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The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon;
Fourth year of Jehoiakim - called the year in Daniel 1:1. But probably Jehoiakim was set on the throne by Pharaoh-necho on his return from Carchemish about July, whereas Nebuchadnezzar mounted the throne January 21, 604 BC; so that Nebuchadnezzar's first year was partly the third, partly the fourth of Jehoiakim. Here first Jeremiah gives specific dates. Nebuchadnezzar had previously entered Judea in the reign of his father Nabopolassar.
The which Jeremiah the prophet spake unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying,
No JFB commentary on this verse.
From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that is the three and twentieth year, the word of the LORD hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened.
From the thirteenth year of Josiah, in which Jeremiah began to prophesy (Jeremiah 1:1), to the end of Josiah's reign was 19 years (2 Kings 22:1); the three months (2 Kings 23:31) of Jehoahaz' reign, with the not quite complete 4 years of Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 25:1), added to the 19 years, make up 23 years (Jeremiah 25:3) in all.
And the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear.
The Lord hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them - (Jeremiah 7:13, note). "The prophets" refer to Urijah, Zephaniah, Habakkuk, etc. It aggravates their sin, that God sent not merely one, but many messengers, and those messengers prophets; and that during all those years specified Jeremiah and his fellow-prophets spared no effort, late and early.
They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever:
Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell. In Hebrew there is expressed by sameness of sounds the correspondence between their turning to God and God's turning to them to permit them to dwell in their land: Shubu ... shebu, "Return" ... so shall ye "remain."
Every one from his evil way. Each must separately repent and turn from his own sin. None is excepted, lest they should think their guilt extenuated because the evil is general.
And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt.
Go not after other gods. He instances one sin, as representative of all their sins, idolatry; as nothing is dearer to God than a pure worship of Himself.
Yet ye have not hearkened unto me, saith the LORD; that ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.
Provoke me to anger ... to your own hurt - though ye provoke me to anger (Deuteronomy 32:21), yet it is not me, but yourselves, whom ye thereby hurt (Proverbs 8:36; Proverbs 20:2).
Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Because ye have not heard my words,
No JFB commentary on this verse.
Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.
The north - (note, Jeremiah 1:14-15). The Medes and other northern peoples confederate with Babylon are included with the Chaldeans.
Nebuchadnezzar ... my servant - my agent for punishing (Jeremiah 27:6; Jeremiah 43:10: cf. Jeremiah 40:2, which shows that Nehuzaradan, Nebuchadnezzar's captain, had even some consciousness of the divine mission which the Babylonian king fulfilled, in accordance with Jeremiah's prophecy - "The Lord thy God," said he to Jeremiah, "hath pronounced this evil upon this place"). Compare Isaiah 44:28, Cyrus, "my shepherd." God makes even unbelievers unconsciously to fulfill His designs. A reproof to the Jews, who boasted that they were the servants of God; yet a pagan king is to be more the servant of God than they, and that as the agent of their punishment.
Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle.
(Jeremiah 7:34; Revelation 18:23). The land shall be so desolated that even in the houses left standing there shall be no inhabitant; a terrible stillness shall prevail; no sound of the hand-mill (two circular stones, one above the other, for grinding corn, worked by two females, Exodus 11:5; Matthew 24:41; in daily use in every house, and therefore forbidden to be taken in pledge, Deuteronomy 24:6); no night-light, so universal in the East that the poorest house has it, burning all night.
Candle - lamp (Job 21:17; Job 18:6).
And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
Seventy years - (Jeremiah 27:7). The exact number of years of Sabbaths in 490 years, the period from Saul to the Babylonian captivity; righteous retribution for their violation of the Sabbath (Leviticus 26:34-35; 2 Chronicles 36:21). The 70 years probably begin from the 4th year of Jehoiakim, when Jerusalem was first captured, and many captives, as well as the treasure of the temple, were carried away: they end with the first year of Cyrus, who, on taking Babylon, issued an edict for the restoration of the Jews (Ezra 1:1). Daniel's 70 prophetic weeks are based on the seventy years of the captivity (cf. Daniel 9:2; Daniel 9:24).
And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations. No JFB commentary on this verse.
And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations.
