The destruction of Bozrah (Jer 49:13-49:13)

“Says Yahweh.

‘I have sworn

By myself

That Bozrah

Shall become

An object

Of horror,

Of ridicule,

Of a waste,

Of cursing.

All her towns

Shall be

Perpetual wastes.’”

Bozrah was the capital city of Edom in northern Edom, modern day Jordan.   Yahweh swore to himself that this capital of the Edomites would become an object of horror, a place of ridicule and a waste, as well as a cursed place. All its surrounding towns would become perpetual waste sites.

Drink the cup (Jer 49:12-49:12)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘If those who did not deserve

To drink the cup

Still have to drink it,

Shall you be the one

To go unpunished?

You shall not

Go unpunished.

You must drink it.’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, said that the Edomites still had to drink from the cup of Yahweh’s wrath. Even if they did not deserve it, they would not go unpunished. Here Yahweh seems to indicate that the Edomites did not deserve the punishment that they were getting. However, they could not go unpunished. Thus they had to drink from this cup of wrath.

The destruction of Edom (Jer 49:10-49:11)

“But as for me,

I have stripped

Esau bare.

I have uncovered

His hiding places.

He is not able

To conceal himself.

His offspring are destroyed.

His kinsfolk are no more.

His neighbors are no more.

He is no more.

Leave your orphans!

I will keep them alive.

Let your widows trust

In me.”

Yahweh clearly says that he has destroyed Edom, the home of Esau, Jacob’s brother. He has stripped them bare, since they no longer have any hiding places. The men, their offspring, their families, and their neighbors have all been wiped out. They are no longer living anymore. However, Yahweh has a word of consolation for the Edomites.   He was going to take care of their orphans and widows. Somehow, the orphans and widows were the privileged protected ones, whether in Israel or not.

The questions for Edom (Jer 49:7-49:9)

“Concerning Edom!

Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

‘Is there no longer wisdom

In Teman?

Has counsel perished

From the prudent?

Has their wisdom vanished?

Flee!

Turn back!

Get down low!

O inhabitants of Dedan!

I will bring

The calamity of Esau

Upon him,

Like the time

When I punished him.

If grape-gatherers

Came to you,

Would they not

Leave gleanings?

If thieves came

By night,

Would they not pillage

Only what they wanted?”

Edom was south of the Dead Sea, south of Moab and south of Judah. Its biblical origin was the place where Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, went to live in Genesis, chapter 36. Yahweh has a series of questions for Edom. What happened to their wisdom, especially at Teman, perhaps a tribal group in Edom, since Teman was the name of the grandson of Esau. One of Job’s friends Eliphaz was a Temanite. Obadiah, an almost unknown minor prophet, seemed to take some of this diatribe against Edom into most of his work. Something has happened to the counsel and prudence of Edom. Has all their wisdom vanished? Dedan was a tribe involved in commerce. Both grape gatherers and thieves would leave something behind. They would not take everything. Thus the grape pickers would leave some grapes for the later gleaners to come along and get some of these overlooked grapes. The same is true about nightly thieves who would only take what they needed.

The restoration of Ammon (Jer 49:6-49:6)

“‘But afterward

I will restore

The fortunes

Of the Ammonites.’

Says Yahweh.”

Just like with the Moabites, Yahweh was going to restore the Ammonites to the fortunes that they had. Yahweh always seems to be merciful after strongly criticizing a group of people. Thus this short section about the Ammonites comes to an end with a future restoration.

The coming terror against Ammon (Jer 49:4-49:5)

“‘Why do you boast

In your strength?

Your strength is ebbing.

O faithless daughter!

You trusted

In your treasures.

Saying,

‘Who will attack me?’

Says Yahweh

God of hosts.

‘I am going to bring terror

Upon you

From your neighbors.

You will be scattered,

Each headlong,

With no one

To gather the fugitives.’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, was clear. The Ammonites were going to suffer in terror. Why had they boasted about their strength, when they were actually losing strength. They had trusted in their treasures, thinking that no one would be able to attack them. Yahweh had other plans for them, although he also called them faithless daughters as if they were like the northern Israelites. They were going to be attacked by their neighbors, scattered headlong against each other. There would be no one left to gather all those who were fleeing Ammon.

Against the cities of Ammon (Jer 49:2-49:3)

“Says Yahweh.

‘Therefore,

The time is surely coming,

When I will sound

The battle alarm

Against Rabbah

Of the Ammonites.

It shall become

A desolate mound.

Its villages

Shall be burned

With fire.

Then Israel shall dispossess

Those who dispossessed him.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Wail!

O Heshbon!

Ai is laid waste!

Cry out!

O daughters of Rabbah!

Put on sackcloth!

Lament!

Slash yourselves

With whips!

Milcom shall go

Into exile,

With his priests,

With his attendants.’”

Yahweh spoke about the destruction of the major cities in Ammon. Rabbah was the capital city of Ammon that would become a desolate mound with its various villages around it. They would be burned to the ground. Thus the dispossessed Israelites would be able to re-possess it. However, it is not the Israelites who are invading, but the Babylonians. Heshbon was the ancient city of King Sihon that had been captured by the Israelites. It was part of the Reuben territory and then Gad territory, since it was almost on the border between Moab and Ammon. The city of Ai was near Bethel in the Benjamin territory on the west side of the Jordan River. However, here this is another otherwise unknown city named Ai near Heshbon. All of these cities were going to lament their situation with mourning and sack cloth. Their god Milcom with his priests and attendants would also go into exile.