Jeremiah 49:1-39 (30:1-5 [30:17-21]; 29:8-23 [30:1-16]; 30:12-16 [30:29-33]; 30:6-11 [30:23-28]; 25:14-19 [LXX])

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The words of YHWH relate to the “sons of Ammon” or to the Ammonites. According to Genesis 19:30-38, they were the descendants of Abraham’s nephew Lot through the younger of his two daughters. (Genesis 19:30-38) YHWH is quoted as raising rhetorical questions. “Does Israel have no sons, and has he no heir? Why has Malcam [Milcom (Melchom, Melchol [LXX])] dispossessed Gad, and his people [the Ammonites] have settled” in the cities of Gad? “Israel,” the name given to Jacob after he wrestled with an angel (Genesis 32:24-28), did have “sons” or descendants and, therefore, also heirs. By Zilpah, the maid of his wife Leah, Jacob or Israel became father to Gad. (Genesis 30:9-11) The descendants of Gad, the Gadites, received an inheritance of land on the east side of the Jordan River. (Numbers 32:33-36) Centuries later, Assyrian monarch Tiglath-pileser III successfully warred against the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel, and the Gadites along with other Israelites were taken as captives into exile. Apparently at that time, the Ammonites took advantage of the circumstances and began to settle in former Gadite cities. For this reason, “Malcam” or Milcom, the chief god of the Ammonites, is referred to as having dispossessed Gad. (49:1 [30:1(17), LXX])

“Therefore (on account of what the Ammonites had done), YHWH declared, “Look, days are coming” when he would cause the “sons of Ammon” or the Ammonites to hear a “cry of battle” or the shouts of attacking warriors against their principal city Rabbah (identified with modern Amman, Jordan [Rabbath (LXX)]). The city would become a ruin, being transformed from a thriving city into a desolate mound. “Daughters” of Rabbah or nearby towns and villages would be burned. At a future time, the Israelites whom the Ammonites had dispossessed would dispossess them. In the second century BCE, Judas Maccabeus and the warriors under his command did triumph decisively over the Ammonites. (1 Maccabees 5:1-8) This may be considered as a fulfillment of the prophecy. (49:2 [30:2(18), LXX]; see the Notes section.)

Heshbon is commonly identified with Hisban, a site located over 15 miles (c. 25 kilometers) east of the point where the Jordan flows into the Dead Sea. In the time of Jeremiah, Heshbon was an Ammonite city. Its residents would be the ones who were called upon to wail, apparently over the calamity they would face during siege and conquest and the devastation of nearby Ai (a city that has not been positively identified with any known site). “Daughters” of Rabbah, probably meaning the people of nearby towns and villages, are told to “cry out,” evidently in distress. A number of modern translations, however, identify the “daughters” as residents of the city —“women of Rabbah” (GNT) and “people of Rabbah” (NLT). To express grief, the people were to gird the bare skin of their loins with sackcloth, a coarse cloth commonly made from goat’s hair. The people would lament. Possibly because of being unable to access protection within the walls of fortified cities, they would take refuge and move about in stone pens for sheep and goats. Their principal deity, Malcam or Milcom, would go into exile. This suggests that the victorious warriors would take images of Malcam with them to indicate that they had triumphed over the Ammonite god. Priests of Malcam would also go into exile, as would princes or high officials who were devotees of this god. (49:3 [30:3(19), LXX]; see the Notes section.)

Ammon is probably called “unfaithful” or “rebellious daughter” (“daughter of disgrace” or dishonorable daughter [LXX; or, according to another reading, “daughter of brazenness” or insolent daughter) because of the hostility the Ammonites displayed toward the Israelites to whom they were related through descent from Abraham’s nephew Lot. Apparently the Ammonites took great pride in the beauty of their valleys. This appears to be the basis for the Hebrew wording that may be rendered as a rhetorical question, “Why do you boast of your valleys, your flowing valley?” The valley through which the Jabbok River courses has steep sides and may be the “flowing valley” that formed a natural boundary for Ammonite territory. Besides taking pride in their valleys, the Ammonites trusted in their “treasures,” all the means at their disposal to make them feel secure. With self-assurance, Ammon is quoted as saying, “Who will come to me [or against me]?” (49:4 [30:4(20), LXX]; see the Notes section.)

