The cup of trembling still goes round, and the nations must all drink
of it, according to the instructions given to Jeremiah,
This chapter puts it into the hands,
I. Of the Ammonites,
II. Of the Edomites,
III. Of the Syrians,
IV. Of the Kedarenes, and the kingdoms of Hazor,
V. Of the Elamites,
When Israel was scarcely saved where shall all these appear?
The Judgment of Ammonites.
B. C. 595.
1 Concerning the Ammonites, thus saith the LORD; Hath Israel no
sons? hath he no heir? why then doth their king inherit Gad,
and his people dwell in his cities?
2 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will
cause an alarm of war to be heard in Rabbah of the Ammonites; and
it shall be a desolate heap, and her daughters shall be burned
with fire: then shall Israel be heir unto them that were his
heirs, saith the LORD.
3 Howl, O Heshbon, for Ai is spoiled: cry, ye daughters of
Rabbah, gird you with sackcloth; lament, and run to and fro by
the hedges; for their king shall go into captivity, and his
priests and his princes together.
4 Wherefore gloriest thou in the valleys, thy flowing valley, O
backsliding daughter? that trusted in her treasures, saying,
Who shall come unto me?
5 Behold, I will bring a fear upon thee, saith the Lord GOD of
hosts, from all those that be about thee; and ye shall be driven
out every man right forth; and none shall gather up him that
6 And afterward I will bring again the captivity of the
children of Ammon, saith the LORD.
The Ammonites were next, both in kindred and neighbourhood, to the
Moabites, and therefore are next set to the bar. Their country joined
to that of the two tribes and a half, on the other side Jordan, and was
but a bad neighbour; however, being a neighbour, they shall have a
share in these circular predictions.
1. An action is here brought, in God's name, against the Ammonites, for
an illegal encroachment upon the rightful possessions of the tribe of
Gad, that lay next them,
A writ of enquiry is brought to discover what title they had to those
territories, which, upon the carrying away of the Gileadites, by the
king of Assyria
(2 Kings 15:29,1Ch+5:26),
were left almost dispeopled, at least unguarded, and an easy prey to
the next invader. "What! Does it escheat ob defectum
sanguinis--for what of an heir? Hath Israel no sons? Hath he no
heir? Are there no Gadites left, to whom the right of inheritance
belongs? Or, if there were not, are there no Israelites, none left of
Judah, that are nearer akin to them than you are?" Why then does
their king, as if he were entitled to the forfeited estates, or
Milcom, their idol, as if he had the right to dispose of it to his
worshippers, inherit Gad, and his people dwell in the cities
which fell by lot to that tribe of God's people. Nay, there were sons
and heirs of their own body, en ventre de sa mere--in their
mother's womb, and the Ammonites, to prevent their claim, most
barbarously murdered them
They ripped up the women with child of Gilead, that they might
enlarge their border, that, having seized it, none might rise up
hereafter to recover it from them. Thus they magnified themselves
against their border and boasted it was their own,
Note, Though among men might often prevails against right, yet that
might shall be controlled by the Almighty, who sits in the throne,
judging right; and those will find themselves mistaken who think
every thing their own which they can lay their hands on, or which none
yet appears to lay claim to. As there is justice owing to owners, so
also to their heirs, when they are dead, whom it is a great sin to
defraud, though they either know not their right or know not how to
come at it. This shall be reckoned for particularly, when injuries of
this kind are done to God's people.
2. Judgment is here given against them for this violence.
(1.) Terrors shall come upon them: God will cause an alarm of war to
be heard, even in Rabbah, their capital city and a very
The Lord God of hosts, who has all armies at his command,
will bring a fear upon them from all that be about them,
Note, God has many ways to terrify those who have been a terror to his
(2.) Their cities shall be laid in ruins: Rabbah, the
mother-city, shall be a desolate heap, and her daughters, the
other cities that have a dependence upon her, and receive law from her
as daughters, shall be burnt with fire; so that the inhabitants
shall be forced to quit them, and they shall cry, and gird
themselves with sackcloth, as having lost all they had, and not
knowing whither to betake themselves.
