A Commentary, Critical, Practical, and Explanatory on the Old and New Testaments, by Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset and David Brown  at sacred-texts.com
jer 49:1PREDICTIONS AS TO AMMON, IDUMEA, DAMASCUS, KEDAR, HAZOR, AND ELAM. (Jer. 49:1-39)
Hath Israel . . . no heir?--namely, to occupy the land of Gad, after it itself has been carried away captive by Shalmaneser. Ammon, like Moab, descended from Lot, lay north of Moab, from which it was separated by the river Arnon, and east of Reuben and Gad (Jos 13:24-25) on the same side of Jordan. It seized on Gad when Israel was carried captive. Judah was by the right of kindred the heir, not Ammon; but Ammon joined with Nebuchadnezzar against Judah and Jerusalem (Kg2 24:2) and exulted over its fall (Psa 83:4-7-8; Zep 2:8-9). It had already, in the days of Jeroboam, in Israel's affliction, tried to "enlarge its border" (Kg2 14:26; Amo 1:1, Amo 1:13).
their king-- (Amo 1:15); referring to Melchom, their tutelary idol (Zep 1:5); and so the Septuagint reads it here as a proper name (Kg1 11:5, Kg1 11:33; Kg2 23:13). The Ammonite god is said to do what they do, namely, occupy the Israelite land of Gad. To Jehovah, the theocratic "King" of Israel, the land belonged of right; so that their Molech or Melchom was a usurper-king.
his people--the people of Melchom, "their king." Compare "people of Chemosh," Jer 48:46.
jer 49:2Rabbah--"the great," metropolis of Ammon (Sa2 12:26-30). Its destruction is foretold also in Eze 25:5; Amo 1:14-15.
her daughters--the towns and villages, dependencies of the metropolis (Jos 15:45).
shall . . . be heir--shall possess those who possessed him. The full accomplishment of this is still future; partially fulfilled under the Maccabees (1 Maccabees 5:6).
jer 49:3Heshbon . . . Ai--Nebuchadnezzar, coming from the north, first attacked Ammon, then its brother and neighbor, Moab. As Ai of Ammon had already suffered destruction, Heshbon of Moab being near it might well fear the same fate.
hedges--Their cities being destroyed, the outcasts have no place of shelter save behind the "hedges" of vineyards and gardens; or else the enclosures of their villages.
their king--Melchom, the idol, as the mention of "his priests" shows (compare Jer 48:7).
jer 49:4thy flowing valley--rather, "thy valley shall flow," namely with the blood of the slain; in sad contrast to their "valleys" in which they had heretofore "gloried," as flowing with milk and honey [GROTIUS]. Or else, as Margin, "shall flow away."
backsliding--apostate from Jehovah, the God of their father Lot, to Molech.
treasures--her resources for resisting the foe.
Who shall, &c.--Who can come . . . (Jer 21:13).
jer 49:5every man right forth--whithersoever chance may lead him (Jer 46:5; Gen 19:17); straight before him, onwards at random (Amo 4:3).
none . . . gather up him, &c.--There shall be none to gather together the wandering fugitives, so as to care for them and restore them to their own homes.
jer 49:6(Compare Jer 48:47). For the sake of "righteous" Lot their progenitor. Partially fulfilled under Cyrus; in gospel times more fully.
jer 49:7Concerning Edom--a distinct prophecy, copied in part from Obadiah, but with the freedom of one himself inspired and foretelling a later calamity. Obadiah's was fulfilled probably in Sennacherib's time (compare Isa 34:5; Amo 1:11); Jeremiah's about the same time as his preceding prophecies (Jer 49:12; Eze 25:12).
wisdom--for which the Arabs and the people of Teman (a city of Edom) in particular, were famed (Gen 36:15; Kg1 4:30; see Job, everywhere; Oba 1:8).
vanished--literally "poured out," that is, exhausted (compare Isa 19:3, Margin) [MAURER]. Or, as the kindred Ethiopic word means, "worn out" [LUDOVICUS DE DIEU].
jer 49:8turn--namely, your backs in flight.
dwell deep--in deep defiles and caves [GROTIUS], which abound in Idumea. Others refer it to the Arab custom of retiring into the depth of the desert when avoiding an offended foe (Jer 49:30).
Dedan--a tribe bordering on and made subject by Idumea; descended from Jokshan, son of Abraham and Keturah (Gen 25:1-3).
