New European Commentary


About | PDFs | Mobile formats | Word formats | Other languages | Contact Us | What is the Gospel? | Support the work | Carelinks Ministries | | The Real Christ | The Real Devil | "Bible Companion" Daily Bible reading plan

Deeper Commentary


Jeremiah 25:1 The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, King of Judah (the same was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon)- This was the time of the battle of Carchemish when the Egyptian army was destroyed, and it ought to have been obvious that Egypt was not going to save Judah from Babylon. Dan. 1:1 speaks of the third year, but the difference depends upon how one expresses some time in between the third and fourth years. This was the year when Daniel and the exiles were taken into captivity.

Jeremiah 25:2 which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem saying-
He was going to announce that their exile and the Babylonian victory was now certainly going to happen. We wonder whether he travelled around Judah with this message in order to get it out to "all the people of Judah". See on :5.

Jeremiah 25:3 From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even to this day, these twenty-three years, the word of Yahweh has come to me, and I have spoken to you, rising up early and speaking; but you have not listened-
We often ask in Jeremiah: ‘Who is speaking? Jeremiah, or God?’. Their minds were clearly so intertwined. Both of them are described, in consecutive verses, as rising up early to plead with Israel (Jer. 25:3,4). It was God who rose up early and spoke, but His effort was manifest in that of Jeremiah. This is how close we can come to God if we sincerely work with Him and for His cause, seeing things from His perspective. There is no hint that a single person responded to Jeremiah's ministry; a great encouragement to us to persevere regardless of response to our ministry.

Jeremiah 25:4 Yahweh has sent to you all His servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them (but you have not listened-
Perhaps there were other prophets apart from Jeremiah who were also preaching at this time; probably Habakkuk. See on :3.

Nor inclined your ear to hear)- Inclining or humbling / bowing down the ear means that true response to God's word ought to be a humbling experience. We cannot come away from engagement with God's word without being humbled. And this very phrase is used of how God bows down / inclines His ear to human prayer (2 Kings 19:16; Ps. 17:6; 31:2; 71:2 and often). We see here the mutuality possible between God and man, and the interplay between Bible reading and God's response to our prayers. We speak to God in line with our understanding of His word, and He responds to our prayers. Bible reading and prayer therefore mesh together in the Christian life, as part of the upward spiral of spirituality. God is not silent to our prayers- He reveals Himself in response through His word.


Jeremiah 25:5 saying, Return now each one from his evil way and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that Yahweh has given to you and to your fathers, from of old and even for evermore- If they returned to God in repentance, then they would return from exile to the land. But this is spoke of even before they went into exile, as it were already the case. The promise of eternal inheritance in the land was only going to be true for those who wanted to be in the land. The appeal was to individuals- "each one". They were to realize that they as individuals had a part in the fate of the nation; they couldn't consider that God was simply dealing with the leadership and they were unable to change outcomes. Hence the double emphasis in :1,2 upon the appeal being to all the people. 

Jeremiah 25:6 and don’t go after other gods to serve them or worship them, and don’t provoke Me to anger with the work of your hands; and I will do you no harm-
Again we see that idolatry is in essence a trust in our own works rather than in God. This is why idolatry is in essence an abiding temptation for all ages. It also explains why as noted on Jer. 24:1, the "smiths" who made the idols were taken into captivity so that they could not create any more such works of their hands. The "harm" or "evil" was to be done by God, who is the author of good and evil in this sense (Is. 45:5-7)- a concept impossible to understand by those who believe in a cosmic Satan figure.

Jeremiah 25:7 Yet you have not listened to Me, says Yahweh; so that you provoke Me to anger with the work of your hands to your own hurt-
All sin is to our own hurt or evil. The hurt / harm evil brought by Yahweh (:6) was but an extension of their own choices.
Jeremiah is presented as making no converts; he “sat alone” (Jer. 15:17). Not only was their perspective on human sinfulness so very different to that of their audience. They preached a message which was counter-cultural and attacked the very bases of the assumptions which lay at the core of individual and social life in Israel. They appeared to back Israel’s enemies. Their message was therefore rejected. Jeremiah lamented: “For twenty three years… the word of the Lord has come to me, and I have spoken persistently to you, but you have not listened” (Jer. 25:3-7). The prophets saw the love of God, but saw too how Israel spurned it and refused to understand it. It must’ve been a tragic and awful experience.

