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Jeremiah, Chapter 51
Introduction to Jeremiah 51
The larger part of this Chapter simply continues the prophecy of Chapter 50, concerning the destruction of Babylon (Jer.51:1).
The smaller, latter part contains a prophecy of Jeremiah sent to the captives in Babylon by the hand of Seraiah, with the copy of the above prophecy against Babylon, and with an order to tie it to a stone to it, and cast it into the Euphrates River, as a sign confirming the utter and permanent ruin of Babylon (Jer.51:59), as a sign of the perpetual shaking of Babylon (Jer.51:59-64).
This reveals the severe judgment of God against covetous, idolatrous and oppressive Babel, in the revenge and for the redemption of Israel (Jer. 51:1-58). Jeremiah delivered the Book of this prophecy to Seraiah, to be cast into Euphrates. In this Chapter, the prophet, goes on with the prediction of Babylon's fall, to which other prophets also bore witness. He abundantly and forcefully describes the foresight which the Lord GOD had given him to him, for the encouragement of the devout captives, whose deliverance depended on it and was to be the result of it. This very large Chapter, give us: (1). The record of Babylon's doom, with the facts of it, mingled with the grounds of God's argument with her, many aggravations of her fall, and wonderful encouragements given to the Israel of God, that had suffered so many hard things by her (verses 1-58). (2). The sign and approval of the LORD of Hosts of this by the throwing of a copy of this prophecy into the Euphrates River (verses 59-64).
Record of Babylon's Doom, God's Argument with Her,
Wonderful Encouragements given to the Israel of God(Jer.1-58)
Jer. 51:1 Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will raise up against Babylon, and against them that dwell in the midst of them that rise up against me, a destroying wind; (KJV)
Thus saith the LORD, behold, I will raise up against Babylon . . . this is not a new prophecy, but a continuation of the former one and an increase of it. Since Babylon was the last and most notorious enemies of the Jews, their destruction is dwelt with much longer; and since Babylon was against the LORD'S people the LORD was against them. He intends to raise up instruments of His vengeance against them.
And against them that dwell in the midst of them that rise up against me . . . and all that dwell in Babylon, the capital of the Chaldeans, the seat and center of the enemies of God and His people.
A destroying wind . . . a northern one, the army of the Medes and Persians, which would sweep away all in its path.
Jer. 51:2 And will send unto Babylon fanners, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land: for in the day of trouble they shall be against her round about. (KJV)
And I will send unto Babylon farmers, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land . . . meaning the Medes and Persians, would be like a strong wind on the mountains, where grain, having been threshed, was fanned, and the chaff carried away by the wind . . . such would the Chaldeans be in the hand of the Persians, scattered and dispersed among the nations as chaff with the wind, their cities emptied of citizens, and of their wealth and riches.
For in the day of trouble they shall be against her round about . . . in the time of the siege they shall surround her on all sides, so that none might escape; just as Babylon had been a fanner of the LORD'S people, now she should be fanned herself, and stripped of all she had. Jer. 15:7 And I will fan them with a fan in the gates of the land; I will bereave them of children, I will destroy my people, since they return not from their ways. (KJV)
Jer. 51:3 Against him that bendeth let the archer bend his bow, and against him that lifteth himself up in his brigandine: and spare ye not her young men; destroy ye utterly all her host. (KJV)
Against him that bendeth let the archer bend his bow . . . the bow; the Babylonian archer is to be cut down before having a chance to stop the attacker.
that is, the bow; meaning the Babylonian archer. Let the archer bend. . . that is, the Persian archer (Jer.50:4). The Chaldean version by changing the vowel points, read, Let not him (the Babylonian) who bendeth his bow bend it. But the close of the verse is addressed to the Median invaders; therefore it is more likely that the first part of the verse is addressed to them, as in English Version, not to the Babylonians, to warn them against resistance as vain, as in the Chaldean version. The word bend is thrice repeated: Against him that bendeth let him that bendeth bend, to imply the utmost straining of the bow.
And against him that lifteth up himself in his brigandine . . . the arrogance of it, pride of it, and putting his confidence in it, as if out of all danger. The sense is, that they should direct their arrows both against those that were more lightly or more heavily armed; since by them they might do execution among the one and the other:
And spare ye not her young men . . . young men See Jer. 49:26 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. (KJV) Her young men, the choice ones on whom its future prosperity depended; these would fall by the sword of the Chaldeans in the streets of the city, when they entered and took it.
Destroy ye utterly all her host . . . her whole army, whether officers or common soldiers; let them be equipped in what manner they will.
*****Whatever arms the Babylonians would be armed with, they shall meet with those with better; those that are archers shall meet with archers to bend the bow against them, and those otherwise armed shall meet with persons prepared to best them at their own weapons. Their whole army shall be destroyed, both young and old men.
Jer. 51:4 Thus the slain shall fall in the land of the Chaldeans, and they that are thrust through in her streets. (KJV)
Thus the slain shall fall in the land of the Chaldeans . . . by the sword, or by the arrows and darts of the Medes and Persians,
And they that are thrust through in her streets . . . by either the one or the other, all of them shall be destroyed, some in the fields, some in the streets of their cities.
Jer. 51:5 For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the LORD of hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel. (KJV)
For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the LORD of hosts . . . not totally and finally; for even though they might have thought they were forsaken, when carried captive by their enemies, yet they were not in the way when a woman is deprived of her husband when dead, and she is become a widow. For although they thought they were forsaken, yet the relationship between them still existed; He was their Covenant God and Father, their Husband and Protector, Who would justify them, and avenge them on their enemies.
Though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel . . . their land will have a future fulfillment, when Babylon will be suddenly destroyed. God assured Israel and Judah that they had not been forsaken; they were still His people and He would yet fulfill the Covenants and Promises with them. It seems this looks forward to the future king of Babylon, the Antichrist, when God allows him to break his seven-year covenant with them (Dan.9:24-27), take over their land, and later seek to exterminate them as a people. They will be forced to turn to God in the time known as Jacob's trouble (Jer.30:7) and they will then be converted so that He can rightly fulfill His obligations with them (Zec.12:10; 13:1, 9; Rom.11:25-29).
Jer. 51:6 Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD'S vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence. (KJV)
Flee out of the midst of Babylon . . . this seems to be said to those who were there from other nations for trade and business, to get out of there as fast as they could, or to the Jews that were captives there. This is also applied to the people of God in mystical Babylon. Rev. 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. (KJV)
And deliver every man his soul . . . or life from the destruction coming on the city.
Be not cut off in her iniquity . . . or with her, in the punishment inflicted on her for her sins; which is the same as partaking of her plagues (Rev.18:4, above).
