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Jeremiah 50:33-34

33. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; the children of Israel and the children of Judah were oppressed together: and all that took them captives held them fast; they refused to let them go.

33. Sic dicit Jehova exercituum, Oppressi fuerunt filii Israel et filii Jehudah pariter; et omnes qui captivos ceperunt praevaluerunt contra ipsos, et renuerunt ipsos dimittere.

34. Their Redeemer is strong; the LORD of hosts is his name: he shall throughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon.

34. Redemptor (inquit) eorum fortis, Jehova exercituum nomen ejus; litem litigando litigabit, (hoc est, disceptando disceptabit causam ipsorum,) ut terram ipsam reddat tranquillam, (ut alii vetrunt, sed ego potius ita interpretor, ut terram scindat,) et contremiscere faciat habitatores Babylonis.

 

Our Prophet returns again to his former subject — that God, in destroying the Babylonian monarchy, would have a regard to his chosen people. But the comparison made here is very important; for in the first place, the Prophet refers to an occasion of diffidence and even of despair, which might have closed up the way against all his prophecies. For this objection might have always been made, “We are driven into exile, we are in a far country, and in places distant from one another; it is the same as though we were in another world, and we can hardly move a foot without our conquerors being enraged against us.” Thus the Jews, according to the aspect of things at that time, could not otherwise than despair of returning to their own country. This, then, is the reason why the Prophet says here, by way of concession, “It is, indeed, true that the children of Judah and the children of Israel are oppressed with cruel tyranny:” as when we wish to secure faith, we state what seems to be opposed to us, and then dissipate it; so now the Prophet does in this place, as though he had said, “I see what his own mind may dictate to every one, even that the children of Judah, as well as the children of Israel, are held captive, and shut up by such fastnesses that no way of escape is open to them.”

When he speaks of the children of Israel and of the children of Judah, we must remember that the ten tribes had been led into exile, and also that the whole kingdom had been destroyed; and at length, after a considerable time, the Chaldeans took possession also of the kingdom of Judah. Hence then it was, that both the Israelites and the Jews became subject to a cruel oppression. He therefore adds, They who led them captive have prevailed, or, as some render the last word, “have held them;” for חזק, chesek, means to hold, to lay hold; but the Prophet seems to mean another thing, even that their conquerors so prevailed as securely to rule over them; and hence it is added, they have refused to let them go; and we learn the same thing from the next verse, in which the strength and power of God is set in opposition to the power of their enemies. As far as things appeared to men, there was certainly no way of deliverance for the people. The Prophet then concedes what might have taken away every hope from them.

But he immediately after removes this ground of despair, and says, Their redeemer is strong He then sets this strong, חזק, chesek, in opposition to the verb used before, “prevailed” or ruled, החזיקו בם, echesiku beem, “prevailed” or domineered “over them,” so that they were stronger. But now, on the other hand, he calls the Redeemer of Israel strong; for were you only to consider, he seems to say, how great the power of Babylon is, you might despond; but can God, in the meantime, do nothing? Is there any power on earth which can overrule him? Since then their redeemer was strong, he would prove superior to the Chaldeans.

He afterwards adds what is of the same import, His name is Jehovah of hosts; that is, neither Babylon nor all other nations have so much power as can resist the infinite power of God, for he is always like himself, and perfect; he is the God of hosts. He at length adds, Their strife by litigating he will litigate, or, by pleading he will plead the cause of his people, even so as to cut off or destroy the land The verb, רגע, rego, means indeed sometimes to rest, and so almost all give this rendering, “so as to make to rest the land:” but as I take “land” and “the inhabitants of Babylon” to be the same, I doubt not but that this verb is to be taken here in its proper sense. Then it is, so as to cut off or destroy the land, 7171     The versions, except the Syr. and the Targ., give a similar meaning to this verb: but there is no instance of the verb in Hiphil having this meaning, though it would be the most suitable to this place. At the same time we may consider the land of Chaldea to be meant, if we regard the stillness or quietness as referring to the check produced by God’s restraining power, —
   So as to render the land still,
And to terrify the inhabitants of Babylon.

   The promise is to make the land quiet so as not to oppose the return of the Jews, and for the same purpose, to terrify Babylon. — Ed.
and to make to tremble the inhabitants of Babylon. He then speaks of the Chaldeans in mentioning the land, and afterwards explains himself by adding, the inhabitants of Babylon.


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