Jeremiah Chapter 25
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, that [was] the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon;”
“The fourth year of Jehoiakim” (605 B.C.), is also mentioned (in 36:1 and 45:1), and it marked a turning point in Jeremiah’s ministry. The Babylonians became the dominant power in the ancient Near East, and Jehoiakim sealed Judah’s fate by destroying the scroll of Jeremiah’s prophecies and disregarding the warning of the coming judgment.
“First year” (Nebuchadnezzar reigned 605-562 B.C.).
(Chapters 25 to 51), center on God’s jurisdiction over the nations and include His special plans for Israel.
We see a final warning to God’s people, Judah, here. Jehoiakim was a very evil king. The date set for this is pretty certain since it was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar. This is the date Jeremiah spoke to them, and not the day of the overthrow of Jerusalem.
Jeremiah 25:2 “The which Jeremiah the prophet spake unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying,”
That is, the word concerned them all, and he spake it to so many of them as he met with in any public assembly at Jerusalem or elsewhere.
Jeremiah was still obedient to God in proclaiming the coming judgement. This prophecy is not just for Judah, but for Jerusalem as well.
Jeremiah 25:3 “From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that [is] the three and twentieth year, the word of the LORD hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened.”
“Thirteenth year” (the time is ca. 627-626 B.C.; Josiah ruled in 640-609 B.C.).
“Three and twentieth year”: Jeremiah began his ministry in the 13th year of Josiah (compare 1:2), and had been faithful to preach repentance and judgment for 23 years (ca. 605/604
We remember that Jeremiah was just a youth when he began to prophesy the Words of the LORD to these people. He has been faithfully doing exactly what God has told him to do for 23 years. It seems all the warning he has given them has not been heeded.
Jeremiah 25:4 “And the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending [them]; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear.”
Not only him, but many others, Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah, and others.
“Rising early and sending them”: Not only the prophet, but the Lord himself is said to rise early, and send his prophets to them. Which denotes his great care and concern for this people for their good (see Jer. 7:25).
“But ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear”: Which is an aggravation of their sin; that whereas they had one prophet after another sent to them, and sent by the Lord himself. And they rising early, being sent to do their message; and yet were not hearkened and attended to.
(See note on 7:13).
Jeremiah is reminding them here, that God had given them ample warning by His prophets. They did not even listen to the prophets much less take a warning from them.
Jeremiah 25:5 “They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever:”
The prophets: this was the substance of their discourses and prophecies, what follows.
“Turn ye again now every one from his evil way”: And from the evil of your doings. Repent of sins, and reform from them. Particularly their idolatries, to which they were prone, and are after mentioned.
“And dwell in the land that the Lord hath given unto you to your fathers for ever and ever”: That is, the land of Canaan, which was given to them, and their fathers before them, by the Lord. For an everlasting inheritance, provided they behaved towards him right. For they held the possession of it by their obedience to his law. And now, notwithstanding all that they had done, or had been threatened with. Yet, if they repented and reformed, they should still dwell in the land, and enjoy it, and all the blessings and privileges of it.
The message had not changed. God told them over and over to turn from the worship of false gods and He would bless them in the land He had promised them. The land of promise was to be theirs and their children’s, unto all generations. The only catch was, that they must stay loyal to God to receive the blessings.
Jeremiah 25:6 “And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt.”
So long as they served the Lord God, they continued in their own land, in the comfortable enjoyment of all the blessings of it. For their government was a theocracy. God was their King; and as long as they served and worshipped him only, he protected and defended them. But when they forsook him, and went after other gods, and served and worshipped them, then they were threatened to be turned out of their land, and carried captive into other lands. And yet, after all, if they returned from their idolatries, and left off worshipping idols, the Lord was ready to receive them kindly, and continue his favors to them.
“And provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands”: Their idols, which their own hands made, and then fell down to worship them. Which nothing can be more provoking to God.
“And I will do you no hurt”: By sword, or famine, or pestilence, or captivity. Signifying the hurt he had threatened them with should not be done, provided they forsook their idolatrous worship. God does no hurt to his true worshippers; yea, he makes all things work together for their good.
The first commandment God had given them warned them not to worship other gods. God would not permit the worship of any other god. They had even made idols of wood and metal with their own hands, and worshipped them. This was strictly forbidden. God is a Jealous God and would not share His people. The thing that separated them from the heathen people around them, was their worship of the One True God.