For this is the time, of the LORD'S vengeance . . . the time fixed by God to take vengeance on Babylon for her sins against Him, and the wrongs done to His people, and again this looks forward to the Tribulation Period in the Book of Revelation. https://www.lastdaysprophecy.org/L_D_tribulation,_why.htm
He will render unto her a recompence . . . the just demerit of their sins; a reward by way of punishment for them. Rev. 18:6 Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. (KJV)
Jer. 51:7 Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD'S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad. (KJV)
Babylon hath been a golden cup in the hand of the LORD . . . cup made of gold, meaning the riches and splendor of the Babylonian Empire; which, for the same reason, is called the head of gold (Dan.2:38). This golden cup was in the Hand of God, under His direction and at His order; an instrument He shall make use of to distribute the cup of his wrath and vengeance to other nations, or to inflict punishment on them for their sins (Jer.25:15). Babylon had by various false pretenses drawn the nations of the Earth into idolatry, and other sins, which were as poison in a golden cup, by which they had been deceived. Rev.17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: (KJV)
That made all the earth drunken . . . either disturbed them with wars, so that they were like a drunken man that reels to and fro, and falls, as they did, into ruin and destruction; or made them drunk with the wine of her fornication, with idolatry, so that they were intoxicated with it, as the whore of Rome, mystical Babylon, is said to do. Rev. 17:2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. (KJV)
The nations have drunken of her wine, therefore the nations are mad . . . they drank of the wine of God's wrath by her means, being engaged in wars, which proved their ruin, and deprived them of their riches, strength, and substance, as mad men are of their reason; and partook of her idolatry and ran like mad men to her idols, as she did. Jer. 50:38 A drought is upon her waters; and they shall be dried up: for it is the land of graven images, and they are mad upon their idols. (KJV) And as it shall be in mystical Babylon. Rev. 18:3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. (KJV)
Jer. 51:8 Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed. (KJV)
Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed . . . into pieces, as a fragile cup is shattered. The destruction of Babylon was brought about in a very short time, considering the strength of it; and was unexpected by the people of it, and by the nations round about; but, when it was come, it was permanent as will be mystical Babylon. Rev.18:8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the LORD God who judgeth her. (KJV) So too shall be the destruction of mystical Babylon will be in one hour. Rev. 18:10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. (KJV) And it will be an utter and entire destruction.
Howl for her . . . as the inhabitants of Babylon, her friends and allies that loved her, no doubt did; and as the kings and merchants of the Earth, and others, will howl for spiritual Babylon. Rev. 18:9 And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, (KJV)
Take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed . . . or balsam (Jer.46:11), which is said by way of ridicule and mockery, in a sarcastic way; indicating that her wound was incurable, her ruin inevitable, and her case irrecoverable.
Jer. 51:9 We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies. (KJV)
We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed . . . these are either the words of the friends of Babylon and allies, who did all they could to defend her against the Persians, but to no avail; it was not in their power to help her; the time of her destruction was come, and there was way she could avoid it, or of the prophets and good Jews that were in Babylon, that took pains to convince, the people of Babylon of their idolatries and other sins, and reform them, that so they might not be ruined . . . but all cautions and warnings were in vain.
Forsake her, and let us go everyone into his own country . . . so said the supporting troops that were in the service of the king of Babylon; since we can do him no good, and are ourselves posed to danger, let us rush to our own country as fast as we can or so might the Jews say when the city was taken, and they were delivered out of the hands of their oppressors; and so will the people of God say, who shall be called out of mystical Babylon just before its ruin. Rev. 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. (KJV)
For her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies . . . her sins were so many, that they reached even to Heaven; and were taken notice of by God that dwelled there; and were the cause of the punishment being from there inflicted on her, which was unavoidable, being the decree of Heaven, and the just detriment of her sin. So there would be no help given her; nor was there any safety by being in her. Rev. 18:5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. (KJV)
Jer. 51:10 The LORD hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God. (KJV)
The LORD hath brought forth our righteousness . . . this is spoken in the person of the Israelites; not as though the Jews had done no iniquity, for which they were carried captive; they had committed much, and were far from being righteous, but were no comparison to the Chaldeans; and who had gone far beyond their commission, and had greatly oppressed them and used them cruelly; and now the LORD, by bringing destruction upon them, vindicated the cause of His people, and showed it to be a righteous one; and that the religion they professed was true, which the Chaldeans had mocked and criticized. This righteousness, not of their persons, but of the truth of their Holy religion, the LORD brought forth to the light, and made it clear, by taking their parts, and destroying their enemies.
Come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God . . . the Jews encourage one another to return to their own land, rebuild their Temple, and set up the worship of the LORD in it; and there declare the wondrous work of God in the destruction of Babylon, and their deliverance from them; giving Him the praise and glory; and rousing others to join with them in it, it being the LORD'S work, and marvelous in their eyes. When mystical Babylon is destroyed, voices will be heard in Heaven, in the church, ascribing salvation, honor, and glory to God. Rev. 19:1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: (KJV)
*****All this is true, in a sense where all those who are redeemed by Christ, and brought out of mystical Babylon, and are effectively called by the grace of God; to these the LORD brings forth the righteousness of Christ, which He makes it their own, by attributing it to them; and He brings it near to them, and puts it upon them; it is revealed to them from faith to faith (Rom.1:17), it is applied to them by the Spirit of God, and put into their hands to plead with God, as their justifying righteousness; and which is brought forth by Him on all occasions, to free them from all charges displayed against them by law, by the world, Satan, or their own hearts. This was all made possible by the great work of redemption by Jesus Christ; and then the Spirit's work of grace upon their hearts, which is not the work of men, but of God; which makes us a new creation, a resurrection from the dead.
Jer. 51:11 Make bright the arrows; gather the shields: the LORD hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his device is against Babylon, to destroy it; because it is the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance of his temple. (KJV)
Make bright the arrows . . . which were covered with rust; scour them, rub them with oil, make them neat, clean and bright so that they pierce deeper; later we read of a polished shaft, or arrow, one made bright and pure..
Gather the shields . . . which lay scattered about and neglected in time of peace or, bring in a sufficient number; since there would be now occasion for them, to defend them against the enemy (Isa.21:5).
The LORD hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes . . . of Cyaxares, or Darius the Mede, and of Cyrus, who succeeded his uncle as king of Media; and indeed the army that came against Babylon was an army of Medes joined by the Persians, Cyrus being employed as general of it by his uncle.
For his device is against Babylon, to destroy it . . . the device of the king of the Medes, Darius; or rather the device of the LORD, who stirred up the spirit of the kings of the Medes; put it into their hearts to fulfil His will; and gave them wisdom and skill, courage and determination to do it; and as He will do to the kings of the Eearth against mystical Babylon. Rev. 17:16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. (KJV)
Because it is the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance of his temple . . . His vengeance on Babylon, for the destruction of His Temple, and the profanation of it.
