He predicts the ruin of Babylon, not in simple words, for nothing seemed then more unreasonable than to announce the things which God at length proved by the effect. As Babylon was then the metropolis of the East, no one could have thought that it would ever be possessed by a foreign power. No one could have thought of the Persians, for they were far off. As to the Medes, who were nearer, they were, as we know, sunk in their own luxuries, and were deemed but half men. As then there was so much effeminacy in the Medes, and as the Persians were so far off and inclosed in their own mountains, Babylon peaceably enjoyed the empire of the whole eastern world. This, then, is the reason why the Prophet expresses at large what he might have set forth in a very few words.
Tell, he says, among the nations, publish, raise up a sign, and again, publish To what purpose is such a heap of words? even that the faithful might learn to raise up their thoughts above the world, and to look for that which was then, according to the judgment of all, incredible. This confidence shews that Jeremiah did not, in vain, foretell what he states; but he thundered as it were from heaven, knowing whence he derived this prophecy. And his proclamation was this, Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, and Merodach is broken I know not why some think that Merodach was an idol: for as to Bel, we know that the Babylonians trusted in that god, or rather in that figment. But the Prophet mentions here evidently the name of a king well known to the Jews, in order to show that Babylon, with all its defences and its wealth, was already devoted to destruction: for we know that men look partly to some god, and partly to human or temporal means. So the Babylonians boasted that they were under the protection of Bel, and dared proudly to set up this idol in opposition to the only true God, as the unbelieving do; and then in the second place, they were inebriated with confidence in their own power: and hypocrisy ever rules in the unbelieving, so that they arrogate to themselves much more than what they ascribe to their idols. It is then the same thing as though he had said, that Babylon was taken, that Bel was confounded, and that the kingdom was broken, or broken in pieces.
The name Merodach, as I have said, was well known among the Jews, and mention is made of a father and of a son of this name, by Isaiah and in sacred history. (Isa_39:1; 2Kg_20:12.) It is no wonder, then, that the Prophet should name this king, though dead, on account of the esteem in which he was held, as we have seen in the case of the kingdom of Syria, he mentioned Ben-hadad, though no one supposes that he was then alive; but as Ben-hadad distinguished himself above other kings of Syria, the Prophet introduced his name. For the same reason, in my opinion, he names Merodach here.
The sum of the whole is, that though Babylon thought itself safe and secure through the help of its idol, and also through its wealth and warlike power, and through other defences, yet its confidence would become vain and empty, for God would bring to shame its idol and destroy its king. He again returned to the idols, and not without reason; for he thus called the attention of his own nation to the only true God, and also reminded them how detestable was the idolatry which then prevailed among the Chaldeans. And it was necessary to set this doctrine before the Jews, and to impress it on them, that they might not abandon themselves to the superstitions of heathens, as it happened. But the Prophet designedly spoke of images and idols, that the Jews might know that it was the only true God who had adopted them, and that thus they might acquiesce in his power, and know that those were only vain fictions which were much made of through the whole world by the heathens and unbelieving. It now follows —
Keil and Delitzsch
In the spirit Jeremiah sees the fall of Babylon, together with its idols, as if it had actually taken place, and gives the command to proclaim among the nations this event, which brings deliverance for Israel and Judah. The joy over this is expressed in the accumulation of the words for the summons to tell the nations what has happened. On the expression, cf. Jer_4:5-6; Jer_46:14. The lifting up of a standard, i.e., of a signal-rod, served for the more rapid spreading of news; cf. Jer_4:6; Jer_6:1, Isa_13:2, etc. “Cause it to be heard” is intensified by the addition of “do not conceal it.” The thing is to be proclaimed without reserve; cf. Jer_38:14. “Babylon is taken,” i.e., conquered, and her idols have become ashamed, inasmuch as, from their inability to save their city, their powerlessness and nullity have come to light. Bel and Merodach are not different divinities, but merely different names for the chief deity of the Babylonians. Bel = Baal, the Jupiter of the Babylonians, was, as Bel-merodach, the tutelary god of Babylon. “The whole of the Babylonian dynasty,” says Oppert, Expéd. en Mésopot. ii. p. 272, “places him [Merodach] at the head of the gods; and the inscription of Borsippa calls him the king of heaven and earth.” עֲצַבִּים, “images of idols,” and גִּלּוּלִים, properly “logs,” an expression of contempt for idols (see on Lev_26:30), are synonymous ideas for designating the nature and character of the Babylonian gods.