The “Lord YHWH of hosts” (the God with hosts of angels in his service) determined to bring something frightful or terrifying upon Ammon from “all the ones round about” or from every direction. An attack would be coming against the Ammonites, forcing the warriors and the people to scatter as best they could in every available direction (literally, every “man before his face”). There would be no recovery, for no one would gather those who were fleeing. (49:5 [30:5(21), LXX])

At a later time, YHWH purposed to restore the “captivity of the sons of Ammon” (or the Ammonite captives). This provided the Ammonites a basis for hope. (49:6; see the Notes section.)

“YHWH of hosts” (the God with hosts of angels in his service) made known his judgment against Edom (Idumea [LXX]). As descendants of Edom or Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, the Edomites were more closely related to the Israelites than any other people. Teman (Thaiman [LXX]), either a city or a district in the land of Edom, was known for its sages. Therefore, YHWH is quoted as asking, “Is there no more wisdom in Teman? Has counsel perished from those having insight? Has their wisdom decayed [sarách]?” In this context, wisdom probably relates to the insight needed to develop a successful plan to counter the imminent military threat from King Nebuchadnezzar and his troops. Although there were wise men in Teman, they would not be able to provide the essential counsel to deal with the military invasion. Their wisdom would be as useless as a putrefied substance. The Hebrew word sarách can also have other meanings, and this is reflected in the renderings of modern translations. “Has their wisdom been dispersed abroad?” (REB) “Has all their wisdom disappeared?” (TEV) “Has their wisdom gone stale?” (Tanakh [JPS, 1985 edition]) According to the Septugaint, “their wisdom has gone away.” (49:7 [29:8(30:1), LXX])

With no possibility of launching a successful defense, the only option for the Edomites was to flee and not to resist. The directive for those residing in Dedan to “go deep to dwell” may mean that they should try to find refuge in caves and other hidden or remote places. Although the Dedanites were not residents of Edom, they appear to have occupied a region nearby (Ezekiel 25:13) and would have been affected by a military campaign against Edom. At the time YHWH would be “visiting” or turning his attention to “Esau” or Edom to render judgment, he would bring calamity upon him (the Edomites). (49:8 [29:9(30:2), LXX]; see the Notes section.)

Persons who gathered grapes would leave gleanings behind. Thieves coming into a place by night would only steal what they wanted, leaving other items untouched. In the process of stealing under the cover of darkness, they would cause ruin but not destroy everything. Translations vary in conveying this basic thought as it relates to Edom. “If grape pickers came to you, would they not leave a few grapes? If thieves came during the night, would they not steal only as much as they wanted?” (NIV) “If vintagers were to come upon you, would they leave no gleanings? Even thieves in the night would destroy only for their needs!” (Tanakh [JPS, 1985 edition]) “When men pick grapes, they leave a few on the vines, and when robbers come at night, they take only what they want.” (TEV) “Those who harvest grapes always leave a few for the poor. If thieves came at night, they would not take everything.” (NLT) The Septuagint describes the action as being taken against Edom. The grape gatherer would not leave gleanings, and those coming would place their hands, evidently to seize, like thieves. (49:9 [29:10(30:3), LXX]; also see Obadiah 5.)

Unlike grape gatherers or thieves, YHWH determined to leave nothing behind for Esau or Edom but would strip him bare, uncovering all of his “hiding places.” Any possibility of concealment would prove to be nonexistent. Edom’s “seed” or offspring, brothers, and neighbors would perish as victims of war, and Edom would cease to exist as a nation. According to the Septuagint, the Edomites perished, each one “by the hand of his brother and his neighbor.” (49:10 [29:11(30:4), LXX]; see also Obadiah 6.)