Jeremiah 25:8 Therefore thus says Yahweh of Armies: Because you have not heard My words-
There is a crucial difference between hearing and obeying. They heard the words, as we can, but without really hearing.

Jeremiah 25:9 Behold, I will send and take-
Who was sent forth to take the northerners to invade Judah? Presumably an Angel. The same phrase is used of God sending forth an Angel to take a wife for Isaac (Gen. 24:7,40). But in reality, it was Jeremiah who was sent to take a cup of wine to those nations (s.w. Jer. 25:15,17). Jeremiah was therefore following in the steps of the Angel, just as we do when we go on missions which are clearly God's will.   

All the families of the north, says Yahweh- "Babylon" was not a pure nation but a coalition of various tribes.

And I will send to Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant- Judah liked to imagine that they were the "servant of Yahweh" spoken of in Isaiah's recent prophecies. But this didn't make them God's people and therefore inviolate from judgment. Nebuchadnezzar was also Yahweh's servant but would be judged for his actions.

And will bring them against this land, and against its inhabitants, and against all these nations around; and I will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and a hissing, and perpetual desolations- The surrounding nations were those whom Judah had hoped would save them from Babylon, with whom they had committed whoredom by making contracts with them and accepting their gods. Judah was not made a perpetual desolation; many continued to live there, and the strata of agricultural evidence suggests that cultivation continued there throughout the exile. "Desolate" implies a dry land; we think of Hosea wanting to make Gomer a dry land and slay her children with thirst, whilst also having such feelings of passionate love for her. And that all reflected God's feelings for Israel. Anger and compassion / love can be held at the same time, and God too has this dimension. Whenever God spoke against His people, He was aware also of those feelings of passionate love. And this would be an example: "Isn't Ephraim My darling child? For as often as I speak against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, says Yahweh" (Jer. 31:20). God still considered them His "darling child". The unrequited yearning of God for human repentance is a tragedy, and He must be so thrilled when we at least desire to respond. God's whole experience with His people has been of unrequited love. And Jeremiah experienced this same yearning of the heart for his people (s.w. Jer. 4:19). That yearning should be ours as we beg men and women to respond; our evangelism should be done out of a heart that bleeds for people.

Jeremiah 25:10 Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp-
Every humble home had at least a candle burning at night; the idea was that as with the destruction of Sodom, judgment would come suddenly, whilst they were marrying and giving in marriage. That 'suddenness' is a theme of other prophecies; but in reality, Jerusalem fell predictably and inevitably after a period of siege. This was another element of the judgments which wasn't carried out quite as stated, because in wrath God remembered mercy.

Jeremiah 25:11 This whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years-
As explained on :12, this time period didn't literally come true. It was a potential, one of many possible scenarios. The nations around Judah didn't serve Babylon for 70 years. If the exiles had repented as intended, and had brought the other nations to accept Yahweh, then this may have been the scenario. But that didn't happen, and so as explained on :12, the period was recalculated and reinterpreted. And as noted on Jer. 10:18, the land was not completely desolate for the 70 year period. A 70 year period of desolation for Tyre in Is. 23:17 likewise didn't have a literal fulfillment because various unstated preconditions weren't met.


Jeremiah 25:12 It shall happen that when seventy years are accomplished, then I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, says Yahweh, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans; and I will make it desolate forever-
From BC606, the fourth year of Jehoiakim (:1), to the fall of Babylon in BC539, is 67 years, not 70. So there was some flexibility in the time period. Yet the same 70 year period is mentioned in Jer. 29:10 in a prophecy apparently given 11 years later than that of Jer. 25:12. The punishment of Babylon was to be at the same time as Judah returned from exile; "I will punish Babylon (s.w.); and I will bring forth out of his mouth that which he has swallowed", i.e. Judah (Jer. 51:44). And yet Judah were told to flee Babylon before she was destroyed. So there were all manner of different scenarios; for Babylon was not destroyed when the persians took it, and certainly not as the prophecies of Babylon's fall suggested. It wasn't made desolate, the walls still stood, and there was no outpouring of Divine judgment upon the city in terms of fire and sulphur.