Jer. 50:28 The voice of them that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the LORD our God, the vengeance of his temple. (KJV)
Jer. 51:12 Set up the standard upon the walls of Babylon, make the watch strong, set up the watchmen, prepare the ambushes: for the LORD hath both devised and done that which he spake against the inhabitants of Babylon. (KJV)
Set up the standard upon the walls of Babylon . . . this is not said to the Medes and Persians, to put up a flag on the walls of Babylon, as a sign of victory, as some think; for as yet the city is not supposed to be taken by what follows; but rather to the Babylonians, to set up an ensign on their walls, to gather the inhabitants together, to defend their city, and the bulwarks of it.
Make the watch strong . . . to guard the city; watch the motions of the enemy, and give proper and timely notice.
Set up watchmen . . . place the keepers of the walls so they can keep a good look out, so they will not be surprised. This seems to respect the great carelessness and insecurity the whole city was in the night it was taken; being completely busy in feasting and reveling, in rioting and drunkenness, having no fear of danger, or concern for their safety (Dan.5:1).
Prepare the ambushes . . . relieve those on the walls occasionally; so they do not seize unawares, should they attempt to scale the walls, and enter the city.
For the LORD hath devised and done that which he spoke against the inhabitants of Babylon . . . as the LORD has planned, so shall He do; for His purposes cannot be overturned, His counsel shall stand . . . so, IF the Babylonians worked hard in their own defense, they could never have prevented their ruin and destruction.
Jer. 51:13 O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness. (KJV)
O thou that dwellest upon many waters . . . here Babylon is addressed, either by the LORD, or by the prophet, or the godly Jews; who is described by her, situation, which was by the great Euphrates River; which being branched out into several canals or rivers, both ran through it and encompassed it; here mention is made of the rivers of Babylon. Ps.137:1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. (KJV). And this is a fitting symbol this city, and of mystical Babylon, which is also said to sit on many waters, interpreted of people and nations. Rev. 17:1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: (KJV)
Abundant in treasures . . . of corn and fruits of the Earth, and so was in a good condition to hold out a siege, as well as strongly fortified by gold and silver, the strength of war, which she had gotten together, partly by trade, and partly by the spoil of other nations . . . but neither her situation nor her wealth could keep her from ruin.
Thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness . . . this flourishing city was now near its end, and with it the whole Babylon monarchy; the time fixed by the LORD God, for the time was now come; where her greed could not be satisfied, and would have known no bounds, for the increase of her territories, and for the gathering more wealth and riches. The LORD had set a limit to it, beyond which it would not go; which measure was now filled up, and the time for it expired.
Jer. 51:14 The LORD of hosts hath sworn by himself, saying, Surely I will fill thee with men, as with caterpillers; and they shall lift up a shout against thee. (KJV)
The LORD hath sworn by himself, saying . . . the LORD has sworn by Himself, for there is none greater. Heb. 6:13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he aware by himself, (KJV) . . . Anything that God swears to need never be doubted!
Surely I fill thee with men as with caterpillars . . . or locusts (Ex.10:12-14), march in vast numbers, and make sad desolation where they come; and to which a large army may be rightly compared; and which may mean here, the army of Cyrus, that would enter Babylon, and fill it, as it did.
And they shall lift up a shout against thee . . . as soldiers, when they start in battle; or as besiegers when they make their attack on a city; or when grape gatherers bring in their vintage, or tread out their wine, to which the reference is: it means that her enemies would get an entire victory and triumph over her.
Jer. 51:15 He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding. (KJV)
Jer.51:15-19 is pretty much repeated from Jer.10:12-16; Jer. 10:12 He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion. (KJV)
Jer. 51:16 When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth: he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures. (KJV)
See: Jer. 10:13 When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures. (KJV)
Jer. 51:17 Every man is brutish by his knowledge; every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. (KJV)
See: Jer. 10:14 Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. (KJV)
Jer.51:18 They are vanity, the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish. (KJV)
See: Jer. 10:15 They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish. (KJV)
Jer. 51:19 The portion of Jacob is not like them; for he is the former of all things: and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: the LORD of hosts is his name. (KJV)
See: Jer. 10:16 The portion of Jacob is not like them: for he is the former of all things; and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: The LORD of hosts is his name. (KJV)
Jer. 51:20 Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms; (KJV)
Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war . . . this is said by the LORD, either to Cyrus, as some think, whom God made use of as an instrument to subdue nations and kingdoms, and destroy them (Isa.34:1); or rather Babylon, and the king of it, who had been the hammer of the Earth (Jer.50:23); as it may be rendered here.
Although Babylon had been used by the LORD for the destruction of others, it would not be secure from it itself, but would indeed share the same fate; unless this is to be understood of the Kingdom of Christ, which in the latter day will break in pieces all the kingdoms of the Earth. Dan. 2:44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. (KJV)
For with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms . . . this speaks of the future instead of the past, so it seems to express the end for which he was a hammer, as well as the use he had been of.
Jer. 51:21 And with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his rider; and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his rider; (KJV)
And with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his rider . . . meaning the cavalry of an army, wherein lies its chief strength.
And with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his rider . . . chariots were also used in war.
Jer. 51:22 With thee also will I break in pieces man and woman; and with thee will I break in pieces old and young; and with thee will I break in pieces the young man and the maid; (KJV)
See: 2 Chr. 36:17 Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand. (KJV)
Jer. 51:23 I will also break in pieces with thee the shepherd and his flock; and with thee will I break in pieces the husbandman and his yoke of oxen; and with thee will I break in pieces captains and rulers. (KJV)
And I will also break in pieces with thee the shepherd and his flock . . . have broken, which some think respects mainly the Arabians, who were shepherds, and dwelt in tents; but I think it indicates shepherds and their flocks in general; who were killed or scattered when his armies came, sparing none, even the most innocent and useful, even though unarmed.
And with thee will I break in pieces the husbandman and his yoke of oxen . . . with which he plowed his ground, meaning by this, as well as the above, that none were spared, by which kingdoms were supported and maintained, as shepherds and farmers.
And with thee will I break in pieces captains and rulers; . . . by whom kingdoms and states are governed and protected.
Jer. 51:24 And I will render unto Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, saith the LORD. (KJV)
And I will render unto Babylon, and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea . . . though I have made this use of Babylon, she shall not be spared, but receive her just recompense of reward; not the city of Babylon only, but the whole land of Chaldea, and all the inhabitants of it.
All their evil that they have done in Zion, in your sight, saith the LORD . . . because of all the evil the Chaldeans had done in Judea; the ravages they had made there, the blood they had shed and the desolation they had made; and especially for what they had done in Jerusalem, and specifically in the Temple, burning, spoiling and profaning it, the LORD would now justly punish them, and retaliate all this evil on them; which would be done publicly, before all the nations of the world, and mainly in the sight of God's own people. In your sight does not refer to the evils done in Zion, but to the just payment that would be made for them.
