Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
PREDICTIONS AS TO
The event of the prophecy as to Ammon preceded that as to Moab
the destruction of Ammon is subjoined to the deposition of
1. Hath Israel . . . no heir?--namely, to occupy the land of Gad, after
it itself has been carried away captive by Shalmaneser. Ammon, like
Moab, descended from Lot, lay north of Moab, from which it was separated
by the river Arnon, and east of Reuben and Gad
(Jos 13:24, 25)
on the same side of Jordan. It seized on Gad when Israel was carried
captive. Judah was by the right of kindred the heir, not Ammon; but
Ammon joined with Nebuchadnezzar against Judah and Jerusalem
and exulted over its fall
(Ps 83:4-7, 8;
Zep 2:8, 9).
It had already, in the days of Jeroboam, in Israel's affliction, tried
to "enlarge its border"
Am 1:1, 13).
referring to Melchom, their tutelary idol
and so the Septuagint reads it here as a proper name
(1Ki 11:5, 33;
The Ammonite god is said to do what they do, namely, occupy the
Israelite land of Gad. To Jehovah, the theocratic "King" of Israel, the
land belonged of right; so that their Molech or Melchom was a
his people--the people of Melchom, "their king." Compare "people of
2. Rabbah--"the great," metropolis of Ammon
Its destruction is foretold also in
Am 1:14, 15.
her daughters--the towns and villages, dependencies of the metropolis
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).
3. Heshbon . . . Ai--Nebuchadnezzar, coming from the north, first
attacked Ammon, then its brother and neighbor, Moab. As Ai of Ammon had
already suffered destruction, Heshbon of Moab being near it might well
fear the same fate.
hedges--Their cities being destroyed, the outcasts have no place of
shelter save behind the "hedges" of vineyards and gardens; or else the
enclosures of their villages.
their king--Melchom, the idol, as the mention of "his priests" shows
4. thy flowing valley--rather, "thy valley shall flow," namely with
the blood of the slain; in sad contrast to their "valleys" in which they
had heretofore "gloried," as flowing with milk and honey
Or else, as Margin, "shall flow away."
backsliding--apostate from Jehovah, the God of their father Lot, to
treasures--her resources for resisting the foe.
Who shall, &c.--Who can come . . .
5. every man right forth--whithersoever chance may lead him
straight before him, onwards at random
none . . . gather up him, &c.--There shall be none to gather together the wandering fugitives, so as to care for them and restore
them to their own homes.
For the sake of "righteous" Lot their progenitor. Partially fulfilled
under Cyrus; in gospel times more fully.
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
Jeremiah's about the same time as his preceding prophecies
wisdom--for which the Arabs and the people of Teman (a city of Edom)
in particular, were famed
see Job, everywhere;
vanished--literally, "poured out," that is, exhausted (compare
Margin) [MAURER]. Or, as the kindred
Ethiopic word means, "worn out" [LUDOVICUS DE DIEU].
8. turn--namely, your backs in flight.
dwell deep--in deep defiles and caves
[GROTIUS], which abound in
Idumea. Others refer it to the Arab custom of retiring into the depth
of the desert when avoiding an offended foe
Dedan--a tribe bordering on and made subject by Idumea; descended
from Jokshan, son of Abraham and Keturah
Esau--The naming of Edom's progenitor, reprobated by God, recalls
the remembrance of the old curse on him for his profanity, both his sin
and its punishment being perpetuated in his descendants
(Heb 12:16, 17).
Grape gatherers, yea even thieves, leave something behind
them; but the Chaldeans will sweep Idumea clean of everything.
10. Edom became politically extinct after the time of the Romans.
uncovered his secret places--where he hid himself
and his treasures
I have caused that nothing should be so hidden as that the conqueror
should not find it.
11. Thy fatherless and widows must rest their hope in God alone, as
none of the adult males shall be left alive, so desperate will be the
affairs of Edom. The verse also, besides this threat, implies a promise
of mercy to Esau in God's good time, as there was to Moab and Ammon
the extinction of the adult males is the prominent idea (compare
Jer 25:15, 16, 29).
they whose judgment was not to drink of the cup--the Jews to whom,
by virtue of the covenant relation, it did not belong to drink the cup.
It might have been expected that they would be spared. He regards not
the merits of the Jews, for they were as bad or worse than others: but
the grace and adoption of God; it is just and natural ("judgment") that
God should pardon His sons sooner than aliens [CALVIN].
13. Bozrah--(See on
ambassador . . . unto the heathen--a messenger from God to stir up
the Chaldeans against Edom.
15. David and Joab had already humbled Edom
16. terribleness--the terror which thou didst inspire into others.
deceived thee--rendered thee proudly confident, as if none would dare
to assail thee.
dwellest in . . . rock--Petra, the chief of Idumea, was cut in the
rocks; its ruins are very remarkable. The whole south of Idumea abounds
in cave dwellings and rocks.
though . . . nest . . . eagle--
Ob 3, 4).
