New English Translation
Judgment Against Ammon
49 The Lord spoke about the Ammonites:[a]
“Do you think there are not any people of the nation of Israel remaining?
Do you think there are not any of them remaining to reinherit their land?
Is that why you people who worship the god Milcom[b]
have taken possession of the territory of Gad and live in his cities?[c]
2 Because you did that,
I, the Lord, affirm that[d] a time is coming
when I will make Rabbah, the capital city of Ammon,
hear the sound of the battle cry.
It will become a mound covered with ruins.[e]
Its villages will be burned to the ground.[f]
Then Israel will take back its land
from those who took their land from them.
I, the Lord, affirm it![g]
3 Wail, you people in Heshbon, because Ai in Ammon is destroyed.
Cry out in anguish, you people in the villages surrounding[h] Rabbah.
Put on sackcloth and cry out in mourning.
Run about covered with gashes.[i]
For your god Milcom will go into exile
along with his priests and officials.[j]
4 Why do you brag about your great power?
Your power is ebbing away,[k] you rebellious people of Ammon,[l]
who trust in your riches and say,
‘Who would dare to attack us?’
5 I will bring terror on you from every side,”
says the Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies.[m]
“You will be scattered in every direction.[n]
No one will gather the fugitives back together.
6 Yet in days to come
I will reverse Ammon’s ill fortune.”[o]
says the Lord.[p]
Judgment Against Edom
“Is wisdom no longer to be found in Teman?[s]
Can Edom’s counselors not give her any good advice?[t]
Has all their wisdom turned bad?[u]
8 Turn and flee! Take up refuge in remote places,[v]
you people who live in Dedan.[w]
For I will bring disaster on the descendants of Esau.
I have decided it is time for me to punish them.[x]
9 If grape pickers came to pick your grapes,
would they not leave a few grapes behind?[y]
If robbers came at night,
would they not pillage only what they needed?[z]
10 But I will strip everything away from Esau’s descendants.
I will uncover their hiding places so they cannot hide.
Their children, relatives, and neighbors will all be destroyed.
Not one of them will be left!
11 Leave your orphans behind and I will keep them alive.
Your widows, too, can depend on me.”[aa]
12 For the Lord says, “If even those who did not deserve to drink from the cup of my wrath must drink from it, do you think you will go unpunished? You will not go unpunished, but must certainly drink from the cup of my wrath.[ab] 13 For I solemnly swear,”[ac] says the Lord, “that Bozrah[ad] will become a pile of ruins. It will become an object of horror and ridicule, an example to be used in curses.[ae] All the towns around it will lie in ruins forever.”
14 I said,[af] “I have heard a message from the Lord.
A messenger has been sent among the nations to say,
‘Gather your armies and march out against her!
Prepare to do battle with her!’”[ag]
15 The Lord says to Edom,[ah]
“I will certainly make you small among nations.
I will make you despised by all humankind.
16 The terror you inspire in others[ai]
and the arrogance of your heart have deceived you.
You may make your home in the clefts of the rocks;
you may occupy the highest places in the hills.[aj]
But even if you made your home where the eagles nest,
I would bring you down from there,”
says the Lord.
17 “Edom will become an object of horror.
All who pass by it will be filled with horror;
they will hiss out their scorn
because of all the disasters that have happened to it.[ak]
18 Edom will be destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah
and the towns that were around them.
No one will live there.
No human being will settle in it,”
says the Lord.
19 “A lion coming up from the thick undergrowth along the Jordan[al]
scatters the sheep in the pastureland around it.[am]
So too I will chase the Edomites off their land.[an]
Then I will appoint over it whomever I choose.[ao]
For there is no one like me, and there is no one who can call me to account.[ap]
There is no[aq] ruler[ar] who can stand up against me.
20 So listen to what I, the Lord, have planned against Edom,
what I intend to do to[as] the people who live in Teman.[at]
Their little ones will be dragged off.
I will completely destroy their land because of what they have done.[au]
21 The people of the earth will quake when they hear of their downfall.[av]
Their cries of anguish will be heard all the way to the Gulf of Aqaba.[aw]
22 Look! Like an eagle with outspread wings,
a nation will soar up and swoop down on Bozrah.
At that time the soldiers of Edom will be as fearful
as a woman in labor.”[ax]
Judgment Against Damascus
“The people of Hamath and Arpad[ba] will be dismayed
because they have heard bad news.
Their courage will melt away because of worry.
Their hearts will not be able to rest.[bb]
24 The people of Damascus will lose heart and turn to flee.
Panic will grip them.