(3.) Their country, which they were so proud of, shall be wasted
Wherefore gloriest thou in the valleys, and trustest in thy
treasures, O backsliding daughter? They are charged with
backsliding or turning away from God and from his worship, for they
were the posterity of righteous Lot. It is true, they had never been so
in covenant with God as Israel was; yet all idolaters may be called
backsliders, for the worship of the true God was prior to that
of false gods. They were untoward and refractory (so some read
it); and, when they had forsaken their God, they gloried in their
valleys, particularly one that was called the flowing
valley, because it flowed with all good things. These they had
violently taken away from Israel, and gloried in it when they had done
so. They gloried in the strength of their valleys, so surrounded with
mountains that they were inaccessible, gloried in the products of them,
gloried in the treasures they got together out of them,
saying, Who shall come unto me? While they bathed themselves in
the pleasures of their country, they flattered themselves with a
conceit that they should never be disturbed in the enjoyment of them:
To-morrow shall be as this day; therefore they set God and his
judgments at defiance; they are proud, voluptuous, and secure; but
wherefore dost thou do so: Note, Those who backslide and turn away from
God have little reason either to take complacency or to put confidence
in any worldly enjoyments whatsoever,
(4.) Their people, from the least to the greatest, shall be forced out
of the country. Some shall flee to seek for shelter, others shall be
carried into captivity, so that their land shall be quite evacuated:
Their king and his princes, nay, and Milcom, their god, and
his priests, shall go into captivity
and every man shall be driven out right forth, shall take the
next way, and make the best of it in his flight
forgetting the valleys, the flowing valleys, which now fail
them. And, to complete their misery, none shall gather up him that
wanders, none shall open their doors to them, as Jael to Sisera, to
entertain them; and those that flee shall be so much in care to secure
themselves that they shall not take notice of others, no, not of those
that are nearest to them, that wander, and are at a loss which way to
(5.) Then the country of the Ammonites shall fall into the hands of the
Then shall Israel be heir to those that were his heirs, shall
possess himself of their land who had possessed themselves of his, by
way of reprisal. Note, The equity of divine Providence is to be
acknowledged when the losses of the injured are recompensed out of the
unjust gains of the injurious. Though the enemies of God's Israel may
make a prey of them for a while, the tables will shortly be turned.
3. Yet there is a prospect given them of mercy hereafter
as before to Moab. The day will come when the captivity of the
children of Ammon will be brought again; for so it is in
human affairs: the wheel goes round.
The Judgment of Edom.
B. C. 595.
7 Concerning Edom, thus saith the LORD of hosts; Is wisdom no
more in Teman? is counsel perished from the prudent? is their
8 Flee ye, turn back, dwell deep, O inhabitants of Dedan; for I
will bring the calamity of Esau upon him, the time that I will
9 If grape-gatherers come to thee, would they not leave some
gleaning grapes? if thieves by night, they will destroy till they
10 But I have made Esau bare, I have uncovered his secret
places, and he shall not be able to hide himself: his seed is
spoiled, and his brethren, and his neighbours, and he is not.
11 Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive;
and let thy widows trust in me.
12 For thus saith the LORD; Behold, they whose judgment was
not to drink of the cup have assuredly drunken; and art thou he
that shall altogether go unpunished? thou shalt not go
unpunished, but thou shalt surely drink of it.
13 For I have sworn by myself, saith the LORD, that Bozrah
shall become a desolation, a reproach, a waste, and a curse; and
all the cities thereof shall be perpetual wastes.
14 I have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is
sent unto the heathen, saying, Gather ye together, and come
against her, and rise up to the battle.
15 For, lo, I will make thee small among the heathen, and
despised among men.
16 Thy terribleness hath deceived thee, and the pride of
thine heart, O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, that
holdest the height of the hill: though thou shouldest make thy
nest as high as the eagle, I will bring thee down from thence,
saith the LORD.
17 Also Edom shall be a desolation: every one that goeth by it
shall be astonished, and shall hiss at all the plagues thereof.
18 As in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbour
cities thereof, saith the LORD, no man shall abide there,
neither shall a son of man dwell in it.
19 Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the swelling of
Jordan against the habitation of the strong: but I will suddenly
make him run away from her: and who is a chosen man, that I
may appoint over her? for who is like me? and who will appoint
me the time? and who is that shepherd that will stand before
20 Therefore hear the counsel of the LORD, that he hath taken
against Edom; and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the
inhabitants of Teman: Surely the least of the flock shall draw
them out: surely he shall make their habitations desolate with
21 The earth is moved at the noise of their fall, at the cry
the noise thereof was heard in the Red sea.