Jer. 51:25 Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, saith the LORD, which destroyest all the earth: and I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain. (KJV)
Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, saith the LORD, which destroyest all the earth . . . Babylon is here called a mountain, although it is located in a plain, but because of its high walls, lofty towers and hanging gardens, which made it look at a distance like a high mountain, such as Lebanon and others: or because it was such a strong fortified city. The same character is given to mystical Babylon and its inhabitants. Rev. 11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. (KJV)
And I will stretch out mine hand upon thee . . . God in His holy, vindictive wrath, pouring it out upon her, and inflicting His judgments on her; laying hold on and seizing her in a furious manner, as a man does his enemy, when he has found him.
And roll them down from the rocks . . . towers and fortresses in Babylon, which looked like rocks, but would now be demolished.
And will make thee a burnt mountain . . . reduced to cinders and ashes by the fire of it. We never read of the burning of literal Babylon, but we most certainly do of mystical Babylon. Rev. 18:8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. (KJV)
Nebuchadnezzar is spoken of as a destroying mountain, always destroying others; now he was to be destroyed and become a burnt mountain.
Jer. 51:26 And they shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations; but thou shalt be desolate for ever, saith the LORD. (KJV)
And they shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations . . . indicating that it would be so utterly consumed by fire, that there would not be a stone left (Mat.24:2) fit to be put into any new building.
But thou shall be desolate for ever, saith the LORD . . . see: Jer. 50:39 Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation. (KJV)
Jer. 51:27 Set ye up a standard in the land, blow the trumpet among the nations, prepare the nations against her, call together against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashchenaz; appoint a captain against her; cause the horses to come up as the rough caterpillers. (KJV)
Set ye up a standard in the land . . . not in Chaldea, but in all the countries which belonged to Media and Persia; where Cyrus's standard is ordered to be set up, to gather soldiers together, and enlist in his service, to go with him in his mission against Babylon.
Blow the trumpet among the nations . . . for the same reason, to join the forces of Cyrus, and go with him into the land of Chaldea.
Prepare the nations against her . . . rouse them up, stir up their spirits against her, and furnish them with armor to engage with her.
Call together the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashchenaz;. . . Ararat was upper or Major Armenia, the regions about Mount Ararat. Minni was lower or Lesser Armenia. Some say that Van was the capital of Minni. It was conquered by Tettarrassa, the general of Tetembar II, the Assyrian king whose wars are recorded on the black obelisk now in the British Museum. Ashchenaz was a descendant of Japheth (Gen.10:3), who gave his name to the sea now called the Black Sea; the region bordering on it is probably here meant, namely, Asia Minor, including places named Ascania in Phrygia and Bithynia. Cyrus had subdued Asia Minor and the neighboring regions, and from these he drew levies in proceeding against Babylon.
Appoint a captain against her . . . over all these forces thus collected: Cyrus seems to be intended; unless the singular is put for the plural, and so intends a sufficient number of general officers of the army.
Cause the horses to come up as the rough caterpillars . . . to which the horses in Cyrus's army are compared, for their multitude. These horsemen, in multitude and in appearance, rising with javelins and with crests, resemble rough caterpillars, or locusts of the hairy-crested kind (Nah. 3:15).
Jer. 51:28 Prepare against her the nations with the kings of the Medes, the captains thereof, and all the rulers thereof, and all the land of his dominion. (KJV)
Prepare against her the nations, with the kings of the Medes . . . (verse 11), at the head of them, Darius and Cyrus.
The captains thereof, and all the rulers thereof, and all the land of his dominions. . . that is, the inhabitants of it, the common people, with their princes, nobles, governors, as captains of them, under Cyrus, their general. His dominion . . . the king of Media's dominion.
Jer. 51:29 And the land shall tremble and sorrow: for every purpose of the LORD shall be performed against Babylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without an inhabitant. (KJV)
And the land shall tremble and sorrow . . . the land of Chaldea, the inhabitants of it, should tremble, when they heard of this powerful army invading their land, and besieging their capital; and should sorrow, and be in pain as a woman in travail, as the word. The land shall tremble . . . every single purpose of the LORD shall be performed.
For every purpose of the LORD shall be performed against Babylon . . . shall stand and be surely fulfilled; for His purposes are firm and cannot be changed by man.
To make the land of Babylon a desolation without an inhabitant . . . this the LORD purposed and threatened to do. Jer. 50:39 Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation. (KJV)
Jer. 51:30 The mighty men of Babylon have forborn to fight, they have remained in their holds: their might hath failed; they became as women: they have burned her dwellingplaces; her bars are broken. (KJV)
The mighty men of Babylon have forborne to fight . . . stopped fighting, for it seems on Cyrus's first coming, the king of Babylon and his army gave him battle; but being overthrown, they retired, and did not fight anymore.
They have remained in their holds . . . in the towers and fortresses of Babylon, never daring to appear in the field of battle anymore; even though Cyrus sent the king of Babylon a personal challenge.
Their might hath failed . . . their courage was gone; they had no heart to face their enemy.
They became as women. . . as weak as they, as the Targum; timorous and fearful, having no courage left in them, and behaved more like women than men:
They have burnt her dwelling places . . . the enemy burned their houses, when they entered into the city, to inject terror into them.
Her bars are broken . . . the bars of the gates of the city, or of the palaces of the king and nobles, and of the houses of the people were broken by the soldiers, to get the plunder. Isa. 45:1 Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; (KJV)
Jer. 51:31 One post shall run to meet another, and one messenger to meet another, to shew the king of Babylon that his city is taken at one end, (KJV)
One post shall run to meet another, and one messenger to meet another . . . one courier after another shall announce the capture of the city. The couriers were dispatched from the walls, where Cyrus enters, and shall meet those sent by the king. Their confused running to and fro would end in sudden panic at the entrance of Cyrus into the city, which he had so long besieged ineffectually; the Babylonians had laughed at his attempts and were feasting at the time without fear (Dan.5:1).
To show the king of Babylon his city is taken at one end . . . at the end where Cyrus's army first landed, when they came up the channel of the river Euphrates they had drained. Some say that when the Babylonians which lived in the city were taken, they that were in the middle of it did not know it, because of the size of the city; and because they were engaged that night in feasting and dancing (Dan.5.1). Others say, it was reported that one part of the city was taken three days before the other end even knew about it, it being more like a country than a city, which does not seem believable, nor is it consistent with what the Scripture states about it. None the less, it was taken by surprise, and some parts of it before the king was aware of it; who very probably had his palace in the middle of it, where these messengers ran one after another, or from different parts, to tell him of it.
Jer. 51:32 And that the passages are stopped, and the reeds they have burned with fire, and the men of war are affrighted. (KJV)
And that the passages are stopped . . . the guarded fords of the Euphrates are occupied by the enemy (Jer.50:38). The passages were taken or seized. These passages were where Cyrus placed soldiers to keep them; these were the passages leading from the river Euphrates to the city, the keys of it; the little gates speaks of, leading to the river, which were left open that night.
