Scripture reading – Jeremiah 49

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The record of God’s vengeance against the Gentile nations continues in today’s Scripture reading, Jeremiah 49. These nations were Israel and Judah’s adversaries. Bible students have an advantage in reading and discerning humanity’s times and seasons. By understanding how the LORD has dealt with the enemies of His chosen people in the past, we can anticipate the end of those who favor Israel’s enemies.

Warning: The vitriol expressed towards the Jewish people on college campuses and in the public is the precursor to the wrath of the LORD.

Jeremiah 49 – The Vengeance of the LORD

Prophecy Against Ammon (Jeremiah 49:1-6)

Jeremiah brought a prophetic warning to the Ammonites like those he heralded against the other nations (Egypt, the Philistines, and Moab, Jeremiah 46-48). The Ammonites (descendants of Lot’s incest with his youngest daughter, Genesis 19:32-38) were warned they would face God’s judgment, and Babylon would destroy its cities and drive away its people.

Through His prophet, the LORD challenged the Ammonites who settled in Israel after its people were taken away. The LORD asked, “Hath Israel no sons? hath he no heir? Why then doth their king inherit Gad, And his people dwell in his cities?” (Jeremiah 49:1) With Israel exiled from her lands, the Ammonites settled onto land that was once home to the Tribe of Gad (Jeremiah 49:1). Probably assuming Israel would be assimilated into Assyrian society and become nothing more than a footnote in history, the Ammonites took possession of the land that was Israel’s inheritance from the LORD.

Because they had been Israel’s adversaries, the LORD warned the Ammonites they would be judged because of their greed and covetousness (Jeremiah 49:4-5). Yet, in a wonderful evidence of God’s grace, Jeremiah prophesied that “the children of Ammon” would one day be restored to their homeland (Jeremiah 49:6).

Nebuchadnezzar's Empire

Prophecy Against Edom (Jeremiah 49:7-22)

Among other Gentile nations to be judged for their sins against Israel were the Edomites (Jeremiah 49:7-22). They were the descendants of Jacob’s brother Esau. Unlike Ammon, whose restoration was prophesied, the destruction of Edom would be complete. However, it seemed the Edomites foolishly believed they would escape the annihilation that their neighbors suffered to the north (Moab and Ammon). Jeremiah prophesied concerning Esau’s lineage, “he shall not be able to hide himself…Thou shalt not go unpunished” (Jeremiah 49:10-12).

Jeremiah foretold that “all the cities” of Edom would be “perpetual wastes” (Jeremiah 49:13). Among them was the beautiful and wealthy city of Petra, which was built out of “the clefts of the rock” (Jeremiah 49:16). The fate of Petra was foretold by the LORD through His prophet: “I will bring thee down…Edom shall be a desolation” (Jeremiah 49:16-17). Indeed, Petra was lost to history until the 18th century.

The devastation that Edom suffered was comparable to that of “Sodom and Gomorrah” (Jeremiah 49:18). Jeremiah foretold how the earth would be moved as the soldiers of Babylon made their way through the land. Nebuchadnezzar would come upon Edom like a roaring lion (49:19), and the army of Babylon would sweep over the land like an eagle (49:22).

Prophecy Against Syria (Jeremiah 49:23-27)

 Syria, represented by its capital, Damascus, would also be destroyed in God’s judgment (Jeremiah 49:23-27). The Syrians “heard evil tidings” concerning the suffering of other nations. We read, “Damascus is waxed feeble…fear hath seized on her” (Jeremiah 49:24). Jeremiah remembered the beauty of Damascus and called the capital city of Syria “the city of my joy” (Jeremiah 49:25). He bemoaned the destruction that would come to Damascus and foretold its walls and palaces would be consumed by fire (Jeremiah 49:26-27).

Prophecy Against the Nomadic Tribes of Arabia (Jeremiah 49:28-33)

Prophecy Against the Nomadic Tribes of Arabia (Jeremiah 49:28-33)

The judgment of two nomadic Arabian tribes was foretold: Kedar (a descendant of Ishmael; Jeremiah 49:28-29; Genesis 25:13; Isaiah 21:13, 16; Ezekiel 27:21) and Hazor (Jeremiah 49:30-33). Nebuchadnezzar is identified as the vessel of God’s judgment (Jeremiah 49:28, 30) against Kedar and Hazor.

Prophecy Against Elam (Jeremiah 49:34-37)

Jeremiah’s prophecy from the LORD against Elam was recorded “in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah (the last king of that nation, Jeremiah 49:34). Who were the Elamites? Elam was an ancient city-state whose founding dates back to the post-Deluvian period (i.e., after the flood). Elam, the father of the Elamites, was the son of Shem and the grandson of Noah (Genesis 10:21-32). (Commentaries in my library suggest the geographical location of Elam was on the Tigris River, about 200 miles northeast of Babylon).

Like the other Gentile nations in today’s study, Elam would be overwhelmed by Nebuchadnezzar’s army and its people scattered (Jeremiah 49:35-37). Once again, reminding us of God’s grace, Jeremiah 49:38-39 foretold that some of Elam would be restored. In fact, on the Day of Pentecost, when Christ’s disciples preached the Gospel in “tongues” (i.e., other languages), among those who were present were Elamites (Acts 2:9).

Closing thoughts –

Today’s study concludes with a reminder that the LORD is the Sovereign of the nations. He determined to employ Nebuchadnezzar to chasten His disobedient people and punish those nations that set themselves against Israel and Judah.

Take comfort in this: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever he will” (Proverbs 21:1).

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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