Jeremiah 25:7 “Yet ye have not hearkened unto me, saith the LORD; that ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.”
Though it was he that spake unto them by his prophets; and though it was so much to their own good and advantage. And the neglect of him and his word were so much to their disadvantage, and even ruin.
“That ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands, to your own hurt”: Which, though not meaning to do either, yet eventually did both. Both provoked the Lord, and brought destruction upon themselves. For whatever is against the glory of God is to the hurt of man; and whatever provokes him has a harmful effect to them in its consequences.
All of the warnings Jeremiah had brought from God, had not been received. They even tried to kill Jeremiah for bringing them such a message. God’s wrath has come up in His face. Now is the time for judgment.
Verses 8-11: Jeremiah had been prophesying for more than 20 years that judgment would fall on Judah if she did not turn from her evil ways and come back to God. Other prophetic contemporaries of Jeremiah included Ezekiel, Daniel, Obadiah, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah. Judah had every opportunity to hear the truth and repent of her sinful ways, but she did not (27:6).
Jeremiah 25:8 “Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Because ye have not heard my words,”
Of armies above and below; and so can do what he pleases in heaven and in earth.
“Because ye have not heard my words”: By the prophets, so as to obey them. They had heard them externally, but did not observe to do them.
Jeremiah 25:9 “Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and a hissing, and perpetual desolations.”
The Lord refers to “Nebuchadnezzar” as His “servant”. The title does not mean that the king had a personal relationship with the Lord, although he did come to acknowledge the greatness of the Lord (Dan. Chapter 4); the Lord was using him merely to carry out His judgment. The Lord controls the hearts of kings (Prov. 21:1), and uses the nations to accomplish His purposes.
“My servant”: God used a pagan king, Nebuchadnezzar, to accomplish His will (compare Cyrus in Isa. 45:1).
In the verses above God has told them why they will suffer punishment. In this verse, He describes what some of that punishment will be. The only reason God calls Nebuchadnezzar His servant, is because he is obeying God’s command to take the land. Babylon is an evil land, but God is using them to punish His 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 candle.”
At their festivals, and nuptial solemnities.
“The voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride”: Expressing their mutual love unto, and delight in, each other; so agreeable to one another and their friends. Or it may mean those nuptial songs, sung unto them by their friends.
“The sound of the millstones”: Either the voice of those that sing at the mill while grinding; or rather the sound of the stones themselves used in grinding. Either in grinding spices for the bride cakes; or rather in grinding corn for common use. And so, denotes the taking away of bread corn from them, and the want of that. The sense is, there should be corn to grind, and so no use of the mill.
“And the light of the candle”: At their feasts and weddings, or rather, for common use. Signifying that houses should be desolate, without inhabitants. No light in them, nor work to be done. The whole shows that they should be deprived of everything both for necessity and pleasure. John seems to have borrowed some phrases from hence (Rev. 18:22). In which he appears to have followed the Hebrew text, and not the Greek version. The Targum of the last clause is, “the voice of the company of those that sing at the light of candles.”
Compare 7:34; Rev. 18:23.
The normal happenings in a town will not be anymore. Even the light of the candle will go out. Total darkness will prevail. They will have nothing to be happy about when the wrath of God falls upon them.
Jeremiah 25:11 “And this whole land shall be a desolation, [and] an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.”
“Seventy years”: Here is the first specific statement on the length of the exile (compare 29:10). This period probably began in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, when Jerusalem was first captured and the temple treasures were taken. It ends with the decree of Cyrus to let the Jews return, spanning from (ca. 605/604 B.C. to 536/35 B.C.). The exact number of Sabbath years is 490 years, the period from Saul to the Babylonian captivity. This was retribution for their violation of the Sabbath law (compare Lev. 26:34-35; 2 Chron. 36:21).
The exile would last for “seventy years”. This period represents an entire lifetime, indicated that the generation sent away into exile would not be the same as the one that returned to the land (Num. chapters 13 and 14).
The “seventy years” of captivity have been variously reckoned. Some consider the number 70 to be a mere round number of a normal life span (compare Psalm 90:10; Isa. 23:15). Others take the 70 years to be literal, but differ as to the starting point of the period. The two most widely held dates for the years involved in the prophecy are:
(1) 605-536 B.C., beginning with the captivity of Daniel and ending with the return under Sheshbazzar and Zerubbabel (compare Dan.9:1-2 with 2 Chron. 36:20-23; Ezra 1:1-3); and
(2) 586-516 B.C., from the date of Jerusalem’s fall until the rebuilding of the temple by Israel’s returning exiles (compare Haggai 1:1-15).