The eagle builds its nest in the highest craggy eyry.
no man shall abide there--that is, of the Idumeans. The Romans had a
19. he--Nebuchadnezzar, or Nebuzara-dan; the name would at once
suggest itself to the minds of the hearers
(Jer 48:40; 46:18).
swelling--as a lion which the overflow of the Jordan forced out of
his lair on the banks, to ascend the neighboring heights
as to the translation, "pride of the Jordan,"
habitation of . . . strong--the fastnesses of Idumea (compare
MAURER translates, "An ever verdant (literally,
'perennial') pasturage," that is, Idumea heretofore having enjoyed
uninterrupted tranquillity; so in
the image is retained, the Idumeans being compared to "a flock," and
their king to "a shepherd," in this verse, and the enemy to "a lion"
English Version accords more with the Hebrew.
suddenly--"in the twinkling of an eye," as the Hebrew implies.
him . . . her--I will make Nebuzara-dan enter
Idumea, and then, having in the twinkling of an eye effected the
conquest, go away speedily: elsewhere. Instead of "but,"
translate, "for." GROTIUS translates, "run
upon her," or "to her," instead of "run away from her." MAURER understands it, "I will make him (the Idumean) run
away from her" (that is, from his own land); the similar change of
reference of the pronouns
who is a chosen man, &c.--God calls the choicest warriors
to Him, to set "over" the work of devastating Idumea. God will
surely execute His purpose, for He can call forth from all sides the
agents He chooses.
who is like me?--
who will appoint me the time?--namely, for entering into a trial in
judgment with Me (see Margin). Image from law courts
shepherd--leader of the Idumeans; following up the previous image,
"a lion"; no Idumean shepherd shall withstand the lion sent by Jehovah
or save the Idumean flock.
20. least of the flock--the weakest and humblest of the Chaldean
where the hostile leaders and their hosts are called "shepherds and
draw . . . out--"shall drag them away captive"
shall drag them to and fro, as a lion
does feeble sheep [MAURER].
with them--that is, the habitation which they possess.
21. was heard in--that is, shall be heard at.
Red Sea--a considerable distance from Idumea; though the district at
the Elantic bay of the Red Sea originally belonged to Idumea, and the
sea itself was called from Edom, that is, "red"
Margin). Others translate, "the weedy sea" (Margin), and
derive the name, "Red Sea," from its red weeds; the former view is
Jer 48:40, 41).
23. Prophecy as to Damascus, &c.
(Isa 17:1; 10:9).
The kingdom of Damascus was destroyed by Assyria, but the
city revived, and it is as to the latter Jeremiah now
prophesies. The fulfilment was probably about five years after the
destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar [JOSEPHUS, Antiquities, 10.9,7].
Hamath is confounded--at the tidings of the overthrow of the
on the sea--that is, at the sea; the dwellers there are alarmed.
Other manuscripts read, "like the sea." "There is anxiety (restless) as
is the sea: they cannot quiet it," that is, it cannot be quieted
it--Whatever dwellers are there "cannot be quiet."
25. city of praise--The prophet, in the person of a citizen of
Damascus deploring its calamity, calls it "the city of praise," that is,
celebrated with praises everywhere for its beauty
(Jer 33:9; 51:41).
"How is it possible that such a city has not been left
whole--has not been spared by the foe?" Compare left,
Lu 17:35, 36.
So Israel "left" standing some of the Canaanite cities
of my joy--that is, in which I delighted.
26. Therefore--that is, Since Damascus is doomed to fall,
27. palaces of Ben-hadad--that palace from which so many evils and
such cruelty to Israel emanated; thus implying the cause of Damascus'
overthrow. Not the Ben-hadad of
it was a common name of the Syrian kings (compare
meaning "son of Hadad," the idol).
28. Kedar--son of Ishmael
The Kedarenes led a wandering predatory life in Arabia-Petræa, as
the Bedouin Arabs
(2Ch 21:16, 17;
Kedar means "blackness"
Hazor--not the city in Palestine, but a district in Arabia-Petræa.
"Kingdoms" refer to the several combinations of clans, each under its
men of the east--Kedar and Hazor were east of Judea
29. tents--in which they dwelt, from which they are called Scenites,
that is, tent dwellers.
curtains--namely, with which the tents were covered
(Jer 4:20; 10:20;
they shall cry unto them, Fear, &c.--The foe, on crying,
Fear . . ., shall discomfit them (the Kedarenes) by their mere cry.
30. (See on
No conqueror would venture to follow them into the desert.
31. wealthy--rather, "tranquil"
neither gates nor bars--The Arabs, lying out of the track of the
contending powers of Asia and Africa, took no measures of defense and
had neither walled cities nor gates
They thought their scanty resources and wilderness position would tempt
alone--separated from other nations, without allies; and from one
another scattered asunder. So as to Israel's isolation
32. camels--their chief possessions; not fields or vineyards.
in utmost . . . corners--who seemed least likely to be dispersed. Or
else, "having the hair shaven (or clipped) in angles"
(Jer 9:26; 25:23)
calamity from all sides--which will force even those in "corners" to
34. Elam--part of Susiana, west of Persia proper, but used to designate
Persia in general. Elam proper, or Elymais, nearer Judea than Persia, is
probably here meant; it had helped Nebuchadnezzar against Judea; hence
its punishment. It may have been idolatrous, whereas Persia proper was
35. bow--Elam was famed for its bowmen
chief of their might--in opposition to "bow," that is, bowmen, who
constituted their main strength.
36. four winds, &c.--Nebuchadnezzar's army containing soldiers from
the four quarters.
37. consumed--as a distinct nation
Fulfilled under Alexander and his successors.
38. I will show Myself King by My judgments there, as though My
tribunal were erected there. The throne of Cyrus, God's instrument, set
up over Media, of which Elam was a part, may be meant
rather, that of Nebuchadnezzar
Then the restoration of Elam
will refer partly to that which took place on the reduction of
Babylon by Cyrus, prince of Persia and Media.
39. latter days--The full restoration belongs to gospel times.
Elamites were among the first who heard and accepted it