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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical

Jeremiah 51

 

 

Verses 1-6

11. THE HEART OF THE INSURGENTS, THE FANNERS AND THE INVIDUATE

Jeremiah 51:1-6

1 Thus saith Jehovah:

Behold, I raise up against Babylon,

And against the inmates of the heart of my insurgents

A destroying wind.[FN1]

2 And I sent unto Babylon fanners,[FN2]

Who shall fan it and empty out its land,

For upon it are they from all sides in the day of calamity.

3 Against him that bendeth let the archer bend his bow,

And against him who lifteth himself up[FN3] in his harness,[FN4]

And spare ye not her young men,

Banish ye the entire host.

4 That the slain fall in the land of the Chaldeans,

And the pierced through in her streets.

5 For Israel and Judah are not widows[FN5] from their God,[FN6] Jehovah Zebaoth,

But their land is full of guilt on account of the Holy One of Israel.

6 Flee out of Babylon, and let every man deliver his soul;

Let not destruction come upon you through their sin.

For it is a time of vengeance for Jehovah,

He rendereth recompense unto her.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Babylon, the heart of Jehovah’s opponents, shall be fanned like chaff ( Jeremiah 51:1-2). Without a figure; a strong, warlike power shall cast down Babylon ( Jeremiah 51:3-4). For Israel and Judah are not forsaken widows; rather shall they be delivered and Jehovah’s vengeance executed on Babylon ( Jeremiah 51:5-6).—The passage thus consists of two halves: Jeremiah 51:1-4, and Jeremiah 51:5-6. In the first half the judgment on Babylon is announced, (a) under the figure of fanning, Jeremiah 51:1-2; ( b) in unfigurative language, Jeremiah 51:3-4. The second half is related to the first as a statement of the reason (For, Jeremiah 51:5). The judgment, namely, is impending, because the Lord will show Himself a faithful husband with respect to Israel, a righteous recompenser with respect to Babylon.

Jeremiah 51:1-2. Thus saith … calamity. Whether לֵב קָמַי [heart of my insurgents] is to be explained by the Atbash [or principle of alphabetical inversion, according to which it is equivalent to Casdim, the Chaldeans] is doubtful, for the expression might be used by the prophet without any reference to that permutation of letters. As he called Babylon Double-defiance and Visitation in Jeremiah 50:21 and Pride in Jeremiah 50:31, so might he call it Heart-of-my-insurgents. This designation was a natural one. It is founded in the significance which the idea of Babylon has in the consciousness of the entire Old and New Testament prophecy. For though it is only in the Apocalypse that Babylon is distinctly set forth as the comprehensive centre of all and every hostility to the Lord and His kingdom (comp. Naegelsb. Jer. u. Bab, S. 10 ff.), this representation is rooted in the views of the Old Testament prophets concerning Babylon, and we shall not err if we regard this passage as the chief basis of this conception of Babylon by the New Testament revelator, according to which it is declared to be the “Mother of harlots and abominations of the earth” ( Revelation 17:5). Still it is remarkable that the name בַּשְׂדִּים should form, according to the Cabbalistic play upon words, an expression with a suitable meaning (comp. Buxtorf, Lex. Chald., p248, 9; Herzog, Real-Enc., VII, S. 205). The expression הֵעִיר רוּחַ signifies indeed everywhere else ( Jeremiah 51:11; Haggai 1:14; Ezra 1:1; Ezra 1:5; 1 Chronicles 5:26; 2 Chronicles 21:16; 2 Chronicles 36:22) “to awaken, excite the spirit.” But the expression is not necessarily restricted to this meaning. In this passage where fanning is spoken of, the context requires the meaning “wind.” It seems that the expression first began to come into use in the time of Jeremiah, for previously it does not occur. It is however quite natural that a mode of expression still in its formative state should at first waver in its signification. Only when it has become fixed by long usage in a definite sense can it no longer be taken in another sense without misapprehension.—Who shall fan. Comp. Jeremiah 49:32; Jeremiah 49:36.—And empty. Comp. Jeremiah 19:1; Jeremiah 19:7; Isaiah 24:1; Nahum 2:3. Here the prophet passes from the figurative to the literal mode of speech, for the fanning will consist in just this, that the land will be emptied, men and property being carried away.—For upon it, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 4:17; Jeremiah 17:17-18.

Jeremiah 51:3-6. Against him … unto her—Spare not, etc. Comp. Isaiah 13:18; Jeremiah 1:14.—Fall, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 51:47; Jeremiah 51:49; Jeremiah 51:52; Jeremiah 37:10; Isaiah 13:15.—Not widows, etc. Comp. Isaiah 1:1; Isaiah 54:4-6; Lamentations 1:1.—Their is to be referred to Babylon. The sense of this half of the verse is: it might appear as if the Lord were better disposed towards Babylon than Israel, because the latter is a captive in the power of the former. It is not so. Babylonia is laden with guilt with respect to Jehovah, and is therefore under the curse of the Holy One of Israel. I do not see what there is unlike Jeremiah in this verse. That אָשָׁם for guilt does not occur elsewhere in Jeremiah is nothing to the point. The occurrence of the expression Holy One of Israel here, as in Jeremiah 50:29, is not strange in view of the frequent quotations from Isaiah. With respect to the connection with the preceding and following contexts, however, it should be mentioned that Jeremiah 51:5 in an exceedingly appropriate manner gives a double reason for the announcement contained in Jeremiah 51:1 to Jeremiah 4:1. a negative one (Israel is not rejected); 2. a positive one (Babylon is full of guilt). Jeremiah 51:5 is also connected with Jeremiah 51:6 in two ways: 1. as an integral part of the entire discourse, Jeremiah 51:1-5, in so far that Jeremiah 51:6 draws the inference from all that has gone before ( Jeremiah 51:1-5); 2. specially by the words, “Let not destruction come upon you through their sin,” which apparently refer to “their land is full of guilt.”—Flee, etc. Comp. Isaiah 13:14; Isaiah 48:20; Jeremiah 48:6; Jeremiah 1:8.—Let not, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 49:26; Jeremiah 50:30Genesis 19:15.—For it is a time, etc. Comp. Isaiah 34:8; Isaiah 46:10; Isaiah 1:15; Isaiah 1:28; Isaiah 51:11Revelation 18:4.—Vengeance, etc. Comp. Joel 4:4; Isaiah 59:18; Isaiah 66:6; Proverbs 19:17; Psalm 137:8.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. “Daniel’s Babylonian empire resumes, as it were, the thread which was broken off with the tower-erection and kingdom of Nimrod. In the Babylonian tower-building the whole of the then existing humanity was united against God; with the Babylonian kingdom began the period of the universal monarchies, which again aspired after an atheistical union of entire humanity. Babylon has since and even to the Revelation ( Jeremiah 18) remained the standing type of this world.” Auberlen, Der proph. Daniel, S. 230.

2. For what reason does Babylon appear as a type of the world? Why not Nineveh, or Persepolis, or Tyre, or Memphis, or Rome? Certainly not because Babylon was greater, more glorious, more powerful or prouder and more ungodly than those cities and kingdoms. Nineveh especially was still greater than Babylon (comp. Duncker, Gesch. d. Alterth. I. S. 474, 5), and Assyria was not less hostile to the theocracy, having carried away into captivity the northern and larger half of the people of Israel. Babylon is qualified for this representation in two ways: 1. because it is the home of worldly princedom and titanic arrogance ( Genesis 10:8; Genesis 11:1-4); 2. because Babylon destroyed the centre of the theocracy, Jerusalem, the temple and the theocratic kingdom, and first assumed to be the single supreme power of the globe.

3. “When God has used a superstitious, wicked and tyrannical nation long enough as His rod, He breaks it in pieces and finally throws it into the fire. For even those whom He formerly used as His chosen anointed instruments He then regards as but the dust in the streets or as chaff before the wind.” Cramer.

4. “No monarch is too rich, too wicked, too strong for God the Lord. And He can soon enlist and engage soldiers whom He can use against His declared enemies.” Cramer.

5. “Israel was founded on everlasting foundations, even God’s word and promise. The sins of the people brought about that it was laid low in the dust, but not without hope of a better resurrection. Babylon, on the other hand, must perish forever, for in it is the empire of evil come to its highest bloom. Jeremiah owns the nothingness of all worldly kingdoms, since they are all under this national order to serve only for a time. We are to be subject to them and seek their welfare for the sake of the souls of men, whom God is educating therein; a Christian however cannot be enthusiastic for them after the manner of the ancient heathen nor of ancient Israel, for here we have no abiding city, our citizenship is in heaven. The kingdoms of this world are no sanctuaries for us and we supplicate their continuance only with the daily bread of the fourth petition. Jeremiah applies many words and figures to Babylon which he has already used in the judgments on other nations, thus to intimate that in Babylon all the heathenism of the world culminates, and that here also must be the greatest anguish. What, however, is here declared of Babylon must be fulfilled again on all earthly powers in so far as, treading in its footprints, they take flesh for their arm and regard the material of this world as power, whether they be called states or churches.” Diedrich.

6. On Jeremiah 50:2. In putting into the mouth of Israel, returning from Babylon, the call to an everlasting covenant with Jehovah, the prophet causes them1. to confess that they have forgotten the first covenant; 2. he shows us that the time of the new covenant begins with the redemption from the Babylonish captivity. He was far, however, from supposing that this redemption would be only a weak beginning, that the appearance of the Saviour would be deferred for centuries, that Israel would sink still deeper as an external πολιτεία, and that finally the Israel of the new covenant would itself appear as a μυστήριον, εἰς ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι ( 1 Peter 1:9-12).

7. From what Jeremiah has already said in Jeremiah 31:31-34 of the new covenant we see that its nature and its difference from the old is not unknown to him. Yet he knows the new covenant only in general. He knows that it will be deeply spiritual and eternal, but how and why it will be so is still to him part of the μυστήριον.

8. On Jeremiah 50:6. Jeremiah here points back to Jeremiah 23. Priests, kings and prophets, who should discharge the office of shepherds, prove to be wolves. Yea, they are the worst of wolves, who go about in official clothing. There is therefore no more dangerous doctrine than that of an infallible office. Jeremiah 14:14; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 23:2-12.

9. On Jeremiah 50:7. It is the worst condition into which a church of God can come, when the enemies who desolate it can maintain that they are in the right in doing so. It Isaiah, however, a just nemesis when those who will not hear the regular messengers of God must be told by the extraordinary messengers of God what they should have done. Comp. Jeremiah 40:2-3.

10. On Jeremiah 50:8. “Babylon is opened, and it must be abandoned not clung to, for the captivity is a temporary chastisement, not the divine arrangement for the children of God. God’s people must in the general redemption go like rams before the herd of the nations, that these may also attach themselves to Israel, as this was fulfilled at the time of Christ in the first churches and the apostles, who now draw the whole heathen world after them to eternal life. Here the prophet recognizes the new humanity, which proceeds from the ruins of the old, in which also ancient Israel leads the way; thus all, who follow it, become Israel.” Diedrich.—“The heathen felt somewhat of the divine punishment when they overcame so easily the usually so strongly protected nation. But Jeremiah shows them still how they deceived themselves in thinking that God had wholly rejected His people, for of the eternal covenant of grace they certainly understood nothing.” Heim and Hoffmann on the Major Prophets.

11. On Jeremiah 50:18. “The great powers of the world form indeed the history of the world, but they have no future. Israel, however, always returns home to the dear and glorious land. The Jews might as a token of this return under Cyrus; the case is however this, that the true Holy One in Israel, Christ, guides us back to Paradise, when we flee to His hand from the Babylon of this world and let it be crucified for us.” Diedrich.

12. On Jeremiah 50:23. “Although the Chaldeans were called of God for the purpose of making war on the Jewish nation on account of their multitudinous sins, yet they are punished because they did it not as God with a pure intention, namely, to punish the wrong in them and keep them for reformation; for they were themselves greater sinners than the Jews and continued with impenitence in their sins. Therefore they could not go scot-free and remain unpunished. Moreover, they acted too roughly and dealt with the Jews more harshly than God had commanded, for which He therefore fairly punished them. As God the Lord Himself says ( Isaiah 47:6): When I was angry with My people I gave them into thine hands; but thou shewedst them no mercy. Therefore it is not enough that God’s will be accomplished, but there must be the good intention in it, which God had, otherwise such a work may be a sin and call down the divine punishment upon it.” Würtemb. Summ.

13. On Jeremiah 50:31-34. “God calls Babylon Thou Pride, for pride was their inward force and impulse in all their actions. But worldly pride makes a Babylon and brings on a Babylon’s fate .… Pride must fall, for it is in itself a lie against God, and all its might must perish in the fire; thus will the humble and meek remain in possession of the earth: this has a wide application through all times, even to eternity.” Diedrich.

14. On Jeremiah 51:33. “Israel is indeed weak and must suffer in a time of tyranny; it cannot help itself, nor needs it to do Song of Solomon, for its Redeemer is strong, His name The Lord Zebaoth—and He Isaiah, now, having assumed our flesh, among us and conducts our cause so that the world trembles.” Diedrich.

15. On Jeremiah 50:45. “An emblem of the destruction of anti-christian Babylon, which was also the true hammer of the whole world. This has God also broken and must and will do it still more. And this will the shepherd-boys do, as is said here in Jeremiah 51:45 (according to Luther’s translation), that Isaiah, all true teachers and preachers.” Cramer.

16. On Jeremiah 51. “The doctrines accord in all points with the previous chapter. And the prophet Jeremiah both in this and the previous chapter does nothing else but make out for the Babylonians their final discharge and passport, because they behaved so valiantly and well against the people of Judah, that they might know they would not go unrecompensed. For payment is according to service. And had they done better it would have gone better with them. It is well that when tyrants succeed in their evil undertakings they should not suppose they are God’s dearest children and lean on His bosom, since they will yet receive the recompense on their crown, whatever they have earned.” Cramer.

17. [“Though in the hand of Babylon is a golden cup; she chooses such a cup, in order that men’s eyes may be dazzled with the glitter of the gold, and may not inquire what it contains. But mark well, in the golden cup of Babylon is the poison of idolatry, the poison of false doctrines, which destroy the souls of men. I have often seen such a golden cup, in fair speeches of seductive eloquence: and when I have examined the venomous ingredients of the golden chalice, I have recognized the cup of Babylon.” Origen in Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]

“The seat and throne of Anti-christ is expressly named Babylon, namely, the city of Rome, built on the seven hills ( Revelation 17:9). Just as Babylon brought so many lands and kingdoms under its sway and ruled them with great pomp and pride (the golden cup, which made all the world drunk, was Babylon in the hand of the Lord ( Jeremiah 51:7), and all the heathen drank of the wine and became mad)—so has the spiritual Babylon a cup in its hand, full of the abomination and uncleanness of its whoredom, of which the kings of the earth and all who dwell on the earth have been made drunk. As it is said of Babylon that she dwells by great waters and has great treasures, so writes John of the Romish Babylon, that it is clothed in silk and purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls ( Revelation 18:12). Of Babylon it is said that the slain in Israel were smitten by her; so also the spiritual Babylon is become drunk with the blood of the saints ( Revelation 17:6). Just, however, as the Chaldean Babylon is a type of the spiritual in its pride and despotism, so also is it a type of the destruction which will come upon it. Many wished to heal Babylon but she would not be healed; so many endeavor to support the ruinous anti-christian Babylon, but all in vain. For as Babylon was at last so destroyed as to be a heap of stones and abode of dragons, so will it be with anti-christian Babylon. Of this it is written in Revelation 14:8 : She is fallen, fallen, that great city, for she has made all nations drink of the wine of her fornication. And again, Babylon the great is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and a hold of all foul and hateful birds ( Revelation 18:2). As the inhabitants of Babylon were admonished to flee from her, that every man might deliver his soul ( Jeremiah 51:6)—and again, My people, go ye out from the midst of her and deliver every man his soul, etc. ( Jeremiah 51:45)—so the Holy Spirit admonishes Christians almost in the same words to go out from the spiritual Babylon, that they be not polluted by her sins and at the same time share in her punishment. For thus it is written in Revelation 18:4, I heard, says John, a voice from heaven saying, Go ye out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues, for her sins reach unto heaven and God remembers her iniquities.” Wurtemb. Summarien.

18. On Jeremiah 51:5. “A monarch can sooner make an end of half a continent than draw a nail from a hut which the Lord protects.—And if it is true that Kaiser Rudolph, when he revoked the toleration of the Picards and the same day lost one of his principal forts, said, ‘I thought it would be Song of Solomon, for I grasped at God’s sceptre’ (Weismanni, Hist. Eccl. Tom. II. p320)—this was a sage remark, a supplement to the words of the wise.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 51:9. We heal Babylon, but she will not be healed. Babylon is an outwardly beautiful but inwardly worm-eaten apple. Hence sooner or later the foulness must become noticeable. So is it with all whose heart and centre is not God. All is inwardly hollow and vain. When this internal vacuity begins to render itself externally palpable, when here and there a rent or foul spot becomes visible, then certainly come the friends and admirers of the unholy form and would improve, cover up, sew up, heal. But it does not avail. When once there is death in the body no physician can effect a cure.

20. On Jeremiah 51:17; Jeremiah 51:19-20. “The children of God have three causes why they may venture on Him. 1. All men are fools, their treasure is it not; 2. The Lord is their hammer; He breaks through everything, and3, they are an instrument in His hand, a heritage; in this there is happiness.” Zinzendorf.

21. On Jeremiah 51:41-44. “How was Sheshach thus won, the city renowned in all the world thus taken? No one would have thought it possible, but God does it. He rules with wonders and with wonders He makes His church free. Babylon is a wonder no longer for its power, but for its weakness. We are to know the world’s weakness even where it still appears strong. A sea of hostile nations has covered Babylon. Her land is now a desolation. God takes Bel and the Dragon, the principal idol of Babylon, symbolizing its whole civil powers in hand, and snatches his prey from his teeth. Our God is stronger than all worldly forces, and never leaves us to them.” Diedrich.

22. On Jeremiah 51:58. “Yea, so it is with all walls and towers, in which God’s word is not the vital force, even though they be entitled churches and cathedrals … God’s church alone possesses permanence through His pure word.” Diedrich.

23. On Jeremiah 51:60-64. When we wish to preserve an archive safely, we deposit it in a record-office where it is kept in a dry place that no moisture may get to it. Seraiah throws his book-roll into the waters of the Euphrates, which must wash it away, dissolve and destroy it. But this was of no account. The main point was that Hebrews, Seraiah, as representative of the holy nation had taken solemn stock of the word of God against Babylon, and as it were taken God at His word, and reminded Him of it. In this manner the matter was laid up in the most enduring and safest archive that could be imagined; it was made a case of honor with the omniscient and omnipotent God. Such matters can, however, neither be forgotten, nor remain in dead silence, nor be neglected. They must be brought to such an end as the honor of God requires.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 50:2. This text may be used on the feast of the Reformation, or any other occasion with reference to a rem bene gestam. The Triumph of the Good Cause, 1. over what enemies it is gained; 2. to what it should impel us; (a) to the avoidance of that over which we new triumph; (b) to the grateful proclamation of what the Lord has done for us, by word and by deed.

2. On Jeremiah 50:4-8. The deliverance of Israel from the Babylonian captivity a type of the deliverance of the Church1. The Church must humbly acknowledge the captivity suffered as a judgment of God2. She must turn like Israel inwardly with an upright heart unto the Lord; 3. She must become like Israel to all men a pattern and leader to freedom.

3. On Jeremiah 50:5. A confirmation sermon. “What is the hour of confirmation? 1. An hour which calls to separation; 2. an hour which leads to new connections; 3. an hour which fixes forever the old covenant with the soul’s friend.” Florey, 1853.

4. On Jeremiah 50:18-20. Assyria and Babylon the types of all the spiritual enemies of the church as of individual Christians. Every one has his Assyria and his Babylon. Sin is the destruction of men. Forgiveness of sins is the condition of life, for only where forgiveness of sins Isaiah, is there life and blessedness. In Christ we find the forgiveness of sins. He destroys the handwriting. He washes us clean. He is also the good shepherd who leads our souls into green pastures, to the spiritual Carmel.

5. On Jeremiah 50:31-32. Warning against pride. Babylon was very strong and powerful, rich and splendid. It seemed invincible by nature and by art. Had it not then a certain justification in being proud, at least towards men? No; for no one has to contend only with men. Every one who contends has the Lord either for his friend or his enemy. It is the Lord from whom cometh victory ( Proverbs 21:31). He it is who teacheth our hands to fight ( Psalm 18:35; Psalm 144:1). His strength is made perfect in weakness ( 2 Corinthians 12:9). He can make the lame ( Isaiah 33:23; Micah 4:7) and mortally wounded ( Jeremiah 37:10) so strong that they overmaster the sound (comp. Jeremiah 51:45). He can make one man put to flight a thousand ( Deuteronomy 32:30; Isaiah 30:17). With him can one dash in pieces a troop and leap over a wall ( Psalm 18:29). No one accordingly should be proud. The word of the Lord, “I am against thee, thou proud one!” is a terrible word which no one should conjure up against himself.

6. On Jeremiah 50:33-34. The consolation of the Church in persecution1. It suffers violence and injustice2. Its redeemer is strong.

7. On Jeremiah 51:5. God the Lord manifests such favor to Israel as to declare Himself her husband ( Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:1). But now that Israel and Judah are in exile, it seems as if they were rejected or widowed women. This, however, is only appearance. Israel’s husband does not die. He may well bring a period of chastisement, of purification and trial on His people, but when this period is over, the Lord turns the handle, and smites those through whom He chastised Israel, when they had forgotten that they were not to satisfy their own desire, but only to accomplish the Lord’s will on Israel.

8. On Jeremiah 51:6. A time may come when it is well to separate one’s self. For although it is said in Proverbs 18:1; he who separateth himself, seeketh that which pleaseth him and opposeth all that is good—and therefore separation, as the antipodes of churchliness, i.e., of churchly communion and humble subjection to the law of the co-operation of members ( 1 Corinthians 12:25 sqq.) is to be repudiated, yet there may come moments in the life of the church, when it will be a duty to leave the community and separate one’s self. Such a moment is come when the community has become a Babylon. It should, however, be noted that one should not be too ready with such a decision. For even the life of the church is subject to many vacillations. There are periods of decay, obscurations, as it were, comparable to eclipses of the stars, but to these, so long as the foundations only subsist, must always follow a restoration and return to the original brightness. No one is to consider the church a Babylon on account of such a passing state of disease. It is this only when it has withheld the objective divine foundations, the means of grace, the word and sacrament, altogether and permanently in their saving efficacy. Then, when the soul can no longer find in the church the pure and divine bread of life; it is well “to deliver the soul that it perish not in the iniquity of the church.” From this separation from the church Isaiah, however, to be carefully distinguished the separation within the church, from all that which is opposed to the healthy life of the church, and is therefore to be regarded as a diseased part of the ecclesiastical body. Such separation is the daily duty of the Christian. He has to perform it with respect to his private life in all the manifold relations, indicated to us in Matthew 18:17; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:9 sqq.; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10; 2 John 1:10-11.—Comp. the article on Sects, by Palmer in Herzog, R-Enc., XXI, S. 21, 22.

9. On Jeremiah 51:10. The righteousness which avails before God1. Its origin (not our work or merit, but God’s grace in Christ); 2. Its fruit, praise of that which the Lord has wrought in us (a) by words, (b) by works.

10. On Jeremiah 51:50. This text may be used at the sending out of missionaries or the departure of emigrants. Occasion may be taken to speak1, of the gracious help and deliverance, which the Lord has hitherto shown to the departing; 2, they may be admonished to remain united in their distant land with their brethren at home by (a) remembering the Lord, i.e., ever remaining sincerely devoted to the Lord as the common shield of salvation; (b) faithfuly serving Jerusalem, i.e., the common mother of us all ( Galatians 4:26), the church, with all our powers in the proper place and measure, and ever keeping her in our hearts.

Footnotes:

FN#1 - Jeremiah 51:1.—רוּח as masc. also in Exodus 10:13; Psalm 51:12; Ecclesiastes 1:6. משׁחית, comp. Jeremiah 51:25; Jeremiah 2:30; Jeremiah 5:26.

FN#2 - Jeremiah 51:2.—זרימ. The analogy of Jeremiah 48:12 seems to require the punctuation זָרִים .זֹרִים is very troublesome. Although violence by strangers is spoken of in many places (comp. Jeremiah 51:51), this idea does not at all suit this connection, and the frequent occurrence of זָיִים while זֹיִים is not found elsewhere (only זֹרֶה occurs in Ruth 3:2), may indeed have occasioned the Masoretic punctuation, unless זָרִים itself may be taken as Part. Kal. after the analogy of מָלֵא,יָרֵא,הָרָה, etc. (comp. Olsh, § 245, a).

FN#3 - Jeremiah 51:3.—וְאֶל־יִתְעַל. This is the main difficulty in Jeremiah 51:3. For, 1. this Hithp. form does not occur elsewhere, 2. the abbreviated Imperfect form, if the word comes from עָלָה, is surprising. According to the laws of the Hebrew language, however, יִתְעַל can come only from עָלָה (comp. Olsh, § 269, d). It must then signify “lift one’s self up.” Then the abbreviated form is strange, which might be in place after אַל, but not after אֵל. I do not think, however, that we need be so scrupulous in the matter. As in Jeremiah (and elsewhere) the full form stands where we should expect the abbreviated (comp. Jeremiah 3:7; Ew, § 224, c), so may the latter stand where we should expect the former. Comp. Jeremiah 17:8, Chethibh; Ewald, §224, c, Anm.; Ges, § 128, 2, Anm. Then the rest, according to the reading of the Chethibh, affords no difficulty. With respect to the absence of the nota relationis, comp. 1 Chronicles 15:12; Naegelsb. Gr., § 80, 6, 2, a.

FN#4 - Jeremiah 51:3.—סרין. Comp. Jeremiah 46:4; Ewald, § 49, d.

FN#5 - Jeremiah 51:5.—The masc. אַלְמָן here only—to be regarded as neuter. Comp. שָׁדוּד, Jeremiah 4:30.

FN#6 - Jeremiah 51:5.—מאלהיו. Pregnant construction. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 112, 7.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. “Daniel’s Babylonian empire resumes, as it were, the thread which was broken off with the tower-erection and kingdom of Nimrod. In the Babylonian tower-building the whole of the then existing humanity was united against God; with the Babylonian kingdom began the period of the universal monarchies, which again aspired after an atheistical union of entire humanity. Babylon has since and even to the Revelation ( Jeremiah 18) remained the standing type of this world.” Auberlen, Der proph. Daniel, S. 230.

2. For what reason does Babylon appear as a type of the world? Why not Nineveh, or Persepolis, or Tyre, or Memphis, or Rome? Certainly not because Babylon was greater, more glorious, more powerful or prouder and more ungodly than those cities and kingdoms. Nineveh especially was still greater than Babylon (comp. Duncker, Gesch. d. Alterth. I. S. 474, 5), and Assyria was not less hostile to the theocracy, having carried away into captivity the northern and larger half of the people of Israel. Babylon is qualified for this representation in two ways: 1. because it is the home of worldly princedom and titanic arrogance ( Genesis 10:8; Genesis 11:1-4); 2. because Babylon destroyed the centre of the theocracy, Jerusalem, the temple and the theocratic kingdom, and first assumed to be the single supreme power of the globe.

3. “When God has used a superstitious, wicked and tyrannical nation long enough as His rod, He breaks it in pieces and finally throws it into the fire. For even those whom He formerly used as His chosen anointed instruments He then regards as but the dust in the streets or as chaff before the wind.” Cramer.

4. “No monarch is too rich, too wicked, too strong for God the Lord. And He can soon enlist and engage soldiers whom He can use against His declared enemies.” Cramer.

5. “Israel was founded on everlasting foundations, even God’s word and promise. The sins of the people brought about that it was laid low in the dust, but not without hope of a better resurrection. Babylon, on the other hand, must perish forever, for in it is the empire of evil come to its highest bloom. Jeremiah owns the nothingness of all worldly kingdoms, since they are all under this national order to serve only for a time. We are to be subject to them and seek their welfare for the sake of the souls of men, whom God is educating therein; a Christian however cannot be enthusiastic for them after the manner of the ancient heathen nor of ancient Israel, for here we have no abiding city, our citizenship is in heaven. The kingdoms of this world are no sanctuaries for us and we supplicate their continuance only with the daily bread of the fourth petition. Jeremiah applies many words and figures to Babylon which he has already used in the judgments on other nations, thus to intimate that in Babylon all the heathenism of the world culminates, and that here also must be the greatest anguish. What, however, is here declared of Babylon must be fulfilled again on all earthly powers in so far as, treading in its footprints, they take flesh for their arm and regard the material of this world as power, whether they be called states or churches.” Diedrich.

6. On Jeremiah 50:2. In putting into the mouth of Israel, returning from Babylon, the call to an everlasting covenant with Jehovah, the prophet causes them1. to confess that they have forgotten the first covenant; 2. he shows us that the time of the new covenant begins with the redemption from the Babylonish captivity. He was far, however, from supposing that this redemption would be only a weak beginning, that the appearance of the Saviour would be deferred for centuries, that Israel would sink still deeper as an external πολιτεία, and that finally the Israel of the new covenant would itself appear as a μυστήριον, εἰς ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι ( 1 Peter 1:9-12).

7. From what Jeremiah has already said in Jeremiah 31:31-34 of the new covenant we see that its nature and its difference from the old is not unknown to him. Yet he knows the new covenant only in general. He knows that it will be deeply spiritual and eternal, but how and why it will be so is still to him part of the μυστήριον.

8. On Jeremiah 50:6. Jeremiah here points back to Jeremiah 23. Priests, kings and prophets, who should discharge the office of shepherds, prove to be wolves. Yea, they are the worst of wolves, who go about in official clothing. There is therefore no more dangerous doctrine than that of an infallible office. Jeremiah 14:14; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 23:2-12.

9. On Jeremiah 50:7. It is the worst condition into which a church of God can come, when the enemies who desolate it can maintain that they are in the right in doing so. It Isaiah, however, a just nemesis when those who will not hear the regular messengers of God must be told by the extraordinary messengers of God what they should have done. Comp. Jeremiah 40:2-3.

10. On Jeremiah 50:8. “Babylon is opened, and it must be abandoned not clung to, for the captivity is a temporary chastisement, not the divine arrangement for the children of God. God’s people must in the general redemption go like rams before the herd of the nations, that these may also attach themselves to Israel, as this was fulfilled at the time of Christ in the first churches and the apostles, who now draw the whole heathen world after them to eternal life. Here the prophet recognizes the new humanity, which proceeds from the ruins of the old, in which also ancient Israel leads the way; thus all, who follow it, become Israel.” Diedrich.—“The heathen felt somewhat of the divine punishment when they overcame so easily the usually so strongly protected nation. But Jeremiah shows them still how they deceived themselves in thinking that God had wholly rejected His people, for of the eternal covenant of grace they certainly understood nothing.” Heim and Hoffmann on the Major Prophets.

11. On Jeremiah 50:18. “The great powers of the world form indeed the history of the world, but they have no future. Israel, however, always returns home to the dear and glorious land. The Jews might as a token of this return under Cyrus; the case is however this, that the true Holy One in Israel, Christ, guides us back to Paradise, when we flee to His hand from the Babylon of this world and let it be crucified for us.” Diedrich.

12. On Jeremiah 50:23. “Although the Chaldeans were called of God for the purpose of making war on the Jewish nation on account of their multitudinous sins, yet they are punished because they did it not as God with a pure intention, namely, to punish the wrong in them and keep them for reformation; for they were themselves greater sinners than the Jews and continued with impenitence in their sins. Therefore they could not go scot-free and remain unpunished. Moreover, they acted too roughly and dealt with the Jews more harshly than God had commanded, for which He therefore fairly punished them. As God the Lord Himself says ( Isaiah 47:6): When I was angry with My people I gave them into thine hands; but thou shewedst them no mercy. Therefore it is not enough that God’s will be accomplished, but there must be the good intention in it, which God had, otherwise such a work may be a sin and call down the divine punishment upon it.” Würtemb. Summ.

13. On Jeremiah 50:31-34. “God calls Babylon Thou Pride, for pride was their inward force and impulse in all their actions. But worldly pride makes a Babylon and brings on a Babylon’s fate .… Pride must fall, for it is in itself a lie against God, and all its might must perish in the fire; thus will the humble and meek remain in possession of the earth: this has a wide application through all times, even to eternity.” Diedrich.

14. On Jeremiah 51:33. “Israel is indeed weak and must suffer in a time of tyranny; it cannot help itself, nor needs it to do Song of Solomon, for its Redeemer is strong, His name The Lord Zebaoth—and He Isaiah, now, having assumed our flesh, among us and conducts our cause so that the world trembles.” Diedrich.

15. On Jeremiah 50:45. “An emblem of the destruction of anti-christian Babylon, which was also the true hammer of the whole world. This has God also broken and must and will do it still more. And this will the shepherd-boys do, as is said here in Jeremiah 51:45 (according to Luther’s translation), that Isaiah, all true teachers and preachers.” Cramer.

16. On Jeremiah 51. “The doctrines accord in all points with the previous chapter. And the prophet Jeremiah both in this and the previous chapter does nothing else but make out for the Babylonians their final discharge and passport, because they behaved so valiantly and well against the people of Judah, that they might know they would not go unrecompensed. For payment is according to service. And had they done better it would have gone better with them. It is well that when tyrants succeed in their evil undertakings they should not suppose they are God’s dearest children and lean on His bosom, since they will yet receive the recompense on their crown, whatever they have earned.” Cramer.

17. [“Though in the hand of Babylon is a golden cup; she chooses such a cup, in order that men’s eyes may be dazzled with the glitter of the gold, and may not inquire what it contains. But mark well, in the golden cup of Babylon is the poison of idolatry, the poison of false doctrines, which destroy the souls of men. I have often seen such a golden cup, in fair speeches of seductive eloquence: and when I have examined the venomous ingredients of the golden chalice, I have recognized the cup of Babylon.” Origen in Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]

“The seat and throne of Anti-christ is expressly named Babylon, namely, the city of Rome, built on the seven hills ( Revelation 17:9). Just as Babylon brought so many lands and kingdoms under its sway and ruled them with great pomp and pride (the golden cup, which made all the world drunk, was Babylon in the hand of the Lord ( Jeremiah 51:7), and all the heathen drank of the wine and became mad)—so has the spiritual Babylon a cup in its hand, full of the abomination and uncleanness of its whoredom, of which the kings of the earth and all who dwell on the earth have been made drunk. As it is said of Babylon that she dwells by great waters and has great treasures, so writes John of the Romish Babylon, that it is clothed in silk and purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls ( Revelation 18:12). Of Babylon it is said that the slain in Israel were smitten by her; so also the spiritual Babylon is become drunk with the blood of the saints ( Revelation 17:6). Just, however, as the Chaldean Babylon is a type of the spiritual in its pride and despotism, so also is it a type of the destruction which will come upon it. Many wished to heal Babylon but she would not be healed; so many endeavor to support the ruinous anti-christian Babylon, but all in vain. For as Babylon was at last so destroyed as to be a heap of stones and abode of dragons, so will it be with anti-christian Babylon. Of this it is written in Revelation 14:8 : She is fallen, fallen, that great city, for she has made all nations drink of the wine of her fornication. And again, Babylon the great is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and a hold of all foul and hateful birds ( Revelation 18:2). As the inhabitants of Babylon were admonished to flee from her, that every man might deliver his soul ( Jeremiah 51:6)—and again, My people, go ye out from the midst of her and deliver every man his soul, etc. ( Jeremiah 51:45)—so the Holy Spirit admonishes Christians almost in the same words to go out from the spiritual Babylon, that they be not polluted by her sins and at the same time share in her punishment. For thus it is written in Revelation 18:4, I heard, says John, a voice from heaven saying, Go ye out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues, for her sins reach unto heaven and God remembers her iniquities.” Wurtemb. Summarien.

18. On Jeremiah 51:5. “A monarch can sooner make an end of half a continent than draw a nail from a hut which the Lord protects.—And if it is true that Kaiser Rudolph, when he revoked the toleration of the Picards and the same day lost one of his principal forts, said, ‘I thought it would be Song of Solomon, for I grasped at God’s sceptre’ (Weismanni, Hist. Eccl. Tom. II. p320)—this was a sage remark, a supplement to the words of the wise.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 51:9. We heal Babylon, but she will not be healed. Babylon is an outwardly beautiful but inwardly worm-eaten apple. Hence sooner or later the foulness must become noticeable. So is it with all whose heart and centre is not God. All is inwardly hollow and vain. When this internal vacuity begins to render itself externally palpable, when here and there a rent or foul spot becomes visible, then certainly come the friends and admirers of the unholy form and would improve, cover up, sew up, heal. But it does not avail. When once there is death in the body no physician can effect a cure.

20. On Jeremiah 51:17; Jeremiah 51:19-20. “The children of God have three causes why they may venture on Him. 1. All men are fools, their treasure is it not; 2. The Lord is their hammer; He breaks through everything, and3, they are an instrument in His hand, a heritage; in this there is happiness.” Zinzendorf.

21. On Jeremiah 51:41-44. “How was Sheshach thus won, the city renowned in all the world thus taken? No one would have thought it possible, but God does it. He rules with wonders and with wonders He makes His church free. Babylon is a wonder no longer for its power, but for its weakness. We are to know the world’s weakness even where it still appears strong. A sea of hostile nations has covered Babylon. Her land is now a desolation. God takes Bel and the Dragon, the principal idol of Babylon, symbolizing its whole civil powers in hand, and snatches his prey from his teeth. Our God is stronger than all worldly forces, and never leaves us to them.” Diedrich.

22. On Jeremiah 51:58. “Yea, so it is with all walls and towers, in which God’s word is not the vital force, even though they be entitled churches and cathedrals … God’s church alone possesses permanence through His pure word.” Diedrich.

23. On Jeremiah 51:60-64. When we wish to preserve an archive safely, we deposit it in a record-office where it is kept in a dry place that no moisture may get to it. Seraiah throws his book-roll into the waters of the Euphrates, which must wash it away, dissolve and destroy it. But this was of no account. The main point was that Hebrews, Seraiah, as representative of the holy nation had taken solemn stock of the word of God against Babylon, and as it were taken God at His word, and reminded Him of it. In this manner the matter was laid up in the most enduring and safest archive that could be imagined; it was made a case of honor with the omniscient and omnipotent God. Such matters can, however, neither be forgotten, nor remain in dead silence, nor be neglected. They must be brought to such an end as the honor of God requires.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 50:2. This text may be used on the feast of the Reformation, or any other occasion with reference to a rem bene gestam. The Triumph of the Good Cause, 1. over what enemies it is gained; 2. to what it should impel us; (a) to the avoidance of that over which we new triumph; (b) to the grateful proclamation of what the Lord has done for us, by word and by deed.

2. On Jeremiah 50:4-8. The deliverance of Israel from the Babylonian captivity a type of the deliverance of the Church1. The Church must humbly acknowledge the captivity suffered as a judgment of God2. She must turn like Israel inwardly with an upright heart unto the Lord; 3. She must become like Israel to all men a pattern and leader to freedom.

3. On Jeremiah 50:5. A confirmation sermon. “What is the hour of confirmation? 1. An hour which calls to separation; 2. an hour which leads to new connections; 3. an hour which fixes forever the old covenant with the soul’s friend.” Florey, 1853.

4. On Jeremiah 50:18-20. Assyria and Babylon the types of all the spiritual enemies of the church as of individual Christians. Every one has his Assyria and his Babylon. Sin is the destruction of men. Forgiveness of sins is the condition of life, for only where forgiveness of sins Isaiah, is there life and blessedness. In Christ we find the forgiveness of sins. He destroys the handwriting. He washes us clean. He is also the good shepherd who leads our souls into green pastures, to the spiritual Carmel.

5. On Jeremiah 50:31-32. Warning against pride. Babylon was very strong and powerful, rich and splendid. It seemed invincible by nature and by art. Had it not then a certain justification in being proud, at least towards men? No; for no one has to contend only with men. Every one who contends has the Lord either for his friend or his enemy. It is the Lord from whom cometh victory ( Proverbs 21:31). He it is who teacheth our hands to fight ( Psalm 18:35; Psalm 144:1). His strength is made perfect in weakness ( 2 Corinthians 12:9). He can make the lame ( Isaiah 33:23; Micah 4:7) and mortally wounded ( Jeremiah 37:10) so strong that they overmaster the sound (comp. Jeremiah 51:45). He can make one man put to flight a thousand ( Deuteronomy 32:30; Isaiah 30:17). With him can one dash in pieces a troop and leap over a wall ( Psalm 18:29). No one accordingly should be proud. The word of the Lord, “I am against thee, thou proud one!” is a terrible word which no one should conjure up against himself.

6. On Jeremiah 50:33-34. The consolation of the Church in persecution1. It suffers violence and injustice2. Its redeemer is strong.

7. On Jeremiah 51:5. God the Lord manifests such favor to Israel as to declare Himself her husband ( Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:1). But now that Israel and Judah are in exile, it seems as if they were rejected or widowed women. This, however, is only appearance. Israel’s husband does not die. He may well bring a period of chastisement, of purification and trial on His people, but when this period is over, the Lord turns the handle, and smites those through whom He chastised Israel, when they had forgotten that they were not to satisfy their own desire, but only to accomplish the Lord’s will on Israel.

8. On Jeremiah 51:6. A time may come when it is well to separate one’s self. For although it is said in Proverbs 18:1; he who separateth himself, seeketh that which pleaseth him and opposeth all that is good—and therefore separation, as the antipodes of churchliness, i.e., of churchly communion and humble subjection to the law of the co-operation of members ( 1 Corinthians 12:25 sqq.) is to be repudiated, yet there may come moments in the life of the church, when it will be a duty to leave the community and separate one’s self. Such a moment is come when the community has become a Babylon. It should, however, be noted that one should not be too ready with such a decision. For even the life of the church is subject to many vacillations. There are periods of decay, obscurations, as it were, comparable to eclipses of the stars, but to these, so long as the foundations only subsist, must always follow a restoration and return to the original brightness. No one is to consider the church a Babylon on account of such a passing state of disease. It is this only when it has withheld the objective divine foundations, the means of grace, the word and sacrament, altogether and permanently in their saving efficacy. Then, when the soul can no longer find in the church the pure and divine bread of life; it is well “to deliver the soul that it perish not in the iniquity of the church.” From this separation from the church Isaiah, however, to be carefully distinguished the separation within the church, from all that which is opposed to the healthy life of the church, and is therefore to be regarded as a diseased part of the ecclesiastical body. Such separation is the daily duty of the Christian. He has to perform it with respect to his private life in all the manifold relations, indicated to us in Matthew 18:17; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:9 sqq.; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10; 2 John 1:10-11.—Comp. the article on Sects, by Palmer in Herzog, R-Enc., XXI, S. 21, 22.

9. On Jeremiah 51:10. The righteousness which avails before God1. Its origin (not our work or merit, but God’s grace in Christ); 2. Its fruit, praise of that which the Lord has wrought in us (a) by words, (b) by works.

10. On Jeremiah 51:50. This text may be used at the sending out of missionaries or the departure of emigrants. Occasion may be taken to speak1, of the gracious help and deliverance, which the Lord has hitherto shown to the departing; 2, they may be admonished to remain united in their distant land with their brethren at home by (a) remembering the Lord, i.e., ever remaining sincerely devoted to the Lord as the common shield of salvation; (b) faithfuly serving Jerusalem, i.e., the common mother of us all ( Galatians 4:26), the church, with all our powers in the proper place and measure, and ever keeping her in our hearts.


Verses 7-10

12. THE GOLDEN CUP BROKEN

Jeremiah 51:7-10

7 A golden cup was Babylon in the hand of Jehovah,

Which made all the earth drunken:

Of its wine have nations drunk,

And nations have become mad.

8 Suddenly is Babylon fallen and shattered!

Howl over her, take balsam for her pain,

If so be she may be healed.

9 We have healed[FN7] Babylon, but she was not healed:

Forsake her and let us go each into his own country:

For her judgment reacheth[FN8] unto heaven,

And towers up even to the clouds.

10 “Jehovah hath brought forth our righteous works:

Come and let us declare in Zion the work of Jehovah, our God.”

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

These verses also contain a picture complete in itself. For the prophet shows us first Babylon at the height of its power, when it was like a golden cup, in which Jehovah gave the nations the wine of His wrath to drink ( Jeremiah 51:7). Now the parts are changed. Babylon is itself “a sick Prayer of Manasseh,” and the prophet therefore calls upon the nations that have become tributary to him to give him medicine ( Jeremiah 51:8). These answer that they had tried this in vain, and mutually expect each other to flee from the common prison ( Jeremiah 51:9). Israel is one among these nations, and therefore calls upon those who belong to it to journey home, and in their home declare the mighty acts of the Lord in the deliverance and justification of His people ( Jeremiah 51:10). We see that the discourse is dramatically arranged, and as to its purport, proceeds from the height and greatness of Babylon to its fall.

Jeremiah 51:7-8. A golden cup … be healed. The prophet had here Jeremiah 25:15 in mind. That which in Jeremiah 50:23 and Jeremiah 51:20 is expressed by the figure of the hammer is expressed here by the figure of the cup, except that, in the hammer the element of irresistible power, in the golden cup that of pride and glory, is more prominent. The cup, however, is “in the hand of Jehovah.” It is therefore Jehovah’s instrument, and what it bestows is the gift of Jehovah. From the effect of this gift we see that its object was punishment. The nations are intoxicated by it, and become like mad (comp. Jeremiah 25:16). This figure portrays the overwhelming fulness of destructive effect which they were obliged to receive.—Comp. Revelation 17:2; Revelation 17:4.—[Babylon, “like a fair harlot, has bewitched thee with the love potions of her idolatries.” Wordsworth. The same image is used in the Apocalypse. Comp. also Doctrinal Note No17.—S. R. A.]—Now Babylon itself is thrown down, shattered, sick unto death. The expression “Babylon is fallen” seems to be taken from Isaiah 21:9. Comp. Revelation 14:8; Revelation 18:2. The figure of the cup is abandoned gradually. It is still perceived in the word shattered, but the balsam and the pain presuppose a living organism. Those who are called upon must be the same who afterwards speak, Jeremiah 51:9-10. It is the nations conquered and held in captivity by Babylon which speak, among them Israel. They are the same who were spoken of in Jeremiah 50:8; Jeremiah 50:16. These are summoned to heal Babylon, because they are now his servants, and thus obligated to render him assistance.—Balsam. Comp. Jeremiah 46:11; Jeremiah 8:22.

Jeremiah 51:9-10. We have healed .. our God. Those who are called upon do not refuse to render the service, but this is shown to be in vain. They express this after having made the attempt, and hence the perfect tense— Jeremiah 6:14; Jeremiah 15:18; Jeremiah 17:14. They thus express that in the service of Babylon they have honestly done what they could for its deliverance. As all their attempts have proved vain, they think of their own safety by flight into their native lands. Comp. Isaiah 13:14; Jeremiah 46:16.—The reason why Babylon was not to be helped lies in the immeasurable greatness of the evil which has come upon it. The punitive judgment advances upon them so overpoweringly that it reaches even to the sky. Comp. Psalm 36:6; Psalm 57:11; Psalm 108:5.—Israel, who is especially benefited by the breaking of the prison, rejoices above all that his honor is saved, that he has not everlastingly disappeared and perished as something entirely bad, but is still preserved as good for something. We might be tempted to take righteous works (צְדָקוֹת) in the sense of “salvation” (comp. Isaiah 62:1) but the plural is opposed to such a rendering. For though the “righteousnesses of Jehovah” are spoken of in the sense of “saving acts” (comp. Judges 5:11; Psalm 103:6) the righteousness of Israel, which the Lord has brought to light, cannot well be other than such facts as render manifest that Israel is still worthy the honor of being the people of Jehovah (Comp. Isaiah 62:2). Comp. Psalm 37:6; Jeremiah 50:20.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. “Daniel’s Babylonian empire resumes, as it were, the thread which was broken off with the tower-erection and kingdom of Nimrod. In the Babylonian tower-building the whole of the then existing humanity was united against God; with the Babylonian kingdom began the period of the universal monarchies, which again aspired after an atheistical union of entire humanity. Babylon has since and even to the Revelation ( Jeremiah 18) remained the standing type of this world.” Auberlen, Der proph. Daniel, S. 230.

2. For what reason does Babylon appear as a type of the world? Why not Nineveh, or Persepolis, or Tyre, or Memphis, or Rome? Certainly not because Babylon was greater, more glorious, more powerful or prouder and more ungodly than those cities and kingdoms. Nineveh especially was still greater than Babylon (comp. Duncker, Gesch. d. Alterth. I. S. 474, 5), and Assyria was not less hostile to the theocracy, having carried away into captivity the northern and larger half of the people of Israel. Babylon is qualified for this representation in two ways: 1. because it is the home of worldly princedom and titanic arrogance ( Genesis 10:8; Genesis 11:1-4); 2. because Babylon destroyed the centre of the theocracy, Jerusalem, the temple and the theocratic kingdom, and first assumed to be the single supreme power of the globe.

3. “When God has used a superstitious, wicked and tyrannical nation long enough as His rod, He breaks it in pieces and finally throws it into the fire. For even those whom He formerly used as His chosen anointed instruments He then regards as but the dust in the streets or as chaff before the wind.” Cramer.

4. “No monarch is too rich, too wicked, too strong for God the Lord. And He can soon enlist and engage soldiers whom He can use against His declared enemies.” Cramer.

5. “Israel was founded on everlasting foundations, even God’s word and promise. The sins of the people brought about that it was laid low in the dust, but not without hope of a better resurrection. Babylon, on the other hand, must perish forever, for in it is the empire of evil come to its highest bloom. Jeremiah owns the nothingness of all worldly kingdoms, since they are all under this national order to serve only for a time. We are to be subject to them and seek their welfare for the sake of the souls of men, whom God is educating therein; a Christian however cannot be enthusiastic for them after the manner of the ancient heathen nor of ancient Israel, for here we have no abiding city, our citizenship is in heaven. The kingdoms of this world are no sanctuaries for us and we supplicate their continuance only with the daily bread of the fourth petition. Jeremiah applies many words and figures to Babylon which he has already used in the judgments on other nations, thus to intimate that in Babylon all the heathenism of the world culminates, and that here also must be the greatest anguish. What, however, is here declared of Babylon must be fulfilled again on all earthly powers in so far as, treading in its footprints, they take flesh for their arm and regard the material of this world as power, whether they be called states or churches.” Diedrich.

6. On Jeremiah 50:2. In putting into the mouth of Israel, returning from Babylon, the call to an everlasting covenant with Jehovah, the prophet causes them1. to confess that they have forgotten the first covenant; 2. he shows us that the time of the new covenant begins with the redemption from the Babylonish captivity. He was far, however, from supposing that this redemption would be only a weak beginning, that the appearance of the Saviour would be deferred for centuries, that Israel would sink still deeper as an external πολιτεία, and that finally the Israel of the new covenant would itself appear as a μυστήριον, εἰς ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι ( 1 Peter 1:9-12).

7. From what Jeremiah has already said in Jeremiah 31:31-34 of the new covenant we see that its nature and its difference from the old is not unknown to him. Yet he knows the new covenant only in general. He knows that it will be deeply spiritual and eternal, but how and why it will be so is still to him part of the μυστήριον.

8. On Jeremiah 50:6. Jeremiah here points back to Jeremiah 23. Priests, kings and prophets, who should discharge the office of shepherds, prove to be wolves. Yea, they are the worst of wolves, who go about in official clothing. There is therefore no more dangerous doctrine than that of an infallible office. Jeremiah 14:14; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 23:2-12.

9. On Jeremiah 50:7. It is the worst condition into which a church of God can come, when the enemies who desolate it can maintain that they are in the right in doing so. It Isaiah, however, a just nemesis when those who will not hear the regular messengers of God must be told by the extraordinary messengers of God what they should have done. Comp. Jeremiah 40:2-3.

10. On Jeremiah 50:8. “Babylon is opened, and it must be abandoned not clung to, for the captivity is a temporary chastisement, not the divine arrangement for the children of God. God’s people must in the general redemption go like rams before the herd of the nations, that these may also attach themselves to Israel, as this was fulfilled at the time of Christ in the first churches and the apostles, who now draw the whole heathen world after them to eternal life. Here the prophet recognizes the new humanity, which proceeds from the ruins of the old, in which also ancient Israel leads the way; thus all, who follow it, become Israel.” Diedrich.—“The heathen felt somewhat of the divine punishment when they overcame so easily the usually so strongly protected nation. But Jeremiah shows them still how they deceived themselves in thinking that God had wholly rejected His people, for of the eternal covenant of grace they certainly understood nothing.” Heim and Hoffmann on the Major Prophets.

11. On Jeremiah 50:18. “The great powers of the world form indeed the history of the world, but they have no future. Israel, however, always returns home to the dear and glorious land. The Jews might as a token of this return under Cyrus; the case is however this, that the true Holy One in Israel, Christ, guides us back to Paradise, when we flee to His hand from the Babylon of this world and let it be crucified for us.” Diedrich.

12. On Jeremiah 50:23. “Although the Chaldeans were called of God for the purpose of making war on the Jewish nation on account of their multitudinous sins, yet they are punished because they did it not as God with a pure intention, namely, to punish the wrong in them and keep them for reformation; for they were themselves greater sinners than the Jews and continued with impenitence in their sins. Therefore they could not go scot-free and remain unpunished. Moreover, they acted too roughly and dealt with the Jews more harshly than God had commanded, for which He therefore fairly punished them. As God the Lord Himself says ( Isaiah 47:6): When I was angry with My people I gave them into thine hands; but thou shewedst them no mercy. Therefore it is not enough that God’s will be accomplished, but there must be the good intention in it, which God had, otherwise such a work may be a sin and call down the divine punishment upon it.” Würtemb. Summ.

13. On Jeremiah 50:31-34. “God calls Babylon Thou Pride, for pride was their inward force and impulse in all their actions. But worldly pride makes a Babylon and brings on a Babylon’s fate .… Pride must fall, for it is in itself a lie against God, and all its might must perish in the fire; thus will the humble and meek remain in possession of the earth: this has a wide application through all times, even to eternity.” Diedrich.

14. On Jeremiah 51:33. “Israel is indeed weak and must suffer in a time of tyranny; it cannot help itself, nor needs it to do Song of Solomon, for its Redeemer is strong, His name The Lord Zebaoth—and He Isaiah, now, having assumed our flesh, among us and conducts our cause so that the world trembles.” Diedrich.

15. On Jeremiah 50:45. “An emblem of the destruction of anti-christian Babylon, which was also the true hammer of the whole world. This has God also broken and must and will do it still more. And this will the shepherd-boys do, as is said here in Jeremiah 51:45 (according to Luther’s translation), that Isaiah, all true teachers and preachers.” Cramer.

16. On Jeremiah 51. “The doctrines accord in all points with the previous chapter. And the prophet Jeremiah both in this and the previous chapter does nothing else but make out for the Babylonians their final discharge and passport, because they behaved so valiantly and well against the people of Judah, that they might know they would not go unrecompensed. For payment is according to service. And had they done better it would have gone better with them. It is well that when tyrants succeed in their evil undertakings they should not suppose they are God’s dearest children and lean on His bosom, since they will yet receive the recompense on their crown, whatever they have earned.” Cramer.