I believe this 70 years of captivity in Babylon to be literal years. It appears that Daniel believed the 70 years to be literal as well.
Daniel 9:1-2 “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;” “In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.”
It appears from this, that Daniel knew Jeremiah and had great respect toward his prophecies.
Jeremiah 25:12 “And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, [that] I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.”
Seventy years accounted from the time that the Jews were carried away in the time of Jeconiah or Jehoiachin (2 Kings 24:15-16). This was fulfilled by Darius the king of Persia (Dan. 4:31). Of these seventy, Nebuchadnezzar reigned thirty-six (2 Kings 25:27), Evil-merodach thirty-two, and Belshazzar at least two (Dan. 8:1). Though God, who’s all the creation is, and who is the Lord of all the hosts of his creatures, doth often make use of heathens and other wicked men to punish his own people. Yet he will at last punish them too. And ordinarily when he does punish them, it is with a more severe and grievous destruction than that by which he punished his people (Isa. 27:7). Thus, he threatens to make the Chaldeans a perpetual desolation.
This is speaking of a time after the 70 years that God will destroy Babylon. It will never be rebuilt. The perpetual desolations speak of an eternity of rubble. This could be speaking of the rule of Nebuchadnezzar, or of the city of Babylon in its entirety.
Jeremiah 25:13 “And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, [even] all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations.”
“All the nations”: Jeremiah prophesied judgments on surrounding nations (compare chapters 46 to 49), while Babylon is the focus of judgment (in chapters 50 and 51).
We have discussed before that a statement made by God is going to happen. It may not happen as quickly as we expect, but it will happen. Jeremiah was not speaking his own words. He was speaking the Words of God.
Jeremiah 25:14 “For many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of them also: and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands.”
“Serve themselves of them”: The Babylonians, who made other nations their slaves, would become the servants of nations.
God does not overlook the actions of countries against His chosen people. We discussed in an earlier lesson, where the Babylonians had gone too far with their cruelty during the overthrow of Jerusalem. God takes vengeance on those who are against His people.
Verses 15-28: The Lord’s judgment of the nations is pictured as a “wine cup of this fury”, and the nations would stagger and reel under its power (51:7; Rev. 14:10). This judgment would fall on the nations and then on “Sheshach”, a code word for Babylon that involves substituting the last letters of the Hebrew alphabet for the first. The precise reason for using it is not clear.
Jeremiah 25:15 “For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it.”
“Take the wine cup”: A symbol for stupefying judgments (verse 16).
This is a symbolic thing that Jeremiah is to do. Jeremiah did warn each of them of the justice of the LORD God of Israel. The fury of God has always been against those who are against the Israelites.
Jeremiah 25:16 “And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them.”
The sword that God sends among them is in judgement. This sword of the Lord could be the natural elements like lightning, but it probably is speaking of war. They drink, in the verse above, just means they received the punishment God spoke upon them.
Jeremiah 25:17 “Then took I the cup at the LORD’S hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the LORD had sent me:”
“Made all the nations… drink”: Obviously Jeremiah could not visit all the places (listed from verses 18-26), but in this vision he acted as if representatives from all those nations were present so he could make them drink in the message of wrath (verse 27), and understand there was no escape (verses 28-29).
This is not speaking of a literal cup, but is speaking of the message Jeremiah brought to them and repeated over and over, until they received it unto themselves. The nations, plural, is speaking of all the lands around who had come against God’s people.
Jeremiah 25:18 “[To wit], Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, a hissing, and a curse; as [it is] this day;”
Which are mentioned first, because God’s judgments began with them, as they usually do with the house of God (1 Peter 4:17). And even now began. For this very year, in which this prophecy was delivered, Nebuchadnezzar came up and besieged Jerusalem, and carried away some captives (Dan. 1:1). This was the beginning of what afterwards were more fully executed.
“And the kings thereof, and the princes thereof”: The Kings Jehoiakim, Jeconiah, and Zedekiah, with those of their families, the princes of the blood, and their nobles.
“To make them a desolation, an astonishment, a hissing, and a curse”: To strip them of their crowns and kingdom, of their wealth, and riches, and honor, and bring them into slavery and bondage. So that they became an astonishment to some, to see the change that was made in them. And were hissed, stand cursed by others.
