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Jeremiah 49:1 Of the children of Ammon. Thus says Yahweh: Has Israel no sons? Has he no heir? why then does Malcam possess Gad, and his people dwell in its cities?- I suggested on the previous two chapters that these judgments have in view the fact that some Jews had fled to Egypt (see on Jer. 46:19) and Moab (see on Jer. 48:11) to try to avoid Divine judgment. But those judgments would come. And some had also fled to Ammon. We know this because Ishmael was living there with a community of Jews at the time of the Babylonian invasion of Judah (Jer. 40:14; 41:10). This was why the people of the ten tribes ["Gad"; or LXX "Gilead"] were dwelling in the cities of Ammon. By doing so, effectively those Jews and Israelites were cutting themselves off from the covenant. They were losing their possession, as if they had "no heir".

Jeremiah 49:2 Therefore behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will cause an alarm of war to be heard against Rabbah of the children of Ammon; and it shall become a desolate heap, and her daughters shall be burned with fire: then shall Israel possess those who possessed him, says Yahweh-
Historically there was no fulfilment of this; Rabbah wasn't burnt and then possessed by Israel. As noted at the end of Jer. 48, the prophecies here will come to their final fulfilment in the last days. They could have come true in Jeremiah's time; the potential scenario was that Israel and Judah both repented, the nations around them were judged and also repented, and together Abraham's fragmented family would be reunited in the revived Kingdom of God in Israel. This didn't then happen; but the prophetic thought and intention has been rescheduled and reapplied to the last days.

Jeremiah 49:3 Wail, Heshbon, for Ai is laid waste; cry, you daughters of Rabbah, clothe yourself in sackcloth: lament, and run back and forth among the fences-
This lamenting could be a call to repentance- which was not responded to.

For Malcam shall go into captivity, his priests and his princes together- This is the same language as used about the Moabites in Jer. 48:7. It was understood that a god of a people or town always fought for its people, and if overcome, then it as it were goes into captivity (Is. 46:1; Am. 1:15). This was the difference with Israel's God Yahweh, the God who threatened to destroy His own city and temple because of His sensitivity to His peoples' sins; the God who brought their enemies upon them.

Jeremiah 49:4 Why do you glory in the valleys, your flowing valley, backsliding daughter? Who trusted in her treasures, saying, who shall come to me?-
All trust in human strength, wealth especially, is abhorrent to God. Treasures or wealth can in no way buy off Divine judgment. However the reference to a "backsliding daughter" is more relevant to the daughter of Zion who was then living in Ammonite territory (see on :1). It is a term used about her and not the Ammonites in Jer. 31:22.

Jeremiah 49:5 Behold, I will bring a fear on you, says the Lord, Yahweh of Armies, from all who are around you; and you shall be driven out every man right forth, and there shall be none to gather together the fugitive-
Jer. 48:44; 49:5 describe condemnation as fear being brought upon people (as Job 3:25; Prov. 1:27), and Is. 24:18 and other passages speak of the condemned fleeing from “the noise of the fear”. “The fear” is almost a way of saying ‘the judgment of God’ (Lam. 3:47). The torment of the rejected will be their fear (1 Jn. 4:18). Psychologically, we need to get in touch with our own fears now, face our fears of condemnation eye to eye, and work through them- in repenting and coming to believe firmly in God’s gracious acceptance, living in the spirit of the true love which casts out fear. I know men and women who knew God and walked with the Lord, but now say ‘it means nothing to me’. They shrug when I nervously mention to them the reality of judgment to come- and I’m not very bold at bringing the conversations around to that issue, because it is just so fearsome and of such magnitude. They tell me that they’re indifferent. But somewhere deep within them, no matter what good actors they are before the stage of our human eyes, there has to be a deep and awful fear. And it is that fear which will be revealed and which will grip them in that final day. Perhaps the greatest mental torment of the rejected will be realizing how they could have been in the Kingdom of God; they will then perceive how great was the potential which they had had in the brief years of their mortality.

Jeremiah 49:6 But afterwards I will revive the fortunes of the children of Ammon, says Yahweh-
They too were intended to participate in the peace to come upon the entire eretz promised to Abraham. It was God's intention to restore not just Israel, but all the peoples within the land, many of whom were in fact relatives of Abraham. The final fulfilment of these prophecies will be in the last day.

Jeremiah 49:7 Of Edom. Thus says Yahweh of Armies: Is wisdom no more in Teman? Is counsel perished from the prudent? Has their wisdom vanished?-
All human wisdom is despised by God when it is used to justify unGodly behaviour. That was how He viewed the renowned wisdom of Edom, and it is how He must feel today.