17. [“Though in the hand of Babylon is a golden cup; she chooses such a cup, in order that men’s eyes may be dazzled with the glitter of the gold, and may not inquire what it contains. But mark well, in the golden cup of Babylon is the poison of idolatry, the poison of false doctrines, which destroy the souls of men. I have often seen such a golden cup, in fair speeches of seductive eloquence: and when I have examined the venomous ingredients of the golden chalice, I have recognized the cup of Babylon.” Origen in Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]

“The seat and throne of Anti-christ is expressly named Babylon, namely, the city of Rome, built on the seven hills ( Revelation 17:9). Just as Babylon brought so many lands and kingdoms under its sway and ruled them with great pomp and pride (the golden cup, which made all the world drunk, was Babylon in the hand of the Lord ( Jeremiah 51:7), and all the heathen drank of the wine and became mad)—so has the spiritual Babylon a cup in its hand, full of the abomination and uncleanness of its whoredom, of which the kings of the earth and all who dwell on the earth have been made drunk. As it is said of Babylon that she dwells by great waters and has great treasures, so writes John of the Romish Babylon, that it is clothed in silk and purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls ( Revelation 18:12). Of Babylon it is said that the slain in Israel were smitten by her; so also the spiritual Babylon is become drunk with the blood of the saints ( Revelation 17:6). Just, however, as the Chaldean Babylon is a type of the spiritual in its pride and despotism, so also is it a type of the destruction which will come upon it. Many wished to heal Babylon but she would not be healed; so many endeavor to support the ruinous anti-christian Babylon, but all in vain. For as Babylon was at last so destroyed as to be a heap of stones and abode of dragons, so will it be with anti-christian Babylon. Of this it is written in Revelation 14:8 : She is fallen, fallen, that great city, for she has made all nations drink of the wine of her fornication. And again, Babylon the great is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and a hold of all foul and hateful birds ( Revelation 18:2). As the inhabitants of Babylon were admonished to flee from her, that every man might deliver his soul ( Jeremiah 51:6)—and again, My people, go ye out from the midst of her and deliver every man his soul, etc. ( Jeremiah 51:45)—so the Holy Spirit admonishes Christians almost in the same words to go out from the spiritual Babylon, that they be not polluted by her sins and at the same time share in her punishment. For thus it is written in Revelation 18:4, I heard, says John, a voice from heaven saying, Go ye out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues, for her sins reach unto heaven and God remembers her iniquities.” Wurtemb. Summarien.

18. On Jeremiah 51:5. “A monarch can sooner make an end of half a continent than draw a nail from a hut which the Lord protects.—And if it is true that Kaiser Rudolph, when he revoked the toleration of the Picards and the same day lost one of his principal forts, said, ‘I thought it would be Song of Solomon, for I grasped at God’s sceptre’ (Weismanni, Hist. Eccl. Tom. II. p320)—this was a sage remark, a supplement to the words of the wise.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 51:9. We heal Babylon, but she will not be healed. Babylon is an outwardly beautiful but inwardly worm-eaten apple. Hence sooner or later the foulness must become noticeable. So is it with all whose heart and centre is not God. All is inwardly hollow and vain. When this internal vacuity begins to render itself externally palpable, when here and there a rent or foul spot becomes visible, then certainly come the friends and admirers of the unholy form and would improve, cover up, sew up, heal. But it does not avail. When once there is death in the body no physician can effect a cure.

20. On Jeremiah 51:17; Jeremiah 51:19-20. “The children of God have three causes why they may venture on Him. 1. All men are fools, their treasure is it not; 2. The Lord is their hammer; He breaks through everything, and3, they are an instrument in His hand, a heritage; in this there is happiness.” Zinzendorf.

21. On Jeremiah 51:41-44. “How was Sheshach thus won, the city renowned in all the world thus taken? No one would have thought it possible, but God does it. He rules with wonders and with wonders He makes His church free. Babylon is a wonder no longer for its power, but for its weakness. We are to know the world’s weakness even where it still appears strong. A sea of hostile nations has covered Babylon. Her land is now a desolation. God takes Bel and the Dragon, the principal idol of Babylon, symbolizing its whole civil powers in hand, and snatches his prey from his teeth. Our God is stronger than all worldly forces, and never leaves us to them.” Diedrich.

22. On Jeremiah 51:58. “Yea, so it is with all walls and towers, in which God’s word is not the vital force, even though they be entitled churches and cathedrals … God’s church alone possesses permanence through His pure word.” Diedrich.

23. On Jeremiah 51:60-64. When we wish to preserve an archive safely, we deposit it in a record-office where it is kept in a dry place that no moisture may get to it. Seraiah throws his book-roll into the waters of the Euphrates, which must wash it away, dissolve and destroy it. But this was of no account. The main point was that Hebrews, Seraiah, as representative of the holy nation had taken solemn stock of the word of God against Babylon, and as it were taken God at His word, and reminded Him of it. In this manner the matter was laid up in the most enduring and safest archive that could be imagined; it was made a case of honor with the omniscient and omnipotent God. Such matters can, however, neither be forgotten, nor remain in dead silence, nor be neglected. They must be brought to such an end as the honor of God requires.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 50:2. This text may be used on the feast of the Reformation, or any other occasion with reference to a rem bene gestam. The Triumph of the Good Cause, 1. over what enemies it is gained; 2. to what it should impel us; (a) to the avoidance of that over which we new triumph; (b) to the grateful proclamation of what the Lord has done for us, by word and by deed.

2. On Jeremiah 50:4-8. The deliverance of Israel from the Babylonian captivity a type of the deliverance of the Church1. The Church must humbly acknowledge the captivity suffered as a judgment of God2. She must turn like Israel inwardly with an upright heart unto the Lord; 3. She must become like Israel to all men a pattern and leader to freedom.

3. On Jeremiah 50:5. A confirmation sermon. “What is the hour of confirmation? 1. An hour which calls to separation; 2. an hour which leads to new connections; 3. an hour which fixes forever the old covenant with the soul’s friend.” Florey, 1853.

4. On Jeremiah 50:18-20. Assyria and Babylon the types of all the spiritual enemies of the church as of individual Christians. Every one has his Assyria and his Babylon. Sin is the destruction of men. Forgiveness of sins is the condition of life, for only where forgiveness of sins Isaiah, is there life and blessedness. In Christ we find the forgiveness of sins. He destroys the handwriting. He washes us clean. He is also the good shepherd who leads our souls into green pastures, to the spiritual Carmel.

5. On Jeremiah 50:31-32. Warning against pride. Babylon was very strong and powerful, rich and splendid. It seemed invincible by nature and by art. Had it not then a certain justification in being proud, at least towards men? No; for no one has to contend only with men. Every one who contends has the Lord either for his friend or his enemy. It is the Lord from whom cometh victory ( Proverbs 21:31). He it is who teacheth our hands to fight ( Psalm 18:35; Psalm 144:1). His strength is made perfect in weakness ( 2 Corinthians 12:9). He can make the lame ( Isaiah 33:23; Micah 4:7) and mortally wounded ( Jeremiah 37:10) so strong that they overmaster the sound (comp. Jeremiah 51:45). He can make one man put to flight a thousand ( Deuteronomy 32:30; Isaiah 30:17). With him can one dash in pieces a troop and leap over a wall ( Psalm 18:29). No one accordingly should be proud. The word of the Lord, “I am against thee, thou proud one!” is a terrible word which no one should conjure up against himself.

6. On Jeremiah 50:33-34. The consolation of the Church in persecution1. It suffers violence and injustice2. Its redeemer is strong.

7. On Jeremiah 51:5. God the Lord manifests such favor to Israel as to declare Himself her husband ( Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:1). But now that Israel and Judah are in exile, it seems as if they were rejected or widowed women. This, however, is only appearance. Israel’s husband does not die. He may well bring a period of chastisement, of purification and trial on His people, but when this period is over, the Lord turns the handle, and smites those through whom He chastised Israel, when they had forgotten that they were not to satisfy their own desire, but only to accomplish the Lord’s will on Israel.

8. On Jeremiah 51:6. A time may come when it is well to separate one’s self. For although it is said in Proverbs 18:1; he who separateth himself, seeketh that which pleaseth him and opposeth all that is good—and therefore separation, as the antipodes of churchliness, i.e., of churchly communion and humble subjection to the law of the co-operation of members ( 1 Corinthians 12:25 sqq.) is to be repudiated, yet there may come moments in the life of the church, when it will be a duty to leave the community and separate one’s self. Such a moment is come when the community has become a Babylon. It should, however, be noted that one should not be too ready with such a decision. For even the life of the church is subject to many vacillations. There are periods of decay, obscurations, as it were, comparable to eclipses of the stars, but to these, so long as the foundations only subsist, must always follow a restoration and return to the original brightness. No one is to consider the church a Babylon on account of such a passing state of disease. It is this only when it has withheld the objective divine foundations, the means of grace, the word and sacrament, altogether and permanently in their saving efficacy. Then, when the soul can no longer find in the church the pure and divine bread of life; it is well “to deliver the soul that it perish not in the iniquity of the church.” From this separation from the church Isaiah, however, to be carefully distinguished the separation within the church, from all that which is opposed to the healthy life of the church, and is therefore to be regarded as a diseased part of the ecclesiastical body. Such separation is the daily duty of the Christian. He has to perform it with respect to his private life in all the manifold relations, indicated to us in Matthew 18:17; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:9 sqq.; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10; 2 John 1:10-11.—Comp. the article on Sects, by Palmer in Herzog, R-Enc., XXI, S. 21, 22.

9. On Jeremiah 51:10. The righteousness which avails before God1. Its origin (not our work or merit, but God’s grace in Christ); 2. Its fruit, praise of that which the Lord has wrought in us (a) by words, (b) by works.

10. On Jeremiah 51:50. This text may be used at the sending out of missionaries or the departure of emigrants. Occasion may be taken to speak1, of the gracious help and deliverance, which the Lord has hitherto shown to the departing; 2, they may be admonished to remain united in their distant land with their brethren at home by (a) remembering the Lord, i.e., ever remaining sincerely devoted to the Lord as the common shield of salvation; (b) faithfuly serving Jerusalem, i.e., the common mother of us all ( Galatians 4:26), the church, with all our powers in the proper place and measure, and ever keeping her in our hearts.

Footnotes:

FN#7 - Jeremiah 51:9.—The perf. רִכִּאנוּ is to be understood de conatu. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 100, 4, Anm. 2.

FN#8 - Jeremiah 51:9.—On נָגַע specially comp. Jeremiah 4:10; Jeremiah 4:18.


Verses 11-14

13. THE TRIPLE THREATENING

Jeremiah 51:11-14

11 Sharpen[FN9] the arrows, fill the shields ![FN10]

Jehovah hath awakened the spirit of the kings of Media,

For his mind is against Babylon to destroy it;

For the vengeance of Jehovah it Isaiah,

The vengeance of his sanctuary.

12 Against the walls of Babylon raise standards,

Strengthen the watch, appoint watchmen,

Lay the ambush!

For as Jehovah hath thought so also hath he done—

All that he hath spoken against the inhabitants of Babylon.

13 O thou that dwellest on great waters, on greatness of treasures!

Thine end is come, the ell of thy section.[FN11]

14 Sworn hath Jehovah Zebaoth by himself:[FN12]

“Have I filled, thee with men as with grasshoppers,

So shall they sing over thee the song of the vintage.”

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

A triple call of threatening against Babylon forming a climax; first ( Jeremiah 51:11 a) a general summons to war, with mention of the warlike power thus called upon, then ( Jeremiah 51:12 a) an immediate attack on the walls of the city is commanded, and in the third place ( Jeremiah 51:13), its approaching end is announced. Each of the calls Isaiah, however, followed by a statement of reasons, in which also a climax may be perceived. For Jeremiah 51:11 b announces the decree of Jehovah and its cause; Jeremiah 51:12 b contains the assurance that with the Lord purposing and acting are the same thing. Jeremiah 51:14 strengthens the threatening of Jeremiah 51:13 by reference to a solemn oath of Jehovah.

Jeremiah 51:11. Sharpen … sanctuary.—Hath awakened, etc. Comp. rems, on Jeremiah 51:1. This passage is taken from Isaiah 13:17, from which we see that the definition of the enemies, threatening from the north ( Jeremiah 50:9; Jeremiah 50:41), as the Medes is older than Jeremiah. Comp. Jeremiah 51:28. In this sentence the prophet informs us to whom the summons of the preceding clause is addressed. The second half of the verse contains a double statement of cause, first the proximate and immediate, then the remote and mediate, but at the same time deepest ground of the summons. Comp. Jeremiah 50:15; Jeremiah 50:28.

Jeremiah 51:12. Against the walls … of Babylon. The military signals are to precede the attack on the walls of Babylon. On account of against the walls, נֵם, standards, seems here to be not the mere general signal of convocation or message, but a military sign indicating a particular point of attack. The word also denotes the flags of ships ( Isaiah 33:23; Ezekiel 27:7). Comp. Winer, R-W-B, s. v.Fahnen” and “Schiffe.” The watch and watchmen appear to be related to each other as defensive and offensive (comp. 2 Samuel 11:16, and Hitzig).—Ambush. Comp. Joshua 8:14-16; Judges 20:33-35.—For, etc. To wish and to do sire to be shown to be identical with Jehovah. Comp. Jeremiah 4:28; Lamentations 2:17; Zechariah 1:6; Zechariah 8:14-15.

Jeremiah 51:13-14. O thou that dwellest … vintage. The greatest supports of the power of Babylon were the waters surrounding it (comp. vers, 32,36; Jeremiah 50:38; Isaiah 21:1; Psalm 137:1), and the great riches which Nebuchadnezzar accumulated (comp. Βαβυλὼν πολύχρυσος, Æsch. Pers. 52, and Oppert, Exped. en Mésop. I. p175), and which rendered it possible for him to erect his immense buildings. Duncker says in reference to this: “Nebuchadnezzar had no need to fear that he would exhaust the subjects of his native land by the cost of his buildings. The immense booty of Nineveh, the greater part of which accrued to the Babylonians, the plunder of Jerusalem, the tributes of Syria and the Phœnician cities furnished the greatest means. The fruitfulness of the Babylonian territory, the produce of the fields depended on the overflowing of the Euphrates. By an extensive system of dams, canals and conduits, Nebuchadnezzar succeeded both in conducting the water of the Euphrates to every point of the Babylonian plain, and in draining the marshes and averting the violent inundations, which were not infrequent” (Gesch. d. Alterth., I, S. 846). Add to this that these water-courses were of the greatest importance for the defence of the country. “Their object was primarily irrigation and navigation; but they afforded at the same time strong lines of defence against the enemy,” says Niebuhr (Ass. u. Bab, S. 229).—On a cylinder in the possession of Mr. Thomas Phillips, which has been deciphered by Grotefend, Nebuchadnezzar says (according to Oppert, p231): “Tout autour je fis couler de l’eau dans cette digue immense de terre. A travers ces grandes eaux comparables aux abimes de la mer, je fis faire un conduit.” Comp. Ib., p234.—Their end is come. Comp. Genesis 6:13.—Ell of thy section. There are two renderings of this, “measure, end of thy fury, avarice, gain.” So Grotius, Capelle, Chr. B. Michaelis, Rosenmueller, Ewald, Hitzig, But אַמָּה is the ell or yard measure, and does not involve the idea of full measure, or end. Hence the other rendering is to be preferred, which, after the example of Jerome (pedalis præcisionis tuæ), is adopted by Venema, J. D. Michaelis, Eichhorn, De Wette, Gesenius, Böttcher (Proben altestam. Schrifterkl, S. 289, Anm. m), Maurer, Graf. The idea lying at the foundation of the expression “the ell of the cutting thee off,” is that the thread of life is measured, and when a definite number of yards is reached, will be cut off. Comp, Isaiah 38:12; Job 6:9.—Have I, כִּי אִם, are not here particles of asseveration, as in 2 Samuel 15:21; 2 Kings 5:20, but conditional, if I have filled thee with men as with grasshoppers (comp. Jeremiah 46:23), this was only in order to be able to tread the more abundant vintage (הֵידָד. Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 25:30). Hence even the song of the treaders is a sign of their work yielding abundant returns.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. “Daniel’s Babylonian empire resumes, as it were, the thread which was broken off with the tower-erection and kingdom of Nimrod. In the Babylonian tower-building the whole of the then existing humanity was united against God; with the Babylonian kingdom began the period of the universal monarchies, which again aspired after an atheistical union of entire humanity. Babylon has since and even to the Revelation ( Jeremiah 18) remained the standing type of this world.” Auberlen, Der proph. Daniel, S. 230.

2. For what reason does Babylon appear as a type of the world? Why not Nineveh, or Persepolis, or Tyre, or Memphis, or Rome? Certainly not because Babylon was greater, more glorious, more powerful or prouder and more ungodly than those cities and kingdoms. Nineveh especially was still greater than Babylon (comp. Duncker, Gesch. d. Alterth. I. S. 474, 5), and Assyria was not less hostile to the theocracy, having carried away into captivity the northern and larger half of the people of Israel. Babylon is qualified for this representation in two ways: 1. because it is the home of worldly princedom and titanic arrogance ( Genesis 10:8; Genesis 11:1-4); 2. because Babylon destroyed the centre of the theocracy, Jerusalem, the temple and the theocratic kingdom, and first assumed to be the single supreme power of the globe.

3. “When God has used a superstitious, wicked and tyrannical nation long enough as His rod, He breaks it in pieces and finally throws it into the fire. For even those whom He formerly used as His chosen anointed instruments He then regards as but the dust in the streets or as chaff before the wind.” Cramer.

4. “No monarch is too rich, too wicked, too strong for God the Lord. And He can soon enlist and engage soldiers whom He can use against His declared enemies.” Cramer.

5. “Israel was founded on everlasting foundations, even God’s word and promise. The sins of the people brought about that it was laid low in the dust, but not without hope of a better resurrection. Babylon, on the other hand, must perish forever, for in it is the empire of evil come to its highest bloom. Jeremiah owns the nothingness of all worldly kingdoms, since they are all under this national order to serve only for a time. We are to be subject to them and seek their welfare for the sake of the souls of men, whom God is educating therein; a Christian however cannot be enthusiastic for them after the manner of the ancient heathen nor of ancient Israel, for here we have no abiding city, our citizenship is in heaven. The kingdoms of this world are no sanctuaries for us and we supplicate their continuance only with the daily bread of the fourth petition. Jeremiah applies many words and figures to Babylon which he has already used in the judgments on other nations, thus to intimate that in Babylon all the heathenism of the world culminates, and that here also must be the greatest anguish. What, however, is here declared of Babylon must be fulfilled again on all earthly powers in so far as, treading in its footprints, they take flesh for their arm and regard the material of this world as power, whether they be called states or churches.” Diedrich.

6. On Jeremiah 50:2. In putting into the mouth of Israel, returning from Babylon, the call to an everlasting covenant with Jehovah, the prophet causes them1. to confess that they have forgotten the first covenant; 2. he shows us that the time of the new covenant begins with the redemption from the Babylonish captivity. He was far, however, from supposing that this redemption would be only a weak beginning, that the appearance of the Saviour would be deferred for centuries, that Israel would sink still deeper as an external πολιτεία, and that finally the Israel of the new covenant would itself appear as a μυστήριον, εἰς ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι ( 1 Peter 1:9-12).

7. From what Jeremiah has already said in Jeremiah 31:31-34 of the new covenant we see that its nature and its difference from the old is not unknown to him. Yet he knows the new covenant only in general. He knows that it will be deeply spiritual and eternal, but how and why it will be so is still to him part of the μυστήριον.

8. On Jeremiah 50:6. Jeremiah here points back to Jeremiah 23. Priests, kings and prophets, who should discharge the office of shepherds, prove to be wolves. Yea, they are the worst of wolves, who go about in official clothing. There is therefore no more dangerous doctrine than that of an infallible office. Jeremiah 14:14; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 23:2-12.

9. On Jeremiah 50:7. It is the worst condition into which a church of God can come, when the enemies who desolate it can maintain that they are in the right in doing so. It Isaiah, however, a just nemesis when those who will not hear the regular messengers of God must be told by the extraordinary messengers of God what they should have done. Comp. Jeremiah 40:2-3.

10. On Jeremiah 50:8. “Babylon is opened, and it must be abandoned not clung to, for the captivity is a temporary chastisement, not the divine arrangement for the children of God. God’s people must in the general redemption go like rams before the herd of the nations, that these may also attach themselves to Israel, as this was fulfilled at the time of Christ in the first churches and the apostles, who now draw the whole heathen world after them to eternal life. Here the prophet recognizes the new humanity, which proceeds from the ruins of the old, in which also ancient Israel leads the way; thus all, who follow it, become Israel.” Diedrich.—“The heathen felt somewhat of the divine punishment when they overcame so easily the usually so strongly protected nation. But Jeremiah shows them still how they deceived themselves in thinking that God had wholly rejected His people, for of the eternal covenant of grace they certainly understood nothing.” Heim and Hoffmann on the Major Prophets.

11. On Jeremiah 50:18. “The great powers of the world form indeed the history of the world, but they have no future. Israel, however, always returns home to the dear and glorious land. The Jews might as a token of this return under Cyrus; the case is however this, that the true Holy One in Israel, Christ, guides us back to Paradise, when we flee to His hand from the Babylon of this world and let it be crucified for us.” Diedrich.

12. On Jeremiah 50:23. “Although the Chaldeans were called of God for the purpose of making war on the Jewish nation on account of their multitudinous sins, yet they are punished because they did it not as God with a pure intention, namely, to punish the wrong in them and keep them for reformation; for they were themselves greater sinners than the Jews and continued with impenitence in their sins. Therefore they could not go scot-free and remain unpunished. Moreover, they acted too roughly and dealt with the Jews more harshly than God had commanded, for which He therefore fairly punished them. As God the Lord Himself says ( Isaiah 47:6): When I was angry with My people I gave them into thine hands; but thou shewedst them no mercy. Therefore it is not enough that God’s will be accomplished, but there must be the good intention in it, which God had, otherwise such a work may be a sin and call down the divine punishment upon it.” Würtemb. Summ.

13. On Jeremiah 50:31-34. “God calls Babylon Thou Pride, for pride was their inward force and impulse in all their actions. But worldly pride makes a Babylon and brings on a Babylon’s fate .… Pride must fall, for it is in itself a lie against God, and all its might must perish in the fire; thus will the humble and meek remain in possession of the earth: this has a wide application through all times, even to eternity.” Diedrich.

14. On Jeremiah 51:33. “Israel is indeed weak and must suffer in a time of tyranny; it cannot help itself, nor needs it to do Song of Solomon, for its Redeemer is strong, His name The Lord Zebaoth—and He Isaiah, now, having assumed our flesh, among us and conducts our cause so that the world trembles.” Diedrich.

15. On Jeremiah 50:45. “An emblem of the destruction of anti-christian Babylon, which was also the true hammer of the whole world. This has God also broken and must and will do it still more. And this will the shepherd-boys do, as is said here in Jeremiah 51:45 (according to Luther’s translation), that Isaiah, all true teachers and preachers.” Cramer.

16. On Jeremiah 51. “The doctrines accord in all points with the previous chapter. And the prophet Jeremiah both in this and the previous chapter does nothing else but make out for the Babylonians their final discharge and passport, because they behaved so valiantly and well against the people of Judah, that they might know they would not go unrecompensed. For payment is according to service. And had they done better it would have gone better with them. It is well that when tyrants succeed in their evil undertakings they should not suppose they are God’s dearest children and lean on His bosom, since they will yet receive the recompense on their crown, whatever they have earned.” Cramer.

17. [“Though in the hand of Babylon is a golden cup; she chooses such a cup, in order that men’s eyes may be dazzled with the glitter of the gold, and may not inquire what it contains. But mark well, in the golden cup of Babylon is the poison of idolatry, the poison of false doctrines, which destroy the souls of men. I have often seen such a golden cup, in fair speeches of seductive eloquence: and when I have examined the venomous ingredients of the golden chalice, I have recognized the cup of Babylon.” Origen in Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]

“The seat and throne of Anti-christ is expressly named Babylon, namely, the city of Rome, built on the seven hills ( Revelation 17:9). Just as Babylon brought so many lands and kingdoms under its sway and ruled them with great pomp and pride (the golden cup, which made all the world drunk, was Babylon in the hand of the Lord ( Jeremiah 51:7), and all the heathen drank of the wine and became mad)—so has the spiritual Babylon a cup in its hand, full of the abomination and uncleanness of its whoredom, of which the kings of the earth and all who dwell on the earth have been made drunk. As it is said of Babylon that she dwells by great waters and has great treasures, so writes John of the Romish Babylon, that it is clothed in silk and purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls ( Revelation 18:12). Of Babylon it is said that the slain in Israel were smitten by her; so also the spiritual Babylon is become drunk with the blood of the saints ( Revelation 17:6). Just, however, as the Chaldean Babylon is a type of the spiritual in its pride and despotism, so also is it a type of the destruction which will come upon it. Many wished to heal Babylon but she would not be healed; so many endeavor to support the ruinous anti-christian Babylon, but all in vain. For as Babylon was at last so destroyed as to be a heap of stones and abode of dragons, so will it be with anti-christian Babylon. Of this it is written in Revelation 14:8 : She is fallen, fallen, that great city, for she has made all nations drink of the wine of her fornication. And again, Babylon the great is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and a hold of all foul and hateful birds ( Revelation 18:2). As the inhabitants of Babylon were admonished to flee from her, that every man might deliver his soul ( Jeremiah 51:6)—and again, My people, go ye out from the midst of her and deliver every man his soul, etc. ( Jeremiah 51:45)—so the Holy Spirit admonishes Christians almost in the same words to go out from the spiritual Babylon, that they be not polluted by her sins and at the same time share in her punishment. For thus it is written in Revelation 18:4, I heard, says John, a voice from heaven saying, Go ye out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues, for her sins reach unto heaven and God remembers her iniquities.” Wurtemb. Summarien.

18. On Jeremiah 51:5. “A monarch can sooner make an end of half a continent than draw a nail from a hut which the Lord protects.—And if it is true that Kaiser Rudolph, when he revoked the toleration of the Picards and the same day lost one of his principal forts, said, ‘I thought it would be Song of Solomon, for I grasped at God’s sceptre’ (Weismanni, Hist. Eccl. Tom. II. p320)—this was a sage remark, a supplement to the words of the wise.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 51:9. We heal Babylon, but she will not be healed. Babylon is an outwardly beautiful but inwardly worm-eaten apple. Hence sooner or later the foulness must become noticeable. So is it with all whose heart and centre is not God. All is inwardly hollow and vain. When this internal vacuity begins to render itself externally palpable, when here and there a rent or foul spot becomes visible, then certainly come the friends and admirers of the unholy form and would improve, cover up, sew up, heal. But it does not avail. When once there is death in the body no physician can effect a cure.

20. On Jeremiah 51:17; Jeremiah 51:19-20. “The children of God have three causes why they may venture on Him. 1. All men are fools, their treasure is it not; 2. The Lord is their hammer; He breaks through everything, and3, they are an instrument in His hand, a heritage; in this there is happiness.” Zinzendorf.

21. On Jeremiah 51:41-44. “How was Sheshach thus won, the city renowned in all the world thus taken? No one would have thought it possible, but God does it. He rules with wonders and with wonders He makes His church free. Babylon is a wonder no longer for its power, but for its weakness. We are to know the world’s weakness even where it still appears strong. A sea of hostile nations has covered Babylon. Her land is now a desolation. God takes Bel and the Dragon, the principal idol of Babylon, symbolizing its whole civil powers in hand, and snatches his prey from his teeth. Our God is stronger than all worldly forces, and never leaves us to them.” Diedrich.

22. On Jeremiah 51:58. “Yea, so it is with all walls and towers, in which God’s word is not the vital force, even though they be entitled churches and cathedrals … God’s church alone possesses permanence through His pure word.” Diedrich.

23. On Jeremiah 51:60-64. When we wish to preserve an archive safely, we deposit it in a record-office where it is kept in a dry place that no moisture may get to it. Seraiah throws his book-roll into the waters of the Euphrates, which must wash it away, dissolve and destroy it. But this was of no account. The main point was that Hebrews, Seraiah, as representative of the holy nation had taken solemn stock of the word of God against Babylon, and as it were taken God at His word, and reminded Him of it. In this manner the matter was laid up in the most enduring and safest archive that could be imagined; it was made a case of honor with the omniscient and omnipotent God. Such matters can, however, neither be forgotten, nor remain in dead silence, nor be neglected. They must be brought to such an end as the honor of God requires.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 50:2. This text may be used on the feast of the Reformation, or any other occasion with reference to a rem bene gestam. The Triumph of the Good Cause, 1. over what enemies it is gained; 2. to what it should impel us; (a) to the avoidance of that over which we new triumph; (b) to the grateful proclamation of what the Lord has done for us, by word and by deed.

2. On Jeremiah 50:4-8. The deliverance of Israel from the Babylonian captivity a type of the deliverance of the Church1. The Church must humbly acknowledge the captivity suffered as a judgment of God2. She must turn like Israel inwardly with an upright heart unto the Lord; 3. She must become like Israel to all men a pattern and leader to freedom.

3. On Jeremiah 50:5. A confirmation sermon. “What is the hour of confirmation? 1. An hour which calls to separation; 2. an hour which leads to new connections; 3. an hour which fixes forever the old covenant with the soul’s friend.” Florey, 1853.

4. On Jeremiah 50:18-20. Assyria and Babylon the types of all the spiritual enemies of the church as of individual Christians. Every one has his Assyria and his Babylon. Sin is the destruction of men. Forgiveness of sins is the condition of life, for only where forgiveness of sins Isaiah, is there life and blessedness. In Christ we find the forgiveness of sins. He destroys the handwriting. He washes us clean. He is also the good shepherd who leads our souls into green pastures, to the spiritual Carmel.

5. On Jeremiah 50:31-32. Warning against pride. Babylon was very strong and powerful, rich and splendid. It seemed invincible by nature and by art. Had it not then a certain justification in being proud, at least towards men? No; for no one has to contend only with men. Every one who contends has the Lord either for his friend or his enemy. It is the Lord from whom cometh victory ( Proverbs 21:31). He it is who teacheth our hands to fight ( Psalm 18:35; Psalm 144:1). His strength is made perfect in weakness ( 2 Corinthians 12:9). He can make the lame ( Isaiah 33:23; Micah 4:7) and mortally wounded ( Jeremiah 37:10) so strong that they overmaster the sound (comp. Jeremiah 51:45). He can make one man put to flight a thousand ( Deuteronomy 32:30; Isaiah 30:17). With him can one dash in pieces a troop and leap over a wall ( Psalm 18:29). No one accordingly should be proud. The word of the Lord, “I am against thee, thou proud one!” is a terrible word which no one should conjure up against himself.

6. On Jeremiah 50:33-34. The consolation of the Church in persecution1. It suffers violence and injustice2. Its redeemer is strong.

7. On Jeremiah 51:5. God the Lord manifests such favor to Israel as to declare Himself her husband ( Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:1). But now that Israel and Judah are in exile, it seems as if they were rejected or widowed women. This, however, is only appearance. Israel’s husband does not die. He may well bring a period of chastisement, of purification and trial on His people, but when this period is over, the Lord turns the handle, and smites those through whom He chastised Israel, when they had forgotten that they were not to satisfy their own desire, but only to accomplish the Lord’s will on Israel.

8. On Jeremiah 51:6. A time may come when it is well to separate one’s self. For although it is said in Proverbs 18:1; he who separateth himself, seeketh that which pleaseth him and opposeth all that is good—and therefore separation, as the antipodes of churchliness, i.e., of churchly communion and humble subjection to the law of the co-operation of members ( 1 Corinthians 12:25 sqq.) is to be repudiated, yet there may come moments in the life of the church, when it will be a duty to leave the community and separate one’s self. Such a moment is come when the community has become a Babylon. It should, however, be noted that one should not be too ready with such a decision. For even the life of the church is subject to many vacillations. There are periods of decay, obscurations, as it were, comparable to eclipses of the stars, but to these, so long as the foundations only subsist, must always follow a restoration and return to the original brightness. No one is to consider the church a Babylon on account of such a passing state of disease. It is this only when it has withheld the objective divine foundations, the means of grace, the word and sacrament, altogether and permanently in their saving efficacy. Then, when the soul can no longer find in the church the pure and divine bread of life; it is well “to deliver the soul that it perish not in the iniquity of the church.” From this separation from the church Isaiah, however, to be carefully distinguished the separation within the church, from all that which is opposed to the healthy life of the church, and is therefore to be regarded as a diseased part of the ecclesiastical body. Such separation is the daily duty of the Christian. He has to perform it with respect to his private life in all the manifold relations, indicated to us in Matthew 18:17; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:9 sqq.; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10; 2 John 1:10-11.—Comp. the article on Sects, by Palmer in Herzog, R-Enc., XXI, S. 21, 22.

9. On Jeremiah 51:10. The righteousness which avails before God1. Its origin (not our work or merit, but God’s grace in Christ); 2. Its fruit, praise of that which the Lord has wrought in us (a) by words, (b) by works.

10. On Jeremiah 51:50. This text may be used at the sending out of missionaries or the departure of emigrants. Occasion may be taken to speak1, of the gracious help and deliverance, which the Lord has hitherto shown to the departing; 2, they may be admonished to remain united in their distant land with their brethren at home by (a) remembering the Lord, i.e., ever remaining sincerely devoted to the Lord as the common shield of salvation; (b) faithfuly serving Jerusalem, i.e., the common mother of us all ( Galatians 4:26), the church, with all our powers in the proper place and measure, and ever keeping her in our hearts.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. “Daniel’s Babylonian empire resumes, as it were, the thread which was broken off with the tower-erection and kingdom of Nimrod. In the Babylonian tower-building the whole of the then existing humanity was united against God; with the Babylonian kingdom began the period of the universal monarchies, which again aspired after an atheistical union of entire humanity. Babylon has since and even to the Revelation ( Jeremiah 18) remained the standing type of this world.” Auberlen, Der proph. Daniel, S. 230.

2. For what reason does Babylon appear as a type of the world? Why not Nineveh, or Persepolis, or Tyre, or Memphis, or Rome? Certainly not because Babylon was greater, more glorious, more powerful or prouder and more ungodly than those cities and kingdoms. Nineveh especially was still greater than Babylon (comp. Duncker, Gesch. d. Alterth. I. S. 474, 5), and Assyria was not less hostile to the theocracy, having carried away into captivity the northern and larger half of the people of Israel. Babylon is qualified for this representation in two ways: 1. because it is the home of worldly princedom and titanic arrogance ( Genesis 10:8; Genesis 11:1-4); 2. because Babylon destroyed the centre of the theocracy, Jerusalem, the temple and the theocratic kingdom, and first assumed to be the single supreme power of the globe.

3. “When God has used a superstitious, wicked and tyrannical nation long enough as His rod, He breaks it in pieces and finally throws it into the fire. For even those whom He formerly used as His chosen anointed instruments He then regards as but the dust in the streets or as chaff before the wind.” Cramer.

4. “No monarch is too rich, too wicked, too strong for God the Lord. And He can soon enlist and engage soldiers whom He can use against His declared enemies.” Cramer.

5. “Israel was founded on everlasting foundations, even God’s word and promise. The sins of the people brought about that it was laid low in the dust, but not without hope of a better resurrection. Babylon, on the other hand, must perish forever, for in it is the empire of evil come to its highest bloom. Jeremiah owns the nothingness of all worldly kingdoms, since they are all under this national order to serve only for a time. We are to be subject to them and seek their welfare for the sake of the souls of men, whom God is educating therein; a Christian however cannot be enthusiastic for them after the manner of the ancient heathen nor of ancient Israel, for here we have no abiding city, our citizenship is in heaven. The kingdoms of this world are no sanctuaries for us and we supplicate their continuance only with the daily bread of the fourth petition. Jeremiah applies many words and figures to Babylon which he has already used in the judgments on other nations, thus to intimate that in Babylon all the heathenism of the world culminates, and that here also must be the greatest anguish. What, however, is here declared of Babylon must be fulfilled again on all earthly powers in so far as, treading in its footprints, they take flesh for their arm and regard the material of this world as power, whether they be called states or churches.” Diedrich.

6. On Jeremiah 50:2. In putting into the mouth of Israel, returning from Babylon, the call to an everlasting covenant with Jehovah, the prophet causes them1. to confess that they have forgotten the first covenant; 2. he shows us that the time of the new covenant begins with the redemption from the Babylonish captivity. He was far, however, from supposing that this redemption would be only a weak beginning, that the appearance of the Saviour would be deferred for centuries, that Israel would sink still deeper as an external πολιτεία, and that finally the Israel of the new covenant would itself appear as a μυστήριον, εἰς ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι ( 1 Peter 1:9-12).

7. From what Jeremiah has already said in Jeremiah 31:31-34 of the new covenant we see that its nature and its difference from the old is not unknown to him. Yet he knows the new covenant only in general. He knows that it will be deeply spiritual and eternal, but how and why it will be so is still to him part of the μυστήριον.

8. On Jeremiah 50:6. Jeremiah here points back to Jeremiah 23. Priests, kings and prophets, who should discharge the office of shepherds, prove to be wolves. Yea, they are the worst of wolves, who go about in official clothing. There is therefore no more dangerous doctrine than that of an infallible office. Jeremiah 14:14; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 23:2-12.

9. On Jeremiah 50:7. It is the worst condition into which a church of God can come, when the enemies who desolate it can maintain that they are in the right in doing so. It Isaiah, however, a just nemesis when those who will not hear the regular messengers of God must be told by the extraordinary messengers of God what they should have done. Comp. Jeremiah 40:2-3.

10. On Jeremiah 50:8. “Babylon is opened, and it must be abandoned not clung to, for the captivity is a temporary chastisement, not the divine arrangement for the children of God. God’s people must in the general redemption go like rams before the herd of the nations, that these may also attach themselves to Israel, as this was fulfilled at the time of Christ in the first churches and the apostles, who now draw the whole heathen world after them to eternal life. Here the prophet recognizes the new humanity, which proceeds from the ruins of the old, in which also ancient Israel leads the way; thus all, who follow it, become Israel.” Diedrich.—“The heathen felt somewhat of the divine punishment when they overcame so easily the usually so strongly protected nation. But Jeremiah shows them still how they deceived themselves in thinking that God had wholly rejected His people, for of the eternal covenant of grace they certainly understood nothing.” Heim and Hoffmann on the Major Prophets.

11. On Jeremiah 50:18. “The great powers of the world form indeed the history of the world, but they have no future. Israel, however, always returns home to the dear and glorious land. The Jews might as a token of this return under Cyrus; the case is however this, that the true Holy One in Israel, Christ, guides us back to Paradise, when we flee to His hand from the Babylon of this world and let it be crucified for us.” Diedrich.

12. On Jeremiah 50:23. “Although the Chaldeans were called of God for the purpose of making war on the Jewish nation on account of their multitudinous sins, yet they are punished because they did it not as God with a pure intention, namely, to punish the wrong in them and keep them for reformation; for they were themselves greater sinners than the Jews and continued with impenitence in their sins. Therefore they could not go scot-free and remain unpunished. Moreover, they acted too roughly and dealt with the Jews more harshly than God had commanded, for which He therefore fairly punished them. As God the Lord Himself says ( Isaiah 47:6): When I was angry with My people I gave them into thine hands; but thou shewedst them no mercy. Therefore it is not enough that God’s will be accomplished, but there must be the good intention in it, which God had, otherwise such a work may be a sin and call down the divine punishment upon it.” Würtemb. Summ.

13. On Jeremiah 50:31-34. “God calls Babylon Thou Pride, for pride was their inward force and impulse in all their actions. But worldly pride makes a Babylon and brings on a Babylon’s fate .… Pride must fall, for it is in itself a lie against God, and all its might must perish in the fire; thus will the humble and meek remain in possession of the earth: this has a wide application through all times, even to eternity.” Diedrich.

14. On Jeremiah 51:33. “Israel is indeed weak and must suffer in a time of tyranny; it cannot help itself, nor needs it to do Song of Solomon, for its Redeemer is strong, His name The Lord Zebaoth—and He Isaiah, now, having assumed our flesh, among us and conducts our cause so that the world trembles.” Diedrich.

15. On Jeremiah 50:45. “An emblem of the destruction of anti-christian Babylon, which was also the true hammer of the whole world. This has God also broken and must and will do it still more. And this will the shepherd-boys do, as is said here in Jeremiah 51:45 (according to Luther’s translation), that Isaiah, all true teachers and preachers.” Cramer.

16. On Jeremiah 51. “The doctrines accord in all points with the previous chapter. And the prophet Jeremiah both in this and the previous chapter does nothing else but make out for the Babylonians their final discharge and passport, because they behaved so valiantly and well against the people of Judah, that they might know they would not go unrecompensed. For payment is according to service. And had they done better it would have gone better with them. It is well that when tyrants succeed in their evil undertakings they should not suppose they are God’s dearest children and lean on His bosom, since they will yet receive the recompense on their crown, whatever they have earned.” Cramer.

17. [“Though in the hand of Babylon is a golden cup; she chooses such a cup, in order that men’s eyes may be dazzled with the glitter of the gold, and may not inquire what it contains. But mark well, in the golden cup of Babylon is the poison of idolatry, the poison of false doctrines, which destroy the souls of men. I have often seen such a golden cup, in fair speeches of seductive eloquence: and when I have examined the venomous ingredients of the golden chalice, I have recognized the cup of Babylon.” Origen in Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]

“The seat and throne of Anti-christ is expressly named Babylon, namely, the city of Rome, built on the seven hills ( Revelation 17:9). Just as Babylon brought so many lands and kingdoms under its sway and ruled them with great pomp and pride (the golden cup, which made all the world drunk, was Babylon in the hand of the Lord ( Jeremiah 51:7), and all the heathen drank of the wine and became mad)—so has the spiritual Babylon a cup in its hand, full of the abomination and uncleanness of its whoredom, of which the kings of the earth and all who dwell on the earth have been made drunk. As it is said of Babylon that she dwells by great waters and has great treasures, so writes John of the Romish Babylon, that it is clothed in silk and purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls ( Revelation 18:12). Of Babylon it is said that the slain in Israel were smitten by her; so also the spiritual Babylon is become drunk with the blood of the saints ( Revelation 17:6). Just, however, as the Chaldean Babylon is a type of the spiritual in its pride and despotism, so also is it a type of the destruction which will come upon it. Many wished to heal Babylon but she would not be healed; so many endeavor to support the ruinous anti-christian Babylon, but all in vain. For as Babylon was at last so destroyed as to be a heap of stones and abode of dragons, so will it be with anti-christian Babylon. Of this it is written in Revelation 14:8 : She is fallen, fallen, that great city, for she has made all nations drink of the wine of her fornication. And again, Babylon the great is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and a hold of all foul and hateful birds ( Revelation 18:2). As the inhabitants of Babylon were admonished to flee from her, that every man might deliver his soul ( Jeremiah 51:6)—and again, My people, go ye out from the midst of her and deliver every man his soul, etc. ( Jeremiah 51:45)—so the Holy Spirit admonishes Christians almost in the same words to go out from the spiritual Babylon, that they be not polluted by her sins and at the same time share in her punishment. For thus it is written in Revelation 18:4, I heard, says John, a voice from heaven saying, Go ye out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues, for her sins reach unto heaven and God remembers her iniquities.” Wurtemb. Summarien.

18. On Jeremiah 51:5. “A monarch can sooner make an end of half a continent than draw a nail from a hut which the Lord protects.—And if it is true that Kaiser Rudolph, when he revoked the toleration of the Picards and the same day lost one of his principal forts, said, ‘I thought it would be Song of Solomon, for I grasped at God’s sceptre’ (Weismanni, Hist. Eccl. Tom. II. p320)—this was a sage remark, a supplement to the words of the wise.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 51:9. We heal Babylon, but she will not be healed. Babylon is an outwardly beautiful but inwardly worm-eaten apple. Hence sooner or later the foulness must become noticeable. So is it with all whose heart and centre is not God. All is inwardly hollow and vain. When this internal vacuity begins to render itself externally palpable, when here and there a rent or foul spot becomes visible, then certainly come the friends and admirers of the unholy form and would improve, cover up, sew up, heal. But it does not avail. When once there is death in the body no physician can effect a cure.

20. On Jeremiah 51:17; Jeremiah 51:19-20. “The children of God have three causes why they may venture on Him. 1. All men are fools, their treasure is it not; 2. The Lord is their hammer; He breaks through everything, and3, they are an instrument in His hand, a heritage; in this there is happiness.” Zinzendorf.

21. On Jeremiah 51:41-44. “How was Sheshach thus won, the city renowned in all the world thus taken? No one would have thought it possible, but God does it. He rules with wonders and with wonders He makes His church free. Babylon is a wonder no longer for its power, but for its weakness. We are to know the world’s weakness even where it still appears strong. A sea of hostile nations has covered Babylon. Her land is now a desolation. God takes Bel and the Dragon, the principal idol of Babylon, symbolizing its whole civil powers in hand, and snatches his prey from his teeth. Our God is stronger than all worldly forces, and never leaves us to them.” Diedrich.

22. On Jeremiah 51:58. “Yea, so it is with all walls and towers, in which God’s word is not the vital force, even though they be entitled churches and cathedrals … God’s church alone possesses permanence through His pure word.” Diedrich.

23. On Jeremiah 51:60-64. When we wish to preserve an archive safely, we deposit it in a record-office where it is kept in a dry place that no moisture may get to it. Seraiah throws his book-roll into the waters of the Euphrates, which must wash it away, dissolve and destroy it. But this was of no account. The main point was that Hebrews, Seraiah, as representative of the holy nation had taken solemn stock of the word of God against Babylon, and as it were taken God at His word, and reminded Him of it. In this manner the matter was laid up in the most enduring and safest archive that could be imagined; it was made a case of honor with the omniscient and omnipotent God. Such matters can, however, neither be forgotten, nor remain in dead silence, nor be neglected. They must be brought to such an end as the honor of God requires.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 50:2. This text may be used on the feast of the Reformation, or any other occasion with reference to a rem bene gestam. The Triumph of the Good Cause, 1. over what enemies it is gained; 2. to what it should impel us; (a) to the avoidance of that over which we new triumph; (b) to the grateful proclamation of what the Lord has done for us, by word and by deed.

2. On Jeremiah 50:4-8. The deliverance of Israel from the Babylonian captivity a type of the deliverance of the Church1. The Church must humbly acknowledge the captivity suffered as a judgment of God2. She must turn like Israel inwardly with an upright heart unto the Lord; 3. She must become like Israel to all men a pattern and leader to freedom.

3. On Jeremiah 50:5. A confirmation sermon. “What is the hour of confirmation? 1. An hour which calls to separation; 2. an hour which leads to new connections; 3. an hour which fixes forever the old covenant with the soul’s friend.” Florey, 1853.

4. On Jeremiah 50:18-20. Assyria and Babylon the types of all the spiritual enemies of the church as of individual Christians. Every one has his Assyria and his Babylon. Sin is the destruction of men. Forgiveness of sins is the condition of life, for only where forgiveness of sins Isaiah, is there life and blessedness. In Christ we find the forgiveness of sins. He destroys the handwriting. He washes us clean. He is also the good shepherd who leads our souls into green pastures, to the spiritual Carmel.

5. On Jeremiah 50:31-32. Warning against pride. Babylon was very strong and powerful, rich and splendid. It seemed invincible by nature and by art. Had it not then a certain justification in being proud, at least towards men? No; for no one has to contend only with men. Every one who contends has the Lord either for his friend or his enemy. It is the Lord from whom cometh victory ( Proverbs 21:31). He it is who teacheth our hands to fight ( Psalm 18:35; Psalm 144:1). His strength is made perfect in weakness ( 2 Corinthians 12:9). He can make the lame ( Isaiah 33:23; Micah 4:7) and mortally wounded ( Jeremiah 37:10) so strong that they overmaster the sound (comp. Jeremiah 51:45). He can make one man put to flight a thousand ( Deuteronomy 32:30; Isaiah 30:17). With him can one dash in pieces a troop and leap over a wall ( Psalm 18:29). No one accordingly should be proud. The word of the Lord, “I am against thee, thou proud one!” is a terrible word which no one should conjure up against himself.

6. On Jeremiah 50:33-34. The consolation of the Church in persecution1. It suffers violence and injustice2. Its redeemer is strong.

7. On Jeremiah 51:5. God the Lord manifests such favor to Israel as to declare Himself her husband ( Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:1). But now that Israel and Judah are in exile, it seems as if they were rejected or widowed women. This, however, is only appearance. Israel’s husband does not die. He may well bring a period of chastisement, of purification and trial on His people, but when this period is over, the Lord turns the handle, and smites those through whom He chastised Israel, when they had forgotten that they were not to satisfy their own desire, but only to accomplish the Lord’s will on Israel.

8. On Jeremiah 51:6. A time may come when it is well to separate one’s self. For although it is said in Proverbs 18:1; he who separateth himself, seeketh that which pleaseth him and opposeth all that is good—and therefore separation, as the antipodes of churchliness, i.e., of churchly communion and humble subjection to the law of the co-operation of members ( 1 Corinthians 12:25 sqq.) is to be repudiated, yet there may come moments in the life of the church, when it will be a duty to leave the community and separate one’s self. Such a moment is come when the community has become a Babylon. It should, however, be noted that one should not be too ready with such a decision. For even the life of the church is subject to many vacillations. There are periods of decay, obscurations, as it were, comparable to eclipses of the stars, but to these, so long as the foundations only subsist, must always follow a restoration and return to the original brightness. No one is to consider the church a Babylon on account of such a passing state of disease. It is this only when it has withheld the objective divine foundations, the means of grace, the word and sacrament, altogether and permanently in their saving efficacy. Then, when the soul can no longer find in the church the pure and divine bread of life; it is well “to deliver the soul that it perish not in the iniquity of the church.” From this separation from the church Isaiah, however, to be carefully distinguished the separation within the church, from all that which is opposed to the healthy life of the church, and is therefore to be regarded as a diseased part of the ecclesiastical body. Such separation is the daily duty of the Christian. He has to perform it with respect to his private life in all the manifold relations, indicated to us in Matthew 18:17; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:9 sqq.; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10; 2 John 1:10-11.—Comp. the article on Sects, by Palmer in Herzog, R-Enc., XXI, S. 21, 22.

9. On Jeremiah 51:10. The righteousness which avails before God1. Its origin (not our work or merit, but God’s grace in Christ); 2. Its fruit, praise of that which the Lord has wrought in us (a) by words, (b) by works.

10. On Jeremiah 51:50. This text may be used at the sending out of missionaries or the departure of emigrants. Occasion may be taken to speak1, of the gracious help and deliverance, which the Lord has hitherto shown to the departing; 2, they may be admonished to remain united in their distant land with their brethren at home by (a) remembering the Lord, i.e., ever remaining sincerely devoted to the Lord as the common shield of salvation; (b) faithfuly serving Jerusalem, i.e., the common mother of us all ( Galatians 4:26), the church, with all our powers in the proper place and measure, and ever keeping her in our hearts.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. “Daniel’s Babylonian empire resumes, as it were, the thread which was broken off with the tower-erection and kingdom of Nimrod. In the Babylonian tower-building the whole of the then existing humanity was united against God; with the Babylonian kingdom began the period of the universal monarchies, which again aspired after an atheistical union of entire humanity. Babylon has since and even to the Revelation ( Jeremiah 18) remained the standing type of this world.” Auberlen, Der proph. Daniel, S. 230.

2. For what reason does Babylon appear as a type of the world? Why not Nineveh, or Persepolis, or Tyre, or Memphis, or Rome? Certainly not because Babylon was greater, more glorious, more powerful or prouder and more ungodly than those cities and kingdoms. Nineveh especially was still greater than Babylon (comp. Duncker, Gesch. d. Alterth. I. S. 474, 5), and Assyria was not less hostile to the theocracy, having carried away into captivity the northern and larger half of the people of Israel. Babylon is qualified for this representation in two ways: 1. because it is the home of worldly princedom and titanic arrogance ( Genesis 10:8; Genesis 11:1-4); 2. because Babylon destroyed the centre of the theocracy, Jerusalem, the temple and the theocratic kingdom, and first assumed to be the single supreme power of the globe.

3. “When God has used a superstitious, wicked and tyrannical nation long enough as His rod, He breaks it in pieces and finally throws it into the fire. For even those whom He formerly used as His chosen anointed instruments He then regards as but the dust in the streets or as chaff before the wind.” Cramer.

4. “No monarch is too rich, too wicked, too strong for God the Lord. And He can soon enlist and engage soldiers whom He can use against His declared enemies.” Cramer.

5. “Israel was founded on everlasting foundations, even God’s word and promise. The sins of the people brought about that it was laid low in the dust, but not without hope of a better resurrection. Babylon, on the other hand, must perish forever, for in it is the empire of evil come to its highest bloom. Jeremiah owns the nothingness of all worldly kingdoms, since they are all under this national order to serve only for a time. We are to be subject to them and seek their welfare for the sake of the souls of men, whom God is educating therein; a Christian however cannot be enthusiastic for them after the manner of the ancient heathen nor of ancient Israel, for here we have no abiding city, our citizenship is in heaven. The kingdoms of this world are no sanctuaries for us and we supplicate their continuance only with the daily bread of the fourth petition. Jeremiah applies many words and figures to Babylon which he has already used in the judgments on other nations, thus to intimate that in Babylon all the heathenism of the world culminates, and that here also must be the greatest anguish. What, however, is here declared of Babylon must be fulfilled again on all earthly powers in so far as, treading in its footprints, they take flesh for their arm and regard the material of this world as power, whether they be called states or churches.” Diedrich.

6. On Jeremiah 50:2. In putting into the mouth of Israel, returning from Babylon, the call to an everlasting covenant with Jehovah, the prophet causes them1. to confess that they have forgotten the first covenant; 2. he shows us that the time of the new covenant begins with the redemption from the Babylonish captivity. He was far, however, from supposing that this redemption would be only a weak beginning, that the appearance of the Saviour would be deferred for centuries, that Israel would sink still deeper as an external πολιτεία, and that finally the Israel of the new covenant would itself appear as a μυστήριον, εἰς ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι ( 1 Peter 1:9-12).

7. From what Jeremiah has already said in Jeremiah 31:31-34 of the new covenant we see that its nature and its difference from the old is not unknown to him. Yet he knows the new covenant only in general. He knows that it will be deeply spiritual and eternal, but how and why it will be so is still to him part of the μυστήριον.

8. On Jeremiah 50:6. Jeremiah here points back to Jeremiah 23. Priests, kings and prophets, who should discharge the office of shepherds, prove to be wolves. Yea, they are the worst of wolves, who go about in official clothing. There is therefore no more dangerous doctrine than that of an infallible office. Jeremiah 14:14; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 23:2-12.

9. On Jeremiah 50:7. It is the worst condition into which a church of God can come, when the enemies who desolate it can maintain that they are in the right in doing so. It Isaiah, however, a just nemesis when those who will not hear the regular messengers of God must be told by the extraordinary messengers of God what they should have done. Comp. Jeremiah 40:2-3.

10. On Jeremiah 50:8. “Babylon is opened, and it must be abandoned not clung to, for the captivity is a temporary chastisement, not the divine arrangement for the children of God. God’s people must in the general redemption go like rams before the herd of the nations, that these may also attach themselves to Israel, as this was fulfilled at the time of Christ in the first churches and the apostles, who now draw the whole heathen world after them to eternal life. Here the prophet recognizes the new humanity, which proceeds from the ruins of the old, in which also ancient Israel leads the way; thus all, who follow it, become Israel.” Diedrich.—“The heathen felt somewhat of the divine punishment when they overcame so easily the usually so strongly protected nation. But Jeremiah shows them still how they deceived themselves in thinking that God had wholly rejected His people, for of the eternal covenant of grace they certainly understood nothing.” Heim and Hoffmann on the Major Prophets.

11. On Jeremiah 50:18. “The great powers of the world form indeed the history of the world, but they have no future. Israel, however, always returns home to the dear and glorious land. The Jews might as a token of this return under Cyrus; the case is however this, that the true Holy One in Israel, Christ, guides us back to Paradise, when we flee to His hand from the Babylon of this world and let it be crucified for us.” Diedrich.

12. On Jeremiah 50:23. “Although the Chaldeans were called of God for the purpose of making war on the Jewish nation on account of their multitudinous sins, yet they are punished because they did it not as God with a pure intention, namely, to punish the wrong in them and keep them for reformation; for they were themselves greater sinners than the Jews and continued with impenitence in their sins. Therefore they could not go scot-free and remain unpunished. Moreover, they acted too roughly and dealt with the Jews more harshly than God had commanded, for which He therefore fairly punished them. As God the Lord Himself says ( Isaiah 47:6): When I was angry with My people I gave them into thine hands; but thou shewedst them no mercy. Therefore it is not enough that God’s will be accomplished, but there must be the good intention in it, which God had, otherwise such a work may be a sin and call down the divine punishment upon it.” Würtemb. Summ.