The 70 years of Babylon's mastery and Judah's captivity were not strictly fulfilled to the letter. See on Jer. 27:7. From the fall of Nineveh (612) to the fall of Babylon (539) was 73 years; or from Nebuchadnezzar's accession (605) to Babylon's fall (539) was 66 years (Dates taken from John Bright, Jeremiah (New York: Doubleday, 1965) p. 209). Was there a degree to which the period was prolonged or decreased, due to unstated variables- perhaps prayer, Judah's repentance, Babylon's repentance...? All arguments that the 70 years were fulfilled exactly rather fall down before the fact that Daniel realized the 70 years were over and yet there was no restoration (Dan. 9:2). Daniel understood that after 70 years Jerusalem must be restored; but he earnestly prayed for their forgiveness so that this would happen (Dan. 9:2 cp. 19). Perhaps he opened his window and prayed towards Jerusalem exactly because he wanted to fulfil 2 Chron. 6:37,38: “If they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captive, and turn, and pray unto thee… toward their land… and toward the city which thou hast chosen”. He knew that repentance was a precondition for the promised restoration to occur.

Closer study reveals the variableness of outworking of the time periods. The 70 year period was conditional on Israel; the question to them was therefore "How long... until you repent?" Jeremiah 31:22 is clear: "How long will you go here and there, you backsliding daughter?".  The exile is described as a being tossed to and fro, continual movement within the empires who had taken them captive. Daniel understood that after 70 years Jerusalem must be restored; but he earnestly prayed for their forgiveness so that this would happen (Dan. 9:2 cp. 19). So "how long" they were in exile was an open question; they could have been restored sooner had they wished it, and finally the 70 years of exile until full restoration of the Kingdom were reinterpreted in Daniel 9 to be 70 weeks of days, i.e. a far longer period. Jer. 25:11,12 and Jer. 29:10 speak of a 70 year period of Babylonian rule over Judah, beginning with the invasion of BC597. But Babylon only ruled over Judah for 49 years, before Babylon fell to the Persians. This would connect with the way that Zech. 4:3 speaks of 7 menorah candlesticks each with 7 lamps, making 49 lamps. 49 is the cycle of 7 Sabbath years that culminated in the jubilee year, and the jubilee year, the proclamation of liberty to the land (Lev. 25:8-12; 27:7-24) is a figure used so often in Isaiah to describe the freedom of Judah once released from Babylon. Lev. 26:34,43 speak of the land enjoying her Sabbaths whilst Israel were in exile for their sins- i.e. for 49 years. So it seems that there could have been some restoration after 49 years- but it didn't happen. But Dan. 9:2 and 2 Chron. 36:21 seem to reinterpret those 70 years of Jeremiah's prophecies as speaking of a 70 year period during which Jerusalem and the temple would be desolate. And yet there again, Ezekiel was asked to prophecy that Judah would suffer for their sins for 40 years (Ez. 4:6). Perhaps something could've happened after 40 years... Perhaps some restoration could have happened to the ten tribes after 390 years (Ez. 4:5), although there's no sign it ever did. And then, the starting point of the 70 or 40 years was somewhat flexible- for Ez. 22:3,4 records Ezekiel's prophecy that the desolation of Jerusalem by the Babylonians [the starting point of the time periods] was actually being hastened, brought forward, by the terrible behaviour of the Jews living there after the initial Babylon invasion of the land. In fact, if a person had been found who would have powerfully interceded for Jerusalem, 'stood in the gap' (Ez. 22:30), God wouldn't have destroyed Jerusalem - "that I should not destroy it" is an allusion to Abraham interceding for Sodom in Gen. 18:28. There were simply so many possible scenarios!

The prophecy was re-interpreted; for Daniel was told that there was to be a “seventy weeks of years” (Dan. 9:24 RSV) period involved in order to gain ultimate forgiveness for Israel as Daniel had just been praying for. The 70 years had become “seventy weeks of years”. The command to rebuild Jerusalem was given in the first year of Cyrus (Ezra 1:1); but Daniel must have watched in vain for any sign that Zion’s glad morning had really come. And so it is recorded that in the third year of Cyrus Daniel was given a vision that confirmed to him that “the thing was true, but the time appointed was long [Heb. ‘extended’; the word is also translated “greater”, “more”]: and he understood the thing” (Dan. 10:1). What was “the thing” that was true, which Daniel sought to understand? Surely it was the vision of the 70 years that he had sought to “understand” in Dan. 9:2. The Hebrew “dabar”, translated “thing”, is usually translated “word”. He was comforted that the word of prophecy would come true; it was “noted in the scripture of truth” (Dan. 10:21). It was just that it had been extended in its fulfilment; “for yet the vision is for many days” (Dan. 10:14). And this was how he came to “understand the thing / word”. The essential and ultimate fulfilment of the 70 years prophecy would only be after a long time, involving 70 “weeks of years”.