Jeremiah 49:8 Flee, turn back, dwell in the depths, inhabitants of Dedan; for I will bring the calamity of Esau on him, the time that I shall visit him-
The appeal to "turn back" may be a call to repentance; although of all the nations, Edom is the one of whom there is no hint of future restoration. "The calamity of Esau" was the thing he feared most, which was domination by Jacob. This was not fulfilled at Jeremiah's time; the prophetic potential was that a repentant Israel would have dominated the nations around them. But Israel didn't repent; and so the fulfilment has been rescheduled to the last days.

Jeremiah 49:9 If grape gatherers came to you, would they not leave some gleaning grapes?-
As we judge, we will be judged; even Babylon will be judged as she judged others (Rev. 18:20 RV), and Edom's judgments in Jer. 49:9 are an exact reflection of how she judged Israel, leaving no remnant (Obad. 5). And therefore we should almost jump at the opportunity to judge- with grace. 

If thieves by night, wouldn’t they steal until they had enough?- God as it were understands that a hungry thief will steal food (as taught in Prov. 6:30); but Edom had done far more than that. We see here God's sensitivity, and how He judges behaviour on a sliding scale, taking account of circumstantial factors. We are too easy to excuse sin by pleading situational ethics; but God as the only true judge can make this judgment in a way that we cannot. The implication of the argument is that a certain degree of theft or grape picking would have been acceptable with God. He recognized that Esau / Edom had a legitimate issue with Jacob, even though of course he should ideally have simply forgiven him. But God perceived that they had gone far beyond that. This is not to say that some degree of vengeance and sin is somehow OK with God, but beyond that invisible line, it is not. But on the other hand, God is used to judging human sin, and He does so with understanding, as the only true judge, taking into account all background factors which led to the sinful behaviour.

Jeremiah 49:10 But I have made Esau bare, I have uncovered his secret places, and he shall not be able to hide himself: his seed is destroyed, and his brothers, and his neighbours; and he is no more-
We would all claim to believe that God sees and knows all things, and yet our behaviour and thinking at times implies we think there are "secret places" hidden from His view. Edom had the same mentality (Jer. 49:10). God had specifically warned them that their ways were not "hid" from His eyes (Jer. 16:17 s.w.). And yet Israel like Edom thought they could hide from Him (Jer. 23:24 s.w.).

Jeremiah 49:11 Leave your fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let your widows trust in Me-
This is a clear invitation to Edom to repent. They are asked not to focus solely upon their losses and the need to provide for their families in distress, but to trust in Yahweh. So easily faith in Yahweh is eclipsed by our sense that we can be and must be the saviour of the moment.

Jeremiah 49:12 For thus says Yahweh: Behold, they to whom it didn’t pertain to drink of the cup shall certainly drink; and are you he who shall altogether go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished, but you shall surely drink-
Edom had the attitude that the cup of Divine judgment could not come to them. This is a theme of all these final prophecies upon the nations- they thought, as did the Jews amongst them, that they could somehow avoid judgment. There were people who were not the objects of judgment who would suffer collateral damage from the judgments, and thereby they too drunk of it. So Edom shouldn't think that she should escape because of her geography and nature of her location.

Jeremiah 49:13 For I have sworn by Myself, says Yahweh, that Bozrah shall become an astonishment, a reproach, a waste, and a curse; and all its cities shall be perpetual wastes-
The strength of the language against Edom always seems somewhat harsher than the words against the other nations; here God swears by Himself, as He can find no greater way to express the truth (Heb. 6:13). Perhaps this is because Edom, which is Esau, was Jacob's brother. What we do against our brother in the faith is so especially culpable before God. Edom or Esau was singled out for such special condemnation because he was Jacob's brother (Obad. 10). This was not the case for the Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Philistines etc. Jacob and Esau were admittedly somewhat separated, and Jacob hadn't been the best brother to Esau. But they were still brothers, and God expected much better of Esau / Edom than He did of the others. And here too we find a penetrating challenge. Our brethren whom we may view askance, from whom we may be separated by the way life has gone for us, are still our brothers. And we are judged very sensitively according to our attitudes toward them, especially in the time of their distress, however justified we may feel that distress to be.

Jeremiah 49:14 I have heard news from Yahweh, and an ambassador is sent among the nations saying-
Jeremiah is telling Edom that he had heard inside news, as it were, from Yahweh. Surely the reason for telling Edom ahead of time is so that they might repent. The Hebrew for "ambassador" is also translated "messenger", which is also what the Hebrew for "angel" means. So perhaps an Angel is in view, sent amongst the nations to stir them up to a battle which would result in the destruction of Edom. It was as if Jeremiah was allowed a vision of the court of heaven, the heavenly throne room, where decisions were made and Angels sent out to operationalize them. Obadiah was given the same insight concerning Edom, as he reports in the same words in Obadiah 1.

