From Jeremiah 49-50
The LORD proclaims judgment on the people of Ammon. He asks if Israel has any sons or heirs to continue the line of the people of God. Ammon and their god Molech will be punished. But the LORD promises restoration. In the gospel we see Jesus drawing all these threads together.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
Chapters 47 through to 51 relate a series of judgments against the nations surrounding Israel. In today’s passage we look at the judgment Jeremiah proclaims against Ammon.
The Ammonites were “a Semitic people who occupied a fertile area northeast of Moab in Transjordan between the Arnon and Jabbok rivers and extending eastward to the Syrian desert. The chief city was Rabbah (Rabbathammon), modern Amman, capital of Jordan.” (Elwell, W.A. & Beitzel, B.J., 1988. Baker encyclopedia of the Bible, p.71.)
49 Concerning the Ammonites. Thus says the LORD:
“Has Israel no sons? Has he no heir? Why then has Milcom dispossessed Gad, and his people settled in its cities? (Jer 49.1)
The LORD asks if Israel has no sons or heirs. This is the state of affairs in Gad, where the Ammonites have occupied the land.
Will there be a new generation of God’s people to come? Who will inherit the kingdom?
‘Milcom’ otherwise known as Molech was the god of the Ammonites. The Ammorites believed their god had taken the land for them. Molech is known in particular for the sacrifice of infants.
2 Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will cause the battle cry to be heard against Rabbah of the Ammonites; it shall become a desolate mound, and its villages shall be burned with fire; then Israel shall dispossess those who dispossessed him, says the LORD.
3 “Wail, O Heshbon, for Ai is laid waste! Cry out, O daughters of Rabbah! Put on sackcloth, lament, and run to and fro among the hedges!
For Milcom shall go into exile, with his priests and his officials. (Jer 49.2-3)
The LORD predicts their will be a great reversal between Ammon and Israel. There will be a time when Israel will dispossess Ammon and take back their land. Their god will be sent into exile with their people.
4 Why do you boast of your valleys, O faithless daughter, who trusted in her treasures, saying, ‘Who will come against me?’
5 Behold, I will bring terror upon you, declares the Lord GOD of hosts, from all who are around you, and you shall be driven out, every man straight before him, with none to gather the fugitives. (Jer 49.4-5)
Ammon’s trust in their wealth, their valleys and their god. They will be put to shame. They will not be protected. The LORD will bring terror down on them.
6 “But afterward I will restore the fortunes of the Ammonites, declares the LORD.” (Jer 49.6)
But this is not the end. The LORD promises to restore them. When this will happen or how remains unsaid.
“The Ammonites were, not merely as regards descent, but also as to their character and their relation to Israel, the twin-people with the Moabites. From them, too, as well as from the Moabites, Sihon the king of the Ammonites had wrenched a portion of their territory, which the Israelites received for a possession after Sihon had been subdued. This territory they sought every opportunity of retaking from the Israelites, whom they as constantly endeavoured to humiliate when they could. Besides their connection with Eglon the Moabite king (Judg. 3:13), they oppressed Israel during the period of the judges for eighteen years, not only in Gilead, but also on this side of Jordan, since they fought against Ephraim, Benjamin, and Judah (Judg. 10:7ff., 11:12–32).” (Keil, C.F. & Delitzsch, F., 1996. Commentary on the Old Testament, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.)
In the beginning of our passage the LORD asks, ‘Has Israel no sons? Has he no heir?’. He raises the possibility God’s people could die out with no generations to follow.
In the gospel, John the baptist says otherwise. The LORD has power to raise up his children from the most unlikely of places.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Lk 3.7-10)
John of course refers in particular to the Gentile nations who will put their trust in Jesus. In this way we see God being faithful to his promise to restore the Ammonites. When they put their faith in Jesus.
Have you put your faith in Jesus? Can you see how God has been faithful to his promise through Jesus?
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