Jeremiah 50:2 Vers. 2-10. Babylon”s fall and Israel”s deliverance.
Vers. 2, 3. The prophet, with the eye of faith, sees his revelation accomplished. Babylon (like Moab) is taken; her idols are destroyed. In his exuberant joy, he calls on the bystanders to proclaim the good news to the sympathetic nations, and to set up (or rather, lift up) a standard, (as Jer_4:6) to call the attention of those who might not be within hearing of the proclamation. The idols have been convicted of false pretensions; they are ashamed and dismayed (so we should render rather than confounded and broken in pieces) at the terrible result to their worshippers. Bel and Merodach are not different deifies, but merely different names of one of the two principal gods of the later Babylonian empire. Bel, it is true, was originally distinct from Merodach, but ultimately identified with him. Merodach was the tutelary god of Babylon, and Nebuchadnezzar seems to have been specially addicted to his worship, though, indeed, he mentions Nebo also with hardly less honour. This is the beginning of an inscription of this king”s, preserved at the India House: King of Babylon, glorious prince, worshipper of Marduk, adorer of the lofty one, glorifier of Nabu, the exalted, the possessor of intelligence” (Mr. Rodwell”s translation, “Records of the Past,” 5:113). Elsewhere Nebuchadnezzar speaks of Marduk as “the god my maker,” “the chief of the gods,” and of himself as “his (Marduk”s) eldest son, the chosen of his heart.” Her images. It is a very peculiar word (gillulim), specially frequent in Ezekiel, and also found in a chapter of Leviticus with which Ezekiel has affinities. (Lev_26:30) It evidently involves a sore disparagement of idol worship. The etymological meaning is “things rolled,” which may be variously interpreted as “idol blocks” (Gesenius), or “doll images” (Ewald).
Ver. 2. The judgment of Babylon.
The position and history of Babylon give a peculiar significance to the judgment against her.
I BABYLON HAD BEEN THE GREATEST POWER OF HER TIME.
1. Earthly greatness is transitory. The supremacy of the world is an insecure position. Rivalries and hatreds inevitably spring up about it.
2. No might nor dignity can secure a people from the judgment of Heaven. The more talents are entrusted to a nation the heavier must its responsibility be. England will have to answer to God for her use of the vast resources on which she foolishly prides itself. The wealth and population of London are no defence against Divine judgments.
II. BABYLON HAD BEEN THE MOST VICTORIOUS KINGDOM OF HER TIME. She had conquered in her wars with neighbouring nations. While they failed she had succeeded; fortune, frowning on them, had smiled upon her. Yet Babylon”s time came. No ground of confidence is more delusive than previous success. If success induces carelessness and self-indulgence, it is sure to prepare the way for future failure. The “fortunate man” has not the slightest reason for presuming that his good fortune will help him in the future life. If he can argue anything from it, he may conclude that, since he has had his good things in this life, the evils that fall to his share must await him in the next.
III BABYLON HAD TRIUMPHED OVER THE PEOPLE OF GOD. Some might have thought that this was a victory of her patron god over the Jehovah of the Jews. But now “Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces.” For a season the evil powers of the world may triumph over the Church of Christ. But ultimately they must succumb. Persecution cannot finally crush the truth. Unbelief, proud and insolent as it may be for a while, must ultimately bow before the power of faith. For truth is great and eternal, and God is fighting on its side.