Esau--The naming of Edom's progenitor, reprobated by God, recalls the remembrance of the old curse on him for his profanity, both his sin and its punishment being perpetuated in his descendants (Heb 12:16-17).
jer 49:9(Oba 1:5). Grape gatherers, yea even thieves, leave something behind them; but the Chaldeans will sweep Idumea clean of everything.
jer 49:10Edom became politically extinct after the time of the Romans.
uncovered his secret places--where he hid himself (Jer 49:8) and his treasures (Isa 45:3). I have caused that nothing should be so hidden as that the conqueror should not find it.
jer 49:11Thy fatherless and widows must rest their hope in God alone, as none of the adult males shall be left alive, so desperate will be the affairs of Edom. The verse also, besides this threat, implies a promise of mercy to Esau in God's good time, as there was to Moab and Ammon (Jer 49:6; Jer 48:47); the extinction of the adult males is the prominent idea (compare Jer 49:12).
jer 49:12(Compare Jer 25:15-16, Jer 25:29).
they whose judgment was not to drink of the cup--the Jews to whom, by virtue of the covenant relation, it did not belong to drink the cup. It might have been expected that they would be spared. He regards not the merits of the Jews, for they were as bad or worse than others: but the grace and adoption of God; it is just and natural ("judgment") that God should pardon His sons sooner than aliens [CALVIN].
jer 49:13Bozrah--(See on Jer 48:24).
jer 49:14(Oba 1:1-3).
ambassador . . . unto the heathen--a messenger from God to stir up the Chaldeans against Edom.
jer 49:15David and Joab had already humbled Edom (Sa2 8:14).
jer 49:16terribleness--the terror which thou didst inspire into others.
deceived thee--rendered thee proudly confident, as if none would dare to assail thee.
dwellest in . . . rock--Petra, the chief of Idumea, was cut in the rocks; its ruins are very remarkable. The whole south of Idumea abounds in cave dwellings and rocks.
though . . . nest . . . eagle-- (Job 39:27; Oba 1:3-4). The eagle builds its nest in the highest craggy eyry.
jer 49:17(Compare Kg1 9:8).
jer 49:18(Jer 50:40; Deu 29:23; Amo 4:11).
no man shall abide there--that is, of the Idumeans. The Romans had a garrison there.
jer 49:19he--Nebuchadnezzar, or Nebuzara-dan; the name would at once suggest itself to the minds of the hearers (Jer 48:40; Jer 46:18).
swelling--as a lion which the overflow of the Jordan forced out of his lair on the banks, to ascend the neighboring heights [CALVIN]. See as to the translation, "pride of the Jordan," see on Jer 12:5.
habitation of . . . strong--the fastnesses of Idumea (compare Num 24:21). MAURER translates, "An ever verdant (literally, 'perennial') pasturage," that is, Idumea heretofore having enjoyed uninterrupted tranquillity; so in Jer 49:20 the image is retained, the Idumeans being compared to "a flock," and their king to "a shepherd," in this verse, and the enemy to "a lion" (compare Jer 50:17-19). English Version accords more with the Hebrew.
suddenly--"in the twinkling of an eye," as the Hebrew implies.
. . . her--I will make Nebuzara-dan enter Idumea, and then, having in the twinkling of an eye effected the conquest, go away speedily: elsewhere. Instead of "but," translate, "for." GROTIUS translates, "run upon her," or "to her," instead of "run away from her." MAURER understands it, "I will make him (the Idumean) run away from her" (that is, from his own land); the similar change of reference of the pronouns (Jer 50:44) favors this.
who is a chosen man, &c.--God calls the choicest warriors to Him, to set "over" the work of devastating Idumea. God will surely execute His purpose, for He can call forth from all sides the agents He chooses.
who is like me?-- (Exo 15:11).
who will appoint me the time?--namely, for entering into a trial in judgment with Me (see Margin). Image from law courts (Job 9:19).
shepherd--leader of the Idumeans; following up the previous image, "a lion"; no Idumean shepherd shall withstand the lion sent by Jehovah (Job 41:10), or save the Idumean flock.
jer 49:20least of the flock--the weakest and humblest of the Chaldean host. Compare Jer 6:3, where the hostile leaders and their hosts are called "shepherds and their flocks."
draw . . . out--"shall drag them away captive" [GROTIUS]; shall drag them to and fro, as a lion (Jer 49:19) does feeble sheep [MAURER].
with them--that is, the habitation which they possess.
jer 49:21was heard in--that is, shall be heard at.
Red Sea--a considerable distance from Idumea; though the district at the Elantic bay of the Red Sea originally belonged to Idumea, and the sea itself was called from Edom, that is, "red" (Gen 25:30, Margin). Others translate, "the weedy sea" (Margin), and derive the name, "Red Sea," from its red weeds; the former view is preferable.
jer 49:22(Compare Jer 48:40-41).
Bozrah--(See on Jer 48:24).
jer 49:23Prophecy as to Damascus, &c. (Isa 17:1; Isa 10:9). The kingdom of Damascus was destroyed by Assyria, but the city revived, and it is as to the latter Jeremiah now prophesies. The fulfilment was probably about five years after the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar [JOSEPHUS, Antiquities, 10.9,7].
