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The Fall of Babylon and the Restoration of Israel
The prophecy concerning Babylon is ascribed to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 51:59. This, however, need not mean more than that it represents the tone of Jeremiah’s utterances as expanded by a follower, e.g. Baruch, at a later date. The reasons for doubting Jeremiah’s authorship aro: (a) he elsewhere speaks in friendly terms of the Chaldeans; here their overthrow is predicted; (b) the style and words betray another writer; (c) the knowledge displayed of Babylonian matters is greater than could be expected of the prophet; (d) the Jews are in exile far away from Jerusalem (Jeremiah 50:4, Jeremiah 50:6, Jeremiah 50:17, Jeremiah 50:33) The prophecy was fulfilled when Babylon was taken by Cyrus or his general Gobryas (perhaps the Darius of Daniel) in 539 b.c., nearly 50 years after the fall of Jerusalem.
2. A standard] as the speediest way of calling attention to the news. Merodach] another name for Bel (Baal), the tutelary God of Babylon.
3. Out of the north] referring to the Medo-Persian power. Media was NW. of Babylon.
4. The overthrow of their captors shall free the Jews.
5. Thitherward] RM ’Heb. hitherward.’
8-16. The triumph of Babylon over Israel shall be avenged.
8. As the he goats] in joyful alacrity.
9. An assembly of great nations] see for some of them Jeremiah 51:27. Herodotus (vii. 61f.) says there were twenty-two.
11. It is for exulting over Israel that Chaldea suffers. At grass] RV ’that treadeth out the corn.’ The command in Deuteronomy 25:4 would have this effect.
12. The hindermost, etc.] RV ’She (Babylon) shall be the hindermost,’ etc.
15. Given her hand] RV ’submitted herself,’ surrendered. Foundalions] RV ’bulwarks.’ Her walls are thrown down] not done by Cyrus, but (according to Herod, iii. 159) at the later capture by Darius.
16. They shall turn, etc.] The captives of other nations as well as of the Jews shall be released.
17-32. Babylon and her empire are doomed, while Israel shall be forgiven.
17. The lions] The sculptured winged lions (Assyrian and Babylonian) give the image a special point. Assyria had devoured the Ten Tribes, and now Babylon was crushing the feeble remnant of the people. Assyria had paid the penalty; so too shall Babylon.
20. Reserve] RV ’leave as a remnant.’
21. Merathaim.. Pekod] Proper names bearing the significant senses of ’double-rebellion’ and ’visitation,’ alluding to Babylon.
23. Hammer] Babylon: cp. Jeremiah 51:20. Individuals at other times have borne this title; Judas Maccabæus for his victories over Syria; Charles Martel, grandfather of Charles the Great (Charlemagne), who conquered the Saracens in a decisive battle at Tours, 732a.d., and Edward I of England, on whose tomb at Westminster Abbey are the words, ’Scotorum Malleus,’ or ’hammer of the Scots.’
27. Bullocks] i.e. her choice young warriors: cp. Jeremiah 48:15.
28. The vengeance of his temple] the requital for having burnt it: cp. Jeremiah 51:11.
29. The Holy One of Israel] cp. Jeremiah 51:5, not elsewhere in this book, but characteristic of Isaiah.
33-40. Babylon shall be utterly laid waste.
34. Redeemer] Heb. Goel, the near kinsman, to whom belonged the duty of avenging a murder. So the Lord is about to avenge His people.
36. Liars] rather, ’boasters.’
37. Mingled people] see on Jeremiah 25:20.
38. Her waters] the many canals which drained and irrigated the country around Babylon: cp. Jeremiah 51:13.
Idols] Heb. ’terrors,’ meaning their grotesque forms, such as winged bulls and humanheaded lions.
39. The wild beasts of the islands] RV ’the wolves,’ Heb. ’howling creatures.’ Owls] RY ’ostriches.’
41-46. The enemy approaches and fulfils God’s behests.
41-43. See on Jeremiah 6:22.
44-46. Adapted from Jeremiah 49:19-21.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 50". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany