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THE word that the Lord hath spoken against Babylon, and against the land of the Chaldeans in the hand of Jeremias the prophet.

Ver. 1.  Prophet.  He had spoken against them in the fourth year of Joachim, and now is more explicit in the fourth of Sedecias, (C. li. 60.) sending his predictions to be read, and then thrown into the Euphrates.  The fall of Babylon was gradual.  It was in consequence of her pride and cruelty, v. 11, 17, 23, 29.  Is. xlvii. 6.  C.

 

--- It had shewn the greatest enmity to the Jews, and was at last overthrown by the Medes and Persians.  W.




2 Declare ye among the nations, and publish it, lift up a standard: proclaim, and conceal it not: say: Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is overthrown, their graven things are confounded, their idols are overthrown.

Ver. 2.  Declare.  This is grand.  Let all the captives publish these tidings.  C.

 

--- Bel, &c.  Bel and Merodach were worshipped for gods by the men of Babylon.  Ch.

 

--- Merodach might be an ancient king deified.  C.

 

--- These greatest of their idols could neither save the people nor themselves.  W.




3 For a nation is come up against her out of the north, which shall make her land desolate: and there shall be none to dwell therein, from man even to beast:: yea they are removed, and gone away.

Ver. 3.  A nation, &c. viz. the Medes, (Ch.) under Darius, (Dan. v. 31.  Theod.  Grot.) or rather under Cyrus, who came upon Babylon from the north, after conquering Asia; though he was born to the east of that city.  Is. lxi. 2. 25.  He was a Mede by his mother, and ruler of that nation.  He gave liberty to the Jews, as the prophet inculcates ten times.

 

--- Desolate.  Herodotus. Xenophon, &c. say not that Cyrus demolished any part of the city; but Berosus informs us that he took it without opposition, and levelled the outer walls.  Hystaspes did more damage.  Herod. iii. 150.


4 In those days, and at that time, saith the Lord, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Juda together: going and weeping they shall make haste, and shall seek the Lord their God.

Ver. 4.  Weeping for joy and compunction.  Israel returns, as well as Juda.  C.

 

--- Thus Joseph wept when he beheld his brethren.  Gen. xlii. 24.  W.




5 They shall ask the way to Sion, their faces are hitherward. They shall come, and shall be joined to the Lord by an everlasting covenant, which shall never be forgotten.

Ver. 5.  Covenant.  They renewed the old one under Nehemias, and never publicly broke it, as they had done.  Yet the covenant of Christ is more properly meant.




6 My people have been a lost flock, their shepherds have caused them to go astray, and have made them wander in the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place.

Ver. 6.  Shepherds; kings, (C.) and false prophets.  H.


7 All that found them, have devoured them: and their enemies said: We have not sinned in so doing: because they have sinned against the Lord the beauty of justice, and against the Lord the hope of their fathers.

Ver. 7.  Not sinned: the Jews were such notorious offenders.  But in what had they injured the Chaldees?

 

--- Beauty.  Heb. "dwelling or fold."


8 Remove out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth out of the land of the Chaldeans: and be ye as kids at the head of the flock.

Ver. 8.  Kids; rams.  This comparison was not ignoble.  Go boldly out of the city, before it be besieged.




9 For behold I raise up, and will bring against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the land of the north: and they shall be prepared against her, and from thence she shall be taken: their arrows, like those of a mighty man, a destroyer, shall not return in vain.

Ver. 9.  Nations.  Cyrus had Armenians, &c. in his army.  C.

 

--- Thence, by the bed of the Euphrates, the waters of which were mostly let out into the marshes.  Thus the city was taken, while the people were feasting.  Herod. i. 191.

 

--- Aristotle (Pol. iii. 3.) says, three days passed before all the citizens were apprised of its fate, it was so extensive: but this is incredible.  If we follow the account of Berosus, Cyrus routed Nabonides, who fled to Borsippe, while he took Babylon and demolished the outer walls.  Jos. c. Ap. i.  C.

 

--- North, with respect to Babylon.  W.

 

--- The Persians lay rather to the south, and to the east of Palestine, (H.) if our maps be accurate.  C.




