Jeremiah 25 - Outline of Jeremiah (MENU page)
Judgments upon Judah and the Nations
I. Against Judah (25:1-11)
  1. The introduction-
    • concerning 'the people' of Judah (v.1)... unto 'all the people' of Judah... of Jerusalem (v.2) -
      The previous message (ch.21-24) was concerning their kings, prophets and priests.
    • in the fourth year of Jehoiakim... the first year of Nebuchadrezzar {variation of Nebuchadnezzar}...-
      Although Jeremiah recorded this message during the siege of Jerusalem, during the latter part of Zedekiah's reign, it was originally given approximately 16 years earlier, when Jehoiakim first came under the influence of Nebuchadnezzar's power. cp. 2Kin 23:36- 24:1; Dan 1:1
    • in "the three and twentieth year" (v.3) of Jeremiah's prophetic ministry, which began in the thirteenth year of Josiah (1:2,3).
      Jeremiah counted 23 years of ministry up to the time that he delivered this message during the reign of Jehoiakim (ie., 18 years during Josiah's reign, 3 months under Jehoahaz, and 4 years under Jehoiakim).
  2. The Indictment (vs.3b-7)-
    • The LORD was diligent in sending His Word to them, in spite of their indifference. (v.3b,4)
    • His message offered good if they would repent, and warned of evil if they persisted in their ways. (v.5,6)
    • Their response: they would not hear {ie., listen, heed, obey} (v.7) - 'to provoke Me...' cp. 7:19; 32:30; Deu 32:21
      'The works of their hands' followed the desires of their sinful hearts, which refused to submit to God's Word (including His repeated warnings of judgment). He was right to be angry with them.
  3. The Sentence (vs.8-11)
    1. Destruction, desolation, servitude in captivity (v.8-11)
      • I will send Nebuchadnezzar, my servant... - This heathen emperor is called the LORD's servant,
        because unlike Judah, he would not hesitate in accomplishing the LORD's will, namely, the judgment of Judah. cp. 27:6; 43:10
        [When the LORD told Habakkuk (a prophet who was contemporary to Jeremiah) that He was sending the Babylonians to judge Jerusalem (Hab 1:5-11), the prophet struggled to understand how the Holy God could use such an ungodly nation against His people (Hab 1:12,13). In the course of Habbakkuk's prophecy, the LORD demonstrates His trustworthiness and the faithfulness of His purposes.]
      • [I] will utterly destroy them [those who occupy the lands against which Nebuchadnezzar was sent] (v.9).-
        'Perpetual' {HB= 'olam, ie., age abiding, long enduring} desolations would sweep them from the land, which the LORD had given to Israel and their forefathers "for ever and ever" (HB= 'olam... 'olam, v.5). The possession of the land was granted by unconditional promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But residence in the land was contingent upon obedience (eg., Deu 4:23-28). Their restoration is assured, in the latter days, when they return to Him with their whole heart (eg., Deu 4:29-31; Jer 23:3-8). But meanwhile, the desolations of dispersion would be very real...
      • I will take from them... (v.10)
        • the voice of bridegroom and... bride...- Social norms, like marrying and giving in marriage, would be interrupted.
        • the sound of the millstones...- Commerce and the business economy, would come to a standstill.
        • the light of the candle...- Luxuries, such as artificial light, would be forgotten memories of better times.
    2. Duration (v.12a) - This is the first mention that the captivity would last for 70 years.
      • Why 70 years? - Corresponding to the length of their disobedience (cp. Lev 26:33-35; 2Chr 36:20,21)
        While the period of captivity 'corresponds to the length of disobedience,' there are various ways by which to calculate a period of 70 years. See the Book Notes at Isaiah 40:1,2, at the heading: 'she hath received... double for all her sins.'
      • When did the 70 years begin and end? (Daniel sought to understand this. Dan 9:2)
        It could be calculated from any of the three deportations of Judah's captivity...
        1. The first deportation, at Nebuchadnezzar's initial action against Jerusalem, in the time of Jehoiakim in 606 BC* (2Kin 24:1,2; 2Chr 36:5-7; Dan 1:1,2). This corresponds with the first return, 70 years later (in 536 BC*), following the decree of Cyrus (Ezr 1:1-3).