13. On Jeremiah 50:31-34. “God calls Babylon Thou Pride, for pride was their inward force and impulse in all their actions. But worldly pride makes a Babylon and brings on a Babylon’s fate .… Pride must fall, for it is in itself a lie against God, and all its might must perish in the fire; thus will the humble and meek remain in possession of the earth: this has a wide application through all times, even to eternity.” Diedrich.

14. On Jeremiah 51:33. “Israel is indeed weak and must suffer in a time of tyranny; it cannot help itself, nor needs it to do Song of Solomon, for its Redeemer is strong, His name The Lord Zebaoth—and He Isaiah, now, having assumed our flesh, among us and conducts our cause so that the world trembles.” Diedrich.

15. On Jeremiah 50:45. “An emblem of the destruction of anti-christian Babylon, which was also the true hammer of the whole world. This has God also broken and must and will do it still more. And this will the shepherd-boys do, as is said here in Jeremiah 51:45 (according to Luther’s translation), that Isaiah, all true teachers and preachers.” Cramer.

16. On Jeremiah 51. “The doctrines accord in all points with the previous chapter. And the prophet Jeremiah both in this and the previous chapter does nothing else but make out for the Babylonians their final discharge and passport, because they behaved so valiantly and well against the people of Judah, that they might know they would not go unrecompensed. For payment is according to service. And had they done better it would have gone better with them. It is well that when tyrants succeed in their evil undertakings they should not suppose they are God’s dearest children and lean on His bosom, since they will yet receive the recompense on their crown, whatever they have earned.” Cramer.

17. [“Though in the hand of Babylon is a golden cup; she chooses such a cup, in order that men’s eyes may be dazzled with the glitter of the gold, and may not inquire what it contains. But mark well, in the golden cup of Babylon is the poison of idolatry, the poison of false doctrines, which destroy the souls of men. I have often seen such a golden cup, in fair speeches of seductive eloquence: and when I have examined the venomous ingredients of the golden chalice, I have recognized the cup of Babylon.” Origen in Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]

“The seat and throne of Anti-christ is expressly named Babylon, namely, the city of Rome, built on the seven hills ( Revelation 17:9). Just as Babylon brought so many lands and kingdoms under its sway and ruled them with great pomp and pride (the golden cup, which made all the world drunk, was Babylon in the hand of the Lord ( Jeremiah 51:7), and all the heathen drank of the wine and became mad)—so has the spiritual Babylon a cup in its hand, full of the abomination and uncleanness of its whoredom, of which the kings of the earth and all who dwell on the earth have been made drunk. As it is said of Babylon that she dwells by great waters and has great treasures, so writes John of the Romish Babylon, that it is clothed in silk and purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls ( Revelation 18:12). Of Babylon it is said that the slain in Israel were smitten by her; so also the spiritual Babylon is become drunk with the blood of the saints ( Revelation 17:6). Just, however, as the Chaldean Babylon is a type of the spiritual in its pride and despotism, so also is it a type of the destruction which will come upon it. Many wished to heal Babylon but she would not be healed; so many endeavor to support the ruinous anti-christian Babylon, but all in vain. For as Babylon was at last so destroyed as to be a heap of stones and abode of dragons, so will it be with anti-christian Babylon. Of this it is written in Revelation 14:8 : She is fallen, fallen, that great city, for she has made all nations drink of the wine of her fornication. And again, Babylon the great is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and a hold of all foul and hateful birds ( Revelation 18:2). As the inhabitants of Babylon were admonished to flee from her, that every man might deliver his soul ( Jeremiah 51:6)—and again, My people, go ye out from the midst of her and deliver every man his soul, etc. ( Jeremiah 51:45)—so the Holy Spirit admonishes Christians almost in the same words to go out from the spiritual Babylon, that they be not polluted by her sins and at the same time share in her punishment. For thus it is written in Revelation 18:4, I heard, says John, a voice from heaven saying, Go ye out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues, for her sins reach unto heaven and God remembers her iniquities.” Wurtemb. Summarien.

18. On Jeremiah 51:5. “A monarch can sooner make an end of half a continent than draw a nail from a hut which the Lord protects.—And if it is true that Kaiser Rudolph, when he revoked the toleration of the Picards and the same day lost one of his principal forts, said, ‘I thought it would be Song of Solomon, for I grasped at God’s sceptre’ (Weismanni, Hist. Eccl. Tom. II. p320)—this was a sage remark, a supplement to the words of the wise.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 51:9. We heal Babylon, but she will not be healed. Babylon is an outwardly beautiful but inwardly worm-eaten apple. Hence sooner or later the foulness must become noticeable. So is it with all whose heart and centre is not God. All is inwardly hollow and vain. When this internal vacuity begins to render itself externally palpable, when here and there a rent or foul spot becomes visible, then certainly come the friends and admirers of the unholy form and would improve, cover up, sew up, heal. But it does not avail. When once there is death in the body no physician can effect a cure.

20. On Jeremiah 51:17; Jeremiah 51:19-20. “The children of God have three causes why they may venture on Him. 1. All men are fools, their treasure is it not; 2. The Lord is their hammer; He breaks through everything, and3, they are an instrument in His hand, a heritage; in this there is happiness.” Zinzendorf.

21. On Jeremiah 51:41-44. “How was Sheshach thus won, the city renowned in all the world thus taken? No one would have thought it possible, but God does it. He rules with wonders and with wonders He makes His church free. Babylon is a wonder no longer for its power, but for its weakness. We are to know the world’s weakness even where it still appears strong. A sea of hostile nations has covered Babylon. Her land is now a desolation. God takes Bel and the Dragon, the principal idol of Babylon, symbolizing its whole civil powers in hand, and snatches his prey from his teeth. Our God is stronger than all worldly forces, and never leaves us to them.” Diedrich.

22. On Jeremiah 51:58. “Yea, so it is with all walls and towers, in which God’s word is not the vital force, even though they be entitled churches and cathedrals … God’s church alone possesses permanence through His pure word.” Diedrich.

23. On Jeremiah 51:60-64. When we wish to preserve an archive safely, we deposit it in a record-office where it is kept in a dry place that no moisture may get to it. Seraiah throws his book-roll into the waters of the Euphrates, which must wash it away, dissolve and destroy it. But this was of no account. The main point was that Hebrews, Seraiah, as representative of the holy nation had taken solemn stock of the word of God against Babylon, and as it were taken God at His word, and reminded Him of it. In this manner the matter was laid up in the most enduring and safest archive that could be imagined; it was made a case of honor with the omniscient and omnipotent God. Such matters can, however, neither be forgotten, nor remain in dead silence, nor be neglected. They must be brought to such an end as the honor of God requires.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 50:2. This text may be used on the feast of the Reformation, or any other occasion with reference to a rem bene gestam. The Triumph of the Good Cause, 1. over what enemies it is gained; 2. to what it should impel us; (a) to the avoidance of that over which we new triumph; (b) to the grateful proclamation of what the Lord has done for us, by word and by deed.

2. On Jeremiah 50:4-8. The deliverance of Israel from the Babylonian captivity a type of the deliverance of the Church1. The Church must humbly acknowledge the captivity suffered as a judgment of God2. She must turn like Israel inwardly with an upright heart unto the Lord; 3. She must become like Israel to all men a pattern and leader to freedom.

3. On Jeremiah 50:5. A confirmation sermon. “What is the hour of confirmation? 1. An hour which calls to separation; 2. an hour which leads to new connections; 3. an hour which fixes forever the old covenant with the soul’s friend.” Florey, 1853.

4. On Jeremiah 50:18-20. Assyria and Babylon the types of all the spiritual enemies of the church as of individual Christians. Every one has his Assyria and his Babylon. Sin is the destruction of men. Forgiveness of sins is the condition of life, for only where forgiveness of sins Isaiah, is there life and blessedness. In Christ we find the forgiveness of sins. He destroys the handwriting. He washes us clean. He is also the good shepherd who leads our souls into green pastures, to the spiritual Carmel.

5. On Jeremiah 50:31-32. Warning against pride. Babylon was very strong and powerful, rich and splendid. It seemed invincible by nature and by art. Had it not then a certain justification in being proud, at least towards men? No; for no one has to contend only with men. Every one who contends has the Lord either for his friend or his enemy. It is the Lord from whom cometh victory ( Proverbs 21:31). He it is who teacheth our hands to fight ( Psalm 18:35; Psalm 144:1). His strength is made perfect in weakness ( 2 Corinthians 12:9). He can make the lame ( Isaiah 33:23; Micah 4:7) and mortally wounded ( Jeremiah 37:10) so strong that they overmaster the sound (comp. Jeremiah 51:45). He can make one man put to flight a thousand ( Deuteronomy 32:30; Isaiah 30:17). With him can one dash in pieces a troop and leap over a wall ( Psalm 18:29). No one accordingly should be proud. The word of the Lord, “I am against thee, thou proud one!” is a terrible word which no one should conjure up against himself.

6. On Jeremiah 50:33-34. The consolation of the Church in persecution1. It suffers violence and injustice2. Its redeemer is strong.

7. On Jeremiah 51:5. God the Lord manifests such favor to Israel as to declare Himself her husband ( Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:1). But now that Israel and Judah are in exile, it seems as if they were rejected or widowed women. This, however, is only appearance. Israel’s husband does not die. He may well bring a period of chastisement, of purification and trial on His people, but when this period is over, the Lord turns the handle, and smites those through whom He chastised Israel, when they had forgotten that they were not to satisfy their own desire, but only to accomplish the Lord’s will on Israel.

8. On Jeremiah 51:6. A time may come when it is well to separate one’s self. For although it is said in Proverbs 18:1; he who separateth himself, seeketh that which pleaseth him and opposeth all that is good—and therefore separation, as the antipodes of churchliness, i.e., of churchly communion and humble subjection to the law of the co-operation of members ( 1 Corinthians 12:25 sqq.) is to be repudiated, yet there may come moments in the life of the church, when it will be a duty to leave the community and separate one’s self. Such a moment is come when the community has become a Babylon. It should, however, be noted that one should not be too ready with such a decision. For even the life of the church is subject to many vacillations. There are periods of decay, obscurations, as it were, comparable to eclipses of the stars, but to these, so long as the foundations only subsist, must always follow a restoration and return to the original brightness. No one is to consider the church a Babylon on account of such a passing state of disease. It is this only when it has withheld the objective divine foundations, the means of grace, the word and sacrament, altogether and permanently in their saving efficacy. Then, when the soul can no longer find in the church the pure and divine bread of life; it is well “to deliver the soul that it perish not in the iniquity of the church.” From this separation from the church Isaiah, however, to be carefully distinguished the separation within the church, from all that which is opposed to the healthy life of the church, and is therefore to be regarded as a diseased part of the ecclesiastical body. Such separation is the daily duty of the Christian. He has to perform it with respect to his private life in all the manifold relations, indicated to us in Matthew 18:17; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:9 sqq.; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10; 2 John 1:10-11.—Comp. the article on Sects, by Palmer in Herzog, R-Enc., XXI, S. 21, 22.

9. On Jeremiah 51:10. The righteousness which avails before God1. Its origin (not our work or merit, but God’s grace in Christ); 2. Its fruit, praise of that which the Lord has wrought in us (a) by words, (b) by works.

10. On Jeremiah 51:50. This text may be used at the sending out of missionaries or the departure of emigrants. Occasion may be taken to speak1, of the gracious help and deliverance, which the Lord has hitherto shown to the departing; 2, they may be admonished to remain united in their distant land with their brethren at home by (a) remembering the Lord, i.e., ever remaining sincerely devoted to the Lord as the common shield of salvation; (b) faithfuly serving Jerusalem, i.e., the common mother of us all ( Galatians 4:26), the church, with all our powers in the proper place and measure, and ever keeping her in our hearts.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. “Daniel’s Babylonian empire resumes, as it were, the thread which was broken off with the tower-erection and kingdom of Nimrod. In the Babylonian tower-building the whole of the then existing humanity was united against God; with the Babylonian kingdom began the period of the universal monarchies, which again aspired after an atheistical union of entire humanity. Babylon has since and even to the Revelation ( Jeremiah 18) remained the standing type of this world.” Auberlen, Der proph. Daniel, S. 230.

2. For what reason does Babylon appear as a type of the world? Why not Nineveh, or Persepolis, or Tyre, or Memphis, or Rome? Certainly not because Babylon was greater, more glorious, more powerful or prouder and more ungodly than those cities and kingdoms. Nineveh especially was still greater than Babylon (comp. Duncker, Gesch. d. Alterth. I. S. 474, 5), and Assyria was not less hostile to the theocracy, having carried away into captivity the northern and larger half of the people of Israel. Babylon is qualified for this representation in two ways: 1. because it is the home of worldly princedom and titanic arrogance ( Genesis 10:8; Genesis 11:1-4); 2. because Babylon destroyed the centre of the theocracy, Jerusalem, the temple and the theocratic kingdom, and first assumed to be the single supreme power of the globe.

3. “When God has used a superstitious, wicked and tyrannical nation long enough as His rod, He breaks it in pieces and finally throws it into the fire. For even those whom He formerly used as His chosen anointed instruments He then regards as but the dust in the streets or as chaff before the wind.” Cramer.

4. “No monarch is too rich, too wicked, too strong for God the Lord. And He can soon enlist and engage soldiers whom He can use against His declared enemies.” Cramer.

5. “Israel was founded on everlasting foundations, even God’s word and promise. The sins of the people brought about that it was laid low in the dust, but not without hope of a better resurrection. Babylon, on the other hand, must perish forever, for in it is the empire of evil come to its highest bloom. Jeremiah owns the nothingness of all worldly kingdoms, since they are all under this national order to serve only for a time. We are to be subject to them and seek their welfare for the sake of the souls of men, whom God is educating therein; a Christian however cannot be enthusiastic for them after the manner of the ancient heathen nor of ancient Israel, for here we have no abiding city, our citizenship is in heaven. The kingdoms of this world are no sanctuaries for us and we supplicate their continuance only with the daily bread of the fourth petition. Jeremiah applies many words and figures to Babylon which he has already used in the judgments on other nations, thus to intimate that in Babylon all the heathenism of the world culminates, and that here also must be the greatest anguish. What, however, is here declared of Babylon must be fulfilled again on all earthly powers in so far as, treading in its footprints, they take flesh for their arm and regard the material of this world as power, whether they be called states or churches.” Diedrich.

6. On Jeremiah 50:2. In putting into the mouth of Israel, returning from Babylon, the call to an everlasting covenant with Jehovah, the prophet causes them1. to confess that they have forgotten the first covenant; 2. he shows us that the time of the new covenant begins with the redemption from the Babylonish captivity. He was far, however, from supposing that this redemption would be only a weak beginning, that the appearance of the Saviour would be deferred for centuries, that Israel would sink still deeper as an external πολιτεία, and that finally the Israel of the new covenant would itself appear as a μυστήριον, εἰς ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι ( 1 Peter 1:9-12).

7. From what Jeremiah has already said in Jeremiah 31:31-34 of the new covenant we see that its nature and its difference from the old is not unknown to him. Yet he knows the new covenant only in general. He knows that it will be deeply spiritual and eternal, but how and why it will be so is still to him part of the μυστήριον.

8. On Jeremiah 50:6. Jeremiah here points back to Jeremiah 23. Priests, kings and prophets, who should discharge the office of shepherds, prove to be wolves. Yea, they are the worst of wolves, who go about in official clothing. There is therefore no more dangerous doctrine than that of an infallible office. Jeremiah 14:14; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 23:2-12.

9. On Jeremiah 50:7. It is the worst condition into which a church of God can come, when the enemies who desolate it can maintain that they are in the right in doing so. It Isaiah, however, a just nemesis when those who will not hear the regular messengers of God must be told by the extraordinary messengers of God what they should have done. Comp. Jeremiah 40:2-3.

10. On Jeremiah 50:8. “Babylon is opened, and it must be abandoned not clung to, for the captivity is a temporary chastisement, not the divine arrangement for the children of God. God’s people must in the general redemption go like rams before the herd of the nations, that these may also attach themselves to Israel, as this was fulfilled at the time of Christ in the first churches and the apostles, who now draw the whole heathen world after them to eternal life. Here the prophet recognizes the new humanity, which proceeds from the ruins of the old, in which also ancient Israel leads the way; thus all, who follow it, become Israel.” Diedrich.—“The heathen felt somewhat of the divine punishment when they overcame so easily the usually so strongly protected nation. But Jeremiah shows them still how they deceived themselves in thinking that God had wholly rejected His people, for of the eternal covenant of grace they certainly understood nothing.” Heim and Hoffmann on the Major Prophets.

11. On Jeremiah 50:18. “The great powers of the world form indeed the history of the world, but they have no future. Israel, however, always returns home to the dear and glorious land. The Jews might as a token of this return under Cyrus; the case is however this, that the true Holy One in Israel, Christ, guides us back to Paradise, when we flee to His hand from the Babylon of this world and let it be crucified for us.” Diedrich.

12. On Jeremiah 50:23. “Although the Chaldeans were called of God for the purpose of making war on the Jewish nation on account of their multitudinous sins, yet they are punished because they did it not as God with a pure intention, namely, to punish the wrong in them and keep them for reformation; for they were themselves greater sinners than the Jews and continued with impenitence in their sins. Therefore they could not go scot-free and remain unpunished. Moreover, they acted too roughly and dealt with the Jews more harshly than God had commanded, for which He therefore fairly punished them. As God the Lord Himself says ( Isaiah 47:6): When I was angry with My people I gave them into thine hands; but thou shewedst them no mercy. Therefore it is not enough that God’s will be accomplished, but there must be the good intention in it, which God had, otherwise such a work may be a sin and call down the divine punishment upon it.” Würtemb. Summ.

13. On Jeremiah 50:31-34. “God calls Babylon Thou Pride, for pride was their inward force and impulse in all their actions. But worldly pride makes a Babylon and brings on a Babylon’s fate .… Pride must fall, for it is in itself a lie against God, and all its might must perish in the fire; thus will the humble and meek remain in possession of the earth: this has a wide application through all times, even to eternity.” Diedrich.

14. On Jeremiah 51:33. “Israel is indeed weak and must suffer in a time of tyranny; it cannot help itself, nor needs it to do Song of Solomon, for its Redeemer is strong, His name The Lord Zebaoth—and He Isaiah, now, having assumed our flesh, among us and conducts our cause so that the world trembles.” Diedrich.

15. On Jeremiah 50:45. “An emblem of the destruction of anti-christian Babylon, which was also the true hammer of the whole world. This has God also broken and must and will do it still more. And this will the shepherd-boys do, as is said here in Jeremiah 51:45 (according to Luther’s translation), that Isaiah, all true teachers and preachers.” Cramer.

16. On Jeremiah 51. “The doctrines accord in all points with the previous chapter. And the prophet Jeremiah both in this and the previous chapter does nothing else but make out for the Babylonians their final discharge and passport, because they behaved so valiantly and well against the people of Judah, that they might know they would not go unrecompensed. For payment is according to service. And had they done better it would have gone better with them. It is well that when tyrants succeed in their evil undertakings they should not suppose they are God’s dearest children and lean on His bosom, since they will yet receive the recompense on their crown, whatever they have earned.” Cramer.

17. [“Though in the hand of Babylon is a golden cup; she chooses such a cup, in order that men’s eyes may be dazzled with the glitter of the gold, and may not inquire what it contains. But mark well, in the golden cup of Babylon is the poison of idolatry, the poison of false doctrines, which destroy the souls of men. I have often seen such a golden cup, in fair speeches of seductive eloquence: and when I have examined the venomous ingredients of the golden chalice, I have recognized the cup of Babylon.” Origen in Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]

“The seat and throne of Anti-christ is expressly named Babylon, namely, the city of Rome, built on the seven hills ( Revelation 17:9). Just as Babylon brought so many lands and kingdoms under its sway and ruled them with great pomp and pride (the golden cup, which made all the world drunk, was Babylon in the hand of the Lord ( Jeremiah 51:7), and all the heathen drank of the wine and became mad)—so has the spiritual Babylon a cup in its hand, full of the abomination and uncleanness of its whoredom, of which the kings of the earth and all who dwell on the earth have been made drunk. As it is said of Babylon that she dwells by great waters and has great treasures, so writes John of the Romish Babylon, that it is clothed in silk and purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls ( Revelation 18:12). Of Babylon it is said that the slain in Israel were smitten by her; so also the spiritual Babylon is become drunk with the blood of the saints ( Revelation 17:6). Just, however, as the Chaldean Babylon is a type of the spiritual in its pride and despotism, so also is it a type of the destruction which will come upon it. Many wished to heal Babylon but she would not be healed; so many endeavor to support the ruinous anti-christian Babylon, but all in vain. For as Babylon was at last so destroyed as to be a heap of stones and abode of dragons, so will it be with anti-christian Babylon. Of this it is written in Revelation 14:8 : She is fallen, fallen, that great city, for she has made all nations drink of the wine of her fornication. And again, Babylon the great is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and a hold of all foul and hateful birds ( Revelation 18:2). As the inhabitants of Babylon were admonished to flee from her, that every man might deliver his soul ( Jeremiah 51:6)—and again, My people, go ye out from the midst of her and deliver every man his soul, etc. ( Jeremiah 51:45)—so the Holy Spirit admonishes Christians almost in the same words to go out from the spiritual Babylon, that they be not polluted by her sins and at the same time share in her punishment. For thus it is written in Revelation 18:4, I heard, says John, a voice from heaven saying, Go ye out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues, for her sins reach unto heaven and God remembers her iniquities.” Wurtemb. Summarien.

18. On Jeremiah 51:5. “A monarch can sooner make an end of half a continent than draw a nail from a hut which the Lord protects.—And if it is true that Kaiser Rudolph, when he revoked the toleration of the Picards and the same day lost one of his principal forts, said, ‘I thought it would be Song of Solomon, for I grasped at God’s sceptre’ (Weismanni, Hist. Eccl. Tom. II. p320)—this was a sage remark, a supplement to the words of the wise.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 51:9. We heal Babylon, but she will not be healed. Babylon is an outwardly beautiful but inwardly worm-eaten apple. Hence sooner or later the foulness must become noticeable. So is it with all whose heart and centre is not God. All is inwardly hollow and vain. When this internal vacuity begins to render itself externally palpable, when here and there a rent or foul spot becomes visible, then certainly come the friends and admirers of the unholy form and would improve, cover up, sew up, heal. But it does not avail. When once there is death in the body no physician can effect a cure.

20. On Jeremiah 51:17; Jeremiah 51:19-20. “The children of God have three causes why they may venture on Him. 1. All men are fools, their treasure is it not; 2. The Lord is their hammer; He breaks through everything, and3, they are an instrument in His hand, a heritage; in this there is happiness.” Zinzendorf.

21. On Jeremiah 51:41-44. “How was Sheshach thus won, the city renowned in all the world thus taken? No one would have thought it possible, but God does it. He rules with wonders and with wonders He makes His church free. Babylon is a wonder no longer for its power, but for its weakness. We are to know the world’s weakness even where it still appears strong. A sea of hostile nations has covered Babylon. Her land is now a desolation. God takes Bel and the Dragon, the principal idol of Babylon, symbolizing its whole civil powers in hand, and snatches his prey from his teeth. Our God is stronger than all worldly forces, and never leaves us to them.” Diedrich.

22. On Jeremiah 51:58. “Yea, so it is with all walls and towers, in which God’s word is not the vital force, even though they be entitled churches and cathedrals … God’s church alone possesses permanence through His pure word.” Diedrich.

23. On Jeremiah 51:60-64. When we wish to preserve an archive safely, we deposit it in a record-office where it is kept in a dry place that no moisture may get to it. Seraiah throws his book-roll into the waters of the Euphrates, which must wash it away, dissolve and destroy it. But this was of no account. The main point was that Hebrews, Seraiah, as representative of the holy nation had taken solemn stock of the word of God against Babylon, and as it were taken God at His word, and reminded Him of it. In this manner the matter was laid up in the most enduring and safest archive that could be imagined; it was made a case of honor with the omniscient and omnipotent God. Such matters can, however, neither be forgotten, nor remain in dead silence, nor be neglected. They must be brought to such an end as the honor of God requires.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 50:2. This text may be used on the feast of the Reformation, or any other occasion with reference to a rem bene gestam. The Triumph of the Good Cause, 1. over what enemies it is gained; 2. to what it should impel us; (a) to the avoidance of that over which we new triumph; (b) to the grateful proclamation of what the Lord has done for us, by word and by deed.

2. On Jeremiah 50:4-8. The deliverance of Israel from the Babylonian captivity a type of the deliverance of the Church1. The Church must humbly acknowledge the captivity suffered as a judgment of God2. She must turn like Israel inwardly with an upright heart unto the Lord; 3. She must become like Israel to all men a pattern and leader to freedom.

3. On Jeremiah 50:5. A confirmation sermon. “What is the hour of confirmation? 1. An hour which calls to separation; 2. an hour which leads to new connections; 3. an hour which fixes forever the old covenant with the soul’s friend.” Florey, 1853.

4. On Jeremiah 50:18-20. Assyria and Babylon the types of all the spiritual enemies of the church as of individual Christians. Every one has his Assyria and his Babylon. Sin is the destruction of men. Forgiveness of sins is the condition of life, for only where forgiveness of sins Isaiah, is there life and blessedness. In Christ we find the forgiveness of sins. He destroys the handwriting. He washes us clean. He is also the good shepherd who leads our souls into green pastures, to the spiritual Carmel.

5. On Jeremiah 50:31-32. Warning against pride. Babylon was very strong and powerful, rich and splendid. It seemed invincible by nature and by art. Had it not then a certain justification in being proud, at least towards men? No; for no one has to contend only with men. Every one who contends has the Lord either for his friend or his enemy. It is the Lord from whom cometh victory ( Proverbs 21:31). He it is who teacheth our hands to fight ( Psalm 18:35; Psalm 144:1). His strength is made perfect in weakness ( 2 Corinthians 12:9). He can make the lame ( Isaiah 33:23; Micah 4:7) and mortally wounded ( Jeremiah 37:10) so strong that they overmaster the sound (comp. Jeremiah 51:45). He can make one man put to flight a thousand ( Deuteronomy 32:30; Isaiah 30:17). With him can one dash in pieces a troop and leap over a wall ( Psalm 18:29). No one accordingly should be proud. The word of the Lord, “I am against thee, thou proud one!” is a terrible word which no one should conjure up against himself.

6. On Jeremiah 50:33-34. The consolation of the Church in persecution1. It suffers violence and injustice2. Its redeemer is strong.

7. On Jeremiah 51:5. God the Lord manifests such favor to Israel as to declare Himself her husband ( Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:1). But now that Israel and Judah are in exile, it seems as if they were rejected or widowed women. This, however, is only appearance. Israel’s husband does not die. He may well bring a period of chastisement, of purification and trial on His people, but when this period is over, the Lord turns the handle, and smites those through whom He chastised Israel, when they had forgotten that they were not to satisfy their own desire, but only to accomplish the Lord’s will on Israel.

8. On Jeremiah 51:6. A time may come when it is well to separate one’s self. For although it is said in Proverbs 18:1; he who separateth himself, seeketh that which pleaseth him and opposeth all that is good—and therefore separation, as the antipodes of churchliness, i.e., of churchly communion and humble subjection to the law of the co-operation of members ( 1 Corinthians 12:25 sqq.) is to be repudiated, yet there may come moments in the life of the church, when it will be a duty to leave the community and separate one’s self. Such a moment is come when the community has become a Babylon. It should, however, be noted that one should not be too ready with such a decision. For even the life of the church is subject to many vacillations. There are periods of decay, obscurations, as it were, comparable to eclipses of the stars, but to these, so long as the foundations only subsist, must always follow a restoration and return to the original brightness. No one is to consider the church a Babylon on account of such a passing state of disease. It is this only when it has withheld the objective divine foundations, the means of grace, the word and sacrament, altogether and permanently in their saving efficacy. Then, when the soul can no longer find in the church the pure and divine bread of life; it is well “to deliver the soul that it perish not in the iniquity of the church.” From this separation from the church Isaiah, however, to be carefully distinguished the separation within the church, from all that which is opposed to the healthy life of the church, and is therefore to be regarded as a diseased part of the ecclesiastical body. Such separation is the daily duty of the Christian. He has to perform it with respect to his private life in all the manifold relations, indicated to us in Matthew 18:17; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:9 sqq.; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10; 2 John 1:10-11.—Comp. the article on Sects, by Palmer in Herzog, R-Enc., XXI, S. 21, 22.

9. On Jeremiah 51:10. The righteousness which avails before God1. Its origin (not our work or merit, but God’s grace in Christ); 2. Its fruit, praise of that which the Lord has wrought in us (a) by words, (b) by works.

10. On Jeremiah 51:50. This text may be used at the sending out of missionaries or the departure of emigrants. Occasion may be taken to speak1, of the gracious help and deliverance, which the Lord has hitherto shown to the departing; 2, they may be admonished to remain united in their distant land with their brethren at home by (a) remembering the Lord, i.e., ever remaining sincerely devoted to the Lord as the common shield of salvation; (b) faithfuly serving Jerusalem, i.e., the common mother of us all ( Galatians 4:26), the church, with all our powers in the proper place and measure, and ever keeping her in our hearts.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. “Daniel’s Babylonian empire resumes, as it were, the thread which was broken off with the tower-erection and kingdom of Nimrod. In the Babylonian tower-building the whole of the then existing humanity was united against God; with the Babylonian kingdom began the period of the universal monarchies, which again aspired after an atheistical union of entire humanity. Babylon has since and even to the Revelation ( Jeremiah 18) remained the standing type of this world.” Auberlen, Der proph. Daniel, S. 230.

2. For what reason does Babylon appear as a type of the world? Why not Nineveh, or Persepolis, or Tyre, or Memphis, or Rome? Certainly not because Babylon was greater, more glorious, more powerful or prouder and more ungodly than those cities and kingdoms. Nineveh especially was still greater than Babylon (comp. Duncker, Gesch. d. Alterth. I. S. 474, 5), and Assyria was not less hostile to the theocracy, having carried away into captivity the northern and larger half of the people of Israel. Babylon is qualified for this representation in two ways: 1. because it is the home of worldly princedom and titanic arrogance ( Genesis 10:8; Genesis 11:1-4); 2. because Babylon destroyed the centre of the theocracy, Jerusalem, the temple and the theocratic kingdom, and first assumed to be the single supreme power of the globe.

3. “When God has used a superstitious, wicked and tyrannical nation long enough as His rod, He breaks it in pieces and finally throws it into the fire. For even those whom He formerly used as His chosen anointed instruments He then regards as but the dust in the streets or as chaff before the wind.” Cramer.

4. “No monarch is too rich, too wicked, too strong for God the Lord. And He can soon enlist and engage soldiers whom He can use against His declared enemies.” Cramer.

5. “Israel was founded on everlasting foundations, even God’s word and promise. The sins of the people brought about that it was laid low in the dust, but not without hope of a better resurrection. Babylon, on the other hand, must perish forever, for in it is the empire of evil come to its highest bloom. Jeremiah owns the nothingness of all worldly kingdoms, since they are all under this national order to serve only for a time. We are to be subject to them and seek their welfare for the sake of the souls of men, whom God is educating therein; a Christian however cannot be enthusiastic for them after the manner of the ancient heathen nor of ancient Israel, for here we have no abiding city, our citizenship is in heaven. The kingdoms of this world are no sanctuaries for us and we supplicate their continuance only with the daily bread of the fourth petition. Jeremiah applies many words and figures to Babylon which he has already used in the judgments on other nations, thus to intimate that in Babylon all the heathenism of the world culminates, and that here also must be the greatest anguish. What, however, is here declared of Babylon must be fulfilled again on all earthly powers in so far as, treading in its footprints, they take flesh for their arm and regard the material of this world as power, whether they be called states or churches.” Diedrich.

6. On Jeremiah 50:2. In putting into the mouth of Israel, returning from Babylon, the call to an everlasting covenant with Jehovah, the prophet causes them1. to confess that they have forgotten the first covenant; 2. he shows us that the time of the new covenant begins with the redemption from the Babylonish captivity. He was far, however, from supposing that this redemption would be only a weak beginning, that the appearance of the Saviour would be deferred for centuries, that Israel would sink still deeper as an external πολιτεία, and that finally the Israel of the new covenant would itself appear as a μυστήριον, εἰς ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι ( 1 Peter 1:9-12).

7. From what Jeremiah has already said in Jeremiah 31:31-34 of the new covenant we see that its nature and its difference from the old is not unknown to him. Yet he knows the new covenant only in general. He knows that it will be deeply spiritual and eternal, but how and why it will be so is still to him part of the μυστήριον.

8. On Jeremiah 50:6. Jeremiah here points back to Jeremiah 23. Priests, kings and prophets, who should discharge the office of shepherds, prove to be wolves. Yea, they are the worst of wolves, who go about in official clothing. There is therefore no more dangerous doctrine than that of an infallible office. Jeremiah 14:14; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 23:2-12.

9. On Jeremiah 50:7. It is the worst condition into which a church of God can come, when the enemies who desolate it can maintain that they are in the right in doing so. It Isaiah, however, a just nemesis when those who will not hear the regular messengers of God must be told by the extraordinary messengers of God what they should have done. Comp. Jeremiah 40:2-3.

10. On Jeremiah 50:8. “Babylon is opened, and it must be abandoned not clung to, for the captivity is a temporary chastisement, not the divine arrangement for the children of God. God’s people must in the general redemption go like rams before the herd of the nations, that these may also attach themselves to Israel, as this was fulfilled at the time of Christ in the first churches and the apostles, who now draw the whole heathen world after them to eternal life. Here the prophet recognizes the new humanity, which proceeds from the ruins of the old, in which also ancient Israel leads the way; thus all, who follow it, become Israel.” Diedrich.—“The heathen felt somewhat of the divine punishment when they overcame so easily the usually so strongly protected nation. But Jeremiah shows them still how they deceived themselves in thinking that God had wholly rejected His people, for of the eternal covenant of grace they certainly understood nothing.” Heim and Hoffmann on the Major Prophets.

11. On Jeremiah 50:18. “The great powers of the world form indeed the history of the world, but they have no future. Israel, however, always returns home to the dear and glorious land. The Jews might as a token of this return under Cyrus; the case is however this, that the true Holy One in Israel, Christ, guides us back to Paradise, when we flee to His hand from the Babylon of this world and let it be crucified for us.” Diedrich.

12. On Jeremiah 50:23. “Although the Chaldeans were called of God for the purpose of making war on the Jewish nation on account of their multitudinous sins, yet they are punished because they did it not as God with a pure intention, namely, to punish the wrong in them and keep them for reformation; for they were themselves greater sinners than the Jews and continued with impenitence in their sins. Therefore they could not go scot-free and remain unpunished. Moreover, they acted too roughly and dealt with the Jews more harshly than God had commanded, for which He therefore fairly punished them. As God the Lord Himself says ( Isaiah 47:6): When I was angry with My people I gave them into thine hands; but thou shewedst them no mercy. Therefore it is not enough that God’s will be accomplished, but there must be the good intention in it, which God had, otherwise such a work may be a sin and call down the divine punishment upon it.” Würtemb. Summ.

13. On Jeremiah 50:31-34. “God calls Babylon Thou Pride, for pride was their inward force and impulse in all their actions. But worldly pride makes a Babylon and brings on a Babylon’s fate .… Pride must fall, for it is in itself a lie against God, and all its might must perish in the fire; thus will the humble and meek remain in possession of the earth: this has a wide application through all times, even to eternity.” Diedrich.

14. On Jeremiah 51:33. “Israel is indeed weak and must suffer in a time of tyranny; it cannot help itself, nor needs it to do Song of Solomon, for its Redeemer is strong, His name The Lord Zebaoth—and He Isaiah, now, having assumed our flesh, among us and conducts our cause so that the world trembles.” Diedrich.

15. On Jeremiah 50:45. “An emblem of the destruction of anti-christian Babylon, which was also the true hammer of the whole world. This has God also broken and must and will do it still more. And this will the shepherd-boys do, as is said here in Jeremiah 51:45 (according to Luther’s translation), that Isaiah, all true teachers and preachers.” Cramer.

16. On Jeremiah 51. “The doctrines accord in all points with the previous chapter. And the prophet Jeremiah both in this and the previous chapter does nothing else but make out for the Babylonians their final discharge and passport, because they behaved so valiantly and well against the people of Judah, that they might know they would not go unrecompensed. For payment is according to service. And had they done better it would have gone better with them. It is well that when tyrants succeed in their evil undertakings they should not suppose they are God’s dearest children and lean on His bosom, since they will yet receive the recompense on their crown, whatever they have earned.” Cramer.

17. [“Though in the hand of Babylon is a golden cup; she chooses such a cup, in order that men’s eyes may be dazzled with the glitter of the gold, and may not inquire what it contains. But mark well, in the golden cup of Babylon is the poison of idolatry, the poison of false doctrines, which destroy the souls of men. I have often seen such a golden cup, in fair speeches of seductive eloquence: and when I have examined the venomous ingredients of the golden chalice, I have recognized the cup of Babylon.” Origen in Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]

“The seat and throne of Anti-christ is expressly named Babylon, namely, the city of Rome, built on the seven hills ( Revelation 17:9). Just as Babylon brought so many lands and kingdoms under its sway and ruled them with great pomp and pride (the golden cup, which made all the world drunk, was Babylon in the hand of the Lord ( Jeremiah 51:7), and all the heathen drank of the wine and became mad)—so has the spiritual Babylon a cup in its hand, full of the abomination and uncleanness of its whoredom, of which the kings of the earth and all who dwell on the earth have been made drunk. As it is said of Babylon that she dwells by great waters and has great treasures, so writes John of the Romish Babylon, that it is clothed in silk and purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls ( Revelation 18:12). Of Babylon it is said that the slain in Israel were smitten by her; so also the spiritual Babylon is become drunk with the blood of the saints ( Revelation 17:6). Just, however, as the Chaldean Babylon is a type of the spiritual in its pride and despotism, so also is it a type of the destruction which will come upon it. Many wished to heal Babylon but she would not be healed; so many endeavor to support the ruinous anti-christian Babylon, but all in vain. For as Babylon was at last so destroyed as to be a heap of stones and abode of dragons, so will it be with anti-christian Babylon. Of this it is written in Revelation 14:8 : She is fallen, fallen, that great city, for she has made all nations drink of the wine of her fornication. And again, Babylon the great is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and a hold of all foul and hateful birds ( Revelation 18:2). As the inhabitants of Babylon were admonished to flee from her, that every man might deliver his soul ( Jeremiah 51:6)—and again, My people, go ye out from the midst of her and deliver every man his soul, etc. ( Jeremiah 51:45)—so the Holy Spirit admonishes Christians almost in the same words to go out from the spiritual Babylon, that they be not polluted by her sins and at the same time share in her punishment. For thus it is written in Revelation 18:4, I heard, says John, a voice from heaven saying, Go ye out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues, for her sins reach unto heaven and God remembers her iniquities.” Wurtemb. Summarien.

18. On Jeremiah 51:5. “A monarch can sooner make an end of half a continent than draw a nail from a hut which the Lord protects.—And if it is true that Kaiser Rudolph, when he revoked the toleration of the Picards and the same day lost one of his principal forts, said, ‘I thought it would be Song of Solomon, for I grasped at God’s sceptre’ (Weismanni, Hist. Eccl. Tom. II. p320)—this was a sage remark, a supplement to the words of the wise.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 51:9. We heal Babylon, but she will not be healed. Babylon is an outwardly beautiful but inwardly worm-eaten apple. Hence sooner or later the foulness must become noticeable. So is it with all whose heart and centre is not God. All is inwardly hollow and vain. When this internal vacuity begins to render itself externally palpable, when here and there a rent or foul spot becomes visible, then certainly come the friends and admirers of the unholy form and would improve, cover up, sew up, heal. But it does not avail. When once there is death in the body no physician can effect a cure.

20. On Jeremiah 51:17; Jeremiah 51:19-20. “The children of God have three causes why they may venture on Him. 1. All men are fools, their treasure is it not; 2. The Lord is their hammer; He breaks through everything, and3, they are an instrument in His hand, a heritage; in this there is happiness.” Zinzendorf.

21. On Jeremiah 51:41-44. “How was Sheshach thus won, the city renowned in all the world thus taken? No one would have thought it possible, but God does it. He rules with wonders and with wonders He makes His church free. Babylon is a wonder no longer for its power, but for its weakness. We are to know the world’s weakness even where it still appears strong. A sea of hostile nations has covered Babylon. Her land is now a desolation. God takes Bel and the Dragon, the principal idol of Babylon, symbolizing its whole civil powers in hand, and snatches his prey from his teeth. Our God is stronger than all worldly forces, and never leaves us to them.” Diedrich.

22. On Jeremiah 51:58. “Yea, so it is with all walls and towers, in which God’s word is not the vital force, even though they be entitled churches and cathedrals … God’s church alone possesses permanence through His pure word.” Diedrich.

23. On Jeremiah 51:60-64. When we wish to preserve an archive safely, we deposit it in a record-office where it is kept in a dry place that no moisture may get to it. Seraiah throws his book-roll into the waters of the Euphrates, which must wash it away, dissolve and destroy it. But this was of no account. The main point was that Hebrews, Seraiah, as representative of the holy nation had taken solemn stock of the word of God against Babylon, and as it were taken God at His word, and reminded Him of it. In this manner the matter was laid up in the most enduring and safest archive that could be imagined; it was made a case of honor with the omniscient and omnipotent God. Such matters can, however, neither be forgotten, nor remain in dead silence, nor be neglected. They must be brought to such an end as the honor of God requires.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 50:2. This text may be used on the feast of the Reformation, or any other occasion with reference to a rem bene gestam. The Triumph of the Good Cause, 1. over what enemies it is gained; 2. to what it should impel us; (a) to the avoidance of that over which we new triumph; (b) to the grateful proclamation of what the Lord has done for us, by word and by deed.

2. On Jeremiah 50:4-8. The deliverance of Israel from the Babylonian captivity a type of the deliverance of the Church1. The Church must humbly acknowledge the captivity suffered as a judgment of God2. She must turn like Israel inwardly with an upright heart unto the Lord; 3. She must become like Israel to all men a pattern and leader to freedom.

3. On Jeremiah 50:5. A confirmation sermon. “What is the hour of confirmation? 1. An hour which calls to separation; 2. an hour which leads to new connections; 3. an hour which fixes forever the old covenant with the soul’s friend.” Florey, 1853.

4. On Jeremiah 50:18-20. Assyria and Babylon the types of all the spiritual enemies of the church as of individual Christians. Every one has his Assyria and his Babylon. Sin is the destruction of men. Forgiveness of sins is the condition of life, for only where forgiveness of sins Isaiah, is there life and blessedness. In Christ we find the forgiveness of sins. He destroys the handwriting. He washes us clean. He is also the good shepherd who leads our souls into green pastures, to the spiritual Carmel.

5. On Jeremiah 50:31-32. Warning against pride. Babylon was very strong and powerful, rich and splendid. It seemed invincible by nature and by art. Had it not then a certain justification in being proud, at least towards men? No; for no one has to contend only with men. Every one who contends has the Lord either for his friend or his enemy. It is the Lord from whom cometh victory ( Proverbs 21:31). He it is who teacheth our hands to fight ( Psalm 18:35; Psalm 144:1). His strength is made perfect in weakness ( 2 Corinthians 12:9). He can make the lame ( Isaiah 33:23; Micah 4:7) and mortally wounded ( Jeremiah 37:10) so strong that they overmaster the sound (comp. Jeremiah 51:45). He can make one man put to flight a thousand ( Deuteronomy 32:30; Isaiah 30:17). With him can one dash in pieces a troop and leap over a wall ( Psalm 18:29). No one accordingly should be proud. The word of the Lord, “I am against thee, thou proud one!” is a terrible word which no one should conjure up against himself.

6. On Jeremiah 50:33-34. The consolation of the Church in persecution1. It suffers violence and injustice2. Its redeemer is strong.

7. On Jeremiah 51:5. God the Lord manifests such favor to Israel as to declare Himself her husband ( Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:1). But now that Israel and Judah are in exile, it seems as if they were rejected or widowed women. This, however, is only appearance. Israel’s husband does not die. He may well bring a period of chastisement, of purification and trial on His people, but when this period is over, the Lord turns the handle, and smites those through whom He chastised Israel, when they had forgotten that they were not to satisfy their own desire, but only to accomplish the Lord’s will on Israel.

8. On Jeremiah 51:6. A time may come when it is well to separate one’s self. For although it is said in Proverbs 18:1; he who separateth himself, seeketh that which pleaseth him and opposeth all that is good—and therefore separation, as the antipodes of churchliness, i.e., of churchly communion and humble subjection to the law of the co-operation of members ( 1 Corinthians 12:25 sqq.) is to be repudiated, yet there may come moments in the life of the church, when it will be a duty to leave the community and separate one’s self. Such a moment is come when the community has become a Babylon. It should, however, be noted that one should not be too ready with such a decision. For even the life of the church is subject to many vacillations. There are periods of decay, obscurations, as it were, comparable to eclipses of the stars, but to these, so long as the foundations only subsist, must always follow a restoration and return to the original brightness. No one is to consider the church a Babylon on account of such a passing state of disease. It is this only when it has withheld the objective divine foundations, the means of grace, the word and sacrament, altogether and permanently in their saving efficacy. Then, when the soul can no longer find in the church the pure and divine bread of life; it is well “to deliver the soul that it perish not in the iniquity of the church.” From this separation from the church Isaiah, however, to be carefully distinguished the separation within the church, from all that which is opposed to the healthy life of the church, and is therefore to be regarded as a diseased part of the ecclesiastical body. Such separation is the daily duty of the Christian. He has to perform it with respect to his private life in all the manifold relations, indicated to us in Matthew 18:17; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:9 sqq.; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10; 2 John 1:10-11.—Comp. the article on Sects, by Palmer in Herzog, R-Enc., XXI, S. 21, 22.

9. On Jeremiah 51:10. The righteousness which avails before God1. Its origin (not our work or merit, but God’s grace in Christ); 2. Its fruit, praise of that which the Lord has wrought in us (a) by words, (b) by works.

10. On Jeremiah 51:50. This text may be used at the sending out of missionaries or the departure of emigrants. Occasion may be taken to speak1, of the gracious help and deliverance, which the Lord has hitherto shown to the departing; 2, they may be admonished to remain united in their distant land with their brethren at home by (a) remembering the Lord, i.e., ever remaining sincerely devoted to the Lord as the common shield of salvation; (b) faithfuly serving Jerusalem, i.e., the common mother of us all ( Galatians 4:26), the church, with all our powers in the proper place and measure, and ever keeping her in our hearts.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. “Daniel’s Babylonian empire resumes, as it were, the thread which was broken off with the tower-erection and kingdom of Nimrod. In the Babylonian tower-building the whole of the then existing humanity was united against God; with the Babylonian kingdom began the period of the universal monarchies, which again aspired after an atheistical union of entire humanity. Babylon has since and even to the Revelation ( Jeremiah 18) remained the standing type of this world.” Auberlen, Der proph. Daniel, S. 230.

2. For what reason does Babylon appear as a type of the world? Why not Nineveh, or Persepolis, or Tyre, or Memphis, or Rome? Certainly not because Babylon was greater, more glorious, more powerful or prouder and more ungodly than those cities and kingdoms. Nineveh especially was still greater than Babylon (comp. Duncker, Gesch. d. Alterth. I. S. 474, 5), and Assyria was not less hostile to the theocracy, having carried away into captivity the northern and larger half of the people of Israel. Babylon is qualified for this representation in two ways: 1. because it is the home of worldly princedom and titanic arrogance ( Genesis 10:8; Genesis 11:1-4); 2. because Babylon destroyed the centre of the theocracy, Jerusalem, the temple and the theocratic kingdom, and first assumed to be the single supreme power of the globe.

3. “When God has used a superstitious, wicked and tyrannical nation long enough as His rod, He breaks it in pieces and finally throws it into the fire. For even those whom He formerly used as His chosen anointed instruments He then regards as but the dust in the streets or as chaff before the wind.” Cramer.

4. “No monarch is too rich, too wicked, too strong for God the Lord. And He can soon enlist and engage soldiers whom He can use against His declared enemies.” Cramer.

5. “Israel was founded on everlasting foundations, even God’s word and promise. The sins of the people brought about that it was laid low in the dust, but not without hope of a better resurrection. Babylon, on the other hand, must perish forever, for in it is the empire of evil come to its highest bloom. Jeremiah owns the nothingness of all worldly kingdoms, since they are all under this national order to serve only for a time. We are to be subject to them and seek their welfare for the sake of the souls of men, whom God is educating therein; a Christian however cannot be enthusiastic for them after the manner of the ancient heathen nor of ancient Israel, for here we have no abiding city, our citizenship is in heaven. The kingdoms of this world are no sanctuaries for us and we supplicate their continuance only with the daily bread of the fourth petition. Jeremiah applies many words and figures to Babylon which he has already used in the judgments on other nations, thus to intimate that in Babylon all the heathenism of the world culminates, and that here also must be the greatest anguish. What, however, is here declared of Babylon must be fulfilled again on all earthly powers in so far as, treading in its footprints, they take flesh for their arm and regard the material of this world as power, whether they be called states or churches.” Diedrich.

6. On Jeremiah 50:2. In putting into the mouth of Israel, returning from Babylon, the call to an everlasting covenant with Jehovah, the prophet causes them1. to confess that they have forgotten the first covenant; 2. he shows us that the time of the new covenant begins with the redemption from the Babylonish captivity. He was far, however, from supposing that this redemption would be only a weak beginning, that the appearance of the Saviour would be deferred for centuries, that Israel would sink still deeper as an external πολιτεία, and that finally the Israel of the new covenant would itself appear as a μυστήριον, εἰς ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι ( 1 Peter 1:9-12).

7. From what Jeremiah has already said in Jeremiah 31:31-34 of the new covenant we see that its nature and its difference from the old is not unknown to him. Yet he knows the new covenant only in general. He knows that it will be deeply spiritual and eternal, but how and why it will be so is still to him part of the μυστήριον.

8. On Jeremiah 50:6. Jeremiah here points back to Jeremiah 23. Priests, kings and prophets, who should discharge the office of shepherds, prove to be wolves. Yea, they are the worst of wolves, who go about in official clothing. There is therefore no more dangerous doctrine than that of an infallible office. Jeremiah 14:14; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 23:2-12.

9. On Jeremiah 50:7. It is the worst condition into which a church of God can come, when the enemies who desolate it can maintain that they are in the right in doing so. It Isaiah, however, a just nemesis when those who will not hear the regular messengers of God must be told by the extraordinary messengers of God what they should have done. Comp. Jeremiah 40:2-3.

10. On Jeremiah 50:8. “Babylon is opened, and it must be abandoned not clung to, for the captivity is a temporary chastisement, not the divine arrangement for the children of God. God’s people must in the general redemption go like rams before the herd of the nations, that these may also attach themselves to Israel, as this was fulfilled at the time of Christ in the first churches and the apostles, who now draw the whole heathen world after them to eternal life. Here the prophet recognizes the new humanity, which proceeds from the ruins of the old, in which also ancient Israel leads the way; thus all, who follow it, become Israel.” Diedrich.—“The heathen felt somewhat of the divine punishment when they overcame so easily the usually so strongly protected nation. But Jeremiah shows them still how they deceived themselves in thinking that God had wholly rejected His people, for of the eternal covenant of grace they certainly understood nothing.” Heim and Hoffmann on the Major Prophets.

11. On Jeremiah 50:18. “The great powers of the world form indeed the history of the world, but they have no future. Israel, however, always returns home to the dear and glorious land. The Jews might as a token of this return under Cyrus; the case is however this, that the true Holy One in Israel, Christ, guides us back to Paradise, when we flee to His hand from the Babylon of this world and let it be crucified for us.” Diedrich.

12. On Jeremiah 50:23. “Although the Chaldeans were called of God for the purpose of making war on the Jewish nation on account of their multitudinous sins, yet they are punished because they did it not as God with a pure intention, namely, to punish the wrong in them and keep them for reformation; for they were themselves greater sinners than the Jews and continued with impenitence in their sins. Therefore they could not go scot-free and remain unpunished. Moreover, they acted too roughly and dealt with the Jews more harshly than God had commanded, for which He therefore fairly punished them. As God the Lord Himself says ( Isaiah 47:6): When I was angry with My people I gave them into thine hands; but thou shewedst them no mercy. Therefore it is not enough that God’s will be accomplished, but there must be the good intention in it, which God had, otherwise such a work may be a sin and call down the divine punishment upon it.” Würtemb. Summ.

13. On Jeremiah 50:31-34. “God calls Babylon Thou Pride, for pride was their inward force and impulse in all their actions. But worldly pride makes a Babylon and brings on a Babylon’s fate .… Pride must fall, for it is in itself a lie against God, and all its might must perish in the fire; thus will the humble and meek remain in possession of the earth: this has a wide application through all times, even to eternity.” Diedrich.

14. On Jeremiah 51:33. “Israel is indeed weak and must suffer in a time of tyranny; it cannot help itself, nor needs it to do Song of Solomon, for its Redeemer is strong, His name The Lord Zebaoth—and He Isaiah, now, having assumed our flesh, among us and conducts our cause so that the world trembles.” Diedrich.

15. On Jeremiah 50:45. “An emblem of the destruction of anti-christian Babylon, which was also the true hammer of the whole world. This has God also broken and must and will do it still more. And this will the shepherd-boys do, as is said here in Jeremiah 51:45 (according to Luther’s translation), that Isaiah, all true teachers and preachers.” Cramer.

16. On Jeremiah 51. “The doctrines accord in all points with the previous chapter. And the prophet Jeremiah both in this and the previous chapter does nothing else but make out for the Babylonians their final discharge and passport, because they behaved so valiantly and well against the people of Judah, that they might know they would not go unrecompensed. For payment is according to service. And had they done better it would have gone better with them. It is well that when tyrants succeed in their evil undertakings they should not suppose they are God’s dearest children and lean on His bosom, since they will yet receive the recompense on their crown, whatever they have earned.” Cramer.

17. [“Though in the hand of Babylon is a golden cup; she chooses such a cup, in order that men’s eyes may be dazzled with the glitter of the gold, and may not inquire what it contains. But mark well, in the golden cup of Babylon is the poison of idolatry, the poison of false doctrines, which destroy the souls of men. I have often seen such a golden cup, in fair speeches of seductive eloquence: and when I have examined the venomous ingredients of the golden chalice, I have recognized the cup of Babylon.” Origen in Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]

“The seat and throne of Anti-christ is expressly named Babylon, namely, the city of Rome, built on the seven hills ( Revelation 17:9). Just as Babylon brought so many lands and kingdoms under its sway and ruled them with great pomp and pride (the golden cup, which made all the world drunk, was Babylon in the hand of the Lord ( Jeremiah 51:7), and all the heathen drank of the wine and became mad)—so has the spiritual Babylon a cup in its hand, full of the abomination and uncleanness of its whoredom, of which the kings of the earth and all who dwell on the earth have been made drunk. As it is said of Babylon that she dwells by great waters and has great treasures, so writes John of the Romish Babylon, that it is clothed in silk and purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls ( Revelation 18:12). Of Babylon it is said that the slain in Israel were smitten by her; so also the spiritual Babylon is become drunk with the blood of the saints ( Revelation 17:6). Just, however, as the Chaldean Babylon is a type of the spiritual in its pride and despotism, so also is it a type of the destruction which will come upon it. Many wished to heal Babylon but she would not be healed; so many endeavor to support the ruinous anti-christian Babylon, but all in vain. For as Babylon was at last so destroyed as to be a heap of stones and abode of dragons, so will it be with anti-christian Babylon. Of this it is written in Revelation 14:8 : She is fallen, fallen, that great city, for she has made all nations drink of the wine of her fornication. And again, Babylon the great is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and a hold of all foul and hateful birds ( Revelation 18:2). As the inhabitants of Babylon were admonished to flee from her, that every man might deliver his soul ( Jeremiah 51:6)—and again, My people, go ye out from the midst of her and deliver every man his soul, etc. ( Jeremiah 51:45)—so the Holy Spirit admonishes Christians almost in the same words to go out from the spiritual Babylon, that they be not polluted by her sins and at the same time share in her punishment. For thus it is written in Revelation 18:4, I heard, says John, a voice from heaven saying, Go ye out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues, for her sins reach unto heaven and God remembers her iniquities.” Wurtemb. Summarien.