And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations. It follows from this, that the prophecies against foreign nations (Jeremiah 46:1-28; Jeremiah 47:1-7; Jeremiah 48:1-47; Jeremiah 49:1-39; Jeremiah 50:1-46; Jeremiah 51:1-64) must have been already written. Hence, the Septuagint insert here those prophecies. But if they had followed immediately Jeremiah 25:13, there would have been no propriety in the observation in the verse. The very wording of the reference shows that they existed in some other part of the book, and not in the immediate context. It was in this very year (Jeremiah 25:1), the fourth of Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 36:1-2), that Jeremiah was directed to write in a regular book, for the first time, all that he had prophesied against Judah and foreign "nations" from the beginning of his ministry. Probably at a subsequent time, when he completed the whole work, including Jeremiah 46:1-28; Jeremiah 47:1-7; Jeremiah 48:1-47; Jeremiah 49:1-39; Jeremiah 50:1-46; Jeremiah 51:1-64, Jeremiah himself inserted the clause "all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations." The prophecies in question may have been repeated, as others in Jeremiah, more than once; so in the original smaller collection they my have stood in an earlier position; and in the fuller subsequent collection in their latter and present position.
For many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of them also: and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands.
Many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of them - (Jeremiah 27:7; Jeremiah 30:8; Jeremiah 34:10) i:e., avail themselves of their services as slaves.
Of them also. The Chaldees, who heretofore have made other nations their slaves, shall themselves also, in their turn, be slaves to them. Maurer translates, 'shall impose servitude on them, even them.'
I will recompense them - namely, the Chaldees and other nations against whom Jeremiah had prophesied (Jeremiah 25:13), as having oppressed the Jews.
According to their deeds - rather, deed, namely, their bad treatment of the Jews (Jeremiah 50:29; Jeremiah 51:6; Jeremiah 51:24: cf. 2 Chronicles 36:17).
For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it.
Wine-cup - cf. Jeremiah 13:12-13, as to this image, to express stupifying judgments; also Jeremiah 49:12; Jeremiah 51:7. Jeremiah often embodies the imagery of Isaiah in his prophecies (Lamentations 4:21; Isaiah 51:17-22; Revelation 16:19; 28:6 ). The wine-cup was not literally given by Jeremiah to the representatives of the different nations, but only in symbolical vision.
And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them.
They shall drink, and be moved - reel (Nahum 3:11).
Then took I the cup at the LORD's hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the LORD had sent me:
No JFB commentary on this verse.
To wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse; as it is this day;
Jerusalem - put first: for "judgment begins at the house of God;" they being most guilty whose religious privileges are greatest (1 Peter 4:17).
The kings thereof - Jehoiakim, Jeconiah, and Zedekiah.
As it is this day - the accomplishment of the curse has already begun under Jehoiakim. This clause, however, may have been inserted by Jeremiah at his final revision of his prophecies in Egypt.
Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people;
Pharaoh - put next after Jerusalem, because the Jews had relied most on him, and Egypt and Judea stood on a common footing (Jeremiah 46:2; Jeremiah 46:25).
And all the mingled people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod,
All the mingled people - mercenary foreign troops serving under Pharaoh-hophra in the time of Jeremiah. The employment of these foreigners provoked the native Egyptians to overthrow him. Psammetichus, father of Pharaoh-necho, also had given a settlement in Egypt to Ionian and Carian adventurers (Herodotus. 2: 152,
154). Compare Jeremiah 50:37; note, Isaiah 19:1-3; Isaiah 20:1; Ezekiel 30:5. The Hebrew expression "the mingled people" [ haa`ereb (H6154)] here is first found in Exodus 12:38; where, however, the article the is not prefixed.
Uz - in the geographical order here, between Egypt and the states along the Mediterranean; therefore not the "Uz" of Job 1:1 (north of Arabia Deserta), but the northern part of Arabia Petrea, between the sea and Idumea (Lamentations 4:21; see Genesis 36:20; Genesis 36:28).
The remnant of Ashdod - called a remnant because Ashdod had lost most of its inhabitants in the 29 years' siege by Psammetichus. Compare also Isaiah 20:1, note. Gath is not mentioned, because it was overthrown in the same war.
Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon,
Edom and Moab, and the children of Ammon - joined together, as being related to Israel (see Jeremiah 48:1-47; Jeremiah 49:1-39).
And all the kings of Tyrus, and all the kings of Zidon, and the kings of the isles which are beyond the sea,
All the kings of Tyrus - the petty kings of the various dependencies of Tyre.
Isles - a term including all maritime regions (Psalms 72:10, "The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents").
Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all that are in the utmost corners,
Dedan - North of Arabia (Genesis 25:3-4).
Tema and Buz - neighbouring tribes north of Arabia (Job 32:2).
And all that are in the utmost corners - rather, 'having the hair cut in angles,' a paganish custom (see note, Jeremiah 9:26).
And all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mingled people that dwell in the desert,
Mingled people - not in the same sense as Jeremiah 25:20; the motley crowd, so called in contempt (cf. Jeremiah 49:28; Jeremiah 49:31; Jeremiah 50:37). By a different pointing it may be translated, the Arabs; but the repetition of the name is not likely. Blaney thinks there were two divisions of what we call Arabia, the West (Araba) and the East-the West included Arabia Petrea and the parts on the sea bordering on Egypt-the land of Cush; the East, Arabia Felix and Deserta. The latter are 'the mixed race' inhabiting the desert.
And all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes,
Zimri - perhaps the Zabra mentioned by Ptolemy, between Mecca and Medina. Zimran also, as Dedan, was one of Abraham's sons by Keturah (Genesis 25:2).
Elam - properly, west of Persia; but used for Persia in general.
And all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth: and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them.
Sheshach - Babylon; as the parallelism in Jeremiah 51:41 proves. In the Cabalistic system (called Athbash; the first Hebrew letter in the alphabet being expressed by the last) Sheshach would exactly answer to Babel. Jeremiah may have used this system (as perhaps in Jeremiah 51:41) for concealment at the time of this prediction, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, while Nebuchadnezzar was before Jerusalem. In Jeremiah 51:41 there can be no concealment, as Babylon is expressly mentioned. Michaelis more simply explains the term 'brazen-gated' (cf. Isaiah 45:2): others, from the Persian language, 'the house of a prince.' Rather it comes from the Babylonian goddess Shach, by reduplication of the first letter; from her Misael was named Meshach by the Babylonians. The term Shace was applied to a festival at Babylon, alluded to in Jeremiah 51:39; Jeremiah 51:57; Isaiah 21:5. It was during this feast that Cyrus took Babylon (Herodotus, 1:). Thus Jeremiah mystically denotes the time of its capture by this term (Glassius).
Therefore thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you.
Thus saith the Lord God of ... Israel ... fall, and rise no more - the pagan nations in question should fall to rise no more. The Jews should fall but for a time, and then rise again. Therefore the epithet is given, "the God of Israel."
And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ye shall certainly drink.
If they refuse to take the cup ... Ye shall certainly drink - no effort of theirs to escape destruction will avail.
For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts.
I ... bring evil on the city ... called by my name, and should ye be ... unpunished - if I spared not mine elect people on account of sin, much less will I spare you. "I begin to bring evil" implies, that in bringing evil He "begins" with His elect people, as being the most guilty, in the fact of their having greater privileges than the pagan (Ezekiel 9:6, "Slay ... and begin at my sanctuary;" Obadiah 1:16; Luke 23:31; 1 Peter 4:17).
Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth.
The Lord shall roar - image from a destructive lion (Isaiah 42:13; Joel 3:16).
Upon his habitation - rather, 'His pasturage;' keeping up the image of a lion roaring against the flock the pasture. The roar was first to go forth over Judea, wherein were "the sheep of His pasture" (Psalms 100:3), and thence into pagan lands.
He shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes - (Jeremiah 48:33; Isaiah 16:9-10). The shout of joy at the vintage, which latter represents the execution of judgment (Revelation 14:18-20).
A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD.
The Lord hath a controversy - a cause at issue (Micah 6:2) "with all nations."
Plead with all flesh - (Isaiah 66:16). God shows the whole world that He does what is altogether just in punishing.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.