Jeremiah 25:13 I will bring on that land all My words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah has prophesied against all the nations-
These are clearly the words written in the prophecies against Babylon and the other nations at the end of Jeremiah. The book of Jeremiah isn't arranged chronologically; Jer. 25:13 sounds as if "this book" of Jeremiah had been finished at this point.  

Jeremiah 25:14 For many nations and great kings shall make bond servants of them, even of them; and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the work of their hands-
Babylon would no longer be Yahweh's servant, but would become the servants of other nations; see on :9. "Even of them" can be translated "of them also". The idea is that what was done to Israel by Babylon would be done to Babylon. But that isn't really what happened when the Medes took Babylon and the Persian empire then came to dominate Babylon. "Babylonians" weren't put into forced labour throughout the Persian empire; "make bond servants of them" is the language of what Egypt did to the Hebrews (Ex. 1:14). God's intended judgments of Babylon, as those He stated about Judah at this time, were ameliorated. Or we could say they were rescheduled and reapplied to the last days.

Jeremiah 25:15 For thus says Yahweh the God of Israel to me: Take this cup of the wine of wrath at My hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send you, to drink it-
As noted on :9, God had "sent" His Angel to "take" the Babylonians, and Jeremiah was following in the Angel's steps. See on :17.

There can only be two exits from the Lord's throne, to the right or to the left, and likewise we are faced with such a choice in our response to the bread and wine. The cup of wine is a double symbol- either of blessing (1 Cor. 10:16; 11:25), or of condemnation (Ps. 60:3; 75:8; Is. 51:17; Jer. 25:15; Rev. 14:10; 16:19). Why this use of a double symbol? Surely the Lord designed this sacrament in order to highlight the two ways which are placed before us by taking that cup: it is either to our blessing, or to our condemnation. Each breaking of bread is a further stage along one of those two roads. We note that to refuse to drink the cup meant condemnation (:28); we cannot just pass on it, or else that is a refusal of the Lord's blessing and by default we drink condemnation to ourselves.

Jeremiah 25:16 They shall drink, and reel back and forth, and be mad-
"Reel back and forth" is literally to be troubled (s.w. Job 34:20). What is in view is the dread fear of those who know they are about to receiving Divine condemnation. "Mad" is the Hebrew halal which is usually used about praise (s.w. Jer. 20:13) which the nations shall finally give (Jer. 31:7 s.w.), although it can carry the sense of 'raving'. If madness was solely in view, another word would have been used. Perhaps the word choice was again to hint that they could come to repentance and praise of Yahweh as a result of the judgments- if they responded rightly.

Because of the sword that I will send among them- Jeremiah was "sent" with the prophetic word to these nations (:15); but the sword was likewise "sent". Here again we see the power of God's word; it is itself its fulfillment. This bracketing together of word and fulfillment explains why we can so positively consider that we "have" eternal life now whereas it is promised as a future experience.

Jeremiah 25:17 Then took I the cup at Yahweh’s hand, and made all the nations to drink, to whom Yahweh had sent me-
As noted on :9, God had "sent" His Angel to "take" the Babylonians, and Jeremiah was following in the Angel's steps. If Jeremiah literally did this, it would have been a major and dangerous mission, taking much time. It could be understood as all happening only in vision.

Jeremiah 25:18 Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and its kings, and its princes, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, a hissing, and a curse, as it is this day-
Judah was to suffer the judgments of the surrounding nations; just as those of the new Israel shall be "condemned with the world" which they had likewise identified with in their days of opportunity. The hissing and mocking was because Jerusalem had been praised in David's psalms (e.g. Ps. 48:2; 50:2) as the joy of the whole earth and perfect in beauty (Lam. 2:15). Those Psalms of David were well known; for David after the Bathsheba incident had vowed to preach the good news of Yahweh's grace to the entire world. He had done so through his Psalms. His music ministry had been successful; the nations knew the songs about Zion being the joy of the whole earth and the perfection of beauty. And so they mocked it as it lay in ruins.