18. On Jeremiah 51:5. “A monarch can sooner make an end of half a continent than draw a nail from a hut which the Lord protects.—And if it is true that Kaiser Rudolph, when he revoked the toleration of the Picards and the same day lost one of his principal forts, said, ‘I thought it would be Song of Solomon, for I grasped at God’s sceptre’ (Weismanni, Hist. Eccl. Tom. II. p320)—this was a sage remark, a supplement to the words of the wise.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 51:9. We heal Babylon, but she will not be healed. Babylon is an outwardly beautiful but inwardly worm-eaten apple. Hence sooner or later the foulness must become noticeable. So is it with all whose heart and centre is not God. All is inwardly hollow and vain. When this internal vacuity begins to render itself externally palpable, when here and there a rent or foul spot becomes visible, then certainly come the friends and admirers of the unholy form and would improve, cover up, sew up, heal. But it does not avail. When once there is death in the body no physician can effect a cure.

20. On Jeremiah 51:17; Jeremiah 51:19-20. “The children of God have three causes why they may venture on Him. 1. All men are fools, their treasure is it not; 2. The Lord is their hammer; He breaks through everything, and3, they are an instrument in His hand, a heritage; in this there is happiness.” Zinzendorf.

21. On Jeremiah 51:41-44. “How was Sheshach thus won, the city renowned in all the world thus taken? No one would have thought it possible, but God does it. He rules with wonders and with wonders He makes His church free. Babylon is a wonder no longer for its power, but for its weakness. We are to know the world’s weakness even where it still appears strong. A sea of hostile nations has covered Babylon. Her land is now a desolation. God takes Bel and the Dragon, the principal idol of Babylon, symbolizing its whole civil powers in hand, and snatches his prey from his teeth. Our God is stronger than all worldly forces, and never leaves us to them.” Diedrich.

22. On Jeremiah 51:58. “Yea, so it is with all walls and towers, in which God’s word is not the vital force, even though they be entitled churches and cathedrals … God’s church alone possesses permanence through His pure word.” Diedrich.

23. On Jeremiah 51:60-64. When we wish to preserve an archive safely, we deposit it in a record-office where it is kept in a dry place that no moisture may get to it. Seraiah throws his book-roll into the waters of the Euphrates, which must wash it away, dissolve and destroy it. But this was of no account. The main point was that Hebrews, Seraiah, as representative of the holy nation had taken solemn stock of the word of God against Babylon, and as it were taken God at His word, and reminded Him of it. In this manner the matter was laid up in the most enduring and safest archive that could be imagined; it was made a case of honor with the omniscient and omnipotent God. Such matters can, however, neither be forgotten, nor remain in dead silence, nor be neglected. They must be brought to such an end as the honor of God requires.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 50:2. This text may be used on the feast of the Reformation, or any other occasion with reference to a rem bene gestam. The Triumph of the Good Cause, 1. over what enemies it is gained; 2. to what it should impel us; (a) to the avoidance of that over which we new triumph; (b) to the grateful proclamation of what the Lord has done for us, by word and by deed.

2. On Jeremiah 50:4-8. The deliverance of Israel from the Babylonian captivity a type of the deliverance of the Church1. The Church must humbly acknowledge the captivity suffered as a judgment of God2. She must turn like Israel inwardly with an upright heart unto the Lord; 3. She must become like Israel to all men a pattern and leader to freedom.

3. On Jeremiah 50:5. A confirmation sermon. “What is the hour of confirmation? 1. An hour which calls to separation; 2. an hour which leads to new connections; 3. an hour which fixes forever the old covenant with the soul’s friend.” Florey, 1853.

4. On Jeremiah 50:18-20. Assyria and Babylon the types of all the spiritual enemies of the church as of individual Christians. Every one has his Assyria and his Babylon. Sin is the destruction of men. Forgiveness of sins is the condition of life, for only where forgiveness of sins Isaiah, is there life and blessedness. In Christ we find the forgiveness of sins. He destroys the handwriting. He washes us clean. He is also the good shepherd who leads our souls into green pastures, to the spiritual Carmel.

5. On Jeremiah 50:31-32. Warning against pride. Babylon was very strong and powerful, rich and splendid. It seemed invincible by nature and by art. Had it not then a certain justification in being proud, at least towards men? No; for no one has to contend only with men. Every one who contends has the Lord either for his friend or his enemy. It is the Lord from whom cometh victory ( Proverbs 21:31). He it is who teacheth our hands to fight ( Psalm 18:35; Psalm 144:1). His strength is made perfect in weakness ( 2 Corinthians 12:9). He can make the lame ( Isaiah 33:23; Micah 4:7) and mortally wounded ( Jeremiah 37:10) so strong that they overmaster the sound (comp. Jeremiah 51:45). He can make one man put to flight a thousand ( Deuteronomy 32:30; Isaiah 30:17). With him can one dash in pieces a troop and leap over a wall ( Psalm 18:29). No one accordingly should be proud. The word of the Lord, “I am against thee, thou proud one!” is a terrible word which no one should conjure up against himself.

6. On Jeremiah 50:33-34. The consolation of the Church in persecution1. It suffers violence and injustice2. Its redeemer is strong.

7. On Jeremiah 51:5. God the Lord manifests such favor to Israel as to declare Himself her husband ( Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:1). But now that Israel and Judah are in exile, it seems as if they were rejected or widowed women. This, however, is only appearance. Israel’s husband does not die. He may well bring a period of chastisement, of purification and trial on His people, but when this period is over, the Lord turns the handle, and smites those through whom He chastised Israel, when they had forgotten that they were not to satisfy their own desire, but only to accomplish the Lord’s will on Israel.

8. On Jeremiah 51:6. A time may come when it is well to separate one’s self. For although it is said in Proverbs 18:1; he who separateth himself, seeketh that which pleaseth him and opposeth all that is good—and therefore separation, as the antipodes of churchliness, i.e., of churchly communion and humble subjection to the law of the co-operation of members ( 1 Corinthians 12:25 sqq.) is to be repudiated, yet there may come moments in the life of the church, when it will be a duty to leave the community and separate one’s self. Such a moment is come when the community has become a Babylon. It should, however, be noted that one should not be too ready with such a decision. For even the life of the church is subject to many vacillations. There are periods of decay, obscurations, as it were, comparable to eclipses of the stars, but to these, so long as the foundations only subsist, must always follow a restoration and return to the original brightness. No one is to consider the church a Babylon on account of such a passing state of disease. It is this only when it has withheld the objective divine foundations, the means of grace, the word and sacrament, altogether and permanently in their saving efficacy. Then, when the soul can no longer find in the church the pure and divine bread of life; it is well “to deliver the soul that it perish not in the iniquity of the church.” From this separation from the church Isaiah, however, to be carefully distinguished the separation within the church, from all that which is opposed to the healthy life of the church, and is therefore to be regarded as a diseased part of the ecclesiastical body. Such separation is the daily duty of the Christian. He has to perform it with respect to his private life in all the manifold relations, indicated to us in Matthew 18:17; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:9 sqq.; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10; 2 John 1:10-11.—Comp. the article on Sects, by Palmer in Herzog, R-Enc., XXI, S. 21, 22.

9. On Jeremiah 51:10. The righteousness which avails before God1. Its origin (not our work or merit, but God’s grace in Christ); 2. Its fruit, praise of that which the Lord has wrought in us (a) by words, (b) by works.

10. On Jeremiah 51:50. This text may be used at the sending out of missionaries or the departure of emigrants. Occasion may be taken to speak1, of the gracious help and deliverance, which the Lord has hitherto shown to the departing; 2, they may be admonished to remain united in their distant land with their brethren at home by (a) remembering the Lord, i.e., ever remaining sincerely devoted to the Lord as the common shield of salvation; (b) faithfuly serving Jerusalem, i.e., the common mother of us all ( Galatians 4:26), the church, with all our powers in the proper place and measure, and ever keeping her in our hearts.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. “Daniel’s Babylonian empire resumes, as it were, the thread which was broken off with the tower-erection and kingdom of Nimrod. In the Babylonian tower-building the whole of the then existing humanity was united against God; with the Babylonian kingdom began the period of the universal monarchies, which again aspired after an atheistical union of entire humanity. Babylon has since and even to the Revelation ( Jeremiah 18) remained the standing type of this world.” Auberlen, Der proph. Daniel, S. 230.

2. For what reason does Babylon appear as a type of the world? Why not Nineveh, or Persepolis, or Tyre, or Memphis, or Rome? Certainly not because Babylon was greater, more glorious, more powerful or prouder and more ungodly than those cities and kingdoms. Nineveh especially was still greater than Babylon (comp. Duncker, Gesch. d. Alterth. I. S. 474, 5), and Assyria was not less hostile to the theocracy, having carried away into captivity the northern and larger half of the people of Israel. Babylon is qualified for this representation in two ways: 1. because it is the home of worldly princedom and titanic arrogance ( Genesis 10:8; Genesis 11:1-4); 2. because Babylon destroyed the centre of the theocracy, Jerusalem, the temple and the theocratic kingdom, and first assumed to be the single supreme power of the globe.

3. “When God has used a superstitious, wicked and tyrannical nation long enough as His rod, He breaks it in pieces and finally throws it into the fire. For even those whom He formerly used as His chosen anointed instruments He then regards as but the dust in the streets or as chaff before the wind.” Cramer.

4. “No monarch is too rich, too wicked, too strong for God the Lord. And He can soon enlist and engage soldiers whom He can use against His declared enemies.” Cramer.

5. “Israel was founded on everlasting foundations, even God’s word and promise. The sins of the people brought about that it was laid low in the dust, but not without hope of a better resurrection. Babylon, on the other hand, must perish forever, for in it is the empire of evil come to its highest bloom. Jeremiah owns the nothingness of all worldly kingdoms, since they are all under this national order to serve only for a time. We are to be subject to them and seek their welfare for the sake of the souls of men, whom God is educating therein; a Christian however cannot be enthusiastic for them after the manner of the ancient heathen nor of ancient Israel, for here we have no abiding city, our citizenship is in heaven. The kingdoms of this world are no sanctuaries for us and we supplicate their continuance only with the daily bread of the fourth petition. Jeremiah applies many words and figures to Babylon which he has already used in the judgments on other nations, thus to intimate that in Babylon all the heathenism of the world culminates, and that here also must be the greatest anguish. What, however, is here declared of Babylon must be fulfilled again on all earthly powers in so far as, treading in its footprints, they take flesh for their arm and regard the material of this world as power, whether they be called states or churches.” Diedrich.

6. On Jeremiah 50:2. In putting into the mouth of Israel, returning from Babylon, the call to an everlasting covenant with Jehovah, the prophet causes them1. to confess that they have forgotten the first covenant; 2. he shows us that the time of the new covenant begins with the redemption from the Babylonish captivity. He was far, however, from supposing that this redemption would be only a weak beginning, that the appearance of the Saviour would be deferred for centuries, that Israel would sink still deeper as an external πολιτεία, and that finally the Israel of the new covenant would itself appear as a μυστήριον, εἰς ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι ( 1 Peter 1:9-12).

7. From what Jeremiah has already said in Jeremiah 31:31-34 of the new covenant we see that its nature and its difference from the old is not unknown to him. Yet he knows the new covenant only in general. He knows that it will be deeply spiritual and eternal, but how and why it will be so is still to him part of the μυστήριον.

8. On Jeremiah 50:6. Jeremiah here points back to Jeremiah 23. Priests, kings and prophets, who should discharge the office of shepherds, prove to be wolves. Yea, they are the worst of wolves, who go about in official clothing. There is therefore no more dangerous doctrine than that of an infallible office. Jeremiah 14:14; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 23:2-12.

9. On Jeremiah 50:7. It is the worst condition into which a church of God can come, when the enemies who desolate it can maintain that they are in the right in doing so. It Isaiah, however, a just nemesis when those who will not hear the regular messengers of God must be told by the extraordinary messengers of God what they should have done. Comp. Jeremiah 40:2-3.

10. On Jeremiah 50:8. “Babylon is opened, and it must be abandoned not clung to, for the captivity is a temporary chastisement, not the divine arrangement for the children of God. God’s people must in the general redemption go like rams before the herd of the nations, that these may also attach themselves to Israel, as this was fulfilled at the time of Christ in the first churches and the apostles, who now draw the whole heathen world after them to eternal life. Here the prophet recognizes the new humanity, which proceeds from the ruins of the old, in which also ancient Israel leads the way; thus all, who follow it, become Israel.” Diedrich.—“The heathen felt somewhat of the divine punishment when they overcame so easily the usually so strongly protected nation. But Jeremiah shows them still how they deceived themselves in thinking that God had wholly rejected His people, for of the eternal covenant of grace they certainly understood nothing.” Heim and Hoffmann on the Major Prophets.

11. On Jeremiah 50:18. “The great powers of the world form indeed the history of the world, but they have no future. Israel, however, always returns home to the dear and glorious land. The Jews might as a token of this return under Cyrus; the case is however this, that the true Holy One in Israel, Christ, guides us back to Paradise, when we flee to His hand from the Babylon of this world and let it be crucified for us.” Diedrich.

12. On Jeremiah 50:23. “Although the Chaldeans were called of God for the purpose of making war on the Jewish nation on account of their multitudinous sins, yet they are punished because they did it not as God with a pure intention, namely, to punish the wrong in them and keep them for reformation; for they were themselves greater sinners than the Jews and continued with impenitence in their sins. Therefore they could not go scot-free and remain unpunished. Moreover, they acted too roughly and dealt with the Jews more harshly than God had commanded, for which He therefore fairly punished them. As God the Lord Himself says ( Isaiah 47:6): When I was angry with My people I gave them into thine hands; but thou shewedst them no mercy. Therefore it is not enough that God’s will be accomplished, but there must be the good intention in it, which God had, otherwise such a work may be a sin and call down the divine punishment upon it.” Würtemb. Summ.

13. On Jeremiah 50:31-34. “God calls Babylon Thou Pride, for pride was their inward force and impulse in all their actions. But worldly pride makes a Babylon and brings on a Babylon’s fate .… Pride must fall, for it is in itself a lie against God, and all its might must perish in the fire; thus will the humble and meek remain in possession of the earth: this has a wide application through all times, even to eternity.” Diedrich.

14. On Jeremiah 51:33. “Israel is indeed weak and must suffer in a time of tyranny; it cannot help itself, nor needs it to do Song of Solomon, for its Redeemer is strong, His name The Lord Zebaoth—and He Isaiah, now, having assumed our flesh, among us and conducts our cause so that the world trembles.” Diedrich.

15. On Jeremiah 50:45. “An emblem of the destruction of anti-christian Babylon, which was also the true hammer of the whole world. This has God also broken and must and will do it still more. And this will the shepherd-boys do, as is said here in Jeremiah 51:45 (according to Luther’s translation), that Isaiah, all true teachers and preachers.” Cramer.

16. On Jeremiah 51. “The doctrines accord in all points with the previous chapter. And the prophet Jeremiah both in this and the previous chapter does nothing else but make out for the Babylonians their final discharge and passport, because they behaved so valiantly and well against the people of Judah, that they might know they would not go unrecompensed. For payment is according to service. And had they done better it would have gone better with them. It is well that when tyrants succeed in their evil undertakings they should not suppose they are God’s dearest children and lean on His bosom, since they will yet receive the recompense on their crown, whatever they have earned.” Cramer.

17. [“Though in the hand of Babylon is a golden cup; she chooses such a cup, in order that men’s eyes may be dazzled with the glitter of the gold, and may not inquire what it contains. But mark well, in the golden cup of Babylon is the poison of idolatry, the poison of false doctrines, which destroy the souls of men. I have often seen such a golden cup, in fair speeches of seductive eloquence: and when I have examined the venomous ingredients of the golden chalice, I have recognized the cup of Babylon.” Origen in Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]

“The seat and throne of Anti-christ is expressly named Babylon, namely, the city of Rome, built on the seven hills ( Revelation 17:9). Just as Babylon brought so many lands and kingdoms under its sway and ruled them with great pomp and pride (the golden cup, which made all the world drunk, was Babylon in the hand of the Lord ( Jeremiah 51:7), and all the heathen drank of the wine and became mad)—so has the spiritual Babylon a cup in its hand, full of the abomination and uncleanness of its whoredom, of which the kings of the earth and all who dwell on the earth have been made drunk. As it is said of Babylon that she dwells by great waters and has great treasures, so writes John of the Romish Babylon, that it is clothed in silk and purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls ( Revelation 18:12). Of Babylon it is said that the slain in Israel were smitten by her; so also the spiritual Babylon is become drunk with the blood of the saints ( Revelation 17:6). Just, however, as the Chaldean Babylon is a type of the spiritual in its pride and despotism, so also is it a type of the destruction which will come upon it. Many wished to heal Babylon but she would not be healed; so many endeavor to support the ruinous anti-christian Babylon, but all in vain. For as Babylon was at last so destroyed as to be a heap of stones and abode of dragons, so will it be with anti-christian Babylon. Of this it is written in Revelation 14:8 : She is fallen, fallen, that great city, for she has made all nations drink of the wine of her fornication. And again, Babylon the great is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and a hold of all foul and hateful birds ( Revelation 18:2). As the inhabitants of Babylon were admonished to flee from her, that every man might deliver his soul ( Jeremiah 51:6)—and again, My people, go ye out from the midst of her and deliver every man his soul, etc. ( Jeremiah 51:45)—so the Holy Spirit admonishes Christians almost in the same words to go out from the spiritual Babylon, that they be not polluted by her sins and at the same time share in her punishment. For thus it is written in Revelation 18:4, I heard, says John, a voice from heaven saying, Go ye out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues, for her sins reach unto heaven and God remembers her iniquities.” Wurtemb. Summarien.

18. On Jeremiah 51:5. “A monarch can sooner make an end of half a continent than draw a nail from a hut which the Lord protects.—And if it is true that Kaiser Rudolph, when he revoked the toleration of the Picards and the same day lost one of his principal forts, said, ‘I thought it would be Song of Solomon, for I grasped at God’s sceptre’ (Weismanni, Hist. Eccl. Tom. II. p320)—this was a sage remark, a supplement to the words of the wise.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 51:9. We heal Babylon, but she will not be healed. Babylon is an outwardly beautiful but inwardly worm-eaten apple. Hence sooner or later the foulness must become noticeable. So is it with all whose heart and centre is not God. All is inwardly hollow and vain. When this internal vacuity begins to render itself externally palpable, when here and there a rent or foul spot becomes visible, then certainly come the friends and admirers of the unholy form and would improve, cover up, sew up, heal. But it does not avail. When once there is death in the body no physician can effect a cure.

20. On Jeremiah 51:17; Jeremiah 51:19-20. “The children of God have three causes why they may venture on Him. 1. All men are fools, their treasure is it not; 2. The Lord is their hammer; He breaks through everything, and3, they are an instrument in His hand, a heritage; in this there is happiness.” Zinzendorf.

21. On Jeremiah 51:41-44. “How was Sheshach thus won, the city renowned in all the world thus taken? No one would have thought it possible, but God does it. He rules with wonders and with wonders He makes His church free. Babylon is a wonder no longer for its power, but for its weakness. We are to know the world’s weakness even where it still appears strong. A sea of hostile nations has covered Babylon. Her land is now a desolation. God takes Bel and the Dragon, the principal idol of Babylon, symbolizing its whole civil powers in hand, and snatches his prey from his teeth. Our God is stronger than all worldly forces, and never leaves us to them.” Diedrich.

22. On Jeremiah 51:58. “Yea, so it is with all walls and towers, in which God’s word is not the vital force, even though they be entitled churches and cathedrals … God’s church alone possesses permanence through His pure word.” Diedrich.

23. On Jeremiah 51:60-64. When we wish to preserve an archive safely, we deposit it in a record-office where it is kept in a dry place that no moisture may get to it. Seraiah throws his book-roll into the waters of the Euphrates, which must wash it away, dissolve and destroy it. But this was of no account. The main point was that Hebrews, Seraiah, as representative of the holy nation had taken solemn stock of the word of God against Babylon, and as it were taken God at His word, and reminded Him of it. In this manner the matter was laid up in the most enduring and safest archive that could be imagined; it was made a case of honor with the omniscient and omnipotent God. Such matters can, however, neither be forgotten, nor remain in dead silence, nor be neglected. They must be brought to such an end as the honor of God requires.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 50:2. This text may be used on the feast of the Reformation, or any other occasion with reference to a rem bene gestam. The Triumph of the Good Cause, 1. over what enemies it is gained; 2. to what it should impel us; (a) to the avoidance of that over which we new triumph; (b) to the grateful proclamation of what the Lord has done for us, by word and by deed.

2. On Jeremiah 50:4-8. The deliverance of Israel from the Babylonian captivity a type of the deliverance of the Church1. The Church must humbly acknowledge the captivity suffered as a judgment of God2. She must turn like Israel inwardly with an upright heart unto the Lord; 3. She must become like Israel to all men a pattern and leader to freedom.

3. On Jeremiah 50:5. A confirmation sermon. “What is the hour of confirmation? 1. An hour which calls to separation; 2. an hour which leads to new connections; 3. an hour which fixes forever the old covenant with the soul’s friend.” Florey, 1853.

4. On Jeremiah 50:18-20. Assyria and Babylon the types of all the spiritual enemies of the church as of individual Christians. Every one has his Assyria and his Babylon. Sin is the destruction of men. Forgiveness of sins is the condition of life, for only where forgiveness of sins Isaiah, is there life and blessedness. In Christ we find the forgiveness of sins. He destroys the handwriting. He washes us clean. He is also the good shepherd who leads our souls into green pastures, to the spiritual Carmel.

5. On Jeremiah 50:31-32. Warning against pride. Babylon was very strong and powerful, rich and splendid. It seemed invincible by nature and by art. Had it not then a certain justification in being proud, at least towards men? No; for no one has to contend only with men. Every one who contends has the Lord either for his friend or his enemy. It is the Lord from whom cometh victory ( Proverbs 21:31). He it is who teacheth our hands to fight ( Psalm 18:35; Psalm 144:1). His strength is made perfect in weakness ( 2 Corinthians 12:9). He can make the lame ( Isaiah 33:23; Micah 4:7) and mortally wounded ( Jeremiah 37:10) so strong that they overmaster the sound (comp. Jeremiah 51:45). He can make one man put to flight a thousand ( Deuteronomy 32:30; Isaiah 30:17). With him can one dash in pieces a troop and leap over a wall ( Psalm 18:29). No one accordingly should be proud. The word of the Lord, “I am against thee, thou proud one!” is a terrible word which no one should conjure up against himself.

6. On Jeremiah 50:33-34. The consolation of the Church in persecution1. It suffers violence and injustice2. Its redeemer is strong.

7. On Jeremiah 51:5. God the Lord manifests such favor to Israel as to declare Himself her husband ( Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:1). But now that Israel and Judah are in exile, it seems as if they were rejected or widowed women. This, however, is only appearance. Israel’s husband does not die. He may well bring a period of chastisement, of purification and trial on His people, but when this period is over, the Lord turns the handle, and smites those through whom He chastised Israel, when they had forgotten that they were not to satisfy their own desire, but only to accomplish the Lord’s will on Israel.

8. On Jeremiah 51:6. A time may come when it is well to separate one’s self. For although it is said in Proverbs 18:1; he who separateth himself, seeketh that which pleaseth him and opposeth all that is good—and therefore separation, as the antipodes of churchliness, i.e., of churchly communion and humble subjection to the law of the co-operation of members ( 1 Corinthians 12:25 sqq.) is to be repudiated, yet there may come moments in the life of the church, when it will be a duty to leave the community and separate one’s self. Such a moment is come when the community has become a Babylon. It should, however, be noted that one should not be too ready with such a decision. For even the life of the church is subject to many vacillations. There are periods of decay, obscurations, as it were, comparable to eclipses of the stars, but to these, so long as the foundations only subsist, must always follow a restoration and return to the original brightness. No one is to consider the church a Babylon on account of such a passing state of disease. It is this only when it has withheld the objective divine foundations, the means of grace, the word and sacrament, altogether and permanently in their saving efficacy. Then, when the soul can no longer find in the church the pure and divine bread of life; it is well “to deliver the soul that it perish not in the iniquity of the church.” From this separation from the church Isaiah, however, to be carefully distinguished the separation within the church, from all that which is opposed to the healthy life of the church, and is therefore to be regarded as a diseased part of the ecclesiastical body. Such separation is the daily duty of the Christian. He has to perform it with respect to his private life in all the manifold relations, indicated to us in Matthew 18:17; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:9 sqq.; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10; 2 John 1:10-11.—Comp. the article on Sects, by Palmer in Herzog, R-Enc., XXI, S. 21, 22.

9. On Jeremiah 51:10. The righteousness which avails before God1. Its origin (not our work or merit, but God’s grace in Christ); 2. Its fruit, praise of that which the Lord has wrought in us (a) by words, (b) by works.

10. On Jeremiah 51:50. This text may be used at the sending out of missionaries or the departure of emigrants. Occasion may be taken to speak1, of the gracious help and deliverance, which the Lord has hitherto shown to the departing; 2, they may be admonished to remain united in their distant land with their brethren at home by (a) remembering the Lord, i.e., ever remaining sincerely devoted to the Lord as the common shield of salvation; (b) faithfuly serving Jerusalem, i.e., the common mother of us all ( Galatians 4:26), the church, with all our powers in the proper place and measure, and ever keeping her in our hearts.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. “Daniel’s Babylonian empire resumes, as it were, the thread which was broken off with the tower-erection and kingdom of Nimrod. In the Babylonian tower-building the whole of the then existing humanity was united against God; with the Babylonian kingdom began the period of the universal monarchies, which again aspired after an atheistical union of entire humanity. Babylon has since and even to the Revelation ( Jeremiah 18) remained the standing type of this world.” Auberlen, Der proph. Daniel, S. 230.

2. For what reason does Babylon appear as a type of the world? Why not Nineveh, or Persepolis, or Tyre, or Memphis, or Rome? Certainly not because Babylon was greater, more glorious, more powerful or prouder and more ungodly than those cities and kingdoms. Nineveh especially was still greater than Babylon (comp. Duncker, Gesch. d. Alterth. I. S. 474, 5), and Assyria was not less hostile to the theocracy, having carried away into captivity the northern and larger half of the people of Israel. Babylon is qualified for this representation in two ways: 1. because it is the home of worldly princedom and titanic arrogance ( Genesis 10:8; Genesis 11:1-4); 2. because Babylon destroyed the centre of the theocracy, Jerusalem, the temple and the theocratic kingdom, and first assumed to be the single supreme power of the globe.

3. “When God has used a superstitious, wicked and tyrannical nation long enough as His rod, He breaks it in pieces and finally throws it into the fire. For even those whom He formerly used as His chosen anointed instruments He then regards as but the dust in the streets or as chaff before the wind.” Cramer.

4. “No monarch is too rich, too wicked, too strong for God the Lord. And He can soon enlist and engage soldiers whom He can use against His declared enemies.” Cramer.

5. “Israel was founded on everlasting foundations, even God’s word and promise. The sins of the people brought about that it was laid low in the dust, but not without hope of a better resurrection. Babylon, on the other hand, must perish forever, for in it is the empire of evil come to its highest bloom. Jeremiah owns the nothingness of all worldly kingdoms, since they are all under this national order to serve only for a time. We are to be subject to them and seek their welfare for the sake of the souls of men, whom God is educating therein; a Christian however cannot be enthusiastic for them after the manner of the ancient heathen nor of ancient Israel, for here we have no abiding city, our citizenship is in heaven. The kingdoms of this world are no sanctuaries for us and we supplicate their continuance only with the daily bread of the fourth petition. Jeremiah applies many words and figures to Babylon which he has already used in the judgments on other nations, thus to intimate that in Babylon all the heathenism of the world culminates, and that here also must be the greatest anguish. What, however, is here declared of Babylon must be fulfilled again on all earthly powers in so far as, treading in its footprints, they take flesh for their arm and regard the material of this world as power, whether they be called states or churches.” Diedrich.

6. On Jeremiah 50:2. In putting into the mouth of Israel, returning from Babylon, the call to an everlasting covenant with Jehovah, the prophet causes them1. to confess that they have forgotten the first covenant; 2. he shows us that the time of the new covenant begins with the redemption from the Babylonish captivity. He was far, however, from supposing that this redemption would be only a weak beginning, that the appearance of the Saviour would be deferred for centuries, that Israel would sink still deeper as an external πολιτεία, and that finally the Israel of the new covenant would itself appear as a μυστήριον, εἰς ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι ( 1 Peter 1:9-12).

7. From what Jeremiah has already said in Jeremiah 31:31-34 of the new covenant we see that its nature and its difference from the old is not unknown to him. Yet he knows the new covenant only in general. He knows that it will be deeply spiritual and eternal, but how and why it will be so is still to him part of the μυστήριον.

8. On Jeremiah 50:6. Jeremiah here points back to Jeremiah 23. Priests, kings and prophets, who should discharge the office of shepherds, prove to be wolves. Yea, they are the worst of wolves, who go about in official clothing. There is therefore no more dangerous doctrine than that of an infallible office. Jeremiah 14:14; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 23:2-12.

9. On Jeremiah 50:7. It is the worst condition into which a church of God can come, when the enemies who desolate it can maintain that they are in the right in doing so. It Isaiah, however, a just nemesis when those who will not hear the regular messengers of God must be told by the extraordinary messengers of God what they should have done. Comp. Jeremiah 40:2-3.

10. On Jeremiah 50:8. “Babylon is opened, and it must be abandoned not clung to, for the captivity is a temporary chastisement, not the divine arrangement for the children of God. God’s people must in the general redemption go like rams before the herd of the nations, that these may also attach themselves to Israel, as this was fulfilled at the time of Christ in the first churches and the apostles, who now draw the whole heathen world after them to eternal life. Here the prophet recognizes the new humanity, which proceeds from the ruins of the old, in which also ancient Israel leads the way; thus all, who follow it, become Israel.” Diedrich.—“The heathen felt somewhat of the divine punishment when they overcame so easily the usually so strongly protected nation. But Jeremiah shows them still how they deceived themselves in thinking that God had wholly rejected His people, for of the eternal covenant of grace they certainly understood nothing.” Heim and Hoffmann on the Major Prophets.

11. On Jeremiah 50:18. “The great powers of the world form indeed the history of the world, but they have no future. Israel, however, always returns home to the dear and glorious land. The Jews might as a token of this return under Cyrus; the case is however this, that the true Holy One in Israel, Christ, guides us back to Paradise, when we flee to His hand from the Babylon of this world and let it be crucified for us.” Diedrich.

12. On Jeremiah 50:23. “Although the Chaldeans were called of God for the purpose of making war on the Jewish nation on account of their multitudinous sins, yet they are punished because they did it not as God with a pure intention, namely, to punish the wrong in them and keep them for reformation; for they were themselves greater sinners than the Jews and continued with impenitence in their sins. Therefore they could not go scot-free and remain unpunished. Moreover, they acted too roughly and dealt with the Jews more harshly than God had commanded, for which He therefore fairly punished them. As God the Lord Himself says ( Isaiah 47:6): When I was angry with My people I gave them into thine hands; but thou shewedst them no mercy. Therefore it is not enough that God’s will be accomplished, but there must be the good intention in it, which God had, otherwise such a work may be a sin and call down the divine punishment upon it.” Würtemb. Summ.

13. On Jeremiah 50:31-34. “God calls Babylon Thou Pride, for pride was their inward force and impulse in all their actions. But worldly pride makes a Babylon and brings on a Babylon’s fate .… Pride must fall, for it is in itself a lie against God, and all its might must perish in the fire; thus will the humble and meek remain in possession of the earth: this has a wide application through all times, even to eternity.” Diedrich.

14. On Jeremiah 51:33. “Israel is indeed weak and must suffer in a time of tyranny; it cannot help itself, nor needs it to do Song of Solomon, for its Redeemer is strong, His name The Lord Zebaoth—and He Isaiah, now, having assumed our flesh, among us and conducts our cause so that the world trembles.” Diedrich.

15. On Jeremiah 50:45. “An emblem of the destruction of anti-christian Babylon, which was also the true hammer of the whole world. This has God also broken and must and will do it still more. And this will the shepherd-boys do, as is said here in Jeremiah 51:45 (according to Luther’s translation), that Isaiah, all true teachers and preachers.” Cramer.

16. On Jeremiah 51. “The doctrines accord in all points with the previous chapter. And the prophet Jeremiah both in this and the previous chapter does nothing else but make out for the Babylonians their final discharge and passport, because they behaved so valiantly and well against the people of Judah, that they might know they would not go unrecompensed. For payment is according to service. And had they done better it would have gone better with them. It is well that when tyrants succeed in their evil undertakings they should not suppose they are God’s dearest children and lean on His bosom, since they will yet receive the recompense on their crown, whatever they have earned.” Cramer.

17. [“Though in the hand of Babylon is a golden cup; she chooses such a cup, in order that men’s eyes may be dazzled with the glitter of the gold, and may not inquire what it contains. But mark well, in the golden cup of Babylon is the poison of idolatry, the poison of false doctrines, which destroy the souls of men. I have often seen such a golden cup, in fair speeches of seductive eloquence: and when I have examined the venomous ingredients of the golden chalice, I have recognized the cup of Babylon.” Origen in Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]

“The seat and throne of Anti-christ is expressly named Babylon, namely, the city of Rome, built on the seven hills ( Revelation 17:9). Just as Babylon brought so many lands and kingdoms under its sway and ruled them with great pomp and pride (the golden cup, which made all the world drunk, was Babylon in the hand of the Lord ( Jeremiah 51:7), and all the heathen drank of the wine and became mad)—so has the spiritual Babylon a cup in its hand, full of the abomination and uncleanness of its whoredom, of which the kings of the earth and all who dwell on the earth have been made drunk. As it is said of Babylon that she dwells by great waters and has great treasures, so writes John of the Romish Babylon, that it is clothed in silk and purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls ( Revelation 18:12). Of Babylon it is said that the slain in Israel were smitten by her; so also the spiritual Babylon is become drunk with the blood of the saints ( Revelation 17:6). Just, however, as the Chaldean Babylon is a type of the spiritual in its pride and despotism, so also is it a type of the destruction which will come upon it. Many wished to heal Babylon but she would not be healed; so many endeavor to support the ruinous anti-christian Babylon, but all in vain. For as Babylon was at last so destroyed as to be a heap of stones and abode of dragons, so will it be with anti-christian Babylon. Of this it is written in Revelation 14:8 : She is fallen, fallen, that great city, for she has made all nations drink of the wine of her fornication. And again, Babylon the great is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and a hold of all foul and hateful birds ( Revelation 18:2). As the inhabitants of Babylon were admonished to flee from her, that every man might deliver his soul ( Jeremiah 51:6)—and again, My people, go ye out from the midst of her and deliver every man his soul, etc. ( Jeremiah 51:45)—so the Holy Spirit admonishes Christians almost in the same words to go out from the spiritual Babylon, that they be not polluted by her sins and at the same time share in her punishment. For thus it is written in Revelation 18:4, I heard, says John, a voice from heaven saying, Go ye out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues, for her sins reach unto heaven and God remembers her iniquities.” Wurtemb. Summarien.

18. On Jeremiah 51:5. “A monarch can sooner make an end of half a continent than draw a nail from a hut which the Lord protects.—And if it is true that Kaiser Rudolph, when he revoked the toleration of the Picards and the same day lost one of his principal forts, said, ‘I thought it would be Song of Solomon, for I grasped at God’s sceptre’ (Weismanni, Hist. Eccl. Tom. II. p320)—this was a sage remark, a supplement to the words of the wise.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 51:9. We heal Babylon, but she will not be healed. Babylon is an outwardly beautiful but inwardly worm-eaten apple. Hence sooner or later the foulness must become noticeable. So is it with all whose heart and centre is not God. All is inwardly hollow and vain. When this internal vacuity begins to render itself externally palpable, when here and there a rent or foul spot becomes visible, then certainly come the friends and admirers of the unholy form and would improve, cover up, sew up, heal. But it does not avail. When once there is death in the body no physician can effect a cure.

20. On Jeremiah 51:17; Jeremiah 51:19-20. “The children of God have three causes why they may venture on Him. 1. All men are fools, their treasure is it not; 2. The Lord is their hammer; He breaks through everything, and3, they are an instrument in His hand, a heritage; in this there is happiness.” Zinzendorf.

21. On Jeremiah 51:41-44. “How was Sheshach thus won, the city renowned in all the world thus taken? No one would have thought it possible, but God does it. He rules with wonders and with wonders He makes His church free. Babylon is a wonder no longer for its power, but for its weakness. We are to know the world’s weakness even where it still appears strong. A sea of hostile nations has covered Babylon. Her land is now a desolation. God takes Bel and the Dragon, the principal idol of Babylon, symbolizing its whole civil powers in hand, and snatches his prey from his teeth. Our God is stronger than all worldly forces, and never leaves us to them.” Diedrich.

22. On Jeremiah 51:58. “Yea, so it is with all walls and towers, in which God’s word is not the vital force, even though they be entitled churches and cathedrals … God’s church alone possesses permanence through His pure word.” Diedrich.

23. On Jeremiah 51:60-64. When we wish to preserve an archive safely, we deposit it in a record-office where it is kept in a dry place that no moisture may get to it. Seraiah throws his book-roll into the waters of the Euphrates, which must wash it away, dissolve and destroy it. But this was of no account. The main point was that Hebrews, Seraiah, as representative of the holy nation had taken solemn stock of the word of God against Babylon, and as it were taken God at His word, and reminded Him of it. In this manner the matter was laid up in the most enduring and safest archive that could be imagined; it was made a case of honor with the omniscient and omnipotent God. Such matters can, however, neither be forgotten, nor remain in dead silence, nor be neglected. They must be brought to such an end as the honor of God requires.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 50:2. This text may be used on the feast of the Reformation, or any other occasion with reference to a rem bene gestam. The Triumph of the Good Cause, 1. over what enemies it is gained; 2. to what it should impel us; (a) to the avoidance of that over which we new triumph; (b) to the grateful proclamation of what the Lord has done for us, by word and by deed.

2. On Jeremiah 50:4-8. The deliverance of Israel from the Babylonian captivity a type of the deliverance of the Church1. The Church must humbly acknowledge the captivity suffered as a judgment of God2. She must turn like Israel inwardly with an upright heart unto the Lord; 3. She must become like Israel to all men a pattern and leader to freedom.

3. On Jeremiah 50:5. A confirmation sermon. “What is the hour of confirmation? 1. An hour which calls to separation; 2. an hour which leads to new connections; 3. an hour which fixes forever the old covenant with the soul’s friend.” Florey, 1853.

4. On Jeremiah 50:18-20. Assyria and Babylon the types of all the spiritual enemies of the church as of individual Christians. Every one has his Assyria and his Babylon. Sin is the destruction of men. Forgiveness of sins is the condition of life, for only where forgiveness of sins Isaiah, is there life and blessedness. In Christ we find the forgiveness of sins. He destroys the handwriting. He washes us clean. He is also the good shepherd who leads our souls into green pastures, to the spiritual Carmel.

5. On Jeremiah 50:31-32. Warning against pride. Babylon was very strong and powerful, rich and splendid. It seemed invincible by nature and by art. Had it not then a certain justification in being proud, at least towards men? No; for no one has to contend only with men. Every one who contends has the Lord either for his friend or his enemy. It is the Lord from whom cometh victory ( Proverbs 21:31). He it is who teacheth our hands to fight ( Psalm 18:35; Psalm 144:1). His strength is made perfect in weakness ( 2 Corinthians 12:9). He can make the lame ( Isaiah 33:23; Micah 4:7) and mortally wounded ( Jeremiah 37:10) so strong that they overmaster the sound (comp. Jeremiah 51:45). He can make one man put to flight a thousand ( Deuteronomy 32:30; Isaiah 30:17). With him can one dash in pieces a troop and leap over a wall ( Psalm 18:29). No one accordingly should be proud. The word of the Lord, “I am against thee, thou proud one!” is a terrible word which no one should conjure up against himself.

6. On Jeremiah 50:33-34. The consolation of the Church in persecution1. It suffers violence and injustice2. Its redeemer is strong.

7. On Jeremiah 51:5. God the Lord manifests such favor to Israel as to declare Himself her husband ( Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:1). But now that Israel and Judah are in exile, it seems as if they were rejected or widowed women. This, however, is only appearance. Israel’s husband does not die. He may well bring a period of chastisement, of purification and trial on His people, but when this period is over, the Lord turns the handle, and smites those through whom He chastised Israel, when they had forgotten that they were not to satisfy their own desire, but only to accomplish the Lord’s will on Israel.

8. On Jeremiah 51:6. A time may come when it is well to separate one’s self. For although it is said in Proverbs 18:1; he who separateth himself, seeketh that which pleaseth him and opposeth all that is good—and therefore separation, as the antipodes of churchliness, i.e., of churchly communion and humble subjection to the law of the co-operation of members ( 1 Corinthians 12:25 sqq.) is to be repudiated, yet there may come moments in the life of the church, when it will be a duty to leave the community and separate one’s self. Such a moment is come when the community has become a Babylon. It should, however, be noted that one should not be too ready with such a decision. For even the life of the church is subject to many vacillations. There are periods of decay, obscurations, as it were, comparable to eclipses of the stars, but to these, so long as the foundations only subsist, must always follow a restoration and return to the original brightness. No one is to consider the church a Babylon on account of such a passing state of disease. It is this only when it has withheld the objective divine foundations, the means of grace, the word and sacrament, altogether and permanently in their saving efficacy. Then, when the soul can no longer find in the church the pure and divine bread of life; it is well “to deliver the soul that it perish not in the iniquity of the church.” From this separation from the church Isaiah, however, to be carefully distinguished the separation within the church, from all that which is opposed to the healthy life of the church, and is therefore to be regarded as a diseased part of the ecclesiastical body. Such separation is the daily duty of the Christian. He has to perform it with respect to his private life in all the manifold relations, indicated to us in Matthew 18:17; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:9 sqq.; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10; 2 John 1:10-11.—Comp. the article on Sects, by Palmer in Herzog, R-Enc., XXI, S. 21, 22.

9. On Jeremiah 51:10. The righteousness which avails before God1. Its origin (not our work or merit, but God’s grace in Christ); 2. Its fruit, praise of that which the Lord has wrought in us (a) by words, (b) by works.

10. On Jeremiah 51:50. This text may be used at the sending out of missionaries or the departure of emigrants. Occasion may be taken to speak1, of the gracious help and deliverance, which the Lord has hitherto shown to the departing; 2, they may be admonished to remain united in their distant land with their brethren at home by (a) remembering the Lord, i.e., ever remaining sincerely devoted to the Lord as the common shield of salvation; (b) faithfuly serving Jerusalem, i.e., the common mother of us all ( Galatians 4:26), the church, with all our powers in the proper place and measure, and ever keeping her in our hearts.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. “Daniel’s Babylonian empire resumes, as it were, the thread which was broken off with the tower-erection and kingdom of Nimrod. In the Babylonian tower-building the whole of the then existing humanity was united against God; with the Babylonian kingdom began the period of the universal monarchies, which again aspired after an atheistical union of entire humanity. Babylon has since and even to the Revelation ( Jeremiah 18) remained the standing type of this world.” Auberlen, Der proph. Daniel, S. 230.

2. For what reason does Babylon appear as a type of the world? Why not Nineveh, or Persepolis, or Tyre, or Memphis, or Rome? Certainly not because Babylon was greater, more glorious, more powerful or prouder and more ungodly than those cities and kingdoms. Nineveh especially was still greater than Babylon (comp. Duncker, Gesch. d. Alterth. I. S. 474, 5), and Assyria was not less hostile to the theocracy, having carried away into captivity the northern and larger half of the people of Israel. Babylon is qualified for this representation in two ways: 1. because it is the home of worldly princedom and titanic arrogance ( Genesis 10:8; Genesis 11:1-4); 2. because Babylon destroyed the centre of the theocracy, Jerusalem, the temple and the theocratic kingdom, and first assumed to be the single supreme power of the globe.

3. “When God has used a superstitious, wicked and tyrannical nation long enough as His rod, He breaks it in pieces and finally throws it into the fire. For even those whom He formerly used as His chosen anointed instruments He then regards as but the dust in the streets or as chaff before the wind.” Cramer.

4. “No monarch is too rich, too wicked, too strong for God the Lord. And He can soon enlist and engage soldiers whom He can use against His declared enemies.” Cramer.

5. “Israel was founded on everlasting foundations, even God’s word and promise. The sins of the people brought about that it was laid low in the dust, but not without hope of a better resurrection. Babylon, on the other hand, must perish forever, for in it is the empire of evil come to its highest bloom. Jeremiah owns the nothingness of all worldly kingdoms, since they are all under this national order to serve only for a time. We are to be subject to them and seek their welfare for the sake of the souls of men, whom God is educating therein; a Christian however cannot be enthusiastic for them after the manner of the ancient heathen nor of ancient Israel, for here we have no abiding city, our citizenship is in heaven. The kingdoms of this world are no sanctuaries for us and we supplicate their continuance only with the daily bread of the fourth petition. Jeremiah applies many words and figures to Babylon which he has already used in the judgments on other nations, thus to intimate that in Babylon all the heathenism of the world culminates, and that here also must be the greatest anguish. What, however, is here declared of Babylon must be fulfilled again on all earthly powers in so far as, treading in its footprints, they take flesh for their arm and regard the material of this world as power, whether they be called states or churches.” Diedrich.

6. On Jeremiah 50:2. In putting into the mouth of Israel, returning from Babylon, the call to an everlasting covenant with Jehovah, the prophet causes them1. to confess that they have forgotten the first covenant; 2. he shows us that the time of the new covenant begins with the redemption from the Babylonish captivity. He was far, however, from supposing that this redemption would be only a weak beginning, that the appearance of the Saviour would be deferred for centuries, that Israel would sink still deeper as an external πολιτεία, and that finally the Israel of the new covenant would itself appear as a μυστήριον, εἰς ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι ( 1 Peter 1:9-12).

7. From what Jeremiah has already said in Jeremiah 31:31-34 of the new covenant we see that its nature and its difference from the old is not unknown to him. Yet he knows the new covenant only in general. He knows that it will be deeply spiritual and eternal, but how and why it will be so is still to him part of the μυστήριον.

8. On Jeremiah 50:6. Jeremiah here points back to Jeremiah 23. Priests, kings and prophets, who should discharge the office of shepherds, prove to be wolves. Yea, they are the worst of wolves, who go about in official clothing. There is therefore no more dangerous doctrine than that of an infallible office. Jeremiah 14:14; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 23:2-12.

9. On Jeremiah 50:7. It is the worst condition into which a church of God can come, when the enemies who desolate it can maintain that they are in the right in doing so. It Isaiah, however, a just nemesis when those who will not hear the regular messengers of God must be told by the extraordinary messengers of God what they should have done. Comp. Jeremiah 40:2-3.

10. On Jeremiah 50:8. “Babylon is opened, and it must be abandoned not clung to, for the captivity is a temporary chastisement, not the divine arrangement for the children of God. God’s people must in the general redemption go like rams before the herd of the nations, that these may also attach themselves to Israel, as this was fulfilled at the time of Christ in the first churches and the apostles, who now draw the whole heathen world after them to eternal life. Here the prophet recognizes the new humanity, which proceeds from the ruins of the old, in which also ancient Israel leads the way; thus all, who follow it, become Israel.” Diedrich.—“The heathen felt somewhat of the divine punishment when they overcame so easily the usually so strongly protected nation. But Jeremiah shows them still how they deceived themselves in thinking that God had wholly rejected His people, for of the eternal covenant of grace they certainly understood nothing.” Heim and Hoffmann on the Major Prophets.

11. On Jeremiah 50:18. “The great powers of the world form indeed the history of the world, but they have no future. Israel, however, always returns home to the dear and glorious land. The Jews might as a token of this return under Cyrus; the case is however this, that the true Holy One in Israel, Christ, guides us back to Paradise, when we flee to His hand from the Babylon of this world and let it be crucified for us.” Diedrich.

12. On Jeremiah 50:23. “Although the Chaldeans were called of God for the purpose of making war on the Jewish nation on account of their multitudinous sins, yet they are punished because they did it not as God with a pure intention, namely, to punish the wrong in them and keep them for reformation; for they were themselves greater sinners than the Jews and continued with impenitence in their sins. Therefore they could not go scot-free and remain unpunished. Moreover, they acted too roughly and dealt with the Jews more harshly than God had commanded, for which He therefore fairly punished them. As God the Lord Himself says ( Isaiah 47:6): When I was angry with My people I gave them into thine hands; but thou shewedst them no mercy. Therefore it is not enough that God’s will be accomplished, but there must be the good intention in it, which God had, otherwise such a work may be a sin and call down the divine punishment upon it.” Würtemb. Summ.

13. On Jeremiah 50:31-34. “God calls Babylon Thou Pride, for pride was their inward force and impulse in all their actions. But worldly pride makes a Babylon and brings on a Babylon’s fate .… Pride must fall, for it is in itself a lie against God, and all its might must perish in the fire; thus will the humble and meek remain in possession of the earth: this has a wide application through all times, even to eternity.” Diedrich.

14. On Jeremiah 51:33. “Israel is indeed weak and must suffer in a time of tyranny; it cannot help itself, nor needs it to do Song of Solomon, for its Redeemer is strong, His name The Lord Zebaoth—and He Isaiah, now, having assumed our flesh, among us and conducts our cause so that the world trembles.” Diedrich.

15. On Jeremiah 50:45. “An emblem of the destruction of anti-christian Babylon, which was also the true hammer of the whole world. This has God also broken and must and will do it still more. And this will the shepherd-boys do, as is said here in Jeremiah 51:45 (according to Luther’s translation), that Isaiah, all true teachers and preachers.” Cramer.

16. On Jeremiah 51. “The doctrines accord in all points with the previous chapter. And the prophet Jeremiah both in this and the previous chapter does nothing else but make out for the Babylonians their final discharge and passport, because they behaved so valiantly and well against the people of Judah, that they might know they would not go unrecompensed. For payment is according to service. And had they done better it would have gone better with them. It is well that when tyrants succeed in their evil undertakings they should not suppose they are God’s dearest children and lean on His bosom, since they will yet receive the recompense on their crown, whatever they have earned.” Cramer.

17. [“Though in the hand of Babylon is a golden cup; she chooses such a cup, in order that men’s eyes may be dazzled with the glitter of the gold, and may not inquire what it contains. But mark well, in the golden cup of Babylon is the poison of idolatry, the poison of false doctrines, which destroy the souls of men. I have often seen such a golden cup, in fair speeches of seductive eloquence: and when I have examined the venomous ingredients of the golden chalice, I have recognized the cup of Babylon.” Origen in Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]

“The seat and throne of Anti-christ is expressly named Babylon, namely, the city of Rome, built on the seven hills ( Revelation 17:9). Just as Babylon brought so many lands and kingdoms under its sway and ruled them with great pomp and pride (the golden cup, which made all the world drunk, was Babylon in the hand of the Lord ( Jeremiah 51:7), and all the heathen drank of the wine and became mad)—so has the spiritual Babylon a cup in its hand, full of the abomination and uncleanness of its whoredom, of which the kings of the earth and all who dwell on the earth have been made drunk. As it is said of Babylon that she dwells by great waters and has great treasures, so writes John of the Romish Babylon, that it is clothed in silk and purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls ( Revelation 18:12). Of Babylon it is said that the slain in Israel were smitten by her; so also the spiritual Babylon is become drunk with the blood of the saints ( Revelation 17:6). Just, however, as the Chaldean Babylon is a type of the spiritual in its pride and despotism, so also is it a type of the destruction which will come upon it. Many wished to heal Babylon but she would not be healed; so many endeavor to support the ruinous anti-christian Babylon, but all in vain. For as Babylon was at last so destroyed as to be a heap of stones and abode of dragons, so will it be with anti-christian Babylon. Of this it is written in Revelation 14:8 : She is fallen, fallen, that great city, for she has made all nations drink of the wine of her fornication. And again, Babylon the great is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and a hold of all foul and hateful birds ( Revelation 18:2). As the inhabitants of Babylon were admonished to flee from her, that every man might deliver his soul ( Jeremiah 51:6)—and again, My people, go ye out from the midst of her and deliver every man his soul, etc. ( Jeremiah 51:45)—so the Holy Spirit admonishes Christians almost in the same words to go out from the spiritual Babylon, that they be not polluted by her sins and at the same time share in her punishment. For thus it is written in Revelation 18:4, I heard, says John, a voice from heaven saying, Go ye out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues, for her sins reach unto heaven and God remembers her iniquities.” Wurtemb. Summarien.

18. On Jeremiah 51:5. “A monarch can sooner make an end of half a continent than draw a nail from a hut which the Lord protects.—And if it is true that Kaiser Rudolph, when he revoked the toleration of the Picards and the same day lost one of his principal forts, said, ‘I thought it would be Song of Solomon, for I grasped at God’s sceptre’ (Weismanni, Hist. Eccl. Tom. II. p320)—this was a sage remark, a supplement to the words of the wise.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 51:9. We heal Babylon, but she will not be healed. Babylon is an outwardly beautiful but inwardly worm-eaten apple. Hence sooner or later the foulness must become noticeable. So is it with all whose heart and centre is not God. All is inwardly hollow and vain. When this internal vacuity begins to render itself externally palpable, when here and there a rent or foul spot becomes visible, then certainly come the friends and admirers of the unholy form and would improve, cover up, sew up, heal. But it does not avail. When once there is death in the body no physician can effect a cure.

20. On Jeremiah 51:17; Jeremiah 51:19-20. “The children of God have three causes why they may venture on Him. 1. All men are fools, their treasure is it not; 2. The Lord is their hammer; He breaks through everything, and3, they are an instrument in His hand, a heritage; in this there is happiness.” Zinzendorf.

21. On Jeremiah 51:41-44. “How was Sheshach thus won, the city renowned in all the world thus taken? No one would have thought it possible, but God does it. He rules with wonders and with wonders He makes His church free. Babylon is a wonder no longer for its power, but for its weakness. We are to know the world’s weakness even where it still appears strong. A sea of hostile nations has covered Babylon. Her land is now a desolation. God takes Bel and the Dragon, the principal idol of Babylon, symbolizing its whole civil powers in hand, and snatches his prey from his teeth. Our God is stronger than all worldly forces, and never leaves us to them.” Diedrich.

22. On Jeremiah 51:58. “Yea, so it is with all walls and towers, in which God’s word is not the vital force, even though they be entitled churches and cathedrals … God’s church alone possesses permanence through His pure word.” Diedrich.

23. On Jeremiah 51:60-64. When we wish to preserve an archive safely, we deposit it in a record-office where it is kept in a dry place that no moisture may get to it. Seraiah throws his book-roll into the waters of the Euphrates, which must wash it away, dissolve and destroy it. But this was of no account. The main point was that Hebrews, Seraiah, as representative of the holy nation had taken solemn stock of the word of God against Babylon, and as it were taken God at His word, and reminded Him of it. In this manner the matter was laid up in the most enduring and safest archive that could be imagined; it was made a case of honor with the omniscient and omnipotent God. Such matters can, however, neither be forgotten, nor remain in dead silence, nor be neglected. They must be brought to such an end as the honor of God requires.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 50:2. This text may be used on the feast of the Reformation, or any other occasion with reference to a rem bene gestam. The Triumph of the Good Cause, 1. over what enemies it is gained; 2. to what it should impel us; (a) to the avoidance of that over which we new triumph; (b) to the grateful proclamation of what the Lord has done for us, by word and by deed.

2. On Jeremiah 50:4-8. The deliverance of Israel from the Babylonian captivity a type of the deliverance of the Church1. The Church must humbly acknowledge the captivity suffered as a judgment of God2. She must turn like Israel inwardly with an upright heart unto the Lord; 3. She must become like Israel to all men a pattern and leader to freedom.