From the coasts - rather, 'from the uttermost regions.' Like a storm which arises in one region and then diffuses itself far and wide, so God's judgment shall pass "from nation to nation," until all has been fulfilled; no distance shall prevent the fulfillment.
And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground.
They shall not be lamented - (Jeremiah 16:4; Jeremiah 16:6).
Neither gathered - to their fathers, in their ancestral tombs (Jeremiah 8:2).
Dung - (Psalms 83:10).
Howl, ye shepherds, and cry; and wallow yourselves in the ashes, ye principal of the flock: for the days of your slaughter and of your dispersions are accomplished; and ye shall fall like a pleasant vessel.
Howl, ye shepherds - princes (Jeremiah 22:22). Here he returns from pronouncing judgments against the Gentile nations, to the Jews and their rulers, using the same image as in Jeremiah 25:30, "pasture," note. Wallow yourselves - cover yourselves as thickly with ashes, in token of sorrow, as one who rolls in them (Jeremiah 6:26; Ezekiel 27:30). (Maurer.)
Ye principal of the flock - leaders of the people. Septuagint translate, rams, carrying out the image (cf. Isaiah 14:9, margin; Zechariah 10:3).
The days of your slaughter and of your dispersions - rather, 'your days for slaughter (i:e., the time for your being slain) and your dispersions (not 'of your dispersion') are accomplished' (are come).
Like a pleasant vessel - ye were once a precious vessel, but ye shall fall, and so be a broken vessel, "wherein is no pleasure" (cf. Jeremiah 22:28, note). 'Your past excellency shall not render you safe now. I will turn to your ignominy whatever glory I conferred on you' (Calvin).
And the shepherds shall have no way to flee, nor the principal of the flock to escape.
The shepherds shall have no way to flee - literally, 'flight shall fail shepherds, etc., escaping (shall fail) the principal,' etc. (Amos 2:14). The leaders shall be the first objects for slaughter; escape by flight will be out of their power.
A voice of the cry of the shepherds, and an howling of the principal of the flock, shall be heard: for the LORD hath spoiled their pasture.
No JFB commentary on this verse.
And the peaceable habitations are cut down because of the fierce anger of the LORD.
Habitations - rather carrying out the image (Jeremiah 25:30, note), pastures. The pasturages where, peaceably and Habitations - rather carrying out the image (Jeremiah 25:30, note), pastures. The pasturages where, peaceably and without incursion of wild beasts, the flocks have fed shall be destroyed; - i:e., the regions where heretofore there was peace and security (alluding to the name Salem or Jerusalem, 'possessing peace') shall be no longer "peaceable habitations" (Isaiah 32:18).
He hath forsaken his covert, as the lion: for their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the oppressor, and because of his fierce anger.
He hath forsaken his covert - the temple, where heretofore, like a lion, as its defender, by the mere terror of His voice, he warded off the foe; but now He leaves it a prey to the Gentiles (Calvin).
Their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the oppressor - rather, as the Hebrew for 'oppressor' [ hayownaah (H3238)] is an adjective feminine, the word sword is understood, which, in Jeremiah 46:14; Jeremiah 50:16, is expressed (indeed, some manuscripts and Septuagint, the Arabic, and Targum read "sword" [ chereb (H2719)] instead of "fierceness" [ chªrown (H2740)] here; probably interpolated from Jeremiah 46:16) - 'Because of the fierceness of the oppressing (sword).' The Hebrew for oppressing means also a dove; there may be, therefore, a covert allusion to the Chaldean standard, bearing a dove on it, in honour of Semiramis, the first queen, said in popular superstition to have been nourished by doves when exposed at birth, and at death to have been transformed into a dove. Her name may come from a root referring to the cooing of a dove. That bird was held sacred to the goddess Venus. The Vulgate so translates, 'the anger of the dove.'
His fierce anger - if the fierce anger of Nebuchadnezzar cannot be evaded, how much less the "fierce anger of the Lord" (cf. Jeremiah 25:37).