“As it is this day”: Which is added, either because of the certainty of it, or because it began to take place this very year. Though more fully in Jeconiah’s time, and still more in Zedekiah’s. Or rather this clause might be added by Jeremiah after the captivity; or by Baruch, or by Ezra. Or whoever collected his prophecies, and put them into one volume (as Jer. 52:1), seems to be added by another hand.
Jeremiah 25:19 “Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people;”
Who is mentioned first after the kings of Judah. Not only because the Jews were in alliance with Egypt, and trusted to them; and therefore this is observed, to show the vanity of their confidence and dependence. But because the judgments of God first took place on the king of Egypt. For in this very year, in which this prophecy was delivered, Pharaoh-necho king of Egypt was smitten by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 46:2). Though the prophecy had a further accomplishment in Pharaoh-hophra, who was given into the hands of his enemies as foretold (Jer. 44:30).
“And his servants, and his princes, and all his people”: His menial servants, his domestics, and his nobles and peers of the realm, and all his subjects. It expresses an utter destruction of the kingdom of Egypt. And the particulars of it may be the rather given, to show the vain trust of the Jews in that people.
Jeremiah 25:20 “And all the mingled people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod,”
Not the Arabians, who are mentioned afterwards (Jer. 25:24); but rather a mixed people in the land of Egypt, such as came out of it along with the Israelites. Or were near it, and bordered upon it, as the Targum; which renders it, all the bordering kings. Or rather a mixture of people of different nations that dwelt by the sea coasts, either the Mediterranean, or the Red sea, as others think.
“And all the kings of the land of Uz”: Not the country of Job, called by the Greek’s Ausitis, as the Vulgate Latin version. But rather a country of Idumea, so called from Uz the son of Dishan, the son of Seir (Lam. 4:21).
“And all the kings of the land of the Philistines”: The petty kings of it, called the lords of the Philistines elsewhere, who were great enemies to the people of the Jews. The prophecy of their destruction (is in chapter 47), and whose principal cities are next mentioned.
“And Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod”: Of Ashkelon, and the sword in it, and ruin (see Jer. 47:5). “Azzah” is the same with Gaza, whose destruction is also foretold in (Jer. 47:1; see Acts 8:26). “Ekron” was another of the cities of the Philistines (see 1 Sam. 5:10). And “Ashdod” is the same with Azotus, another of their cities (Acts 8:40). Called “the remnant of Ashdod”, because the remains only of a once very strong and fortified place. But was so weakened and wasted by Psammetichus, king of Egypt, in a blockade of it, for the space of nine and twenty years, before he took it, that when he had got in it, it was but as the carcass of a city, to what it was before.
Jeremiah 25:21 “Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon,”
All well-known and implacable enemies of Israel. The Edomites descended from Esau; and the Moabites and Ammonites from Moab and Ammon, the two sons of Lot by his daughters. Their destruction is prophesied of in the forty eighth and forty ninth chapters.
Jeremiah 25:22 “And all the kings of Tyrus, and all the kings of Zidon, and the kings of the isles which [are] beyond the sea,”
Two very ancient cities in Phoenicia, frequently mentioned together in Scripture, being near each other. Their ruin is foretold in (Jer. 47:4).
“And the kings of the isles which are beyond the sea”: Which some understand of Greece and Italy; others of Rhodes, Cyprus, and Crete, and other islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The Cyclades, as Jerom: but the words may be rendered, “and the kings of the country by the seaside”; and may design those that dwell upon the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
Jeremiah 25:23 “Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all [that are] in the utmost corners,”
These seem to be places in Edom or Idumea, of whose destruction Jeremiah prophesies in (Jer. 49:7). Or rather in Arabia and Mesopotamia. Jerom reckons them among the Ishmaelites and Saracens. The persons from whom they descended are mentioned in (Gen. 22:21).
“And all that are in the utmost corners”: That is, either of the above countries, or of the whole earth. Or “all that had their hair shorn”; or the corners of their beards; which Jerom says is applicable to the Saracens.
Jeremiah 25:24 “And all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mingled people that dwell in the desert,”
Of Arabia Petraea.
“And all the kings of the mingled people that dwell in the desert”: The other Arabians or mixed people that dwell in Arabia Deserts, as the Scenites, Nomades, Kedarenes, and others. And so the Targum, “and all the kings of the Arabians, that dwell in tents in the desert.” Of these, see the prophecy in (Jer. 49:28).