22 Behold, he shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread
his wings over Bozrah: and at that day shall the heart of the
mighty men of Edom be as the heart of a woman in her pangs.
The Edomites come next to receive their doom from God, by the mouth of
Jeremiah: they also were old enemies to the Israel of God; but their
day will come to be reckoned with, and it is now at hand, and is
foretold, not only for warning to them, but for comfort to the Israel
of God, whose afflictions were very much aggravated by their triumphs
over them and joy in their calamity,
Many of the expressions used in this prophecy concerning Edom
are borrowed from the prophecy of Obadiah, which is concerning
Edom; for, all the prophets being inspired by one and the same
Spirit, there must needs be a wonderful harmony and agreement in their
predictions. Now here it is foretold,
I. That the country of Edom should be all wasted and made desolate,
that the calamity of Esau should be brought upon him, the
calamity he has deserved, and God has long designed him, for his old
The time is at hand when God will visit him, and call him to an
account, and then they shall flee from the sword, turn
back from the battle, and dwell deep in some close caverns,
where they shall hide themselves. All they have shall be carried off by
the conqueror; whereas grape-gatherers will leave some
gleanings, and even thieves know when they have
enough and will destroy no further, those that destroy them
shall never be satiated,
they shall make Esau quite bare, shall strip the Edomites
of all they have, shall find out ways and means to come at their most
hidden treasure, shall discover even the secret places where
they thought to secure their wealth, and rifle them, so that they shall
none of them save their wealth, no, nor save themselves nor their
children, that might be concealed in a little room: He shall not be
able to hide himself, and his seed too is spoiled. His
brethren the Moabites, and his neighbours the Philistines,
whom he might have expected succours from, or at least shelter with,
are spoiled as well as he and disabled to do him any service. And he
is not, or there is not he, there is none to him, none left
him, that may say what follows
Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive. When
they are flying, or dying, there shall be none left, no relation, no
friend, no, not so much as any parish officers to take care of their
wives and children that they leave behind. Edom is not, he is cut off
and gone; nor is there any to say, Leave me thy orphans. If the
master of a family be cut off, or forced away, it is some comfort if he
have a friend to leave his family with, whom he can confide in; but
they shall have none such, for they shall all be involved in the same
calamity. The Chaldee makes these to be the words of God to his
people, distinguishing them from the Edomites in this calamity; and
they read it, "But you, O house of Israel! you shall not leave your
orphans; I will secure them, and let your widows rest on my word.
Whatever becomes of the widows and fatherless of the Edomites, I will
take care of yours." Note, it is an unspeakable comfort to the people
of God, when they are dying, that they may leave their surviving
relations with God, may, in faith, commit them to him and encourage
them to trust in him; and, though they cannot promise themselves great
things in the world for them, yet they may hope that he will preserve
them alive, always, provided that they trust in him. Let the Edomites,
for their part, count upon no other than to be made a desolation
and a reproach; for the decree has gone forth; God hath sworn
it by himself
that their cities shall be wasted, nay, they shall be
perpetual wastes, they shall be made mean and despicable; they had
made a mighty figure, but God will make them small among the
heathen; and those that despised God's people shall themselves be
despised among men
nay, they shall be made monstrous, and even a prodigy
Edom shall be such a desolation that every one who goes
by shall be astonished; nay, worse yet, they shall be made a
terror; Edom shall be made like Sodom and Gomorrah, none shall care for
coming near the ruins of it, no man shall abide there
such a frightful place shall it be made.
II. That the instruments of this destruction should be very resolute
and formidable. They have their commission from God; he summons them
into this service
I have heard a rumour, or report, from the Lord, heard it
by the prophecy of Obadiah, heard it by a whisper to myself, that an
ambassador, or herald, or messenger, is sent to the
Gentiles, who are to lay Edom waste, saying, Gather you
together, muster all the forces you can, and come against
this is the counsel that he hath taken against Edom. The matter
is settled, the decree has gone forth, and there is no resisting it.
