Jeremiah 49

Thursday Evening Bible Study

June 2, 2005


We are now in a section of prophecies given to the Gentile nations that surround Israel.

Jeremiah 49

:1-6 Ammon

:1 Against the Ammonites. Thus says the LORD: "Has Israel no sons? Has he no heir? Why then does Milcom inherit Gad, And his people dwell in its cities?

Slides on Ammon, Ammon’s judgment.

Ammonites – Last week we talked about the descendants of Lot. After God wiped out the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot’s daughters began to panic, thinking that along with their father, they were the last three people alive on the earth. So they got their father drunk on successive nights and took turns sleeping with him. They each bore a son. One son was the father of the Moabites, the other was the father of the Ammonites. The land of the Ammonites was east of Israel across Jordan River from the central portion of Israel. The modern capital of Jordan, Amman, gets its name from these people.

Just like the Moabites, the Ammonites were continual enemies to the nation of Israel.

Milcom inherit … – the god of the Ammonites

The Ammonites have moved into territory that used to belong to Israel. Normally property passed from one generation of Israelite to the next. But the Ammonites had somehow moved into and taken over land that belonged to Israel.

They were in a place where they didn’t belong, and that was apparently the reason behind the coming judgment.

:2 Therefore behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "That I will cause to be heard an alarm of war In Rabbah of the Ammonites; It shall be a desolate mound, And her villages shall be burned with fire. Then Israel shall take possession of his inheritance," says the LORD.

Rabbah – the capital of Ammon

:3 "Wail, O Heshbon, for Ai is plundered! Cry, you daughters of Rabbah, Gird yourselves with sackcloth! Lament and run to and fro by the walls; For Milcom shall go into captivity With his priests and his princes together.

Heshbon – the ancient capital of the Amorites, of King Sihon.

Ai – This is not the same city that was conquered by Joshua.

:4 Why do you boast in the valleys, Your flowing valley, O backsliding daughter? Who trusted in her treasures, saying, 'Who will come against me?'

It’s interesting that God calls Ammon a “daughter”. God must have felt He had some sort of relationship with this nation.


Trusting in our treasures

The Ammonites felt “safe” because they “had enough stuff”.  They weren’t worried about invading armies because they were well off.
(Luke 12:13-21 NKJV)  Then one from the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me." {14} But He said to him, "Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?" {15} And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses."
The fellow wanted Jesus to act as a judge and tell the brother to divide the inheritance.  Jesus didn’t want any part of it.  He pointed out that the man had his priorities wrong.
{16} Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. {17} "And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?' {18} "So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. {19} 'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry."' {20} "But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?' {21} "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
This man was only worried about the treasures he could see with his own eyes.  He was aiming his whole life towards having treasure in this life, only to find that when he had achieved it, it was all gone.
You can’t take it with you.  When you leave this life, it will all stay behind.
Think of what the families who lived on Flamingo Road in Laguna Beach are going through right now.  Yesterday morning they lost everything as their homes went sliding down the hillside.
One moment you own it, the next, it’s gone.
Paul Azinger writes, “My friend Mike got on an airplane one day and saw one of the strangest things he had ever seen in his life. The man sitting next to him in first class was dressed in a bathrobe and slippers. The man’s seat was a beautiful leather chair, but my friend’s was simply made of fabric. The man said to my friend. “I see you have noticed my chair. This chair is made of the finest leathers money can buy.” Then my friend noticed that the man had a mahogany tray table. Again, the man said, “Ahh, you have noticed my gorgeous tray table.” My friend looked up and saw that the guy had a ceiling fan. The rich man was also surrounded by a VCR, a television set, a CD player, and a computer.
”My friend was flabbergasted. He asked the rich man, “Why would anyone go to the expense to have all these things installed in an airplane?” The man replied bluntly, “Because this is my home.”
“My friend thought, “What a shame! A place that was intended to be a journey, he has made his home.””
Be careful about the deceit that riches bring.  Money wants you to think that if you had it, life would be okay.
But money doesn’t know or control the future.  That’s God’s job.

:5 Behold, I will bring fear upon you," Says the Lord GOD of hosts, "From all those who are around you; You shall be driven out, everyone headlong, And no one will gather those who wander off.

:6 But afterward I will bring back The captives of the people of Ammon," says the LORD.