The words about leaving the orphans could be understood to mean that those who perished would leave orphans behind. YHWH’s compassionate promise was that he would keep these orphans alive, caring for them. Also the widows could trust in YHWH for his care. A number of modern translations are more specific in conveying this significance than is the Hebrew text. “But I can be trusted to care for your orphans and widows.” (CEV) “But I will protect the orphans who remain among you. Your widows, too, can depend on me for help.” (NLT) “Leave your orphans with me, and I will take care of them. Your widows can depend on me.” (TEV) “Leave your orphans with me, I will rear them; let your widows rely on me!” (Tanakh [JPS, 1985 edition]) “Leave your orphans, I shall support them, and let your widows rely on me!” (NJB) The Septuagint rendering does not reflect the same compassionate spirit. It indicates that it would not be possible for the orphan to be left so as to be able to live. God is then quoted as saying, “And I will live, and widows rely on me.” (49:11 [29:12(30:5), LXX])

The declaration of YHWH is introduced with the word “look,” focusing attention on the judgment to be expressed against the Edomites. Formerly, it had not been customary for them to drink from the cup that signified bitter defeat, but this would become a certainty. In response to the rhetorical question about whether Edom would be left unpunished, YHWH’s answer was, “You will not go unpunished, for you will drink [from the cup]” (literally, “to drink, you will drink”). (49:12 [29:13(30:6), LXX])

By his own self, YHWH “swore” or solemnly declared that Bozrah (a major Edomite city that has been linked to Buseirah in southern Jordan) would become a “horror, a reproach, a waste, and a curse.” The fate of Bozrah would give rise to a dreadful sense of horror among those who would come to know about it. The people of Bozrah would become an object of reproach or mockery on account of what had befallen them. The city would be desolated, and the calamity to come upon it would be so great that people would be referring to it when expressing a malediction or a curse, and survivors from Bozrah would have curses directed against them. The Septuagint rendering could be understood to indicate that the nation in the midst of Idumea would become “untrodden” (like a devastated place through which no one traveled) “and a reproach and a curse.” “All her cities,” the towns and villages near Bozrah, would become ruins for all time to come. (49:13 [29:14(30:7), LXX])

Apparently Jeremiah heard a report or a message from YHWH and about a messenger being sent out among the nations to proclaim to them, “Gather yourselves together, and come against [Edom], and rise up for battle.” According to the Septuagint, the Lord is the one who “sent messengers to the nations.” Warriors from various nations were to gather themselves to undertake a military campaign against Edom. (49:14 [29:15(30:8), LXX]; also see verse 1 of Obadiah.)

As a nation, the Edomites considered themselves secure, but YHWH would make Edom “small,” insignificant, weak or helpless among the “nations” that would war against it. To foreign invaders, Edom amounted to nothing. It would be “despised” by or among them (literally, “among [or by] man” [a collective singular]; “among men” [LXX]), looked upon contemptuously as something to be seized and despoiled. (49:15 [29:16(30:9), LXX]; also see verse 2 of Obadiah.)

The initial phrase regarding Edom could be literally rendered, “The shuddering you effected has deceived you, the insolence of your heart.” This could mean that the Edomites, in their seemingly secure position and their warring, caused shuddering or fear among other peoples or that their extreme arrogance caused people to shudder. This deceived the Edomites into thinking that no one could topple them from their secure position. In their “heart” or their inmost selves, they haughtily imagined that no one could conquer them and devastate their land. They regarded the natural barriers of their mountainous territory as furnishing sure protection. The Edomites had their residence in a “crag,” providing them with a strategic advantage if faced with the threat of an enemy invasion. They held or occupied the “height of the hill.” “Like an eagle,” the Edomites had built their “nest” or abode high above the land below, but YHWH determined to bring them down from the height. (Jeremiah 49:16 [29:17(30:10), LXX]; also see the Notes section and verses 3 and 4 of Obadiah.)

Edom would become a “horror,” with all persons passing by being horrified when seeing the devastation. They would “hiss” in expression of scorn and shock on account of all the “blows” or disasters that had come upon Edom. According to the Septuagint, “Idumea” would become “untrodden,” with no one traveling through the devastated land. (49:17 [29:18(30:11), LXX])

YHWH declared that Edom would experience an overthrow like that of Sodom, Gomorrah, and neighboring cities (Admah and Zeboiim [Deuteronomy 29:23]). No man would live in the desolated land, and no person [literally, “son of man”] would spend time there as a temporary resident. (49:18 [29:19(30:12), LXX])