Jeremiah 25:25 “And all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes,”
Of Arabia Felix, so called from Zimran, a son of Abraham by Keturah (Gen. 25:2).
“And all the kings of Elam”: Or Persia; who are prophesied against in (Jer. 49:34).
“And all the kings of the Medes”: Who commonly go together with the Persians.
Jeremiah 25:26 “And all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which [are] upon the face of the earth: and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them.”
All under the government of the Chaldeans (or as others), all those princes that have dominions between the north and east.
“All the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth”: That is, in those parts of the world which were at that time known, with whom there was ordinary commerce.
“And the king of Sheshach shall drink after them”: And the king of Babylon, who was last of all to drink of this cup of the Lord’s fury. That he is here meant is plain from (Jer. 51:41), where Sheshach is thus interpreted. But why Babylon is called Sheshach is a harder question, and not easily resolved. Those who think the prophet gives Babylon here another name to avoid his hatred or disgust for the king of Babylon, at this time their enemy, doesn’t consider the usual courage of this prophet.
(See the note on 51:41).
We see the far reaching effect of the prophecy of Jeremiah in this. All of those listed above and in fact, the entire unsaved world had been warned of Jeremiah of the judgement of God.
Jeremiah 25:27 “Therefore thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Drink ye, and be drunken, and spew, and fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you.”
To the several nations before mentioned, prophesied against.
“Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel”: The Lord of armies, above and below, the Sovereign of the whole universe. But in a special and peculiar manner the God of Israel.
“Drink ye, and be drunken, and spew, and fall, and rise no more”: As is sometimes the case of drunken men. They drink till they are quite intoxicated; and become drunk, and then they spew up what they have drunk. And, attempting to walk, fall, and sometimes so as never to rise. Not only break their bones, but their necks, or fall into places where they are suffocated, or in one or other, where they lose their lives. So it is signified, that these nations should drink of the cup of God’s wrath and fury. Or his judgments should come upon them in such a manner as that they should be obliged to part with all their riches, power, and authority. And should fall and sink into such a ruinous condition, as that they should never be able to go a prosperous one.
“Because of the sword that I will send among you”: By which they should be destroyed. The Targum joins this with the preceding clause, thus, “and ye shall not rise from before those that kill with the sword, whom I send among you.”
Jeremiah 25:28 “And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ye shall certainly drink.”
The “cup” is often used as a symbol of divine judgment (Psalm 75:8; Isa. 51:17, 22; Ezek. 23:31-34; Rev. 14:10; 16:19). Christ drank the cup of divine wrath against sin for all men (compare Mark 10:38; 14:36; John 18:11). For cup as a sign of divine blessing (see Psalms 23:5; 116:13).
The warning brought to all of them, is spoken of as the cup. God has given Jeremiah the commission to tell them all and if they do not take heed, to tell them again, until they do believe.
Jeremiah 25:29 “For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts.”
“City … called by my name”: Jerusalem (compare Dan. 9:18).
This reaches to the time of the end, when the wrath of God will be poured out on all the world who have not taken heed to His warning. God destroyed His beloved Jerusalem, because of their evil. He will do no less to all the world who follow after false gods. Those who are faithful to God and Him alone, will be spared the wrath of God. All who reject Him as their Savior and Lord, will suffer the wrath of God. Judgement begins at the house of God. Then God punishes the others.
Verses 30-33: While embracing the judgments soon to come to Judah and other nations, this has end-time language (“one end of the earth to the other”), and must be ultimately fulfilled in the time of tribulation (described in Rev. chapters 6 to 19).
Jeremiah 25:30 “Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread [the grapes], against all the inhabitants of the earth.”
What follows, as well as declare all that is before spoken concerning the cup of fury all nations must drink of.
“The Lord shall roar from on high”: From, heaven, like a lion, in violent claps of thunder. Or in such dreadful dispensations of his providence, as will be very amazing and terrifying.
“And utter his voice from his holy habitation”: From heaven, as before. And though it will be terrible, yet quite consistent with his holiness and justice.
“He shall mightily roar upon his habitation”: The temple at Jerusalem, where he had his residence. But now should be deserted by him, and feel the effects of his wrath in the destruction and desolation of it. Or rather, since the address is made to the nations of the world, and not to the Jews. It may be rendered, “in” or “out of his habitation”. And so designs heaven, as before. And all these expressions are intended to show both the certainty and terribleness of the dispensation.