Pain and anguish will seize them
like a woman in labor.
25 How deserted will that once-famous city[bc] be,
that city that was once filled with[bd] joy![be]
26 For her young men will fall in her city squares.
All her soldiers will be destroyed at that time,”
says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.[bf]
27 “I will set fire to the walls of Damascus;
it will burn up the palaces of Ben Hadad.”[bg]
Judgment Against Kedar and Hazor
“Army of Babylon,[bj] go and attack Kedar.
Lay waste those who live in the eastern desert.[bk]
29 Their tents and their flocks will be taken away.
Their tent curtains, equipment, and camels will be carried off.
People will shout[bl] to them,
‘Terror is all around you!’”[bm]
30 The Lord says,[bn] “Flee quickly, you who live in Hazor.
Take up refuge in remote places.[bo]
For King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has laid out plans to attack you.
He has formed his strategy on how to defeat you.”[bp]
31 The Lord says,[bq] “Army of Babylon,[br] go and attack
a nation that lives in peace and security.
They have no gates or walls to protect them.[bs]
They live all alone.
32 Their camels will be taken as plunder.
Their vast herds will be taken as spoil.
I will scatter to the four winds
those desert peoples who cut their hair short at the temples.[bt]
I will bring disaster against them
from every direction,” says the Lord.[bu]
33 “Hazor will become a permanent wasteland,
a place where only jackals live.[bv]
No one will live there.
No human being will settle in it.”[bw]
Judgment Against Elam
35 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies said:
“I will kill all the archers of Elam,
who are the chief source of her military might.[ca]
36 I will cause enemies to blow through Elam from every direction
like the winds blowing in from the four quarters of heaven.
I will scatter the people of Elam to the four winds.
There will not be any nation where the refugees of Elam will not go.[cb]
37 I will make the people of Elam terrified of their enemies,
who are seeking to kill them.
I will vent my fierce anger
and bring disaster upon them,”[cc] says the Lord.[cd]
“I will send armies chasing after them[ce]
until I have completely destroyed them.
38 I will establish my sovereignty over Elam.[cf]
I will destroy their king and their leaders,”[cg] says the Lord.[ch]
39 “Yet in future days
I will reverse Elam’s ill fortune,”[ci]
says the Lord.
- Jeremiah 49:1 sn Ammonites. Ammon was a small kingdom to the north and east of Moab that was in constant conflict with the Transjordanian tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh over territorial rights to the lands north and south of the Jabbok River. Ammon mainly centered on the city of Rabbah, which is modern Amman. According to Judg 11:13, the Ammonites claimed the land between the Jabbok and the Arnon, but this was land taken from them by Sihon and Og, and then taken from Sihon and Og by the Israelites. The Ammonites attempted to expand into the territory of Israel in the Transjordan in the time of Jephthah (Judg 10-11) and the time of Saul (1 Sam 11). Apparently when Tiglath Pileser carried away the Israelite tribes in Transjordan in 733 b.c., the Ammonites took over possession of their cities (Jer 49:1). Like Moab they appear to have been loyal to Nebuchadnezzar in the early part of his reign, forming part of the contingent that he sent to harass Judah when Jehoiakim rebelled in 598 b.c. (2 Kgs 24:2). But along with Moab and Edom they sent representatives to plot rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar in 594 b.c. (Jer 27:3). The Ammonites were evidently in rebellion against him in 588 b.c. when he had to decide whether to attack Rabbah or Jerusalem first (Ezek 21:18-23 [21:23-28 HT]). They appear to have remained in rebellion after the destruction of Jerusalem because their king Baalis was behind the plot to assassinate Gedaliah and offered refuge to Ishmael after he carried it out (Jer 40:13; 41:15). According to the Jewish historian Josephus they were conquered in 582 b.c. by Nebuchadnezzar.
- Jeremiah 49:1 tc The reading here and in v. 3 follows the reading of the Greek, Syriac, and Latin versions and the name found in 1 Kgs 11:5, 33 and 2 Kgs 23:13. The Hebrew reads “Malcom” both here, in v. 3, and in Zeph 1:5. This god is to be identified with the one known elsewhere as Molech (cf. 1 Kgs 11:7).
