June 5, 2015.
Daily Reading: Jeremiah 47-52.
Background: Jeremiah 42-46.
Concepts and Connections.
Oracle against the Philistines: The previous chapter started the last section of the book of Jeremiah, which is a collection of oracles of judgment against various nations outside of Israel. It was not only Israel that was to be punished for their sin, but also those nations that surrounded them that worshiped false gods and did evil in the sight of the Lord. This second judgement is against the Philistines, who had been historically against Israel (see I Samuel 17 as an example). The Lord is bringing about destruction over the Philistines, depicted as a rush of water coming from the north, referring to the Babylonian destruction that was coming upon them. It is interesting to note here that the Philistines are associated with Tyre and Sidon, though they were separate places and people, yet they are traditionally paired together (see Joel 3:4). The Lord was destroying the Philistine cities of Gaza and Ashkelon; His sword was given charge and it would not be drawn back.
Oracle against Moab: The next oracle of judgment in this collection of prophesies against the nations is against Moab. The Moabites were descendants of Lot after his daughters made him drunk and slept with him, that they might bring up children for their father. The firstborn of lot bore a child who she named Moab, who was the father of the Moabites (see Genesis 19:36-37). There had been animosity between Israel and Moab since ancient times, when Moab would not help them when they came up out of Egypt, and they tried to hire a prophet to curse them (see Deuteronomy 23:3-6). Now the Lord was bringing judgement and destruction on Moab, citing their trust in their own works and treasures (v. 7). The destruction was the work of the Lord, and there is a note in verse 10 that cursed is the one who does the work of the Lord with slackness. The description of the destruction of Moab is signified in very explicit visuals, with wailing and crying, drunkenness and wallowing in vomit. The Lord does not hold back His judgment on Moab, nor does He apologize for it. Yet it is interesting to note that He says that He will restore the fortunes of Moab in the latter days, which will not be the case for other nations, such as Babylon (see chapters 50-51).
1. Oracle against Ammon: The next nation in the compilation to have an oracle of judgment against them is the Ammonites. Like the Moabites in the previous chapter, the Ammonites were descendants of Lot by his second daughter (see Genesis 19:36-37), and like the Moabites, the Ammonites were a wicked people. The Ammonites and Moabites are often paired together in scripture, likely because of their common ancestry and familiarity. Milcom was the god of the Ammonites (see I Kings 11:33), a god which often caused a snare for the people of Israel (see Zephaniah 1:4-6). Though Ammon boasted in her treasures, the Lord was going to bring destruction upon the faithless daughter. Yet, just like the Moabites, the Lord would once again restore the fortunes of Ammon afterward.
2. Oracle against Edom: The next judgment fell on Edom, who were a people descended from Esau, Jacob’s brother (see Genesis 36). Edom too had had its fair share of problems with Israel, perhaps beginning with them not allowing the children of Israel to pass through their country when they came up out of the land of Egypt (see Numbers 20:14-21). As with the other nations, Edom has served false gods, and the Lord is calling them into account. He promises to strip them bare and not leave them unpunished, for they had much pride in their hearts. Thus Edom was to become a horror among any who saw them.
3. Oracle against Damascus: There is not all that much information about Damascus in scripture up to this point, other than listing it as a place. Yet is is apparent from this oracle that they too served false gods, at least two, and did wickedly in the sight of the Lord. For this wickedness, Damascus would be destroyed by the hand of the Lord.
4. Oracles against Kedar, Hazor and Elam: Similar to what is found above, there are two more oracles at the end of this chapter agains three different places. Kedar and Hazor are addressed first and promised utter destruction. Elam is addressed in a similar manner afterwards, but in the end is promised a restoration of their fortunes.
Oracle against Babylon: Last, but certainly not least on the list (judging by content) was an oracle against Babylon herself, which will span this chapter and the next. Though Babylon was being used as God’s instrument of righteousness, carrying out His judgement on the other nations that have been talked about previously, this did not excuse them for what they had done against the Lord. Babylon was a very wicked nation, and they certainly would go on to earn one of the worst reputations among the nations for Israel, as Babylon is used to represent evil in. The amount of content in these two chapters, especially when compared to the other nations is almost telling of how bad they really were.d
Oracle against Babylon continues: Chapter 51 is really just a continuation of the previous chapter, continuing on with the oracle against Babylon, promising utter destruction and that nobody would inhabit the city again. See previous chapter.
The fall of Jerusalem recounted: This final chapter of the book of Jeremiah is a retelling of the fall of Jerusalem. The first 27 verses of this chapter can be found in II Kings 24:18-25:21 (see this section for details). Then there is a short section that numbers the people that Nebuchadnezzar carried away captive, 4,600 people in all. For the final verses of this chapter (v. 31-34), they are also recorded in II Kings 25:27-30 (see this section for details).
Tomorrow’s Reading: Luke 7-8.
The Lord is righteous.