God has determined that Edom shall be laid waste, and then he that is
to be employed in wasting it shall come swiftly and strongly.
Nebuchadnezzar is he or whom it is here foretold,
1. That he shall come up like a lion, with fierceness and fury,
like a lion enraged by the swelling of Jordan overflowing his
banks, which forces him out of his covert by the water-side into the
He shall come roaring, come to devour all that come in his way. He
shall come against the habitation of the strong, the forts and
castles; and I will cause him to come suddenly into the land (so
the next words might well be read), so as to find them unprovided with
necessaries for a defence; for I will look out a chosen man to
appoint over her, to do this execution, a man fit for the purpose,
one chosen out of the people; for when God has work to do he will find
out the fittest instruments to be employed in doing it: "Who is like
me for choosing the instruments, and spiriting them for the work?
And who will appoint me the time? Who will challenge me, and fix
a time and place to meet me? Who will join issue with me in battle?
And, when I send a lion into the flock, who is that shepherd
that can, or dare, stand before me, or against me, to oppose that lion,
and think to rescue any of the flock?" Note, When God has work to do of
any kind he will soon find those that are able to engage in it, and all
the world cannot find those that are able to engage against it. Nay, if
God will have Edom destroyed, and their peopled dislodged, there needs
not a lion, a fierce lion to do it: Even the least of the flock
shall draw them out
the meanest servant in Nebuchadnezzar's retinue, the weakest of all
that follow his camp, shall draw them out for the slaughter,
shall force them to flee, or to surrender, and make their
habitations desolate with them. God can bring to pass the greatest
works by instruments least likely. When the Chaldean army comes
against the Edomites all hands shall be employed and the poorest
soldier in it shall have a pluck at them.
2. Nebuchadnezzar shall come, not only like a lion, the king of
beasts, but like an eagle, the king of birds
He shall fly as the eagle upon his prey, so swiftly, so
strongly, shall clap his wings upon Bozrah, to secure it for himself
and immediately the hearts of the mighty men shall fail them,
for they shall see he is an enemy that it is in vain to struggle
III. That the Edomites' confidences should all fail them in the day of
1. They trusted to their wisdom, but that shall stand them in no stead.
This is the first thing fastened upon in this prophecy against Edom,
That nation used to be famous for wisdom, and their statesmen were
thought to excel in politics; and yet now they shall take such wrong
measures in all their counsels, and be so baffled in all their designs,
that people shall ask, with wonder, What is the matter with the
Edomites? Is wisdom no more in Teman? Have the wise men of the
(1 Kings 4:30)
become fools? Are those at their wits' end that were thought to
have the monopoly of prudence? Has counsel perished from the
understanding men? It is so, when God is designing the ruin of a
people; for whom he will destroy he infatuates. See
Has their wisdom vanished? Is it tired? (so some); is it worn
out? (so others); has it become useless? so others. Yes, it
will do them no service when God comes forth to contend with them.
2. They trusted to their strength, but neither shall that avail them,
They had been a terror to all their neighbours; every body feared them
and truckled to them, and this made them proud and conceited of
themselves and their own strength, and very secure; because no
neighbouring nation durst meddle with them, they thought no nation in
the world durst. Their country was much of it mountainous, having many
passes which they thought themselves able to make good against any
invader; but this terribleness of theirs deceived them, and so did
their imaginary inaccessibleness; they did not prove so strong as they
were formidable, nor so safe as they were secure. High as they are,
God will bring them down; for, as there is no wisdom, so there
is no might against the Lord, See these expressions,
IV. That their destruction should be inevitable and very remarkable.
1. God hath determined it
he hath said it; nay
he hath sworn it, that the Edomites shall not go
unpunished, but that they shall drink the cup of trembling,
which is put into the hands of all their neighbours; even those
whose judgment, or doom, was not to drink of the cup, who
had not so well deserved it as they had done, nations that had not been
such enemies to Israel as they had been, or Israel itself, that was
God's peculiar people, and among whom there were many, very many, who
kept his ordinances, upon which account they might have expected an
exemption; and yet they had been made to drink of the bitter cup; and
shall the Edomites think to pass it? No; they shall surely drink of
it. Note, When God punishes the less guilty it is folly for the
more guilty to promise themselves impunity; and when judgment begins at
God's house it will reach the strangers.