Gather yourselves together, and come against her, and rise up to the battle- According to Obadiah, who repeats this prophecy with further interpretation, the judgment of Edom was to result in the restoration of Israel's Kingdom. This could have happened at various points in the history of Judah and Israel, but it didn't, because Israel didn't repent and the restoration was not conducted spiritually. The ultimate fulfilment of this prophecy, as of all prophecy, will be in the last days.

Jeremiah 49:15 For, behold, I have made you small among the nations, and despised among men- The past tense here must be compared with the present tense  used elsewhere about Edom's pride at that time. It is therefore a prophetic perfect- God's word, both of judgment and salvation blessing, is so certain of fulfilment that it can be spoken as having already happened. This is why there are passages which speak of the believer's salvation as if it has already occurred, whereas at this point in human time we are still mortal. It was Israel / Jacob who were made small among the nations; Jacob was the "younger", s.w. 'smaller', son compared to Esau (Gen. 27:15,42). Esau / Edom was to receive the judgment of Jacob. This is a major theme of the Apocalypse, that Israel's enemies suffer as she suffers; the seals of judgment upon Israel are in essence repeated in the vials of judgment upon the surrounding nations.

Jeremiah 49:16 As for your terror, the pride of your heart has deceived you-
It was their apparently awesome human strength which deceived Esau / Edom, according to the parallel in Obad. 3. And in Obad. 7 it is the other nations in the confederacy against Israel who deceive Edom. They praised Edom's strength, and Edom's heart was thereby lifted up in pride. The problem with human strength is that it deceives; we thereby play God and become proud.

O you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, who hold the height of the hill- Pride is consistently given as the reason for the judgment of nations. God is so sensitive to it, and so should we be. The allusion is to how the houses in Petra were carved out of caves in the rock. Edom is recorded as having expelled the Horites from the area where the Edomites settled, and 'Horite' is literally 'a cave dweller'. The consistent message of the prophets is that human strength will not save ultimately, and is in fact an abomination to the God who loves humble trust in Him above all things.

Though you should make your nest as high as the eagle, I will bring you down from there, says Yahweh- Jer. 49:22 says that an eagle greater than them shall take them away from their mountain fortress.

Jeremiah 49:17 Edom shall become an astonishment: each one who passes by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss at all its plagues-
This is the language of judgment upon Jerusalem; it would come also upon Edom. Esau would not be able to consider himself superior to Jacob; he would have the same judgment. But the full extent of the destruction of Edomite territory didn't then happen; see on :18,21.

Jeremiah 49:18 As in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighbouring cities, says Yahweh, no man shall dwell there, neither shall any son of man live therein-
This has never quite come true for the land of Edom; the implication is that the whole area would be punished in some way which made the whole area uninhabitable, as happened to Sodom. But this has been rescheduled to the last days. See on :17,21; Jer. 50:12.

Jeremiah 49:19 Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the pride of the Jordan against the strong habitation: for I will suddenly make them run away from it; and whoever is chosen, him will I appoint over it: for who is like Me? And who will appoint Me a time? And who is the shepherd who will stand before Me?-
This verse is repeated word for word in Jer. 50:44; and :20 is likewise about Babylon in Jer. 50:45. There is a theme that all the nations around Judah were to be given the same appeal for repentance. It was God's intention that they too repented, along with Israel and Judah, and formed part of a restored kingdom of God in the whole eretz promised to Abraham. This didn't happen at the time, and so it is reapplied and rescheduled to the last days. The chosen shepherd appointed over Edom or Babylon will then ultimately be the Lord Jesus, the good shepherd. But in the immediate application, it could have been Cyrus the Persian or Darius the Mede, who were the shepherds to be appointed over Edom and Babylon (Is. 44:28).

Jeremiah 49:20 Therefore hear the counsel of Yahweh that He has taken against Edom; and His purposes, that He has purposed against the inhabitants of Teman: Surely they shall drag them away, the little ones of the flock; surely he shall make their habitation desolate over them-
See on :19. But Jer. 18:8 clearly states that this purpose could have been changed, using the same word to say that God will "repent of the evil that I purposed to do to them". It was God's intention that all the nations around Israel would repent along with His people, and turn to Him. Even Edom could have repented at this point. "Therefore hear the counsel of Yahweh..." is surely an appeal for repentance. That God should make so much effort with hardened worldlings... indicates His depth of concern for human salvation. And it should encourage us in our witness.