- Jeremiah 49:1 tn Heb “Does not Israel have any sons? Does not he have any heir [or “heirs” as a collective]? Why [then] has Malcom taken possession of Gad and [why] do his [Malcom’s] people live in his [Gad’s] land?” A literal translation here will not produce any meaning without major commentary. Hence the meaning that is generally agreed on is reflected in an admittedly paraphrastic translation. The reference is to the fact that the Ammonites had taken possession of the cities that had been deserted when the Assyrians carried off the Transjordanian tribes in 733 b.c., assuming that the Israelites would not return in sufficient numbers to regain control of them. The expression “Why has Milcom taken possession” reflects the idea, common in the OT and the ancient Near East, that the god of a people drove out the previous inhabitants, gave their land to his worshipers to possess, and took up residence with them there (cf., e.g., Deut 1:21; Judg 11:24; and line 33-34 of the Moabite stone: “Chemosh said to me, ‘Go down, fight against Hauronen.’ And I went down [and I fought against the town and took it], and Chemosh dwelt there in my time.” [ANET 321]).
- Jeremiah 49:2 tn Heb “oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 49:2 tn Heb “a desolate tel.” For the explanation of what a “tel” is see the study note on 30:18.
- Jeremiah 49:2 tn Heb “Its daughters will be burned with fire.” For the use of the word “daughters” to refer to the villages surrounding a larger city, see BDB 123 s.v. I בַּת 4 and compare the usage in Judg 1:27.
- Jeremiah 49:2 tn Heb “says the Lord.” The first person is used to maintain the first person address throughout.
- Jeremiah 49:3 tn Or “you women of Rabbah”; Heb “daughters of Rabbah.” It is difficult to tell whether the word “daughters” is used here in the same sense that it has in v. 2 (see the translator’s note there) or in the literal sense of “daughters.” The former has been preferred because the cities themselves (e.g., Heshbon) are called to wail in the earlier part of the verse, and the term “daughters” has been used in the previous verse of the surrounding villages.
- Jeremiah 49:3 tc Or “Run back and forth inside the walls of your towns.” Or “slash yourselves with gashes.” The meaning of this line is uncertain. The Hebrew text reads, “run back and forth among the walls.” The word “run back and forth” is generally taken as a Hitpolel of a verb that means to “go about” in the Qal and to “go back and forth” in the Polel (cf. BDB 1002 s.v. I שׁוּט). The noun that follows in the Hebrew means “wall, hedge” and is quite commonly modified by the noun צֹאן (tsoʾn, “sheep”), referring to sheepfolds (cf., e.g., Num 32:36; 1 Sam 24:3). But the phrase “run back and forth among the sheepfolds” yields little meaning here. In Ps 89:40 (89:41 HT) the word “wall” is used in parallelism with fortified cities and refers to the walls of the city. That is the sense that is assumed in one of the alternate translations, with the words “of your towns” being supplied in the translation for clarification. However, that figure is a little odd in a context that speaks of mourning rites. Hence, some emend the word “walls” (גְּדֵרוֹת, gederot) to “gashes” (גְּדֻדוֹת, gedudot), a word that has occurred in a similar context in Jer 48:37. That would involve only the common confusion of ר and ד. That is the reading adopted here, which fits the context nicely. The NRSV appears to go one step further, reading the verb as a Hitpolel from a root that is otherwise used only as a noun to mean “whip” or “scourge.” The NRSV has, “slash yourselves with whips,” which also makes excellent sense in the context but is not supported by any parallel use of the verb.
- Jeremiah 49:3 sn Cf. Jer 48:7 and the study note there.
- Jeremiah 49:4 tn Or “Why do you brag about your valleys, about the fruitfulness of your valleys.” The meaning of the first two lines of this verse are uncertain, primarily due to the ambiguity of the expression זָב עִמְקֵךְ (zav ʿimqekh). The form זָב (zav) is either a Qal perfect or Qal participle of a verb meaning flow. It is common in the expression “a land flowing with milk and honey” and in reference to the seminal discharge or discharge of blood that makes a man or woman unclean. BDB 264 s.v. זוּב Qal.2 sees it as an abbreviation of the idea of “flowing with milk and honey” that describes the fertility of Ammon’s valley. However, there are no other examples of such an ellipsis. Several modern English versions and commentaries have taken the word עֵמֶק (ʿemeq) not as a reference to a valley but as the homonym cited in the note on 47:5, referring in 49:4 to the flowing away of Ammon’s strength. That interpretation is followed here. Instead of explaining the plural ending on עֲמָקִים (ʿamaqim) as an enclitic ם (mem), as do others who follow this interpretation (e.g., J. Bright, Jeremiah [AB], 325), the present translation understands the plural as a plural of amplification (cf. GKC 397-98 §124.e and compare the noun “might” in Isa 40:26).
