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Jeremiah 50:45

45. Therefore hear ye the counsel of the LORD, that he hath taken against Babylon; and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the land of the Chaldeans: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out: surely he shall make their habitation desolate with them.

45. Propterea audite consilium Jehovae quod consultavit contra Babylonem, et cogitationes quas cogitavit contra terram Chaldaeorum; Si non traxerint eos parvuli gregis; si non perdiderint super eos habitaculum.

 

The Prophet confirms his previous doctrine, and uses an oath, for he had already spoken sufficiently at large of the destruction of Babylon, and his words might seem otherwise superfluous, because the subject had been explained with abundant clearness. But he introduces God here as making an oath, for the particles, “if not,” אם לא, am la, show the sentence to be elliptical; and we know that this form of swearing is common in Scripture. Then God swears, that the Babylonians were already given up to destruction, so that even the least of the flock would be superior to them.

But it is not without reason that the Prophet speaks here of the counsel of God and of his thoughts; for we know that men through their own vanity are held suspended or in doubt, so that they do not firmly acquiesce in God’s word, at least they vacillate so as to have no stability of faith. As, then, men think in themselves that possibly a thing may happen otherwise than according to the words of the prophets, Jeremiah does here meet such thoughts, and bids men to hear the counsel of God and his thoughts. It is, indeed, a mode of speaking transferred from men, when he speaks of the thoughts of God; for we know that God does not deliberate on what he is about to do, as the case is with men. But this manner of speaking so frequently occurs, that it ought to be familiar to us. However this may be, he intimates that God did not in vain announce terror when speaking of Babylon, but that the irrevocable decree was declared which God had formed. Hence he says, that he had already taken counsel, so that men need not deliberate any more, nor call into question his fixed decree, nor dispute concerning his thoughts. There is, then, no reason for men to revolve things in themselves, and to adopt different views; because events must be, he says, as I have predicted; God then has commanded me to announce this prophecy as brought forth from his counsel, which can by no means be changed. This is the reason why he mentions God’s counsel and thoughts.

He adds, If they shall not draw them forth; some read, “cast them out.” But סחב, sacheb, means to draw; and there is no doubt but that the Prophet denotes by this verb contempt and reproach; as carcasses are drawn through the mud, or a dead dog is drawn and cast into a river; so now, he says, Draw forth the Babylonians shall the least of the flock But how can these things agree together, that there was to be the choicest leader, and that yet the least of the flock would be the conquerors? God intimates, that though he would endow Cyrus with warlike valor, yet if it pleased him, there would be means by which he could destroy the Babylonians, were he to send sheep or lambs as their enemies. He means, in a word, that the Babylonians would be unwarlike, when God deprived them of their courage.

If they will not upset over them their tabernacle Some read as though the verb were שום, shum, “If they will not set,” etc.; others derive the word from ישם, ishem; but it comes rather from שמם, shemem; If, then, they will not upset over them their tabernacle, that is, when the Babylonians shall be laid prostrate, even their houses shall fall and overwhelm them. In short, God sets forth here a final ruin, from which the Babylonians could never be restored; for it is an evidence of hopeless despair, when houses are upset, so that their masters are buried in their ruins. It follows, —

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