Devotional Commentary to Jeremiah 49


In chapter 49 Jeremiah continues with his prophecies against Ammon/Jordan and Elam/Iran. Jordan today includes the area all the way that Ammon, Moab and Edom had in the past. The deity of the Ammonites was Milkom. Baalish was a king in the time of Jeremiah and on his seal that was found by the team from Andrews University at the Madaba Plains Project, it read “Baalish ben Milkom-ur” meaning Baalish the son of the flame of Milkom. The Adventist Archaeologist Siegfried Horn published in BASOR 193 in February 1969 the Amman Citadel Inscription and it reads also this god’s name: “[Mi]lkom built these: the entrances and the surroundings…” We are dealing with biblical realities that should tell us one thing: the Bible is true, believe it and adjusted your faith according to it. Do not be wise in your own eyes, wanting to use your own digital sensibility to prescribe for yourself in modernism demands leaving the Bible on the side. You will regret ever taking such a stance.


Milkom let the Ammonites go and live in the cities of Gad. The prophecy could have been part of a number of prophecies against nations that Jeremiah may have had already in the early time of Necho II which would be between 612-609 BCE. In previous chapters he dealt with Egypt, Philistea, Moab, Ammon and at the time of Zedediah with Elam.


Hebrews were living in those days also in Ammon for the Lord is angry with “backsliding daughter” (verse 4). The boasting in the valleys are problems of Milkom worship that they participated in connected with prostitution cults and activities saying in the valleys: “Who shall come to me” as Jeremiah interpreted: “who depends on her treasures”. There is the temple building project of Milkom in the Amman Citadel Inscription that could have come from the same time here. I once wrote a book on Squatters in Moab in 1996 and the title originated in the following way. Larry Herr is an Adventist who did his doctorate on seals. When I was a young student I took his book with joy and pride and investigated Moabite seals for a professor was to come from Europe, Stefan Timm, to speak about it. What I found is that some letters are Hebrew, others are Ammonite and some are Moabite on the same seal! I then decided that squatting is the only explanation for this mixed situation. Thus, Squatters in Moab.


They would be driven out (verse 5). But, afterward they would be returned. The way I seem to interpret this is that they will be driven out (also migrationism?) and that they will return at the outpouring of the Latter Rain event. More detail on how this is explained this way is after verse 34 in the same chapter on Elam/modern Iran. It is all speculative and wait for fulfillment before anything definite can be said.


In verse 7 Jeremiah focused on Edom and interestingly Rabbi Redak of the 12th century said “this prophecy is for the future, just as Isaiah, Obadiah, Ezekiel prophesied concerning Edom, and all their prophecies appear to be meant for the future”. Preterist interpreters were Rabbi Abarbanel and Ibn Ezra making the kingdom refer to the time of Neb.


The Lord asked if there is no more wisdom in the south or in Teman. Some of the inscriptions from Kuntillet ‘Ajrud described the problems mentioning :Yahweh of Teman and his [sender’s] Asherah” (Inscription . Kajr3.6). It was a compromised site mixing true and false religions. “Is there no more wisdom in Teman?” Counsel is lost from the sons. In Obdaiah there is Teman the son of Eliphaz. Does it mean that Kuntillet ‘Ajrud may mean “Blessed is Yahweh of Teman [person] and his [Teman’s] Asherah”? If Teman had a compromised religion as archaeology of 612-597 BCE indicates, then no wonder God will ask through Jeremiah: “Is there no more wisdom in Teman?” He adds: “Counsel is lost from the sons, their wisdom has spoiled”. It is almost convincing that Jeremiah is not talking about a city but about a person here seeing that it continues about sons.


