Jeremiah 49 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Jeremiah 49)

Verse 1

[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?

No heir — During the long tract of time that there were wars between the Jews and Ammonites, the land of Gad and Reuben which lay beyond Jordan, fell into the hands of the Syrians, Moabites, and Ammonites. Hence it is that the prophet saith, Hath Israel no sons? God had given that country of Gilead to Manasseh, Reuben, and Gad; and as mens estates ought to descend to their heirs, so this land should have descended to their posterity, but the Ammonites had taken and possessed it.

Verse 3

[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.

Ai — A city of the Ammonites, not the same mentioned, Joshua 7:2, for that was on the other side Jordan.

By the hedges — Where they might be hidden, and not so easily seen.

Verse 4

[4] Wherefore gloriest thou in the valleys, thy flowing valley, O backsliding daughter? that trusted in her treasures, saying, Who shall come unto me?

Flowing — Either flowing with water, or plenty of corn and grass.

Verse 5

[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 wandereth.

Right forth — So that you shall be glad to flee, and never look back.

Gather up — None will receive or entertain you.

Verse 6

[6] And afterward I will bring again the captivity of the children of Ammon, saith the LORD.

I will bring — Probably this refers to the conversion of the Ammonites, as well as other Heathens, to Christ.

Verse 7

[7] Concerning Edom, thus saith the LORD of hosts; Is wisdom no more in Teman? is counsel perished from the prudent? is their wisdom vanished?

Edom — The Edomites were the posterity of Esau the eldest son of Isaac, but disinherited; the blessing being given to his younger brother Jacob, who was head of the twelve tribes of Israel. God promised him that he should have a fat, and plentiful country, tho' his brother should be his lord; and foretold, that he should break his brother's yoke from off his neck: the land of Seir was his country. The Edomites coasted southward upon Canaan, the Israelites passed by their coasts to go into Canaan, their way lay thro' Edom, but their king refusing to suffer them to go through, God ordered them to go another way. Balaam prophesied their ruin. They were enemies to the Israelites in the time of Saul, 1 Samuel 14:47, and David, 2 Samuel 8:14, and Amaziah, 2 Kings 14:17, who slew of them ten thousand, and took Selah, calling it Jokteel. Many of the prophets foretold their ruin, Jeremiah in this place, Ezekiel 25:12-14; Joel 3:19; Amos 9:11,12, and others.

Teman — Was a city of Edom.

Verse 8

[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 visit him.

Dedan — Was a city of Arabia joining to Idumea, Isaiah 21:13, they being neighbours to the Edomites are called to flee, and to get into caves, where they might dwell deep in the earth and be in some security.

Verse 9

[9] If grapegatherers come to thee, would they not leave some gleaning grapes? if thieves by night, they will destroy till they have enough.

If — Edom shall be totally destroyed; their destruction should not be like the gleaning of grapes, where the gatherers content themselves with taking the principal clusters: nor yet like the robbings of thieves, who take for their hunger, and when they have got enough leave the rest.

Verse 12

[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.

They — The Jews, who in comparison with others did not deserve to drink of the cup, yet have drank of it, and can you think to escape? When an Israelite hath not escaped the justice of God, an Edomite must not expect it.

Verse 13

[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.

Bozrah — Edom is expressed under the name of Bozrah, (a part for the whole) Bozrah being its principal city.

Verse 14

[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.

An ambassador — He speaks after the manner of earthly princes, who use to send their ambassadors to other princes to declare their minds to them. God hath inclined them to come against Edom.

Verse 19

[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 me?

Behold — The Edomites shall come up fiercely against Nebuchadrezzar, but will suddenly flee, yea even from their own country.

Appoint — Into whose hands shall I give that country.

For who — For I can do whatsoever I please.

Will appoint — And who will appoint me a time to plead with men? Who is - Where is that king or potentate that will stand before me?

Verse 20

[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 them.

Teman — Edom and Teman signify the same thing.

The least — The least of Nebuchadrezzar's forces shall drag them out of their lurking places.

Verse 23

[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.

Damascus — Being the head of this country, is put for the whole country.

Hamath — Hamath and Arpad were two cities also of Syria.

On the sea — Their inhabitants that live near the sea shall be troubled.

Verse 25

[25] How is the city of praise not left, the city of my joy!

Of my joy — A city of great renown. The king of Syria is here supposed to speak.

Verse 27

[27] And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Benhadad.

Ben-hadad — Was the common name of the kings of Syria.

Verse 28

[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.

Kedar — Was one of the sons of Ishmael, whose posterity inhabited part of Arabia Petraea. Hazor was the head city to several kingdoms in Joshua's time.

Verse 29

[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 every side.

They — The Chaldeans.

Verse 30

[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 you.

Flee — These seem to be the prophet's words.

Verse 31

[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.

Arise — The result of Nebuchadrezzar's counsels, giving charge to his armies to march against the Kedarens, who lived at ease and took no care, nor had any neighbours that could assist them.

Verse 34

[34] The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against Elam in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying,

Against Elam — Probably the Persians.

Verse 38

[38] And I will set my throne in Elam, and will destroy from thence the king and the princes, saith the LORD.

My throne — God calls the throne of Cyrus or Alexander his throne; because he gave it the conqueror.

Verse 39

[39] But it shall come to pass in the latter days, that I will bring again the captivity of Elam, saith the LORD.

But — We had the like promise as to Moab, chap. 48:47, and as to Ammon, verse 49:6, the same latter days either signify after many days, or in the time of the Messiah. In the former sense it may refer to Cyrus, who conquered Persia. In the latter sense it refers to the spiritual liberty which some of these poor Heathens were brought into by the gospel. We read Acts 2:9, that some of the Elamites were at Jerusalem at pentecost, and were some of those converted to Christ.