Jeremiah 25:19 Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people-
They are mentioned first amongst the Gentile nations because it was upon them that Judah had placed so much hope, rather than in Yahweh, for deliverance from Babylon.

Jeremiah 25:20 and all the mixed people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Gaza, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod-
These towns were very near to Judah, and it seems Judah had tried to forge a coalition from these peoples against Babylon. They had made covenants with them all, on condition that Judah worshipped their idols. We can imagine this kind of thing going on in the latter day fulfillment of these words; Israel facing off against a superior enemy, seeking help from even the Palestinians / Philistines, rather than throwing themselves in repentance upon Yahweh.

Jeremiah 25:21 Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon-
These nations were active in assisting the Babylonians destroy Jerusalem (Ps. 137:7). But Judah had sought to make a covenant with them whereby they would fight against Babylon in their defence. The lovers turned against Judah the prostitute and helped burn her with fire. This is all the stuff of politics... whereas faith in Yahweh was to be supreme.

Jeremiah 25:22 and all the kings of Tyre, and all the kings of Sidon, and the kings of the isle which is beyond the sea-
Or, by the sea coast. Perhaps the minor kings confederate with Tyre and the Phoenicians are in view.

Jeremiah 25:23 Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all who have the corners of their beard cut off-
In Jer. 9:26, Judah are listed as a nation who trimmed their beards like this, rather than being circumcised in heart. The surrounding nations had their various signs of identification, often connected with how their hair or beards were cut. The sign of identity God had chosen was not visible; it was upon the most concealed part of the male body. And this spoke of how the real sign of identity as God's people was in fact nothing external, but in the state of heart, a way of thinking with the flesh cut off from it. This is why we may look the same as others in this world, on some counts. But the difference is in our hearts.

Jeremiah 25:24 and all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mixed people who dwell in the wilderness-
These peoples were confederate with Babylon (Jer. 51:37), but they are listed here as peoples with whom Judah had tried to make an alliance against Babylon. They turned against Judah and backed Babylon in the end, and then were destroyed by Babylon and by the destruction of Babylon at the hands of the Medes. All this kind of political intrigue will have its fulfillment in the last days too, and would be absolutely typical of Middle Eastern politics.

Jeremiah 25:25 and all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes-
These peoples had not yet developed into "Persia"; they were then just small tribes to the west of Babylon who were known to be against Babylon. And so Judah had sought their assistance against Babylon. The range of nations is lengthy, and reflects the desperate and extensive measures used by Judah to get human help against Babylon.

Jeremiah 25:26 and all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another-
These nations all had their part in the Babylonian invasion, which is why they were to be punished in the end after Israel's restoration from captivity (Jer. 25:12). Ezekiel was prophesying about the time of the restoration- after 38,39 he goes on to give  commands about how to rebuild the temple on their return from captivity. This is the context in which Ezekiel alludes back to Jer. 25.  

And all the kingdoms of the world, which are on the surface of the earth: and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them- "Sheshach" is a code name for Babylon. The Jewish kabbalists had a system called athbash, whereby the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet is read as the last one, the second letter as the second to last letter, etc. "Sheshach" is the spelling of "Babylon" according to this; and yet the word sheshach means "humiliation", which was to happen to Babylon (Is. 47:1). We wonder why Jeremiah at times uses this term whereas at other times he is clear that he refers to "Babylon". If he was scared of repercussions, then we wonder why at times he does refer to "Babylon". I suggest therefore that he is simply making the point that proud Babylon was to be humiliated. For the essence of all human sin is pride, and judgment is therefore about humiliating pride. And we are to humble ourselves now.

Jeremiah 25:27 You shall tell them, Thus says Yahweh of Armies the God of Israel: Drink, and be drunk, vomit, fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you-
The drunkard is initially attracted to the cup of wine, and so these nations eagerly accepted a part in the coalition to destroy Jerusalem.

Jeremiah 25:28 It shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at your hand to drink, then you shall tell them, Thus says Yahweh of Armies: You shall surely drink-
Even if they perceived that temporary union with Babylon would be to their hurt (see on :27), they would still be punished for their sins.