And the reeds they have burnt with fire . . . the reeds which grew upon the banks of the river, and in the marshes adjoining to it. When Cyrus came to the reeds, he burned them, having many torches, as he proposed to burn the houses, either to make way for his army, which might hinder the march of it; or to give light, that they might see their way into the city the better, and to terrify the inhabitants.
And the men of war are affrighted . . . and so fled, and left the passes, towers, and fortresses, which fell into the hands of Cyrus, as soon as they perceived his army was come up the channel and was landed, and the reeds were burnt.
Jer. 51:33 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; The daughter of Babylon is like a threshingfloor, it is time to thresh her: yet a little while, and the time of her harvest shall come. (KJV)
For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel . . . the LORD of hosts is the LORD God omnipotent, and can do all things; and He is the God of Israel, and therefore will plead their cause, and take vengeance on Babylon.
The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor . . . on which the nations of the Earth had been threshed, or punished and destroyed; and now she was like a threshing floor, unto which should be gathered, and on which would be laid, her king, princes and the people of the land, and there be beat and crushed to pieces.
It is time to thresh her . . . as sheaves on the threshing floor.
Yet a little while, and the time of her harvest shall come . . . when she would be ripe for ruin, and God would, by His instruments, put in the sickle of His wrath, and cut her down, her king, her princes, her cities, and her people. Rev. 14:15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. (KJV)
*****The treading, or threshing, here put before the harvest, out of the natural order, because the prominent thought is the treading down or destruction of Babylon. In the East the treading out of the corn took place only at harvest-time. Babylon is like a threshing-floor not trodden for a long time; but the time of harvest is come, when her citizens shall be trodden under foot, shall come. Like a threshing-floor full of corn, so is Babylon now full of riches, but the time of harvest shall come, when all her prosperity shall be cut off. Some distinguish the harvest from the threshing; the harvest is the slaying of her citizens, the threshing is the pillaging and destruction of the city.
Joel 3:13 Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. (KJV)
Rev. 14:15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. (KJV)
Rev. 14:18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. (KJV)
Jer. 51:34 Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out. (KJV)
Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me . . . Nebuchadnezzar has consumed and crushed us, draining us of our strength. He is like a great monster that swallows his prey and fills his belly with our riches. He has cast us out of our own country.
He hath crushed me . . . bruised or broken, even all her bones. Jer. 50:17 Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away: first the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones. (KJV)
He hath made me an empty vessel . . . emptied the land of its inhabitants and riches, and left nothing valuable in it.
He hath swallowed me up like a dragon. . . or a whale or any large fish that swallow smaller ones.
He hath filled his belly with my delicates . . . with the treasures of the king and his nobles; with the vessels of the Temple, and the riches of the people, which he loaded himself with to his full satisfaction. The Targum is, he filled his treasury with the good of my land.
He hath cast me out . . . out of my land, and carried me captive.
*****The prophet speaks this in the name of the Jews, complaining of the king of Babylon as the author of all the miseries they had endured, which he expresses by several phrases indicating the same thing . . . that it was the king of Babylon had ruined them, and filled himself and his soldiers with their things, and cast them out of their land, dealing with them as wolves or other beasts of prey, that eat what they please of other beasts they have preyed upon, and leave the rest in the fields.
Jer. 51:35 The violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon, shall the inhabitant of Zion say; and my blood upon the inhabitants of Chaldea, shall Jerusalem say. (KJV)
The violence done to me, and to my flesh, be upon Babylon . . . let the injuries done to Zion and her children, be avenged on Babylon; the hurt done to their persons and families, and the spoiling of their goods, and destruction of their cities, houses, and substance.
Shall the inhabitant of Zion say . . . by way of calling down divine vengeance,
And my blood upon the inhabitants of Chaldea, shall Jerusalem say . . . let the guilt of it be charged upon them, and punishment for it be inflicted on them. The Targum is, the sin of the innocent blood which is shed in me; let that be imputed to them, and vengeance come upon them for it.
Jer. 51:36 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will plead thy cause, and take vengeance for thee; and I will dry up her sea, and make her springs dry. (KJV)
Therefore thus saith the LORD . . . in answer to the prayers of the inhabitants of Zion and Jerusalem, calling down divine vengeance on Babylon.
Behold, I will plead thy cause, and take vengeance for thee . . . not by words only, but by deeds, inflicting punishment on their enemies.
And I will dry up her sea . . . the convergence of waters around Babylon; the river Euphrates, the channel of which was drained by Cyrus, by which he took the city; and this may symbolically mean the abundance of riches and affluence of good things in Babylon, which would now be taken from her.
And make her springs dry . . . stop up all sources of water, deprive her of all the necessaries of life; and stopping all the ways by which she was supplied with them; and cut off all communication of good things to her.
Jer. 51:37 And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwellingplace for dragons, an astonishment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant. (KJV)
And Babylon shall become heaps the houses would be demolished, and the stones lie in heaps one upon another, and become mere rubbish.
A dwelling place for dragons . . . and other wild and savage creatures. Dragons love to live in desert places, and such is Babylon now; it lies in ruins; and even its palace is so full of scorpions and serpents that men dare not enter into it. Jer. 50:39 Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation. (KJV)
An astonishment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant . . . an astonishment to neighboring nations, and to all that pass by; who shall hiss at the destruction of it, and rejoice, there being not so much as a single inhabitant in it; which is its case to this day. Jer. 50:39 Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation. (KJV)
Jer. 51:38 They shall roar together like lions: they shall yell as lions' whelps. (KJV)
They shall roar together like lions . . . The capture of Babylon was effected on the night of a festival in honor of its idols. Roar . . . the Babylonians were shouting in drunken revelry (Dan.5:4).
They shall yell as lions' whelps . . . one version renders it, they shall shake their hair, as lions shake their manes, and so might the Babylonians behave in such a boastful way when the Medes and Persians first attacked them.
Jer. 51:39 In their heat I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the LORD. (KJV)
In their heat I will make their feasts . . . I will order it that their feasts shall be in the time of heat, that so they may be made drunk, and when they are hot with feasting, I will disturb their feast by a handwriting on the wall (Dan.5:25). I will mingle their potions of the wine with my wrath; and while they are feasting, ruin shall come upon them. And so it was, that the city of Babylon was taken, while the inhabitants were feasting; and this agrees with Dan.5:1. This is said concerning Belshazzar and his company, when they returned from a battle with Darius and Cyrus, who besieged Babylon, and Belshazzar overcame that day; and they were weary and hot, and sat down to drink, and were drunken, and on that day he was slain (Dan.5:30).