The initial “look” focuses attention on what YHWH was about to do. He represented himself as coming up “like a lion from the pride of the Jordan [the dense thickets of thorns, thistles, bushes, vines, poplars, willows, and other vegetation along the banks of the river] to a perennial pasture,” the land of Edom that is here apparently being likened to a lush pasture that continues to be green throughout the year. As a lion would come out of the thickets of the Jordan to seize prey from the flock grazing in the pasture, YHWH, by means of the agency of his choosing, would launch an attack against Edom. The one whom he would cause to run away could be understood to be the shepherd, with the flock being left defenseless. It may be that, in place of the shepherd who was chased away, YHWH would appoint a chosen man. There is also a possibility that the Hebrew wording could be understood as a rhetorical question, with the answer being that there would be no replacement for the shepherd who was chased away. Modern translations vary considerably in their interpretive renderings, including ones that are based on emendations. “In a moment I shall chase the shepherd away and round up the choicest of the rams.” (REB) “I will come and make the Edomites run away suddenly from their country. Then the leader I choose will rule the nation.” (TEV) “I will chase Edom from its land, and I will appoint the leader of my choice.” (NLT) “In a flash, I shall make them run away, and there appoint someone I shall choose.” (NJB) “I will chase Edom from its land in an instant. Who is the chosen one I will appoint for this?” (NIV) “I will suddenly chase Edom away from it [the perennial pasture]; and I will appoint over it whomever I choose.” (NRSV) “It shall be as when a lion comes up out of the jungle of the Jordan against a secure pasture: in a moment I can harry him out of it and appoint over it anyone I choose.” A footnote says, “Emendation yields “he can harry them [i.e., the sheep] out of it; and what champion could one place in charge of them?” (Tanakh [JPS, 1985 edition]) The Hebrew text continues with rhetorical questions. “For who is like me? Who will summon me? And what shepherd can stand before my face [or before me]?” There was no one like YHWH (the God with no equal), no one who could summon him for a confrontation, and no shepherd or ruler who could take his stand against him in defense of his flock or his subjects. (49:19 [29:20(30:13), LXX]; see the Notes section.)

The imperative was to “hear the counsel [or determination] of YHWH” that he had “counseled” or devised “against Edom” (Idumea [LXX]) and his “thoughts” or purposes that he had “thought” or purposed “against the inhabitants of Teman” (either a city or region in Edomite territory [Thaiman (LXX)]) “Little ones [least ones (LXX)] of the flock” would be “dragged” or “swept” (LXX) away. These “little ones” may be understood to be children. This significance is explicit in a number of modern translations. “Even the little children will be dragged off like sheep.” (NLT) “Even their children will be dragged off.” (TEV) “Your children will be dragged off.” It appears that the “pasture” or land where these “little ones” had their place of dwelling is personified and depicted as being appalled or horrified over them or their fate. According to the Septuagint, the abode of the least ones would be made “untrodden” (an uninhabited place through which no one would travel). Modern translations vary in the meaning they convey. “Their pasture will be aghast at their fate.” (REB) “Their pasture will be aghast because of them.” (NAB, revised edition) “He will completely destroy their pasture because of them.” (NIV) “Their pastures will certainly be sacked before their eyes!” (NJB) “Everyone will be horrified.” (TEV) “Their homes will be destroyed.” (NLT) (49:20 [29:21(30:14), LXX])

The “sound of their fall” or the downfall of the Edomites, including their youngsters, is portrayed as being so great as to make the “earth” or land “quake” (“the earth feared” [LXX text of Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sianiticus]), and the sound of an outcry of distress over the calamity being so loud as to be heard at the Red Sea (yam-suph [sea of reeds]; “in [at] the sea” [LXX] or, according to another reading, the “cry of the sea was not heard”). In this context, the “Red Sea or the “sea of reeds” could refer to the Gulf of ‘Aqaba. (49:21 [29:22(30:15), LXX])

The initial “look” directs attention to the coming attack on the Edomites and its effect on the defenders. An enemy military force is likened to an eagle that ascends, flies, and spreads its wings, with Bozrah (a major Edomite city that has been linked to Buseirah in southern Jordan) being the prey or the object of attack. Faced with the attack “in that day” or at that time, the “mighty men” or warriors of Edom would lose courage. This is compared to the transformation of their “heart” to that of a “woman in labor.” The Septuagint does not mention Bozrah but indicates that the enemy force would “see like an eagle” and stretch out its wings “over the strongholds” of Edom. (49:22 [29:23(30:16), LXX])