Hamath is confounded--at the tidings of the overthrow of the neighboring Damascus.
on the sea--that is, at the sea; the dwellers there are alarmed. Other manuscripts read, "like the sea." "There is anxiety (restless) as is the sea: they cannot quiet it," that is, it cannot be quieted (Isa 57:20).
it--Whatever dwellers are there "cannot be quiet."
jer 49:25city of praise--The prophet, in the person of a citizen of Damascus deploring its calamity, calls it "the city of praise," that is, celebrated with praises everywhere for its beauty (Jer 33:9; Jer 51:41). "How is it possible that such a city has not been left whole--has not been spared by the foe?" Compare left, Luk 17:35-36. So Israel "left" standing some of the Canaanite cities (Jos 11:13).
of my joy--that is, in which I delighted.
jer 49:26Therefore--that is, Since Damascus is doomed to fall, therefore, &c.
jer 49:27palaces of Ben-hadad--that palace from which so many evils and such cruelty to Israel emanated; thus implying the cause of Damascus' overthrow. Not the Ben-hadad of Kg2 13:3; Amo 1:4; it was a common name of the Syrian kings (compare Kg1 15:18; meaning "son of Hadad," the idol).
jer 49:28Kedar--son of Ishmael (Gen 25:13). The Kedarenes led a wandering predatory life in Arabia-PetrÃ&brvbr;a, as the Bedouin Arabs (Ch2 21:16-17; Psa 120:5). Kedar means "blackness" (Sol 1:5).
Hazor--not the city in Palestine, but a district in Arabia-PetrÃ&brvbr;a. "Kingdoms" refer to the several combinations of clans, each under its own sheik.
men of the east--Kedar and Hazor were east of Judea (Jdg 6:3; Job 1:3).
jer 49:29tents--in which they dwelt, from which they are called Scenites, that is, tent dwellers.
curtains--namely, with which the tents were covered (Jer 4:20; Jer 10:20; Psa 104:2).
they shall cry unto them, Fear, &c.--The foe, on crying, Fear . . ., shall discomfit them (the Kedarenes) by their mere cry.
jer 49:30(See on Jer 49:8). No conqueror would venture to follow them into the desert.
jer 49:31wealthy--rather, "tranquil" (Ch1 4:40).
neither gates nor bars--The Arabs, lying out of the track of the contending powers of Asia and Africa, took no measures of defense and had neither walled cities nor gates (Eze 38:11). They thought their scanty resources and wilderness position would tempt no foe.
alone--separated from other nations, without allies; and from one another scattered asunder. So as to Israel's isolation (Num 23:9; Deu 33:28; Mic 7:14).
jer 49:32camels--their chief possessions; not fields or vineyards.
in utmost . . . corners--who seemed least likely to be dispersed. Or else, "having the hair shaven (or clipped) in angles" (Jer 9:26; Jer 25:23) [GROTIUS].
calamity from all sides--which will force even those in "corners" to "scatter" themselves.
jer 49:33(Mal 1:3).
jer 49:34Elam--part of Susiana, west of Persia proper, but used to designate Persia in general. Elam proper, or Elymais, nearer Judea than Persia, is probably here meant; it had helped Nebuchadnezzar against Judea; hence its punishment. It may have been idolatrous, whereas Persia proper was mainly monotheistic.
jer 49:35bow--Elam was famed for its bowmen (Isa 22:6).
chief of their might--in opposition to "bow," that is, bowmen, who constituted their main strength.
jer 49:36four winds, &c.--Nebuchadnezzar's army containing soldiers from the four quarters.
jer 49:37consumed--as a distinct nation (Dan. 8:2-27). Fulfilled under Alexander and his successors.
jer 49:38I will show Myself King by My judgments there, as though My tribunal were erected there. The throne of Cyrus, God's instrument, set up over Media, of which Elam was a part, may be meant [GROTIUS]; or rather, that of Nebuchadnezzar (Jer 43:10). Then the restoration of Elam (Jer 49:39) will refer partly to that which took place on the reduction of Babylon by Cyrus, prince of Persia and Media.
jer 49:39latter days--The full restoration belongs to gospel times. Elamites were among the first who heard and accepted it (Act 2:9).
After the predictions of judgment to be inflicted on other nations by Babylon, follows this one against Babylon itself, the longest prophecy, consisting of one hundred verses. The date of utterance was the fourth year of Zedekiah, when Seraiah, to whom it was committed, was sent to Babylon (Jer 51:59-60). The repetitions in it make it likely that it consists of prophecies uttered at different times, now collected by Jeremiah to console the Jews in exile and to vindicate God's ways by exhibiting the final doom of Babylon, the enemy of the people of God, after her long prosperity. The style, imagery, and dialogues prove its genuineness in opposition to those who deny this. It shows his faithfulness; though under obligation to the king of Babylon, he owed a higher one to God, who directed him to prophesy against Babylon.