And I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice . . . in a riotous and reveling way; or that they may be mad and tremble, for it is so that drunken men are often like mad men, deprived of their senses, and their limbs tremble through the strength of liquor; and here it signifies, that the Chaldeans would be so intoxicated with the cup of divine wrath and vengeance, that they would be at their wits' end; in the utmost horror and trembling; not able to stand or defend themselves. They shall be like drunken men, not strong but weak,
And sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the LORD; not only fall asleep as drunken men do, and awake again; but sleep, and not awake anymore. They shall die and not live again, until Resurrection Day. Dan. 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (KJV) John 5:28-29 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (KJV) Unbelievers shall die the second death, and not live in the world to come. Rev. 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (KJV) BEWARE! These are Jesus words. You do NOT want to spend eternity in Hell!
Jer.51:40 I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams with he goats. (KJV)
I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter . . . to the place of slaughter; who shall be able to make no more resistance than lambs.
Like rams with he goats . . . meaning the immoral destruction of the prince and common people together.
Jer. 51:41 How is Sheshach taken! and how is the praise of the whole earth surprised! how is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations! (KJV)
How is Sheshach taken! . . . the term Sheshach is found only here and in Jer. 25:26; both places leave it doubtful whether it is to be taken for an idol, which they called by the name of Shach, or a name given to the city of Babylon, which worshipped that idol, to the honor of which the Babylonians kept a yearly festival for several days; in the time of which festival they say it was that Cyrus took the city of Babylon. Babylon was so famous over all the world for her splendor. And so it is interpreted in the next words, wherein Babylon, for the punishment brought upon it, is said to be an astonishment to all nations; which makes it probable that Babylon is what was called Sheshach, by the doubling of a letter, because she worshipped Shach.
And how is the praise of the whole earth surprised? . . . Babylon was taken by such strategy and surprise, before the king and his guards, the army and the inhabitants of it were aware. Babylon was the city, which was a matter and occasion of praise to all the world, for the size of it, and height and strength of its walls; the river Euphrates that ran through it and flowed around it; the temple, palaces and gardens in it.
How is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations! . . . or a desolation; and indeed its becoming a desolation was the reason of its being an astonishment among the nations; who were amazed to see such a strong, rich and splendid a city brought to ruin in such a very short time.
Jer. 51:42 The sea is come up upon Babylon: she is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof. (KJV)
The sea is come up upon Babylon . . . a vast army, compared to the great sea for the multitude of it, meaning the army of the Medes and Persians under Cyrus.
She is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof . . . being surrounded, besieged, surprised, and seized upon by the multitude of soldiers in that army, which poured in upon it unawares. Some think here is a beautiful opposition, between the inundation of Cyrus's army and the draining of the river Euphrates, by which means he poured in his forces into Babylon.
Jer. 51:43 Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwelleth, neither doth any son of man pass thereby. (KJV)
Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness . . . some understand this of Babylon itself, divided into two parts by the river Euphrates running in the midst of it, the inward and outward cities. Her cities . . . are the inner and outer cities, the two parts into which Babylon was divided by the Euphrates.
A land wherein no man dwelleth, neither doth any son of man pass thereby . . . having neither inhabitant nor traveler. Jer. 50:12 Your mother shall be sore confounded; she that bare you shall be ashamed: behold, the hindermost of the nations shall be a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert. (KJV)
Jer. 51:44 And I will punish Bel in Babylon, and I will bring forth out of his mouth that which he hath swallowed up: and the nations shall not flow together any more unto him: yea, the wall of Babylon shall fall. (KJV)
And I will punish Bel in Babylon . . . Bel was the idol of the Babylonians, who had a temple in Babylon, where he was worshipped: the same is called Belus and Belis (Jer. 50:2), who was punished when his temple was demolished, and plundered of its wealth; this golden image of Belus was broke to pieces, and the gold of it carried away.
And I will bring forth out of his mouth that which he hath swallowed up. . . the rich offerings made to him when victories were obtained; all success being ascribed to him; and the spoils of conquered enemies, which were brought and laid up in his temple, particularly the vessels of the sanctuary at Jerusalem, which were deposited there (2 Chr.36>7); and which were restored by Cyrus (Ezra 1:7); which restoration of them greatly fulfilled this prophecy; and was a refunding of what was lodged with him, or a vomiting what he had swallowed up.
And the nations shall not flow together any more unto him . . . either to worship him, or bring their presents to him, to cozy up themselves with the king of Babylon.
Yea, the wall of Babylon shall fall . . . which Bel was not able to defend; and therefore should be deserted by his worshippers. Some think that the wall of the city is here meant: but the temple of Bel, which was as a wall or fortress to the city; but now would fall, and be no more.
Jer 51:45 My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD. (KJV)
My people, go ye out of the midst of her . . . this is a call for the Jews to go out of Babylon, not before the taking of the city by Cyrus; but when he would issue out a proclamation, giving them liberty to return to their own land. Many of them were well settled in Babylon, and would not be ready to accept to go, but choose to stay there . . . that is why they are urged to depart from there, because of the danger they would be exposed to; for although the city was not destroyed by Cyrus upon his taking it, yet it was by Darius Hystaspes sometime later. The same call is given to the people of God to come out of mystical Babylon. Rev. 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. (KJV)
And deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD . . . shown in the destruction of Babylon; see verse 6.
Jer. 51:46 And lest your heart faint, and ye fear for the rumour that shall be heard in the land; a rumour shall both come one year, and after that in another year shall come a rumour, and violence in the land, ruler against ruler. (KJV)
And lest your heart faint, and ye fear for the rumour that shall be heard in the land . . . reports of problems and revolts within the empire were to be taken as encouraging signs to the captives that Babylon's days were numbered.
A rumour shall both come one year and after that in another year shall come a rumour . . . in one year there was a rumor of the great preparation Cyrus was making to invade Chaldea, and besiege Babylon; in the following year, here was a second rumor of his coming; and who actually did come into Assyria, but was stopped at the river Gyndes, not being able to pass it for want of boats; and being enraged at the loss of a favorite horse in it, was determined to drain it; which he did, by cutting many channels; in which he spent the whole summer; and the spring following came to Babylon, and what is after predicted followed:
And violence in the land, ruler against ruler . . . the king of Babylon came out with his forces to meet Cyrus, when a battle followed, in which Babylon was beaten, and forced to retire in the city, which then Cyrus besieged; and violence and devastations were made in the land by the army of the Medes and Persians; and ruler was against ruler; Cyrus against Belshazzar, and Belshazzar against Cyrus.
Jer. 51:47 Therefore, behold, the days come, that I will do judgment upon the graven images of Babylon: and her whole land shall be confounded, and all her slain shall fall in the midst of her. (KJV)
Therefore, behold, the days come that I will do judgment on the graven images of Babylon . . . the gods of Babylon would do no good whatsoever against God's purposes. In a desperate attempt to save Babylon from the Persians, Nabonidus took the statues of deities from other temples, and brought them to the capital.
And her whole land shall be confounded . . . the inhabitants would be totally confused when they see their images destroyed, in which they trusted for their safety.
