Resources » Asbury Bible Commentary » Part II: The Old Testament » JEREMIAH » Commentary » XVII. Oracles Against The Nations (Chs. 46–51)

XVII. Oracles Against The Nations (Chs. 46–51)

Jeremiah's oracles addressed to the nations are similar to those found in Isaiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Obadiah, and Nahum. See other commentaries for a discussion of the authenticity of the material in this section and the different order of the arrangement of these chapters in the Septuagint.

Yahweh's sovereignty over his own chosen people and over all the nations of the world is an important theological claim of the prophets of Israel. He is the Creator and the Lord of all nations (51:15-19). He is incomparable; no one can successfully challenge his authority (50:44). The primary sin of the nations is their refusal to acknowledge this truth about the God of Israel and their worship of objects that have no life in them (51:17-18). Yahweh is a holy God, and judgment is upon those who defy his authority over them (48:26, 42; 51:29).

Though nations are instruments of his judgment against his chosen people, they themselves are under the righteous judgment of Yahweh, the God of Israel (51:6-8, 20-24). In addition to their idolatry, the nations are proud and arrogant (46:8; 48:29; 49:4; 49:16; 50:31-32); they trust in their idols, kings, and in their own resources (46:25-26; 48:7; 49:4); they have ridiculed and destroyed Israel (48:27; 51:49). The day of their judgment is the day of Yahweh's vengeance on his enemies (46:7-10). The nations and their idols will be punished (46:25; 48:7; 50:2; 51:44, 47, 52). They are also given the promise of their future restoration (46:26; 48:47; 49:6, 39). It is possible that Jeremiah anticipated the eschatological restoration of the nations in conjunction with Yahweh's plan to forgive the sins of Israel and to bring them back to Zion to establish with them an everlasting covenant (50:4-7, 20). The day of Israel's restoration will also be a day of restoration of her enemies.

XVIII. Historical Appendix (Ch. 52)

The historical appendix formally concludes the book, though the words and deeds of Jeremiah end with 51:64. This historical section, for the most part, is a reiteration of the events narrated in 2Ki 24:18-25:30. This chapter accomplishes three goals: first, it testifies to the authenticity of Jeremiah as a true prophet and to the truthfulness and the power of the prophetic word. Second, the fall of Jerusalem, the destruction of the temple, and the deportation of the Jews are presented here as the consequence of Yahweh's anger (52:3). Third, the concluding report about the release of King Jehoiachin from prison (52:31-34) gives a clear hint that the promise of the restoration of the exiled Jews in Babylon is about to be fulfilled. It is only fitting that this book, which begins with a word of judgment (1:14-16), end with a note of hope to those who experience God's judgment. After all, the ultimate goal of the prophetic word is to announce to those who live in despair the reality of God's grace, which offers to them a future and a hope. This is the good news we find in the book of Jeremiah.

Bibliography

Consult Robert P. Carroll's commentary on Jeremiah for an extensive bibliography. The bibliography that follows contains only those works cited in this work.

Bright, J. Jeremiah. AB. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1965.

Carroll, R. P. Jeremiah. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1986.

Clarke, A. A Commentary and Critical Notes: The Old Testament. Vol. 4. New York: Carlton and Porter, n.d.

Thompson, J. A. The Book of Jeremiah. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980.

Wesley, J. Explanatory Notes Upon the Old Testament. Bristol: William Pine. Reprinted by Schmul Publishers, Salem, Ohio, 1975.