- Jeremiah 49:4 tn Heb “apostate daughter.” This same term is applied to Israel in Jer 31:22 but seems inappropriate here for Ammon because she had never been loyal to the Lord and so could not be called “apostate.” However, if it is used about her rebellion against the Lord’s servant, Nebuchadnezzar, it might be appropriate (cf. Jer 27:6, 8). Hence the term “rebellious” stands in the translation to represent it. The word “daughter” is again a personification of the land (cf. BDB 123 s.v. בַּת 3) and is here translated “people of Ammon” to make the referent easier for the modern reader to identify.
- Jeremiah 49:5 tn Heb “The Lord Yahweh of Armies.” For an explanation of the rendering here and of the significance of this title, see the study note on 2:19.
- Jeremiah 49:5 tn Heb “You will be scattered, each man [straight] before him.”
- Jeremiah 49:6 tn See Jer 29:14; 30:3; and the translator’s note on 29:14 for the idiom used here.
- Jeremiah 49:6 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 49:7 tn Heb “Yahweh of Armies.” See the study note on 2:19 for this title.
- Jeremiah 49:7 sn Edom was a kingdom to the south and east of Judah. Its borders varied over time, but basically Edom lay in the hundred-mile strip between the Gulf of Aqaba on the south and the Zered River on the north. It straddled the Arabah leading down from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba, having as its northern neighbors both Judah and Moab. A long history of hostility existed between Israel and Edom, making Edom one of the favorite subjects of the prophets’ oracles of judgment (cf., e.g., Isa 21:11-12; 34:5-15; 63:1-6; Amos 1:11-12; Ezek 25:12-14; 35:1-15; Obad 1-16). Not much is known about Edomites at this time other than that they participated in the discussions in 594 b.c. regarding rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar. According to Obadiah 10-16, they not only gloated over Judah’s downfall in 586 b.c. but participated in its plunder and killed some of those who were fleeing the country.
- Jeremiah 49:7 sn Teman was the name of one of Esau’s descendants, the name of an Edomite clan, and the name of the district where they lived (Gen 36:11, 15, 34). Like the name Bozrah, it is used poetically for all of Edom (Jer 49:20; Ezek 25:13).
- Jeremiah 49:7 tn Heb “Has counsel perished from men of understanding?”
- Jeremiah 49:7 tn The meaning of this last word is based on the definitions given in KBL 668 s.v. II סָרַח Nif and HALOT 726 s.v. II סָרַח Nif, which give the nuance as “to be [or become] corrupt.” Instead, BDB 710 s.v. סָרַח Niph gives the nuance as “let loose (i.e., to be dismissed; to be gone),” deriving it from a verb used elsewhere of the overhanging of a curtain or a cliff.
- Jeremiah 49:8 tn Heb “make deep to dwell.” The meaning of this phrase is debated. Some take it as a call for the Dedanites, who were not native to Edom, to go down from the heights of Edom and go back home (so G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, T. G. Smothers, Jeremiah 26-52 [WBC], 330). The majority of commentaries, however, take it as a call for the Dedanites to disassociate themselves from the Edomites and find remote hiding places to live in (so J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah [NICOT], 718). For the options see W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 2:375.
- Jeremiah 49:8 sn Dedan. The Dedanites were an Arabian tribe who lived to the southeast of Edom. They are warned here to disassociate themselves from Edom because Edom is about to suffer disaster.
- Jeremiah 49:8 tn Heb “For I will bring the disaster of Esau upon him, the time when I will punish him.” Esau was the progenitor of the tribes and nation of Edom (cf. Gen 36:1, 8, 9, 19).
- Jeremiah 49:9 tn The translation of this verse is generally based on the parallels in Obad 5. There the second line has an interrogative ה (he) in front of it. The question can still be assumed because questions can be asked in Hebrew without a formal marker (cf. GKC 473 §150.a and BDB 519 s.v. לֹא 1.a[e], and compare usage in 2 Kgs 5:26).
- Jeremiah 49:9 tn The tense and nuance of the verb translated “pillage” are different from those of the verb in Obad 5. There the verb is the imperfect of גָּנַב (ganav, “to steal”). Here the verb is the perfect of a verb meaning “ruin” or “spoil.” The English versions and commentaries, however, almost all render the verb here much the same way as in Obad 5. The nuance must mean they “ruin, destroy” (by stealing) only as much as they need (Heb “their sufficiency”), and the verb is used as metonymical substitute, effect for cause. The perfect must be some kind of a future perfect: “would they not have destroyed only…” The negative question is carried over by ellipsis from the preceding lines.
