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Jeremiah 51:1

1. Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will raise up against Babylon, and against them that dwell in the midst of them that rise up against me, a destroying wind;

1. Sic dicit Jehova, Ecce, ego excitans contra Babylonem, et contra habitatores cordis qui insurgunt contra me, venturn corrumpentem (vel, dissipantem.)

 

He proceeds with the same subject. Jeremiah seems, indeed, to have used more words than necessary; but we have stated the reason why he dwelt at large on a matter so clear: His object was not only to teach, for this he might have done in a few words, and have thus included all that we have hitherto seen and shall find in the whole of this chapter; but as it was an event hardly credible, it was necessary to illustrate the prophecy respecting it with many figures, and to inculcate with many repetitions what had been already said, and also to confirm by many reasons what no one hardly admitted.

He then says, Behold, I will, etc. God is made the speaker, that the word might have more force and power. Behold, he says, I will raise up a destroying wind against the Chaldeans. The similitude of wind is very appropriate, for God thus briefly reminded them how easy it was for him to destroy the whole world even by a single blast. The wind is, indeed, indirectly set in opposition to instruments of war; for when any one seeks to overcome an enemy, he collects many and strong forces, and procures auxiliaries on every side; in short, he will not dare to attempt anything without making every possible preparation. As, then, men dare not attack their enemies without making strenuous efforts, God here extols his own power, because it is enough for him to raise up a wind. We now, then, perceive the design of the similitude, when he says, that he would raise up a wind that would destroy or scatter the Chaldeans.

In the following words there is an obscurity; literally, they are, the inhabitants of the heart; for as the word ישבי, ishebi, is in construction, another word necessarily follows it, as for instance, the country of the Chaldeans. But the relative, ה, He, referring to Babylon, ought to have been put down. Yet as the words occur, we are compelled to read, and against the inhabitants of the heart Some will have the relative, אשר, asher, to be understood, but that is harsh, for it is an unnatural mode of speaking. They, however, give this rendering of אשר לב, asher leb, “those who in heart rose up against me.” But what if we read the words inhabitants of the heart metaphorically, as meaning those who gloried in their own wisdom? for the Babylonians, as it is well known, thought other men dull and foolish, and were so pleased with their own astuteness, as though they were fortified by inclosures on every side. They dwelt then in their own heart, that is, they thought themselves well fortified around through their own wisdom. In this sense the Prophet seems to call the Babylonians the inhabitants of the heart 8080     The Targ. and the versions widely differ from one another. The cabbalistic solution is very frivolous, by which the two words לב and קמי are made one, and made to signify “Chaldeans,” according to what was called “Athbash,” by which aleph, the first letter, was taken for tau, the last letter, and beth, the second, for shin, the last but one; and so on through the whole alphabet. But Blayney and others, such as Gataker and Venema, give a satisfactory explanation of the words. The word לב, the heart, often means the middle of anything, as “the heart of heaven,” in Deuteronomy 4:11 means the midst of heaven; and “the heart of the seas,” in Psalm 46:2, means the midst of the seas. So here, “the heart of my adversaries,” means the centre of the country of his adversaries. i.e., Babylon, —
   Against the inhabitants of the metropolis
of my adversaries.

    — Ed.

He adds, at the same time, that they rose, up against God, even because they had cruelly treated his people, and nearly destroyed them. And we know that God undertook the cause of his Church, and therefore complained that war was made on him by the ungodly, whenever they molested the faithful. It is also at the same time generally true, that all who arrogate to themselves wisdom rise up against God, because they rob God of the honor due to him. But it ought properly to be referred to the union which exists between God and his Church, when he charges the Chaldeans, that they rose up against him. It follows,—


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