Monday, September 28, 2015

Judgment on Syria, Kedar, and Elam

Jeremiah 49:23-39

“Concerning Damascus. Hamath is confounded, and Arpad: for they have heard evil tidings: they are fainthearted; there is sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet.  Damascus is waxed feeble, and turneth herself to flee, and fear hath seized on her: anguish and sorrows have taken her, as a woman in travail.  How is the city of praise not left, the city of my joy!  Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, and all the men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the LORD of hosts.  And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Benhadad.” (Jeremiah 49:23-27)

Damascus was the predominant Syrian city for many centuries, and Hamath and Arpad were lesser Syrian cities.  Throughout history there was conflict between Syria and Israel.   They had been conquered by the Assyrian Empire about a century before, but by Jeremiah’s time had been so completely absorbed that Syria md Damascus no longer held much power of the their own.  They offered little resistance when the Babylonians invaded.

“Concerning Kedar, and concerning the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon shall smite, thus saith the LORD; Arise ye, go up to Kedar, and spoil the men of the east.  Their tents and their flocks shall they take away: they shall take to themselves their curtains, and all their vessels, and their camels; and they shall cry unto them, Fear is on every side.  Flee, get you far off, dwell deep, O ye inhabitants of Hazor, saith the LORD; for Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath taken counsel against you, and hath conceived a purpose against you.

Arise, get you up unto the wealthy nation, that dwelleth without care, saith the LORD, which have neither gates nor bars, which dwell alone.  And their camels shall be a booty, and the multitude of their cattle a spoil: and I will scatter into all winds them that are in the utmost corners; and I will bring their calamity from all sides thereof, saith the LORD.  And Hazor shall be a dwelling for dragons, and a desolation for ever: there shall no man abide there, nor any son of man dwell in it.” (Jeremiah 49:28-33)

Kedar was the second son of Ishmael and  usually refers to an alliance of various Arabic tribes in northwestern Arabic area, south and east of Syria,  just south of the region usually considered Mesopotamia and extending far to the south.  They were largely nomadic peoples and were considerered men of war.  Thye lived in tents, and had huge herds of livestock.   Historians believe they were defeated by Nebuchadnezzar about 599 BC, confiscating much of their wealth and destroying much of their civilization. 

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