“He shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth”: Or, “answer a shout”; give the onset for battle against the inhabitants of the earth, as the general of an army. Which is accompanied with a shout, like that which is made by workmen treading in the wine press. To encourage one another to go on the more cheerfully in their work.
Look with me at the following Scripture which is about the same thing.
Revelation 14:19-20 “And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast [it] into the great winepress of the wrath of God.” “And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand [and] six hundred furlongs.”
Jeremiah 25:31 “A noise shall come [even] to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them [that are] wicked to the sword, saith the LORD.”
Wars, and rumors of wars, everywhere, till the cup has gone round, and all nations have drank of it. And have felt the power of divine wrath for their sins.
“For the Lord hath a controversy with the nations”: Will enter into a judicial process with them. Will litigate the point with them, and try it openly; that it may be seen who is in the right, and who in the wrong.
“He will plead with all flesh”: Or enter into judgment with them, as Kimchi. Or reprove them in judgment as Jarchi. He will be too many for them; he will carry his case, overcome them in judgment, and reprove and condemn them. Or the words may be rendered, “he will be judged by all flesh”. He will submit it to the judgment of the whole world, if it is not a righteous thing in him to do what he is about to do, and will do. He will make it clear and manifest that he does nothing unjustly, but all according to the strict rules of justice and equity.
“He will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the Lord”: To be destroyed by it, and none but them. And seeing they are such that deserve it, he is not to be charged with unrighteousness in so doing.
Verses 32-33: The judgment of Judah, the nations and Babylon in history prefigures the final judgment and the great battle that will overtake the entire earth in the end times (Isa. 34:2-3). The empire of Antichrist is described as “Babylon the Great” (in Revelation chapters 17-19). In the Battle of Armageddon, the Antichrist will be the leader (Rev. 19:19), and his armies are defeated by the word of Christ, “a sharp sword” (Rev. 19:15, 21).
Jeremiah 25:32 “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.”
Begin in one nation, and then go on to another. First in Judea, and then in Egypt; and so on. Like catching distemper, or like fire that first consumes one house, and then another. And thus shall the cup go round from nation to nation, before prophesied of. So beginning at Judea, one nation after another was destroyed by the king of Babylon. Then he and his monarchy were destroyed by the Medes and Persians. And then they by the Macedonians; and then the Greeks by the Romans.
“And a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth”: Or “from the sides of it”; that is, “from the ends of it”. As the Targum, which paraphrases it, “and many people shall come openly from the ends of the earth;”. This was first verified in the Chaldean army under Nebuchadnezzar, compared to a whirlwind (Jer. 4:13). And then in the Medes and Persians under Cyrus. And after that in the Greeks under Alexander. The great and last of all in the Romans under Titus Vespasian.
This is not just speaking of a local happening but is speaking of worldwide judgement that comes on all the earth. Mankind has a choice to repent and turn to God or face the horrible happenings we are reading about here.
Jeremiah 25:33 “And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from [one] end of the earth even unto the [other] end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground.”
That those who should be slain by commission from the Lord in this time of his judgments should be in all places. And so numerous, that there should be none left to lament for or to bury the dead. But the dead bodies should lie and rot upon the surface of the earth, and be as muck to it (see the like phrases, Jer. 16:4).
Just as we have been reading of how Jerusalem was attacked and many died, so is this speaking of massive death. When Babylon took Jerusalem, there was no time to bury the dead, they were left for the vultures and the wild animals. This is speaking of the same thing on a more massive scale. It is even on a global scale.
Jeremiah 25:34 “Howl, ye shepherds, and cry; and wallow yourselves [in the ashes], ye principal of the flock: for the days of your slaughter and of your dispersions are accomplished; and ye shall fall like a pleasant vessel.”
Here he returns to the Jews and their rulers, using the same image (as in Jer. 25:30).
“Wallow yourselves”: Cover yourselves as thickly with ashes, in token of sorrow, as one who rolls in them (Jer. 6:26; Ezek. 27:30).
“Principal of the flock”: Leaders. The Septuagint translates “rams,” carrying out the image (compare Isa. 14:9, Zech. 10:3).
“Days of your slaughter … dispersions”: Rather, “your days for slaughter (that is, the time of your being slain). And your dispersions (not “of your dispersions”), are accomplished (are come).”
