Avraham ben Yaakov
KNOW YOUR BIBLE
JEREMIAH CHAPTER 49
Vv 1-6: Prophecy of the punishment of Ammon. Like the Moabites, the Ammonites were descended from Abraham's nephew Lot but ungratefully showed nothing but hostility to Israel . Thus it was the king of Ammon who engineered the assassination of Gedaliah ben Ahikam, which brought Judean independence to an end (see Jer. 40:14).
V 1: "Has Israel no sons? Has he no heir? Why then does Malkam (=the god of Ammon) inherit Gad and his people dwell in his cities?" - When the Ten Tribes went into exile, the neighboring Ammonites occupied the territories of Gad, Reuven and the other tribes, claiming that they had been seized from Ammon (RaDaK).
V 2: "Rabbah of the children of Ammon" is none other than Amman , capital of the present-day kingdom of Jordan .
V 6: As in the case of the Moabites (ch 48 v 47), Jeremiah prophesies that eventually the Ammonites will return to their land. RaDaK states that this will be at the end of days with the coming of Mashiach.
Vv 7-13: The vengeance against Edom . RaDaK (on v 7) states that this prophecy relates to the future fall of Edom . Jeremiah's prophecy against Edom parallels those of Obadiah, Isaiah (ch 34) and Ezekiel (25:12-14).
V 12: "Behold, those who do not deserve to drink the cup will surely drink - shall you [ Edom ] go unpunished?" The other nations that oppressed Israel were not their brothers and deserved less of a punishment than Edom, who was Israel's brother yet still oppressed them (Rashi).
Vv 14-22: Depiction of the terrible fall of Edom .
V 22: "Behold, like an eagle he will ascend and fly and spread his wings over Basra ." The Basra mentioned here is popularly identified with Basra in Iraq , although scholars consider this to refer to a town called Basra in the south of present-day Jordan , which is where the original territory of Edom was located. Nevertheless, in relation to the popular identification with Basra in Iraq it is of interest that until today this town is a stumbling block for the army of Britain , which some consider to be latter-day Edom .
Vv 23-27: The punishment of Damascus , the capital of Aram .
Vv 28-33: Prophecy of the punishment of Kedar and the kingdom of Hatzor . RaDaK states that Kedar and the "children of the east" mentioned in this verse are from the children of Ishmael. Verse 28 specifically states that it is Nebuchadnezzar who would strike them. This is because all the other nations mentioned by Jeremiah in these prophecies of retribution were struck not only by Nebuchadnezzar but also by others, whereas Kedar was struck only by Nebuchadnezzar.
Vv 34-39: Prophecy of the punishment of Eilam. As in the case of Moab and Ammon, Eilam is destined to be restored at the end of days (RaDaK on v 39).
Vv 1-3: Prophecy of the destruction of Babylon . Jeremiah's ministry fell at the very height of Babylonian might and dominion, yet he still prophesied that she would fall, unlikely as this may have seemed to the people of his time.
"For a nation has come up against her from the north" - this refers to Medea and Persia, who under Darius and Cyrus respectively overthrew Babylon in the time of Nebuchadnezzar's grandson, Belshazzar, as described in the book of Daniel.
Vv 4-8: The salvation and restoration of Zion after the destruction of Babylon . "In those days and at that time. the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together." (v 4). The collapse of Babylon would lead to the restoration of Judah , and with them those members of the Ten Tribes who remained in the Land of Israel after the exile of their brothers and who attached themselves to Judah , accompanying them into exile in Babylon (Metzudas David, RaDaK on v 4). Simultaneously this prophecy of the unification of Israel and Judah surely also refers to the eventual return of all the exiled Ten Tribes and their reconciliation with Judah at the end of days, and verses 5-8 referring to the salvation have eternal significance and are not bound only to the return to Zion in the days of Ezra after the fall of Babylon.
Vv 9-16: Depiction of the vengeance against Babylon and its fall.
V 11: "Because you were glad, because you rejoiced, O robbers of My heritage." Retribution will befall Babylon because they plundered God's heritage - Jerusalem - yet had joy and success until now (Metzudas David).
V 12: "Your mother shall be greatly ashamed." It is customary to recite this verse when one sees cemeteries of heathens (Berachos 58a).
Vv 17-20: Salvation of Israel after the destruction of Babylon . Verse 17 refers to the main exiles: that of the Ten Tribes under Sennacherib, and that of Judah and Benjamin under Nebuchadnezzar.
RaDaK comments that verses 18 and 19 refer simultaneously to the restoration of Judah to Jerusalem after the fall of Babylon and to the future restoration of Israel .
V 20 prophesies the ultimate cleansing of Israel and Judah from all sin at the end of days. Since all the sins will be turned into merits, they will SEARCH to see if there are any remaining sins that can yet be turned into merits!!! (Rabbi Nachman).
Vv 21-34: God's war and vengeance against mighty Babylon .
V 25: "HaShem has opened his armory and has brought forth the weapons of His indignation." The daily carnage in Iraq today seems to be the fulfillment of this prophecy.
V 29: "According to all that she did, so do to her." God's vengeance is "measure for measure".
Vv 33ff: The fall of Babylon would be proof of the might of Israel 's Redeemer.
Vv 35-40: Prophecy of the destruction and devastation that would overtake Babylon .
Vv 41-46: Depiction of the might of the enemy that would fight against Babylon . None can thwart God's plan.
BACK TO KNOW YOUR BIBLE HOMEPAGE
By Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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