritance, that the king of the Ammonites has taken possession of Gad (i.e., of the hereditary portion of the tribe of Gad), and dwells in the cities of Gad?" The question presupposes that the Israelites had been carried away by Tiglath-pileser, but at the same time, also, that the country still belongs to the Gadites, for they certainly have sons who shall again receive the inheritance of their fathers. Since Jeremiah, as is clear from Jeremiah 49:3, had Amos 1:13-15 in his mind, he evidently uses מלכּם in a double sense, not merely in Jeremiah 49:3, but even in Jeremiah 49:1 also, with a reference to Amos 1:15, meaning the king and god of the Ammonites. As in Amos, Aquila, Symmachus, Jerome, and the Syriac, so in this passage also, the lxx, Vulgate, and Syriac have understood מלכּם of the god מלכּם; with them agree Ewald, Hitzig, and Graf. But the reasons alleged for the change of מלכּם into מלכּם are quite as insufficient here as in Amos 1:15. Just as, in the last-named passage, מלכּם first of all refers to the king of the Ammonites, so is it here. It is not the god, but the king, of the Ammonites that has taken possession of the territory of Gad. It is not till Jeremiah 49:3 that the reference to the god Milcom plainly comes out. Jeremiah 49:2. Therefore shall Rabbah, the capital of the Ammonites, hear the cry of war, and be changed into a heap of ruins. רבּת בּני , "The great (city) of the sons of Ammon," is the full name of the Ammonite capital (cf. Deuteronomy 3:11), which is usually called, briefly, רבּה (Amos 1:14; 2 Samuel 11:1, etc.); it was afterwards called Philadelphia, probably after Ptolemy Philadelphus, in Polybius' ̔Ραββατάμανα, in Abulfeda Amn, which is the name still given to its ruins on the Nahr Ammn, i.e., the Upper Jabbok; see on Deuteronomy 3:11. "A cry of war," as in Jeremiah 4:19; cf. Amos 1:14. "A will of desolation," i.e., a heap of ruins; cf. Joshua 8:28; Deuteronomy 13:17. "her daughters" are the smaller cities dependent on the capital, - here, all the remaining cities of the Ammonites; cf. Numbers 21:25; Joshua 15:45, etc. "Israel shall heir those who heired him," i.e., receive back the property of those who have appropriated his land.

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