- Jeremiah 49:11 tn Or “Their children and relatives will all be destroyed. And none of their neighbors will say, ‘Leave your orphans with me, and I’ll keep them alive. Your widows can trust in me.’” This latter interpretation is based on a reading in a couple of the Greek versions (Symmachus and Lucian) and is accepted by several modern commentaries (J. Bright, J. A. Thompson, W. L. Holladay, and G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, T. G. Smothers). However, the majority of modern English versions do not follow it, and, lacking any other Hebrew or versional evidence, it is probably an interpretation to deal with the mitigation of what seems a prophecy of utter annihilation. There have been other cases in Jeremiah where a universal affirmation (either positive or negative) has been modified in the verses that follow. The verb in the second line תִּבְטָחוּ (tivtakhu) is highly unusual; it is a second masculine plural form with a feminine plural subject. The form is explained in GKC 127-28 §47.k and 160-61 §60.a, n. 1 as a pausal substitution for the normal form תִּבְטַחְנָה (tivtakhnah), with a similar form in Ezek 37:7 cited as a parallel.
- Jeremiah 49:12 tn The words “of my wrath” after “cup” in the first line and “from the cup of my wrath” in the last line are not in the text but are implicit in the metaphor. They have been supplied in the translation for clarity.sn The reference here is to the cup of God’s wrath that is connected with the punishment of war at the hands of the Babylonians, referred to already in Jer 25:15-29. Those who do not deserve to drink are the innocent victims of war who get swept away with the guilty. Edom was certainly not one of the innocent victims, as is clear from this judgment speech and those referred to in the study note on 49:7.
- Jeremiah 49:13 tn Heb “I swear by myself.” See 22:5 and the study note there.
- Jeremiah 49:13 sn Bozrah appears to have been the chief city in Edom, its capital city (see its parallelism with Edom in Isa 34:6; 63:1; Jer 49:22). The reference to “its towns” (translated here “all the towns around it”) could then be a reference to all the towns in Edom. It was located about twenty-five miles southeast of the southern end of the Dead Sea, apparently in the district of Teman (see the parallelism in Amos 1:12).
- Jeremiah 49:13 tn See the study note on 24:9 for the rendering of this term.
- Jeremiah 49:14 tn The words “I said” are not in the text, but it is generally agreed that the words that follow are Jeremiah’s. The translation supplies “I said” to make clear that the speaker has shifted from the Lord to Jeremiah.
- Jeremiah 49:14 tn Heb “Rise up for battle.” The idea “against her” is implicit from the context and has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Jeremiah 49:15 tn The words “The Lord says to Edom” are not in the text. The translation supplies them to mark the shift from the address of the messenger summoning the nations to prepare for battle against Edom. The Lord is clearly the speaker (see the end of v. 16), and Edom is clearly the addressee. Such sudden shifts are common in Hebrew poetry, particularly Hebrew prophecy, but are extremely disruptive to a modern reader trying to follow the argument of a passage. TEV adds “The Lord said” and then retains the third person throughout. The CEV puts all of vv. 14-16 in the second person and uses indirect discourse in v. 15.
- Jeremiah 49:16 tn The meaning of this feminine Hebrew noun (תִּפְלֶצֶת, tifletset) is uncertain because it occurs only here. However, it is related to a verb root referring to the shaking of pillars (of the earth; Job 9:6) and to a noun (מִפְלֶצֶת, mifletset) denoting “horror” or “shuddering” (Job 21:6; Isa 21:4; Ezek 7:18; Ps 55:6). This is the nuance accepted by BDB, KBL, HAL and a majority of the modern English versions. The suffix is an objective genitive. The following masculine singular verb suggests that the text here (הִשִּׁיא אֹתָךְ, hishiʾ ʾotakh) is in error for feminine הִשִּׁיאָתָךְ (hishiʾatakh; so G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, T. G. Smothers, Jeremiah 26-52 [WBC], 327, n. 16.a).
- Jeremiah 49:16 tn The Hebrew text of the first four lines reads, “Your terror [= the terror you inspire] has deceived you, [and] the arrogance of your heart, you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, who occupy the heights of the hill.” The sentence is broken up and restructured to better conform with English style.
- Jeremiah 49:17 sn This verse is very similar to Jer 19:8, where the same judgment is pronounced on Jerusalem. For the meaning of some of the terms here (“hiss out their scorn” and “all the disasters that have happened to it”), see the notes on that verse.
- Jeremiah 49:19 tn See the study note on Jer 12:5 for the rendering of this term.
- Jeremiah 49:19 tn “The pasture-ground on the everflowing river,” according to KBL 42 s.v. I אֵיתָן 1. The “everflowing river” refers to the Jordan.