Jeremiah 25:29 For, behold, I begin to work evil at the city which is called by My name; and should you be utterly unpunished?-
This could imply that the sin of the surrounding nations was like that of Judah; but Jer. 2:10 has stated that Judah's sin was greater than theirs. So perhaps there is here too the hint that their sin was slightly less, but they would not be unpunished.

You shall not be unpunished; for I will call for a sword on all the inhabitants of the earth, says Yahweh of Armies- Ezekiel 38:21 says that a sword will be called for against Gog and thus he will meet his end. This is quoting from Jer. 25:29, where the context is of a group of surrounding nations invading the land and a sword being called upon them. There are several other links with the nations of Ezekiel 38 when we look closer at Jer. 25:19-26. Edom, Moab, Ammon, Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish feature in Ez. 38 too, and this confirms by suggestion there that we are to read the text as suggesting that Sheba, Dedan and the merchants are part of the invading force in Ezekiel 38, not against it.

Jeremiah 25:30 Therefore you must prophesy against them all these words and tell them, Yahweh will roar from on high, and utter His voice from His holy habitation; He will mightily roar against His fold; He will give a shout, as those who tread grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth-
This would have been difficult for them to understand; the god of a city was supposed to defend his city. But Yahweh who lived in Zion, His holy habitation, would roar against His own people; and His wrath with Jerusalem would then go out against all the peoples of the eretz promised to Abraham, whose idols Judah had worshipped and brought into Zion.

Jeremiah 25:31 A noise shall come even to the end of the land; for Yahweh has a controversy with the nations-
"Controversy" is a legal case (s.w. Ex. 23:2). It was a complicated case, with counter appeals which resulted in everyone being condemned- and yet Judah then being finally justified, by grace. Yahweh had this legal case with Judah, and then with the peoples who supported Babylon against her (Jer. 25:31) and then He has this case against Babylon (Jer. 51:36) during which He is advocate for Judah, whose cause He legally pleads in the court case (Jer. 50:34) of which He is judge as well as advocate for the defence. Being both advocate and judge, we see the certainty of Judah's final justification- if they chose to accept His amazing grace in justifying them.

He will enter into judgment with all flesh: as for the wicked, He will give them to the sword, says Yahweh- 'Entering into judgment' is s.w. "plead". Condemnation is in a sense God’s appeal to us. Ezekiel often uses the word in speaking of how God will judge / condemn Israel. But he uses the same word when he speaks of how He will “plead” with Israel in their captivity in Babylon, i.e. in their condemnation experience (Ez. 17:20); how He will plead with them as He pleaded with them whilst they were undergoing judgment in Egypt (Ez. 20:35,36- s.w. “judge” Ez. 20:4); and how He will “judge” or “plead” with Israel’s latter day invaders through the punishments He will bring upon them (Ez. 38:22). When God gives those wicked people to the sword, He will be pleading / judging with “all flesh” (Jer. 25:31); “For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead [s.w. judge] with all flesh” (Is. 66:16). They will be gathered to the valley of Jehoshaphat, so that the Lord can “plead [s.w. judge] with there for my people” (Joel 3:2).

Jeremiah 25:32 Thus says Yahweh of Armies, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great storm shall be raised up from the uttermost parts of the earth-
As explained on :31, all the nations were to be implicated in this great assize, and all were to be punished. The great storm from the borders of the land refers to the Babylonians, but the language of approaching storm is expressed by Ezekiel in terms of the cherubim of glory, Yahweh of hosts of heavenly armies, who was manipulating the Babylonian armies. In the latter day fulfillment, the final invader of Israel will be a group of nations orchestrated by a power likewise just beyond the borders of the eretz, somewhere like Iran.

Jeremiah 25:33 The slain of Yahweh shall be at that day from one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung on the surface of the ground-
This was the judgment to come upon Judah (Jer. 8:2) but the idea is that the Gentile nations were to suffer the same judgment as Judah. There was to be no differentiation between Judah and the world around her when it came to judgment; because she had so fully entered into unity with them. Being left unburied was the ultimate shame for Middle Eastern folks of that time; perhaps the implication is that there would be such mass destruction that there would be none left to do the burying. And yet this scale of destruction didn't happen after Jerusalem fell and Babylon turned upon its own coalition. The prophecy will come to its final term in the last days.