2. All the world shall take notice of it
The earth is moved, and all the nations are put into a concern,
at the noise of their fall; the news of it shall make them
tremble. The noise of the outcry is heard to the Red Sea, which
flowed upon the coasts of Edom. So loud shall be the shouts of the
conquerors and the shrieks of the conquered, and such a mighty noise
shall the news of this destruction of Idumea make in the nations, that
is shall be heard among the ships that lie in the Red Sea to take in
(1 Kings 9:26),
and then they shall carry the news of it to the remotest shore. Note,
The fall of those who have affected to make a noise with their pomp and
power will make so much the greater noise.
The Judgment of Damascus.
B. C. 595.
23 Concerning Damascus. Hamath is confounded, and Arpad: for
they have heard evil tidings: they are fainthearted; there is
sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet.
24 Damascus is waxed feeble, and turneth herself to flee, and
fear hath seized on her: anguish and sorrows have taken her, as
a woman in travail.
25 How is the city of praise not left, the city of my joy!
26 Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, and all
the men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the LORD of
27 And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it
shall consume the palaces of Benhadad.
The kingdom of Syria lay north of Canaan, as that of Edom lay south,
and thither we must now remove and take a view of the approaching fate
of that kingdom, which had been often vexatious to the Israel of God.
Damascus was the metropolis of that kingdom, and the ruin of the whole
is supposed in the ruin of that: yet Hamath and Arpad, two other
considerable cities, are names
and the palaces of Ben-hadad, which he built, are particularly
marked for ruin,
Some think Ben-hadad (the son of Hadad, either their idol, or one of
their ancient kings, whence the rest descended) was a common name of
the kings of Syria, as Pharaoh of the kings of Egypt. Now observe
concerning the judgment of Damascus,
1. It begins with a terrible fright and faint-heartedness. They
hear evil tidings, that the king of Babylon, with all his force,
is coming against them, and they are confounded; they know not
what measures to take for their own safety, their souls are melted,
they are faint-hearted, they have no spirit left them, they are
like the troubled sea, that cannot be quiet
or like men in a storm at sea
or the sorrow that begins in the city shall go to the sea-coast,
See how easily God can dispirit those nations that have been most
celebrated for valour. Damascus now waxes feeble
a city that thought she could look the most formidable enemy in the
face now turns herself to flee, and owns it is to no more
purpose to think of contending with her fate than for a woman in
labour to contend with her pains, which she cannot escape, but must
yield to. It was a city of praise
not praise to God, but to herself, a city much commended and admired by
all strangers that visited it. It was a city of joy, where there
was an affluence and confluence of all the delights of the sons of men,
and abundance of mirth in the enjoyment of them. We read it (though
there is no necessity for this) the city of my joy, which the
prophet himself had sometimes visited with pleasure. Or it may be the
speech of the king lamenting the ruin of the city of his
joy. But now it is all overwhelmed with fear and grief. Note,
Those deceive themselves who place their happiness in carnal joys; for
God in his providence can soon cast a damp upon them and put an end to
them. He can soon make a city of praise to be a reproach and a
city of joy to be a terror to itself.
2. It ends with a terrible fall and fire.
(1.) The inhabitants are slain
The young men, who should fight the enemy and defend the city,
shall fall by the sword in her streets; and all the men of
war, mighty men, expert in war, and engaged in the service of their
country, shall be cut off.
(2.) The city is laid in ashes
The fire is kindled by the besiegers in the wall,
but it shall devour all before it, the palaces of Ben-hadad
particularly, where so much mischief had formerly been hatched against
God's Israel, for which it is now thus visited.
The Judgment of Kedar.
B. C. 595.
28 Concerning Kedar, and concerning the kingdoms of Hazor,
which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon shall smite, thus saith the
LORD; Arise ye, go up to Kedar, and spoil the men of the east.
29 Their tents and their flocks shall they take away: they
shall take to themselves their curtains, and all their vessels,
and their camels; and they shall cry unto them, Fear is on
30 Flee, get you far off, dwell deep, O ye inhabitants of
Hazor, saith the LORD; for Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath
taken counsel against you, and hath conceived a purpose against
31 Arise, get you up unto the wealthy nation, that dwelleth
without care, saith the LORD, which have neither gates nor bars,
which dwell alone.