“Pleasant vessel”: Ye were once a precious vessel, but ye shall fall, and so be a broken vessel (see Jer. 22:28). Your past excellency shall not render you safe now. I will turn to your disgrace whatever glory I conferred on you.
This is just speaking of all of those who have represented God upon this earth. “Wallowing in the ashes” just shows extreme mourning for the things happening. The shepherd is speaking of the preacher or prophet, who has led a group of people. This howling is the same as that (in Revelation chapter 18), when Babylon the great falls. Babylon is symbolic of all of the evil in the land. Babylon is not only a city, but is symbolic of all evil. The terribleness on the unrepentant people has come.
Jeremiah 25:35 “And the shepherds shall have no way to flee, nor the principal of the flock to escape.”
Or, “and flight shall perish from the shepherds. Though they may attempt it, they shall not be able to accomplish it. Neither the dignity of their persons, the greatness of their power, or the abundance of their riches, would make a way for them. Their enemies being so numerous, powerful, and watchful.
“Nor the principal of the flock to escape”: This was particularly verified in Zedekiah and his princes (Jer. 39:4). The Targum is, “and the house of fugitives shall perish from the kings, and deliverance from the mighty of the people.”
Just as Jeremiah was there in Jerusalem to see the destruction, these shepherds will see the destruction also.
Jeremiah 25:36 “A voice of the cry of the shepherds, and a howling of the principal of the flock, [shall be heard]: for the LORD hath spoiled their pasture.”
Or of the kings, as the Targum.
“And a howling of the principal of the flock, shall be heard”: Of the mighty of the people, as the same. What is before called for is here represented as in fact, because of the certainty of it.
“For the Lord hath spoiled their pasture”: Their kingdoms, provinces, cities, and towns. Or their people, as the Targum, among whom they lived, and by whom they were supported. Still keeping up the metaphor of the shepherd and flock. This the Lord is said to do because he suffered it to be done. Yea, ordered it to be done, as a punishment for their sins.
The ministers will not cease praying, even though the flock is scattered with no pasture to feed in.
Jeremiah 25:37 “And the peaceable habitations are cut down because of the fierce anger of the LORD.”
Or, “their peaceable ones”, as the Targum. The palaces and stately dwellings, in which they lived in great pomp and prosperity and in great peace, plenty, and safety, are destroyed by the enemy, and are laid waste, and become desolate. Yea, even those that lived peaceably and quietly, and neither were disturbed themselves, nor disturbed others. Yet, as is usual in times of war, share the same fate with their neighbors, who have been more troublesome and molesting.
“Because of the fierce anger of the Lord”: Or “from before it, from the face of it”; shall be destroyed by it, that being displayed. And using enemies as instruments in the destruction of them. Sin is the cause of God’s wrath and fierce anger. And his wrath and anger the cause of the destruction of men and their habitations.
The peaceable habitations would be the pastures they fed in. It could also mean the church. The fierce anger of the LORD against those who worshipped false gods is destroying everything. This heaven and this earth will pass away.
Jeremiah 25:38 “He hath forsaken his covert, as the lion: for their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the oppressor, and because of his fierce anger.
“Covert” in the verse above, means lair, den, pavilion, or tabernacle. A lion who leaves his lair is looking for something to kill and eat. This explains the fierceness of the anger of God upon the church and its people who have committed spiritual adultery.
Jeremiah Chapter 25 Questions
- What happened the first year Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylon?
- Who did Jeremiah speak to?
- How many years had Jeremiah been prophesying?
- Had they listened and heeded Jeremiah’s prophecy?
- What was the message God sent them, mentioned in verse 5?
- What was the sin God was angry about?
- What had they provoked God to anger with?
- What does verse 9 say will happen to them?
- What things would cease in their cities?
- How long shall they serve Babylon?
- Where, in Daniel, do we read the same thing?
- What will happen to Babylon after the 70 years?
- God recompenses nations according to what?
- What did Jeremiah do with the cup in the LORD’s hand?
- Is this a literal cup?
- Who are some of the nations to drink of the cup?
- If they do not drink of the cup, what is Jeremiah to do?
- What is another Scripture that speaks of the same thing as verse 30?
- Who is verse 31 and 32 speaking to?
- Why will the dead not be lamented?
- What are the shepherds to do?
- Who are the shepherds?
- Why are the shepherds howling?
- What does the word “covert” mean?
- Who is God’s fierce anger against?