IV BABYLON HAD BEEN AN INSTRUMENT IN THE HANDS OF GOD. Jehovah speaks of Nebuchadnezzar as “my servant”. (Jer_27:6) Yet he must suffer. For he was not a deliberate, willing servant. If God overrules the action of a man for good, this result is no justification of his conduct. For he is judged by his aims and motives, and not at all by the unintentional and unforeseen results of his actions. The only service of God which renders the servant acceptable in his sight is conscious, willing, obedient service. We may be used by God for other service, and then be cast off and suffer for our sinful deeds as much as if no Divine ends had been fulfilled in them. Thus the scourge is scourged.
Let what I have before said be borne in mind, that the Prophet makes use of many words in describing the ruin of Babylon; for it was not enough to predict what was to be; but as weak minds vacillated, it was necessary to add a confirmation. After having then spoken of the power of Babylon and its idols, he now points out the way in which it was to be destroyed — a nation would come from the north, that is, with reference to Chaldea. And he means the Medes and Persians, as interpreters commonly think; and this is probable, because he afterwards adds that the Jews would then return. As then Jeremiah connects these two things together, the destruction of Babylon and the restoration of God’s Church, it is probable that he refers here to the Medes and Persians. If, at the same time, we more narrowly view things, there is no doubt but that this prophecy extends further, and this will appear more evident as we proceed.
He simply says now that a nation would come from the north, which would turn the land to a waste This clause shews that this prophecy could not be fitly confined to the time when Babylon was taken by Cyrus; for we know that it was betrayed by two Satraps during a siege; and that it was at a time when a feast was held, as though there was peace and security, as Daniel testifies, with whom heathen writers agree. Now Xenophon testifies that Cyrus exercised great forbearanceand humanity, and that he used his victory with such moderation, that Babylon seemed as though it had not been taken. It had, indeed, changed masters, but such was the change that the citizens readily submitted to it. But it was afterwards more hardly dealt with, when Darius recovered it by the aid of Zopyrus; for Babylon had revolted from the Persians, and shook off the yoke. Darius having in vain stormed it, at length recovered it by the help of one man; for Zopyrus, having cut off his nose, and mutilated his ears and his face, pretended, in this deformed manner, to be a fugitive, and complained of the cruelty and barbarity of his king, with whom yet he was most intimate. The city was soon afterwards taken by treachery in the night. Then about four thousand of the Persians were hung in the middle of the Forum, nor did Darius spare the people. The Prophet then seems to include this second destruction when he predicted that the whole land would be made desolate. Nor ought this to be deemed unreasonable, for the Prophets so spoke of God’s judgments, that they extended what they said further than to the commencement, as was the case in the present instance.
When, therefore, Babylon was taken by the Persians, it received the yoke; and she which ruled over all other nations, was reduced to a state of servitude. For the Persians, as it is well known, were very inhuman, and Isaiah describes them so at large. In the meantime, the city, as I have said, retained its external appearance. The citizens were robbed of their gold and silver, and of their precious things, and were under the necessity of serving strangers: this was bitter to them. But when Darius punished their perfidy and hung so many of the chief men, about four thousand, and also shed indiscriminately the blood of the people, and subjected the city itself to the plunder of his soldiers, then doubtless what the Prophet says here was more fully accomplished. It was yet God’s purpose to give only a prelude of his vengeance, when he made the Babylonians subject to the Medes and Persians. It now follows —
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
a nation — the Medes, north of Babylon (Jer_51:48). The devastation of Babylon here foretold includes not only that by Cyrus, but also that more utter one by Darius, who took Babylon by artifice when it had revolted from Persia, and mercilessly slaughtered the inhabitants, hanging four thousand of the nobles; also the final desertion of Babylon, owing to Seleucia having been built close by under Seleucus Nicanor.