3. On Jeremiah 50:5. A confirmation sermon. “What is the hour of confirmation? 1. An hour which calls to separation; 2. an hour which leads to new connections; 3. an hour which fixes forever the old covenant with the soul’s friend.” Florey, 1853.

4. On Jeremiah 50:18-20. Assyria and Babylon the types of all the spiritual enemies of the church as of individual Christians. Every one has his Assyria and his Babylon. Sin is the destruction of men. Forgiveness of sins is the condition of life, for only where forgiveness of sins Isaiah, is there life and blessedness. In Christ we find the forgiveness of sins. He destroys the handwriting. He washes us clean. He is also the good shepherd who leads our souls into green pastures, to the spiritual Carmel.

5. On Jeremiah 50:31-32. Warning against pride. Babylon was very strong and powerful, rich and splendid. It seemed invincible by nature and by art. Had it not then a certain justification in being proud, at least towards men? No; for no one has to contend only with men. Every one who contends has the Lord either for his friend or his enemy. It is the Lord from whom cometh victory ( Proverbs 21:31). He it is who teacheth our hands to fight ( Psalm 18:35; Psalm 144:1). His strength is made perfect in weakness ( 2 Corinthians 12:9). He can make the lame ( Isaiah 33:23; Micah 4:7) and mortally wounded ( Jeremiah 37:10) so strong that they overmaster the sound (comp. Jeremiah 51:45). He can make one man put to flight a thousand ( Deuteronomy 32:30; Isaiah 30:17). With him can one dash in pieces a troop and leap over a wall ( Psalm 18:29). No one accordingly should be proud. The word of the Lord, “I am against thee, thou proud one!” is a terrible word which no one should conjure up against himself.

6. On Jeremiah 50:33-34. The consolation of the Church in persecution1. It suffers violence and injustice2. Its redeemer is strong.

7. On Jeremiah 51:5. God the Lord manifests such favor to Israel as to declare Himself her husband ( Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:1). But now that Israel and Judah are in exile, it seems as if they were rejected or widowed women. This, however, is only appearance. Israel’s husband does not die. He may well bring a period of chastisement, of purification and trial on His people, but when this period is over, the Lord turns the handle, and smites those through whom He chastised Israel, when they had forgotten that they were not to satisfy their own desire, but only to accomplish the Lord’s will on Israel.

8. On Jeremiah 51:6. A time may come when it is well to separate one’s self. For although it is said in Proverbs 18:1; he who separateth himself, seeketh that which pleaseth him and opposeth all that is good—and therefore separation, as the antipodes of churchliness, i.e., of churchly communion and humble subjection to the law of the co-operation of members ( 1 Corinthians 12:25 sqq.) is to be repudiated, yet there may come moments in the life of the church, when it will be a duty to leave the community and separate one’s self. Such a moment is come when the community has become a Babylon. It should, however, be noted that one should not be too ready with such a decision. For even the life of the church is subject to many vacillations. There are periods of decay, obscurations, as it were, comparable to eclipses of the stars, but to these, so long as the foundations only subsist, must always follow a restoration and return to the original brightness. No one is to consider the church a Babylon on account of such a passing state of disease. It is this only when it has withheld the objective divine foundations, the means of grace, the word and sacrament, altogether and permanently in their saving efficacy. Then, when the soul can no longer find in the church the pure and divine bread of life; it is well “to deliver the soul that it perish not in the iniquity of the church.” From this separation from the church Isaiah, however, to be carefully distinguished the separation within the church, from all that which is opposed to the healthy life of the church, and is therefore to be regarded as a diseased part of the ecclesiastical body. Such separation is the daily duty of the Christian. He has to perform it with respect to his private life in all the manifold relations, indicated to us in Matthew 18:17; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:9 sqq.; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10; 2 John 1:10-11.—Comp. the article on Sects, by Palmer in Herzog, R-Enc., XXI, S. 21, 22.

9. On Jeremiah 51:10. The righteousness which avails before God1. Its origin (not our work or merit, but God’s grace in Christ); 2. Its fruit, praise of that which the Lord has wrought in us (a) by words, (b) by works.

10. On Jeremiah 51:50. This text may be used at the sending out of missionaries or the departure of emigrants. Occasion may be taken to speak1, of the gracious help and deliverance, which the Lord has hitherto shown to the departing; 2, they may be admonished to remain united in their distant land with their brethren at home by (a) remembering the Lord, i.e., ever remaining sincerely devoted to the Lord as the common shield of salvation; (b) faithfuly serving Jerusalem, i.e., the common mother of us all ( Galatians 4:26), the church, with all our powers in the proper place and measure, and ever keeping her in our hearts.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. “Daniel’s Babylonian empire resumes, as it were, the thread which was broken off with the tower-erection and kingdom of Nimrod. In the Babylonian tower-building the whole of the then existing humanity was united against God; with the Babylonian kingdom began the period of the universal monarchies, which again aspired after an atheistical union of entire humanity. Babylon has since and even to the Revelation ( Jeremiah 18) remained the standing type of this world.” Auberlen, Der proph. Daniel, S. 230.

2. For what reason does Babylon appear as a type of the world? Why not Nineveh, or Persepolis, or Tyre, or Memphis, or Rome? Certainly not because Babylon was greater, more glorious, more powerful or prouder and more ungodly than those cities and kingdoms. Nineveh especially was still greater than Babylon (comp. Duncker, Gesch. d. Alterth. I. S. 474, 5), and Assyria was not less hostile to the theocracy, having carried away into captivity the northern and larger half of the people of Israel. Babylon is qualified for this representation in two ways: 1. because it is the home of worldly princedom and titanic arrogance ( Genesis 10:8; Genesis 11:1-4); 2. because Babylon destroyed the centre of the theocracy, Jerusalem, the temple and the theocratic kingdom, and first assumed to be the single supreme power of the globe.

3. “When God has used a superstitious, wicked and tyrannical nation long enough as His rod, He breaks it in pieces and finally throws it into the fire. For even those whom He formerly used as His chosen anointed instruments He then regards as but the dust in the streets or as chaff before the wind.” Cramer.

4. “No monarch is too rich, too wicked, too strong for God the Lord. And He can soon enlist and engage soldiers whom He can use against His declared enemies.” Cramer.

5. “Israel was founded on everlasting foundations, even God’s word and promise. The sins of the people brought about that it was laid low in the dust, but not without hope of a better resurrection. Babylon, on the other hand, must perish forever, for in it is the empire of evil come to its highest bloom. Jeremiah owns the nothingness of all worldly kingdoms, since they are all under this national order to serve only for a time. We are to be subject to them and seek their welfare for the sake of the souls of men, whom God is educating therein; a Christian however cannot be enthusiastic for them after the manner of the ancient heathen nor of ancient Israel, for here we have no abiding city, our citizenship is in heaven. The kingdoms of this world are no sanctuaries for us and we supplicate their continuance only with the daily bread of the fourth petition. Jeremiah applies many words and figures to Babylon which he has already used in the judgments on other nations, thus to intimate that in Babylon all the heathenism of the world culminates, and that here also must be the greatest anguish. What, however, is here declared of Babylon must be fulfilled again on all earthly powers in so far as, treading in its footprints, they take flesh for their arm and regard the material of this world as power, whether they be called states or churches.” Diedrich.

6. On Jeremiah 50:2. In putting into the mouth of Israel, returning from Babylon, the call to an everlasting covenant with Jehovah, the prophet causes them1. to confess that they have forgotten the first covenant; 2. he shows us that the time of the new covenant begins with the redemption from the Babylonish captivity. He was far, however, from supposing that this redemption would be only a weak beginning, that the appearance of the Saviour would be deferred for centuries, that Israel would sink still deeper as an external πολιτεία, and that finally the Israel of the new covenant would itself appear as a μυστήριον, εἰς ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι ( 1 Peter 1:9-12).

7. From what Jeremiah has already said in Jeremiah 31:31-34 of the new covenant we see that its nature and its difference from the old is not unknown to him. Yet he knows the new covenant only in general. He knows that it will be deeply spiritual and eternal, but how and why it will be so is still to him part of the μυστήριον.

8. On Jeremiah 50:6. Jeremiah here points back to Jeremiah 23. Priests, kings and prophets, who should discharge the office of shepherds, prove to be wolves. Yea, they are the worst of wolves, who go about in official clothing. There is therefore no more dangerous doctrine than that of an infallible office. Jeremiah 14:14; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 23:2-12.

9. On Jeremiah 50:7. It is the worst condition into which a church of God can come, when the enemies who desolate it can maintain that they are in the right in doing so. It Isaiah, however, a just nemesis when those who will not hear the regular messengers of God must be told by the extraordinary messengers of God what they should have done. Comp. Jeremiah 40:2-3.

10. On Jeremiah 50:8. “Babylon is opened, and it must be abandoned not clung to, for the captivity is a temporary chastisement, not the divine arrangement for the children of God. God’s people must in the general redemption go like rams before the herd of the nations, that these may also attach themselves to Israel, as this was fulfilled at the time of Christ in the first churches and the apostles, who now draw the whole heathen world after them to eternal life. Here the prophet recognizes the new humanity, which proceeds from the ruins of the old, in which also ancient Israel leads the way; thus all, who follow it, become Israel.” Diedrich.—“The heathen felt somewhat of the divine punishment when they overcame so easily the usually so strongly protected nation. But Jeremiah shows them still how they deceived themselves in thinking that God had wholly rejected His people, for of the eternal covenant of grace they certainly understood nothing.” Heim and Hoffmann on the Major Prophets.

11. On Jeremiah 50:18. “The great powers of the world form indeed the history of the world, but they have no future. Israel, however, always returns home to the dear and glorious land. The Jews might as a token of this return under Cyrus; the case is however this, that the true Holy One in Israel, Christ, guides us back to Paradise, when we flee to His hand from the Babylon of this world and let it be crucified for us.” Diedrich.

12. On Jeremiah 50:23. “Although the Chaldeans were called of God for the purpose of making war on the Jewish nation on account of their multitudinous sins, yet they are punished because they did it not as God with a pure intention, namely, to punish the wrong in them and keep them for reformation; for they were themselves greater sinners than the Jews and continued with impenitence in their sins. Therefore they could not go scot-free and remain unpunished. Moreover, they acted too roughly and dealt with the Jews more harshly than God had commanded, for which He therefore fairly punished them. As God the Lord Himself says ( Isaiah 47:6): When I was angry with My people I gave them into thine hands; but thou shewedst them no mercy. Therefore it is not enough that God’s will be accomplished, but there must be the good intention in it, which God had, otherwise such a work may be a sin and call down the divine punishment upon it.” Würtemb. Summ.

13. On Jeremiah 50:31-34. “God calls Babylon Thou Pride, for pride was their inward force and impulse in all their actions. But worldly pride makes a Babylon and brings on a Babylon’s fate .… Pride must fall, for it is in itself a lie against God, and all its might must perish in the fire; thus will the humble and meek remain in possession of the earth: this has a wide application through all times, even to eternity.” Diedrich.

14. On Jeremiah 51:33. “Israel is indeed weak and must suffer in a time of tyranny; it cannot help itself, nor needs it to do Song of Solomon, for its Redeemer is strong, His name The Lord Zebaoth—and He Isaiah, now, having assumed our flesh, among us and conducts our cause so that the world trembles.” Diedrich.

15. On Jeremiah 50:45. “An emblem of the destruction of anti-christian Babylon, which was also the true hammer of the whole world. This has God also broken and must and will do it still more. And this will the shepherd-boys do, as is said here in Jeremiah 51:45 (according to Luther’s translation), that Isaiah, all true teachers and preachers.” Cramer.

16. On Jeremiah 51. “The doctrines accord in all points with the previous chapter. And the prophet Jeremiah both in this and the previous chapter does nothing else but make out for the Babylonians their final discharge and passport, because they behaved so valiantly and well against the people of Judah, that they might know they would not go unrecompensed. For payment is according to service. And had they done better it would have gone better with them. It is well that when tyrants succeed in their evil undertakings they should not suppose they are God’s dearest children and lean on His bosom, since they will yet receive the recompense on their crown, whatever they have earned.” Cramer.

17. [“Though in the hand of Babylon is a golden cup; she chooses such a cup, in order that men’s eyes may be dazzled with the glitter of the gold, and may not inquire what it contains. But mark well, in the golden cup of Babylon is the poison of idolatry, the poison of false doctrines, which destroy the souls of men. I have often seen such a golden cup, in fair speeches of seductive eloquence: and when I have examined the venomous ingredients of the golden chalice, I have recognized the cup of Babylon.” Origen in Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]

“The seat and throne of Anti-christ is expressly named Babylon, namely, the city of Rome, built on the seven hills ( Revelation 17:9). Just as Babylon brought so many lands and kingdoms under its sway and ruled them with great pomp and pride (the golden cup, which made all the world drunk, was Babylon in the hand of the Lord ( Jeremiah 51:7), and all the heathen drank of the wine and became mad)—so has the spiritual Babylon a cup in its hand, full of the abomination and uncleanness of its whoredom, of which the kings of the earth and all who dwell on the earth have been made drunk. As it is said of Babylon that she dwells by great waters and has great treasures, so writes John of the Romish Babylon, that it is clothed in silk and purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls ( Revelation 18:12). Of Babylon it is said that the slain in Israel were smitten by her; so also the spiritual Babylon is become drunk with the blood of the saints ( Revelation 17:6). Just, however, as the Chaldean Babylon is a type of the spiritual in its pride and despotism, so also is it a type of the destruction which will come upon it. Many wished to heal Babylon but she would not be healed; so many endeavor to support the ruinous anti-christian Babylon, but all in vain. For as Babylon was at last so destroyed as to be a heap of stones and abode of dragons, so will it be with anti-christian Babylon. Of this it is written in Revelation 14:8 : She is fallen, fallen, that great city, for she has made all nations drink of the wine of her fornication. And again, Babylon the great is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and a hold of all foul and hateful birds ( Revelation 18:2). As the inhabitants of Babylon were admonished to flee from her, that every man might deliver his soul ( Jeremiah 51:6)—and again, My people, go ye out from the midst of her and deliver every man his soul, etc. ( Jeremiah 51:45)—so the Holy Spirit admonishes Christians almost in the same words to go out from the spiritual Babylon, that they be not polluted by her sins and at the same time share in her punishment. For thus it is written in Revelation 18:4, I heard, says John, a voice from heaven saying, Go ye out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues, for her sins reach unto heaven and God remembers her iniquities.” Wurtemb. Summarien.

18. On Jeremiah 51:5. “A monarch can sooner make an end of half a continent than draw a nail from a hut which the Lord protects.—And if it is true that Kaiser Rudolph, when he revoked the toleration of the Picards and the same day lost one of his principal forts, said, ‘I thought it would be Song of Solomon, for I grasped at God’s sceptre’ (Weismanni, Hist. Eccl. Tom. II. p320)—this was a sage remark, a supplement to the words of the wise.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 51:9. We heal Babylon, but she will not be healed. Babylon is an outwardly beautiful but inwardly worm-eaten apple. Hence sooner or later the foulness must become noticeable. So is it with all whose heart and centre is not God. All is inwardly hollow and vain. When this internal vacuity begins to render itself externally palpable, when here and there a rent or foul spot becomes visible, then certainly come the friends and admirers of the unholy form and would improve, cover up, sew up, heal. But it does not avail. When once there is death in the body no physician can effect a cure.

20. On Jeremiah 51:17; Jeremiah 51:19-20. “The children of God have three causes why they may venture on Him. 1. All men are fools, their treasure is it not; 2. The Lord is their hammer; He breaks through everything, and3, they are an instrument in His hand, a heritage; in this there is happiness.” Zinzendorf.

21. On Jeremiah 51:41-44. “How was Sheshach thus won, the city renowned in all the world thus taken? No one would have thought it possible, but God does it. He rules with wonders and with wonders He makes His church free. Babylon is a wonder no longer for its power, but for its weakness. We are to know the world’s weakness even where it still appears strong. A sea of hostile nations has covered Babylon. Her land is now a desolation. God takes Bel and the Dragon, the principal idol of Babylon, symbolizing its whole civil powers in hand, and snatches his prey from his teeth. Our God is stronger than all worldly forces, and never leaves us to them.” Diedrich.

22. On Jeremiah 51:58. “Yea, so it is with all walls and towers, in which God’s word is not the vital force, even though they be entitled churches and cathedrals … God’s church alone possesses permanence through His pure word.” Diedrich.

23. On Jeremiah 51:60-64. When we wish to preserve an archive safely, we deposit it in a record-office where it is kept in a dry place that no moisture may get to it. Seraiah throws his book-roll into the waters of the Euphrates, which must wash it away, dissolve and destroy it. But this was of no account. The main point was that Hebrews, Seraiah, as representative of the holy nation had taken solemn stock of the word of God against Babylon, and as it were taken God at His word, and reminded Him of it. In this manner the matter was laid up in the most enduring and safest archive that could be imagined; it was made a case of honor with the omniscient and omnipotent God. Such matters can, however, neither be forgotten, nor remain in dead silence, nor be neglected. They must be brought to such an end as the honor of God requires.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 50:2. This text may be used on the feast of the Reformation, or any other occasion with reference to a rem bene gestam. The Triumph of the Good Cause, 1. over what enemies it is gained; 2. to what it should impel us; (a) to the avoidance of that over which we new triumph; (b) to the grateful proclamation of what the Lord has done for us, by word and by deed.

2. On Jeremiah 50:4-8. The deliverance of Israel from the Babylonian captivity a type of the deliverance of the Church1. The Church must humbly acknowledge the captivity suffered as a judgment of God2. She must turn like Israel inwardly with an upright heart unto the Lord; 3. She must become like Israel to all men a pattern and leader to freedom.

3. On Jeremiah 50:5. A confirmation sermon. “What is the hour of confirmation? 1. An hour which calls to separation; 2. an hour which leads to new connections; 3. an hour which fixes forever the old covenant with the soul’s friend.” Florey, 1853.

4. On Jeremiah 50:18-20. Assyria and Babylon the types of all the spiritual enemies of the church as of individual Christians. Every one has his Assyria and his Babylon. Sin is the destruction of men. Forgiveness of sins is the condition of life, for only where forgiveness of sins Isaiah, is there life and blessedness. In Christ we find the forgiveness of sins. He destroys the handwriting. He washes us clean. He is also the good shepherd who leads our souls into green pastures, to the spiritual Carmel.

5. On Jeremiah 50:31-32. Warning against pride. Babylon was very strong and powerful, rich and splendid. It seemed invincible by nature and by art. Had it not then a certain justification in being proud, at least towards men? No; for no one has to contend only with men. Every one who contends has the Lord either for his friend or his enemy. It is the Lord from whom cometh victory ( Proverbs 21:31). He it is who teacheth our hands to fight ( Psalm 18:35; Psalm 144:1). His strength is made perfect in weakness ( 2 Corinthians 12:9). He can make the lame ( Isaiah 33:23; Micah 4:7) and mortally wounded ( Jeremiah 37:10) so strong that they overmaster the sound (comp. Jeremiah 51:45). He can make one man put to flight a thousand ( Deuteronomy 32:30; Isaiah 30:17). With him can one dash in pieces a troop and leap over a wall ( Psalm 18:29). No one accordingly should be proud. The word of the Lord, “I am against thee, thou proud one!” is a terrible word which no one should conjure up against himself.

6. On Jeremiah 50:33-34. The consolation of the Church in persecution1. It suffers violence and injustice2. Its redeemer is strong.

7. On Jeremiah 51:5. God the Lord manifests such favor to Israel as to declare Himself her husband ( Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:1). But now that Israel and Judah are in exile, it seems as if they were rejected or widowed women. This, however, is only appearance. Israel’s husband does not die. He may well bring a period of chastisement, of purification and trial on His people, but when this period is over, the Lord turns the handle, and smites those through whom He chastised Israel, when they had forgotten that they were not to satisfy their own desire, but only to accomplish the Lord’s will on Israel.

8. On Jeremiah 51:6. A time may come when it is well to separate one’s self. For although it is said in Proverbs 18:1; he who separateth himself, seeketh that which pleaseth him and opposeth all that is good—and therefore separation, as the antipodes of churchliness, i.e., of churchly communion and humble subjection to the law of the co-operation of members ( 1 Corinthians 12:25 sqq.) is to be repudiated, yet there may come moments in the life of the church, when it will be a duty to leave the community and separate one’s self. Such a moment is come when the community has become a Babylon. It should, however, be noted that one should not be too ready with such a decision. For even the life of the church is subject to many vacillations. There are periods of decay, obscurations, as it were, comparable to eclipses of the stars, but to these, so long as the foundations only subsist, must always follow a restoration and return to the original brightness. No one is to consider the church a Babylon on account of such a passing state of disease. It is this only when it has withheld the objective divine foundations, the means of grace, the word and sacrament, altogether and permanently in their saving efficacy. Then, when the soul can no longer find in the church the pure and divine bread of life; it is well “to deliver the soul that it perish not in the iniquity of the church.” From this separation from the church Isaiah, however, to be carefully distinguished the separation within the church, from all that which is opposed to the healthy life of the church, and is therefore to be regarded as a diseased part of the ecclesiastical body. Such separation is the daily duty of the Christian. He has to perform it with respect to his private life in all the manifold relations, indicated to us in Matthew 18:17; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:9 sqq.; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10; 2 John 1:10-11.—Comp. the article on Sects, by Palmer in Herzog, R-Enc., XXI, S. 21, 22.

9. On Jeremiah 51:10. The righteousness which avails before God1. Its origin (not our work or merit, but God’s grace in Christ); 2. Its fruit, praise of that which the Lord has wrought in us (a) by words, (b) by works.

10. On Jeremiah 51:50. This text may be used at the sending out of missionaries or the departure of emigrants. Occasion may be taken to speak1, of the gracious help and deliverance, which the Lord has hitherto shown to the departing; 2, they may be admonished to remain united in their distant land with their brethren at home by (a) remembering the Lord, i.e., ever remaining sincerely devoted to the Lord as the common shield of salvation; (b) faithfuly serving Jerusalem, i.e., the common mother of us all ( Galatians 4:26), the church, with all our powers in the proper place and measure, and ever keeping her in our hearts.

Footnotes:

FN#9 - Jeremiah 51:11.—הֵבֵר is properly to polish, but arrows are polished by being sharpened. The word is thus rendered by the Chaldee and Vulgate.

FN#10 - Jeremiah 51:11.—שׁלטים. The meaning is doubtful. It may be quiver, arrow, or shield. Roediger, in Ges. Thes., p1418, decides for the last, and I also think that both the parallel passages (comp. Song of Solomon 4:4 with 2 Chronicles 23:9; Ezekiel 27:11; 1 Chronicles 18:7) and the use of the word in Aramaic favor the meaning “shield.” To fill the shields is a phrase like brachio implere. Comp. מִלֵּא קֶשֶׁת, Zechariah 9:13, and Koehler thereon. [Wordsworth prefers the translation quivers as given by the Vulg, Syriac, and Targum. Cowles: “The Hebrew word means primarily to fill. Gesenius supposes it means here, Fill the shields with the soldiers’ own body, i.e., put them on; while Maurer suggests the sense, ‘Fill them with oil,’ anoint them as a preparation for service, urging that this is in harmony with the preceding clause, ‘Polish the arrows,’ and corresponds with Isaiah 21:5, ‘Anoint the shields.’ ”—S. R. A.]

FN#11 - Jeremiah 51:13.—According to this rendering [A. V.: measure of thy covetousness], בִצְעֵןְ is inf. Kal from בָצַע (comp. פִתְחֵךְ Jeremiah 48:7; Olsh, § 245, b) meaning to strife off, cut off, etc.

FN#12 - Jeremiah 51:14.בנכּשׁו. Comp. Amos 6:8.


Verses 15-19

PASSAGE INSERTED FROM Jeremiah 16:12-16

Jeremiah 51:15-19

15 Who maketh the earth by his power,

Establisheth the globe by his Wisdom of Solomon,

And by his understanding stretched out the heavens.

16 At the sound of his voice, throng of waters in the heavens,

And vapors he bringeth up from the ends of the earth;

He maketh lightnings to the rain,

And bringeth the wind out of his chambers.

17 All men stand there mute, without understanding;

All the founders of idol images are put to shame,

For a lie is their molten work, no spirit is therein.

18 They are vapor, turned to ridicule;

At the time of their visitation they perish.

19 Not so the portion of Jacob;

For he formeth all things and the rod of his inheritance.

Jehovah Zebaoth is his name.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

This whole passage is a quotation from Jeremiah 16:12-16. It interrupts the connection in a disturbing manner. For even if the words in Jeremiah 51:15-16 may be regarded as suitable to support the thought that Jehovah, who has sworn in Jeremiah 51:14 to destroy Babylon, has also the power to realize this threat, the following exposition of the vanity of idols is a superfluous appendage to the present prophecy. There is no point either in the following or previous context which requires such an exposition. It is a mere digression. Add to this, that in Jeremiah 51:19 the words וְיִשְׂרָאֵל are omitted before שֵׁבֶט (comp. Jeremiah 10:16). If this omission is not due to a mere oversight, it betrays the hand of an emendator, who, to honor the tribe of Judah, wishes to remove the appearance as though only the Israel of the ten tribes were the stock of Jehovah’s inheritance. Comp. Naegelsb. Jer. u. Bab, S. 131 ff.; Graf, S 590, 1.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. “Daniel’s Babylonian empire resumes, as it were, the thread which was broken off with the tower-erection and kingdom of Nimrod. In the Babylonian tower-building the whole of the then existing humanity was united against God; with the Babylonian kingdom began the period of the universal monarchies, which again aspired after an atheistical union of entire humanity. Babylon has since and even to the Revelation ( Jeremiah 18) remained the standing type of this world.” Auberlen, Der proph. Daniel, S. 230.

2. For what reason does Babylon appear as a type of the world? Why not Nineveh, or Persepolis, or Tyre, or Memphis, or Rome? Certainly not because Babylon was greater, more glorious, more powerful or prouder and more ungodly than those cities and kingdoms. Nineveh especially was still greater than Babylon (comp. Duncker, Gesch. d. Alterth. I. S. 474, 5), and Assyria was not less hostile to the theocracy, having carried away into captivity the northern and larger half of the people of Israel. Babylon is qualified for this representation in two ways: 1. because it is the home of worldly princedom and titanic arrogance ( Genesis 10:8; Genesis 11:1-4); 2. because Babylon destroyed the centre of the theocracy, Jerusalem, the temple and the theocratic kingdom, and first assumed to be the single supreme power of the globe.

3. “When God has used a superstitious, wicked and tyrannical nation long enough as His rod, He breaks it in pieces and finally throws it into the fire. For even those whom He formerly used as His chosen anointed instruments He then regards as but the dust in the streets or as chaff before the wind.” Cramer.

4. “No monarch is too rich, too wicked, too strong for God the Lord. And He can soon enlist and engage soldiers whom He can use against His declared enemies.” Cramer.

5. “Israel was founded on everlasting foundations, even God’s word and promise. The sins of the people brought about that it was laid low in the dust, but not without hope of a better resurrection. Babylon, on the other hand, must perish forever, for in it is the empire of evil come to its highest bloom. Jeremiah owns the nothingness of all worldly kingdoms, since they are all under this national order to serve only for a time. We are to be subject to them and seek their welfare for the sake of the souls of men, whom God is educating therein; a Christian however cannot be enthusiastic for them after the manner of the ancient heathen nor of ancient Israel, for here we have no abiding city, our citizenship is in heaven. The kingdoms of this world are no sanctuaries for us and we supplicate their continuance only with the daily bread of the fourth petition. Jeremiah applies many words and figures to Babylon which he has already used in the judgments on other nations, thus to intimate that in Babylon all the heathenism of the world culminates, and that here also must be the greatest anguish. What, however, is here declared of Babylon must be fulfilled again on all earthly powers in so far as, treading in its footprints, they take flesh for their arm and regard the material of this world as power, whether they be called states or churches.” Diedrich.

6. On Jeremiah 50:2. In putting into the mouth of Israel, returning from Babylon, the call to an everlasting covenant with Jehovah, the prophet causes them1. to confess that they have forgotten the first covenant; 2. he shows us that the time of the new covenant begins with the redemption from the Babylonish captivity. He was far, however, from supposing that this redemption would be only a weak beginning, that the appearance of the Saviour would be deferred for centuries, that Israel would sink still deeper as an external πολιτεία, and that finally the Israel of the new covenant would itself appear as a μυστήριον, εἰς ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι ( 1 Peter 1:9-12).

7. From what Jeremiah has already said in Jeremiah 31:31-34 of the new covenant we see that its nature and its difference from the old is not unknown to him. Yet he knows the new covenant only in general. He knows that it will be deeply spiritual and eternal, but how and why it will be so is still to him part of the μυστήριον.

8. On Jeremiah 50:6. Jeremiah here points back to Jeremiah 23. Priests, kings and prophets, who should discharge the office of shepherds, prove to be wolves. Yea, they are the worst of wolves, who go about in official clothing. There is therefore no more dangerous doctrine than that of an infallible office. Jeremiah 14:14; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 23:2-12.

9. On Jeremiah 50:7. It is the worst condition into which a church of God can come, when the enemies who desolate it can maintain that they are in the right in doing so. It Isaiah, however, a just nemesis when those who will not hear the regular messengers of God must be told by the extraordinary messengers of God what they should have done. Comp. Jeremiah 40:2-3.

10. On Jeremiah 50:8. “Babylon is opened, and it must be abandoned not clung to, for the captivity is a temporary chastisement, not the divine arrangement for the children of God. God’s people must in the general redemption go like rams before the herd of the nations, that these may also attach themselves to Israel, as this was fulfilled at the time of Christ in the first churches and the apostles, who now draw the whole heathen world after them to eternal life. Here the prophet recognizes the new humanity, which proceeds from the ruins of the old, in which also ancient Israel leads the way; thus all, who follow it, become Israel.” Diedrich.—“The heathen felt somewhat of the divine punishment when they overcame so easily the usually so strongly protected nation. But Jeremiah shows them still how they deceived themselves in thinking that God had wholly rejected His people, for of the eternal covenant of grace they certainly understood nothing.” Heim and Hoffmann on the Major Prophets.

11. On Jeremiah 50:18. “The great powers of the world form indeed the history of the world, but they have no future. Israel, however, always returns home to the dear and glorious land. The Jews might as a token of this return under Cyrus; the case is however this, that the true Holy One in Israel, Christ, guides us back to Paradise, when we flee to His hand from the Babylon of this world and let it be crucified for us.” Diedrich.

12. On Jeremiah 50:23. “Although the Chaldeans were called of God for the purpose of making war on the Jewish nation on account of their multitudinous sins, yet they are punished because they did it not as God with a pure intention, namely, to punish the wrong in them and keep them for reformation; for they were themselves greater sinners than the Jews and continued with impenitence in their sins. Therefore they could not go scot-free and remain unpunished. Moreover, they acted too roughly and dealt with the Jews more harshly than God had commanded, for which He therefore fairly punished them. As God the Lord Himself says ( Isaiah 47:6): When I was angry with My people I gave them into thine hands; but thou shewedst them no mercy. Therefore it is not enough that God’s will be accomplished, but there must be the good intention in it, which God had, otherwise such a work may be a sin and call down the divine punishment upon it.” Würtemb. Summ.

13. On Jeremiah 50:31-34. “God calls Babylon Thou Pride, for pride was their inward force and impulse in all their actions. But worldly pride makes a Babylon and brings on a Babylon’s fate .… Pride must fall, for it is in itself a lie against God, and all its might must perish in the fire; thus will the humble and meek remain in possession of the earth: this has a wide application through all times, even to eternity.” Diedrich.

14. On Jeremiah 51:33. “Israel is indeed weak and must suffer in a time of tyranny; it cannot help itself, nor needs it to do Song of Solomon, for its Redeemer is strong, His name The Lord Zebaoth—and He Isaiah, now, having assumed our flesh, among us and conducts our cause so that the world trembles.” Diedrich.

15. On Jeremiah 50:45. “An emblem of the destruction of anti-christian Babylon, which was also the true hammer of the whole world. This has God also broken and must and will do it still more. And this will the shepherd-boys do, as is said here in Jeremiah 51:45 (according to Luther’s translation), that Isaiah, all true teachers and preachers.” Cramer.

16. On Jeremiah 51. “The doctrines accord in all points with the previous chapter. And the prophet Jeremiah both in this and the previous chapter does nothing else but make out for the Babylonians their final discharge and passport, because they behaved so valiantly and well against the people of Judah, that they might know they would not go unrecompensed. For payment is according to service. And had they done better it would have gone better with them. It is well that when tyrants succeed in their evil undertakings they should not suppose they are God’s dearest children and lean on His bosom, since they will yet receive the recompense on their crown, whatever they have earned.” Cramer.

17. [“Though in the hand of Babylon is a golden cup; she chooses such a cup, in order that men’s eyes may be dazzled with the glitter of the gold, and may not inquire what it contains. But mark well, in the golden cup of Babylon is the poison of idolatry, the poison of false doctrines, which destroy the souls of men. I have often seen such a golden cup, in fair speeches of seductive eloquence: and when I have examined the venomous ingredients of the golden chalice, I have recognized the cup of Babylon.” Origen in Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]

“The seat and throne of Anti-christ is expressly named Babylon, namely, the city of Rome, built on the seven hills ( Revelation 17:9). Just as Babylon brought so many lands and kingdoms under its sway and ruled them with great pomp and pride (the golden cup, which made all the world drunk, was Babylon in the hand of the Lord ( Jeremiah 51:7), and all the heathen drank of the wine and became mad)—so has the spiritual Babylon a cup in its hand, full of the abomination and uncleanness of its whoredom, of which the kings of the earth and all who dwell on the earth have been made drunk. As it is said of Babylon that she dwells by great waters and has great treasures, so writes John of the Romish Babylon, that it is clothed in silk and purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls ( Revelation 18:12). Of Babylon it is said that the slain in Israel were smitten by her; so also the spiritual Babylon is become drunk with the blood of the saints ( Revelation 17:6). Just, however, as the Chaldean Babylon is a type of the spiritual in its pride and despotism, so also is it a type of the destruction which will come upon it. Many wished to heal Babylon but she would not be healed; so many endeavor to support the ruinous anti-christian Babylon, but all in vain. For as Babylon was at last so destroyed as to be a heap of stones and abode of dragons, so will it be with anti-christian Babylon. Of this it is written in Revelation 14:8 : She is fallen, fallen, that great city, for she has made all nations drink of the wine of her fornication. And again, Babylon the great is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and a hold of all foul and hateful birds ( Revelation 18:2). As the inhabitants of Babylon were admonished to flee from her, that every man might deliver his soul ( Jeremiah 51:6)—and again, My people, go ye out from the midst of her and deliver every man his soul, etc. ( Jeremiah 51:45)—so the Holy Spirit admonishes Christians almost in the same words to go out from the spiritual Babylon, that they be not polluted by her sins and at the same time share in her punishment. For thus it is written in Revelation 18:4, I heard, says John, a voice from heaven saying, Go ye out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues, for her sins reach unto heaven and God remembers her iniquities.” Wurtemb. Summarien.

18. On Jeremiah 51:5. “A monarch can sooner make an end of half a continent than draw a nail from a hut which the Lord protects.—And if it is true that Kaiser Rudolph, when he revoked the toleration of the Picards and the same day lost one of his principal forts, said, ‘I thought it would be Song of Solomon, for I grasped at God’s sceptre’ (Weismanni, Hist. Eccl. Tom. II. p320)—this was a sage remark, a supplement to the words of the wise.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 51:9. We heal Babylon, but she will not be healed. Babylon is an outwardly beautiful but inwardly worm-eaten apple. Hence sooner or later the foulness must become noticeable. So is it with all whose heart and centre is not God. All is inwardly hollow and vain. When this internal vacuity begins to render itself externally palpable, when here and there a rent or foul spot becomes visible, then certainly come the friends and admirers of the unholy form and would improve, cover up, sew up, heal. But it does not avail. When once there is death in the body no physician can effect a cure.

20. On Jeremiah 51:17; Jeremiah 51:19-20. “The children of God have three causes why they may venture on Him. 1. All men are fools, their treasure is it not; 2. The Lord is their hammer; He breaks through everything, and3, they are an instrument in His hand, a heritage; in this there is happiness.” Zinzendorf.

21. On Jeremiah 51:41-44. “How was Sheshach thus won, the city renowned in all the world thus taken? No one would have thought it possible, but God does it. He rules with wonders and with wonders He makes His church free. Babylon is a wonder no longer for its power, but for its weakness. We are to know the world’s weakness even where it still appears strong. A sea of hostile nations has covered Babylon. Her land is now a desolation. God takes Bel and the Dragon, the principal idol of Babylon, symbolizing its whole civil powers in hand, and snatches his prey from his teeth. Our God is stronger than all worldly forces, and never leaves us to them.” Diedrich.

22. On Jeremiah 51:58. “Yea, so it is with all walls and towers, in which God’s word is not the vital force, even though they be entitled churches and cathedrals … God’s church alone possesses permanence through His pure word.” Diedrich.

23. On Jeremiah 51:60-64. When we wish to preserve an archive safely, we deposit it in a record-office where it is kept in a dry place that no moisture may get to it. Seraiah throws his book-roll into the waters of the Euphrates, which must wash it away, dissolve and destroy it. But this was of no account. The main point was that Hebrews, Seraiah, as representative of the holy nation had taken solemn stock of the word of God against Babylon, and as it were taken God at His word, and reminded Him of it. In this manner the matter was laid up in the most enduring and safest archive that could be imagined; it was made a case of honor with the omniscient and omnipotent God. Such matters can, however, neither be forgotten, nor remain in dead silence, nor be neglected. They must be brought to such an end as the honor of God requires.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 50:2. This text may be used on the feast of the Reformation, or any other occasion with reference to a rem bene gestam. The Triumph of the Good Cause, 1. over what enemies it is gained; 2. to what it should impel us; (a) to the avoidance of that over which we new triumph; (b) to the grateful proclamation of what the Lord has done for us, by word and by deed.

2. On Jeremiah 50:4-8. The deliverance of Israel from the Babylonian captivity a type of the deliverance of the Church1. The Church must humbly acknowledge the captivity suffered as a judgment of God2. She must turn like Israel inwardly with an upright heart unto the Lord; 3. She must become like Israel to all men a pattern and leader to freedom.

3. On Jeremiah 50:5. A confirmation sermon. “What is the hour of confirmation? 1. An hour which calls to separation; 2. an hour which leads to new connections; 3. an hour which fixes forever the old covenant with the soul’s friend.” Florey, 1853.

4. On Jeremiah 50:18-20. Assyria and Babylon the types of all the spiritual enemies of the church as of individual Christians. Every one has his Assyria and his Babylon. Sin is the destruction of men. Forgiveness of sins is the condition of life, for only where forgiveness of sins Isaiah, is there life and blessedness. In Christ we find the forgiveness of sins. He destroys the handwriting. He washes us clean. He is also the good shepherd who leads our souls into green pastures, to the spiritual Carmel.

5. On Jeremiah 50:31-32. Warning against pride. Babylon was very strong and powerful, rich and splendid. It seemed invincible by nature and by art. Had it not then a certain justification in being proud, at least towards men? No; for no one has to contend only with men. Every one who contends has the Lord either for his friend or his enemy. It is the Lord from whom cometh victory ( Proverbs 21:31). He it is who teacheth our hands to fight ( Psalm 18:35; Psalm 144:1). His strength is made perfect in weakness ( 2 Corinthians 12:9). He can make the lame ( Isaiah 33:23; Micah 4:7) and mortally wounded ( Jeremiah 37:10) so strong that they overmaster the sound (comp. Jeremiah 51:45). He can make one man put to flight a thousand ( Deuteronomy 32:30; Isaiah 30:17). With him can one dash in pieces a troop and leap over a wall ( Psalm 18:29). No one accordingly should be proud. The word of the Lord, “I am against thee, thou proud one!” is a terrible word which no one should conjure up against himself.

6. On Jeremiah 50:33-34. The consolation of the Church in persecution1. It suffers violence and injustice2. Its redeemer is strong.

7. On Jeremiah 51:5. God the Lord manifests such favor to Israel as to declare Himself her husband ( Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:1). But now that Israel and Judah are in exile, it seems as if they were rejected or widowed women. This, however, is only appearance. Israel’s husband does not die. He may well bring a period of chastisement, of purification and trial on His people, but when this period is over, the Lord turns the handle, and smites those through whom He chastised Israel, when they had forgotten that they were not to satisfy their own desire, but only to accomplish the Lord’s will on Israel.

8. On Jeremiah 51:6. A time may come when it is well to separate one’s self. For although it is said in Proverbs 18:1; he who separateth himself, seeketh that which pleaseth him and opposeth all that is good—and therefore separation, as the antipodes of churchliness, i.e., of churchly communion and humble subjection to the law of the co-operation of members ( 1 Corinthians 12:25 sqq.) is to be repudiated, yet there may come moments in the life of the church, when it will be a duty to leave the community and separate one’s self. Such a moment is come when the community has become a Babylon. It should, however, be noted that one should not be too ready with such a decision. For even the life of the church is subject to many vacillations. There are periods of decay, obscurations, as it were, comparable to eclipses of the stars, but to these, so long as the foundations only subsist, must always follow a restoration and return to the original brightness. No one is to consider the church a Babylon on account of such a passing state of disease. It is this only when it has withheld the objective divine foundations, the means of grace, the word and sacrament, altogether and permanently in their saving efficacy. Then, when the soul can no longer find in the church the pure and divine bread of life; it is well “to deliver the soul that it perish not in the iniquity of the church.” From this separation from the church Isaiah, however, to be carefully distinguished the separation within the church, from all that which is opposed to the healthy life of the church, and is therefore to be regarded as a diseased part of the ecclesiastical body. Such separation is the daily duty of the Christian. He has to perform it with respect to his private life in all the manifold relations, indicated to us in Matthew 18:17; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:9 sqq.; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10; 2 John 1:10-11.—Comp. the article on Sects, by Palmer in Herzog, R-Enc., XXI, S. 21, 22.

9. On Jeremiah 51:10. The righteousness which avails before God1. Its origin (not our work or merit, but God’s grace in Christ); 2. Its fruit, praise of that which the Lord has wrought in us (a) by words, (b) by works.

10. On Jeremiah 51:50. This text may be used at the sending out of missionaries or the departure of emigrants. Occasion may be taken to speak1, of the gracious help and deliverance, which the Lord has hitherto shown to the departing; 2, they may be admonished to remain united in their distant land with their brethren at home by (a) remembering the Lord, i.e., ever remaining sincerely devoted to the Lord as the common shield of salvation; (b) faithfuly serving Jerusalem, i.e., the common mother of us all ( Galatians 4:26), the church, with all our powers in the proper place and measure, and ever keeping her in our hearts.


Verses 20-24

14. HOW THE LORD PUNISHES HIS OWN HAMMER

Jeremiah 51:20-24

20 A hammer[FN13] art thou to me, weapons of war,

And with thee I break nations in pieces,

And with thee I overthrow kingdoms.

21 And with thee I break in pieces the horse and his rider,

And with thee I break in pieces the chariot and its driver.

22 And with thee I break in pieces man and woman,

And with thee I break in pieces old man and boy,

And with thee I break in pieces young man and maiden,

23 And with thee I break in pieces the shepherd and his flock,

And with thee I break in pieces the husbandman and his team,

And with thee I break in pieces magistrates and rulers.[FN14]

24 And I recompense to Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea all the evil,

Which they have done to Zion before your eyes, saith Jehovah.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

A picture very clearly complete in itself. The prophet sees in spirit a large number of persons before him who are to serve the Lord for a hammer, in order therewith to dash to pieces nations and kingdoms, especially, however. Babylon in all its parts, and thus to recompense to it what it has inflicted, on Zion.

Jeremiah 51:20-24. A hammer … saith Jehovah. In Jeremiah 50:23 Babylon was called “the hammer of the whole earth,” and it might certainly be addressed again in the same way here. Many expositors, the LXX, Jerome, Theodoret at their head, are of opinion that it is so. But I, it should be observed that another word and, indeed, one formed ad hoc is chosen. Comp. Textual Note1. May not the prophet have intended to indicate by using another word, specially formed for the occasion, that he meant another hammer than that spoken of before in Jeremiah 50:23? 2. The perfects with the Vau consecutive may, indeed, be taken in a past sense (comp. Jeremiah 18:4; Jeremiah 19:4-5; Jeremiah 37:11), but this construction is not normal. The imperfect would be more correct3. וְשִׁלַּמְתֵּי, Jeremiah 51:24, must at any rate be taken in a future sense. Since, however, this word is a perfectly similar form to the previous perfects and similarly construed, there is a presumption that the perfects are also to be rendered as futures4. In Jeremiah 50:21 we found an ideal person addressed, of which the Lord would make use as His instrument in the chastisement of Babylon. It is to the same that the prophet here tarns. That he referred in thought to5021, 22, is evident from מַכִּץ, which he opposes to כַּטִיש there used. He here, however, extends the task appointed to the hammer, for it is not to visit Babylon only, as in Jeremiah 50:21, but many nations and kingdoms. Who this chosen instrument was to be the prophet was ignorant.—To take כִּלֵיweapon, as singular for כְּלִי, with Hitzig and Graf, appears to me unnecessary. The former is not a single weapon, but comprehends all weapons of war. The objects enumerated as to be broken form in a certain measure a circle, proceeding from the great and strong to the small and weak, and then rising from the young man and maiden again to the great and strong.—Chaldea. Kasdim as the name of the country, as in Jeremiah 50:10 coll. Jeremiah 51:35.—Before your eyes, is to be referred to I recompense, since it would be superfluous referred to have done, and expresses the thought that those who now hear of the destruction of Babylon will also see it, and thus be convinced by ocular demonstration of the truth of Jeremiah’s prediction.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. “Daniel’s Babylonian empire resumes, as it were, the thread which was broken off with the tower-erection and kingdom of Nimrod. In the Babylonian tower-building the whole of the then existing humanity was united against God; with the Babylonian kingdom began the period of the universal monarchies, which again aspired after an atheistical union of entire humanity. Babylon has since and even to the Revelation ( Jeremiah 18) remained the standing type of this world.” Auberlen, Der proph. Daniel, S. 230.

2. For what reason does Babylon appear as a type of the world? Why not Nineveh, or Persepolis, or Tyre, or Memphis, or Rome? Certainly not because Babylon was greater, more glorious, more powerful or prouder and more ungodly than those cities and kingdoms. Nineveh especially was still greater than Babylon (comp. Duncker, Gesch. d. Alterth. I. S. 474, 5), and Assyria was not less hostile to the theocracy, having carried away into captivity the northern and larger half of the people of Israel. Babylon is qualified for this representation in two ways: 1. because it is the home of worldly princedom and titanic arrogance ( Genesis 10:8; Genesis 11:1-4); 2. because Babylon destroyed the centre of the theocracy, Jerusalem, the temple and the theocratic kingdom, and first assumed to be the single supreme power of the globe.

3. “When God has used a superstitious, wicked and tyrannical nation long enough as His rod, He breaks it in pieces and finally throws it into the fire. For even those whom He formerly used as His chosen anointed instruments He then regards as but the dust in the streets or as chaff before the wind.” Cramer.

4. “No monarch is too rich, too wicked, too strong for God the Lord. And He can soon enlist and engage soldiers whom He can use against His declared enemies.” Cramer.

5. “Israel was founded on everlasting foundations, even God’s word and promise. The sins of the people brought about that it was laid low in the dust, but not without hope of a better resurrection. Babylon, on the other hand, must perish forever, for in it is the empire of evil come to its highest bloom. Jeremiah owns the nothingness of all worldly kingdoms, since they are all under this national order to serve only for a time. We are to be subject to them and seek their welfare for the sake of the souls of men, whom God is educating therein; a Christian however cannot be enthusiastic for them after the manner of the ancient heathen nor of ancient Israel, for here we have no abiding city, our citizenship is in heaven. The kingdoms of this world are no sanctuaries for us and we supplicate their continuance only with the daily bread of the fourth petition. Jeremiah applies many words and figures to Babylon which he has already used in the judgments on other nations, thus to intimate that in Babylon all the heathenism of the world culminates, and that here also must be the greatest anguish. What, however, is here declared of Babylon must be fulfilled again on all earthly powers in so far as, treading in its footprints, they take flesh for their arm and regard the material of this world as power, whether they be called states or churches.” Diedrich.

6. On Jeremiah 50:2. In putting into the mouth of Israel, returning from Babylon, the call to an everlasting covenant with Jehovah, the prophet causes them1. to confess that they have forgotten the first covenant; 2. he shows us that the time of the new covenant begins with the redemption from the Babylonish captivity. He was far, however, from supposing that this redemption would be only a weak beginning, that the appearance of the Saviour would be deferred for centuries, that Israel would sink still deeper as an external πολιτεία, and that finally the Israel of the new covenant would itself appear as a μυστήριον, εἰς ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι ( 1 Peter 1:9-12).

7. From what Jeremiah has already said in Jeremiah 31:31-34 of the new covenant we see that its nature and its difference from the old is not unknown to him. Yet he knows the new covenant only in general. He knows that it will be deeply spiritual and eternal, but how and why it will be so is still to him part of the μυστήριον.

8. On Jeremiah 50:6. Jeremiah here points back to Jeremiah 23. Priests, kings and prophets, who should discharge the office of shepherds, prove to be wolves. Yea, they are the worst of wolves, who go about in official clothing. There is therefore no more dangerous doctrine than that of an infallible office. Jeremiah 14:14; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 23:2-12.

9. On Jeremiah 50:7. It is the worst condition into which a church of God can come, when the enemies who desolate it can maintain that they are in the right in doing so. It Isaiah, however, a just nemesis when those who will not hear the regular messengers of God must be told by the extraordinary messengers of God what they should have done. Comp. Jeremiah 40:2-3.

10. On Jeremiah 50:8. “Babylon is opened, and it must be abandoned not clung to, for the captivity is a temporary chastisement, not the divine arrangement for the children of God. God’s people must in the general redemption go like rams before the herd of the nations, that these may also attach themselves to Israel, as this was fulfilled at the time of Christ in the first churches and the apostles, who now draw the whole heathen world after them to eternal life. Here the prophet recognizes the new humanity, which proceeds from the ruins of the old, in which also ancient Israel leads the way; thus all, who follow it, become Israel.” Diedrich.—“The heathen felt somewhat of the divine punishment when they overcame so easily the usually so strongly protected nation. But Jeremiah shows them still how they deceived themselves in thinking that God had wholly rejected His people, for of the eternal covenant of grace they certainly understood nothing.” Heim and Hoffmann on the Major Prophets.

11. On Jeremiah 50:18. “The great powers of the world form indeed the history of the world, but they have no future. Israel, however, always returns home to the dear and glorious land. The Jews might as a token of this return under Cyrus; the case is however this, that the true Holy One in Israel, Christ, guides us back to Paradise, when we flee to His hand from the Babylon of this world and let it be crucified for us.” Diedrich.

12. On Jeremiah 50:23. “Although the Chaldeans were called of God for the purpose of making war on the Jewish nation on account of their multitudinous sins, yet they are punished because they did it not as God with a pure intention, namely, to punish the wrong in them and keep them for reformation; for they were themselves greater sinners than the Jews and continued with impenitence in their sins. Therefore they could not go scot-free and remain unpunished. Moreover, they acted too roughly and dealt with the Jews more harshly than God had commanded, for which He therefore fairly punished them. As God the Lord Himself says ( Isaiah 47:6): When I was angry with My people I gave them into thine hands; but thou shewedst them no mercy. Therefore it is not enough that God’s will be accomplished, but there must be the good intention in it, which God had, otherwise such a work may be a sin and call down the divine punishment upon it.” Würtemb. Summ.

13. On Jeremiah 50:31-34. “God calls Babylon Thou Pride, for pride was their inward force and impulse in all their actions. But worldly pride makes a Babylon and brings on a Babylon’s fate .… Pride must fall, for it is in itself a lie against God, and all its might must perish in the fire; thus will the humble and meek remain in possession of the earth: this has a wide application through all times, even to eternity.” Diedrich.

14. On Jeremiah 51:33. “Israel is indeed weak and must suffer in a time of tyranny; it cannot help itself, nor needs it to do Song of Solomon, for its Redeemer is strong, His name The Lord Zebaoth—and He Isaiah, now, having assumed our flesh, among us and conducts our cause so that the world trembles.” Diedrich.

15. On Jeremiah 50:45. “An emblem of the destruction of anti-christian Babylon, which was also the true hammer of the whole world. This has God also broken and must and will do it still more. And this will the shepherd-boys do, as is said here in Jeremiah 51:45 (according to Luther’s translation), that Isaiah, all true teachers and preachers.” Cramer.

16. On Jeremiah 51. “The doctrines accord in all points with the previous chapter. And the prophet Jeremiah both in this and the previous chapter does nothing else but make out for the Babylonians their final discharge and passport, because they behaved so valiantly and well against the people of Judah, that they might know they would not go unrecompensed. For payment is according to service. And had they done better it would have gone better with them. It is well that when tyrants succeed in their evil undertakings they should not suppose they are God’s dearest children and lean on His bosom, since they will yet receive the recompense on their crown, whatever they have earned.” Cramer.

17. [“Though in the hand of Babylon is a golden cup; she chooses such a cup, in order that men’s eyes may be dazzled with the glitter of the gold, and may not inquire what it contains. But mark well, in the golden cup of Babylon is the poison of idolatry, the poison of false doctrines, which destroy the souls of men. I have often seen such a golden cup, in fair speeches of seductive eloquence: and when I have examined the venomous ingredients of the golden chalice, I have recognized the cup of Babylon.” Origen in Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]

“The seat and throne of Anti-christ is expressly named Babylon, namely, the city of Rome, built on the seven hills ( Revelation 17:9). Just as Babylon brought so many lands and kingdoms under its sway and ruled them with great pomp and pride (the golden cup, which made all the world drunk, was Babylon in the hand of the Lord ( Jeremiah 51:7), and all the heathen drank of the wine and became mad)—so has the spiritual Babylon a cup in its hand, full of the abomination and uncleanness of its whoredom, of which the kings of the earth and all who dwell on the earth have been made drunk. As it is said of Babylon that she dwells by great waters and has great treasures, so writes John of the Romish Babylon, that it is clothed in silk and purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls ( Revelation 18:12). Of Babylon it is said that the slain in Israel were smitten by her; so also the spiritual Babylon is become drunk with the blood of the saints ( Revelation 17:6). Just, however, as the Chaldean Babylon is a type of the spiritual in its pride and despotism, so also is it a type of the destruction which will come upon it. Many wished to heal Babylon but she would not be healed; so many endeavor to support the ruinous anti-christian Babylon, but all in vain. For as Babylon was at last so destroyed as to be a heap of stones and abode of dragons, so will it be with anti-christian Babylon. Of this it is written in Revelation 14:8 : She is fallen, fallen, that great city, for she has made all nations drink of the wine of her fornication. And again, Babylon the great is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and a hold of all foul and hateful birds ( Revelation 18:2). As the inhabitants of Babylon were admonished to flee from her, that every man might deliver his soul ( Jeremiah 51:6)—and again, My people, go ye out from the midst of her and deliver every man his soul, etc. ( Jeremiah 51:45)—so the Holy Spirit admonishes Christians almost in the same words to go out from the spiritual Babylon, that they be not polluted by her sins and at the same time share in her punishment. For thus it is written in Revelation 18:4, I heard, says John, a voice from heaven saying, Go ye out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues, for her sins reach unto heaven and God remembers her iniquities.” Wurtemb. Summarien.

18. On Jeremiah 51:5. “A monarch can sooner make an end of half a continent than draw a nail from a hut which the Lord protects.—And if it is true that Kaiser Rudolph, when he revoked the toleration of the Picards and the same day lost one of his principal forts, said, ‘I thought it would be Song of Solomon, for I grasped at God’s sceptre’ (Weismanni, Hist. Eccl. Tom. II. p320)—this was a sage remark, a supplement to the words of the wise.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 51:9. We heal Babylon, but she will not be healed. Babylon is an outwardly beautiful but inwardly worm-eaten apple. Hence sooner or later the foulness must become noticeable. So is it with all whose heart and centre is not God. All is inwardly hollow and vain. When this internal vacuity begins to render itself externally palpable, when here and there a rent or foul spot becomes visible, then certainly come the friends and admirers of the unholy form and would improve, cover up, sew up, heal. But it does not avail. When once there is death in the body no physician can effect a cure.