          This seems to be the best of the three views. Therefore, it appears that the 70 years began at about the time that Jeremiah first delivered this message (Jer 25:1), and ended with the decree of Cyrus. Nevertheless, the other two possibilities are as follows...
        2. The second deportation, in the time Jehoiachin (2Kin 24:10-15; 2Chr 36:8-10), in about 598 BC*.
        3. The final deportation, in the time of Zedekiah (2Kin 25; 2Chr 36:17-20), in about 586 BC*. This would correspond with the completion of the rebuilt Temple in 516 BC* (Ezr 6:15).
          *These dates can be determined with precision relative to contemporary secular kings. However, because of differences between the Hebrew and Assyrian calendars (eg., the years began in different months), there is some difference between scholars in transferring dates to our calendar (on the order of 1 or 2 years).
II. Against Babylon (v.12-14) III. Against all nations (v.15-38) - The judgment against all nations is further developed in ch. 46-51.
  1. The wine of the wrath of God (v.15-17) - cp. Psa 75:8; Rev 14:9-11; Rev 16 (the 'vial' or 'bowl' judgments)
    They shall drink {though none would drink voluntarily}... be moved {ie., reel to and fro}... and be mad {ie., insane with battle fury}.
  2. The order of judgment (v.18-26) -
    • Jerusalem... Judah... (v.18)- Judgment begins at the house of God. 1Pet 4:17
      " it is this day..." - Jeremiah could have inserted these words after the fall of Jerusalem.
      However, he was probably referring to the state of siege at the time that he recorded the prophecy (during the reign of Jehoiakim, v.1), as an illustration of the coming desolations.
    • Near nations to the west (v.19,20) - present day Egypt, and the Gaza strip.
    • Near nations to the east (v.21) - present day Jordan.
    • Near nations to the north (v.22) - present day Lebanon.
    • Farther nations to the southeast (v.23,24) - present day Saudi Arabia and the Arabian peninsula.
    • Farther nations to the northeast (v.25) - present day Iran.
    • Farthest nations (v.26) - including all kingdoms of the world.
    • Sheshach {ie., Babylon} shall drink after them.-
      The judgment that begins with Jerusalem, ends with Babylon. Jerusalem and all of the nations of the world are infected with the same corruption (cp. Rev 11:18). Therefore, the judgment pronounced upon Jerusalem (in v.10) is applied to Babylon in its final form (cp. Rev 18:22,23).
  3. The Lord's controversy with the nations (v.27-31) - cp. His controversy with Israel, in Hos 4:1-6; Mic 6:2-f
    The essence of the controversy is the pride of man versus the glory of the Living God. cp. Isa 2:10-22
    The scope, of the judgments described here, looks well beyond Jeremiah's time, to the Tribulation period.
  4. The dreadful consequences upon the nations (v.32-38)
    • Together, the nations will drink God's wrath (v.16-26) and a whirlwind {tempest} of war will engulf them (v.32).
    • The LORD will plead in judgment against the nations (v.31), through the noise of war, and the collapse of society.
    • The LORD will roar from his holy habitation {dwelling place, refuge, lair} upon {ie., against} His "pasture" (v.30).
      In v.30, the second occurrence of "habitation" is a different HB word, referring to the dwelling place of sheep and shepherds.
      "His pasture" is Israel and also the world which He created. But the shepherds and chief of the flock (ie., kings and princes), by their rebellion, have made it "their pasture" (v.36).
    • The slaughter described here (v.32,33) refers to the future Day of the Lord (cp. Rev 9:15; 14:17-20; 16:14-16).
    • The rulers, at the time of the final judgments upon the world, will find 'no way to flee... to escape' (v.35).
      Their consternation is rooted in their disregard for God's Word, and is foreshadowed by the confusion of Zedekiah and his princes who would find no way of escape from their troubles (2Kin 25:4-7), because they refused to follow the LORD's counsel (eg., Jer 21:8,9; 22:1-5).
    • When these judgments are accomplished {ie., are fully come} (v.34), the world system will be shattered beyond repair, like the fall of a 'pleasant vessel' {a fine vase} (cp. Jer 19:10,11). The earth will be beyond restoration, apart from the heavenly Potter's new creation.
      -- He hath forsaken his covert...(v.37,38) - The work of the roaring lion will have been completed.

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