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Wednesday, June 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 51

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

Verses 1-64

Prophecies Concerning the Nations

The custom of placing in a group, as here, prophecies against heathen nations is illustrated by Isaiah (Jeremiah 13-33), Ezekiel (Jeremiah 25-32), and Amos (Jeremiah 1, 2). For the position of the prophecies at the end of the book as compared with that which they hold in the LXX, see Intro, and on Jeremiah 25:11. We may divide them thus:—(a) Jeremiah 46-49 (mostly of the fourth year of Jehoiakim). This section contains prophe-oies concerning Egypt and five other nations doubtless included in the roll of Jeremiah 36, with the exception of the second concerning Egypt (Jeremiah 46:14-28: see note on Jeremiah 46:13) and of the last against Elam (Jeremiah 49:34-39: first year of Zedekiah). These prophecies follow a natural order. Egypt is at the head as the nation whose over-throw by Nebuchadnezzar would be the signal to those others of a similar fate. We go thenc to Philistia (including Tyre and Sidon); then (passing round to the E. of Palestine) to Moab, Ammon, and Edom; then to Damascus, as representing the kingdoms of the North; to Kedar and Hazor, as indicating the kings mentioned in the summary of Jeremiah 25:24 while, lastly, the nations of the East are included under Elam.

(b) Jeremiah 50, 51 (of doubtful authorship). This prophecy concerning Babylon forms an appropriate conclusion to the series. The nations immediately bordering upon Palestine have had their fate foretold, and then the more remote. Now the empire which was to execute God’s vengeance upon them is itself, declared to be destined in its turn to fall. See further, in intro. to Jeremiah 50.

Verses 1-64

1-14. The end of Babylon arrives.

1. See on Jeremiah 25:26.

1, 2. The imagery is of the wind scattering the chaff on the threshingfloor. The wind and the fanners are the Medes (Jeremiah 51:11).

3. Him that bendeth] i.e. his bow in defence of Babylon. Brigandine] coat of mail.

5. See on Jeremiah 50:29.

7. Babylon has been God’s instrument in His vengeance on the nations.

10. Hath brought forth our righteousness] has judged that the Jews’ idolatry has been sufficiently punished, and that they are again to be treated as righteous.

11. The kings of the Medes] the leaders of the various tribes which together formed the nation: cp. Jeremiah 51:28. His temple] see on Jeremiah 50:28.

12. Upon] RV ’against.’

13. Many waters] see on Jeremiah 50:38. Covetousness] RM ’dishonest gain.’

14. Caterpillers] RV ’the cankerworm.’

15-19. The Creator of all things is the only true God. See on Jeremiah 10:13.

20-58. The fate appointed for Babylon.

20. My battle ax] Many commentators think that Babylon is meant, but as Babylon is in this passage not the instrument but the object of God’s vengeance (Jeremiah 51:24-26), it seems more natural to regard Cyrus as indicated here. Will I break] rather, ’I break.’

25. O destroying mountain] The same phrase is used of the Mount of Olives (AV ’mount of corruption’) in 2 Kings 23:13, as the scene of pernicious idolatry. Babylon here receives the title, as at once hurtful and conspicuous. Burnt] i.e. probably, burnt out, extinct.

27. Ararat, Minni, are districts of Armenia, and so probably was Ashchenaz. Minni is frequently mentioned in Assyrian inscriptions, the kings of Assyria having had to quell frequent revolts against their overlordship among its people.

28. Prepare] lit. ’sanctify’: so in Jeremiah 6:4; Jeremiah 22:7. His dominion] referring to the king of Media, who is to gather to the attack his tribes with their leaders: cp. Jeremiah 22:11.

31. Post] running messenger. At one end] RV ’on every quarter.’

32. Passages] with fords, or ferries. Reeds] RM ’marshes,’ Heb. ’pools.’ The reservoirs and pools around Babylon which prevented inundations shall disappear as completely as what is inflammable does by the action of fire.

33. It is time to thresh her] RV ’at the time when it is trodden.’

34f. Oppressed Israel speaks.

34. Dragon] here, ’sea-monster.’ Delicates] dainties; here only used as a substantive in the Bible.

36. Sea] a great lake, or reservoir, made by the Babylonish queen Nitocris.

Springs] RV ’fountain,’ referring to the network of canals dug for commerce and irrigation.

37. Dragons] RV ’jackals.’

39. While they are exulting and carousing, I will destroy them unawares. In their heat] when hot with wine.

41. Sheshach] see on Jeremiah 25:26.

42. The sea] a figure for the invaders: cp. Jeremiah 51:55, Jeremiah 46:7.

44. Bel] see on Jeremiah 50:2. That which he hath swallowed up] the riches of the subjugated nations.

46. Lest] RV ’let not.’ Rumour] the state of unrest preceding the final catastrophe: cp. Matthew 24:6, Matthew 24:7.

48. Shall sing for] RV ’shall sing for joy over.’

50. Ye that have escaped the sword] by being already in exile at Babylon. Afar off] RV ’from afar,’ viz. Babylon.

51. The exiles have been scoffed at for worshipping a God who has not defended His Temple from sacrilege.

53. Allusion to the height of the walls or of the tower of Bel.

55. The great voice] the hum of the city’s life. When her waves] RV ’and their waves,’ the surging hostB that encompass the city: cp. Jeremiah 51:42.

58. Broad walls] They were 30 or 40 ft. wide: see Herod, i. 178.

And the people.. shall be weary] The labour expended on these splendid edifices will have been in vain.

59. Seraiah] brother of Baruch: see Jeremiah 32:12. Went with Zedekiah] Zedekiah’s visit was probably an act of homage to Nebuchadnezzar, perhaps to allay suspicions caused by the communications between the former and neighbouring peoples: see on Jeremiah 27:3. Possibly, however, we should read ’from,’ instead of ’with.’

A quiet prince] RV ’chief chamberlain,’ mg. ’quarter-master,’ who prepared for the king’s reception at each halting-place on the journey.

61. And shalt see, and shaltread] RV ’then see that thou read,’ so that the Jewish witnesses who heard could testify in after time to the prediction.

64. And they shall be weary] the last word (in Heb. but one) of the prophecy (see Jeremiah 51:58) with which the symbolic act is thus coupled.

Thus far, etc.] showing that Jeremiah 52 is by another hand.

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 51". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/jeremiah-51.html. 1909.
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