20. On Jeremiah 51:17; Jeremiah 51:19-20. “The children of God have three causes why they may venture on Him. 1. All men are fools, their treasure is it not; 2. The Lord is their hammer; He breaks through everything, and3, they are an instrument in His hand, a heritage; in this there is happiness.” Zinzendorf.

21. On Jeremiah 51:41-44. “How was Sheshach thus won, the city renowned in all the world thus taken? No one would have thought it possible, but God does it. He rules with wonders and with wonders He makes His church free. Babylon is a wonder no longer for its power, but for its weakness. We are to know the world’s weakness even where it still appears strong. A sea of hostile nations has covered Babylon. Her land is now a desolation. God takes Bel and the Dragon, the principal idol of Babylon, symbolizing its whole civil powers in hand, and snatches his prey from his teeth. Our God is stronger than all worldly forces, and never leaves us to them.” Diedrich.

22. On Jeremiah 51:58. “Yea, so it is with all walls and towers, in which God’s word is not the vital force, even though they be entitled churches and cathedrals … God’s church alone possesses permanence through His pure word.” Diedrich.

23. On Jeremiah 51:60-64. When we wish to preserve an archive safely, we deposit it in a record-office where it is kept in a dry place that no moisture may get to it. Seraiah throws his book-roll into the waters of the Euphrates, which must wash it away, dissolve and destroy it. But this was of no account. The main point was that Hebrews, Seraiah, as representative of the holy nation had taken solemn stock of the word of God against Babylon, and as it were taken God at His word, and reminded Him of it. In this manner the matter was laid up in the most enduring and safest archive that could be imagined; it was made a case of honor with the omniscient and omnipotent God. Such matters can, however, neither be forgotten, nor remain in dead silence, nor be neglected. They must be brought to such an end as the honor of God requires.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 50:2. This text may be used on the feast of the Reformation, or any other occasion with reference to a rem bene gestam. The Triumph of the Good Cause, 1. over what enemies it is gained; 2. to what it should impel us; (a) to the avoidance of that over which we new triumph; (b) to the grateful proclamation of what the Lord has done for us, by word and by deed.

2. On Jeremiah 50:4-8. The deliverance of Israel from the Babylonian captivity a type of the deliverance of the Church1. The Church must humbly acknowledge the captivity suffered as a judgment of God2. She must turn like Israel inwardly with an upright heart unto the Lord; 3. She must become like Israel to all men a pattern and leader to freedom.

3. On Jeremiah 50:5. A confirmation sermon. “What is the hour of confirmation? 1. An hour which calls to separation; 2. an hour which leads to new connections; 3. an hour which fixes forever the old covenant with the soul’s friend.” Florey, 1853.

4. On Jeremiah 50:18-20. Assyria and Babylon the types of all the spiritual enemies of the church as of individual Christians. Every one has his Assyria and his Babylon. Sin is the destruction of men. Forgiveness of sins is the condition of life, for only where forgiveness of sins Isaiah, is there life and blessedness. In Christ we find the forgiveness of sins. He destroys the handwriting. He washes us clean. He is also the good shepherd who leads our souls into green pastures, to the spiritual Carmel.

5. On Jeremiah 50:31-32. Warning against pride. Babylon was very strong and powerful, rich and splendid. It seemed invincible by nature and by art. Had it not then a certain justification in being proud, at least towards men? No; for no one has to contend only with men. Every one who contends has the Lord either for his friend or his enemy. It is the Lord from whom cometh victory ( Proverbs 21:31). He it is who teacheth our hands to fight ( Psalm 18:35; Psalm 144:1). His strength is made perfect in weakness ( 2 Corinthians 12:9). He can make the lame ( Isaiah 33:23; Micah 4:7) and mortally wounded ( Jeremiah 37:10) so strong that they overmaster the sound (comp. Jeremiah 51:45). He can make one man put to flight a thousand ( Deuteronomy 32:30; Isaiah 30:17). With him can one dash in pieces a troop and leap over a wall ( Psalm 18:29). No one accordingly should be proud. The word of the Lord, “I am against thee, thou proud one!” is a terrible word which no one should conjure up against himself.

6. On Jeremiah 50:33-34. The consolation of the Church in persecution1. It suffers violence and injustice2. Its redeemer is strong.

7. On Jeremiah 51:5. God the Lord manifests such favor to Israel as to declare Himself her husband ( Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:1). But now that Israel and Judah are in exile, it seems as if they were rejected or widowed women. This, however, is only appearance. Israel’s husband does not die. He may well bring a period of chastisement, of purification and trial on His people, but when this period is over, the Lord turns the handle, and smites those through whom He chastised Israel, when they had forgotten that they were not to satisfy their own desire, but only to accomplish the Lord’s will on Israel.

8. On Jeremiah 51:6. A time may come when it is well to separate one’s self. For although it is said in Proverbs 18:1; he who separateth himself, seeketh that which pleaseth him and opposeth all that is good—and therefore separation, as the antipodes of churchliness, i.e., of churchly communion and humble subjection to the law of the co-operation of members ( 1 Corinthians 12:25 sqq.) is to be repudiated, yet there may come moments in the life of the church, when it will be a duty to leave the community and separate one’s self. Such a moment is come when the community has become a Babylon. It should, however, be noted that one should not be too ready with such a decision. For even the life of the church is subject to many vacillations. There are periods of decay, obscurations, as it were, comparable to eclipses of the stars, but to these, so long as the foundations only subsist, must always follow a restoration and return to the original brightness. No one is to consider the church a Babylon on account of such a passing state of disease. It is this only when it has withheld the objective divine foundations, the means of grace, the word and sacrament, altogether and permanently in their saving efficacy. Then, when the soul can no longer find in the church the pure and divine bread of life; it is well “to deliver the soul that it perish not in the iniquity of the church.” From this separation from the church Isaiah, however, to be carefully distinguished the separation within the church, from all that which is opposed to the healthy life of the church, and is therefore to be regarded as a diseased part of the ecclesiastical body. Such separation is the daily duty of the Christian. He has to perform it with respect to his private life in all the manifold relations, indicated to us in Matthew 18:17; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:9 sqq.; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10; 2 John 1:10-11.—Comp. the article on Sects, by Palmer in Herzog, R-Enc., XXI, S. 21, 22.

9. On Jeremiah 51:10. The righteousness which avails before God1. Its origin (not our work or merit, but God’s grace in Christ); 2. Its fruit, praise of that which the Lord has wrought in us (a) by words, (b) by works.

10. On Jeremiah 51:50. This text may be used at the sending out of missionaries or the departure of emigrants. Occasion may be taken to speak1, of the gracious help and deliverance, which the Lord has hitherto shown to the departing; 2, they may be admonished to remain united in their distant land with their brethren at home by (a) remembering the Lord, i.e., ever remaining sincerely devoted to the Lord as the common shield of salvation; (b) faithfuly serving Jerusalem, i.e., the common mother of us all ( Galatians 4:26), the church, with all our powers in the proper place and measure, and ever keeping her in our hearts.

Footnotes:

FN#13 - Jeremiah 51:20.—מַכֵּץ (a participial form derived from the Hiphil. Comp. e.g., מַסְגֵר, and as a related synonym מֵכִּיץ, Proverbs 25:18) does not occur elsewhere.

FN#14 - Jeremiah 51:23.—כּחות. Comp. Jeremiah 51:28; Jeremiah 51:57; Ezekiel 23:6; Ezekiel 23:23; 1 Kings 10:15; Nehemiah 2:7; Ezra 8:36 Esther 8:9. According to Benfey (Monatsnamen, S. 195), the word comes from the Sanscrit (Pakscha, socius, amicus), and is certainly related to the Arabic Pascha. Comp. Gesen, Thes., pag. 1100.—סגנים, which occurs only in the plural ( Isaiah 41:25; Ezra 9:2; Nehemiah 2:16, etc.), are likewise præfecti provinciarum. On the different derivations comp. Gesen. Thes, pag. 937.


Verse 25-26

15. THE DESTROYING MOUNTAIN

Jeremiah 51:25-26

25 Behold, I come to thee, thou destroying mountain,

Saith Jehovah, which destroyed the whole world;

And I stretch forth my hand over thee,

And roll thee from the rocks and make thee a burnt mountain.

26 And they shall take no stone of thee for a corner,

Nor a stone for foundations,

But thou shalt be perpetual ruins, saith Jehovah.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Babylon is here compared to a mountain, which has a widely destroying influence. This can refer only to a volcano, and with this it agrees that the mountain, after being laid bare to its rocky heart, is said to be a burnt-out mountain ( Jeremiah 51:25). So much, however, has it suffered by the destroying energies that its stones are not even available for building material.—We see that these two verses afford a picture perfectly complete in itself. [Cowles: “This blending of the figures of the volcano and the avalanche may not conform to the nicest rules of rhetoric, but none can say the conceptions are not grand and their significance both clear and strong.”—S. R. A.]

Jeremiah 51:25-26. Behold, I come … saith Jehovah.—Behold, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 21:13; Jeremiah 23:30-32; Jeremiah 50:31.—The expression destroying mountain [הַר הַמַּשְׁחִית], occurs besides only in 2 Kings 23:13, where the mount of Olives (or the southern peak thereof, the mons scandali or offensionis of ecclesiastical tradition; comp. Keil on Kings, S. 362), is so called [A. V. “Mountain of corruption].” The Mount of Olives evidently received this appellation from the corrupting influence which proceeded from it in religious matters. May not Babylon also be called a destroying mountain in spiritual relations? If then we remember that the name of Babylon is connected even in primæval traditions with defiant worldly power and idolatry (comp. Jeremiah 50:29-32, and Naegelsb.Jer. u. Bab, S. 5 ff.), we may well suppose that the prophet also had the corrupting spiritual influence of Babylon in mind (comp. also Jeremiah 50:38; Jeremiah 51:1; Jeremiah 51:44). We are not, however, justified in restricting his view to this single point, the element of destructiveness in a physical sense being also quite natural. It is repeatedly expressed in this prophecy. Comp. the hammer, Jeremiah 50:23, and the cup, Jeremiah 51:7 coll. Jeremiah 25:15-17.—We may then assume that Babylon is designated as a destroying mountain in a spiritual and physical reference. Perhaps in the term “mountain,” there is also a hint at the tower which was widely visible, and corresponded to the widely extended influence. As to the picture in itself the question arises, What sort of a mountain had the prophet in mind? How must a (natural) mountain be constituted so as to be fitly designated a widely destroying mountain? I am of opinion that this designation can be given only to a volcano, for men seek the vicinity of mountains because these afford protection to their habitations and agriculture. Even the vicinity of volcanoes is not shunned, because these become dangerous only from time to time, and the general advantage of their vicinity outweighs the temporary disadvantage. The following description seems also to point to a volcano. How otherwise can we explain the words “roll thee from the rocks,” than of a volcanic eruption?” The mountain is to be laid bare, the overlying strata are to be thrown down so that nothing will remain but the skeleton,—the masses of stone which form its interior. All this can be said only of volcanoes. And when finally the result of this process is designated by the words וּנְתַתִּיןְ לְהַר שְׂרֵכָּה, is not this a good conclusion to the figure drawn from a volcano? שְׂרֵכָּה is combustio, exustio. Comp. Isaiah 9:4; Isaiah 64:10. A mons combustionis or exustionis is either one from which the combustio issues, or one which suffers or has suffered combustion. In the former case it would be difficult to perceive how this could be a punishment. In the latter case the question arises, whether the mount of combustion is to be understood as burning or burnt out. If we regard the previous and following context, we cannot doubt that the words “make thee a mountain of combustion,” designate the result of the process, which is further described in Jeremiah 51:26. The mountain is so burnt, out that its stones are not even available for building materials. To Graf’s remark that “this latter point in itself doubtful was hardly so established in the experience of a Jew, that he could make use of it as a figure which would commend itself to his countrymen,” I reply, that it did not need much experience to know that stones cracked or vitrified by fire, are bad building material, and that, moreover, here at the close the discourse evidently passes from figure to reality. The prophet has certainly the burnt up city in view, the stones of which could not be used for building purposes. [Cowles: “In fact, large building stones were never there. Her immense structures were built of brick, either sundried or kiln-burnt. Hence the great mass of these materials lie to this day more or less decomposed in the mountains of rubbish which mark the site of that once magnificent city.”—S. R. A.]—But thou Shalt, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 51:62; Jeremiah 25:9.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. “Daniel’s Babylonian empire resumes, as it were, the thread which was broken off with the tower-erection and kingdom of Nimrod. In the Babylonian tower-building the whole of the then existing humanity was united against God; with the Babylonian kingdom began the period of the universal monarchies, which again aspired after an atheistical union of entire humanity. Babylon has since and even to the Revelation ( Jeremiah 18) remained the standing type of this world.” Auberlen, Der proph. Daniel, S. 230.

2. For what reason does Babylon appear as a type of the world? Why not Nineveh, or Persepolis, or Tyre, or Memphis, or Rome? Certainly not because Babylon was greater, more glorious, more powerful or prouder and more ungodly than those cities and kingdoms. Nineveh especially was still greater than Babylon (comp. Duncker, Gesch. d. Alterth. I. S. 474, 5), and Assyria was not less hostile to the theocracy, having carried away into captivity the northern and larger half of the people of Israel. Babylon is qualified for this representation in two ways: 1. because it is the home of worldly princedom and titanic arrogance ( Genesis 10:8; Genesis 11:1-4); 2. because Babylon destroyed the centre of the theocracy, Jerusalem, the temple and the theocratic kingdom, and first assumed to be the single supreme power of the globe.

3. “When God has used a superstitious, wicked and tyrannical nation long enough as His rod, He breaks it in pieces and finally throws it into the fire. For even those whom He formerly used as His chosen anointed instruments He then regards as but the dust in the streets or as chaff before the wind.” Cramer.

4. “No monarch is too rich, too wicked, too strong for God the Lord. And He can soon enlist and engage soldiers whom He can use against His declared enemies.” Cramer.

5. “Israel was founded on everlasting foundations, even God’s word and promise. The sins of the people brought about that it was laid low in the dust, but not without hope of a better resurrection. Babylon, on the other hand, must perish forever, for in it is the empire of evil come to its highest bloom. Jeremiah owns the nothingness of all worldly kingdoms, since they are all under this national order to serve only for a time. We are to be subject to them and seek their welfare for the sake of the souls of men, whom God is educating therein; a Christian however cannot be enthusiastic for them after the manner of the ancient heathen nor of ancient Israel, for here we have no abiding city, our citizenship is in heaven. The kingdoms of this world are no sanctuaries for us and we supplicate their continuance only with the daily bread of the fourth petition. Jeremiah applies many words and figures to Babylon which he has already used in the judgments on other nations, thus to intimate that in Babylon all the heathenism of the world culminates, and that here also must be the greatest anguish. What, however, is here declared of Babylon must be fulfilled again on all earthly powers in so far as, treading in its footprints, they take flesh for their arm and regard the material of this world as power, whether they be called states or churches.” Diedrich.

6. On Jeremiah 50:2. In putting into the mouth of Israel, returning from Babylon, the call to an everlasting covenant with Jehovah, the prophet causes them1. to confess that they have forgotten the first covenant; 2. he shows us that the time of the new covenant begins with the redemption from the Babylonish captivity. He was far, however, from supposing that this redemption would be only a weak beginning, that the appearance of the Saviour would be deferred for centuries, that Israel would sink still deeper as an external πολιτεία, and that finally the Israel of the new covenant would itself appear as a μυστήριον, εἰς ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι ( 1 Peter 1:9-12).

7. From what Jeremiah has already said in Jeremiah 31:31-34 of the new covenant we see that its nature and its difference from the old is not unknown to him. Yet he knows the new covenant only in general. He knows that it will be deeply spiritual and eternal, but how and why it will be so is still to him part of the μυστήριον.

8. On Jeremiah 50:6. Jeremiah here points back to Jeremiah 23. Priests, kings and prophets, who should discharge the office of shepherds, prove to be wolves. Yea, they are the worst of wolves, who go about in official clothing. There is therefore no more dangerous doctrine than that of an infallible office. Jeremiah 14:14; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 23:2-12.

9. On Jeremiah 50:7. It is the worst condition into which a church of God can come, when the enemies who desolate it can maintain that they are in the right in doing so. It Isaiah, however, a just nemesis when those who will not hear the regular messengers of God must be told by the extraordinary messengers of God what they should have done. Comp. Jeremiah 40:2-3.

10. On Jeremiah 50:8. “Babylon is opened, and it must be abandoned not clung to, for the captivity is a temporary chastisement, not the divine arrangement for the children of God. God’s people must in the general redemption go like rams before the herd of the nations, that these may also attach themselves to Israel, as this was fulfilled at the time of Christ in the first churches and the apostles, who now draw the whole heathen world after them to eternal life. Here the prophet recognizes the new humanity, which proceeds from the ruins of the old, in which also ancient Israel leads the way; thus all, who follow it, become Israel.” Diedrich.—“The heathen felt somewhat of the divine punishment when they overcame so easily the usually so strongly protected nation. But Jeremiah shows them still how they deceived themselves in thinking that God had wholly rejected His people, for of the eternal covenant of grace they certainly understood nothing.” Heim and Hoffmann on the Major Prophets.

11. On Jeremiah 50:18. “The great powers of the world form indeed the history of the world, but they have no future. Israel, however, always returns home to the dear and glorious land. The Jews might as a token of this return under Cyrus; the case is however this, that the true Holy One in Israel, Christ, guides us back to Paradise, when we flee to His hand from the Babylon of this world and let it be crucified for us.” Diedrich.

12. On Jeremiah 50:23. “Although the Chaldeans were called of God for the purpose of making war on the Jewish nation on account of their multitudinous sins, yet they are punished because they did it not as God with a pure intention, namely, to punish the wrong in them and keep them for reformation; for they were themselves greater sinners than the Jews and continued with impenitence in their sins. Therefore they could not go scot-free and remain unpunished. Moreover, they acted too roughly and dealt with the Jews more harshly than God had commanded, for which He therefore fairly punished them. As God the Lord Himself says ( Isaiah 47:6): When I was angry with My people I gave them into thine hands; but thou shewedst them no mercy. Therefore it is not enough that God’s will be accomplished, but there must be the good intention in it, which God had, otherwise such a work may be a sin and call down the divine punishment upon it.” Würtemb. Summ.

13. On Jeremiah 50:31-34. “God calls Babylon Thou Pride, for pride was their inward force and impulse in all their actions. But worldly pride makes a Babylon and brings on a Babylon’s fate .… Pride must fall, for it is in itself a lie against God, and all its might must perish in the fire; thus will the humble and meek remain in possession of the earth: this has a wide application through all times, even to eternity.” Diedrich.

14. On Jeremiah 51:33. “Israel is indeed weak and must suffer in a time of tyranny; it cannot help itself, nor needs it to do Song of Solomon, for its Redeemer is strong, His name The Lord Zebaoth—and He Isaiah, now, having assumed our flesh, among us and conducts our cause so that the world trembles.” Diedrich.

15. On Jeremiah 50:45. “An emblem of the destruction of anti-christian Babylon, which was also the true hammer of the whole world. This has God also broken and must and will do it still more. And this will the shepherd-boys do, as is said here in Jeremiah 51:45 (according to Luther’s translation), that Isaiah, all true teachers and preachers.” Cramer.

16. On Jeremiah 51. “The doctrines accord in all points with the previous chapter. And the prophet Jeremiah both in this and the previous chapter does nothing else but make out for the Babylonians their final discharge and passport, because they behaved so valiantly and well against the people of Judah, that they might know they would not go unrecompensed. For payment is according to service. And had they done better it would have gone better with them. It is well that when tyrants succeed in their evil undertakings they should not suppose they are God’s dearest children and lean on His bosom, since they will yet receive the recompense on their crown, whatever they have earned.” Cramer.

17. [“Though in the hand of Babylon is a golden cup; she chooses such a cup, in order that men’s eyes may be dazzled with the glitter of the gold, and may not inquire what it contains. But mark well, in the golden cup of Babylon is the poison of idolatry, the poison of false doctrines, which destroy the souls of men. I have often seen such a golden cup, in fair speeches of seductive eloquence: and when I have examined the venomous ingredients of the golden chalice, I have recognized the cup of Babylon.” Origen in Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]

“The seat and throne of Anti-christ is expressly named Babylon, namely, the city of Rome, built on the seven hills ( Revelation 17:9). Just as Babylon brought so many lands and kingdoms under its sway and ruled them with great pomp and pride (the golden cup, which made all the world drunk, was Babylon in the hand of the Lord ( Jeremiah 51:7), and all the heathen drank of the wine and became mad)—so has the spiritual Babylon a cup in its hand, full of the abomination and uncleanness of its whoredom, of which the kings of the earth and all who dwell on the earth have been made drunk. As it is said of Babylon that she dwells by great waters and has great treasures, so writes John of the Romish Babylon, that it is clothed in silk and purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls ( Revelation 18:12). Of Babylon it is said that the slain in Israel were smitten by her; so also the spiritual Babylon is become drunk with the blood of the saints ( Revelation 17:6). Just, however, as the Chaldean Babylon is a type of the spiritual in its pride and despotism, so also is it a type of the destruction which will come upon it. Many wished to heal Babylon but she would not be healed; so many endeavor to support the ruinous anti-christian Babylon, but all in vain. For as Babylon was at last so destroyed as to be a heap of stones and abode of dragons, so will it be with anti-christian Babylon. Of this it is written in Revelation 14:8 : She is fallen, fallen, that great city, for she has made all nations drink of the wine of her fornication. And again, Babylon the great is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and a hold of all foul and hateful birds ( Revelation 18:2). As the inhabitants of Babylon were admonished to flee from her, that every man might deliver his soul ( Jeremiah 51:6)—and again, My people, go ye out from the midst of her and deliver every man his soul, etc. ( Jeremiah 51:45)—so the Holy Spirit admonishes Christians almost in the same words to go out from the spiritual Babylon, that they be not polluted by her sins and at the same time share in her punishment. For thus it is written in Revelation 18:4, I heard, says John, a voice from heaven saying, Go ye out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues, for her sins reach unto heaven and God remembers her iniquities.” Wurtemb. Summarien.

18. On Jeremiah 51:5. “A monarch can sooner make an end of half a continent than draw a nail from a hut which the Lord protects.—And if it is true that Kaiser Rudolph, when he revoked the toleration of the Picards and the same day lost one of his principal forts, said, ‘I thought it would be Song of Solomon, for I grasped at God’s sceptre’ (Weismanni, Hist. Eccl. Tom. II. p320)—this was a sage remark, a supplement to the words of the wise.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 51:9. We heal Babylon, but she will not be healed. Babylon is an outwardly beautiful but inwardly worm-eaten apple. Hence sooner or later the foulness must become noticeable. So is it with all whose heart and centre is not God. All is inwardly hollow and vain. When this internal vacuity begins to render itself externally palpable, when here and there a rent or foul spot becomes visible, then certainly come the friends and admirers of the unholy form and would improve, cover up, sew up, heal. But it does not avail. When once there is death in the body no physician can effect a cure.

20. On Jeremiah 51:17; Jeremiah 51:19-20. “The children of God have three causes why they may venture on Him. 1. All men are fools, their treasure is it not; 2. The Lord is their hammer; He breaks through everything, and3, they are an instrument in His hand, a heritage; in this there is happiness.” Zinzendorf.

21. On Jeremiah 51:41-44. “How was Sheshach thus won, the city renowned in all the world thus taken? No one would have thought it possible, but God does it. He rules with wonders and with wonders He makes His church free. Babylon is a wonder no longer for its power, but for its weakness. We are to know the world’s weakness even where it still appears strong. A sea of hostile nations has covered Babylon. Her land is now a desolation. God takes Bel and the Dragon, the principal idol of Babylon, symbolizing its whole civil powers in hand, and snatches his prey from his teeth. Our God is stronger than all worldly forces, and never leaves us to them.” Diedrich.

22. On Jeremiah 51:58. “Yea, so it is with all walls and towers, in which God’s word is not the vital force, even though they be entitled churches and cathedrals … God’s church alone possesses permanence through His pure word.” Diedrich.

23. On Jeremiah 51:60-64. When we wish to preserve an archive safely, we deposit it in a record-office where it is kept in a dry place that no moisture may get to it. Seraiah throws his book-roll into the waters of the Euphrates, which must wash it away, dissolve and destroy it. But this was of no account. The main point was that Hebrews, Seraiah, as representative of the holy nation had taken solemn stock of the word of God against Babylon, and as it were taken God at His word, and reminded Him of it. In this manner the matter was laid up in the most enduring and safest archive that could be imagined; it was made a case of honor with the omniscient and omnipotent God. Such matters can, however, neither be forgotten, nor remain in dead silence, nor be neglected. They must be brought to such an end as the honor of God requires.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 50:2. This text may be used on the feast of the Reformation, or any other occasion with reference to a rem bene gestam. The Triumph of the Good Cause, 1. over what enemies it is gained; 2. to what it should impel us; (a) to the avoidance of that over which we new triumph; (b) to the grateful proclamation of what the Lord has done for us, by word and by deed.

2. On Jeremiah 50:4-8. The deliverance of Israel from the Babylonian captivity a type of the deliverance of the Church1. The Church must humbly acknowledge the captivity suffered as a judgment of God2. She must turn like Israel inwardly with an upright heart unto the Lord; 3. She must become like Israel to all men a pattern and leader to freedom.

3. On Jeremiah 50:5. A confirmation sermon. “What is the hour of confirmation? 1. An hour which calls to separation; 2. an hour which leads to new connections; 3. an hour which fixes forever the old covenant with the soul’s friend.” Florey, 1853.

4. On Jeremiah 50:18-20. Assyria and Babylon the types of all the spiritual enemies of the church as of individual Christians. Every one has his Assyria and his Babylon. Sin is the destruction of men. Forgiveness of sins is the condition of life, for only where forgiveness of sins Isaiah, is there life and blessedness. In Christ we find the forgiveness of sins. He destroys the handwriting. He washes us clean. He is also the good shepherd who leads our souls into green pastures, to the spiritual Carmel.

5. On Jeremiah 50:31-32. Warning against pride. Babylon was very strong and powerful, rich and splendid. It seemed invincible by nature and by art. Had it not then a certain justification in being proud, at least towards men? No; for no one has to contend only with men. Every one who contends has the Lord either for his friend or his enemy. It is the Lord from whom cometh victory ( Proverbs 21:31). He it is who teacheth our hands to fight ( Psalm 18:35; Psalm 144:1). His strength is made perfect in weakness ( 2 Corinthians 12:9). He can make the lame ( Isaiah 33:23; Micah 4:7) and mortally wounded ( Jeremiah 37:10) so strong that they overmaster the sound (comp. Jeremiah 51:45). He can make one man put to flight a thousand ( Deuteronomy 32:30; Isaiah 30:17). With him can one dash in pieces a troop and leap over a wall ( Psalm 18:29). No one accordingly should be proud. The word of the Lord, “I am against thee, thou proud one!” is a terrible word which no one should conjure up against himself.

6. On Jeremiah 50:33-34. The consolation of the Church in persecution1. It suffers violence and injustice2. Its redeemer is strong.

7. On Jeremiah 51:5. God the Lord manifests such favor to Israel as to declare Himself her husband ( Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:1). But now that Israel and Judah are in exile, it seems as if they were rejected or widowed women. This, however, is only appearance. Israel’s husband does not die. He may well bring a period of chastisement, of purification and trial on His people, but when this period is over, the Lord turns the handle, and smites those through whom He chastised Israel, when they had forgotten that they were not to satisfy their own desire, but only to accomplish the Lord’s will on Israel.

8. On Jeremiah 51:6. A time may come when it is well to separate one’s self. For although it is said in Proverbs 18:1; he who separateth himself, seeketh that which pleaseth him and opposeth all that is good—and therefore separation, as the antipodes of churchliness, i.e., of churchly communion and humble subjection to the law of the co-operation of members ( 1 Corinthians 12:25 sqq.) is to be repudiated, yet there may come moments in the life of the church, when it will be a duty to leave the community and separate one’s self. Such a moment is come when the community has become a Babylon. It should, however, be noted that one should not be too ready with such a decision. For even the life of the church is subject to many vacillations. There are periods of decay, obscurations, as it were, comparable to eclipses of the stars, but to these, so long as the foundations only subsist, must always follow a restoration and return to the original brightness. No one is to consider the church a Babylon on account of such a passing state of disease. It is this only when it has withheld the objective divine foundations, the means of grace, the word and sacrament, altogether and permanently in their saving efficacy. Then, when the soul can no longer find in the church the pure and divine bread of life; it is well “to deliver the soul that it perish not in the iniquity of the church.” From this separation from the church Isaiah, however, to be carefully distinguished the separation within the church, from all that which is opposed to the healthy life of the church, and is therefore to be regarded as a diseased part of the ecclesiastical body. Such separation is the daily duty of the Christian. He has to perform it with respect to his private life in all the manifold relations, indicated to us in Matthew 18:17; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:9 sqq.; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10; 2 John 1:10-11.—Comp. the article on Sects, by Palmer in Herzog, R-Enc., XXI, S. 21, 22.

9. On Jeremiah 51:10. The righteousness which avails before God1. Its origin (not our work or merit, but God’s grace in Christ); 2. Its fruit, praise of that which the Lord has wrought in us (a) by words, (b) by works.

10. On Jeremiah 51:50. This text may be used at the sending out of missionaries or the departure of emigrants. Occasion may be taken to speak1, of the gracious help and deliverance, which the Lord has hitherto shown to the departing; 2, they may be admonished to remain united in their distant land with their brethren at home by (a) remembering the Lord, i.e., ever remaining sincerely devoted to the Lord as the common shield of salvation; (b) faithfuly serving Jerusalem, i.e., the common mother of us all ( Galatians 4:26), the church, with all our powers in the proper place and measure, and ever keeping her in our hearts.


Verses 27-33

16. WAR AGAINST THE THRESHING-FLOOR OF BABYLON

Jeremiah 51:27-33

27 Raise ye a standard in the land,

Blow the trumpet among the nations,

Consecrate nations against her,

Call upon her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni and Ashkenaz;

Appoint a captain against her,

Bring up horses like bristly locusts.

28 Consecrate nations against her,

The kings of Media with her satraps and all her governors,

And the whole land of their dominion.

29 Then the earth quakes[FN15] and trembles,

For the thoughts of Jehovah are being fulfilled[FN16] on Babylon,

To make the land of Babylon a waste without an inhabitant.

30 The heroes of Babylon have ceased to fight,

They sit in their strongholds;

Dried up[FN17] is their strength,

They are become women;

They have burned her dwellings,

Her bars are broken.

31 Courier runneth against courier, messenger against messenger,

To announce to the king of Babylon

That his city is taken to its utmost end,

32 The passages occupied, the ponds burned with fire, the men of war confounded.

33 For thus saith Jehovah Zebaoth, the God of Israel,

“The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor,

Now they tread her,[FN18]

Yet a little and the time of harvest will come to her.”

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

A very animated picture! Three main groups may be plainly distinguished, and a conclusion. The first group ( Jeremiah 51:27-29) shows us the enemies of Babylon, the Medes with the nations subject to their dominion advancing against Babylon with so great an army that the earth trembles. The second group is composed of the Babylonian warriors, who, overwhelmed by the success of the enemy, let their hands fall in powerless and spiritless dismay ( Jeremiah 51:30). In the third group we perceive the king of Babylon, who, sitting in his castle, receives from all sides the news of the capture of the city ( Jeremiah 51:31-32). In the closing words the prophet expresses the thought that all which is now being done to render the city splendid and glorious is no more than the preparation of the threshing-floor, on which in a short time the harvest will be piled. These verses are clearly distinguished from those which precede and follow, and exhibit a clear and connected picture.

[Cowles: “The name Ararat is Sanskrit, meaning ‘the holy land,’ a name probably due to traditions of Noah’s ark.”—S. R. A.].—In Isaiah ( Isaiah 37:38 coll. 2 Kings 19:37) a land of Ararat is spoken of. Theodoret says on the present passage, Ἀραρὰτ τὴν Ἀρμενίαν καλεῖ. According to Moses of Chorene (Hist. Armen. p361) Ararat was the chief district of Armenia and divided into twenty circuits. Comp. Delitzsch on Isaiah 37:38.—Minni also, which occurs here only, Psalm 45:9 being doubtful, belongs to Armenia; it was, according to Niebuhr (Ass. u. Bab. S. 427 coll. 136), the second chief state of this country.—Ashkenaz must be sought for at any rate in the neighborhood of Armenia, since Togarmah is the brother of Ashkenaz according to Genesis 10:3, and “the country on the Pontus, Ararat and Caucasus is in general the home of the children of Japheth” (Niebuhrut sup.). Knobel. (Völkertafel and on Genesis 10:3) regards Ashkenaz as the Asorum genus and says in reference to this passage: “The Ashkenaz mentioned in Jeremiah 51:27 appears to be a remnant of the Asi nation in Asia.” [Comp. also Keil and Delitzsch on Genesis 10:3, Tr. I. p163.—S. R. A.]. In general these three peoples here mentioned correspond to the “nations from the north” which are spoken of in Jeremiah 50:3; Jeremiah 50:9.—Appoint a captain—טכּסר. The word occurs besides only in Nahum 3:17. The meaning is doubtful. All we learn from the context is that something hostile to Babylon is intended. The words against her follow four times in Jeremiah 51:27-28, and cannot be taken in another sense the third time from the other three. It is therefore not a measure within Babylon but against Babylon which is spoken of. Appoint is then used as in Jeremiah 15:3. I do not think that number, multitude can be the point of comparison between this and the parallel horses (it is certainly not so with מִנְזָר in Nahum 3:17), and that therefore the word designates “troops” of any kind (Graf, Meier). It is admitted by most commentators that it is an Assyrian word. (Comp. Strauss on Nahum, S. 123). In the inscription of Bisutun, the Assyrian text of which has been rendered in Hebrew letters by Oppert, (Exp. en Mésop, II. p233), the word סַר occurs times innumerable in the sense of “King,” as a title of Darius. Comp. also Strauss, S. 124 Anm, etc.;Brandis, Gewinn, etc, S. 101, 2. טכּסר might thus be a compound of סר. The circumstance that the different nations have their leaders in their “kings” is no ground against this hypothesis, for the multifarious host would still need a common head. I therefore adhere provisionally to the meaning “captain.”—Like bristly locusts. Comp. Jeremiah 51:14. The comparison is very graphic, both with respect to the number and also the form and movements of the animals. Comp. Credner on Joel 1:4.—Consecrate nations is repeated as a sign that the prophet will yet make new and important additions to the nations already mentioned.—Kings of Media. The plural is no more to be regarded as an absolutely indifferent matter than as depending on distinct historical knowledge. It simply leaves open the possibility of a plurality. A great war with Babylon would certainly occupy the whole royal family of Media and might occupy several Median kings in succession. For an analogous case comp. Jeremiah 17:20; Jeremiah 19:3.—Jeremiah’s mention of the Medes is significant for two reasons: 1. because at that time, in the fourth year of Zedekiah (155 Nabon.=B. C598), Nebuchadnezzar was in all probability at war with Media. His father-in-law, Cyaxares, had died the year before, B. C594. This was a favorable epoch to cast off the previous supremacy of Media. “We think that we may unhesitatingly assume that Nabukudrussur had to undertake a great war with Media in the years154,155,” says Niebuhr (Ass. u. Bab, S. 212, 3and on his reasons for this view Ib. S. 211and S. 284),—2. because in the mention of the Medes there is a strong argument against those who assert that this prophecy was composed post eventum, during the captivity, for at this time the Persians and not the Medes would have been designated as the conquerors of Babylon. Comp. Jeremiah 51:11.—Her satraps. Comp. Jeremiah 51:23; Jeremiah 51:57.—To make, etc. Comp. Isaiah 13:9; Jeremiah 2:15; Jeremiah 4:7; Jeremiah 9:10; Jeremiah 46:19; Jeremiah 50:3; Jeremiah 51:47.

Jeremiah 51:30. The heroes of Babylon … broken.—Become women. Comp. Jeremiah 50:37; Nahum 3:13.—They have burned. The subject is the enemies.—Bars are broken. Comp. Amos 1:5; Isaiah 45:2; Lamentations 2:9.—As only the capture of the city is described, the burning of the dwellings must not be referred to a burning of the whole city, presupposing the capture. It must rather be intended as a parallel to the breaking of the bars. The sentence discloses that the enemies had begun their work by setting the dwellings on fire. [Compare the account of the siege of Babylon in Xenophon as given by Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]

[Comp. Herod, I:181; Aristot, Polit. III. c. l; Rawlinson, Anc. Mon. III:363; and Pusey, on Daniel, p268, in Wordsworth and his note on the fulfilment of this prophecy.—S. R. A.]

Jeremiah 51:33. For thus saith … to her. For attaches these words closely to the previous verse. What follows is separated by its specific contents, and thus the statement of reason forms a conclusion. When Jeremiah wrote Babylon stood at the zenith of its bloom. The rejoinder might then be made to him, How canst thou, contrary to all appearances, speak of such an enfeebling of this glorious army and of the capture and destruction of these impregnable bulwarks? Jeremiah replies, Babylon is a threshing-floor. All that is now done to render her great and glorious is no more than a preparation of the floor by treading. In a short time, however, the season of harvest will come to her. Jeremiah here leans back upon Jeremiah 50:26. The glorious city shall one day serve only as a threshing-floor for all the treasures harvested by her enemies.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. “Daniel’s Babylonian empire resumes, as it were, the thread which was broken off with the tower-erection and kingdom of Nimrod. In the Babylonian tower-building the whole of the then existing humanity was united against God; with the Babylonian kingdom began the period of the universal monarchies, which again aspired after an atheistical union of entire humanity. Babylon has since and even to the Revelation ( Jeremiah 18) remained the standing type of this world.” Auberlen, Der proph. Daniel, S. 230.

2. For what reason does Babylon appear as a type of the world? Why not Nineveh, or Persepolis, or Tyre, or Memphis, or Rome? Certainly not because Babylon was greater, more glorious, more powerful or prouder and more ungodly than those cities and kingdoms. Nineveh especially was still greater than Babylon (comp. Duncker, Gesch. d. Alterth. I. S. 474, 5), and Assyria was not less hostile to the theocracy, having carried away into captivity the northern and larger half of the people of Israel. Babylon is qualified for this representation in two ways: 1. because it is the home of worldly princedom and titanic arrogance ( Genesis 10:8; Genesis 11:1-4); 2. because Babylon destroyed the centre of the theocracy, Jerusalem, the temple and the theocratic kingdom, and first assumed to be the single supreme power of the globe.

3. “When God has used a superstitious, wicked and tyrannical nation long enough as His rod, He breaks it in pieces and finally throws it into the fire. For even those whom He formerly used as His chosen anointed instruments He then regards as but the dust in the streets or as chaff before the wind.” Cramer.

4. “No monarch is too rich, too wicked, too strong for God the Lord. And He can soon enlist and engage soldiers whom He can use against His declared enemies.” Cramer.

5. “Israel was founded on everlasting foundations, even God’s word and promise. The sins of the people brought about that it was laid low in the dust, but not without hope of a better resurrection. Babylon, on the other hand, must perish forever, for in it is the empire of evil come to its highest bloom. Jeremiah owns the nothingness of all worldly kingdoms, since they are all under this national order to serve only for a time. We are to be subject to them and seek their welfare for the sake of the souls of men, whom God is educating therein; a Christian however cannot be enthusiastic for them after the manner of the ancient heathen nor of ancient Israel, for here we have no abiding city, our citizenship is in heaven. The kingdoms of this world are no sanctuaries for us and we supplicate their continuance only with the daily bread of the fourth petition. Jeremiah applies many words and figures to Babylon which he has already used in the judgments on other nations, thus to intimate that in Babylon all the heathenism of the world culminates, and that here also must be the greatest anguish. What, however, is here declared of Babylon must be fulfilled again on all earthly powers in so far as, treading in its footprints, they take flesh for their arm and regard the material of this world as power, whether they be called states or churches.” Diedrich.

6. On Jeremiah 50:2. In putting into the mouth of Israel, returning from Babylon, the call to an everlasting covenant with Jehovah, the prophet causes them1. to confess that they have forgotten the first covenant; 2. he shows us that the time of the new covenant begins with the redemption from the Babylonish captivity. He was far, however, from supposing that this redemption would be only a weak beginning, that the appearance of the Saviour would be deferred for centuries, that Israel would sink still deeper as an external πολιτεία, and that finally the Israel of the new covenant would itself appear as a μυστήριον, εἰς ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι ( 1 Peter 1:9-12).

7. From what Jeremiah has already said in Jeremiah 31:31-34 of the new covenant we see that its nature and its difference from the old is not unknown to him. Yet he knows the new covenant only in general. He knows that it will be deeply spiritual and eternal, but how and why it will be so is still to him part of the μυστήριον.

8. On Jeremiah 50:6. Jeremiah here points back to Jeremiah 23. Priests, kings and prophets, who should discharge the office of shepherds, prove to be wolves. Yea, they are the worst of wolves, who go about in official clothing. There is therefore no more dangerous doctrine than that of an infallible office. Jeremiah 14:14; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 23:2-12.

9. On Jeremiah 50:7. It is the worst condition into which a church of God can come, when the enemies who desolate it can maintain that they are in the right in doing so. It Isaiah, however, a just nemesis when those who will not hear the regular messengers of God must be told by the extraordinary messengers of God what they should have done. Comp. Jeremiah 40:2-3.

10. On Jeremiah 50:8. “Babylon is opened, and it must be abandoned not clung to, for the captivity is a temporary chastisement, not the divine arrangement for the children of God. God’s people must in the general redemption go like rams before the herd of the nations, that these may also attach themselves to Israel, as this was fulfilled at the time of Christ in the first churches and the apostles, who now draw the whole heathen world after them to eternal life. Here the prophet recognizes the new humanity, which proceeds from the ruins of the old, in which also ancient Israel leads the way; thus all, who follow it, become Israel.” Diedrich.—“The heathen felt somewhat of the divine punishment when they overcame so easily the usually so strongly protected nation. But Jeremiah shows them still how they deceived themselves in thinking that God had wholly rejected His people, for of the eternal covenant of grace they certainly understood nothing.” Heim and Hoffmann on the Major Prophets.

11. On Jeremiah 50:18. “The great powers of the world form indeed the history of the world, but they have no future. Israel, however, always returns home to the dear and glorious land. The Jews might as a token of this return under Cyrus; the case is however this, that the true Holy One in Israel, Christ, guides us back to Paradise, when we flee to His hand from the Babylon of this world and let it be crucified for us.” Diedrich.

12. On Jeremiah 50:23. “Although the Chaldeans were called of God for the purpose of making war on the Jewish nation on account of their multitudinous sins, yet they are punished because they did it not as God with a pure intention, namely, to punish the wrong in them and keep them for reformation; for they were themselves greater sinners than the Jews and continued with impenitence in their sins. Therefore they could not go scot-free and remain unpunished. Moreover, they acted too roughly and dealt with the Jews more harshly than God had commanded, for which He therefore fairly punished them. As God the Lord Himself says ( Isaiah 47:6): When I was angry with My people I gave them into thine hands; but thou shewedst them no mercy. Therefore it is not enough that God’s will be accomplished, but there must be the good intention in it, which God had, otherwise such a work may be a sin and call down the divine punishment upon it.” Würtemb. Summ.

13. On Jeremiah 50:31-34. “God calls Babylon Thou Pride, for pride was their inward force and impulse in all their actions. But worldly pride makes a Babylon and brings on a Babylon’s fate .… Pride must fall, for it is in itself a lie against God, and all its might must perish in the fire; thus will the humble and meek remain in possession of the earth: this has a wide application through all times, even to eternity.” Diedrich.

14. On Jeremiah 51:33. “Israel is indeed weak and must suffer in a time of tyranny; it cannot help itself, nor needs it to do Song of Solomon, for its Redeemer is strong, His name The Lord Zebaoth—and He Isaiah, now, having assumed our flesh, among us and conducts our cause so that the world trembles.” Diedrich.

15. On Jeremiah 50:45. “An emblem of the destruction of anti-christian Babylon, which was also the true hammer of the whole world. This has God also broken and must and will do it still more. And this will the shepherd-boys do, as is said here in Jeremiah 51:45 (according to Luther’s translation), that Isaiah, all true teachers and preachers.” Cramer.

16. On Jeremiah 51. “The doctrines accord in all points with the previous chapter. And the prophet Jeremiah both in this and the previous chapter does nothing else but make out for the Babylonians their final discharge and passport, because they behaved so valiantly and well against the people of Judah, that they might know they would not go unrecompensed. For payment is according to service. And had they done better it would have gone better with them. It is well that when tyrants succeed in their evil undertakings they should not suppose they are God’s dearest children and lean on His bosom, since they will yet receive the recompense on their crown, whatever they have earned.” Cramer.

17. [“Though in the hand of Babylon is a golden cup; she chooses such a cup, in order that men’s eyes may be dazzled with the glitter of the gold, and may not inquire what it contains. But mark well, in the golden cup of Babylon is the poison of idolatry, the poison of false doctrines, which destroy the souls of men. I have often seen such a golden cup, in fair speeches of seductive eloquence: and when I have examined the venomous ingredients of the golden chalice, I have recognized the cup of Babylon.” Origen in Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]

“The seat and throne of Anti-christ is expressly named Babylon, namely, the city of Rome, built on the seven hills ( Revelation 17:9). Just as Babylon brought so many lands and kingdoms under its sway and ruled them with great pomp and pride (the golden cup, which made all the world drunk, was Babylon in the hand of the Lord ( Jeremiah 51:7), and all the heathen drank of the wine and became mad)—so has the spiritual Babylon a cup in its hand, full of the abomination and uncleanness of its whoredom, of which the kings of the earth and all who dwell on the earth have been made drunk. As it is said of Babylon that she dwells by great waters and has great treasures, so writes John of the Romish Babylon, that it is clothed in silk and purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls ( Revelation 18:12). Of Babylon it is said that the slain in Israel were smitten by her; so also the spiritual Babylon is become drunk with the blood of the saints ( Revelation 17:6). Just, however, as the Chaldean Babylon is a type of the spiritual in its pride and despotism, so also is it a type of the destruction which will come upon it. Many wished to heal Babylon but she would not be healed; so many endeavor to support the ruinous anti-christian Babylon, but all in vain. For as Babylon was at last so destroyed as to be a heap of stones and abode of dragons, so will it be with anti-christian Babylon. Of this it is written in Revelation 14:8 : She is fallen, fallen, that great city, for she has made all nations drink of the wine of her fornication. And again, Babylon the great is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and a hold of all foul and hateful birds ( Revelation 18:2). As the inhabitants of Babylon were admonished to flee from her, that every man might deliver his soul ( Jeremiah 51:6)—and again, My people, go ye out from the midst of her and deliver every man his soul, etc. ( Jeremiah 51:45)—so the Holy Spirit admonishes Christians almost in the same words to go out from the spiritual Babylon, that they be not polluted by her sins and at the same time share in her punishment. For thus it is written in Revelation 18:4, I heard, says John, a voice from heaven saying, Go ye out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues, for her sins reach unto heaven and God remembers her iniquities.” Wurtemb. Summarien.

18. On Jeremiah 51:5. “A monarch can sooner make an end of half a continent than draw a nail from a hut which the Lord protects.—And if it is true that Kaiser Rudolph, when he revoked the toleration of the Picards and the same day lost one of his principal forts, said, ‘I thought it would be Song of Solomon, for I grasped at God’s sceptre’ (Weismanni, Hist. Eccl. Tom. II. p320)—this was a sage remark, a supplement to the words of the wise.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 51:9. We heal Babylon, but she will not be healed. Babylon is an outwardly beautiful but inwardly worm-eaten apple. Hence sooner or later the foulness must become noticeable. So is it with all whose heart and centre is not God. All is inwardly hollow and vain. When this internal vacuity begins to render itself externally palpable, when here and there a rent or foul spot becomes visible, then certainly come the friends and admirers of the unholy form and would improve, cover up, sew up, heal. But it does not avail. When once there is death in the body no physician can effect a cure.

20. On Jeremiah 51:17; Jeremiah 51:19-20. “The children of God have three causes why they may venture on Him. 1. All men are fools, their treasure is it not; 2. The Lord is their hammer; He breaks through everything, and3, they are an instrument in His hand, a heritage; in this there is happiness.” Zinzendorf.

21. On Jeremiah 51:41-44. “How was Sheshach thus won, the city renowned in all the world thus taken? No one would have thought it possible, but God does it. He rules with wonders and with wonders He makes His church free. Babylon is a wonder no longer for its power, but for its weakness. We are to know the world’s weakness even where it still appears strong. A sea of hostile nations has covered Babylon. Her land is now a desolation. God takes Bel and the Dragon, the principal idol of Babylon, symbolizing its whole civil powers in hand, and snatches his prey from his teeth. Our God is stronger than all worldly forces, and never leaves us to them.” Diedrich.

22. On Jeremiah 51:58. “Yea, so it is with all walls and towers, in which God’s word is not the vital force, even though they be entitled churches and cathedrals … God’s church alone possesses permanence through His pure word.” Diedrich.

23. On Jeremiah 51:60-64. When we wish to preserve an archive safely, we deposit it in a record-office where it is kept in a dry place that no moisture may get to it. Seraiah throws his book-roll into the waters of the Euphrates, which must wash it away, dissolve and destroy it. But this was of no account. The main point was that Hebrews, Seraiah, as representative of the holy nation had taken solemn stock of the word of God against Babylon, and as it were taken God at His word, and reminded Him of it. In this manner the matter was laid up in the most enduring and safest archive that could be imagined; it was made a case of honor with the omniscient and omnipotent God. Such matters can, however, neither be forgotten, nor remain in dead silence, nor be neglected. They must be brought to such an end as the honor of God requires.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 50:2. This text may be used on the feast of the Reformation, or any other occasion with reference to a rem bene gestam. The Triumph of the Good Cause, 1. over what enemies it is gained; 2. to what it should impel us; (a) to the avoidance of that over which we new triumph; (b) to the grateful proclamation of what the Lord has done for us, by word and by deed.

2. On Jeremiah 50:4-8. The deliverance of Israel from the Babylonian captivity a type of the deliverance of the Church1. The Church must humbly acknowledge the captivity suffered as a judgment of God2. She must turn like Israel inwardly with an upright heart unto the Lord; 3. She must become like Israel to all men a pattern and leader to freedom.

3. On Jeremiah 50:5. A confirmation sermon. “What is the hour of confirmation? 1. An hour which calls to separation; 2. an hour which leads to new connections; 3. an hour which fixes forever the old covenant with the soul’s friend.” Florey, 1853.

4. On Jeremiah 50:18-20. Assyria and Babylon the types of all the spiritual enemies of the church as of individual Christians. Every one has his Assyria and his Babylon. Sin is the destruction of men. Forgiveness of sins is the condition of life, for only where forgiveness of sins Isaiah, is there life and blessedness. In Christ we find the forgiveness of sins. He destroys the handwriting. He washes us clean. He is also the good shepherd who leads our souls into green pastures, to the spiritual Carmel.

5. On Jeremiah 50:31-32. Warning against pride. Babylon was very strong and powerful, rich and splendid. It seemed invincible by nature and by art. Had it not then a certain justification in being proud, at least towards men? No; for no one has to contend only with men. Every one who contends has the Lord either for his friend or his enemy. It is the Lord from whom cometh victory ( Proverbs 21:31). He it is who teacheth our hands to fight ( Psalm 18:35; Psalm 144:1). His strength is made perfect in weakness ( 2 Corinthians 12:9). He can make the lame ( Isaiah 33:23; Micah 4:7) and mortally wounded ( Jeremiah 37:10) so strong that they overmaster the sound (comp. Jeremiah 51:45). He can make one man put to flight a thousand ( Deuteronomy 32:30; Isaiah 30:17). With him can one dash in pieces a troop and leap over a wall ( Psalm 18:29). No one accordingly should be proud. The word of the Lord, “I am against thee, thou proud one!” is a terrible word which no one should conjure up against himself.

6. On Jeremiah 50:33-34. The consolation of the Church in persecution1. It suffers violence and injustice2. Its redeemer is strong.

7. On Jeremiah 51:5. God the Lord manifests such favor to Israel as to declare Himself her husband ( Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:1). But now that Israel and Judah are in exile, it seems as if they were rejected or widowed women. This, however, is only appearance. Israel’s husband does not die. He may well bring a period of chastisement, of purification and trial on His people, but when this period is over, the Lord turns the handle, and smites those through whom He chastised Israel, when they had forgotten that they were not to satisfy their own desire, but only to accomplish the Lord’s will on Israel.

8. On Jeremiah 51:6. A time may come when it is well to separate one’s self. For although it is said in Proverbs 18:1; he who separateth himself, seeketh that which pleaseth him and opposeth all that is good—and therefore separation, as the antipodes of churchliness, i.e., of churchly communion and humble subjection to the law of the co-operation of members ( 1 Corinthians 12:25 sqq.) is to be repudiated, yet there may come moments in the life of the church, when it will be a duty to leave the community and separate one’s self. Such a moment is come when the community has become a Babylon. It should, however, be noted that one should not be too ready with such a decision. For even the life of the church is subject to many vacillations. There are periods of decay, obscurations, as it were, comparable to eclipses of the stars, but to these, so long as the foundations only subsist, must always follow a restoration and return to the original brightness. No one is to consider the church a Babylon on account of such a passing state of disease. It is this only when it has withheld the objective divine foundations, the means of grace, the word and sacrament, altogether and permanently in their saving efficacy. Then, when the soul can no longer find in the church the pure and divine bread of life; it is well “to deliver the soul that it perish not in the iniquity of the church.” From this separation from the church Isaiah, however, to be carefully distinguished the separation within the church, from all that which is opposed to the healthy life of the church, and is therefore to be regarded as a diseased part of the ecclesiastical body. Such separation is the daily duty of the Christian. He has to perform it with respect to his private life in all the manifold relations, indicated to us in Matthew 18:17; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:9 sqq.; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10; 2 John 1:10-11.—Comp. the article on Sects, by Palmer in Herzog, R-Enc., XXI, S. 21, 22.

9. On Jeremiah 51:10. The righteousness which avails before God1. Its origin (not our work or merit, but God’s grace in Christ); 2. Its fruit, praise of that which the Lord has wrought in us (a) by words, (b) by works.

10. On Jeremiah 51:50. This text may be used at the sending out of missionaries or the departure of emigrants. Occasion may be taken to speak1, of the gracious help and deliverance, which the Lord has hitherto shown to the departing; 2, they may be admonished to remain united in their distant land with their brethren at home by (a) remembering the Lord, i.e., ever remaining sincerely devoted to the Lord as the common shield of salvation; (b) faithfuly serving Jerusalem, i.e., the common mother of us all ( Galatians 4:26), the church, with all our powers in the proper place and measure, and ever keeping her in our hearts.

Footnotes:

FN#15 - Jeremiah 51:29.—ותרעשׁ. The Imperf. with Vau consec. is used here because the prophet transports himself so vividly to the future that he regards it as already past. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 88, 5. There is therefore no necessity of reading וְתִרְעַשׁ with Meier.

FN#16 - Jeremiah 51:29.—קמה. Comp. Jeremiah 44:28-29. On the singular comp. Naegelsb. Gr., 105, 4 b.

FN#17 - Jeremiah 51:30.—The form נַ‍ֽשְׁתָה is probably to be derived from נָשַׁת exaruit. This root occurs only in two passages elsewhere; Isaiah 19:5, נִשְּׁתוּ, and Isaiah 41:17, נָשָׁתָּה. The latter form may have stood for נָשָׁ‍ֽתָה with Dag. f. euphon. Comp. Olsh, § 83 b and232 e; Delitzsch on Isaiah 19:5. Others would derive the forms from שָׁתַת, שָׁתָה or נָשָׁה. Comp. Fuerst s. v. שָׁתַח, Gesen, Thes. s. v. נָשַׁת. At any rate a play upon words with לְנָשִׁים appears to be intended.