32 And their camels shall be a booty, and the multitude of
their cattle a spoil: and I will scatter into all winds them
that are in the utmost corners; and I will bring their calamity
from all sides thereof, saith the LORD.
33 And Hazor shall be a dwelling for dragons, and a
desolation for ever: there shall no man abide there, nor any
son of man dwell in it.
These verses foretell the desolation that Nebuchadnezzar and his forces
should make among the people of Kedar (who descended from Kedar the son
of Ishmael, and inhabited a part of Arabia the Stony), and of the
kingdoms, the petty principalities, of Hazor, that joined to them, who
perhaps were originally Canaanites, of the kingdom of Hazor, in the
north of Canaan, which had Jabin for its king, but, being driven
thence, settled in the deserts of Arabia and associated themselves with
the Kedarenes. Concerning this people we may here observe,
I. What was their present state and posture? They dwelt in tents
and had no walls, but curtains
no fortified cities; they had neither gates nor bars,
They were shepherds, and had no treasures, but stock upon land, no
money, but flocks and camels. They had no soldiers among them, for
they were in no fear of invaders, no merchants, for they dwelt
Those of other nations neither came among them nor traded with them;
but they lived within themselves, content with the products and
pleasures of their own country. This was their manner of living, very
different from that of the nations that were round about them. And,
1. They were very rich; though they had not trade, no treasures, yet
they are here said to be a wealthy nation
because they had a sufficiency to answer all the occasions of human
life and they were content with it. Note, Those are truly rich who have
enough to supply their necessities, and know when they have enough. We
need not go to the treasures of kings and provinces, or to the cash of
merchants, to look for wealthy people; they may be found among
shepherds that dwell in tents.
2. They were very easy: They dwelt without care. Their wealth
was such as nobody envied them, or, if any did, they might come
peaceably and enjoy the like; and therefore they feared nobody. Note,
Those that live innocently and honestly may live very securely, though
they have neither gates nor bars.
II. The design of the king of Babylon against them and the descent he
make upon them: He has taken counsel against you and has conceived a
purpose against you,
That proud man resolves it shall never be said that he, who had
conquered so many strong cities, will leave those unconquered that
dwell in tents. It was strange that that eagle should stoop to
catch these flies, that so great a prince should play at such small
game; but all is fish that comes to the ambitious covetous man's net.
Note, It will not always secure men from suffering wrong to be able to
say that they have done no wrong; not to have given offence will not be
a defence against such men as Nebuchadnezzar. Yet, how unrighteous
soever he was in doing it, God was righteous in directing it. These
people had lived inoffensively among their neighbours, as many do, who
yet, like them, are guilty before God; and it was to punish them for
their offences against him that God said
Arise, go up to Kedar, and spoil the men of the east. They will
do it to gratify their own covetousness and ambition, but God orders it
for the correcting of an unthankful people, and for warning to a
careless world to expect trouble when they seem to be most safe. God
says to the Chaldeans
"Arise, get up to the wealthy nation that dwells without care;
go and give them an alarm, that none may imagine their mountain
stands so strong that it cannot be moved."
III. The great amazement that this put them into, and the great
desolation hereby made among them: They shall cry unto them;
those on the borders shall send the alarm into all parts of the
country, which shall be put into the utmost confusion by it; they shall
cry, "Fear is on every side--We are surrounded by the enemy." the
very terror of which shall drive them all to their feet and they shall
none of them have any heart to make resistance. The enemy shall
proclaim fear upon them, or against them, on every side.
They need not strike a stroke; they shall shout them out of their
Upon the first alarm, they shall flee, get far off, and dwell
as the Edomites,
And it will be found that this fear on every side is not
groundless, for their calamity shall be brought from all
No marvel there are fears on every side when there are foes on
every side. The issue will be,
1. What they have will be a prey to the Chaldeans; they shall take
to themselves their curtains and vessels; though they are but plain
and coarse, and they have better of their own, yet they shall take them
for spite, and spoil for spoiling sake. They shall carry away their
tents and their flocks,
Their camels shall be a booty to those that came for nothing
2. It is not said that any of them shall be slain, for they attempt not
to make any resistance and their tents and flocks are accepted as a
ransom for their lives; but they shall be dislodged and dispersed;
though now they dwell in the utmost corners, out of the way, and
therefore they think out of the reach, of danger (by this character
those people were distinguished,
yet they shall be scattered thence into all winds, into
all parts of the world. Note, Privacy and obscurity are not always a
protection and security. Many that affect to be strangers to the world
may yet by unthought-of providences be forced into it; and those that
live most retired may have the same lot with those that thrust
themselves forth and lie most exposed.