The message relates to Damascus, the capital of Syria and apparently applies to the entire region. Hamath (Hemath [LXX]) was a city situated on the Orontes River and about 50 miles (c. 80 kilometers) east of the Mediterranean coast. Arpad (Arphad [LXX]) is believed to have been the site of Tell Rif‘at (Tell Erfad), situated approximately 100 miles (c. 160 kilometers) north of Hamath. Both locations were a considerable distance north of Damascus, the direction from which enemy troops would be coming against Damascus. The military campaign of King Nebuchadnezzar would have meant devastation for Arpad and Hamath, resulting in shame or humiliation for their inhabitants. The “bad report” that they heard probably pointed to their coming ruin. This “report” caused them to “melt” or to lose strength and to be reduced to a state of complete helplessness. They would be gripped with anxiety, a state comparable to being tossed about in a turbulent sea that “cannot be quiet” or calm. The Septuagint indicates that Hemath and Arphad would be beside themselves and infuriated and would “by no means” be able to rest. (49:23 [30:12(29), LXX]; see the Notes section.)

Probably in view of the military threat, Damascus (the people, including the defenders of the city) became feeble or plunged into a state of fear and helplessness. The city is represented as turning to flee and being seized with panic. This could indicate that the panic was so overwhelming as to hinder the people from fleeing. “Distress and pains” took hold of Damascus (or the people), like those of a “woman in labor.” According to the Septuagint, “Damascus became enfeebled; she turned to flight. Trembling seized her.” (49:24 [30:13(30), LXX])

The Hebrew exclamation may be literally rendered, “How not forsaken [is] a city of praise, a town of my rejoicing [a village they loved (LXX)]!” In this context, the Hebrew word for “not (lo’) may not have the usual significance but may function much like the word “indeed.” The “city of praise” designates Damascus, a city situated in an area of fertile soil that supported horticulture and viticulture and in a region of good pastures for sheep and goats. This made the city a place deserving of praise. The reference to “my rejoicing” may indicate that the exclamation is the lament of an inhabitant of Damascus, a person who found the city to be a delightful place of residence. (49:25 [30:14(31), LXX])

Before the military invaders, young men of Damascus would fall in the city squares, and “all the men of war” would be silenced or would perish (“fall” [LXX]) “in that day” or at that time. This was certain to occur, for “YHWH of hosts” (the God with hosts of angels in his service [the “Lord”]) had made this declaration. (49:26 [30:15(32), LXX])

YHWH is quoted as saying that he would set fire “in the wall of Damascus,” and this fire would consume the “strongholds of Ben-hadad [son of Hader (LXX)].” This would happen through the instrument of YHWH’s choosing. The designation “strongholds of Ben-hadad” probably applies to the palace complex of Ben-hadad, the king whom Hazael killed and then succeeded as monarch. (49:27 [30:16(33), LXX]; 2 Kings 8:14, 15)

“Kedar” was the name of an Arab tribe that descended from Ishmael’s son Kedar. (Genesis 25:13-15) The people of this Arab tribe lived in the Syro-Arabian desert to the east of Edom and in the northwest part of the Arabian Peninsula. Also in this general region were to be found the “kingdoms of Hazor,” and “Hazor” apparently was the name of the specific region. The Septuagint translator seemingly had difficulty with the expression “kingdoms of Hazor” and rendered the Hebrew text as “Kedar, queen of the court,” thus representing “Kedar” as an Arabian queen. According to the introductory sentence, “Nebuchadrezzar [Nebuchadnezzar (Nabouchodonosor [LXX])] the king of Babylon” had already struck down the Arab peoples, but the words that follow are a directive to him and his military force to attack. YHWH is quoted as commanding Nebuchadnezzar and his warriors to “rise, go up against Kedar, and destroy the sons [or people] of the East,” the Arab tribes, including Kedar. In the Septuagint, the Hebrew word for “east” is transliterated as “Kedem.” In his Against Apion (I, 19), the first-century Jewish historian Josephus quoted the Babylonian historian Berosus as saying that Nebuchadnezzar conquered Arabia, which would have included Kedar and the kingdoms of Hazor. (49:28 [30:6(23), LXX])