- Jeremiah 49:19 tn Heb “Behold, as a lion comes up from the thicket of the Jordan into the pastureland of everflowing water, so [reading כֵּן (ken) for כִּי (ki); or “indeed” (reading כִּי as an asseverative particle with J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah [NICOT], 719, n. 6)] I will suddenly chase him [Edom] from upon it [the land].” The sentence has been restructured to better conform with contemporary English style, and the significance of the simile drawn from the comparison has been spelled out for the sake of clarity. The form אַרְגִּיעָה (ʾargiʿah) is functioning here as an adverbial modifier in a verbal hendiadys (cf. GKC 386 §120.g).
- Jeremiah 49:19 tn For the use of the interrogative מִי (mi) in the sense of “whoever” and functioning like an adjective, see BDB 567 s.v. מִי g and compare the usage in Prov 9:4, 16.
- Jeremiah 49:19 tn For this verb in the sense of “arraign” or “call before the bar of justice,” compare Job 9:19 and see BDB 417 s.v. יָעַד Hiph.
- Jeremiah 49:19 tn The interrogative מִי (mi) is rendered “there is no one” in each of the last three occurrences in this verse because it is used in a rhetorical question that expects the answer “no one” or “none.” It is, according to BDB 566 s.v. מִי f(c), equivalent to a rhetorical negative.
- Jeremiah 49:19 tn In the Book of Jeremiah “shepherd” (רֹעֶה, roʿeh) often refers metaphorically to the ruler or leader (cf. BDB 945 s.v. I רָעָה Qal.1.d(2) and compare usage, e.g., in Jer 2:8; 23:1).
- Jeremiah 49:20 tn Heb “Therefore, listen to the plan of the Lord that he has planned against Edom, and the purposes that he has purposed against…” The first person has again been adopted in the translation to avoid the shift from the first person address in v. 19 to the third person in v. 20, a shift that is common in Hebrew poetry, particularly Hebrew prophecy, but uncommon in contemporary English literature.
- Jeremiah 49:20 sn Teman here appears to be a poetic equivalent for Edom in a common figure of speech for Hebrew poetry where the part is put for the whole. “The people of Teman” is thus equivalent to all the people of Edom.
- Jeremiah 49:20 tn Heb “They will surely drag them off, namely the young ones of the flock. He will devastate their habitation [or “their sheepfold”] on account of them.” The figure of the lion among the flock of sheep appears to be carried on here, where the people and their homeland are referred to as a flock and their sheepfold. It is hard, however, to carry the figure over here into the translation, so the figures have been interpreted instead. Both of these last two sentences are introduced by a formula that indicates a strong affirmative oath (i.e., they are introduced by אִם לֹא [ʾim loʾ; cf. BDB 50 s.v. אִם 1.b(2)]). The subject of the verb “they will drag them off” is the indefinite third plural, which may be taken as a passive in English (cf. GKC 460 §144.g). The subject of the last line, which is the Lord, has been rendered in the first person for stylistic reasons (see the translator’s note on the beginning of the verse).
- Jeremiah 49:21 tn Heb “At the sound of their downfall the earth will quake.” However, as in many other places, “earth” here metonymically stands for the inhabitants or people of the earth (see E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 578-79, and compare usage in 2 Sam 15:23 and Ps 66:4).
- Jeremiah 49:21 tn Heb “the Red Sea,” of which the Gulf of Aqaba formed the northeastern arm. The land of Edom once reached this far according to 1 Kgs 9:26.
- Jeremiah 49:22 sn Cf. Jer 48:40-41 for a similar prophecy about Moab. The parallelism here suggests that Bozrah, like Teman in v. 20, is a poetic equivalent for Edom.
- Jeremiah 49:23 tn The words “The Lord spoke” and “he said” are not in the text. There is only a title here: “Concerning Damascus.” However, something needs to be supplied to show that these are the Lord’s words of judgment (cf. “oracle of the Lord” in v. 26 and “I” in v. 27). These words have been supplied in the translation for clarity and consistency with the introduction to the other judgment speeches.
- Jeremiah 49:23 sn Damascus is a city in Syria, located below the eastern slopes of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains. It was the capital of the Aramean state, which was in constant hostility with Israel from the time of David until its destruction by the Assyrians in 732 b.c. At various times it was allied with the Aramean state of Hamath, which was farther north. Contingents from these Aramean states were involved in harassing Judah and Jerusalem in 598 b.c. when Jehoiakim rebelled (2 Kgs 24:2), but little is heard about them in the rest of the book of Jeremiah or in the history of this period.
