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Jeremiah 51:24

24. And I will render unto Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, saith the LORD.

24 Et rependam Babyloni et omnibus habitatoribus Chaldaeae to omnia mala ipsorum quae intulerunt in Sion (contra Sion, quae fecerunt in Sion, ad verbum,) in oculis vestris, (vel, eoram oculis vestris,) dicit Jehova.

 

The Prophet, after having reminded the Jews that all that they had suffered from the Babylonians had been justly inflicted on account of their sins, and that God had been the author of all their calamities, now subjoins, I will render to Babylon and to the Chaldeans what they have deserved. It may, however, appear strange at the first view, that God should here threaten the Babylonians; for if their services depended on his command, they seemed doubtless to have deserved praise rather than punishment; nay, we know what the Holy Spirit declares elsewhere,

“I gave Egypt as a reward to my servant Nebuchadnezzar, because he has faithfully performed my work,” (Ezekiel 29:20)

for Nebuchadnezzar had afflicted the Jews, therefore he obtained this, says Ezekiel, as his reward. It seems then an inconsistent thing when God declares that the Chaldeans deserved punishment because they had afflicted the Jews. But both declarations agree well together; for when God declared by Ezekiel that he gave Egypt as a reward to his servant Nebuchadnezzar, he had a regard to the Jews and to their perverseness, because they had not as yet been sufficiently humbled; nay, they thought that it was by chance that they had been subdued by the Babylonians. God then declares that he had executed his judgment on them by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. It was afterwards necessary that the faithful should be raised up in their extreme distress; and this was regarded by our Prophet when he said Behold, I will render to Babylon and to the Chaldeans all their evils They then obtained Egypt for a short time, but afterwards all the evils they had brought on other nations recoiled on their own heads.

But this promise was in a peculiar manner given to the Church; for though the vengeance executed on the Chaldeans was just, because they exercised extreme cruelty towards all nations; yet God, having a care for his own Church, thus undertook its cause; therefore he speaks not here generally of the punishment inflicted on the Chaldeans for their cruelty; but God, as I have said, had a regard to his own Church. Hence, he says, I will render to the Babylonians and to all the Chaldeans, all the evil which they had done in Sion We now see that this punishment had a special reference to the chosen people, in order that the faithful might know that they had been so chastised by God, that yet the memory of his covenant had never failed, and that thus in the midst of death they might have some hope of salvation, and that they might feel assured that God would at length be merciful; not that God would ever restore the whole body of the people; but this promise, as it has been elsewhere stated, is addressed only to the remnant. Yet fixed remains the truth, that God, after having broken in pieces the Jews and other nations by means of one nation, would yet be the avenger of his Church, because he could never forget his covenant. He adds, before your eyes, that the faithful might with calmer minds wait for the vengeance of which they themselves would be eye-witnesses.

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