10 And Chaldea shall be made a prey: all that waste her shall be filled, saith the Lord.


11 Because you rejoice, and speak great things, pillaging my inheritance: because you are spread abroad as calves upon the grass, and have bellowed as bulls.

Ver. 11.  Bulls.  You have rioted in Juda, and treated my people cruelly.  H.

 

--- In Hebrew four verbs have improperly i for v; but C. li. 34. v supplants i five times.  Kennicott.


12 Your mother is confounded exceedingly, and she that bore you is made even with the dust: behold she shall be the last among the nations, a wilderness unpassable, and dry.

Ver. 12.  Dust, like a suppliant.  Is. xlvii. 1.  C.

 

--- Dry.  The country shall be equally unfruitful.  The waters of the Euphrates being let off, gave a passage to the enemy.  v. 9.  H.

 

--- Babylon soon lost its splendour.  C.

 

--- Vologeses completed its ruin.  Pliny vi. 26.

 

--- It ceased to be the metropolis or mother city.  H.

 

--- The whole country was laid waste.  W.


13 Because of the wrath of the Lord it shall not be inhabited, but shall be wholly desolate: every one that shall pass by Babylon, shall be astonished, and hiss at all her plagues.

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14 Prepare yourselves against Babylon round about, all you that bend the bow: fight against her, spare not arrows: because she hath sinned against the Lord.


15 Shout against her, she hath every where given her hand, her foundations are fallen, her walls are thrown down, for it is the vengeance of the Lord. Take vengeance upon her: as she hath done, so do to her.

Ver. 15.  Hand, to form leagues; or she faints, (Sept.) and submits.  Lam. v. 6.


16 Destroy the sower out of Babylon, and him that holdeth the sickle in the time of harvest: for fear of the sword of the dove every man shall return to his people, and every one shall flee to his own land.

Ver. 16.  Harvest.  Such were usually unmolested.  C.

 

--- Babylon was so large, that people sowed corn within the walls.  Curt. v.

 

--- The environs were well cultivated.  Pliny xviii. 17.

 

--- Dove, or the destroyer; for the Hebrew word signifies either the one or the other.  Ch.  C. xxv. 38. and xlvi. 16.

 

--- Lit. "from before the sword of the dove."  The power of Babylon is no more.  H.

 

--- The king is compared to a dove, for his swiftness; or God is meek, though terrible.  W.

 

--- Land.  The other nations were set free as well as the Jews.  C.




17 Israel is a scattered flock, the lions have driven him away: first the king of Assyria devoured him: and last this Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon hath broken his bones.

Ver. 17.  Bones.  He completely ruined the nation, which the Assyrians had left.  H.

 

--- They led the ten tribes away, and the Chaldees took the rest.  4 K. xviii. and xxv.  W.



Assyria

Assyria. The successors of Cyrus now ruled over those countries, (C.) which had belonged to the most potent Assyrian and Chaldean monarchs; and therefore the titles are given to them indiscriminately. T.

18 Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts the God of Israel: Behold I will visit the king of Babylon and his land, as I have visited the king of Assyria.

Ver. 18.  Assyria.  This monarchy was subdued by Nabopolasser.



Assyria

Assyria. The successors of Cyrus now ruled over those countries, (C.) which had belonged to the most potent Assyrian and Chaldean monarchs; and therefore the titles are given to them indiscriminately. T.

19 And I will bring Israel again to his habitation: and he shall feed on Carmel, and Bason, and his soul shall be satisfied in mount Ephraim, and Galaad.

Ver. 19.  Israel; the ten tribes, whose country is specified.