- Jeremiah 49:23 tn Heb “Hamath and Arpad.” There is no word for people in the text. The cities are being personified. However, since it is really the people who are involved, the present translation supplies the words “people of” both here and in v. 24 to aid the reader. The verbs in vv. 23-25 are all to be interpreted as prophetic perfects, the tense of the Hebrew verb that views an action as though it were as good as done. The verbs are clearly future in vv. 26-27, which begin with a “therefore.”sn Hamath was a city on the Orontes River about 110 miles (183 km) north of Damascus. Arpad was a city 95 miles (158 km) farther north from there. These two cities were in the path of the northern descent of the kings of Assyria and Babylonia and had been conquered earlier under the Assyrian kings (Isa 10:9; 36:19; 37:13). The apparent reference here is to their terror and loss of courage when they hear the news that Nebuchadnezzar’s armies are on the move toward them and Damascus. They would have been in the path of Nebuchadnezzar as he chased Necho south after the battle of Carchemish.
- Jeremiah 49:23 tc The meaning of this verse is very uncertain. The Hebrew text apparently reads, “Hamath and Arpad are dismayed. They melt away because they have heard bad news. Anxiety is in the sea; it [the sea] cannot be quiet.” Many commentaries and English versions redivide the verse, have “like the sea” for “in the sea” (כַּיָּם [kayyam] for בַּיָּם [bayyam]), and read the feminine singular noun דְּאָגָה (deʾagah) as though it were the third masculine plural verb דָּאֲגוּ (daʾagu): “They are troubled like the sea.” The translation follows the emendation proposed in BHS and accepted by a number of commentaries (e.g., J. Bright, Jeremiah [AB], 333; J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah [NICOT], 723, n. 1). That emendation involves reading נָמֹג לִבָּם מִדְּאָגָה (namog libbam middeʾagah) instead of נָמֹגוּ בַּיָּם דְּאָגָה (namogu bayyam deʾagah). The translation also involves a double reading of “heart,” for the sake of English style, once in the sense of courage (BDB 525 s.v. לֵב 10), because that is the nuance that best fits “melts” in the English idiom, and once in the more general sense of hearts as the seat of fears, anxieties, and worries. The double translation is a concession to English style.
- Jeremiah 49:25 tn Heb “city of praise.”
- Jeremiah 49:25 tn Heb “city of joy.”
- Jeremiah 49:25 tc Or “Why has that famous city not been abandoned, that city I once took delight in?” The translation follows the majority of modern commentaries in understanding לֹא (loʾ, “not”) before “abandoned” as a misunderstanding of the emphatic ל (lamed; so J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah [NICOT], 723, n. 3, and J. Bright, Jeremiah [AB], 333, n. c; see also IBHS 211-12 §11.2.10i and HALOT 485-86 s.v. II לְ for the phenomenon). The particle is missing from the Vulgate. The translation also follows the versions in omitting the suffix on the word “joy” that is found in the Hebrew text (see BHS note b for a listing of the versions). This gives a better connection with the preceding and the following verse than the alternate translation.
- Jeremiah 49:26 tn Heb “Oracle of Yahweh of Armies.” For this title for God see the study note on 2:19.
- Jeremiah 49:27 sn Ben Hadad was a common name borne by a number of the kings of Damascus, e.g., one during the time of Asa around 900 b.c. (cf. 1 Kgs 15:18-20), one a little later during the time of Omri and Ahab around 850 (1 Kgs 20), and one during the time of Jehoash about 800 (2 Kgs 13:24-25).
- Jeremiah 49:28 sn Kedar appears to refer to an Arabic tribe of nomads descended from Ishmael (Gen 25:13). They are associated here with the people who live in the eastern desert (Heb “the children of the east”; בְּנֵי קֶדֶם, bene qedem). In Isa 21:16 they are associated with the Temanites and the Dedanites, Arabic tribes in the north Arabian desert. They were sheep breeders (Isa 60:7) who lived in tents (Ps 120:5) and unwalled villages (Isa 42:11). According to Assyrian records they clashed with Assyria from the time of Shalmaneser in 850 until the time of Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal in the late seventh century. According to the Babylonian Chronicles, Nebuchadnezzar defeated them in 599 b.c.
- Jeremiah 49:28 sn Hazor. Nothing is know about this Hazor other than what is said here in vv. 28, 30, 33. They appear to be nomadic tent dwellers, too, who had a loose association with the Kedarites.