They are asked to flee and clear out. They should dwell deep (verse 8). A bunker situation. God was to visit them to bring the misfortune upon them (verse 8). Vintagers come and steal but leave almost nothing like thieves (verse 9). The whole land of Esau = Edom is exposed and spoiled and “he is not here” (verse 10). Since the men died God said that they should leave the orphans and widowers for He will take care of them and they “shall trust in Me” (verse 11). Some who do not deserve to drink the cup of God’s wrath would nevertheless also drink and God is asking why Edom must be spared from the cup of God’s wrath? (verse 12). In Obadiah verse 10 Edom was to be “cut off forever”. The connection between Obadiah and Jeremiah has been the subject of scholars for a long time as Keil 1889 pages 241-242. This word “forever” implies that the event of their iniquity is in the eschaton so that repentance is no longer possible after the Door of Mercy closed. All the cities in that area shall become a wasteland just like cities are currently in Syria. Rabbi Abarbanel interpreted Edom’s prophecy as the past related to Neb only until verse 12 and then switched to a future application in his own time in 1500. Preteristic interpretation trying to scoop-up all Edom events with a concordance and then lock the meaning in the past, is not going to work. More is said in the text than what history in the past can reveal. Thus it must be future as Abarbanel also recognized. Because the Rabbis interpreted from here-on sometimes with future interpretations, they wanted to see Bozrah in verse 13 as Rome and that empire connected to it, which was of course in their time the Holy Roman Empire of the Vatican. This is what Mezudath David did in the 18th century. It is interesting that David suggested this at this verse in the 18th century since it was in the 18th century that the Holy Roman Empire received its “deadly wound” from Berthier the general of Napoleon that arrested pope Pius VI in the Vatican. “Bozrah shall become desolation, reproach, waste, and a curse, and all her cities shall become wasterlands forever” (verse 13). It cannot refer to the 1798 fall of Rome since the Vatican power was to be healed and regain its former strength according to Revelation 13 the second part. If they want to make it future, it should be in the time of the End. When Christ comes a Second Time, forever starts. Modern archaeologists wants to connect Buseirah excavations with the history of Bozrah in the Bible.


News would be sent in the eschaton from the Lord (verse 14) and a messenger among the nations to assemble together in a united nations effort to come upon Edom and “arise for war” (verse 14). They would be made small among the nations, despised among man (verse 15). The Rabbis wanted to see this as Rome [= Vatican power] in the last days (see Rabbi Redak in the 12th century). Plaques would come over Edom and bypassers shall hiss (verse 17). Just like Sodom and Gemorrah, no-one will live there (verse 18). Whoever intends to come like a lion of the Jordan, God brings the moment when He will hasten the lion away and someone whom the Lord will chose would be appointed.


Who is like the Lord, who can appoint a time for the Lord? Who is a shepherd that can stand before the Lord? (verse 19). The answer is no-one but Christ Himself before His father in the presence of the Spirit of God. Therefore (verse 20) humans should listen to the counsel of the Lord what He said about Edom. They should listen to the plans that He planned concerning the dwellers of Teman (place or city) whether God will not flatten the houses with them (verse 20). The Talmud stated that Rome = Edom was destined to fall into the hands of Persia = Iran. Rabbi Rashi (12th century) felt that the “despised of the nations” was to be in future Persia/Iran.


When Edom fall there will be an earthquake that will be felt or heard in the Red Sea (verse 21). This power selected by God shall ascend like an eagle and the people of Edom shall be trembling (verse 22).

At Damascus in Syria and Hamath and Arpad they will hear the bad news of the fall of Edom “they melted, there is worry in the sea, it cannot be quiet” (verse 23). This appears to be future events as Rabbi Redak pointed out but my understanding is that it is even future of us.


In Syria, Damascus “has become feeble [in future], she has turned and flee and trembling has seized her, distress and pangs like a woman in confinement” (verse 24). The people from Damascus will say: “How was the city of praise not fortified, the city of my joy” (verse 25).


On that future event and future day, the army of Damascus shall be destroyed and the youth shall fall (verse 26). God said that He shall kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus and it shall burn down the palaces of Ben-Hadad (verse 27). The identical prophecy is found in Amos 1:4 and it is as if Jeremiah is repeating a future depiction that is not in his own day from Amos 1. I once studied Amos and one can see a movement of the fires from one area to another until it is finally in Jerusalem in Judea. All started by the Lord and one got the impression it is the Hell event in Amos and God’s executive judgment pronouncement on each of the nations, including Edom.


The Kedar dwellers were nomads of the deserts. Concerning them and the kingdoms of Hazor, which Neb smote already in the past it is said: Go up to Kedar and spoil the children of the east (verse 28). What they shall take is their belongings: flocks; curtains; utensils; camels; and there shall be “a terror on every side” (verse 29). In verse 30 the time is not future in the eschaton since it mentioned that Neb has taken counsel against them. They are to go and dwell with another peaceful nation who dwell alone (verse 31). They will be scattered in all directions and misfortunes will come from the Lord upon them (verse 32).


Hazor shall become a habitat of jackals (verse 33). When I visited Hazor on the 17th of July 1989 there were no houses on the tel where they are doing excavations. I came on a Sunday there and I was the only person there. “Desolate to eternity”. Does that mean forever? No. It means as long as history lasts until eternity arrives. When eternity arrives God will create a new earth later after the Hell event and thus Hazor cannot stay like it is any longer. That is biblical and playing with words can bring a wrong impression.


