CLICK HERE to read Jeremiah 25.
The last chapter was a random vision included in the writings, but not dated in sequential order. This one is dated for us, but is completely out of order and actually goes between chapters 35 and 36. Jeremiah says he received this revelation in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, which was the same as the first year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign from Babylon (verse 1). We know that this was the year Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Egyptians at Carchemish in 605 B.C., interuppting the reign of Jehoiakim in his fourth year. The confusion comes because the Jews measure from when it happened during their king’s reign, but the Chaldeans measure it from when it happened in relation to Nebuchadnezzar becoming king after the death of his father – who lived two years after Nebuchadnezzar took over. So when Daniel says a different year, it is not a conflict in the Biblical text, but only a different cultural calendar.
This chapter has three parts, talking first about what is going to happen to Judah, and then talking about the Lord’s justice and its purpose, and then these same principles applied to the world as a whole.
Jeremiah begins, talking specifically to Judah in verse 2, and he reminds the people that he has served them faithful as a true and righteous prophet since Josiah was king (verse 3). The Lord has even sent them other prophets as well, but the people will not listen to what they have to say (verse 4). He recaps what the prophets have told them, to repent and turn from evil, so that they can prosper in their inheritance – both temporally in the land of Israel and spiritually in His presence (verse 5).
Instead, the people have provoked the Lord by doing the exact opposite, even worshiping false gods instead of Him (verse 6). By doing this, they have literally designed (by making false idols out of wood) their own destruction (verse 7). Because of this, the Lord now declares the justice they have chosen by refusing the mercy He has offered (verse 8).
He warns them that Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, is going to attack them, and that they will be destroyed (verse 9). Babylon will be the Lord’s tool by which justice is delivered, because the people have chosen it. Their illusions of happiness will be destroyed because they have rejected the ways of true happiness (verse 10). Even the land itself will be destroyed (verse 11), and foreigners will take it over (verse 14), and they will perpetually struggle for rights to live there (verse 12). All of this will come true just as Jeremiah prophesied (verse 13).
Because the nation of Israel did not testify to other nations of righteousness by covenant-keeping and example-setting, they will now be an example of the destruction that comes when rejecting the Lord’s ways and not caring for His people (verse 15). They will lose their inheritance, and will grieve the loss of temporal and spiritual blessings (verse 16).
Jeremiah then officially announces the consequences given to all these peoples (verse 17). This is not like Isaiah, who warned the people consequences would come if they would not repent. This is beyond that, past the time of repentance, simply an announcement that the time for destruction has arrived. He says that Jerusalem and their genetic line of inherited kings will no more reign Judah (verse 18), and with them those who led them astray will also be destroyed: Egypt (verse 19), the Chaldeans (the Babylonians; verse 20), Edom (children of Esau) and Moab (north of the Dead Sea) (verse 21), Tyrus and Zidon (wealthy nations that traded by the sea) (verse 22), Dedan (Syria, or Abraham’s children by Keturah) (verse 23), the Arabian nations (verse 24), the Medes (who later worked with the Persians to conquer Babylon) (verse 25), “and all the kingdoms of the world” (verse 26). All of these kingdoms have done what they wanted and corrupted each other in different ways, doing what profits them and choosing priestcraft instead of the priesthood. Because of this, all these nations of the middle east will “perpetually” be in conflict with one another, taking turns at delivering justice to the others, until they have all paid their price for rejecting the Lord and His prophets (verse 28). None will go unpunished, because each of them have specifically rejected the gospel when it was given them (verse 29).
The Lord tells Jeremiah to tell this to all the people (verse 30), and warns him that it will cause great controversy over time (verse 31). Because the people have rejected the ways of peace, they will suffer the violent destruction that they have chosen; because they have not accepted the covenants, they will teach this violence to their children (verse 32). They will be known as nations of violence, and it will be difficult to establish peace because peace itself will seem so foreign to them, and because each nation will continue to want what is best for themselves rather than accepting the Lord’s way of peace by loving and caring for the other peoples (verse 33).
The true prophets and those priesthood leaders who do care for the people will grieve the loss of so many, knowing that until the people repent there is no way to stop the wars (verse 34). There will be no way to escape them, except repentance and turning to the Lord (verse 35). These righteous leaders will mourn the loss of the nations’ temporal and spiritual blessings that could have been theirs if they had only turned to the Lord (verse 36). But because they did not, they have chosen justice, and it must be delivered (verse 37). This is why the Lord is angry at them, not just because of what they have done wrong, but because of the price they have chosen to pay (verse 38).