Jeremiah 49:16

16 As to the terror you cause,[a] your presumptuous heart has deceived you. You who live in the clefts of the rock,[b] you who occupy the mountain summit, though you elevate your nest like the eagle, even from there I will bring you down. [This is] the Lord's declaration.[c]

Jeremiah 49:16 Meaning and Commentary

Jeremiah 49:16

Thy terribleness hath deceived thee, [and] the pride of thine
Some render it, "thine idol" F15; see ( 1 Kings 15:13 ) ; which, being terrible to them, they thought it might be so to others, and protect them. In the place referred to the word "miphlezeth" is used, and comes from the same root with this, which signifies to be terrible and formidable, and cause to tremble, as the idols of the Gentiles were to their worshippers, and others. The Vulgate Latin version of the above place interprets it of Priapus, which was an idol set up in gardens to frighten birds and thieves from coming thither F16. So Kimchi observes, that some interpret it here of idolatrous worship or superstition; but it is to be understood either of the roughness and terribleness of their country, abounding with rocks and mountains, which made it inaccessible; or rather of that terror which they struck into their neighbouring nations, by their wealth and riches, their power and strength, their courage and valour, and skill in military affairs; and having such strong cities, fortresses, and fastnesses, natural and artificial, of which they were proud; and, on account of all which, fancied that none would dare to invade them; or, if they did, their attempts would be fruitless; and this deceived them, making them careless and secure: O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock;
the land of Idumea being very hilly and rocky. Jerom F17 says, who lived near it, that all the southern part of Idumea, from Eleutheropolis to Petra and Hailah, had their habitations in caves cut out of rocks: that holdest the height of the hill;
that dwelt on the tops of hills and mountains, and in towers and fortified places built upon them, as Kimchi and Ben Melech; who think respect is had particularly to Mount Seir. The Targum is,

``for thou art like to an eagle that dwells in the clefts of the rock, whose high habitation is inn strong place;''
hence it follows: though thou shouldest make thy nest as high as the eagle, I will bring
thee down from thence, saith the Lord;
signifying, though they might think themselves as safe and as much out of the reach of men as an eagle's nest, and were as high and as secure in their own imaginations; yet they should be come at by their enemies, be fetched out of their strong holds, and reduced to the lowest and most miserable state and condition; of which they might be assured, since the Lord had spoken it, who would do it by the hand of the Chaldeans. The allusion to the eagle is very pertinent to illustrate the self-exaltation and self-security of the Edomites; the eagle being a bird that flies higher than any other, as Kimchi on the place observes, even up to the clouds, and out of sight; hence Homer F18 calls it the high flying eagle; and which builds its nest in high places, in the tops of rocks; so Aristotle F19 says, they make their nests, not in plains, but in high places, especially in cragged rocks; and Pliny F20 relates that they build their nests in rocks; and he also says F21 of the vultures, who seem to be meant by the eagles in ( Matthew 24:28 ) ; that they build their nests in the highest rocks, and which no man can reach.

F15 (Ktulpt) "simulacrum tuum", Pagninus, Vatablus; "idolum", Grotius. So R. Sol. Urbin Ohel Moed, fol. 12. 1.
F16 "--------Deus, inde ego furum, aviumque Maxima formido." Horat. Sermon. l. 1. Satyr. 8. ver. 3, 4. "Et custos furum atque avium cum falce saligna Hellespontiaci servet tutela Priapi". Virgil. Georgic. l. 4. ver. 110, 111.
F17 Comment. in Obad. fol. 52. C.
F18 Iliad. 22. v. 308.
F19 De Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 32.
F20 Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 3.
F21 Ibid. c. 6.

Jeremiah 49:16 In-Context

14 I have heard a message from the Lord; an envoy has been sent among the nations: Assemble yourselves to come against her. Rise up for war!
15 Look, I will certainly make you insignificant among the nations, despised among humanity.
16 As to the terror you cause, your presumptuous heart has deceived you. You who live in the clefts of the rock, you who occupy the mountain summit, though you elevate your nest like the eagle, even from there I will bring you down. [This is] the Lord's declaration.
17 "Edom will become a desolation. Everyone who passes by her will be horrified and scoff because of all her wounds.
18 As when Sodom and Gomorrah were overthrown along with their neighbors," says the Lord, "no one will live there; no human being will even stay in it as a resident alien.

Footnotes 3

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