Jeremiah 49:7 MEANING

Jeremiah 49:7
(7) Concerning Edom.--A short survey of the past history is necessary that we may enter into the force of the prophet's words. On the journey of the Israelites to Canaan the Edomites were left unmolested (Numbers 14:21; Deuteronomy 2:4). Conquered by Saul (1 Samuel 14:47), and yet more completely by David (2 Samuel 8:14), they made an unsuccessful attempt to throw off the yoke in the time of Solomon (1 Kings 11:14-22), but finally revolted with success in that of Joram (2 Kings 8:20-22; 2 Chronicles 21:8). Amaziah and Uzziah endeavoured to reassert dominion over them (2 Kings 14:7; 2 Kings 14:22), but under Ahaz they invaded Judah (2 Chronicles 28:17), and in the reign of Zedekiah appear as an independent power seeking to ally themselves with that king against their common enemy Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 27:3). Soon, however, they allied themselves with the Chaldaeans, and were conspicuous for their triumphant exultation in the destruction of Jerusalem (Psalm 137:7; Lamentations 4:21; Ezekiel 35:15; Ezekiel 36:5). Obadiah had prophesied against them, probably shortly before Jeremiah's utterance, and what we find here stands in the same relation to his language as the prophecy against Moab in Jeremiah 48 does to Isaiah 15, 16. Possibly, however, as Obadiah 1:11 seems to indicate, Obadiah was the later of the two. (See Introduction to Obadiah.)

Is wisdom no more in Teman . . .?--The exact locality of Teman has not been determined, but it is always closely connected with Edom, and, as the word means "south," may describe that region of the Edomite country. Its fame for wisdom seems to have been proverbial. So Eliphaz the Temanite appears as the chief speaker among Job's three friends (Job 2:11; Job 4:1). So Obadiah (Obadiah 1:8) speaks of the "wise men" of Edom. So Solomon's wisdom excelled that of "the children of the East" (1 Kings 4:30). The form of the questions implies that all three are to be answered in the affirmative.

Verses 7-10. - A startling picture of the judgment impending over Edom, the severity of which is to be inferred from the behaviour of the sufferers. Observe, no allusion is made by Jeremiah to any special bitter feeling of the Edomites towards the Israelites, such as is implied in Isaiah 34; Ezekiel 35, and other passages. With regard to the fulfilment of the prophecy, we may fairly quote in the first place Malachi 1:2-4. The agents in the desolation there referred to (still fresh in Malachi's recollection) are probably the Nabathaeans (an Arab race, though writing Aramaic), who, after occupying Edom, dropped their nomad habits, devoted themselves to commerce, and founded the kingdom of Arabia Petraea. Meantime the Edomites maintained an independent existence in the midst of the Jewish colonists, till John Hyrcanus compelled them to accept circumcision about B.C. 130. In spite of this enforced religious and political union, the Edomites remained perfectly conscious of their nationality, and we find them mentioned as a distinct factor in the community in Josephus' account of the great Jewish war. They pass away from history after the destruction of Jerusalem, A.D. 70. Verse 7. - Teman was celebrated for its "wisdom," i.e. for a practical moral philosophy, similar to that which we find in the less distinctly religions portions of the Book of Proverbs. It was this "wisdom" which formed the common element in the higher culture of the Semitic peoples, and of which the sacred narrator speaks when he says that "Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country" (1 Kings 4:30). One of Job's friends, Eliphaz, was a Temanite (Job 2:11). From ver. 20, however, it appears that Teman is here used for Edom in general, of which it formed a part. "Wisdom" was doubtless cultivated throughout Idumaea (Obadiah 1:8), the "land of Uz," in which Job dwelt, was probably in the east of Edom (see on Jeremiah 25:20). Is their wisdom vanished? The Hebrew, with its characteristic love for material symbols, has, "Is their wisdom poured out?" So in Jeremiah 19:7, "I will pour out [a different word, however, is used] the counsel of Judah." The body being regarded as a vessel, it was natural to represent the principle of life, both physical (Isaiah 53:12) and intellectual (as here), under the symbol of a liquid.

49:7-22 The Edomites were old enemies to the Israel of God. But their day is now at hand; it is foretold, not only to warn them, but for the sake of the Israel of God, whose afflictions were aggravated by them. Thus Divine judgments go round from nation to nation; the earth is full of commotion, and nothing can escape the ministers of Divine vengeance. The righteousness of God is to be observed amidst the violence of men.Concerning Edom, thus saith the Lord of hosts,.... Or, "unto Edom" (i), thus saith the Lord; or, "against Edom" (k); all which is true, as observed on Jeremiah 49:1; meaning the Idumeans, the posterity of Esau, who was called Edom. Kimchi thinks this respects time yet future, and points at the destruction of Rome, and the Romans, who with the Jews frequently go by the name of Edom; and Abarbinel is of the same mind. And Cocceius is of opinion that the Jews are meant, and their destruction, with whom the Idumeans were incorporated before the coming of Christ, and had Herod, an Idumean, king over them; but it is best to understand the prophecy properly and literally of the Idumeans themselves;

is wisdom no more in Teman? a city in Edom, which had its name from Teman, a grandson of Esau, Genesis 36:11; whose descendants were called Temanites; one of which was Eliphaz, a friend of Job's, Job 2:11; it was a principal city, famous for men of wisdom; such an one was the person just mentioned: perhaps the grand senate of the country, or the chief counsellors, dwelt here; where schemes were formed for the good of the country in times of war or peace; or schools were kept here for the instruction of persons in various arts and sciences; and which had continued to this time, but now would be no more. The Targum is,

"is there no more wisdom in the south?''

but Jarchi better interprets it of Edom, which lay south to the land of Israel;

is counsel perished from the prudent? it was so, even from those that were the most famous for being prudent and understanding men; they were now at their wits' end, and knew not what course to take, nor what advice to give, in this their time of distress. The Targum renders it "from the children"; the sons of the Temanites, strangely degenerated from their ancestors;

is their wisdom vanished? or corrupted, as the Targum; or does it stink? according to the Rabbinical sense of the word; or infatuated, and become good for nothing? verily it was, it was useless, disregarded and despised.

(i) "ad Idumeam", V. L. "ad Edom", Pagninus, Montanus. (k) "Contra", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Schmidt.

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