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Jeremiah 51:3

3. Against him that bendeth let the archer bend his bow, and against him that lifteth himself up in his brigandine: and spare ye not her young men; destroy ye utterly all her host.

3. Ad tendentem qui tendit arcum suum ידרך est hic vox supervacua, qui tendit igitur arcum suum,) et (copula hic abundat;) ne parcatis electis ejus, interficite omnem exercitum ejus.

 

Interpreters give various expositions of this verse. Some understand a soldier of light armor by him who bends the bow; and by him who elevates himself in his coat of mail, they understand a heavy-armed, soldier, There is also another difference; some take אל, al, for לא, la, when it is said ואל יתעל, veal itol, because a copulative follows; and the words seem not to be well connected, if we read thus, “As to him who raises himself up in his coat of mail, and spare ye not,” etc.; and hence they take negatively the particle אל, al, instead of לא la, “and he may not raise up himself in his coat of mail.” But it is probable that the copulative in the second place is redundant The simple meaning would therefore be, As to him who bends the bow, and who raises himself up in his coat of mall 8181     It is singular that אל is omitted in the Sept. and the Syr., and retained in its negative sense in the Vulg. and the Targ., which makes no sense consistently with the context. There is evidently אשר understood before the first verb, as is often the case when the verb is in the future tense. Then the literal rendering would be this, —
   At him who bends let the bender bend his bow, And at him who glories in his coat of mail; And spare ye not her chosen men, Utterly destroy all her host.

   There is here perfect consistency. They who take אל as a negative say, that the first part is addressed to the Chaldeans, and the second to their enemies; but this would be strangely abrupt. — Ed.

I do not, indeed, give such a refined interpretation as some do, respecting the light and heavy armed soldiers. I doubt not, then, but that he points out the archers, and those clad in mail. If, however, any one prefers the other explanation, let him enjoy his own opinion. As to the main point, it is evident that the Prophet exhorts the Persians and the Medes not to spare the young men among the Chaldeans, but to destroy their whole army, so that no part of it should be left remaining.


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