3. Their country shall lie uninhabited; for, lying remote and out of
all high roads, and having neither cities nor lands inviting to
strangers, none shall care to succeed them, so that Hazor shall be a
desolation for ever,
If busy men be displaced, many strive to get into their placed, because
they lived great; but here are easy quiet men displaced, and no
man cared to abide where they did, because they lived
The Judgment of Elam.
B. C. 595.
34 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet
against Elam in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of
35 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will break the bow
of Elam, the chief of their might.
36 And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four
quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds;
and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall
37 For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies,
and before them that seek their life: and I will bring evil upon
them, even my fierce anger, saith the LORD; and I will send the
sword after them, till I have consumed them:
38 And I will set my throne in Elam, and will destroy from
thence the king and the princes, saith the LORD.
39 But it shall come to pass in the latter days, that I will
bring again the captivity of Elam, saith the LORD.
This prophecy is dated in the beginning of Zedekiah's reign; it is
probable that the other prophecies against the Gentiles, going before,
were at the same time. The Elamites were the Persians, descended from
Elam the son of Shem
yet some think it was only that part of Persia which lay nearest to the
Jews which was called Elymais, and adjoined to Media-Elam,
which, say they, had acted against God's Israel, bore the quiver
in an expedition against them
and therefore must be reckoned with among the rest. It is here
foretold, in general, that God will bring evil upon them, even
his fierce anger, and that is evil enough, it has all evil in
1. Their forces shall be disabled, and rendered incapable of doing them
any service. The Elamites were famous archers, but, Behold, I will
break the bow of Elam
will ruin their artillery, and then the chief of their might is
gone. God often orders it so that that which we most trust to first
fails us, and that which was the chief of our might proves the
least of our help.
2. Their people shall be dispersed. There shall come enemies against
them from all parts of the world, and they shall all carry some of them
away captive into their respective countries; while others shall flee,
some one way and some another, to shift for themselves, so that
there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not
The four winds shall be brought upon them; the storm shall come
sometimes from one point and sometimes from another, to toss and hurry
them several ways. We know not from what point the wind of trouble may
blow; but, if God encompass us with his favour, we are safe, and may be
easy, which way soever the storm comes. Fear shall drive them into
other countries; they shall be dismayed before their enemies;
but, as if that were not enough, I will send the sword after
Note, God can make his judgments follow those that think by flight to
escape them and to get out of the reach of them. Evil pursues
3. Their princes shall be destroyed and the government quite changed
I will set my throne in Elam. The throne of Nebuchadnezzar shall
be set there, or the throne of Cyrus, who began his conquests with
Elymais. Or it may be meant of the throne on which God sits for
judgment; he will make them know that he reigns, that he judges in
the earth, that kings and princes are accountable to him,
and that high as they are he is above them. The king of Elam was famous
Chedorlaomer was king of Elam, and a mighty man he was in his day; the
nations about him served him; his successors, we may suppose, made a
great figure; but the king of Elam is no more to God than another man.
When God sets his throne in Elam he will destroy thence the
king and the princes that are, and set up whom he pleases.
4. Yet the destruction of Elam shall not be perpetual
In the latter days I will bring again the captivity of Elam.
When Cyrus had destroyed Babylon, brought the empire into the hands of
the Persians, the Elamites no doubt returned in triumph out of all the
countries whither they were scattered, and settled again in their own
country. But this promise was to have its full and principal
accomplishment in the days of the Messiah, when we find Elamites
particularly among those who, when the Holy Ghost was given, heard
spoken in their own tongues the wonderful works of God
and that is the most desirable return of the captivity. If the Son
make you free, then you shall be free indeed.
Matthew Henry "Verse by Verse Commentary for 'Jeremiah' Matthew Henry Bible Commentary".