Jeremiah 25 - Outline of Jeremiah (Book Notes menu page)
Judgments upon Judah and the Nations
I. Against Judah (25:1-11)
  1. The Introduction of the Lord's case -
    • 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 (Jer 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 (v.3b-7)-
    • The LORD had diligently sent His Word to them, in spite of their indifference. (v.3b,4)
    • God's message promised good if they would repent,
      and warned of 'hurt' {evil consequences} if they persisted in their evil ways (v.5,6).
    • Their response: they would not hear {ie., listen, heed, obey} (v.7)... "provoke Me to anger... to your own hurt." 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 (v.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. Jer 27:6; 43:10
           When the LORD told Habakkuk (a prophet contemporary with 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 {the people against whom 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, forever, by unconditional promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (eg., Gen 17:8). 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, including the joys of marriage and family, 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 dim memories of better times.
    2. Duration (v.12a) - This is the first mention that the captivity would last for 70 years.
      • Why 70 years? -
        The period of captivity corresponds to the length of their disobedience (cp. Lev 26:33-35; 2Chr 36:20,21). However, the period of 70 years can be calculated in various ways. [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).
          However, 2Chronicles ch.36, which reports this final deportation, also links the return after 70 years to the decree of Cyrus (2Chr 36:21-23), suggesting that the count started with the first deportation (as calculated in point 'a.' above).
        *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 (on the order of 1 or 2 years) between scholars in transferring dates to our calendar.
II. Against Babylon (v.12-14) III. Against all nations (v.15-38) - (This section previews the judgments of the Tribulation period.)
  1. The wine of the wrath of God (v.15-17) -
    They shall drink {though none would drink voluntarily}, and be moved {ie., reel to and fro}, and be mad {ie., insane with futile rage}.
       The wine of God's wrath (eg., Psa 11:6; 75:8; Rev 14:9-11) is associated with the winepress of His wrath (eg., Rev 14:14-20; Isa 63:1-4; Rev 19:11-21). The wrath of God will be poured out upon the nations during the Tribulation period.
  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..." - When Jeremiah recorded this prophecy, during the reign of Jehoiakim (v.1), Jerusalem was already being mocked by surrounding nations. Whereas it had been a world power under kings David and Solomon, it had become a second class city, under the thumb of foreign nations. Israel's precipitous decline, at that time, illustrated and anticipated deeper desolations, yet to come.
    • 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) - Tyre and Zidon are on the seacoast of Lebanon.
      "The isles {coastlands} which are beyond the sea" probably refer to the realm of influence of Tyre and Zidon, which were seafaring people who had established colonies around and beyond the Mediterranean Sea. By extension, the western hemisphere may also be in view.
    • 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, Jer 51:41} shall drink after them.-
      The judgment that begins with Jerusalem, ends with Babylon.
         Notice that this judgment is truly global in scope, as the regions identified (in v.18-26) extend far beyond the Babylonian Empire of Jeremiah's day, to encompass the entire world, as it will in the future Tribulation.
         At that future day, the king of Sheshach will be the Antichrist (also called the Beast, and the Wicked One), who will come to his end under God's wrath (eg., 2The 2:8; Rev 19:20).
  3. The Lord's controversy with the nations (v.27-31),
    like His controversy with Israel (eg., Hos 4:1-6; Mic 6:2-8-f), is essentially that men exalt and advance themselves, in blatant disregard for the Living God whom they ought to fear and honor (eg., Isa 2:10-22).
       Like Jerusalem, the Gentile nations, are in a state of rebellion against God. For more than 2000 years, God has been sending His messengers to the nations, warning of judgment to come, and offering salvation by faith (cp. v.4-7; eg., Rom 1:16-18; 6:23). The day will come when God must execute judgment upon all who refuse to heed His Word and who reject His Salvation (Heb 2:3,4).
  4. The dreadful consequences upon the nations (v.32-38)
    • The LORD will roar from his holy habitation {HB=ma'on, abode, dwelling place, lair; ie., from heaven, 2Chr 30:27; Zech 2:13} upon His "pasture."
      In v.30, the second occurrence of "habitation" is a different word {HB=naveh}, referring to the dwelling place of sheep and shepherds. This word is often used of the land of Israel, which the nations have trampled (eg., Psa 79:7; Jer 10:25) and to which the LORD will restore His people (eg., Jer 23:3).
      Like a roaring lion, the LORD will tear the nations which will assemble, to confiscate Israel's land in order to make it "their pasture" (v.36-38; Rev 16:14-19).
    • The LORD will plead {ie., prosecute, execute} His judgment against the nations (v.31), through the noise {tumult} of worldwide war.
      Together, all nations will drink God's wrath (v.15-26) as a whirlwind {tempest} of war engulfs them (v.32,33). The slaughter described here belongs to the future Day of the Lord (cp. Joel 2:1,2; Rev 9:15; 14:17-20).
         The judgment previewed upon Jerusalem (in v.10) will be applied to Babylon (the final form of Gentile world dominion) in Rev 18:22-24. The reign of evil entities will come to its permanent end.
    • The rulers will be unable to exempt themselves from the wrath of God (v.35).
         "Flight shall perish from the shepherds, and escape from the masters of the flock." [NASB]
      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).
    • The day of the LORD's judgment (v.33) will end the day of man's wickedness (by which they slaughtered and scattered God's people, v.34).
      When these judgments are accomplished {ie., fulfilled, fully come}, 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 as a lion..." (v.37,38) -
         The work of the roaring lion(s) will have been completed.

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