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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Jeremiah 50

 

 

Verses 1-46

Jeremiah 50:1 to Jeremiah 51:58. Babylon.—This long and monotonous prophecy, which is without order or logical development of ideas, is largely a compilation from the prophetic writings of Jeremiah and others (cf., e.g., Jeremiah 50:41 ff., Jeremiah 51:15). It presupposes the destruction of Jerusalem, apparently as a remote rather than a recent event. Its idea of Babylon is that of a cruel tyrant to be punished by Yahweh, not that of a Divinely commissioned agent of Yahweh's wrath against Israel, as Jeremiah teaches. We are not at liberty to make it contemporaneous with such exilic writings as Isaiah 13, 40-55, because of its obvious dependence on these amongst other prophecies (see the notes); but the survival of Babylon (under the Persian empire) in the post-exilic period would provide later occasion for such a compilation. Moreover, the narrative of Jeremiah 51:59-64, which tells of a (private) scroll of prophecy sent by Jeremiah to Babylon, foretelling its end, would easily give rise to such a compilation by some later writer. In the present (editorial) arrangement of the text, this narrative is made to date the prophecy of Jeremiah 50:1 to Jeremiah 51:58 in 593 B.C., which is impossible (cf. Jeremiah 27-29 for the actual conditions about that date).

Jeremiah 50:2-4. Declaration of the overthrow of Babylon by a nation from the north, i.e. Media, which lay north of Babylon (Jeremiah 51:28, Isaiah 13:17).

Jeremiah 50:2. set up a standard: to attract attention, but derived from Isaiah 13:2, where the phrase is used in a different sense.—Bel: i.e. Baal, or "Lord" of Nippur, the earth-god; cf. Isaiah 46:1; his place and title were usurped by Bel-Marduk or Merodach.

Jeremiah 50:4-7. United Israel will return to Palestine in penitence; the Israelites have gone astray and become defenceless through their sin.

Jeremiah 50:5. Read as Syr., "let us join ourselves".

Jeremiah 50:7. Render "We are not guilty", contrasting Jeremiah 2:3.—the habitation of justice: here a title of Yahweh, derived from Jeremiah 31:23, where it is used more naturally of Jerusalem. Omit with LXX, "even the Lord".

Jeremiah 50:8-13. Let Israel be the first to go (the "he-goats" are the natural leaders of the flock). Yahweh brings a resistless foe from the north; Babylon, instead of enjoying her present luxury, shall be desolated.

Jeremiah 50:9. As mg.2; the warrior comes back laden with spoil.

Jeremiah 50:10. The spoilers are satisfied, i.e. they get all they want.

Jeremiah 50:11. because: better "though", in all cases.—your mother: Babylon.

Jeremiah 50:12. Omit "she shall be", and read the following phrases as exclamatory.

Jeremiah 50:13. Cf. Jeremiah 19:8.

Jeremiah 50:14-16. The foe is urged to the attack; Babylon surrenders; agriculture is brought to an end; the foreign residents (Isaiah 13:14) flee.

Jeremiah 50:17-20. The second of Israel's two assailants (i.e. Assyria in 722, Babylon in 586) will now pay the penalty; Israel will be restored to Palestine (cf. Micah 7:14), and pardoned (Jeremiah 31:34).

Jeremiah 50:19. soul: "appetite".

Jeremiah 50:21-28. The foe is summoned to attack Babylon, and the destroyer of others (Jeremiah 50:23; cf. Jeremiah 51:20 ff.) is now to be "devoted" (Deuteronomy 13:15 f.). News of this Divine vengeance for the destruction of the Jewish Temple is brought to Jerusalem (Jeremiah 50:28).

Jeremiah 50:21. Note the play on names as in mg.; mt marrtim, "the sea-country", is a name of S. Babylonia; the Pukudu are a Babylonian people (Ezekiel 23:23).

Jeremiah 50:27. bullocks: figure for warriors (Isaiah 34:7).

Jeremiah 50:29-32. The foe is again summoned to recompense Babylon's pride (with Jeremiah 50:30; cf. Jeremiah 49:26, with Jeremiah 50:31 f; cf. Jeremiah 21:13 f.).

Jeremiah 50:33-40. Yahweh takes up the cause of His oppressed people (Babylon continuing the Assyrian tyranny over the northern exiles, Jeremiah 50:33). The sword destroys Babylon, leaving it desolate.

Jeremiah 50:36. boasters: the diviners and oracle-mongers (Isaiah 44:25).

Jeremiah 50:37. mingled people: foreign residents (Jeremiah 25:20).

Jeremiah 50:38. drought: should be "sword" (figuratively used) as in LXX of Lucian, Syr.—they are mad upon idols: point with VSS, "they boast of idols"; cf. Psalms 97:7.

Jeremiah 50:40. Cf. Jeremiah 49:18.

Jeremiah 50:41-43 has been transferred bodily from Jerusalem (as in mg.) to Babylon; similarly, Jeremiah 50:44-46, from Edom (mg.) to Babylon.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Jeremiah 50:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/jeremiah-50.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, November 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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