From Media, which lay northward to Babylon and Assyria, through which Cyrus’s way to Babylon lay. This prophecy seemeth not to relate only to Cyrus’s first taking of Babylon, who dealt very gently with it, but to a second taking of it by Darius the king of the Medes, who upon their defection from the Persian monarchy came and made a horrible devastation amongst them, hanging up (as some tell us) four thousand of their nobles, and slaying multitudes of the common people; or of the mischief done them afterward by Seleucus Nicanor, who is said to have built a city, which he called Seleucia, within fourscore and ten miles of Babylon, by which means he brought Babylon to an utter desolation.
He then immediately answers in the person of God, I have ensnared thee, and therefore thou Babylon art taken Here God declares, that though it could not be possible that Babylon and its empire should fall through human means, yet its destruction was in his hand. Thou, he says, art taken, even because I ensnared thee; as though he had said, that the Chaldeans would not have to do with men, because he himself would carry on the war and guide and direct the Persians and the Medes, and also endue them with power: He would, in short, fight himself until he had overcome the Babylonians.
When he says, thou knewest not, he not only reproves the insensibility of that people, but at the same time derides their security, as though he had said, “Thou thinkest thyself beyond the reach of harm, but thou wilt find that no one can escape my hand.” We now then perceive the meaning of the Prophet. It is indeed true that the unbelieving, when God punishes them for their wickedness, do not acknowledge his hand; but the Prophet means another thing, — that though Babylon trusted in its strength and feared nothing, it would yet be taken, because it could not evade the snares.
He adds, Thou art found and therefore caught; and he states the reason, because she had contended with God. We shall presently explain how Babylon contended or litigated with or against God, even because God had taken under his protection and patronage the Israelites. This, then, is said with reference to the Church, as I shall presently explain more at large. It must be here briefly observed, that God so undertakes the cause of his people, as though he himself were injured, according to what he promises that they would be to him as the apple of his eye. (Zec_2:8.) It now follows, —
I have laid a snare for thee – It was not by storm that Cyrus took the city. The Euphrates ran through it; he dug a channel for the river in another direction, to divert its stream; he waited for that time in which the inhabitants had delivered themselves up to debauchery: in the dead of the night he turned off the stream, and he and his army entered by the old channel, now void of its waters. This was the snare of which the prophet here speaks. See Nerodotus, lib. i., c. 191.
Jamieson, fausset, and Brown
I — Thou hast to do with God, not merely with men.
taken … not aware — Herodotus relates that one half of the city was taken before those in the other half were “aware” of it. Cyrus turned the waters of the Euphrates where it was defended into a different channel, and so entered the city by the dried-up channel at night, by the upper and lower gates (Dan_5:30, Dan_5:31).
Jeremiah 50:24 I have laid a snare for thee. It was very natural, as long as Cyrus”s own account of the capture of Babylon was unknown, to refer for a fulfilment to the stratagem which, as Herodotus relates, that king employed, viz. diverting the waters of the Euphrates into an already existing reservoir, and entering the city unexpectedly by the river channel (Herod., 1:191). But the cylinder inscription, translated by Sir H. Rawlinson in 1880, shows that Babylon opened its gates of its own accord, on hearing the defeat and capture of Nabonidus. There is no occasion to look for any further fulfilment of the prophecy than the surprise which must ever come upon the bystander when he sees a mighty empire suddenly pass into the hands of its enemies. The tenses in this verse are not very happily rendered. It would be better to translate, I laid a snare for thee, and thou wast taken, O Babylon, unawares; thou wast found, etc., because thou hadst striven against the Lord.
The Prophet here expresses more clearly what he bad touched upon, even that this war would not be that of the Persians, but of God himself. He then says, that God had opened his treasure, even because he has various and manifold ways and means, which cannot be comprehended by men, when he resolves to destroy the ungodly. That monarchy was impregnable according to the judgment of men; but God here says that he had hidden means by which he would lay waste Babylon and reduce it to nothing. Then what is by a similitude called the treasure of God, means such a way as surpasses the comprehension of men, that is, when God executes his judgments in a way hidden and unexpected.