Jeremiah 25:34 Wail, you shepherds, and cry; and wallow in dust, you principal of the flock-
The focus now returns to Israel, the "fold" of Yahweh whom He Himself would destroy (:30,37). The wallowing in the dust may have been a call to repentance; for this was the behaviour which Jeremiah here urges, rather than what was to happen in any case. Even though their destruction and dispersion was now certain, it seems they could still have repented, and thereby ameliorated the nature of that judgment. This self humiliation was to be practiced by the "principal" or "great ones" of the flock. They were themselves to repent of their pride.

For the days of your slaughter and of your dispersions are fully come, and you shall fall like a goodly vessel- "Dispersions" is the word used of the people at Babel (Babylon) being scattered abroad (Gen. 11:4,8). Whilst the prophecy here seems to apply specifically to the shepherds of Israel (:34), it could be that the leaders of all the nations are in view. They were to fall as did Babel, and would be scattered from her. Consistently, the idea of scattering is used as part of condemnation; and true unity, therefore, is a sign of blessing. Division is therefore bringing about the self-condemnation of any believing community. In the specific context of Judah, the "dispersion" was not just into exile, but is used of the scattering of Zedekiah's family and army (2 Kings 25:5). But the pastors / shepherds of Judah had already scattered the people (s.w. Jer. 23:1,2; Ez. 34:21). Their scattering in judgment was only what in essence they had done themselves.

Jeremiah 25:35 The shepherds shall have no way to flee, nor the principal of the flock to escape-
This in the primary application speaks of the capture of Zedekiah and the "principal of the flock" (a phrase perhaps specifically referring to him) as they sought in vain to flee (2 Kings 25:5). But it will come to final term in the last days.
A desire to escape but having no place to run is a feature of the rejected at the last day (Heb. 2:3, quoting Is. 20:6 concerning the inability of men to escape from the approach of the invincible Assyrian army). Rev. 20:11 likewise speaks of the rejected 'heavens and earth' fleeing from the Lamb's throne and finding no place to go. Before the whirlwind of God's judgment, the false shepherds of Israel "shall have no way to flee, nor the principal of the flock to escape" (Jer. 25:35). The rejected will see that the Lord is coming against them with an army much stronger than theirs, and they have missed the chance to make peace (Lk. 14:31). They will be like the Egyptians suffering God's judgments in the Red Sea, wanting to flee but having no realistic place to run to. Uzziah hasting to go out from the presence of the Lord after he was judged for his sin was a foretaste of this (2 Chron. 26:20).

Jeremiah 25:36 A voice of the cry of the shepherds, and the wailing of the principal of the flock! For Yahweh lays waste their pasture-
All throughout, it is Yahweh who is the "destroyer" [s.w. "lay waste"] through the hand of the surrounding peoples (s.w. Jer. 15:8). This was in radical tension with the idea that a local god is always supportive of his people and always saves them. The God of Israel reveals a sensitivity to sin as fundamental to His character; and therefore He will judge and even destroy His own people rather than save them from their invaders.

Jeremiah 25:37 The peaceable folds are brought to silence because of the fierce anger of Yahweh-
An intensive plural for the one great fold, of Zion (:30). "Jerusalem" mean literally "city of peace". The Biblical idea of peace is of peace between God and man, achieved through faith in His provided reconciliation. This had been spurned by Judah, and so His anger was such that "Jerusalem" could no longer be the city of peace; the intended fold of His sheep was to be "brought to silence" or "cut off" (s.w.). Yet it was Jeremiah who sat in silence in the ruins of Zion (Lam. 3:28 s.w.), totally identified with his sinful and judged people, in response to how there was to be no funeral wailing for the dead but rather, silence (Ez. 24:17).

Jeremiah 25:38 He has left His den, as the lion; for their land has become an astonishment because of the fierceness of the oppression, and because of His fierce anger
- The "He" in view is both Yahweh and the lion of Babylon. The invaders had now left their den in Babylon. Jeremiah could see it all, and sought to share his vision with Judah, in the desperate hope that they might repent even on their deathbeds, as it were. Because the Jews had oppressed their brethren, they were to be oppressed (Jer. 22:3; Ez. 18:7; 22:7 s.w.). Our attitudes to our brethren likewise will be directly reflected back to us at the day of judgment.