Jeremiah 49:21 The earth trembles at the noise of their fall; there is a cry, the noise which is heard in the Red Sea-
The idea is that the entire area of Edom suffers an earthquake, reminiscent of the earthquake and topographical changes which seem to have occurred at the exodus. The Red Sea was the limit of their territory- 1 Kings 9:26 speaks of "Eloth, on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom". But this didn't happen as planned at the time; see on :18.

Jeremiah 49:22 Behold, he shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread out his wings against Bozrah: and the heart of the mighty men of Edom at that day shall be as the heart of a woman in her pangs-
As noted on :16, the Edomites thought they were inaccessible as an eagle to Divine judgment; but a greater eagle would come upon them. Again the metaphor has hope of a new birth out of this calamity. The Divine hope was that Edom along with Moab (Jer. 48:41) and Israel would repent and form a reborn people in the restored Kingdom of God in Israel.

Jeremiah 49:23 Of Damascus. Hamath is confounded, and Arpad; for they have heard evil news, they are melted away: there is sorrow on the sea; it can’t be quiet-
This partly repeats the prophecy against Damascus of Is. 17:1-11; but Is. 17:7 is insistent that as a result of this, some in Damascus would repent. These prophecies of doom are not just droning on negatively; the hope is that they would respond to the news being given them ahead of time regarding their fall. The language of the restless sea alludes to Is. 57:19,20. They need not have been like that; peace with God was possible through their repentance.

Jeremiah 49:24 Damascus has grown feeble, she turns herself to flee, and trembling has seized on her: anguish and sorrows have taken hold of her, as of a woman in travail-
This was presumably because of the threat of Babylon, although there is little historical evidence about this; I suggest on :25 that this was part of a prophetic scenario which didn't then come about. The reason for her judgment was because of what she had done to God's people (Am. 1:3); she had judged them too harshly, with iron threshing instruments, overstepping the Divine command to judge His people. And that was to be the problem with Babylon herself, and the reason for her condemnation.

Jeremiah 49:25 How is the city of praise not forsaken, the city of My joy!-
This has to be a reference to Zion, the joy of the whole earth (Ps. 48:2). Although Zion was far from being that at the time (Lam. 2:15), God saw (as we should) to the realities of the future Kingdom of God as if they were present realities. The prophetic scenario was that  Damascus would fall, but Zion would be again exalted and indeed become the joy of the whole earth, no longer forsaken as she currently was. But the lack of repentance by both Israel and Damascus meant that this didn't work out at the time; perhaps that is why as noted on :24 the Babylonian desolation of Damascus didn't happen at that time as it could. All these things will come to their final truth, in essence, in the last days.

Jeremiah 49:26 Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, and all the men of war shall be brought to silence in that day, says Yahweh of Armies-
This is the language of Zion's judgment. What they had done or wanted to do to God's people would be done to them. Again we see that even in Old Testament times, attitude to God's people is the basis for judgment. And that is an abiding principle for us today.

Jeremiah 49:27 I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall devour the palaces of Ben Hadad-
This is alluded to in Am. 1:4,14. But the context of those prophecies is that it will happen in the day when Yahweh roars from out of Zion (Am. 1:2), in "the day of the whirlwind" (Am. 1:14). I suggested on :24,25 that these judgments on Damascus didn't come true as they could have done at the time, but will do so in the last days. And that seems to be the point of Amos repeating these words. 

Jeremiah 49:28 Of Kedar, and of the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon struck. Thus says Yahweh: Arise, go up to Kedar, and destroy the children of the east-
Babylon is portrayed as obedient to a Divine command to do so, acting as Yahweh's servant. Babylon's judgment was because they overstepped what they were commanded to do. Kedar and Hazor refer to the Bedouin Arabs (:29). Hazor may not refer to the city of that name but may be a take on hazer, an unwalled village of the type the Bedouins lived in (:31).

Jeremiah 49:29 Their tents and their flocks shall they take; they shall carry away for themselves their curtains, and all their vessels, and their camels; and they shall cry to them, Terror on every side!-
This "terror on every side" quotes the judgment upon Judah in Jer. 6:25. Even the wandering Bedouin Arabs (see on :28) were to experience the judgments which came upon Judah. But this was so that they might be able to identify with God's people through this experience, and come to accept Israel's God. It is not simply so that 'what goes around comes around'; there is a purpose in these judgments repeating themselves. It was so that those who had witnessed and participated in the judgment of Israel might come to see how it felt, and thereby repent. We too are at times made to feel the effect of our actions upon others- for the same reason.