And all her slain shall fall in the midst of her . . . all those killed shall fall in the midst of Babylon; where the king and his army were shut up, and dared not move out; and where they were slain when the army of Cyrus entered.
Jer. 51:48 Then the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, shall sing for Babylon: for the spoilers shall come unto her from the north, saith the LORD. (KJV)
Then the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, shall sing for Babylon . . . at the destruction of her, rejoicing, not at the ruin of fellow creatures, but at the righteousness of God in it, and the glory of His justice, and the deliverance of many by it from tyranny and bondage. Rev. 18:20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. (KJV)
For the spoilers shall come unto her from the north, saith the LORD . . . the Medes and Persians that would and did spoil and plunder Babylon; along with those who came from countries that lay north to it.
Jer. 51:49 As Babylon hath caused the slain of Israel to fall, so at Babylon shall fall the slain of all the earth. (KJV)
As Babylon hath caused the slain of Israel . . . in Jerusalem, when that city was taken the Chaldeans, and destroyed.
So at Babylon shall all the slain of all the earth . . . meaning the land of Chaldea; the inhabitants of which fled to Babylon upon the invasion of the Medes and Persians, both for their own safety, and the defense of that city; and where, being slain, they fell; and this was a just retaliation of them for what they had done to Israel. These words may be considered, as the song of the inhabitants of Heaven and Earth, observing and applauding the justice and equity of divine Providence in this affair.
Jer. 51:50 Ye that have escaped the sword, go away, stand not still: remember the LORD afar off, and let Jerusalem come into your mind. (KJV)
Ye that have escaped the sword, go away, stand not still . . .the Jews, who had escaped the sword of the Chaldeans when Jerusalem was taken, and were carried captive into Babylon, where they had remained to this time; and had also escaped the sword of the Medes and Persians, when Babylon was taken; these are bid to go away from Babylon, and go into their land, and not stay in Babylon, not linger there, as Lot in Sodom; not stop on the road, but take the best way to the land of Judea.
Remember the LORD afar off . . . the worship of the LORD in the sanctuary at Jerusalem, from which they were afar off at Babylon; and had been a long time, even seventy years, deprived of it.
And let Jerusalem come into your mind . . . that once famous city, the capital of the nation, that now lay in ruins; the Temple that once stood in it, and the service of God there; that upon the remembrance of, and calling these to mind, they might be stirred up to hurry there, and rebuild the city and Temple, and restore the worship of God. It is not easy to say whose words these are, whether the words of the prophet, or of the LORD by him; or of the inhabitants of the Heavens and Earth, whose song may be here continued, and in it thus address the Jews.
Jer. 51:51 We are confounded, because we have heard reproach: shame hath covered our faces: for strangers are come into the sanctuaries of the LORD'S house. (KJV)
We are confounded, because we have heard reproach . . . these are the words of the Jews, either objecting to their return to their land; or grieved at the desolation of it; and complaining because it had no inhabitants; for the land in general lay waste and uncultivated; the city of Jerusalem and Temple in ruins; and the worship of God stopped; and the enemy insulting and criticizing; suggesting that their God could not protect and save them; and under these discouragements, they could not bear the thoughts of returning to it.
Shame hath covered our faces . . . they knew not which way to look when they heard the report of the state of their country and the reproach of the enemy, and through shame covered their faces.
For strangers are come into the sanctuaries of the LORD'S house . . . strangers to God and the commonwealth of Israel, had entered to profane the Temple, the holy of holies or the Holy Place and had destroyed them, meaning the Chaldeans.
Jer. 51:52 Wherefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will do judgment upon her graven images: and through all her land the wounded shall groan. (KJV)
Wherefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will do judgment upon her graven images . . . destroy their gods, who have reproached the God of Israel, and profaned His Sanctuaries; and for that reason (see verse 47); it is an answer to the objection and complaint of the Jews, and is designed for their comfort and encouragement.
And through all her land the wounded shall groan . . . because of their wounds and pain; and which their idols could not cure, ease or prevent.
Jer. 51:53 Though Babylon should mount up to heaven, and though she should fortify the height of her strength, yet from me shall spoilers come unto her, saith the LORD. (KJV)
Though Babylon should mount up to heaven . . . could the walls of it, which were very high, two hundred cubits (300 feet) high, be carried up as high as Heaven; or the towers of it, which were ten feet higher than the walls. Babylon was surrounded by massive walls, powerful gates, and lofty pyramid-like Ziggurats but none of this would stop God's wrath.
And though she should fortify the height of her strength . . . if Babylon would be built with buildings as high as Heaven, and should fortify the strong holds on high,
Yet from me shall spoilers come, saith the LORD . . . the Medes and Persians, sent and commissioned by him, would pull down and destroy her walls and towers, no matter how high and strong.
Jer. 51:54 A sound of a cry cometh from Babylon, and great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans: (KJV)
A sound of a cry cometh from Babylon . . . of the inhabitants of it upon its being taken; which is said to mean the certainty of it, which was as sure as if the cry of the distressed was then heard.
And great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans . . . the report of a great destruction there, would be carried from there, and spread all over the world.
Jer. 51:55 Because the LORD hath spoiled Babylon, and destroyed out of her the great voice; when her waves do roar like great waters, a noise of their voice is uttered: (KJV)
Because the LORD hath spoiled Babylon . . . by means of the Medes and Persians; these were his instruments He made use of; to these He gave commission, power, and strength to spoil Babylon; and so it is ascribed to the LORD.
And destroyed out of her the great voice . . . the noise of people, which is very great in heavily populated cities, where people pass to and fro in great numbers on business; which stops when any disaster comes, such as pestilence, famine or sword, which sweep away the inhabitants . . . the sword was the case of Babylon.
When her waves do roar like great waters, a noise of their voice is uttered . . . when her enemies come up against her like the waves of the sea: a loud shout will be made by them, which will be very terrible, and silence the noise of mirth and jollity among the Babylonians (see verse 42); although some understand this to be the change that would be made among the Chaldeans . . . instead of the voice of joy and triumph, there would be the voice of howling and lamentation; and even among their high and mighty ones, would be troubled and distressed, as great waters are, when moved by tempests.
Jer. 51:56 Because the spoiler is come upon her, even upon Babylon, and her mighty men are taken, every one of their bows is broken: for the LORD God of recompences shall surely requite. (KJV)
Because the spoiler is come upon her, even upon Babylon . . . meaning Cyrus with his army.
And her mighty men are taken . . . unawares, by surprise.
Every one of their bows is broken . . . they had no strength to hold out the enemy, and were forced to yield at once; lay down their arms, and submit.