As, then, the faithful could hardly conceive what Jeremiah said, he raises up their thoughts to God’s providence, which ought not to be subjected to human judgment; for it is absurd in men to judge of God’s power according to the perceptions of the flesh; it is the same as though they attempted to include heaven and earth in the hollow of their hand. God himself says, that he takes heaven and earth in the hollow of his hand. When, therefore, men seek to comprehend the power of God, it is like a fly attempting to devour all the mountains. Hence the Prophet reproves this presumption to which we are all by nature inclined, even to determine according to the comprehension of our minds what God is about or ought to do, as though his power were not infinite.
This is the reason why the Prophet says, God hath opened his treasury; and then, he hath thence brought forth the instruments of his wrath, that is, from his treasury, even in a way and manner which was then incomprehensible. (65) And subjoined is the reason, Because this is the work of God alone, the God of hosts, in the land of the Chaldeans (66) Here the Prophet briefly concludes, intimating, that the faithful ought quietly to wait until what he taught came to pass, even because it was the work of God. And there is nothing more absurd than for men to seek to measure God’s power, as it has been said, by their own judgment. It follows, — but I cannot explain the verse now.
Jeremiah 50:25 Hath opened his armoury. A truly grand figure. The north country (the “hidden” part of the earth, as it was called in Hebrew) is regarded by the prophet as a storehouse of young and “inexhaustible” nations, from which Jehovah can at any time “bring forth weapons of his indignation.” The latter phrase, occurs again in the parallel prophecy, (Isa_13:5) where it is evidently applied to the army of Medo-Persian invaders. For this is the work, etc.; rather, For the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, hath a work.
The Prophet adopts various modes of speaking, and not without reason, because he had to thunder rather than to speak; and then as he spoke of a thing incredible, there was need of no common confirmation; the faithful also, almost pining away in their miseries, could hardly entertain any hope. This is the reason why the Prophet dwells so long and so diffusely on a subject in itself not obscure, for there was not only need of amplifying, but also of great vehemence.
Then, as though he had many heralds ready to obey, he says, Call together the mighty against Babylon Some read “many,” but the word רבים , rebim, means both; and I think that “the mighty” or strong are meant here. Why some render it “arrows” I know not. It is, indeed, immediately added, all who bend the bow, כל-דרכי קשת , caldereki koshet. But the word, without anything added to it, never means an arrow. They refer to a place in Gen_21:20, where Ishmael is said to be “an archer,” רבה, rebe; but the word “bow” follows it. We cannot then take רבים, rebim here but as signifying many or the mighty; and the latter is the most suitable word. Then the Prophet bids the strong and the warlike to come together, and then he mentions them specifically, — all who bend the bow, even all skillful archers. For the Persians excelled in this art, they were archers of the first order. It was indeed a practice common among eastern nations, but the Persians surpassed all others. The Prophet then points them out when he bids archers to assemble.
He adds, encompass or besiege her around, that there may be no escape. This also was a thing difficult to be believed, for Babylon was more like a country than a city. Then one could have hardly thought that it could have been besieged around and at length taken, as it happened. Therefore the Prophet here testifies that what exceeded the opinion of all would take place. But he had said before that this would be the work of God, that the faithful might not form a judgment according to their own measure, for nothing is more absurd, as it has been said, than to measure the power of God by our own understanding. As then the Prophet had before declared that the siege of Babylon would be the work of God, he bids them now, with more confidence, to besiege it around, that there might not be an escape.
It is then added, Render to her according to her work; according to what she has done, do to her. By these words the Prophet shows that the vengeance which God would execute on the Chaldeans would be just, for nothing is more equitable than to render to one what he had done to others.