A future restoration

:7-22 Edom

:7 Against Edom. Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Is wisdom no more in Teman? Has counsel perished from the prudent? Has their wisdom vanished?

Edom – Abraham had a son, Isaac. Isaac and Rebekah had twin sons, Esau and Jacob. Jacob was the father of the twelve tribes of Israel. The Edomites were the descendants of Esau. Their land was east and south of Israel.

Teman – the name of one of Esau’s grandsons (Gen. 36:11), the son of Eliphaz, Esau’s son. There was a chief city in Edom named after him. One of Job’s friends was named “Eliphaz the Temanite” (Job 2:11). Some have suggested that this dates the book of Job during the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.


The mountains of Edom


Losing your wisdom.

Apparently the Edomites had quite a reputation for having men of “wisdom.
(Oba 1:8 NLT) At that time not a single wise person will be left in the whole land of Edom!" says the LORD. "For on the mountains of Edom I will destroy everyone who has wisdom and understanding.
And yet at some point, they lost their wisdom. They “lost their mind”.
So how do we get our “mind” back when we’ve lost it?
Bob went to a psychiatrist. “Doc,” he said, “I’ve got trouble. Every time I get into bed, I think there’s somebody under it. I get under the bed; I think there’s somebody on top of it. Top, under, top, gotta help me, I’m going crazy!” “Just put yourself in my hands for one year,” said the shrink. “Come to me three times a week, and I’ll cure your fears.” “How much do you charge?” “A hundred dollars per visit? I’ll sleep on it,” said Bob. Six months later the doctor met Bob on the street. “Why didn’t you ever come to see me again?” asked the psychiatrist. “For a hundred buck’s a visit? A friend cured me for free!” “Is that so! How?” “He told me to cut the legs off the bed!”
Actually, getting your “mind” or your “wisdom” back is a little more complicated than that …
Job, whom some think might have been an Edomite (Gen. 36:33), tells us about what wisdom is:
(Job 28:28 NKJV) And to man He said, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.'"
Solomon, the wisest man on earth, told us where you start to learn about wisdom:
(Prov 1:7 NKJV) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Paul tells us how people can lose their “wisdom”.
(Rom 1:18-32 NKJV) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, {19} because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. {20} For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, {21} because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. {22} Professing to be wise, they became fools, {23} and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man; and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. {24} Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, {25} who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. {26} For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. {27} Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. {28} And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; {29} being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, {30} backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, {31} undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; {32} who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
There’s a connection between wisdom and fearing God.  When you stop honoring God, you lose your real perspective in life.
Getting your “mind” back involves getting things right with God.
Paul talks about how things are made right with God, and again there’s a connection with what is “wise”.  He says that there is a difference between what the world considers “wise” and what God considers “wise”.
(1 Cor 1:18-29 NKJV) For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

To those without Jesus, they can’t see anything smart about Jesus dying on a cross.

{19} For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent." {20} Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? {21} For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

You can’t come to know God simply by being smart or “wise”. You only come to know God through something “foolish”, the cross.

{22} For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;

Gentiles look for what’s “smart”.

{23} but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, {24} but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. {25} Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

The cross is the “foolishness of God”, and it is far better for us than anything the smartest person could ever cook up. The cross is how we come to God, it’s through the cross that Jesus paid for our sins.

{26} For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. {27} But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; {28} and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, {29} that no flesh should glory in His presence.

God uses foolish things – the message of the cross and foolish people like us. Don’t be proud when God uses you. It’s only God at work in us.

Wisdom comes when we get things right with God.  Though the world considers Christianity and the cross “foolish”, in fact it is the very heart of the wisdom of God.

:8 Flee, turn back, dwell in the depths, O inhabitants of Dedan! For I will bring the calamity of Esau upon him, The time that I will punish him.

Dedan – Dedan was a city far to the south of Edom, in the northern part of the Arabian peninsula

:9 If grape-gatherers came to you, Would they not leave some gleaning grapes? If thieves by night, Would they not destroy until they have enough?

:10 But I have made Esau bare; I have uncovered his secret places, And he shall not be able to hide himself. His descendants are plundered, His brethren and his neighbors, And he is no more.

Whereas grape-gathers and thieves might leave something behind, the judgment that God was bringing would leave nothing behind.


:11 Leave your fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; And let your widows trust in Me."