FN#18 - Jeremiah 51:33.—הִדְריךְ=דֶּרֶןְ facere. Comp. Hitzig ad loc.—With regard to the construction, it is not necessary to assume an irregular infinitive form, but simply to supply אֲשֶׁר. Comp. Jeremiah 51:3 and Naegelsb. Gr., § 80, 6.


Verses 34-40

17. BABYLON’S MISDEED, ISRAEL’S COMPLAINT, JEHOVAH’S SENTENCE

Jeremiah 51:34-40

34 Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon, devoured us, he crushed us,

He put us away as an empty vessel,

He swallowed us like a dragon,

He filled his belly[FN19] with my best and cast us out.[FN20]

35 “My wrong and my flesh be on Babylon,” say the inhabitress of Zion

“My blood on the inhabitants of Chaldea,” say Jerusalem.

36 Therefore thus saith[FN21] Jehovah:

Behold, I fight thy battle, and execute thy vengeance,

And cause her sea to dry up and seal up her spring.

37 And Babylon shall become ruins, the abode of jackals,

A terror and an object of scorn, which is bare of inhabitants.

38 They will roar one with another like young lions,

They will growl[FN22] like the young of the lioness.

39 For their intoxication I prepare them a drinking-bout,

And make them drunken that they may rejoice,

Fall asleep to a perpetual sleep

And never awake, saith Jehovah.

40 I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter,

Like rams with Hebrews -goats.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Nebuchadnezzar has devoured Israel, emptied his land and caused it to stand like an empty vessel, having cast out the people ( Jeremiah 51:34). For this Israel invokes the vengeance of Jehovah ( Jeremiah 51:35). To this desire the Lord declares Himself willing to respond; as Babylon has emptied Israel, so shall it become an empty unwatered desert; as Nebuchadnezzar has devoured Israel like a dragon, so shall the Chaldeans roar like lions; as they have revelled in Israel’s flesh and blood, so shall they empty the cup of wrath even to fatal drunkenness, and be brought as sheep to the slaughter ( Jeremiah 51:36-40). Three main thoughts are thus plainly distinguishable, the expositio facti, the complaint and the sentence.

Jeremiah 51:34. Nebuchadrezzar … cast us out. Nebuchadnezzar has devoured ( Jeremiah 50:17; Jeremiah 50:17) and crushed (literally disturbavit, Exodus 14:25; Exodus 23:27; Joshua 10:10; 2 Chronicles 15:6) Israel; and then let the land stand like an empty vessel. Hitzig regards the words he put us away, as spoken by the land, but this view is opposed by the plural pronoun. It is better to regard the people and land as speaking together. Then the first clause refers to the persons, the second to the land, the third to the particular things, which the enemy took with him as plunder out of the country.—Dragon, תַּנִּין, Isaiah 1, bellua maritima, κῆτος, ( Genesis 1:21; Job 7:12; Psalm 158:7). 2. Serpent ( Exodus 7:9-10; Exodus 7:12; Deuteronomy 32:33; Psalm 74:13). 3. Crocodile ( Isaiah 27:1; Isaiah 51:9; Ezekiel 29:3; Ezekiel 32:2; Psalm 74:13), In this place it is usually translated dragon, this being viewed as a modification of the second meaning. It is really a matter of indifference what great animal is intended, and it therefore suffices to render the word by a general term.

[“By my flesh we are here to understand the blood-relations of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, or the Jews throughout the country, who were killed or carried captive to Babylon.” Henderson.—S. R. A.]

Jeremiah 51:36-40. Therefore thus … with he goats. The Lord receives the complaint of Israel. He declares himself ready to execute the punishment desired. The close connection of the words with Jeremiah 51:35 is clear from therefore, and from its whole purport.—I fight, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 50:34; Jeremiah 51:6; Jeremiah 51:11; Jeremiah 51:56; Jeremiah 50:15; Jeremiah 50:28.—Cause to dry up, etc. The abundance of water, to which the land of Babylon owes its fertility and power, the Lord will dry up and even seal up the springs. Comp. Jeremiah 50:38.—Her sea. Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 51:13. “The main land, on which Babylon stands, is … a large … plain, which is so broken up with marshes and lakes by the Euphrates, that it floats, as it were, in the sea. The low land on the lower Euphrates Isaiah, as it were, wrung from the sea; for before Semiramis erected the dikes, the Euphrates used to overflow it all (πελαγίζειν,Herod, I, 184); Abydenus (in Euseb. Præp., IX, 41), even says that at first it was all water, and was also called θάλασσα.” Delitzsch on Isaiah 21:1.—Become ruins. Comp. Jeremiah 9:10; Jeremiah 18:16; Jeremiah 19:8; Jeremiah 25:9; Jeremiah 25:18; Jeremiah 29:18; Jeremiah 51:29. According to the theory of recompense which the Lord has presented in Jeremiah 51:36 (comp. Jeremiah 51:6) the desolation and evacuation here predicted corresponds to the emptying, which Israel, according to Jeremiah 51:34, had experienced from Babylon.—In Jeremiah 51:38 it is not an element of the punishment, but on the contrary the revelling of the Babylonians in the enjoyment of their plunder, which is described (comp. Jeremiah 2:15; Amos 3:4).

Jeremiah 51:39. While now they are in the heart of their greedy enjoyment (comp. Hosea 7:4-7) the Lord will prepare them a banquet of his own kind. He will pour them out a full cap, but of wrath ( Jeremiah 25:15-27). Of this excitement and sleep will be the consequence—the excitement of anguish and the sleep of death ( Jeremiah 51:57).—That they may rejoice, is therefore intended ironically. Comp. Isaiah 21:5, and Delitzsch, ad loc.—The remarkable fulfilment of these words in the surprise of the Chaldeans while feasting ( Daniel 5:1 sqq.; Herod, I, 191; Cyrop, VII, 23) is no more to be traced to special prediction, than the fulfilment of Jeremiah 51:31-32; Jeremiah 50:24. The prophet has no expectation that his picture of wild carousal, and the exchange of this for another ironically Song of Solomon -called, would correspond so literally to the facts. That this was the case was not, however, due to a coincidence, but to divine Providence. Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 51:31-32.—I will bring them, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 48:15; Jeremiah 50:27. Lambs, rams, Hebrews -goats! All classes of the population are to fall a sacrifice to the butcher’s knife. Comp. Isaiah 34:6; Ezekiel 39:18; Jeremiah 50:8.—This description also, from Jeremiah 51:38 onwards, stands in evident contrast to the devouring of Israel by the Chaldeans, in Jeremiah 51:34.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. “Daniel’s Babylonian empire resumes, as it were, the thread which was broken off with the tower-erection and kingdom of Nimrod. In the Babylonian tower-building the whole of the then existing humanity was united against God; with the Babylonian kingdom began the period of the universal monarchies, which again aspired after an atheistical union of entire humanity. Babylon has since and even to the Revelation ( Jeremiah 18) remained the standing type of this world.” Auberlen, Der proph. Daniel, S. 230.

2. For what reason does Babylon appear as a type of the world? Why not Nineveh, or Persepolis, or Tyre, or Memphis, or Rome? Certainly not because Babylon was greater, more glorious, more powerful or prouder and more ungodly than those cities and kingdoms. Nineveh especially was still greater than Babylon (comp. Duncker, Gesch. d. Alterth. I. S. 474, 5), and Assyria was not less hostile to the theocracy, having carried away into captivity the northern and larger half of the people of Israel. Babylon is qualified for this representation in two ways: 1. because it is the home of worldly princedom and titanic arrogance ( Genesis 10:8; Genesis 11:1-4); 2. because Babylon destroyed the centre of the theocracy, Jerusalem, the temple and the theocratic kingdom, and first assumed to be the single supreme power of the globe.

3. “When God has used a superstitious, wicked and tyrannical nation long enough as His rod, He breaks it in pieces and finally throws it into the fire. For even those whom He formerly used as His chosen anointed instruments He then regards as but the dust in the streets or as chaff before the wind.” Cramer.

4. “No monarch is too rich, too wicked, too strong for God the Lord. And He can soon enlist and engage soldiers whom He can use against His declared enemies.” Cramer.

5. “Israel was founded on everlasting foundations, even God’s word and promise. The sins of the people brought about that it was laid low in the dust, but not without hope of a better resurrection. Babylon, on the other hand, must perish forever, for in it is the empire of evil come to its highest bloom. Jeremiah owns the nothingness of all worldly kingdoms, since they are all under this national order to serve only for a time. We are to be subject to them and seek their welfare for the sake of the souls of men, whom God is educating therein; a Christian however cannot be enthusiastic for them after the manner of the ancient heathen nor of ancient Israel, for here we have no abiding city, our citizenship is in heaven. The kingdoms of this world are no sanctuaries for us and we supplicate their continuance only with the daily bread of the fourth petition. Jeremiah applies many words and figures to Babylon which he has already used in the judgments on other nations, thus to intimate that in Babylon all the heathenism of the world culminates, and that here also must be the greatest anguish. What, however, is here declared of Babylon must be fulfilled again on all earthly powers in so far as, treading in its footprints, they take flesh for their arm and regard the material of this world as power, whether they be called states or churches.” Diedrich.

6. On Jeremiah 50:2. In putting into the mouth of Israel, returning from Babylon, the call to an everlasting covenant with Jehovah, the prophet causes them1. to confess that they have forgotten the first covenant; 2. he shows us that the time of the new covenant begins with the redemption from the Babylonish captivity. He was far, however, from supposing that this redemption would be only a weak beginning, that the appearance of the Saviour would be deferred for centuries, that Israel would sink still deeper as an external πολιτεία, and that finally the Israel of the new covenant would itself appear as a μυστήριον, εἰς ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι ( 1 Peter 1:9-12).

7. From what Jeremiah has already said in Jeremiah 31:31-34 of the new covenant we see that its nature and its difference from the old is not unknown to him. Yet he knows the new covenant only in general. He knows that it will be deeply spiritual and eternal, but how and why it will be so is still to him part of the μυστήριον.

8. On Jeremiah 50:6. Jeremiah here points back to Jeremiah 23. Priests, kings and prophets, who should discharge the office of shepherds, prove to be wolves. Yea, they are the worst of wolves, who go about in official clothing. There is therefore no more dangerous doctrine than that of an infallible office. Jeremiah 14:14; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 23:2-12.

9. On Jeremiah 50:7. It is the worst condition into which a church of God can come, when the enemies who desolate it can maintain that they are in the right in doing so. It Isaiah, however, a just nemesis when those who will not hear the regular messengers of God must be told by the extraordinary messengers of God what they should have done. Comp. Jeremiah 40:2-3.

10. On Jeremiah 50:8. “Babylon is opened, and it must be abandoned not clung to, for the captivity is a temporary chastisement, not the divine arrangement for the children of God. God’s people must in the general redemption go like rams before the herd of the nations, that these may also attach themselves to Israel, as this was fulfilled at the time of Christ in the first churches and the apostles, who now draw the whole heathen world after them to eternal life. Here the prophet recognizes the new humanity, which proceeds from the ruins of the old, in which also ancient Israel leads the way; thus all, who follow it, become Israel.” Diedrich.—“The heathen felt somewhat of the divine punishment when they overcame so easily the usually so strongly protected nation. But Jeremiah shows them still how they deceived themselves in thinking that God had wholly rejected His people, for of the eternal covenant of grace they certainly understood nothing.” Heim and Hoffmann on the Major Prophets.

11. On Jeremiah 50:18. “The great powers of the world form indeed the history of the world, but they have no future. Israel, however, always returns home to the dear and glorious land. The Jews might as a token of this return under Cyrus; the case is however this, that the true Holy One in Israel, Christ, guides us back to Paradise, when we flee to His hand from the Babylon of this world and let it be crucified for us.” Diedrich.

12. On Jeremiah 50:23. “Although the Chaldeans were called of God for the purpose of making war on the Jewish nation on account of their multitudinous sins, yet they are punished because they did it not as God with a pure intention, namely, to punish the wrong in them and keep them for reformation; for they were themselves greater sinners than the Jews and continued with impenitence in their sins. Therefore they could not go scot-free and remain unpunished. Moreover, they acted too roughly and dealt with the Jews more harshly than God had commanded, for which He therefore fairly punished them. As God the Lord Himself says ( Isaiah 47:6): When I was angry with My people I gave them into thine hands; but thou shewedst them no mercy. Therefore it is not enough that God’s will be accomplished, but there must be the good intention in it, which God had, otherwise such a work may be a sin and call down the divine punishment upon it.” Würtemb. Summ.

13. On Jeremiah 50:31-34. “God calls Babylon Thou Pride, for pride was their inward force and impulse in all their actions. But worldly pride makes a Babylon and brings on a Babylon’s fate .… Pride must fall, for it is in itself a lie against God, and all its might must perish in the fire; thus will the humble and meek remain in possession of the earth: this has a wide application through all times, even to eternity.” Diedrich.

14. On Jeremiah 51:33. “Israel is indeed weak and must suffer in a time of tyranny; it cannot help itself, nor needs it to do Song of Solomon, for its Redeemer is strong, His name The Lord Zebaoth—and He Isaiah, now, having assumed our flesh, among us and conducts our cause so that the world trembles.” Diedrich.

15. On Jeremiah 50:45. “An emblem of the destruction of anti-christian Babylon, which was also the true hammer of the whole world. This has God also broken and must and will do it still more. And this will the shepherd-boys do, as is said here in Jeremiah 51:45 (according to Luther’s translation), that Isaiah, all true teachers and preachers.” Cramer.

16. On Jeremiah 51. “The doctrines accord in all points with the previous chapter. And the prophet Jeremiah both in this and the previous chapter does nothing else but make out for the Babylonians their final discharge and passport, because they behaved so valiantly and well against the people of Judah, that they might know they would not go unrecompensed. For payment is according to service. And had they done better it would have gone better with them. It is well that when tyrants succeed in their evil undertakings they should not suppose they are God’s dearest children and lean on His bosom, since they will yet receive the recompense on their crown, whatever they have earned.” Cramer.

17. [“Though in the hand of Babylon is a golden cup; she chooses such a cup, in order that men’s eyes may be dazzled with the glitter of the gold, and may not inquire what it contains. But mark well, in the golden cup of Babylon is the poison of idolatry, the poison of false doctrines, which destroy the souls of men. I have often seen such a golden cup, in fair speeches of seductive eloquence: and when I have examined the venomous ingredients of the golden chalice, I have recognized the cup of Babylon.” Origen in Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]

“The seat and throne of Anti-christ is expressly named Babylon, namely, the city of Rome, built on the seven hills ( Revelation 17:9). Just as Babylon brought so many lands and kingdoms under its sway and ruled them with great pomp and pride (the golden cup, which made all the world drunk, was Babylon in the hand of the Lord ( Jeremiah 51:7), and all the heathen drank of the wine and became mad)—so has the spiritual Babylon a cup in its hand, full of the abomination and uncleanness of its whoredom, of which the kings of the earth and all who dwell on the earth have been made drunk. As it is said of Babylon that she dwells by great waters and has great treasures, so writes John of the Romish Babylon, that it is clothed in silk and purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls ( Revelation 18:12). Of Babylon it is said that the slain in Israel were smitten by her; so also the spiritual Babylon is become drunk with the blood of the saints ( Revelation 17:6). Just, however, as the Chaldean Babylon is a type of the spiritual in its pride and despotism, so also is it a type of the destruction which will come upon it. Many wished to heal Babylon but she would not be healed; so many endeavor to support the ruinous anti-christian Babylon, but all in vain. For as Babylon was at last so destroyed as to be a heap of stones and abode of dragons, so will it be with anti-christian Babylon. Of this it is written in Revelation 14:8 : She is fallen, fallen, that great city, for she has made all nations drink of the wine of her fornication. And again, Babylon the great is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and a hold of all foul and hateful birds ( Revelation 18:2). As the inhabitants of Babylon were admonished to flee from her, that every man might deliver his soul ( Jeremiah 51:6)—and again, My people, go ye out from the midst of her and deliver every man his soul, etc. ( Jeremiah 51:45)—so the Holy Spirit admonishes Christians almost in the same words to go out from the spiritual Babylon, that they be not polluted by her sins and at the same time share in her punishment. For thus it is written in Revelation 18:4, I heard, says John, a voice from heaven saying, Go ye out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues, for her sins reach unto heaven and God remembers her iniquities.” Wurtemb. Summarien.

18. On Jeremiah 51:5. “A monarch can sooner make an end of half a continent than draw a nail from a hut which the Lord protects.—And if it is true that Kaiser Rudolph, when he revoked the toleration of the Picards and the same day lost one of his principal forts, said, ‘I thought it would be Song of Solomon, for I grasped at God’s sceptre’ (Weismanni, Hist. Eccl. Tom. II. p320)—this was a sage remark, a supplement to the words of the wise.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 51:9. We heal Babylon, but she will not be healed. Babylon is an outwardly beautiful but inwardly worm-eaten apple. Hence sooner or later the foulness must become noticeable. So is it with all whose heart and centre is not God. All is inwardly hollow and vain. When this internal vacuity begins to render itself externally palpable, when here and there a rent or foul spot becomes visible, then certainly come the friends and admirers of the unholy form and would improve, cover up, sew up, heal. But it does not avail. When once there is death in the body no physician can effect a cure.

20. On Jeremiah 51:17; Jeremiah 51:19-20. “The children of God have three causes why they may venture on Him. 1. All men are fools, their treasure is it not; 2. The Lord is their hammer; He breaks through everything, and3, they are an instrument in His hand, a heritage; in this there is happiness.” Zinzendorf.

21. On Jeremiah 51:41-44. “How was Sheshach thus won, the city renowned in all the world thus taken? No one would have thought it possible, but God does it. He rules with wonders and with wonders He makes His church free. Babylon is a wonder no longer for its power, but for its weakness. We are to know the world’s weakness even where it still appears strong. A sea of hostile nations has covered Babylon. Her land is now a desolation. God takes Bel and the Dragon, the principal idol of Babylon, symbolizing its whole civil powers in hand, and snatches his prey from his teeth. Our God is stronger than all worldly forces, and never leaves us to them.” Diedrich.

22. On Jeremiah 51:58. “Yea, so it is with all walls and towers, in which God’s word is not the vital force, even though they be entitled churches and cathedrals … God’s church alone possesses permanence through His pure word.” Diedrich.

23. On Jeremiah 51:60-64. When we wish to preserve an archive safely, we deposit it in a record-office where it is kept in a dry place that no moisture may get to it. Seraiah throws his book-roll into the waters of the Euphrates, which must wash it away, dissolve and destroy it. But this was of no account. The main point was that Hebrews, Seraiah, as representative of the holy nation had taken solemn stock of the word of God against Babylon, and as it were taken God at His word, and reminded Him of it. In this manner the matter was laid up in the most enduring and safest archive that could be imagined; it was made a case of honor with the omniscient and omnipotent God. Such matters can, however, neither be forgotten, nor remain in dead silence, nor be neglected. They must be brought to such an end as the honor of God requires.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 50:2. This text may be used on the feast of the Reformation, or any other occasion with reference to a rem bene gestam. The Triumph of the Good Cause, 1. over what enemies it is gained; 2. to what it should impel us; (a) to the avoidance of that over which we new triumph; (b) to the grateful proclamation of what the Lord has done for us, by word and by deed.

2. On Jeremiah 50:4-8. The deliverance of Israel from the Babylonian captivity a type of the deliverance of the Church1. The Church must humbly acknowledge the captivity suffered as a judgment of God2. She must turn like Israel inwardly with an upright heart unto the Lord; 3. She must become like Israel to all men a pattern and leader to freedom.

3. On Jeremiah 50:5. A confirmation sermon. “What is the hour of confirmation? 1. An hour which calls to separation; 2. an hour which leads to new connections; 3. an hour which fixes forever the old covenant with the soul’s friend.” Florey, 1853.

4. On Jeremiah 50:18-20. Assyria and Babylon the types of all the spiritual enemies of the church as of individual Christians. Every one has his Assyria and his Babylon. Sin is the destruction of men. Forgiveness of sins is the condition of life, for only where forgiveness of sins Isaiah, is there life and blessedness. In Christ we find the forgiveness of sins. He destroys the handwriting. He washes us clean. He is also the good shepherd who leads our souls into green pastures, to the spiritual Carmel.

5. On Jeremiah 50:31-32. Warning against pride. Babylon was very strong and powerful, rich and splendid. It seemed invincible by nature and by art. Had it not then a certain justification in being proud, at least towards men? No; for no one has to contend only with men. Every one who contends has the Lord either for his friend or his enemy. It is the Lord from whom cometh victory ( Proverbs 21:31). He it is who teacheth our hands to fight ( Psalm 18:35; Psalm 144:1). His strength is made perfect in weakness ( 2 Corinthians 12:9). He can make the lame ( Isaiah 33:23; Micah 4:7) and mortally wounded ( Jeremiah 37:10) so strong that they overmaster the sound (comp. Jeremiah 51:45). He can make one man put to flight a thousand ( Deuteronomy 32:30; Isaiah 30:17). With him can one dash in pieces a troop and leap over a wall ( Psalm 18:29). No one accordingly should be proud. The word of the Lord, “I am against thee, thou proud one!” is a terrible word which no one should conjure up against himself.

6. On Jeremiah 50:33-34. The consolation of the Church in persecution1. It suffers violence and injustice2. Its redeemer is strong.

7. On Jeremiah 51:5. God the Lord manifests such favor to Israel as to declare Himself her husband ( Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:1). But now that Israel and Judah are in exile, it seems as if they were rejected or widowed women. This, however, is only appearance. Israel’s husband does not die. He may well bring a period of chastisement, of purification and trial on His people, but when this period is over, the Lord turns the handle, and smites those through whom He chastised Israel, when they had forgotten that they were not to satisfy their own desire, but only to accomplish the Lord’s will on Israel.

8. On Jeremiah 51:6. A time may come when it is well to separate one’s self. For although it is said in Proverbs 18:1; he who separateth himself, seeketh that which pleaseth him and opposeth all that is good—and therefore separation, as the antipodes of churchliness, i.e., of churchly communion and humble subjection to the law of the co-operation of members ( 1 Corinthians 12:25 sqq.) is to be repudiated, yet there may come moments in the life of the church, when it will be a duty to leave the community and separate one’s self. Such a moment is come when the community has become a Babylon. It should, however, be noted that one should not be too ready with such a decision. For even the life of the church is subject to many vacillations. There are periods of decay, obscurations, as it were, comparable to eclipses of the stars, but to these, so long as the foundations only subsist, must always follow a restoration and return to the original brightness. No one is to consider the church a Babylon on account of such a passing state of disease. It is this only when it has withheld the objective divine foundations, the means of grace, the word and sacrament, altogether and permanently in their saving efficacy. Then, when the soul can no longer find in the church the pure and divine bread of life; it is well “to deliver the soul that it perish not in the iniquity of the church.” From this separation from the church Isaiah, however, to be carefully distinguished the separation within the church, from all that which is opposed to the healthy life of the church, and is therefore to be regarded as a diseased part of the ecclesiastical body. Such separation is the daily duty of the Christian. He has to perform it with respect to his private life in all the manifold relations, indicated to us in Matthew 18:17; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:9 sqq.; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10; 2 John 1:10-11.—Comp. the article on Sects, by Palmer in Herzog, R-Enc., XXI, S. 21, 22.

9. On Jeremiah 51:10. The righteousness which avails before God1. Its origin (not our work or merit, but God’s grace in Christ); 2. Its fruit, praise of that which the Lord has wrought in us (a) by words, (b) by works.

10. On Jeremiah 51:50. This text may be used at the sending out of missionaries or the departure of emigrants. Occasion may be taken to speak1, of the gracious help and deliverance, which the Lord has hitherto shown to the departing; 2, they may be admonished to remain united in their distant land with their brethren at home by (a) remembering the Lord, i.e., ever remaining sincerely devoted to the Lord as the common shield of salvation; (b) faithfuly serving Jerusalem, i.e., the common mother of us all ( Galatians 4:26), the church, with all our powers in the proper place and measure, and ever keeping her in our hearts.

Footnotes:

FN#19 - Jeremiah 51:34.—כְּרֵשׂ, belly, is ἅπ. λεγ.

FN#20 - Jeremiah 51:34.—מעדני. The singular suffix has induced the Masoretes to make the previous verbs conformable to this, but this change of number is by no means rare. Comp. Jeremiah 9:7; Jeremiah 10:4; Jeremiah 13:20; Naegelsb. Gr., § 105, 7 Anm. 2. Some commentators would attach the word to the following, and read הדִּיהַנוּ because the Hiph of דּוּחַ signifies to wash, rinse away ( Isaiah 4:4; Ezekiel 40:38; 2 Chronicles 4:6), and does not occur elsewhere in Jeremiah, while הִדִּיחַ is very common with him ( Jeremiah 8:3; Jeremiah 16:15; Jeremiah 23:3; Jeremiah 23:8; Jeremiah 27:10; Jeremiah 27:15, etc.). The meaning of rinsing, however, lies at the foundation of that casting away (“the Hiph. of דִוּחַ is to cast away, wash away,” Delitzsch on Isaiah 4:4, S. 89), and the brevity of the second half of the verse is not without analogy. Comp. Jeremiah 50:26; Jeremiah 51:28.

FN#21 - Jeremiah 51:35.—ישׁבת צ׳ Comp. Isaiah 12:6. The expression occurs only in these two places.

FN#22 - Jeremiah 51:38.—נָעַר, snarl, growl, is an ἅπ. λεγ.


Verses 41-46

18. THE DEMOLITION OF THE PRISON, THE LIBERATION OF THE CAPTIVES

Jeremiah 51:41-46

41 How is Sheshach taken,

And the praise of the whole earth captured!

How is Babylon become a horrid waste[FN23] among the nations!

42 The sea is come up over Babylon,

With the multitude of its waves is she covered.

43 Her cities are become a desolation,

A land of aridity and steppe,

A land wherein no man will dwell,

Which no son of man will pass through.

44 And I visit Bel in Babylon,

And take from his mouth what he hath devoured,

And no more shall the nations flow to him:

The wall also of Babylon is fallen.

45 Go out from the midst of her, my people,

And let every one save his soul from the fury of Jehovah’s anger.

46 And let not your heart faint,[FN24]

Nor fear on account of the rumor which is heard in the land,

For in that year the rumor comes[FN25] and the year after[FN26] another,

And feud in the land, ruler against ruler.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

A double picture! As in Jeremiah 50:1-5, on the background of Babylon destroyed the prophet sees Jerusalem delivered. He thus first shows us Babylon taken and desolated ( Jeremiah 51:41-43), the gods robbed of all ability to retain plunder or attract worshippers, and even the strong, proud walls thrown down ( Jeremiah 51:44). He then summons Israel to flee from the abomination of desolation ( Jeremiah 51:45), and not to be afraid at the alarm of war ( Jeremiah 51:46).

Jeremiah 51:41-44. How is Sheshach … is fallen. Comp. Jeremiah 50:2.—Sheshach. Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 25:26. If it is to be derived from שָׁכַדְ to stoop down, and taken in the sense of “humiliation, submission,” the idea does not accord with the following “praise of the whole earth.” It must wait further illumination.—Praise, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 48:2; Jeremiah 49:25. Herodotus says of Babylon, ἐκεκόσμητο ὡς οὐδὲν ἄλλο πόλισμα τῶν ἡμε͂ις ἴδμεν (I, 178).—The sea, etc. We might think here of the sea of nations (comp. Isaiah 8:7-8; Isaiah 17:12; Jeremiah 46:7-8), especially since in Jeremiah 51:36 and Jeremiah 51:43, the contrary is expressed. It Isaiah, however, possible that the prophet would really say both, viz., that Babylon will be exposed to horrible aridity and fearful inundations. The Euphrates, when left to itself, has at some times too much, and at others too little water. Nebuchadnezzar’s great water-works were to regulate the supply, and when these are destroyed (comp. Jeremiah 51:32) Babylon incurs the double danger.—Her cities, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 9:10.—Land of aridity, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 2:6; Jeremiah 50:12.—No man, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 9:9-11; Jeremiah 49:18; Jeremiah 49:33; Jeremiah 50:40.—Bel (comp. rems. on Jeremiah 50:2) is here mentioned as Babylon’s highest deity, and accordingly as the shield of its power and glory. Whoever conquers and plunders Babylon, conquers and plunders Bel and the Dragon, and whatever Babylon retains of plundered property in its hand, that has Bel. He has, as it were, swallowed all (comp. Jeremiah 51:34; Jeremiah 50:17). Israel then with all the plunder of Jerusalem (comp. Daniel 1:2) may be represented as “devoured by Bel and the Dragon,” and this he is to restore. He is also no longer to have the renown of being a powerful protector. Foreigners shall no longer stream thither to commend themselves to his protection and be amazed at his glory. On the expression, comp. Isaiah 2:2.—The mention of the wall of Babylon (comp. Jeremiah 51:58; Jeremiah 50:15) again as by way of supplement, may seem surprising. The walls of Babylon, however, seem here to be regarded as a sanctuary of Bel. This is intimated in their names; Imgur- Bel and the Dragon, i.e., Bel protect, was the name of the outer wall comprising480 stadia, Nivitti- Bel and the Dragon, i.e., residence of Bel and the Dragon, was the name of the inner wall, 360 stadia long. Comp. Oppert, I, S. 227. [The name of the king also was Belshazzar.—S. R. A.]

[Comp. Rawlinson, Anc. Mon., III, p515, as quoted in Wordsworth.—S. R. A.].

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. “Daniel’s Babylonian empire resumes, as it were, the thread which was broken off with the tower-erection and kingdom of Nimrod. In the Babylonian tower-building the whole of the then existing humanity was united against God; with the Babylonian kingdom began the period of the universal monarchies, which again aspired after an atheistical union of entire humanity. Babylon has since and even to the Revelation ( Jeremiah 18) remained the standing type of this world.” Auberlen, Der proph. Daniel, S. 230.

2. For what reason does Babylon appear as a type of the world? Why not Nineveh, or Persepolis, or Tyre, or Memphis, or Rome? Certainly not because Babylon was greater, more glorious, more powerful or prouder and more ungodly than those cities and kingdoms. Nineveh especially was still greater than Babylon (comp. Duncker, Gesch. d. Alterth. I. S. 474, 5), and Assyria was not less hostile to the theocracy, having carried away into captivity the northern and larger half of the people of Israel. Babylon is qualified for this representation in two ways: 1. because it is the home of worldly princedom and titanic arrogance ( Genesis 10:8; Genesis 11:1-4); 2. because Babylon destroyed the centre of the theocracy, Jerusalem, the temple and the theocratic kingdom, and first assumed to be the single supreme power of the globe.

3. “When God has used a superstitious, wicked and tyrannical nation long enough as His rod, He breaks it in pieces and finally throws it into the fire. For even those whom He formerly used as His chosen anointed instruments He then regards as but the dust in the streets or as chaff before the wind.” Cramer.

4. “No monarch is too rich, too wicked, too strong for God the Lord. And He can soon enlist and engage soldiers whom He can use against His declared enemies.” Cramer.

5. “Israel was founded on everlasting foundations, even God’s word and promise. The sins of the people brought about that it was laid low in the dust, but not without hope of a better resurrection. Babylon, on the other hand, must perish forever, for in it is the empire of evil come to its highest bloom. Jeremiah owns the nothingness of all worldly kingdoms, since they are all under this national order to serve only for a time. We are to be subject to them and seek their welfare for the sake of the souls of men, whom God is educating therein; a Christian however cannot be enthusiastic for them after the manner of the ancient heathen nor of ancient Israel, for here we have no abiding city, our citizenship is in heaven. The kingdoms of this world are no sanctuaries for us and we supplicate their continuance only with the daily bread of the fourth petition. Jeremiah applies many words and figures to Babylon which he has already used in the judgments on other nations, thus to intimate that in Babylon all the heathenism of the world culminates, and that here also must be the greatest anguish. What, however, is here declared of Babylon must be fulfilled again on all earthly powers in so far as, treading in its footprints, they take flesh for their arm and regard the material of this world as power, whether they be called states or churches.” Diedrich.

6. On Jeremiah 50:2. In putting into the mouth of Israel, returning from Babylon, the call to an everlasting covenant with Jehovah, the prophet causes them1. to confess that they have forgotten the first covenant; 2. he shows us that the time of the new covenant begins with the redemption from the Babylonish captivity. He was far, however, from supposing that this redemption would be only a weak beginning, that the appearance of the Saviour would be deferred for centuries, that Israel would sink still deeper as an external πολιτεία, and that finally the Israel of the new covenant would itself appear as a μυστήριον, εἰς ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι ( 1 Peter 1:9-12).

7. From what Jeremiah has already said in Jeremiah 31:31-34 of the new covenant we see that its nature and its difference from the old is not unknown to him. Yet he knows the new covenant only in general. He knows that it will be deeply spiritual and eternal, but how and why it will be so is still to him part of the μυστήριον.

8. On Jeremiah 50:6. Jeremiah here points back to Jeremiah 23. Priests, kings and prophets, who should discharge the office of shepherds, prove to be wolves. Yea, they are the worst of wolves, who go about in official clothing. There is therefore no more dangerous doctrine than that of an infallible office. Jeremiah 14:14; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 23:2-12.

9. On Jeremiah 50:7. It is the worst condition into which a church of God can come, when the enemies who desolate it can maintain that they are in the right in doing so. It Isaiah, however, a just nemesis when those who will not hear the regular messengers of God must be told by the extraordinary messengers of God what they should have done. Comp. Jeremiah 40:2-3.

10. On Jeremiah 50:8. “Babylon is opened, and it must be abandoned not clung to, for the captivity is a temporary chastisement, not the divine arrangement for the children of God. God’s people must in the general redemption go like rams before the herd of the nations, that these may also attach themselves to Israel, as this was fulfilled at the time of Christ in the first churches and the apostles, who now draw the whole heathen world after them to eternal life. Here the prophet recognizes the new humanity, which proceeds from the ruins of the old, in which also ancient Israel leads the way; thus all, who follow it, become Israel.” Diedrich.—“The heathen felt somewhat of the divine punishment when they overcame so easily the usually so strongly protected nation. But Jeremiah shows them still how they deceived themselves in thinking that God had wholly rejected His people, for of the eternal covenant of grace they certainly understood nothing.” Heim and Hoffmann on the Major Prophets.

11. On Jeremiah 50:18. “The great powers of the world form indeed the history of the world, but they have no future. Israel, however, always returns home to the dear and glorious land. The Jews might as a token of this return under Cyrus; the case is however this, that the true Holy One in Israel, Christ, guides us back to Paradise, when we flee to His hand from the Babylon of this world and let it be crucified for us.” Diedrich.

12. On Jeremiah 50:23. “Although the Chaldeans were called of God for the purpose of making war on the Jewish nation on account of their multitudinous sins, yet they are punished because they did it not as God with a pure intention, namely, to punish the wrong in them and keep them for reformation; for they were themselves greater sinners than the Jews and continued with impenitence in their sins. Therefore they could not go scot-free and remain unpunished. Moreover, they acted too roughly and dealt with the Jews more harshly than God had commanded, for which He therefore fairly punished them. As God the Lord Himself says ( Isaiah 47:6): When I was angry with My people I gave them into thine hands; but thou shewedst them no mercy. Therefore it is not enough that God’s will be accomplished, but there must be the good intention in it, which God had, otherwise such a work may be a sin and call down the divine punishment upon it.” Würtemb. Summ.

13. On Jeremiah 50:31-34. “God calls Babylon Thou Pride, for pride was their inward force and impulse in all their actions. But worldly pride makes a Babylon and brings on a Babylon’s fate .… Pride must fall, for it is in itself a lie against God, and all its might must perish in the fire; thus will the humble and meek remain in possession of the earth: this has a wide application through all times, even to eternity.” Diedrich.

14. On Jeremiah 51:33. “Israel is indeed weak and must suffer in a time of tyranny; it cannot help itself, nor needs it to do Song of Solomon, for its Redeemer is strong, His name The Lord Zebaoth—and He Isaiah, now, having assumed our flesh, among us and conducts our cause so that the world trembles.” Diedrich.

15. On Jeremiah 50:45. “An emblem of the destruction of anti-christian Babylon, which was also the true hammer of the whole world. This has God also broken and must and will do it still more. And this will the shepherd-boys do, as is said here in Jeremiah 51:45 (according to Luther’s translation), that Isaiah, all true teachers and preachers.” Cramer.

16. On Jeremiah 51. “The doctrines accord in all points with the previous chapter. And the prophet Jeremiah both in this and the previous chapter does nothing else but make out for the Babylonians their final discharge and passport, because they behaved so valiantly and well against the people of Judah, that they might know they would not go unrecompensed. For payment is according to service. And had they done better it would have gone better with them. It is well that when tyrants succeed in their evil undertakings they should not suppose they are God’s dearest children and lean on His bosom, since they will yet receive the recompense on their crown, whatever they have earned.” Cramer.

17. [“Though in the hand of Babylon is a golden cup; she chooses such a cup, in order that men’s eyes may be dazzled with the glitter of the gold, and may not inquire what it contains. But mark well, in the golden cup of Babylon is the poison of idolatry, the poison of false doctrines, which destroy the souls of men. I have often seen such a golden cup, in fair speeches of seductive eloquence: and when I have examined the venomous ingredients of the golden chalice, I have recognized the cup of Babylon.” Origen in Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]

“The seat and throne of Anti-christ is expressly named Babylon, namely, the city of Rome, built on the seven hills ( Revelation 17:9). Just as Babylon brought so many lands and kingdoms under its sway and ruled them with great pomp and pride (the golden cup, which made all the world drunk, was Babylon in the hand of the Lord ( Jeremiah 51:7), and all the heathen drank of the wine and became mad)—so has the spiritual Babylon a cup in its hand, full of the abomination and uncleanness of its whoredom, of which the kings of the earth and all who dwell on the earth have been made drunk. As it is said of Babylon that she dwells by great waters and has great treasures, so writes John of the Romish Babylon, that it is clothed in silk and purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls ( Revelation 18:12). Of Babylon it is said that the slain in Israel were smitten by her; so also the spiritual Babylon is become drunk with the blood of the saints ( Revelation 17:6). Just, however, as the Chaldean Babylon is a type of the spiritual in its pride and despotism, so also is it a type of the destruction which will come upon it. Many wished to heal Babylon but she would not be healed; so many endeavor to support the ruinous anti-christian Babylon, but all in vain. For as Babylon was at last so destroyed as to be a heap of stones and abode of dragons, so will it be with anti-christian Babylon. Of this it is written in Revelation 14:8 : She is fallen, fallen, that great city, for she has made all nations drink of the wine of her fornication. And again, Babylon the great is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and a hold of all foul and hateful birds ( Revelation 18:2). As the inhabitants of Babylon were admonished to flee from her, that every man might deliver his soul ( Jeremiah 51:6)—and again, My people, go ye out from the midst of her and deliver every man his soul, etc. ( Jeremiah 51:45)—so the Holy Spirit admonishes Christians almost in the same words to go out from the spiritual Babylon, that they be not polluted by her sins and at the same time share in her punishment. For thus it is written in Revelation 18:4, I heard, says John, a voice from heaven saying, Go ye out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues, for her sins reach unto heaven and God remembers her iniquities.” Wurtemb. Summarien.

18. On Jeremiah 51:5. “A monarch can sooner make an end of half a continent than draw a nail from a hut which the Lord protects.—And if it is true that Kaiser Rudolph, when he revoked the toleration of the Picards and the same day lost one of his principal forts, said, ‘I thought it would be Song of Solomon, for I grasped at God’s sceptre’ (Weismanni, Hist. Eccl. Tom. II. p320)—this was a sage remark, a supplement to the words of the wise.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 51:9. We heal Babylon, but she will not be healed. Babylon is an outwardly beautiful but inwardly worm-eaten apple. Hence sooner or later the foulness must become noticeable. So is it with all whose heart and centre is not God. All is inwardly hollow and vain. When this internal vacuity begins to render itself externally palpable, when here and there a rent or foul spot becomes visible, then certainly come the friends and admirers of the unholy form and would improve, cover up, sew up, heal. But it does not avail. When once there is death in the body no physician can effect a cure.

20. On Jeremiah 51:17; Jeremiah 51:19-20. “The children of God have three causes why they may venture on Him. 1. All men are fools, their treasure is it not; 2. The Lord is their hammer; He breaks through everything, and3, they are an instrument in His hand, a heritage; in this there is happiness.” Zinzendorf.

21. On Jeremiah 51:41-44. “How was Sheshach thus won, the city renowned in all the world thus taken? No one would have thought it possible, but God does it. He rules with wonders and with wonders He makes His church free. Babylon is a wonder no longer for its power, but for its weakness. We are to know the world’s weakness even where it still appears strong. A sea of hostile nations has covered Babylon. Her land is now a desolation. God takes Bel and the Dragon, the principal idol of Babylon, symbolizing its whole civil powers in hand, and snatches his prey from his teeth. Our God is stronger than all worldly forces, and never leaves us to them.” Diedrich.

22. On Jeremiah 51:58. “Yea, so it is with all walls and towers, in which God’s word is not the vital force, even though they be entitled churches and cathedrals … God’s church alone possesses permanence through His pure word.” Diedrich.

23. On Jeremiah 51:60-64. When we wish to preserve an archive safely, we deposit it in a record-office where it is kept in a dry place that no moisture may get to it. Seraiah throws his book-roll into the waters of the Euphrates, which must wash it away, dissolve and destroy it. But this was of no account. The main point was that Hebrews, Seraiah, as representative of the holy nation had taken solemn stock of the word of God against Babylon, and as it were taken God at His word, and reminded Him of it. In this manner the matter was laid up in the most enduring and safest archive that could be imagined; it was made a case of honor with the omniscient and omnipotent God. Such matters can, however, neither be forgotten, nor remain in dead silence, nor be neglected. They must be brought to such an end as the honor of God requires.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 50:2. This text may be used on the feast of the Reformation, or any other occasion with reference to a rem bene gestam. The Triumph of the Good Cause, 1. over what enemies it is gained; 2. to what it should impel us; (a) to the avoidance of that over which we new triumph; (b) to the grateful proclamation of what the Lord has done for us, by word and by deed.

2. On Jeremiah 50:4-8. The deliverance of Israel from the Babylonian captivity a type of the deliverance of the Church1. The Church must humbly acknowledge the captivity suffered as a judgment of God2. She must turn like Israel inwardly with an upright heart unto the Lord; 3. She must become like Israel to all men a pattern and leader to freedom.

3. On Jeremiah 50:5. A confirmation sermon. “What is the hour of confirmation? 1. An hour which calls to separation; 2. an hour which leads to new connections; 3. an hour which fixes forever the old covenant with the soul’s friend.” Florey, 1853.

4. On Jeremiah 50:18-20. Assyria and Babylon the types of all the spiritual enemies of the church as of individual Christians. Every one has his Assyria and his Babylon. Sin is the destruction of men. Forgiveness of sins is the condition of life, for only where forgiveness of sins Isaiah, is there life and blessedness. In Christ we find the forgiveness of sins. He destroys the handwriting. He washes us clean. He is also the good shepherd who leads our souls into green pastures, to the spiritual Carmel.

5. On Jeremiah 50:31-32. Warning against pride. Babylon was very strong and powerful, rich and splendid. It seemed invincible by nature and by art. Had it not then a certain justification in being proud, at least towards men? No; for no one has to contend only with men. Every one who contends has the Lord either for his friend or his enemy. It is the Lord from whom cometh victory ( Proverbs 21:31). He it is who teacheth our hands to fight ( Psalm 18:35; Psalm 144:1). His strength is made perfect in weakness ( 2 Corinthians 12:9). He can make the lame ( Isaiah 33:23; Micah 4:7) and mortally wounded ( Jeremiah 37:10) so strong that they overmaster the sound (comp. Jeremiah 51:45). He can make one man put to flight a thousand ( Deuteronomy 32:30; Isaiah 30:17). With him can one dash in pieces a troop and leap over a wall ( Psalm 18:29). No one accordingly should be proud. The word of the Lord, “I am against thee, thou proud one!” is a terrible word which no one should conjure up against himself.

6. On Jeremiah 50:33-34. The consolation of the Church in persecution1. It suffers violence and injustice2. Its redeemer is strong.

7. On Jeremiah 51:5. God the Lord manifests such favor to Israel as to declare Himself her husband ( Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:1). But now that Israel and Judah are in exile, it seems as if they were rejected or widowed women. This, however, is only appearance. Israel’s husband does not die. He may well bring a period of chastisement, of purification and trial on His people, but when this period is over, the Lord turns the handle, and smites those through whom He chastised Israel, when they had forgotten that they were not to satisfy their own desire, but only to accomplish the Lord’s will on Israel.

8. On Jeremiah 51:6. A time may come when it is well to separate one’s self. For although it is said in Proverbs 18:1; he who separateth himself, seeketh that which pleaseth him and opposeth all that is good—and therefore separation, as the antipodes of churchliness, i.e., of churchly communion and humble subjection to the law of the co-operation of members ( 1 Corinthians 12:25 sqq.) is to be repudiated, yet there may come moments in the life of the church, when it will be a duty to leave the community and separate one’s self. Such a moment is come when the community has become a Babylon. It should, however, be noted that one should not be too ready with such a decision. For even the life of the church is subject to many vacillations. There are periods of decay, obscurations, as it were, comparable to eclipses of the stars, but to these, so long as the foundations only subsist, must always follow a restoration and return to the original brightness. No one is to consider the church a Babylon on account of such a passing state of disease. It is this only when it has withheld the objective divine foundations, the means of grace, the word and sacrament, altogether and permanently in their saving efficacy. Then, when the soul can no longer find in the church the pure and divine bread of life; it is well “to deliver the soul that it perish not in the iniquity of the church.” From this separation from the church Isaiah, however, to be carefully distinguished the separation within the church, from all that which is opposed to the healthy life of the church, and is therefore to be regarded as a diseased part of the ecclesiastical body. Such separation is the daily duty of the Christian. He has to perform it with respect to his private life in all the manifold relations, indicated to us in Matthew 18:17; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:9 sqq.; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10; 2 John 1:10-11.—Comp. the article on Sects, by Palmer in Herzog, R-Enc., XXI, S. 21, 22.

9. On Jeremiah 51:10. The righteousness which avails before God1. Its origin (not our work or merit, but God’s grace in Christ); 2. Its fruit, praise of that which the Lord has wrought in us (a) by words, (b) by works.

10. On Jeremiah 51:50. This text may be used at the sending out of missionaries or the departure of emigrants. Occasion may be taken to speak1, of the gracious help and deliverance, which the Lord has hitherto shown to the departing; 2, they may be admonished to remain united in their distant land with their brethren at home by (a) remembering the Lord, i.e., ever remaining sincerely devoted to the Lord as the common shield of salvation; (b) faithfuly serving Jerusalem, i.e., the common mother of us all ( Galatians 4:26), the church, with all our powers in the proper place and measure, and ever keeping her in our hearts.

Footnotes:

FN#23 - Jeremiah 51:41.—שַׁמָּה is stupor in Jeremiah 5:30; Jeremiah 8:21. As in the verbal root, so also in the noun, the idea of being rigid and confused is connected with that of horrible desolation. Comp. Jeremiah 2:15; Jeremiah 4:7; Jeremiah 50:3; Jeremiah 50:23, etc.

FN#24 - Jeremiah 51:46.—ופן־ירך ו׳. Comp. Deuteronomy 20:4; Isaiah 7:4.—אַל=פֵּן as frequently. Ewald, § 337, b.

FN#25 - Jeremiah 51:46.—ובא וגו׳ The construction is as, e.g., in Jeremiah 27:10. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 99, 3.

FN#26 - Jeremiah 51:46.—אַ‍ֽחֲרֵיו is to be regarded as neuter. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 60, 4.


Verses 47-52

19. BABYLON’S FALL AN OCCASION OF JOY TO HEAVEN AND EARTH, BUT ESPECIALLY TO ISRAEL

Jeremiah 51:47-52

47 Therefore behold, the days come that I visit the idols of Babylon,

And her whole land shall be put to shame,

And her wounded ones shall all fall in the midst of her.

48 But heaven and earth, and all therein, shall rejoice over Babylon,

For from the north come[FN27] the destroyers, saith Jehovah.

49 As Babylon caused[FN28] the slain[FN29] of Israel to fall,

So at Babylon are fallen the slain of the whole land.

50 Ye that have escaped the sword,

Go on,[FN30] stand not still:

Remember Jehovah from afar,

And let Jerusalem come into your hearts.

51 “We are ashamed, for we have heard reproach,

Shame covers our face, for strangers are come into the sanctuaries of Jehovah’s house.”

52 Wherefore behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I punish her idols;

And in her whole land groan[FN31] the slain.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

We may observe in this passage that it gradually exhausts itself, and hastens to the conclusion. We may also perceive the effort to revert to the commencement. Hence the great similarity of these verses to Jeremiah 50:3-5. Babylon’s idols are to be visited, the land confounded, and filled with the slain ( Jeremiah 51:47), to the joy of heaven and earth. The destroyers coming from the north are to accomplish this ( Jeremiah 51:48). Thus will be recompensed to Babylon what it has done to Israel ( Jeremiah 51:49). The Israelites, however, are encouraged to go home comforted ( Jeremiah 51:50). They seem not to understand the call, for they answer with complaining words, from which it is seen that no other feeling could find place in their hearts, than that of the disgrace they had suffered ( Jeremiah 51:51). But the prophet comforts them by skilfully repeating the opening words of the picture, indicating that even for their disgrace the promised visitation of the idols and of their country would procure satisfaction ( Jeremiah 51:52). If our division is correct, and Jeremiah 51:52 is really the close of the strophe beginning at Jeremiah 51:47, and if, as cannot be doubted (see the proof in detail below), these verses reproduce in a certain measure the beginning of the whole prophecy, Jeremiah 50:2-5, an artificial arrangement is here noticeable, of which a trace also recurs in the last picture, for Jeremiah 51:58 also in its purport refers back to Jeremiah 51:53.

Jeremiah 51:47-48. Therefore behold … saith Jehovah.—Therefore draws a further special conclusion from the premises stated in the previous context. The main purport of this picture follows from all which has been previously stated as the decree of Jehovah concerning Babylon.—Behold, the day. Comp. Jeremiah 9:24. This formula is found fourteen times in Jeremiah 7:32; Jeremiah 16:14; Jeremiah 19:6, etc.The idols, etc. Generalization of what is said in Jeremiah 51:44 of Bel alone. In Jeremiah 50:2 also the confusion of Bel and the Dragon, Merodach and the idols generally is spoken of. Comp. Jeremiah 51:52.—Put to shame. Comp. Jeremiah 48:13.—Her wounded. Comp. Jeremiah 51:4.—If we render “slain,” we get no suitable meaning from the sentence, even if the emphasis be laid on “in the midst of her,” we must, therefore, take the word in the sense of wounded, as in Psalm 69:26; Job 24:12. All the wounded will fall, i.e., all their wounds will be mortal.

Jeremiah 51:48. Shall rejoice, etc. These words express the main thought of the first part ( Jeremiah 51:47-48) and at the same time the only new element. Heaven and earth certainly must rejoice when once again the justice, wisdom and power of the Lord celebrate a triumph, and it is anew evident that Hebrews, and not the devil, is Lord in the world. Comp. Isaiah 44:23; Isaiah 49:13; Psalm 96:10-11.—The sentence gains much in clearness if we regard it as a parenthesis, and refer the following causal sentence to Jeremiah 51:47. According to the logical sequence the destroyers are the first cause, and the destruction of Babylon the second cause of the rejoicing. If we do not take the imperative sentence as a parenthesis, we must at least refer the causal sentence to all the foregoing context, so that the destroyers appear as the ground both of the fall and the rejoicing. The words for from the north, also remind us of Jeremiah 50:3 coll. Jeremiah 50:9; Jeremiah 50:41, standing here in the same connection as there.—Destroyers. Comp. Jeremiah 51:53.

Jeremiah 51:49-52. As Babylon … the slain. In this second part of the picture the prophet expresses substantially the same thought as in the first, but with special application to Israel and emphasis on the idea of recompense. The sin of Babylon against Israel shall be recompensed, and Israel, at first unable to receive the joyful tidings, is greatly comforted by the repeated solemn proclamation of judgment on the destroyers.—Remember, etc. These words remind us vividly of Jeremiah 50:4-5.—From afar. Jehovah is still always considered as dwelling in Zion. Comp. Jeremiah 41:5.—Come, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 3:16; Jeremiah 44:21.—The Israelites answer to the call, but with words of grief. They cannot receive the joyful tidings. Their minds are still full of the feeling of the disgrace they have suffered. It is as though they would say, What is the thought of Jehovah and Jerusalem for us? Have we not from thence recollections only of the deepest shame and reproach? We are put to shame and we are ashamed (comp. Jeremiah 9:18), for we have heard reproach, scorn and ridicule as the part of the heathen ( Jeremiah 6:10; Jeremiah 24:9), the consequence of which is that shame covered our face ( Psalm 69:8; Psalm 35:26; Psalm 71:13). This scorn which has come upon us refers however to the fact that strangers (comp. Jeremiah 5:19; Jeremiah 30:8; Isaiah 1:7) have come into the sanctuaries (i.e., into all parts, even those forbidden to profane feet) of Jehovah’s house. It must appear surprising that the Israelites respond to the joyful call of the prophet, Jeremiah 51:50, with words of grief. The strophe cannot therefore possibly be concluded here, or it would end in a harsh dissonance. We therefore attach Jeremiah 51:52 to it. Even on this account, says Jeremiah, skilfully repeating the opening words of the picture, shall the idols be visited and their land filled with the slain. The prophet speaks very appropriately of the visitation of the idols, for just this is the recompense for the disgrace inflicted on the house of Jehovah.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. “Daniel’s Babylonian empire resumes, as it were, the thread which was broken off with the tower-erection and kingdom of Nimrod. In the Babylonian tower-building the whole of the then existing humanity was united against God; with the Babylonian kingdom began the period of the universal monarchies, which again aspired after an atheistical union of entire humanity. Babylon has since and even to the Revelation ( Jeremiah 18) remained the standing type of this world.” Auberlen, Der proph. Daniel, S. 230.

2. For what reason does Babylon appear as a type of the world? Why not Nineveh, or Persepolis, or Tyre, or Memphis, or Rome? Certainly not because Babylon was greater, more glorious, more powerful or prouder and more ungodly than those cities and kingdoms. Nineveh especially was still greater than Babylon (comp. Duncker, Gesch. d. Alterth. I. S. 474, 5), and Assyria was not less hostile to the theocracy, having carried away into captivity the northern and larger half of the people of Israel. Babylon is qualified for this representation in two ways: 1. because it is the home of worldly princedom and titanic arrogance ( Genesis 10:8; Genesis 11:1-4); 2. because Babylon destroyed the centre of the theocracy, Jerusalem, the temple and the theocratic kingdom, and first assumed to be the single supreme power of the globe.

3. “When God has used a superstitious, wicked and tyrannical nation long enough as His rod, He breaks it in pieces and finally throws it into the fire. For even those whom He formerly used as His chosen anointed instruments He then regards as but the dust in the streets or as chaff before the wind.” Cramer.

4. “No monarch is too rich, too wicked, too strong for God the Lord. And He can soon enlist and engage soldiers whom He can use against His declared enemies.” Cramer.

5. “Israel was founded on everlasting foundations, even God’s word and promise. The sins of the people brought about that it was laid low in the dust, but not without hope of a better resurrection. Babylon, on the other hand, must perish forever, for in it is the empire of evil come to its highest bloom. Jeremiah owns the nothingness of all worldly kingdoms, since they are all under this national order to serve only for a time. We are to be subject to them and seek their welfare for the sake of the souls of men, whom God is educating therein; a Christian however cannot be enthusiastic for them after the manner of the ancient heathen nor of ancient Israel, for here we have no abiding city, our citizenship is in heaven. The kingdoms of this world are no sanctuaries for us and we supplicate their continuance only with the daily bread of the fourth petition. Jeremiah applies many words and figures to Babylon which he has already used in the judgments on other nations, thus to intimate that in Babylon all the heathenism of the world culminates, and that here also must be the greatest anguish. What, however, is here declared of Babylon must be fulfilled again on all earthly powers in so far as, treading in its footprints, they take flesh for their arm and regard the material of this world as power, whether they be called states or churches.” Diedrich.