For the LORD God of recompences shall surely requite . . . that only God, to whom vengeance belongs, and will recompense it; Who is a God of justice and equity, the Judge of all the Earth; He will render tribulation to them that trouble His own; and avenge His enemies and the enemies of His people, in a righteous manner, for all the evil they have done. So too, shall it be with mystical Babylon. Rev 18:6 Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. (KJV)
Jer. 51:57 And I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men: and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts. (KJV)
And I will make drunk her princes . . . with the wine of divine wrath; meaning to slay them. Although there may be an allusion to their being drunk with wine at the feast Belshazzar made for his thousand lords; who are the princes here intended, together with the king and his royal family (Dan.5:1).
And her wise men, her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men . . . the counsellors of state, priests, magicians and astrologers; officers in the army, superior and inferior ones; and the soldiers and warriors, whom Cyrus and his men slew; when they entered the city. Rev. 19:18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. (KJV)
And they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not awake . . . all be asleep in their drunken fits, and be slain therein, and never wake nor live anymore. (verse 39).
Saith the king, whose name is the LORD of hosts . . . the King of kings and LORD of lords; the LORD of armies in Heaven and Earth; and can do and does, what He pleases in both worlds.
Jer. 51:58 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; and the people shall labour in vain, and the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary. (KJV)
Thus saith the LORD of hosts . . . because what follows might seem incredible ever to be effected; it is introduced with this introduction, expressed by him who is the God of Truth, and the LORD God omnipotent.
The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken . . . destroyed, the foundations of them, and the ground on which they stood made naked and bare, and open to public view. Every one of the walls, the inward and the outward, the wall of Babylon was thirty two feet broad, and that carriages might pass by each other without any danger. Historians differ much about the compass of its wall; but all agree it was extremely large; the best account, makes it to be three hundred and fifty eight furlongs (about forty five miles). There are many different opinions on this, but all we need to know is that it was huge!
And her high gates shall be burnt with fire . . . there were a hundred of them, all of brass, with their posts and hinges, some say.
And the people shall labour in vain, and the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary . . . some understand this of the builders of the walls, gates and city of Babylon, whose labor in the issue was in vain, since the end of them was to be broken and burned; but rather it seems the Chaldeans, who labored in the fire to extinguish and save the city and its gates, labored in vain.
The Representation and Ratification of This by the Throwing of a Copy of This Prophecy into the Euphrates River (Jer.51:59-64)
We have been a long time discussing the judgment of Babylon in this and the previous Chapter. Now we finally have the close of this whole matter.
Jer. 51:59 The word which Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, when he went with Zedekiah the king of Judah into Babylon in the fourth year of his reign. And this Seraiah was a quiet prince. (KJV)
The word which Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah . . . of this Seraiah we read nowhere else: he is further described as,
The son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, when he went with Zedekiah the king of Judah into Babylon, in the fourth year of his reign . . . the Jews say that Zedekiah, in the fourth year of his reign, went to Babylon, to reconcile himself to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and took Seraiah with him, and returned and came to his kingdom in Jerusalem; but there is no account in Scripture of any such journey he took.
And this Seraiah was a quiet prince . . . having a peaceable disposition, that did not love war, or persecution of good men; and so was a fit person for Zedekiah to send upon an embassy of peace; and for Jeremiah to employ in such service as he did; for, had he been a hot and haughty prince, he would have despised his orders and commands.
Jer. 51:60 So Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon Babylon, even all these words that are written against Babylon. (KJV)
So Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon Babylon . . . the evil of punishment predicted and threatened: this he delivered, not by word of mouth to Seraiah to relate when he came to Babylon; but he wrote it in a book for him to read; and he wrote it himself; Baruch (Jer.36:4), his former helper, not being with him now.
Even all these words that are written against Babylon . . . all the words in this and the preceding chapter: this book written by Jeremiah was a copy of them.
Jer. 51:61 And Jeremiah said to Seraiah, When thou comest to Babylon, and shalt see, and shalt read all these words; (KJV)
And Jeremiah said to Seraiah . . . at the time he delivered the copy to him.
When thou comest to Babylon . . . to the city of Babylon, and to the captive Jews there.
And shalt see them . . . the captives, and the great and populous city of Babylon, its high walls, gates, and towers, whose destruction is foretold in this book, and which might seem incredible.
And shalt read all these words . . . not before the king of Babylon and his princes, but not privately to himself; but in some proper place, in the presence of the captive Jews, or the chief of them, assembled for that purpose.
Jer. 51:62 Then shalt thou say, O LORD, thou hast spoken against this place, to cut it off, that none shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but that it shall be desolate for ever. (KJV)
Then shall thou say, O LORD . . . this acknowledges that this prophecy to be that of Almighty GOD . . . believing the accomplishment of it; and praying over it and for it, like a good man, as doubtless he was.
Thou hast spoken against this place . . . the city of Babylon, where Seraiah is now supposed to be.
To cut it off, that none shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but that it shall be desolate for ever . . . this is the matter of the whole prophecy, that the destruction of Babylon would be an utter and a perpetual one; and which is expressed in the same words that are here used. Jer. 50:3 For out of the north there cometh up a nation against her, which shall make her land desolate, and none shall dwell therein: they shall remove, they shall depart, both man and beast. (KJV)
This is an outline of the reading that is given, specifying that it was the LORD'S will to cut off Babylon.
Jer. 51:63 And it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading this book, that thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates: (KJV)
And it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading this book . . . to the captive Jews; and having also said the above words by way of prayer and approval.
That thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates . . . a river by which Babylon was situated. The book, being read, was to be rolled up again, and then a stone tied to it, and cast into the middle of the river, where the waters were deepest, and from where it could not be taken up. This was a sign confirming the above prophecy; compare with this what was done by a mighty angel concerning mystical Babylon, in which there is a reference to this. Rev. 18:21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. (KJV)
Jer. 51:64 And thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her: and they shall be weary. Thus far are the words of Jeremiah. (KJV)
And thou shall say . . . not only use the above sign and ceremony, but explain the meaning of it to those of his friends who might be with him; and what he said was in the Name of the LORD, as the form and manner in which the following words are delivered show.
Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her. . . as this book, with the stone bound to it, does, and shall no more rise than that can; the evil of punishment brought on Babylon will sink her to such a degree, that she will never be able to bear up under it; but be so depressed by it as to never rise to her former state and grandeur any more.
And they shall be weary . . . the inhabitants of it shall be so weak as not to be able to stand up under the weight and pressure on them, but shall weary themselves in vain trying to preserve their city from ruin, or restore it when ruined (verse 58).
Thus far are the words of Jeremiah . . . concerning the destruction of Babylon, as is said concerning Moab. Jer. 48:47 Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days, saith the LORD. Thus far is the judgment of Moab. (KJV)
Some say that although Jeremiah lived sometime after this, yet he did nor prophesy any more. Others say that is not true; for it is certain that many of his prophecies were delivered out after the date of this, though this is the last recorded one.
What follows in the next chapter is historical; so it not necessity to conclude from here that was written by any other hand; either, as many have thought, by Ezra; or by the men of the great synagogue.
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