(1) The greatest aggravation to the sin of Judah was that God had abundantly warned them of the fatal consequences of their sinful course (Jeremiah 25:3). The prophets had spared no effort, late and early, showing them that their provocation of God could not affect His infinite glory and blessedness, but would only tend "to their own hurt" (Jeremiah 25:7): but that, in tender love to them, He invites them, "Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and so shall ye dwell in the land that the Lord hath given unto you" (Jeremiah 25:5). God is the same God now as then. He warns every ungodly man, "He that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death" (Proverbs 8:36). He invites all, Repent, and believe the gospel; so ye shall live forever in the heavenly land of promise. How it will aggravate the misery of the lost to look back on such warnings disregarded, such gracious promises slighted, because in their day of grace "they despised the pleasant land, they believed not His word" (Psalms 106:24). "The voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness" shall be hushed forever; and, instead, wailing, weeping, and gnashing of teeth shall be the eternal portion of unbelievers. And whereas the saints "shall need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light" (Revelation 22:5); "the candle of the wicked" man, even the little light which illumined his way on earth (Jeremiah 25:10), "shall be put out with him" in utter darkness (Job 18:6; Job 21:17; Matthew 25:8).
(2) The fixing of the number of years (Jeremiah 25:11) during which the Jews were to be captives in Babylon-namely, seventy years-was calculated ultimately to confirm the word of prophecy by the accurate fulfillment, and, in the meantime, to comfort the people of God with a promise of deliverance, which would be an incentive to believing prayer. Thus at all times God "remembers His covenant" of mercy "for His elect" (Psalms 106:45), amidst the judgments which He righteously inflicts on the hardened apostates; and by His promises supports them when cast down, and quickens them with His Spirit working in them as the spirit of supplication.
(3) If Judah, God's own people, must not be spared because of sin, how much less shall the pagan Babylon escape! "If judgment must begin at the house of God, what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel of God? and if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and sinners appear?" (1 Peter 4:17.) The rod will be cast into the consuming fire after God has served His purpose of chastising His people with it (Jeremiah 25:29). As the Babylonians treated God's people, so must they be treated themselves (Jeremiah 25:14; Jeremiah 25:29; Jeremiah 50:29). As they showed no mercy to age or sex, priest or sanctuary (Jeremiah 51:24; 2 Chronicles 36:17), so God will show no mercy to them. And there shall be this grand difference between the portion of Babylon's cup given her to drink and that of the elect nation, Judah-Judah fell but for a time, and then rose again more glorious than ever; whereas God-opposed Babylon fell "to rise no more" as a nation again (Jeremiah 25:27). So in the case of the believing elect, the spiritual Israel; "if her children forsake God's law, and keep not His commandments, then will God visit their transgressions with a rod, and their iniquity with stripes; nevertheless, His loving-kindness will He not utterly take from" their Surety, the Antitype to David, "nor suffer His faithfulness to fail: His covenant will He not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of His lips" (Psalms 89:30-34).
(4) The stupefaction of drunkenness (Jeremiah 25:15) is the image employed to express the overwhelming effects of God's wrath on the guilty. Hence, we may learn to loathe that vice, most debasing to both mind and body, drunkenness, which in its sphere works out woeful results, having their counterpart only in the paralyzing stupefaction with which the judgments of an angry God overwhelm the guilty.
(5) God in history is the true clue to unravel the complicated web of the politics of nations. "Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people" (Proverbs 14:34), furnishes in one sentence the true secret of the rise and fall of empires and peoples. Historians mostly deal only with secondary causes-the interests and material liberties, the passions and prejudices of men and states. The Bible alone gives us an insight into the secret spring which moves the whole-namely, God's purpose that the politics of nations shall progressively subserve, in spite of themselves, the grand consummation, the final manifestation of the Kingdom of God and His Anointed on earth. After man's governments have fulfilled their temporary purposes in the Providence of God, and, having been weighed in the balance of God's truth, have been found wanting in the main end of all authority delegated by God-the glorification of God on earth-they are successively set aside. The history of the greatness and the declension of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Edom, and the Philistines, illustrates this principle in ancient times: but it shall be fully and finally set forth just before the setting up of the visible Kingdom of Messiah on earth, when the Lord, in His "controversy with the nations, will plead with all flesh" (Jeremiah 25:31) in "the day of the Lord's vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion" (Isaiah 34:8).
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 25". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20