King Nebuchadnezzar and his military force would seize everything from the tent-dwelling Arab tribes — their tents, flocks, tent cloths or hangings (garments [LXX]), camels and all their vessels or all their other possessions. Adding to the horrific slaughter and plunder, the attacking invaders would cry out to the people, “Terror [is] all around!” According to the Septuagint, the warriors would call “destruction upon them all around.” (49:29 [30:7(24), LXX])

The directive from YHWH to the Arab tribes in the region of Hazor was for them to flee, wandering about far from their former territory (literally, “wander exceedingly” [“flee exceedingly” or very much (LXX)]) They were to “go deep,” which could mean to seek refuge in caves and in other concealed or remote places. The Septuagint says, “Go deep into sitting, [you the ones] sitting down in the court.” This could mean that they would need to give up their sitting in the court and “go deep” in sitting or try to escape to another place to be safe. These measures would be required because “Nebuchadrezzar [Nebuchadnezzar] the king of Babylon” had “counseled counsel” or devised a plan against them and “purposed a purpose” against them. With his troops, he planned to attack, conquer, and plunder. (49:30 [30:8(25), LXX])

YHWH’s command to the Nebuchadnezzar and his troops was to “rise and go up against a nation at ease, [one] dwelling in security.” The people who would be the object of attack enjoyed a state of peace. They were undisturbed and secure. As tent dwellers, the people had “no doors” and “no bars” to secure doors or gates. Not confined within the walls of cities, they resided solitary in the region of their nomadic existence. (49:31 [30:9(26), LXX])

YHWH declared that their camels would be plundered, and their livestock seized as booty. According to the Septuagint, the multitude of their cattle would be “for destruction.” By means of Nebuchadnezzar and his troops, YHWH determined to “scatter them to all the winds” (or in every direction as if winnowing [“winnow” them “with every wind” (LXX)]). The Arab people are described as having the hair of the “corners” or temples clipped. Possibly this means that the men cut off the hair between the ear and the eye. In the Septuagint, the corresponding phrase is, “being shaved before their face” (or before them). The Septuagint then concludes with the thought that God would effect “their rout from every side.” (49:32 [30:10(27), LXX])

The region of Hazor would become a desolated place, where jackals would have their haunt. It would remain a waste for all time to come. According to the Septuagint, the “court” would become a “haunt of sparrows” and remain “untrodden” (with no one passing through) forever. No longer would anyone live in the region of Hazor, and no man (literally, “son of man”) would reside there temporarily. (49:33 [30:11(28), LXX])

At the start of the rule of Zedekiah or early in his reign (no more than about eleven years before the destruction of Jerusalem [2 Kings24:18]), the “word of YHWH” came to “Jeremiah the prophet about Elam” (an ancient kingdom that was located in what is today southwestern Iran). The introductory words in the Septuagint are, “What Jeremiah [Ieremias] prophesied against the nations of Ailam [Elam].” (49:34 [25:14, LXX])

“YHWH of hosts” (the God with hosts of angels in his service [the “Lord” (LXX)]) is quoted as saying, “Look, I am breaking the bow of Elam, the beginning of their might.” (“Let the bow of Ailam be broken, the beginning of their lordship [or exercise of power].” [LXX]) The breaking of the bow indicates that the Elamites would be deprived of military strength and reduced to a state of defenselessness. As the “beginning of their might,” the bow in the hands of their expert archers apparently was the main source of their military power. (49:35 [25:15, LXX])

YHWH purposed to bring upon Elam “four winds from the four ends [or quarters] of the heavens” and “scatter” the Elamites “to all these winds” or in all these directions. The “winds” apparently represented the enemy troops that would come from all directions against Elam, triumphing over the Elamites and causing the survivors to be dispersed. There would be no nation in the region to which those driven out of Elam would not come. (49:36 [25:16, LXX])