Carmel

Carmel. Not where Elias dwelt, but a city and mountain 10 miles east of Eleutheropolis. Nabal rendered it famous by his imprudence, (1 K. xxv.) and Saul by a triumphal arch, 1 K. xv. 12. --- Carmel, so famous for the miracles of Elias, 3 K. xviii. 20. Josephus (Bel. ii. 17,) places it 120 stadia south of Ptolemais. This range of mountains extended northward through the tribes of Issachar and of Zabulon. Pliny (v. 17,) speaks of a promontory and of a town of this name. Here also the god Carmel was adored, having an altar, but no temple or image, as the ancients had decreed. Nec simulacrum Deo aut templum, (sic tradidere majores) ara tantum et reverentia. Tacit. Hist. ii. 78. --- Vespasian consulted the priest Basilides. Carmel means "the vineyard of the Lord," or the excellent vineyard, &c. It was so rich and beautiful as to become proverbial. The spouse compares the head of his beloved to Carmel. C. vii. 5. Isaias (xxxii. 15,) foretels that the deserts shall be equal to Carmel. It was covered with wood and fruit. S. Jerom in Isai. x. 18. Jer. iv. 26. The city, which was built upon this mountain, and which Pliny calls by the same name, was formerly styled Ecbatana. The oracle had denounced to Cambyses that he should die at Ecbatana, and he concluded that the city of Media was meant; but it was "that of Syria," says Herodotus, (iii. 64,) where he died.

20 In those days, and at that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none: and the sin of Juda, and there shall none be found: for I will be merciful to them, whom I shall leave.

Ver. 20.  None.  Idolatry shall not be re-established.




21 Go up against the land of the rulers, and punish the inhabitants thereof, waste, and destroy all behind them, saith the Lord: and do according to all that I have commanded thee.

Ver. 21.  Rulers: the most potent empire of Babylon.

 

--- All.  Heb. "anathematize them and their posterity."


22 A noise of war in the land, and a great destruction. 23 How is the hammer of the whole earth broken, and destroyed! how is Babylon turned into a desert among the nations!

Ver. 23.  Hammer.  The violent injustice of the Chaldees is thus entitled.




24 I have caused thee to fall into a snare, and thou art taken, O Babylon, and thou wast not aware of it: thou art found and caught, because thou hast provoked the Lord.

Ver. 24.  Aware.  Men seemed to rise out of the earth.  v. 9.




25 The Lord hath opened his armoury, and hath brought forth the weapons of his wrath: for the Lord the God of hosts hath a work to be done in the land of the Chaldeans.

Ver. 25.  Armoury.  Fire and war are the Lord's weapons.  Job xxxviii. 22.

 

--- Work: punishment.  C. xlviii. 10.


26 Come ye against her from the uttermost borders: open that they may go forth that shall tread her down: take the stones out of the way, and make heaps, and destroy her: and let nothing of her be left.

Ver. 26.  That.  Heb. "her granaries; trample on her as on heaps of corn, destroy," &c.  He alludes to the custom of oxen trampling out  the corn.  C. li. 33.


27 Destroy all her valiant men, let them go down to the slaughter: woe to them, for their day is come, the time of their visitation. 28 The voice of them that flee, and of them that have escaped out of the land of Babylon: to declare in Sion the revenge of the Lord our God, the revenge of his temple.

Ver. 28.  Voice.  I hear the captives proclaiming this at their return.




29 Declare to many against Babylon, to all that bend the bow: stand together against her round about, and let nose escape; pay her according to her work: according to all that she hath done, do ye to her: for she hath lifted up herself against the Lord, against the Holy One of Israel.

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30 Therefore shall her young men fall in her streets: and all her men of war shall hold their peace in that day, saith the Lord.

Ver. 30.  Peace, in the grave; (C.) or shall submit quietly.  1 Mac. i. 3.  H.


31 Behold I come against thee, O proud one, saith the Lord the God of hosts: for thy day is come, the time of thy visitation.

Ver. 31.  Proud.  So the Chaldees are often styled in the Psalms.  C.

 

--- The prophet addresses Nabuchodonosor, or rather Baltassar, (M.) under whom the city was taken, (Jos. &c.) by Darius and Cyrus.  He may be the Nabonides of Berosus, the question is so much perplexed.  Yet "we are convinced that Darius reigned at Babylon before Cyrus, and took the city after the death of Baltassar."  C.

 

--- Most commentators are of a difficult opinion.  H.


32 And the proud one shall fall, he shall fall down, and there shall be none to lift him up: and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it shall devour all round about him. 33 Thus saith the Lord of hosts: The children of Israel, and the children of Juda are oppressed together: all that have taken them captives, hold them fast, they will not let them go.