“With what measure ye mete to others,” says Christ, “it shall be rendered to you.” (Luk_6:38)
As, then, nature itself teaches us that the punishment is most just which is inflicted on the cruel themselves, hence the Prophet reminds us here that God would be a just avenger in his extreme violence against the Babylonians. But he looks farther, for he assumes this principle, that God is the judge of the world. Since he is so, it follows that they who unjustly oppress others must at length receive their own reward; as also Paul says, that the judgment of God, otherwise obscure, will be made evident, when he shall give relief and rest to the miserable who are now unjustly afflicted, and when he shall render their reward to oppressors. (2Th_1:6.) The Prophet then takes occasion of confidence from this truth to animate the faithful and to encourage them to entertain hope. How so? Since God is the judge of the world, the Jews ought to have considered what sort of people the Babylonians had been; nay, they had already sufficiently experienced how cruel and barbarous they were. As, then, the avarice and cruelly of the Chaldeans were sufficiently apparent, the Prophet here reminds them, that as God is in heaven, it could not be otherwise but that he would shortly call them to judgment, for otherwise he would not be God. Surely he would not be the judge of the world, were he not to regard the miserable unjustly oppressed, and bring them help, and stretch forth his hand to relieve them; and were he not also, on the other hand, to punish the avaricious and the proud and the cruel. We now understand the meaning of the Prophet.
He adds, in the last place, because she has acted proudly against Jehovah, against the Holy One of Israel By saying that the Babylonians had acted proudly, he means that they had not only been injurious to men, but had been also insolent towards God himself; for the verb here used denotes a sin different from that which happens through levity or want of thought. When any one sins inconsiderately, he is said to have erred; but when one sins knowingly, it is a deliberate wickedness, and he is said to be proud; and this we learn from Psa_19:12; for David there sets pride in opposition to errors: “errors,” he says, “who can understand?” and then he asks God to cleanse him from all pride. David indeed had not designedly raised his horns against God, but he yet feared lest the wantonness of the flesh should lead him to pride. When, therefore, the Prophet now says that the Chaldeans had acted proudly towards God, it is the same as though he accused them of sacrilegious pride, even that they designed to be insolent towards God himself, and not only cruel to his people.
But an explanation follows, against the Holy One of Israel The Babylonians might have raised an objection, and said, that it was not their purpose to act proudly towards God. But the Prophet here brings forward the word Israel, as though he had said, “If there be a God in heaven, our religion is true; then God’s name dwells with us. Since, then, the Babylonians have basely oppressed the people whom God has chosen, it follows that they have been sacrilegious towards him.” And he meant the same thing when he said before, the vengeance of Jehovah our God Why did he add, our God? that the Jews might know that whatever wrongs they had suffered, they reached God himself, as though he were hurt in his own person. So also in this place the Prophet takes away from the Babylonians all means of evasion when he says, that they had acted proudly towards the Holy One of Israel When, therefore, the ungodly seek evasions and say that they do not contend with God, their pretenses are disproved, when they carry on war with his Church, and fight, against his faithful people, whose safety he has undertaken to defend. For God cannot be otherwise the protector of his Church than by setting himself up as a shield in its defense whenever he sees his people unjustly attacked by the reprobate. It follows, —
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
archers — literally, “very many and powerful”; hence the Hebrew word is used of archers (Job_16:13) from the multitude and force of their arrows.
according to all that she hath done — (See on Jer_50:15).
proud against the Lord — not merely cruel towards men (Isa_47:10).
He confirms the same thing, and shows that the destruction of Babylon would be such, that everything valuable would be destroyed. Fall, he says, shall her strong men in the streets; which is worse than if he had said, “They shall fall in battle.” Babylon was so taken that all her armed men were slain in the middle of the city. Cyrus indeed spared, as it has been already said, the common people; but he slew all the chief men and the armed soldiers. As the Babylonians were taken while keeping a feast, as we read in Daniel, hence Jeremiah mentions the streets. He afterwards adds, —
Jeremiah 50:30 Therefore shall her young men fall in the streets,…. Or “surely” (f); it is the form of an oath, according to Jarchi Cyrus, when he took Babylon, ordered proclamation to be made that the inhabitants should keep within doors; and that whoever were found in the streets should be put to death (g), as doubtless many were:
and all her men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the Lord; as Belshazzar and his guards were (h); see Dan_5:30; compare with this Rev_19:18.