In verse 34 the Lord brought a prophecy against Elam. The Rabbis of the Middle Ages thought that Media is in mind here. Elam is Iran in modern times. This prophecy of Elam did not take place during the reign of Media-Persia. The prophecy came at the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah in 597 BCE.


It is very difficult to allocate any particular historical event in the past to this prophecy of Jeremiah. If it was at the end of the Media-Persia empire, then that should have been around 333 BCE but here is the problem: Nations came mainly from Greece and not from the four winds of the earth. The battle with Elam in the Iran area is anticipated to come from a force like that of NATO in modern times from every country of the four winds of the earth.


The Lord has a problem with the weapons of mass-destruction of Elam/Iran: “Behold I am breaking the bow of Elam, the chief of their might” (verse 35).


The power against them is identified as coming from all four corners of the earth: “ And I will bring against Elam four winds from four ends of the earth, and I will scatter them to all the four winds…” It is said that there shall be no nation where the exiles of Elam shall not come. It appears that what we witness in Syria with the migrations out of Syria of millions of people to Europe is going to happen to Iran/Elam since in the past no mention is made of such an event. It is an unfulfilled prophecy it seems?


“And I will break Iran/Elam before their enemies and before those who seek their lives and I will bring upon them evil – the kindling of My wrath” (verse 37). My interpretation is that this is still future and near the End of Time and mind you, within a short reach of our own daily events. ISIS is seeking their lives and ISIS is an apocalyptic minded Islam group with attempts to make Eschatology happen. They follow the agenda as spelled out in Islam eschatology as one can see in the Dictionary of Islam by Thomas Hughes (1895) under the title: Resurrection. The Book is freely downloadable online. A list of the recipe of eschatology is there,  a kind of agenda, if you please, for them to follow. Driving people out of the country to disperse is one of their methods to spread Sharia Law across the globe and “Islamatize” the world. “And I will send the sword after them until I completely destroy them” (verse 37). Is the whole nation going to be destroyed? No. The context indicates that. It would be saver to interpret that it is only those in the regime with evil intentions and weapons of mass-destruction “bow of Elam”.


At the End of Time these things will happen, in my interpretation, and the Lord said that some time in the future “and [time later] I will place My throne in Elam and I will destroy from there a king and princes”. There is no king currently except the Shah of Iran and the regime top personnel. God’s throne is in heaven and this mobility of His throne was the subject of study by Daeguk Nam at Andrews University. The Throne Motif. When the Ancient of Days came to judge in the Investigative Judgment in 1844 as described in Daniel 7, the throne was “set up”. A moving situation. At this point everything said here is speculative and unfulfilled prophecy. Waiting for more detail is better and it seems as if Daniel 11:44 must be read in the same context? It describes the actual future war. In Isaiah 24:1 it is said that great migrations will take place at the End of Time and those in the east want to stay in the west and those on the west in the east. Isaiah predicted also great migrations in the End Time in Isaiah 6:11b-c: “cities devastated without inhabitants. Houses are without people…” and “The Lord has removed men far away” (Isaiah 6:12).


Isaiah predicted that people in Elam prepared for war in the Time of the End (Isaiah 22:6). They took fixed positions against the area near Jerusalem (Isaiah 22:7). The Lord removes then their defenses (Isaiah 22:8).


In Joel 2 Syria and Iran are linked since it is mentioned that the end of the problem is connected to the western sea, and Syria in ancient days would come in mind here. There is also an eastern face: “It’s stench shall ascend and its ill savor shall ascend for it magnified to do [hagid la ‘ashot] (Joel 2:20). The same roots are used to describe the actions of Lucifer [only in this verse since the other verses are the Catholic Church as Little Horn] in Daniel 8:11 (masculine verbs), and also in Isaiah 14:12 which is about Lucifer and not Tyre. Does it mean that the Latter Rain will fall after a battle with Iran? “Have no fear, ground [adamah] rejoice and jubilate for the Lord is to magnify to do great things [hagid la ‘ashot]”. The Latter Rain will be great things from the Spirit of the Lord.


Prophets expected something to happen from Elam or Iran at the End of Times as the samples above indicate.


Jeremiah ended this prophecy about Elam/Iran with the words: “And it shall be at the End of Days, I [the Lord] will return the captivity of Elam” (verse 49). It is my expectation, and I may be wrong, that the Latter Rain event will bring people back to Elam for the spiritual revival accepting the truth as explained in the Bible.


Dear God

There are many who try to cling to preteristic commentaries on Jeremiah packing away the information you gave in prophecies as not important for our own day. But it is as Rabbis saw so help us to also see it, we pray. In Jesus Name. Amen.