Ver. 33.  Israel.  Samaria had been destroyed forty-four years before the fourth of Joakim, from which period many of Juda had been captives seventy years, till Cyrus became their deliverer, and chastised the Chaldees.  C.

 

--- Both kingdoms had been oppressed by a strong hand, till a stronger, even God himself, delivered them.  W.




34 Their redeemer is strong, the Lord of hosts is his name: he will defend their cause in judgment, to terrify the land, and to disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon.

Ver. 34.  Name.  He gives victory to Cyrus.  Thus the Lord directs all for the sake of his elect, and laughs at the vain projects of men.  C.




35 A sword is upon the Chaldeans, saith the Lord, and upon the inhabitants of Babylon, and upon her princes, and upon her wise men.

Ver. 35.  Wise men.  They were styled Chaldees, and inhabited a certain part of the city, being employed in astronomical and mathematical observations.  They disapproved of those who cast nativities.  Strabo xvi.




36 A sword upon her diviners, and they shall be foolish: a sword upon her valiant ones, and they shall be dismayed.

Ver. 36.  Diviners.  Heb. "impostors."  They were nowhere more plentiful.  Dan. i. 20.  Fortune-tellers were consulted on every occasion.  The eastern nations are still  much addicted to this superstition.


37 A sword upon their horses, and upon their chariots, and upon all the people that are in the midst of her: and they shall become as women: a sword upon her treasures, and they shall be made a spoil. 38 A drought upon her waters, and they shall be dried up: because it is a land of idols, and they glory in monstrous things.

Ver. 38.  Drought.  Cyrus almost drained the Euphrates.  C. li. 42.  Is. xxi.

 

--- Things, fit to terrify children.  Bar. vi. 14.  C.

 

--- Prot. "they are made upon their idols."  H.



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39 Therefore shall dragons dwell there with the fig fauns: and ostriches shall dwell therein, and it shall be no more inhabited for ever, neither shall it be built up from generation to generation.

Ver. 39.  Fig-fauns.  Monsters of the desert, or demons in monstrous shapes; such as the ancients called fauns and satyrs: and as they imagined them to live upon wild figs, they called them fauni-ficarii, or fig-fauns.  Ch.

 

--- Maldonat reads sicariis, "ruffians."  Sixtus V. and S. Jerom, (in Is. xiii. 21.) have fatuis, "foolish wild men."  Heb. "the Tsiim with the iim shall dwell there, and the daughters of the Yahana (H. swans) shall there reside," or "fishermen among the rushes shall dwell," &c.

 

--- Ever.  Its situation is unknown.  There is still a town of the same name, but not in the same place.


40 As the Lord overthrew Sodom and Gomorrha, and their neighbour cities, saith the Lord: no man shall dwell there, neither shall the son of man inhabit it.

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41 Behold a people cometh from the north, and a great nation, and many kings shall rise from the ends of the earth. 42 They shall take the bow and the shield: they are cruel and unmerciful: their voice shall roar like the sea, and they shall ride upon horses: like a man prepared for battle against thee, O daughter of Babylon.

Ver. 42.  Cruel.  The Medes will not spare for money.  v. 3.  Is. xiii. 7.




43 The king of Babylon hath heard the report of them, and his hands are grown feeble: anguish hath taken hold of him, pangs as a, woman in labour.

Ver. 43.  King.  Baltassar, (though he was succeeded by Darius) or Nabonides.  v. 31.  C.




44 Behold he shall come up like a lion from the swelling of the Jordan to the strong and beautiful: for I will make him run suddenly upon her: and who shall be the chosen one whom I may appoint over her? for who is like to me? and who shall bear up against me? and who is that shepherd that can withstand my countenance?

Ver. 44.  And beautiful.  Heb. "habitation."  H.

 

--- He will rush into the fold.  C. xlix. 19.  C.

 

--- The king of Babylon had ruined many.  Others shall destroy him, rushing on like the Jordan.  W.



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45 Therefore hear ye the counsel of the Lord, which he hath taken against Babylon: and his thoughts which he hath thought against the land of the Chaldeans: surely the little ones of the flocks shall pull them down, of a truth their habitation shall be destroyed with them.


46 At the noise of the taking of Babylon the earth is moved, and the cry is heard amongst the nations.


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