that lions have chased away. First the king of Assyria devoured them.[a] Now, last of all, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has gnawed their bones.[b]
Jeremiah 50:17snThe king of Assyria devoured them. This refers to the devastation wrought on northern Israel by the kings of Assyria, beginning in 738 b.c. when Tiglath Pileser took Galilee and the Transjordanian territories and ending with the destruction and exile of the people of Samaria by Sargon in 722 b.c.
Jeremiah 50:17tn The verb used here only occurs this one time in the Hebrew Bible. It is a denominative from the Hebrew word for “bones” (עֶצֶם, ʿetsem). BDB 1126 s.v. עֶָצַם, denom Pi defines it as “break his bones.” HALOT 822 s.v. II עָצַם Pi defines it as “gnaw on his bones.”sn If the prophecies mentioned in Jer 51:59-64 refer to all that is contained in Jer 50-51 (as some believe), this would have referred to the disasters of 605 b.c. and 598 b.c., as well as all the harassment that Israel experienced from Babylon up until the fourth year of Zedekiah (594 b.c.). If, on the other hand, the prophecy related in 51:59-64 refers to something less than this final form, the destruction of 587/6 b.c. could be included in 50:17 as well.
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