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Jeremiah 51:55

55. Because the LORD hath spoiled Babylon, and destroyed out of her the great voice; when her waves do roar like great waters, a noise of their voice is uttered:

55. Quia perdens Jehova Babylonem (hoc est perdet, aut vastabit proprie est שדד) et perdet (nunc aliud est verbum) ex ea vocem magnam (vel, magnificam;) et sonuerunt fluctus eorum tanquam aquae magnae, editus est sonitus vocis eorum.

 

The reason for the crashing is now added, even because God had resolved to lay waste Babylon, and to reduce it to nothing. Jeremiah again calls the faithful to consider the power of God. He then says, that it would not be a work done by men, because God would put forth his great power, which cannot be comprehended by human minds. He then sets the name of God in opposition to all creatures, as though he had said, that what exceeds all the efforts of men, would yet be easily done by God. He, indeed, represents God here as before our eyes, and says that Babylon would perish, but that it was God who would lay it waste. He thus sets forth God here as already armed for the purpose of cutting off Babylon. And he will destroy from her the magnificent voice, that is, her immoderate boasting.

What follows is explained by many otherwise than I can approve; for they say that the waves made a noise among the Babylonians at the time when the city was populous; for where there is a great concourse of men, a great noise is heard, but solitude and desolation bring silence. They thus, then, explain the words of the Prophet, that though now waves, that is, noises, resounded in Babylon like great waters, and the sound of their voice went forth, yet God would destroy their great or magnificent voice. But I have no doubt but that what the Prophet meant by their great voice, was their grandiloquent boasting in which the Babylonians indulged during their prosperity. While, then, the monarchy flourished, they spoke as from the height. Their silence from fear and shame would follow, as the Prophet intimates, when God checked that proud glorying.

But what follows I take in a different sense; for I apply it to the Medes and the Persians: and so there is a relative without an antecedent — a mode of speaking not unfrequent in Hebrew. He then expresses the manner in which God would destroy or abolish the grandiloquent boasting of the Babylonians, even because their waves, that is, of the Persians, would make a noise like great waters; that is, the Persians, and the Medes would rush on them like impetuous waves, and thus the Babylonians would be brought to silence and reduced to desolation. 108108     This is the meaning given by the Targum. Venema and Horsley would put a colon or a period after אבד, —
   55. For Jehovah is laying waste Babylon and destroying her: From her comes a loud voice! And roar do their waves like great waters, Going forth is the tumult of their voice.

   According to the preceding verse, the destruction of Babylon is represented as then taking place, —

   54. A voice of howling from Babylon! And of great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans!

   The commotions and tumults, arising from the invasion of enemies, seem to be set forth in Jeremiah 51:55; and the beginning of the following, Jeremiah 51:56, ought to be rendered in the present tense, the first verb being a participle. — Ed.
When they were at peace, and no enemy disturbed them, they then gave full vent to their pride; and thus vaunting was the speech of Babylon as long as it flourished; but when suddenly the enemies made an irruption, then Babylon became silent or mute on account of the frightful sound within it. We hence see why he compares the Persians and the Medes to violent waves which would break and put an end to that sound which was before heard in Babylon. It follows, —


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