:12 For thus says the LORD: "Behold, those whose judgment was not to drink of the cup have assuredly drunk. And are you the one who will altogether go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished, but you shall surely drink of it.

(Je 49:12 NLT) And this is what the Lord says: “If the innocent must suffer, how much more must you! You will not go unpunished! You must drink this cup of judgment!

:13 "For I have sworn by Myself," says the LORD, "that Bozrah shall become a desolation, a reproach, a waste, and a curse. And all its cities shall be perpetual wastes."

Bozrah – one of the capital cities of the Edomites.

:14 I have heard a message from the LORD, And an ambassador has been sent to the nations: "Gather together, come against her, And rise up to battle!

:15 "For indeed, I will make you small among nations, Despised among men.

By the time of Jesus, the Edomites were practically non-existent. The only known Edomites we know of were the Herods, who were called “Idumeans”.

:16 Your fierceness has deceived you, The pride of your heart, O you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, Who hold the height of the hill! Though you make your nest as high as the eagle, I will bring you down from there," says the LORD.

(Je 49:16 NLT) 16 You are proud that you inspire fear in others. And you are proud because you live in a rock fortress and hide high in the mountains. But don’t fool yourselves! Though you live among the peaks with the eagles, I will bring you crashing down,” says the Lord.

There were places in Edom where the nation had built cities high in the cliffs. The city of Petra (Sela) was like that.  They thought they were impervious to attack.  They could easily defend themselves against all attackers.

Ruins of altars at Petra

The “Treasury” at Petra (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)

Ruins at Petra


Deceived by Pride

Pride tells me that “I’m okay”.  Pride tells me I don’t need anyone’s help.
Jesus wrote a stern warning to the church at Laodicea:
(Rev 3:14-18 NKJV)  "And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, 'These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: {15} "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. {16} "So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. {17} "Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'; and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked; {18} "I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
The problem is that as strong as I may be, I always need help.  I need God’s help.  I need others in my life as well.
(1 Cor 12:21-22 NLT)  The eye can never say to the hand, "I don't need you." The head can't say to the feet, "I don't need you." {22} In fact, some of the parts that seem weakest and least important are really the most necessary.

Sometimes we can fool ourselves into thinking we’re better off without people in our lives, but we’re wrong.  God did not design us to be Lone Rangers.


As the Lone Ranger and Tonto were riding along towards the north, they spotted a war party of about 50 Apaches coming at them. They turned south, but another war party appeared. They turned east and met another party of 100 braves. They turned west as their last remaining hope and saw a party of 500. The Lone Ranger turned to his friend and said, “Well, faithful friend, this is the end, there’s not much we can do.” Tonto looked back at the Lone Ranger. “What you mean WE, white man?”

As crazy as it seems, we need each other.

:17 "Edom also shall be an astonishment; Everyone who goes by it will be astonished And will hiss at all its plagues.

:18 As in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah And their neighbors," says the LORD, "No one shall remain there, Nor shall a son of man dwell in it.

:19 "Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the floodplain of the Jordan Against the dwelling place of the strong; But I will suddenly make him run away from her. And who is a chosen man that I may appoint over her? For who is like Me? Who will arraign Me? And who is that shepherd Who will withstand Me?"

No one can stand against God.

:20 Therefore hear the counsel of the LORD that He has taken against Edom, And His purposes that He has proposed against the inhabitants of Teman: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out; Surely He shall make their dwelling places desolate with them.

It won’t take much to draw the people out in order to slaughter them.      

:21 The earth shakes at the noise of their fall; At the cry its noise is heard at the Red Sea.

The Red Sea is down on the border of Egypt.  It was a place where God brought judgment on a nation that had tried to harm God’s people.

:22 Behold, He shall come up and fly like the eagle, And spread His wings over Bozrah; The heart of the mighty men of Edom in that day shall be Like the heart of a woman in birth pangs.

:23-27 Damascus

:23 Against Damascus. "Hamath and Arpad are shamed, For they have heard bad news. They are fainthearted; There is trouble on the sea; It cannot be quiet.

Hamath, Arpad – cities north of Damascus.  All three were main cities of Syria.

:24 Damascus has grown feeble; She turns to flee, And fear has seized her. Anguish and sorrows have taken her like a woman in labor.

:25 Why is the city of praise not deserted, the city of My joy?

:26 Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, And all the men of war shall be cut off in that day," says the LORD of hosts.