Jeremiah 49:30 Flee, wander far off, dwell in the depths, you inhabitants of Hazor, says Yahweh; for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has taken counsel against you, and has conceived a purpose against you-
Hazor may not refer to the city of that name but may be a take on hazer, an unwalled village of the type the Bedouins lived in (:31). Taking counsel and conceiving a purpose are exactly the words used of what Yahweh does (Jer. 29:11; 49:20; 50:45). But here, Nebuchadnezzar does so. Clearly God placed in his heart to fulfill His will. This is how God can work; placing desires and ideas in the human mind. This work upon the human spirit is achieved by God's Spirit; and this is how His Holy Spirit can work in our lives if we are open to it. Babylon was not condemned because they conceived these purposes; but because they overstepped the commissions given, leading them into the sin which called forth such condemnation.

Jeremiah 49:31 Arise, go up to a nation that is at ease, that dwells without care, says Yahweh; that have neither gates nor bars, that dwell alone-
Just as Babylon "conceived a purpose" against those who live without bars and gates (:30), so the latter day invader led by Gog will "conceive a purpose" (s.w. Ez. 38:10) to attack an Israel dwelling without gates and bars (Ez. 38:11). The Babylonian attack upon the Bedouin Arabs therefore serves as a prototype of the latter day attack upon Israel. The description of these people as 'dwelling alone' is the very phrase used of Israel (Num. 23:9); this highlights the connection.

Jeremiah 49:32 Their camels shall be a booty, and the multitude of their livestock a spoil: and I will scatter to all winds those who have the corners of their beards cut off; and I will bring their calamity on them from every side, says Yahweh-
Whether Nebuchadnezzar did this is not strongly attested to historically. But as noted on :2,24, we are seeing here a potential scenario of what could have come about, but which was rescheduled to fulfilment in the last days.

Jeremiah 49:33 Hazor shall be a dwelling place of jackals, a desolation forever: no man shall dwell there, neither shall any son of man live therein-
Just as was predicted of Edom (Jer. 49:18) and of the cities of Judah (Jer. 10:22). Divine judgment has the same hallmark wherever it is executed. 

Jeremiah 49:34 The word of Yahweh that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning Elam, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying- The book of Jeremiah is not chronological but thematic. The theme here is of the nations around Judah being judged for what they had done to Judah. The fact Elam is mentioned as being judged at the beginning of Zedekiah's reign could imply that they had played some part in the early Babylonian attack upon Judah which resulted in the dethronement and captivity of Jehoiachin, whom Zedekiah replaced. Elam is not Persia proper; they were confederate with the Assyrians in attacking Judah earlier (Is. 22:6).

Jeremiah 49:35 Thus says Yahweh of Armies: Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the chief of their might-
According to some of the cuneiform tablets acquired in 1878 by the British Museum, "At the very time when Nebuchadnezzar was taking an oath of allegiance from Zedekiah, he was also engaged in hostilities against Elam". So the breaking of Elam's power was to be by Babylon. The breaking of Elam's bow is because they had used their bow and quiver against Judah (Is. 22:6). Consistently, attitude toward God's people is the basis for judgment; and that is the lesson for us. The day of judgment will not be a theological examination, but rather a consideration of how we dealt with the hungry, thirsty and naked.

Jeremiah 49:36 On Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of the sky, and will scatter them towards all those winds; and there shall be no nation where the outcasts of Elam shall not come-
These four winds appear to refer to Angelic powers (Zech. 6:5; Ps. 104:4). And yet the reference is to Babylonian forces. Babylon was a manifestation of the four cherubim figures seen in Ez. 1; they were controlled by God, doing His will.

Jeremiah 49:37 I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies, and before those who seek their life; and I will bring evil on them, even My fierce anger, says Yahweh; and I will send the sword after them, until I have consumed them-
As noted on :36, the Babylonians were sent by God. They were His sword, sent by Him. The simple takeaway from all this is that there is no radical evil in the cosmos; all is under God's control and supervision.

Jeremiah 49:38 and I will set My throne in Elam, and will destroy from there king and princes, says Yahweh-
This didn't happen at Jeremiah's time; but it was the potential. Their king and princes would be destroyed because Yahweh was to become their accepted king and they would thereby become part of His Kingdom. And it will come true at the last day; see on :39.

Jeremiah 49:39 But it shall happen in the latter days, that I will restore the fortunes of Elam, says Yahweh
- They too were intended to participate in the peace to come upon the entire eretz promised to Abraham. It was God's intention to restore not just Israel, but all the peoples within the land, many of whom were in fact relatives of Abraham. The final fulfilment of these prophecies will be in the last day. Although we perhaps see an incipient fulfilment in that there were Elamites who converted to the God of Israel in Acts 2:9.