(f) לכן “certe”. (g) Cyropaedia, l. 7. c. 23. (h) Ibid.
Jeremiah, in order more fully to confirm what he had said, again introduces God as the speaker. And we have stated how necessary this was, because he could have hardly gained credit otherwise to his prophecy; but when he introduced God, he removed every doubt. Behold, he says, I am against thee, O proud one He again calls the Babylonians proud, even because they had not been led to war by levity or folly, or vain ambition, but because they had assailed God and men without any reverence and without any regard to humanity.
He says that the time had come, because the faithful would have otherwise interrupted him and said, “How is this, that God so long delays?” That they might then sustain and cherish hope until the time which God had prescribed for his vengeance, he says, that the day had come, and the time of visitation Whenever this mode of speaking occurs, let us know that all the natural instincts of our flesh are checked; for there is no one of us who does not immediately jump to take vengeance when we see the faithful oppressed, when we see many unworthy things done to our brethren, when we see innocent blood shed, and the miserable cruelly treated by the ungodly. When, therefore, all these instances of barbarity happen, none of us can contain himself; hence God puts on us a bridle, and exhorts us to exercise patience, when he says, that the time of visitation is not yet completed.
As long then as God delays, let us know that the fit time is not yet come, because he has a fixed day of visitation, unknown to us. It follows, —
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
most proud — literally, “pride”; that is, man of pride; the king of Babylon.
visit — punish (Jer_50:27).
Babylon is particularly branded for pride, which is the swelling of a man’s heart in a self-opinion, caused from something wherein he excelleth, or thinks that he excelleth, another, We have a large account of the pride of Babylon Isa_14:12-14, and particularly of one of their kings, Dan_5:20,21. The sinner exalteth himself against God, and either judgeth himself wiser or moro mighty than he.
The Prophet continues the same subject: as then he had announced in God’s name that the time of visitation would come when God would rise up against the Chaldeans, he now adds, stumble shall the proud, and fall The verb כשל, cashel, means also to fall; but as it is added, ונפל , vanuphel, and fall, it ought to be rendered stumble here. Stumble, then, shall the proud, and fall — for the Prophet denotes a gradation. Some render the words, “Fall shall the proud and tumble down:” but more suitable is the rendering I have given, that the proud would stumble, and then that he would fall. And no one, he says, shall raise him up By these words, God intimates, that though Babylon had many nations under its authority, yet there would be no help given to it, when the time of visitation came. It indeed often happens that many busy themselves, and make every effort to assist the wicked, but without any success. When, therefore, God declares that there would be no one to raise up Babylon when fallen, the meaning is not, that courage would be wanting to all, but that the efforts of all would be of no avail, even because God, when Babylon fell, would be against her, so that were the whole world to unite for her relief, all their attempts would be useless.
And for the same purpose, he adds, I will kindle a fire which will consume or devour all his cities God calls slaughter, by a metaphor, fire; for slaughter, like fire, raged so as to consume the whole monarchy — not only the city, but also all the neighboring nations — for the war reached even to Asia. Cyrus, as it is well known, passed over the sea and depopulated Phrygia. In short, though victory might have been mild, yet it was no doubt like fire, as it devoured all the neighboring nations. It follows,—
Jeremiah 50:32 The most proud; rather, Pride. Raise him up. For the sake of uniformity, “her” would be better; for it is Babylon who is spoken of. There is an inconsistency in the use of the persons in the original. Elsewhere in this description Babylon is feminine; here it is masculine, to agree with “Pride.”