:27 "I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, And it shall consume the palaces of Ben-Hadad."

Ben-hadad was the title of the king of Syria.  His name means “son of Hadad (a god of the Syrians)”

There would be judgment coming on the Syrians from Babylon.

:28-33 Kedar, Hazor

:28 Against Kedar and against the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon shall strike. Thus says the LORD: "Arise, go up to Kedar, And devastate the men of the East!

Kedar, Hazor – see maps

:29 Their tents and their flocks they shall take away. They shall take for themselves their curtains, All their vessels and their camels; And they shall cry out to them, 'Fear is on every side!'

:30 "Flee, get far away! Dwell in the depths, O inhabitants of Hazor!" says the LORD. "For Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has taken counsel against you, And has conceived a plan against you.

:31 "Arise, go up to the wealthy nation that dwells securely," says the LORD, "Which has neither gates nor bars, Dwelling alone.

:32 Their camels shall be for booty, And the multitude of their cattle for plunder. I will scatter to all winds those in the farthest corners, And I will bring their calamity from all its sides," says the LORD.

:33 "Hazor shall be a dwelling for jackals, a desolation forever; No one shall reside there, Nor son of man dwell in it."

They too had been trusting in their wealth. 

The people of Kedar and Hazor were nomadic people.  They never settled down in towns.  They didn’t even bother having walls or any defenses because they were so sure of their abilities.



We have an enemy that wants to destroy us.
(1 Pet 5:8 NKJV)  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
The devil has all sorts of ways to attack us:

There’s an old fable that says the Devil once held a sale and offered all the tools of his trade to anyone who would pay their price.  They were spread out on the table and each one labeled. Hatred, malice, envy, despair, sickness, sensuality—all the weapons that everyone knows so well.  But off to one side lay a harmless looking wood-shaped instrument marked “discouragement.”  It was old and worn looking but it was priced far above all the rest.  When asked the reason why, the Devil replied, “Because I can use this one so much more easily than the others.  No one knows that it belongs to me, so with it I can open doors that are tightly bolted against the others. Once I get inside I can use any tool that suits me best.”

We don’t always see the attacks as they come.

Doubled over and choking, they staggered to hospitals by the thousands, crying for help and refuge from a colorless cloud of gas that turned Bhopal, India into a tomb on a terrible December day in 1984.  "We have been working nonstop to treat the people and still they are coming," said one volunteer who tried to help doctors and nurses cope with streams of injured at five jammed hospitals.  Several thousand died in the accident at the Union Carbide plant, many never fully aware of what hit them.

No enemy is harder to fight than an invisible one.  Believers also face an unseen adversary, who leads the forces arrayed against us in spiritual conflict.  Let us be diligent to watch and pray.

If we have no defenses, we’re helpless against an invisible enemy.
In the ancient days, a city was protected by its walls and gates.  That’s what kept the enemy outside the city and enabled the city to be defended, yet Kedar and Hazor had no defenses.
(Eph 6:10-18 NKJV)  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. {11} Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. {12} For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. {13} Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. {14} Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, {15} and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; {16} above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. {17} And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; {18} praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints;
Most of the weapons Paul mentions are defensive weapons.
Keep your defenses in place.  Don’t think that the enemy doesn’t want to destroy you or make you ineffective.  Keep “watch”.

:34-39 Elam

:34 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against Elam, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying,

Elam is an area of modern Iran. They were famous around the world for their archery skills.

This prophecy was given around the year 597 BC.

:35 "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, The foremost of their might.

Nebuchadnezzar did defeat the Elamites in 596 BC, but it doesn’t seem that this prophecy is speaking of that event.

:36 Against Elam I will bring the four winds From the four quarters of heaven, And scatter them toward all those winds; There shall be no nations where the outcasts of Elam will not go.

This sounds like a defeat from nations around the world.

:37 For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies And before those who seek their life. I will bring disaster upon them, My fierce anger,' says the LORD; 'And I will send the sword after them Until I have consumed them.

:38 I will set My throne in Elam, And will destroy from there the king and the princes,' says the LORD.

I wonder if this is speaking of the Second Coming, when Jesus returns.  Perhaps He is the one who will deal with the people of Elam.

:39 'But it shall come to pass in the latter days: I will bring back the captives of Elam,' says the LORD."

Yet they will one day be restored.

Jesus is coming back.