YHWH determined to “shatter” or terrify the Elamites “before their enemies and before those seeking their soul” (or life). By means of enemy military forces, he would bring “evil” or calamity upon them, causing them to experience his burning or fierce anger. The word of YHWH continued, “And I will send the sword [my sword (LXX)] after them until I have consumed them.” There would be no escape for the Elamites from the horrors of war. (49:37 [25:17, LXX])

YHWH apparently is quoted as representing himself as having gained the victory over the Elamites and setting his “throne in Elam” to render judgment. That judgment would then be expressed against the Elamite king and the princes, and it would mean destruction for them. According to the Septuagint rendering, the judgment is less severe. God is represented as saying that he would send away princes and nobles. (49:38 [25:18, LXX])

“In the end of the days” or at a future time, YHWH promised to gather the “captivity of Elam” or to restore captive Elamites (the “fortunes of Elam,” according to numerous translations). Although the judgment upon Elam would be severe, the Elamites were not left without hope. (49:39 [25:19, LXX])


In verse 2(18) of chapter 30, the Septuagint does not mention “daughters” or villages and towns. It refers to the burning of “altars” and indicates that Israel would inherit the rule over Ammon.

The Septuagint, in verse 3(19) of chapter 30 does not mention anything about stone pens, but the “daughers of Rabbath” were to “put on sackcloth and have a seizure and lament [beat themselves upon the chest] over Melchom, for he will go into exile.” According to another reading, the “daughters of Rabbath” were to “put on sackcloth and lament, for Melchol [Melchom] will go into exile.”

The Septuagint rendering of the initial phrase in verse 4(20) of chapter 30 differs somewhat from the reading of the Hebrew text. “Why will you rejoice in the plains of Enakim, daughter of disgrace [or daughter of brazenness] …?”

The wording of verse 6 is not included in the Septuagint.

In the Septuagint, with seeming reference to the sages of Thaiman (Teman), the initial phrase in verse 9 of chapter 29 (or according to another arrangement, verse 2 of chapter 30) is, “their place was deceived.”

In the first part of verse 17 of chapter 29 (or according to another arrangement, verse 10 of chapter 30), the Septuagint rendering is obscure and differs from the Hebrew text. “Your amusement [paignía] has taken you by the hand; the brazenness of your heart broke up fissures of rocks. It seized the strength of a high hill.” Certain lexicographers have concluded that, in this context, the word paignía could mean “insolence.”

The Septuagint (29:20 or, according to another arrangement, 30:13) renders the Hebrew text of verse 19 somewhat differently. “Look, as a lion from the midst of the Jordan he will come up to the place of Aitham, for quickly I will drive them [the Edomites] from her [Idumea (Edom)]. And appoint the young men over [or against] her. For who is like me? And who will resist me? And who is this shepherd that will stand against my face [against me]?” The Septuagint translator apparently read the Hebrew adjective for “perennial” as a place name, “Aitham.”

The Hebrew text of verse 23 is obscure, and this has resulted in various renderings in modern translations. “Hamath and Arpad are shamed, for they have heard bad news. They are convulsed with anxiety like the sea that cannot be calmed.” (NJB) “The towns of Hamath and Arpad are struck with fear, for they have heard the news of their destruction. Their hearts are troubled like a wild sea in a raging storm.” (NLT) “The people in the cities of Hamath and Arpad are worried and troubled because they have heard bad news. Anxiety rolls over them like a sea, and they cannot rest.” (TEV) “Hamath and Arpad are shamed, for they have heard bad news; anxious, they surge like the sea which cannot calm down.” (NAB, revised edition) “Hamath and Arpad are confounded, for they have heard bad news; they melt in fear, they are troubled like the sea that cannot be quiet.” (NRSV) “Hamath and Arpad are shamed, for they have heard bad news. They shake with anxiety, like the sea which cannot rest.” (Tanakh [JPS, 1985 edition]) “Hamath and Arpad are covered with confusion, for they have heard news of disaster; they are tossed up and down in anxiety like the unresting sea.” (REB) “The towns of Hamath and Arpad have heard your bad news. They have lost hope, and worries roll over them like ocean waves.” (CEV) The phrase “by no means” preserves the emphatic sense of the two words for “not” in the Septuagint text (30:12[29]).