- Jeremiah 49:28 tn The words “Army of Babylon” are not in the Hebrew text but are implicit from the context. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Jeremiah 49:28 sn Heb “the children of the east.” Nothing much is known about them other than their association with the Midianites and Amalekites in their attack on Israel in the time of Gideon (Judg 6:3, 33) and the fact that God would let tribes from the eastern desert capture Moab and Ammon in the future (Ezek 25:4, 10). Midian and Amalek were considered to be located in the region in north Arabia east of Ezion Geber. That would put them in the same general locality as the region of Kedar. The parallelism here suggests that they are the same as the people of Kedar. The words here are apparently addressed to the armies of Nebuchadnezzar.
- Jeremiah 49:29 tn Or “Let their tents…be taken….Let their tent…be carried…. Let people shout….”
- Jeremiah 49:29 sn This expression is a favorite theme in the book of Jeremiah. It describes the terrors of war awaiting the people of Judah and Jerusalem (6:25), the Egyptians at Carchemish (46:5), and here the Kedarites.
- Jeremiah 49:30 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 49:30 tn Heb “Make deep to dwell.” See Jer 49:8 and the translator’s note there. The use of this same phrase here argues against the alternative there of going down from a height and going back home.
- Jeremiah 49:30 tn Heb “has counseled a counsel against you, has planned a plan against you.”
- Jeremiah 49:31 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 49:31 tn The words “Army of Babylon” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Jeremiah 49:31 tn Heb “no gates and no bar,” i.e., “that lives securely without gates or bars.” The phrase is used by the figure of species for genus (synecdoche) to refer to the fact that they have no defenses, i.e., no walls, gates, or bars on the gates. The figure has been interpreted in the translation for the benefit of the average reader.
- Jeremiah 49:32 tn See the translator’s note at Jer 9:26 and compare the usage in 9:26 and 25:23.
- Jeremiah 49:32 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 49:33 sn Cf. Jer 9:11.
- Jeremiah 49:33 sn Cf. Jer 49:18 and 50:40, where the same thing is said about Edom and Babylon.
- Jeremiah 49:34 tn Heb “that which was.”
- Jeremiah 49:34 sn Elam was a country on the eastern side of the Tigris River in what is now southwestern Iran. Its capital city was Susa. It was destroyed in 640 b.c. by Ashurbanipal after a long period of conflict with the Assyrian kings. Babylonian records suggest that Elam regained its independence shortly thereafter, perhaps as early as 625 b.c., and it was involved in the fall of Assyria in 612 b.c. If the date refers to the first year of Zedekiah’s rule (597 b.c.), this prophecy appears to be later than the previous ones (cf. the study notes on 46:2 and 47:1).
- Jeremiah 49:34 tn Or “In the beginning of the reign.” For a discussion of the usage of the terms here see the translator’s note on 28:1. If this refers to the accession year, the dating would be 598/97 b.c.
- Jeremiah 49:35 tn Heb “I will break the bow of Elam, the chief source of their might.” The phrase does not mean that God will break literal bows or that he will destroy their weapons (synecdoche of species for genus) or their military power (so Hos 1:5). Because of the parallelism, the “bow” here stands for the archers who wielded the bow and were the strongest force (or chief contingent) in their military.
- Jeremiah 49:36 tn Or more simply, “I will bring enemies against Elam from every direction. / And I will scatter the people of Elam to the four winds. // There won’t be any nation / where the refugees of Elam will not go.” Or more literally, “I will bring the four winds against Elam / from the four quarters of heaven. / I will scatter….” However, the winds are not to be understood literally here. God isn’t going to “blow the Elamites” out of Elam with natural forces. The winds must figuratively represent enemy forces that God will use to drive them out. Translating literally would be misleading at this point.
- Jeremiah 49:37 tn Heb “I will bring disaster upon them, even my fierce anger.”
- Jeremiah 49:37 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 49:37 tn Heb “I will send the sword after them.”
- Jeremiah 49:38 tn Or “I will sit in judgment over Elam”; Heb “I will set up my throne in Elam.” Commentators are divided over whether this refers to a king sitting in judgment over his captured enemies or whether it refers to his formally establishing his rule over the country. Those who argue for the former idea point to the supposed parallels in 1:15 (which the present translation understands not to refer to this but to setting up siege) and 43:8-13. The parallelism in the verse here, however, argues that it refers to the Lord taking over the reins of government by destroying the former leaders.
- Jeremiah 49:38 tn Heb “I will destroy king and leaders from there.”
- Jeremiah 49:38 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 49:39 tn See Jer 29:14; 30:3; and the translator’s note on 29:14 for the idiom used here.sn See a similar note on the reversal of Moab’s fortunes in Jer 48:47; compare also 46:26 for a future restoration of Egypt.