6. On Jeremiah 50:2. In putting into the mouth of Israel, returning from Babylon, the call to an everlasting covenant with Jehovah, the prophet causes them1. to confess that they have forgotten the first covenant; 2. he shows us that the time of the new covenant begins with the redemption from the Babylonish captivity. He was far, however, from supposing that this redemption would be only a weak beginning, that the appearance of the Saviour would be deferred for centuries, that Israel would sink still deeper as an external πολιτεία, and that finally the Israel of the new covenant would itself appear as a μυστήριον, εἰς ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι ( 1 Peter 1:9-12).

7. From what Jeremiah has already said in Jeremiah 31:31-34 of the new covenant we see that its nature and its difference from the old is not unknown to him. Yet he knows the new covenant only in general. He knows that it will be deeply spiritual and eternal, but how and why it will be so is still to him part of the μυστήριον.

8. On Jeremiah 50:6. Jeremiah here points back to Jeremiah 23. Priests, kings and prophets, who should discharge the office of shepherds, prove to be wolves. Yea, they are the worst of wolves, who go about in official clothing. There is therefore no more dangerous doctrine than that of an infallible office. Jeremiah 14:14; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 23:2-12.

9. On Jeremiah 50:7. It is the worst condition into which a church of God can come, when the enemies who desolate it can maintain that they are in the right in doing so. It Isaiah, however, a just nemesis when those who will not hear the regular messengers of God must be told by the extraordinary messengers of God what they should have done. Comp. Jeremiah 40:2-3.

10. On Jeremiah 50:8. “Babylon is opened, and it must be abandoned not clung to, for the captivity is a temporary chastisement, not the divine arrangement for the children of God. God’s people must in the general redemption go like rams before the herd of the nations, that these may also attach themselves to Israel, as this was fulfilled at the time of Christ in the first churches and the apostles, who now draw the whole heathen world after them to eternal life. Here the prophet recognizes the new humanity, which proceeds from the ruins of the old, in which also ancient Israel leads the way; thus all, who follow it, become Israel.” Diedrich.—“The heathen felt somewhat of the divine punishment when they overcame so easily the usually so strongly protected nation. But Jeremiah shows them still how they deceived themselves in thinking that God had wholly rejected His people, for of the eternal covenant of grace they certainly understood nothing.” Heim and Hoffmann on the Major Prophets.

11. On Jeremiah 50:18. “The great powers of the world form indeed the history of the world, but they have no future. Israel, however, always returns home to the dear and glorious land. The Jews might as a token of this return under Cyrus; the case is however this, that the true Holy One in Israel, Christ, guides us back to Paradise, when we flee to His hand from the Babylon of this world and let it be crucified for us.” Diedrich.

12. On Jeremiah 50:23. “Although the Chaldeans were called of God for the purpose of making war on the Jewish nation on account of their multitudinous sins, yet they are punished because they did it not as God with a pure intention, namely, to punish the wrong in them and keep them for reformation; for they were themselves greater sinners than the Jews and continued with impenitence in their sins. Therefore they could not go scot-free and remain unpunished. Moreover, they acted too roughly and dealt with the Jews more harshly than God had commanded, for which He therefore fairly punished them. As God the Lord Himself says ( Isaiah 47:6): When I was angry with My people I gave them into thine hands; but thou shewedst them no mercy. Therefore it is not enough that God’s will be accomplished, but there must be the good intention in it, which God had, otherwise such a work may be a sin and call down the divine punishment upon it.” Würtemb. Summ.

13. On Jeremiah 50:31-34. “God calls Babylon Thou Pride, for pride was their inward force and impulse in all their actions. But worldly pride makes a Babylon and brings on a Babylon’s fate .… Pride must fall, for it is in itself a lie against God, and all its might must perish in the fire; thus will the humble and meek remain in possession of the earth: this has a wide application through all times, even to eternity.” Diedrich.

14. On Jeremiah 51:33. “Israel is indeed weak and must suffer in a time of tyranny; it cannot help itself, nor needs it to do Song of Solomon, for its Redeemer is strong, His name The Lord Zebaoth—and He Isaiah, now, having assumed our flesh, among us and conducts our cause so that the world trembles.” Diedrich.

15. On Jeremiah 50:45. “An emblem of the destruction of anti-christian Babylon, which was also the true hammer of the whole world. This has God also broken and must and will do it still more. And this will the shepherd-boys do, as is said here in Jeremiah 51:45 (according to Luther’s translation), that Isaiah, all true teachers and preachers.” Cramer.

16. On Jeremiah 51. “The doctrines accord in all points with the previous chapter. And the prophet Jeremiah both in this and the previous chapter does nothing else but make out for the Babylonians their final discharge and passport, because they behaved so valiantly and well against the people of Judah, that they might know they would not go unrecompensed. For payment is according to service. And had they done better it would have gone better with them. It is well that when tyrants succeed in their evil undertakings they should not suppose they are God’s dearest children and lean on His bosom, since they will yet receive the recompense on their crown, whatever they have earned.” Cramer.

17. [“Though in the hand of Babylon is a golden cup; she chooses such a cup, in order that men’s eyes may be dazzled with the glitter of the gold, and may not inquire what it contains. But mark well, in the golden cup of Babylon is the poison of idolatry, the poison of false doctrines, which destroy the souls of men. I have often seen such a golden cup, in fair speeches of seductive eloquence: and when I have examined the venomous ingredients of the golden chalice, I have recognized the cup of Babylon.” Origen in Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]

“The seat and throne of Anti-christ is expressly named Babylon, namely, the city of Rome, built on the seven hills ( Revelation 17:9). Just as Babylon brought so many lands and kingdoms under its sway and ruled them with great pomp and pride (the golden cup, which made all the world drunk, was Babylon in the hand of the Lord ( Jeremiah 51:7), and all the heathen drank of the wine and became mad)—so has the spiritual Babylon a cup in its hand, full of the abomination and uncleanness of its whoredom, of which the kings of the earth and all who dwell on the earth have been made drunk. As it is said of Babylon that she dwells by great waters and has great treasures, so writes John of the Romish Babylon, that it is clothed in silk and purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls ( Revelation 18:12). Of Babylon it is said that the slain in Israel were smitten by her; so also the spiritual Babylon is become drunk with the blood of the saints ( Revelation 17:6). Just, however, as the Chaldean Babylon is a type of the spiritual in its pride and despotism, so also is it a type of the destruction which will come upon it. Many wished to heal Babylon but she would not be healed; so many endeavor to support the ruinous anti-christian Babylon, but all in vain. For as Babylon was at last so destroyed as to be a heap of stones and abode of dragons, so will it be with anti-christian Babylon. Of this it is written in Revelation 14:8 : She is fallen, fallen, that great city, for she has made all nations drink of the wine of her fornication. And again, Babylon the great is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and a hold of all foul and hateful birds ( Revelation 18:2). As the inhabitants of Babylon were admonished to flee from her, that every man might deliver his soul ( Jeremiah 51:6)—and again, My people, go ye out from the midst of her and deliver every man his soul, etc. ( Jeremiah 51:45)—so the Holy Spirit admonishes Christians almost in the same words to go out from the spiritual Babylon, that they be not polluted by her sins and at the same time share in her punishment. For thus it is written in Revelation 18:4, I heard, says John, a voice from heaven saying, Go ye out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues, for her sins reach unto heaven and God remembers her iniquities.” Wurtemb. Summarien.

18. On Jeremiah 51:5. “A monarch can sooner make an end of half a continent than draw a nail from a hut which the Lord protects.—And if it is true that Kaiser Rudolph, when he revoked the toleration of the Picards and the same day lost one of his principal forts, said, ‘I thought it would be Song of Solomon, for I grasped at God’s sceptre’ (Weismanni, Hist. Eccl. Tom. II. p320)—this was a sage remark, a supplement to the words of the wise.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 51:9. We heal Babylon, but she will not be healed. Babylon is an outwardly beautiful but inwardly worm-eaten apple. Hence sooner or later the foulness must become noticeable. So is it with all whose heart and centre is not God. All is inwardly hollow and vain. When this internal vacuity begins to render itself externally palpable, when here and there a rent or foul spot becomes visible, then certainly come the friends and admirers of the unholy form and would improve, cover up, sew up, heal. But it does not avail. When once there is death in the body no physician can effect a cure.

20. On Jeremiah 51:17; Jeremiah 51:19-20. “The children of God have three causes why they may venture on Him. 1. All men are fools, their treasure is it not; 2. The Lord is their hammer; He breaks through everything, and3, they are an instrument in His hand, a heritage; in this there is happiness.” Zinzendorf.

21. On Jeremiah 51:41-44. “How was Sheshach thus won, the city renowned in all the world thus taken? No one would have thought it possible, but God does it. He rules with wonders and with wonders He makes His church free. Babylon is a wonder no longer for its power, but for its weakness. We are to know the world’s weakness even where it still appears strong. A sea of hostile nations has covered Babylon. Her land is now a desolation. God takes Bel and the Dragon, the principal idol of Babylon, symbolizing its whole civil powers in hand, and snatches his prey from his teeth. Our God is stronger than all worldly forces, and never leaves us to them.” Diedrich.

22. On Jeremiah 51:58. “Yea, so it is with all walls and towers, in which God’s word is not the vital force, even though they be entitled churches and cathedrals … God’s church alone possesses permanence through His pure word.” Diedrich.

23. On Jeremiah 51:60-64. When we wish to preserve an archive safely, we deposit it in a record-office where it is kept in a dry place that no moisture may get to it. Seraiah throws his book-roll into the waters of the Euphrates, which must wash it away, dissolve and destroy it. But this was of no account. The main point was that Hebrews, Seraiah, as representative of the holy nation had taken solemn stock of the word of God against Babylon, and as it were taken God at His word, and reminded Him of it. In this manner the matter was laid up in the most enduring and safest archive that could be imagined; it was made a case of honor with the omniscient and omnipotent God. Such matters can, however, neither be forgotten, nor remain in dead silence, nor be neglected. They must be brought to such an end as the honor of God requires.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 50:2. This text may be used on the feast of the Reformation, or any other occasion with reference to a rem bene gestam. The Triumph of the Good Cause, 1. over what enemies it is gained; 2. to what it should impel us; (a) to the avoidance of that over which we new triumph; (b) to the grateful proclamation of what the Lord has done for us, by word and by deed.

2. On Jeremiah 50:4-8. The deliverance of Israel from the Babylonian captivity a type of the deliverance of the Church1. The Church must humbly acknowledge the captivity suffered as a judgment of God2. She must turn like Israel inwardly with an upright heart unto the Lord; 3. She must become like Israel to all men a pattern and leader to freedom.

3. On Jeremiah 50:5. A confirmation sermon. “What is the hour of confirmation? 1. An hour which calls to separation; 2. an hour which leads to new connections; 3. an hour which fixes forever the old covenant with the soul’s friend.” Florey, 1853.

4. On Jeremiah 50:18-20. Assyria and Babylon the types of all the spiritual enemies of the church as of individual Christians. Every one has his Assyria and his Babylon. Sin is the destruction of men. Forgiveness of sins is the condition of life, for only where forgiveness of sins Isaiah, is there life and blessedness. In Christ we find the forgiveness of sins. He destroys the handwriting. He washes us clean. He is also the good shepherd who leads our souls into green pastures, to the spiritual Carmel.

5. On Jeremiah 50:31-32. Warning against pride. Babylon was very strong and powerful, rich and splendid. It seemed invincible by nature and by art. Had it not then a certain justification in being proud, at least towards men? No; for no one has to contend only with men. Every one who contends has the Lord either for his friend or his enemy. It is the Lord from whom cometh victory ( Proverbs 21:31). He it is who teacheth our hands to fight ( Psalm 18:35; Psalm 144:1). His strength is made perfect in weakness ( 2 Corinthians 12:9). He can make the lame ( Isaiah 33:23; Micah 4:7) and mortally wounded ( Jeremiah 37:10) so strong that they overmaster the sound (comp. Jeremiah 51:45). He can make one man put to flight a thousand ( Deuteronomy 32:30; Isaiah 30:17). With him can one dash in pieces a troop and leap over a wall ( Psalm 18:29). No one accordingly should be proud. The word of the Lord, “I am against thee, thou proud one!” is a terrible word which no one should conjure up against himself.

6. On Jeremiah 50:33-34. The consolation of the Church in persecution1. It suffers violence and injustice2. Its redeemer is strong.

7. On Jeremiah 51:5. God the Lord manifests such favor to Israel as to declare Himself her husband ( Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:1). But now that Israel and Judah are in exile, it seems as if they were rejected or widowed women. This, however, is only appearance. Israel’s husband does not die. He may well bring a period of chastisement, of purification and trial on His people, but when this period is over, the Lord turns the handle, and smites those through whom He chastised Israel, when they had forgotten that they were not to satisfy their own desire, but only to accomplish the Lord’s will on Israel.

8. On Jeremiah 51:6. A time may come when it is well to separate one’s self. For although it is said in Proverbs 18:1; he who separateth himself, seeketh that which pleaseth him and opposeth all that is good—and therefore separation, as the antipodes of churchliness, i.e., of churchly communion and humble subjection to the law of the co-operation of members ( 1 Corinthians 12:25 sqq.) is to be repudiated, yet there may come moments in the life of the church, when it will be a duty to leave the community and separate one’s self. Such a moment is come when the community has become a Babylon. It should, however, be noted that one should not be too ready with such a decision. For even the life of the church is subject to many vacillations. There are periods of decay, obscurations, as it were, comparable to eclipses of the stars, but to these, so long as the foundations only subsist, must always follow a restoration and return to the original brightness. No one is to consider the church a Babylon on account of such a passing state of disease. It is this only when it has withheld the objective divine foundations, the means of grace, the word and sacrament, altogether and permanently in their saving efficacy. Then, when the soul can no longer find in the church the pure and divine bread of life; it is well “to deliver the soul that it perish not in the iniquity of the church.” From this separation from the church Isaiah, however, to be carefully distinguished the separation within the church, from all that which is opposed to the healthy life of the church, and is therefore to be regarded as a diseased part of the ecclesiastical body. Such separation is the daily duty of the Christian. He has to perform it with respect to his private life in all the manifold relations, indicated to us in Matthew 18:17; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:9 sqq.; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10; 2 John 1:10-11.—Comp. the article on Sects, by Palmer in Herzog, R-Enc., XXI, S. 21, 22.

9. On Jeremiah 51:10. The righteousness which avails before God1. Its origin (not our work or merit, but God’s grace in Christ); 2. Its fruit, praise of that which the Lord has wrought in us (a) by words, (b) by works.

10. On Jeremiah 51:50. This text may be used at the sending out of missionaries or the departure of emigrants. Occasion may be taken to speak1, of the gracious help and deliverance, which the Lord has hitherto shown to the departing; 2, they may be admonished to remain united in their distant land with their brethren at home by (a) remembering the Lord, i.e., ever remaining sincerely devoted to the Lord as the common shield of salvation; (b) faithfuly serving Jerusalem, i.e., the common mother of us all ( Galatians 4:26), the church, with all our powers in the proper place and measure, and ever keeping her in our hearts.

Footnotes:

FN#27 - Jeremiah 51:48.—The singular יָבוֹא stands here as an anticipated predicate. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 105, 4, 6, 3.

FN#28 - Jeremiah 51:49.—Before לִנְפֹל should be supplied הָ‍ֽיְתָה. The sense of the connection is then Babylon tended to, occasioned, the fall. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 95, 3 b.

FN#29 - Jeremiah 51:49—הַלְלֵי ו׳ need not be taken as vocative. It is the construction of a sentence in which the infinitive represents the predicate, and the subject is implied in a substantive, depending on a preposition. Comp. Jeremiah 5:26; Jeremiah 6:7; Jeremiah 17:2; Jeremiah 34:9; Naegelsb. Gr., § 95, 2.—If we take it as voc. (Hitzig, Ewald, Graf, etc.), the two clauses of the disjunctive sentence either contain the same thought, or we must take לְ as the לְ auctoris, which is harsh. The Perf. נָפְלוּ is according to this interpretation the prophetic perfect. The prophet sees the strages of the Babylonians as something which has already happened. Hence he addresses the Israelites as having escaped from the overthrow.

FN#30 - Jeremiah 51:50.—הלכי. This imperative occurs here only. The choice of the expression Isaiah, however, explained by the circumstance, that הָלַךְ here does not signify to go away, but as is clear from the antithesis תַּ‍ֽעֲמֹדוּ (comp. Genesis 19:17; Jeremiah 4:6) to go on, and is thus used with a certain emphasis. Hence it is also unnecessary with the LXX. to connect the ה with the previous word, and read מֵחָרָבָה or מֵחָרְבָּה.—Comp, moreover, Jeremiah 51:45; Jeremiah 50:8; Jeremiah 50:28.

FN#31 - Jeremiah 51:52.—אנק in Jeremiah here only. Comp. Ezekiel 26:15.


Verses 53-58

20. NO WALL IS A DEFENCE AGAINST THE LORD

Jeremiah 51:53-58

53 “Even though Babylon should mount up to heaven,

And tower up[FN32] his defences[FN33] to a precipitous height,

From me will destroyers come to her,” saith Jehovah.

54 A loud crying from Babylon

And great ruin from the land of the Chaldeans!

55 For Jehovah destroyeth Babylon,

And extirpates from her the loud noise.

And her waves roar like mighty waters,

The noise of their calling resounds.

56 For there is coming upon her, upon Babylon, a destroyer,

And her heroes are taken, their bows broken;[FN34]

For a God of recompense is Jehovah,

Who well requiteth.

57 “And I make drunk her princes and her wise men,

Her counts, her dukes and her heroes,

That they may sleep a perpetual sleep,

And never awake,” saith the King:

Jehovah Zebaoth is his name.

58 Thus saith Jehovah Zebaoth,

“Babylon’s broad wall[FN35] is laid bare,[FN36]

And her high gates burn[FN37] in the fire!

Thus then have peoples labored in vain,

And nations wearied themselves[FN38] for the fire.”

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

The main thought of the picture is that no dead or living wall can save Babylon, for the Lord, the righteous recompenser, has determined upon its fall. The dead wall of Babylon will not avail, because the Lord will send destroyers, as first expressed in Jeremiah 51:53. In the following verses the fulfilment of this declaration is exhibited: great noise is heard from Babylon ( Jeremiah 51:54). Whence comes this? Hence, that the Lord has begun the work of destruction on Babylon—destroying both the great masses ( Jeremiah 51:55) and the élite of the population. His justice requires this ( Jeremiah 51:56). Substantially the same thought closes the discourse as began it, and both the beginning and conclusion appear as the verba ipsissima of Jehovah, so that in form also the end reverts to the beginning. The princes and wise men of Babylon may be designated as its living wall. They shall be made drunk with the cup of Jehovah’s wrath, and sleep an everlasting sleep ( Jeremiah 51:57). The dead wall, with its lofty gates, shall be subjected to fire, so that it will be made manifest that the immense work, the fruit of the labor of many nations, was achieved in vain, to be consumed by fire ( Jeremiah 51:58).

[Wordsworth: “We may compare also the words of Nebuchadnezzar still extant on this cylinder: ‘In Babylon is the tower of my abode. … To make more difficult the attack of an enemy against Imgour-Bet, the indestructible Wall of Babylon, I constructed a bulwark like a mountain,’ ” etc.—S. R. A.]

Jeremiah 51:54-56. A loud crying … requiteth. That Jeremiah 51:54 describes the execution of what is threatened in Jeremiah 51:53, the work therefore of the destroyers (comp. Jeremiah 50:22; Jeremiah 50:46; Jeremiah 48:3) is seen from Jeremiah 51:55-56. It is at the same time clear from the connection that the loud noise spoken of in Jeremiah 51:54 is the united consequence of a double operation directed to the two main portions of the Babylonian population. At one time the work of the destroyers is against the great mass of the people. This is the sense of loud noise and her waves. The sentence And her waves, etc. expresses the result. The destruction of Babylon and the extirpation of the great tumult of nations cannot take place without bringing the masses of the people into wild and noisy excitement, for, as was remarked on Jeremiah 51:42, masses of people may certainly, as here, be compared with masses of water.—Roar. Comp. Jeremiah 5:22; Jeremiah 31:35; Jeremiah 51:15Jeremiah 6:23.—Afterwards, however, the work of the destroyers is against the élite of the people, the heroes, i.e., the brave men and warriors ( Jeremiah 51:30; Jeremiah 50:36) and their weapons.—For a God of recompense, etc. The causal particle refers of course not only to the immediate, but all the previous context. The object of recompense is here stated as the ground of Jehovah’s procedure against Babylon, as in Jeremiah 50:15; Jeremiah 50:28; Jeremiah 51:6; Jeremiah 51:11; Jeremiah 51:36. Comp. 2 Samuel 19:37; Isaiah 59:18.

Jeremiah 51:57-58. And I make… for the fire. These verses also contain, like Jeremiah 51:53, the verba ipsissima of Jehovah, and Jeremiah 51:58 also treats of the dead wall. When, in Jeremiah 51:57, it is said of the princes, wise men and warriors (comp. Jeremiah 50:35-36; Jeremiah 51:23; Jeremiah 51:28), that the Lord will make them drunk and cause them to sleep a perpetual sleep (comp. rems. on Jeremiah 51:39, whence these words are taken, and Jeremiah 25:15-16; Jeremiah 25:27), it is evidently to be thus intimated that the Lord will paralyze all the forces which might be able in any way to delay the fall. It may then be said that the prophet treats in Jeremiah 51:57 of the destruction of the living, in Jeremiah 51:58 of the dead stone defences. I may be allowed here to insert a passage relating to the building of the walls from the cylinder-inscription already mentioned, as given by Oppert (Exp., I, p230). “Babylon is the refuge of the God Merodach; I have finished (observe that Nebuchadnezzar is the speaker) Imgur- Bel and the Dragon, his great enclosure. In the thresholds of the great gates I have adjusted folding-doors in brass, very strong railings and gratings (?), I have dug its ditches, I have reached the bottom of the waters, I have constructed the banks of the trench with bitumen and bricks. Wishing to preserve the pyramid more efficaciously and to defend it from the enemy and the attacks which might be made on Babylon the imperishable, I caused to be constructed in masonry in the extremities of Babylon a (second) great enclosure, the boulevard of the Rising Sun, which no king had made before me. I had the ditches made dry, and caused the banks to be constructed on barrels.” Here follow the words quoted above in Jeremiah 51:13.—The walls of Babylon, however, were not the work of Nebuchadnezzar alone. According to an inscription, now at Aberdeen, some share in the glory of this work is due to Assarhaddon, the son of Sanherib. He says (Oppert, p227, etc.), “Babylon is the city of laws, Imgur-Bel is its enclosure, Nivitti-Bel its rampart; from the foundation to the battlements I founded, continued, enlarged them.” Oppert is of opinion that these words express too much, and that Nabopolassar, and especially Nebuchadnezzar, are to be regarded as at least the completers of the work. As to the destruction of the wall, Oppert says (p225, etc.), “It is to be presumed that the outer wall, encroached upon by Cyrus, spoiled by Darius, filled with breaches by Xerxes, did not exist at the commencement of the fourth century of the vulgar era. The ditches had been filled—and at least in the greater part the wall had disappeared which was so imposing to the enemies of Babylon, and which inspired Jeremiah with the words recorded in Jeremiah 51:53; Jeremiah 51:58.”—Thus then have peoples, etc. These words are found with slight alteration (transposition of in vain and for the fire) in Habakkuk 2:13. Habakkuk was the contemporary of Jeremiah, and also prophesied the punitive judgment to be executed on Judah by the Chaldeans. As in Jeremiah 1:6 Habakkuk expressly mentions the Chaldeans, he cannot have prophesied before the battle of Carchemish, for it is inconceivable that the appointment of this nation was disclosed to him earlier than to Jeremiah. It is possible that he wrote in the reign of Zedekiah, for we see from chap 1 that the dominion of the Chaldeans had then lasted for some time. If now the words “Behold, is it not of the Lord of hosts?” which in Habakkuk 2:13 immediately precede the words common to this passage, are to be regarded as a formula of quotation, it is not impossible that this is the passage which he quotes, although, of course, it cannot be denied that both may have drawn from a common source. It Isaiah, however, grammatically more correct to take מֵאֵת in the sense of command or determination (as in Joshua 11:20; Ezekiel 33:30), and to translate (with Ewald, Meier) “it is decreed of the Lord that the nations,” etc., and then it is more probable that the words are original to Habakkuk. They suit the context admirably. For Habakkuk wishes to show that a building erected with blood and injustice cannot endure, from which in passing we may derive the important information that Nebuchadnezzar did not execute his immense works without despotic violence.—Labored and wearied themselves are synonymous expressions, comp. Isaiah 40:38 sqq.; so that if we render and wearied themselves (as required by the text here, but not in Habakkuk 2:13), we must understand this in an enhanced signification, as exhausted themselves, or are sinking, which it is doubtful if the word will bear. Nor is it in accordance with the sense and connection of the original passage to attribute to the nations, who were compelled to build the wall, a sinking when the wall falls! It is for them rather a victory than a defeat. This long discourse, as Ewald remarks, “very suitably closes with this sentence of Habakkuk, which is here quite appropriate.”—בְּדֵי־רִיק (to a sufficiency in vain), involves a certain irony. The great wall will be good enough to satisfy the lust of the all-devouring annihilation, or of the fire. It is therefore stronger than לְרִיק. Isaiah 49:4; Isaiah 65:23. Comp. Nahum 2:13.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. “Daniel’s Babylonian empire resumes, as it were, the thread which was broken off with the tower-erection and kingdom of Nimrod. In the Babylonian tower-building the whole of the then existing humanity was united against God; with the Babylonian kingdom began the period of the universal monarchies, which again aspired after an atheistical union of entire humanity. Babylon has since and even to the Revelation ( Jeremiah 18) remained the standing type of this world.” Auberlen, Der proph. Daniel, S. 230.

2. For what reason does Babylon appear as a type of the world? Why not Nineveh, or Persepolis, or Tyre, or Memphis, or Rome? Certainly not because Babylon was greater, more glorious, more powerful or prouder and more ungodly than those cities and kingdoms. Nineveh especially was still greater than Babylon (comp. Duncker, Gesch. d. Alterth. I. S. 474, 5), and Assyria was not less hostile to the theocracy, having carried away into captivity the northern and larger half of the people of Israel. Babylon is qualified for this representation in two ways: 1. because it is the home of worldly princedom and titanic arrogance ( Genesis 10:8; Genesis 11:1-4); 2. because Babylon destroyed the centre of the theocracy, Jerusalem, the temple and the theocratic kingdom, and first assumed to be the single supreme power of the globe.

3. “When God has used a superstitious, wicked and tyrannical nation long enough as His rod, He breaks it in pieces and finally throws it into the fire. For even those whom He formerly used as His chosen anointed instruments He then regards as but the dust in the streets or as chaff before the wind.” Cramer.

4. “No monarch is too rich, too wicked, too strong for God the Lord. And He can soon enlist and engage soldiers whom He can use against His declared enemies.” Cramer.

5. “Israel was founded on everlasting foundations, even God’s word and promise. The sins of the people brought about that it was laid low in the dust, but not without hope of a better resurrection. Babylon, on the other hand, must perish forever, for in it is the empire of evil come to its highest bloom. Jeremiah owns the nothingness of all worldly kingdoms, since they are all under this national order to serve only for a time. We are to be subject to them and seek their welfare for the sake of the souls of men, whom God is educating therein; a Christian however cannot be enthusiastic for them after the manner of the ancient heathen nor of ancient Israel, for here we have no abiding city, our citizenship is in heaven. The kingdoms of this world are no sanctuaries for us and we supplicate their continuance only with the daily bread of the fourth petition. Jeremiah applies many words and figures to Babylon which he has already used in the judgments on other nations, thus to intimate that in Babylon all the heathenism of the world culminates, and that here also must be the greatest anguish. What, however, is here declared of Babylon must be fulfilled again on all earthly powers in so far as, treading in its footprints, they take flesh for their arm and regard the material of this world as power, whether they be called states or churches.” Diedrich.

6. On Jeremiah 50:2. In putting into the mouth of Israel, returning from Babylon, the call to an everlasting covenant with Jehovah, the prophet causes them1. to confess that they have forgotten the first covenant; 2. he shows us that the time of the new covenant begins with the redemption from the Babylonish captivity. He was far, however, from supposing that this redemption would be only a weak beginning, that the appearance of the Saviour would be deferred for centuries, that Israel would sink still deeper as an external πολιτεία, and that finally the Israel of the new covenant would itself appear as a μυστήριον, εἰς ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι ( 1 Peter 1:9-12).

7. From what Jeremiah has already said in Jeremiah 31:31-34 of the new covenant we see that its nature and its difference from the old is not unknown to him. Yet he knows the new covenant only in general. He knows that it will be deeply spiritual and eternal, but how and why it will be so is still to him part of the μυστήριον.

8. On Jeremiah 50:6. Jeremiah here points back to Jeremiah 23. Priests, kings and prophets, who should discharge the office of shepherds, prove to be wolves. Yea, they are the worst of wolves, who go about in official clothing. There is therefore no more dangerous doctrine than that of an infallible office. Jeremiah 14:14; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 23:2-12.

9. On Jeremiah 50:7. It is the worst condition into which a church of God can come, when the enemies who desolate it can maintain that they are in the right in doing so. It Isaiah, however, a just nemesis when those who will not hear the regular messengers of God must be told by the extraordinary messengers of God what they should have done. Comp. Jeremiah 40:2-3.

10. On Jeremiah 50:8. “Babylon is opened, and it must be abandoned not clung to, for the captivity is a temporary chastisement, not the divine arrangement for the children of God. God’s people must in the general redemption go like rams before the herd of the nations, that these may also attach themselves to Israel, as this was fulfilled at the time of Christ in the first churches and the apostles, who now draw the whole heathen world after them to eternal life. Here the prophet recognizes the new humanity, which proceeds from the ruins of the old, in which also ancient Israel leads the way; thus all, who follow it, become Israel.” Diedrich.—“The heathen felt somewhat of the divine punishment when they overcame so easily the usually so strongly protected nation. But Jeremiah shows them still how they deceived themselves in thinking that God had wholly rejected His people, for of the eternal covenant of grace they certainly understood nothing.” Heim and Hoffmann on the Major Prophets.

11. On Jeremiah 50:18. “The great powers of the world form indeed the history of the world, but they have no future. Israel, however, always returns home to the dear and glorious land. The Jews might as a token of this return under Cyrus; the case is however this, that the true Holy One in Israel, Christ, guides us back to Paradise, when we flee to His hand from the Babylon of this world and let it be crucified for us.” Diedrich.

12. On Jeremiah 50:23. “Although the Chaldeans were called of God for the purpose of making war on the Jewish nation on account of their multitudinous sins, yet they are punished because they did it not as God with a pure intention, namely, to punish the wrong in them and keep them for reformation; for they were themselves greater sinners than the Jews and continued with impenitence in their sins. Therefore they could not go scot-free and remain unpunished. Moreover, they acted too roughly and dealt with the Jews more harshly than God had commanded, for which He therefore fairly punished them. As God the Lord Himself says ( Isaiah 47:6): When I was angry with My people I gave them into thine hands; but thou shewedst them no mercy. Therefore it is not enough that God’s will be accomplished, but there must be the good intention in it, which God had, otherwise such a work may be a sin and call down the divine punishment upon it.” Würtemb. Summ.

13. On Jeremiah 50:31-34. “God calls Babylon Thou Pride, for pride was their inward force and impulse in all their actions. But worldly pride makes a Babylon and brings on a Babylon’s fate .… Pride must fall, for it is in itself a lie against God, and all its might must perish in the fire; thus will the humble and meek remain in possession of the earth: this has a wide application through all times, even to eternity.” Diedrich.

14. On Jeremiah 51:33. “Israel is indeed weak and must suffer in a time of tyranny; it cannot help itself, nor needs it to do Song of Solomon, for its Redeemer is strong, His name The Lord Zebaoth—and He Isaiah, now, having assumed our flesh, among us and conducts our cause so that the world trembles.” Diedrich.

15. On Jeremiah 50:45. “An emblem of the destruction of anti-christian Babylon, which was also the true hammer of the whole world. This has God also broken and must and will do it still more. And this will the shepherd-boys do, as is said here in Jeremiah 51:45 (according to Luther’s translation), that Isaiah, all true teachers and preachers.” Cramer.

16. On Jeremiah 51. “The doctrines accord in all points with the previous chapter. And the prophet Jeremiah both in this and the previous chapter does nothing else but make out for the Babylonians their final discharge and passport, because they behaved so valiantly and well against the people of Judah, that they might know they would not go unrecompensed. For payment is according to service. And had they done better it would have gone better with them. It is well that when tyrants succeed in their evil undertakings they should not suppose they are God’s dearest children and lean on His bosom, since they will yet receive the recompense on their crown, whatever they have earned.” Cramer.

17. [“Though in the hand of Babylon is a golden cup; she chooses such a cup, in order that men’s eyes may be dazzled with the glitter of the gold, and may not inquire what it contains. But mark well, in the golden cup of Babylon is the poison of idolatry, the poison of false doctrines, which destroy the souls of men. I have often seen such a golden cup, in fair speeches of seductive eloquence: and when I have examined the venomous ingredients of the golden chalice, I have recognized the cup of Babylon.” Origen in Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]

“The seat and throne of Anti-christ is expressly named Babylon, namely, the city of Rome, built on the seven hills ( Revelation 17:9). Just as Babylon brought so many lands and kingdoms under its sway and ruled them with great pomp and pride (the golden cup, which made all the world drunk, was Babylon in the hand of the Lord ( Jeremiah 51:7), and all the heathen drank of the wine and became mad)—so has the spiritual Babylon a cup in its hand, full of the abomination and uncleanness of its whoredom, of which the kings of the earth and all who dwell on the earth have been made drunk. As it is said of Babylon that she dwells by great waters and has great treasures, so writes John of the Romish Babylon, that it is clothed in silk and purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls ( Revelation 18:12). Of Babylon it is said that the slain in Israel were smitten by her; so also the spiritual Babylon is become drunk with the blood of the saints ( Revelation 17:6). Just, however, as the Chaldean Babylon is a type of the spiritual in its pride and despotism, so also is it a type of the destruction which will come upon it. Many wished to heal Babylon but she would not be healed; so many endeavor to support the ruinous anti-christian Babylon, but all in vain. For as Babylon was at last so destroyed as to be a heap of stones and abode of dragons, so will it be with anti-christian Babylon. Of this it is written in Revelation 14:8 : She is fallen, fallen, that great city, for she has made all nations drink of the wine of her fornication. And again, Babylon the great is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and a hold of all foul and hateful birds ( Revelation 18:2). As the inhabitants of Babylon were admonished to flee from her, that every man might deliver his soul ( Jeremiah 51:6)—and again, My people, go ye out from the midst of her and deliver every man his soul, etc. ( Jeremiah 51:45)—so the Holy Spirit admonishes Christians almost in the same words to go out from the spiritual Babylon, that they be not polluted by her sins and at the same time share in her punishment. For thus it is written in Revelation 18:4, I heard, says John, a voice from heaven saying, Go ye out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues, for her sins reach unto heaven and God remembers her iniquities.” Wurtemb. Summarien.

18. On Jeremiah 51:5. “A monarch can sooner make an end of half a continent than draw a nail from a hut which the Lord protects.—And if it is true that Kaiser Rudolph, when he revoked the toleration of the Picards and the same day lost one of his principal forts, said, ‘I thought it would be Song of Solomon, for I grasped at God’s sceptre’ (Weismanni, Hist. Eccl. Tom. II. p320)—this was a sage remark, a supplement to the words of the wise.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 51:9. We heal Babylon, but she will not be healed. Babylon is an outwardly beautiful but inwardly worm-eaten apple. Hence sooner or later the foulness must become noticeable. So is it with all whose heart and centre is not God. All is inwardly hollow and vain. When this internal vacuity begins to render itself externally palpable, when here and there a rent or foul spot becomes visible, then certainly come the friends and admirers of the unholy form and would improve, cover up, sew up, heal. But it does not avail. When once there is death in the body no physician can effect a cure.

20. On Jeremiah 51:17; Jeremiah 51:19-20. “The children of God have three causes why they may venture on Him. 1. All men are fools, their treasure is it not; 2. The Lord is their hammer; He breaks through everything, and3, they are an instrument in His hand, a heritage; in this there is happiness.” Zinzendorf.

21. On Jeremiah 51:41-44. “How was Sheshach thus won, the city renowned in all the world thus taken? No one would have thought it possible, but God does it. He rules with wonders and with wonders He makes His church free. Babylon is a wonder no longer for its power, but for its weakness. We are to know the world’s weakness even where it still appears strong. A sea of hostile nations has covered Babylon. Her land is now a desolation. God takes Bel and the Dragon, the principal idol of Babylon, symbolizing its whole civil powers in hand, and snatches his prey from his teeth. Our God is stronger than all worldly forces, and never leaves us to them.” Diedrich.

22. On Jeremiah 51:58. “Yea, so it is with all walls and towers, in which God’s word is not the vital force, even though they be entitled churches and cathedrals … God’s church alone possesses permanence through His pure word.” Diedrich.

23. On Jeremiah 51:60-64. When we wish to preserve an archive safely, we deposit it in a record-office where it is kept in a dry place that no moisture may get to it. Seraiah throws his book-roll into the waters of the Euphrates, which must wash it away, dissolve and destroy it. But this was of no account. The main point was that Hebrews, Seraiah, as representative of the holy nation had taken solemn stock of the word of God against Babylon, and as it were taken God at His word, and reminded Him of it. In this manner the matter was laid up in the most enduring and safest archive that could be imagined; it was made a case of honor with the omniscient and omnipotent God. Such matters can, however, neither be forgotten, nor remain in dead silence, nor be neglected. They must be brought to such an end as the honor of God requires.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 50:2. This text may be used on the feast of the Reformation, or any other occasion with reference to a rem bene gestam. The Triumph of the Good Cause, 1. over what enemies it is gained; 2. to what it should impel us; (a) to the avoidance of that over which we new triumph; (b) to the grateful proclamation of what the Lord has done for us, by word and by deed.

2. On Jeremiah 50:4-8. The deliverance of Israel from the Babylonian captivity a type of the deliverance of the Church1. The Church must humbly acknowledge the captivity suffered as a judgment of God2. She must turn like Israel inwardly with an upright heart unto the Lord; 3. She must become like Israel to all men a pattern and leader to freedom.

3. On Jeremiah 50:5. A confirmation sermon. “What is the hour of confirmation? 1. An hour which calls to separation; 2. an hour which leads to new connections; 3. an hour which fixes forever the old covenant with the soul’s friend.” Florey, 1853.

4. On Jeremiah 50:18-20. Assyria and Babylon the types of all the spiritual enemies of the church as of individual Christians. Every one has his Assyria and his Babylon. Sin is the destruction of men. Forgiveness of sins is the condition of life, for only where forgiveness of sins Isaiah, is there life and blessedness. In Christ we find the forgiveness of sins. He destroys the handwriting. He washes us clean. He is also the good shepherd who leads our souls into green pastures, to the spiritual Carmel.

5. On Jeremiah 50:31-32. Warning against pride. Babylon was very strong and powerful, rich and splendid. It seemed invincible by nature and by art. Had it not then a certain justification in being proud, at least towards men? No; for no one has to contend only with men. Every one who contends has the Lord either for his friend or his enemy. It is the Lord from whom cometh victory ( Proverbs 21:31). He it is who teacheth our hands to fight ( Psalm 18:35; Psalm 144:1). His strength is made perfect in weakness ( 2 Corinthians 12:9). He can make the lame ( Isaiah 33:23; Micah 4:7) and mortally wounded ( Jeremiah 37:10) so strong that they overmaster the sound (comp. Jeremiah 51:45). He can make one man put to flight a thousand ( Deuteronomy 32:30; Isaiah 30:17). With him can one dash in pieces a troop and leap over a wall ( Psalm 18:29). No one accordingly should be proud. The word of the Lord, “I am against thee, thou proud one!” is a terrible word which no one should conjure up against himself.

6. On Jeremiah 50:33-34. The consolation of the Church in persecution1. It suffers violence and injustice2. Its redeemer is strong.

7. On Jeremiah 51:5. God the Lord manifests such favor to Israel as to declare Himself her husband ( Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:1). But now that Israel and Judah are in exile, it seems as if they were rejected or widowed women. This, however, is only appearance. Israel’s husband does not die. He may well bring a period of chastisement, of purification and trial on His people, but when this period is over, the Lord turns the handle, and smites those through whom He chastised Israel, when they had forgotten that they were not to satisfy their own desire, but only to accomplish the Lord’s will on Israel.

8. On Jeremiah 51:6. A time may come when it is well to separate one’s self. For although it is said in Proverbs 18:1; he who separateth himself, seeketh that which pleaseth him and opposeth all that is good—and therefore separation, as the antipodes of churchliness, i.e., of churchly communion and humble subjection to the law of the co-operation of members ( 1 Corinthians 12:25 sqq.) is to be repudiated, yet there may come moments in the life of the church, when it will be a duty to leave the community and separate one’s self. Such a moment is come when the community has become a Babylon. It should, however, be noted that one should not be too ready with such a decision. For even the life of the church is subject to many vacillations. There are periods of decay, obscurations, as it were, comparable to eclipses of the stars, but to these, so long as the foundations only subsist, must always follow a restoration and return to the original brightness. No one is to consider the church a Babylon on account of such a passing state of disease. It is this only when it has withheld the objective divine foundations, the means of grace, the word and sacrament, altogether and permanently in their saving efficacy. Then, when the soul can no longer find in the church the pure and divine bread of life; it is well “to deliver the soul that it perish not in the iniquity of the church.” From this separation from the church Isaiah, however, to be carefully distinguished the separation within the church, from all that which is opposed to the healthy life of the church, and is therefore to be regarded as a diseased part of the ecclesiastical body. Such separation is the daily duty of the Christian. He has to perform it with respect to his private life in all the manifold relations, indicated to us in Matthew 18:17; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:9 sqq.; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10; 2 John 1:10-11.—Comp. the article on Sects, by Palmer in Herzog, R-Enc., XXI, S. 21, 22.

9. On Jeremiah 51:10. The righteousness which avails before God1. Its origin (not our work or merit, but God’s grace in Christ); 2. Its fruit, praise of that which the Lord has wrought in us (a) by words, (b) by works.

10. On Jeremiah 51:50. This text may be used at the sending out of missionaries or the departure of emigrants. Occasion may be taken to speak1, of the gracious help and deliverance, which the Lord has hitherto shown to the departing; 2, they may be admonished to remain united in their distant land with their brethren at home by (a) remembering the Lord, i.e., ever remaining sincerely devoted to the Lord as the common shield of salvation; (b) faithfuly serving Jerusalem, i.e., the common mother of us all ( Galatians 4:26), the church, with all our powers in the proper place and measure, and ever keeping her in our hearts.

Footnotes:

FN#32 - Jeremiah 51:53.—The Piel בִצֵּר denotes to cut off, to separate sharply. This is used in the sense of fortifying, like Kal in בְצוּרָה, Isaiah 2:15; Isaiah 37:26 coll. מִבְצָר, because fortifications are sharply separated from their surroundings. Comp. Isaiah 22:10.

FN#33 - Jeremiah 51:53.—עֹז is here as in מִגְדַּל עֹז, Judges 9:51; Psalm 61:4; Proverbs 18:10; צוּר עֹז, Psalm 62:4; עיר or קִרְיַת עז, Isaiah 26:1; Proverbs 10:12; Proverbs 18:11, a strong bulwark for defence or protection.

FN#34 - Jeremiah 51:56.—חִתֵּת=to make חַת, i.e., to make cracked. Comp. פִּתֵח, Isaiah 48:8; Isaiah 60:11; פִּחַד Isaiah 51:13; and with respect to the meaning “broken,” 1 Samuel 2:4; on the singular, comp. Naegelsb. Gr. § 105, 4, b.

FN#35 - Jeremiah 51:58.—הֹמֹות is construed as sing, here only. Evidently the totality of the walls, which, in a certain aspect, was a six-fold line of circumvallation (comp. Oppert, p228, etc.), is regarded as a unit. Comp. Ewald, § 318, a.

FN#36 - Jeremiah 51:58.—ערער ו׳. Inf. abs. Pilpel, (comp. Olsh, § 253, Anm.) with Hithpalp. from עָרַר, to strip one’s self, i.e., thrown down, discovered to their foundations. Comp. עֵרָה Habakkuk 3:13; Psalm 137:7; and Isaiah 23:13; Ezekiel 13:14.

FN#37 - Jeremiah 51:58.—יצתו. Comp. Jeremiah 49:2; Isaiah 33:12; Olsh, § 242, b.

FN#38 - Jeremiah 51:58.—Regarding these words as original to Habakkuk, we may also regard ויעפו as a scriptural error, it being easy to write this instead of ייעפו. Comp. Naegelsb. Jer. u. Bab, S. 97.


Verses 59-64

21. HISTORICAL CONCLUSION

Jeremiah 51:59-64

59The word which Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, when he went with Zedekiah the king of Judah into Babylon in the fourth year of his reign. And this Seraiah was a quiet prince [caravan-marshall]. 60So Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come[FN39] upon Babylon, 61even all these words that are written against Babylon. And Jeremiah said to Seraiah, When thou comest to Babylon, and shalt see, and shalt [see that thou][FN40] 62read all these words; then shalt thou say, O Lord [and say, O Jehovah], thou hast spoken against this place, to cut it off, that none shall remain in it, neither 63 man nor beast, but that it shall be desolate for ever. And it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading this book, that thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast 64 it into the midst of Euphrates: And thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink,[FN41] and shall not rise from [because of] the evil that I will bring upon her: and they shall be weary [exhausted].[FN42] Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

When King Zedekiah, in the fourth year of his reign, made a journey to Babylon, Jeremiah gave to Seraiah, the brother of Baruch, the marshall, the prophecy against Babylon to take with him and read in Babylon, and then with prayer to the Lord to cast it into the Euphrates.

Jeremiah 51:59. The word … caravan-marshall. The commission which Seraiah receives really forms the chief part of this section. For after Jeremiah 51:60, in which the restoration of the roll forming the basis of this commission is described, all the rest contains only the words in which Jeremiah imparts the commission.—Seraiah, according to Jeremiah 32:13, must be a brother of Baruch, the friend and assistant of our prophet, which explains why the commission was given to him. Other persons named Seraiah are mentioned in this book, Jeremiah 36:26; Jeremiah 40:8; Jeremiah 52:24. It seems to have been a common name among the priests. Comp. 1 Chronicles 7:6; 1 Chronicles 7:14; Ezra 7:1; Ezra 7:4; Nehemiah 10:2; Nehemiah 11:11; Nehemiah 12:1; Nehemiah 12:12.—It is not perfectly clear why Zedekiah went to Babylon. His fourth year is the same in which the envoys of the neighboring nations met in Jerusalem, to treat concerning a defensive alliance against the Chaldean power. Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 27:1 and Jeremiah 28:1. Niebuhr thinks that the diversion then made by Nebuchadnezzar’s war with Media was the occasion of this meeting (Ass. u. Bab, S. 211). The journey to Babylon shows that nothing came of the project, whether that the reports from the East caused the matter to appear too dangerous, or that the warnings of Jeremiah made some impression.—A quiet prince (שׂר־מנוחה). This expression has been interpreted in the most various and strangest ways, concerning which comp. Rosenmueller and J. D. Michaelisad loc. The latter was the first to give the substantially correct rendering in his Translation of the Old Testament, 1778, Leader of the caravan. Maurer first proposed “Reisemarschall,” marshall of the journey. Literally it denotes “Prince of the resting-place.” Comp. Numbers 10:33.

Jeremiah 51:60-64. So Jeremiah wrote .… exhausted. We may assume that this journey of Zedekiah was the occasion of the prophecy against Babylon. For homage, if not the only object, was certainly one of the objects, of the journey, and it therefore involved a deep disgrace to the theocracy. How fitting it was that the prophet should make use of this journey to furnish the medal with an appropriate reverse. While the king of Judah, in view of all, was casting himself in homage before the throne of the Chaldean king, Seraiah was to cast a roll in the Euphrates, on which was recorded as a divine decree the destruction of Babylon and deliverance of Israel.—That Jeremiah copied the prophecy from the book-roll mentioned in Jeremiah 36:32 (Graf) is only supposable, in case Jeremiah successively increased that collection of writings begun in the fifth year of Jehoiakim, first inserting the present prophecy in it, and thus giving Seraiah a copy, a confirmation of which hypothesis may be found in the expression in a [אֶחָד, one] book. It Isaiah, however, possible that Jeremiah would thus intimate that he purposely wrote the prophecy upon one roll, in antithesis to the many rolls forming the main collection. The reason of the prophet’s care to write the whole on one roll, would then doubtless be that one could be handled more easily and safely than two.—The reading was evidently for a threefold purpose: 1. With respect to the city of Babylon it was an announcement of judgment (Hitzig), which appears the more significant, as the announcers were not in a condition to make a declaration against Babylon, coming, as they did in all humility, to do homage2. With respect to God, it was to be affirmed that the people of Israel had taken solemn notice of the divine promise. Hence after the reading the Lord is to be expressly addressed and reminded of the word of His promise in its main features (comp. Jeremiah 51:62 with Jeremiah 50:3; Jeremiah 51:26). He is thus, as it were, to be taken at His word and pledged3. To the Israelites there was naturally a great comfort in all this, which must have been of special value to them in that moment of deep shame.—The sinking of the roll in the Euphrates is added to the reading as supplementary and confirming the words by a visible symbolic action. The roll being compelled to sink by the stone and thus outwardly given up to destruction, suggests the thought that this external part was no longer necessary after, by the reading, the purport had been received into the living spiritual archives of the consciousness. At the same time, as is expressly stated in Jeremiah 51:64, the sinking by the weight of the stone is to represent symbolically the ruin of Babylon.—Shall not rise, as the roll with the stone will not.—From the evil does not designate the element in which Babylon is to sink, but the figure is here forsaken and the transition made to literal speech. מִפְּנֵי then=in consequence of [because of, the evil].—Shall be weary. These words might certainly be dispensed with, as they rather injure than promote the clearness of the sense. As is well understood, however, the easier reading is by no means always the more correct. The question depends on whether the finer and more hidden sense which may be contained in the words is able to balance the formal reasons which favor their spuriousness. Comp. the Textual remarks.

Thus far the words of Jeremiah. These words, which I cannot regard as misplaced (comp. rems. on Jeremiah 51:64) have simply the object of indicating that ch 52 does not proceed from Jeremiah himself, but is the addition made by another person.

Footnotes:

FN#39 - Jeremiah 51:60.—On the sense of the Imperfect תָּבוֹא comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 87, 1.

FN#40 - Jeremiah 51:61.—וראית. This word cannot mean “and when thou seest it (for the first time).” The suffix would certainly not be wanting in that case. Nor can we see why the reading should take place at the first sight of the city. Both time and place might then be vary unfavorable. It is rather the apodosis; then see to it. It is inculcated upon him that he discharge his commission with circumspection. Comp. 1 Kings 12:16; Psalm 37:37; Isaiah 22:11.

FN#41 - Jeremiah 51:64.—שָׁקַע, demergi, desidere, in Jeremiah here only. Comp. Amos 8:8; Amos 9:5.

FN#42 - Jeremiah 51:64.—If the word ויעפו is not genuine, it can have come here only through the transposition of the following words, “Thus far,” etc., with which the copyist, through carelessness or of purpose, connected this. This, however, involves the inauthenticity of Jeremiah 51:59-64 or their original position before Jeremiah 50:1. Hitzig says the passage “bears some marks of genuineness, none of the contrary,” and it is incredible that it stood before Jeremiah 50:1, since it would then appear that this great prophecy was only of secondary importance. If, then, Jeremiah 51:59-64 are genuine and in their original position, the same must be said of the concluding words, since they could never have had their position before Jeremiah 51:59. A copyist could not have added ויעפו by mistake. Jeremiah, then, must have done it. His object probably was to give a token of identity to the sinking prophecy by an unmistakable quotation from it. The ancient translations, with the exception of the LXX, which is of no authority, all express the word. Comp. Naegelsb. Jer. u. Bab, S. 96.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. “Daniel’s Babylonian empire resumes, as it were, the thread which was broken off with the tower-erection and kingdom of Nimrod. In the Babylonian tower-building the whole of the then existing humanity was united against God; with the Babylonian kingdom began the period of the universal monarchies, which again aspired after an atheistical union of entire humanity. Babylon has since and even to the Revelation ( Jeremiah 18) remained the standing type of this world.” Auberlen, Der proph. Daniel, S. 230.

2. For what reason does Babylon appear as a type of the world? Why not Nineveh, or Persepolis, or Tyre, or Memphis, or Rome? Certainly not because Babylon was greater, more glorious, more powerful or prouder and more ungodly than those cities and kingdoms. Nineveh especially was still greater than Babylon (comp. Duncker, Gesch. d. Alterth. I. S. 474, 5), and Assyria was not less hostile to the theocracy, having carried away into captivity the northern and larger half of the people of Israel. Babylon is qualified for this representation in two ways: 1. because it is the home of worldly princedom and titanic arrogance ( Genesis 10:8; Genesis 11:1-4); 2. because Babylon destroyed the centre of the theocracy, Jerusalem, the temple and the theocratic kingdom, and first assumed to be the single supreme power of the globe.

3. “When God has used a superstitious, wicked and tyrannical nation long enough as His rod, He breaks it in pieces and finally throws it into the fire. For even those whom He formerly used as His chosen anointed instruments He then regards as but the dust in the streets or as chaff before the wind.” Cramer.

4. “No monarch is too rich, too wicked, too strong for God the Lord. And He can soon enlist and engage soldiers whom He can use against His declared enemies.” Cramer.

5. “Israel was founded on everlasting foundations, even God’s word and promise. The sins of the people brought about that it was laid low in the dust, but not without hope of a better resurrection. Babylon, on the other hand, must perish forever, for in it is the empire of evil come to its highest bloom. Jeremiah owns the nothingness of all worldly kingdoms, since they are all under this national order to serve only for a time. We are to be subject to them and seek their welfare for the sake of the souls of men, whom God is educating therein; a Christian however cannot be enthusiastic for them after the manner of the ancient heathen nor of ancient Israel, for here we have no abiding city, our citizenship is in heaven. The kingdoms of this world are no sanctuaries for us and we supplicate their continuance only with the daily bread of the fourth petition. Jeremiah applies many words and figures to Babylon which he has already used in the judgments on other nations, thus to intimate that in Babylon all the heathenism of the world culminates, and that here also must be the greatest anguish. What, however, is here declared of Babylon must be fulfilled again on all earthly powers in so far as, treading in its footprints, they take flesh for their arm and regard the material of this world as power, whether they be called states or churches.” Diedrich.

6. On Jeremiah 50:2. In putting into the mouth of Israel, returning from Babylon, the call to an everlasting covenant with Jehovah, the prophet causes them1. to confess that they have forgotten the first covenant; 2. he shows us that the time of the new covenant begins with the redemption from the Babylonish captivity. He was far, however, from supposing that this redemption would be only a weak beginning, that the appearance of the Saviour would be deferred for centuries, that Israel would sink still deeper as an external πολιτεία, and that finally the Israel of the new covenant would itself appear as a μυστήριον, εἰς ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι ( 1 Peter 1:9-12).

7. From what Jeremiah has already said in Jeremiah 31:31-34 of the new covenant we see that its nature and its difference from the old is not unknown to him. Yet he knows the new covenant only in general. He knows that it will be deeply spiritual and eternal, but how and why it will be so is still to him part of the μυστήριον.

8. On Jeremiah 50:6. Jeremiah here points back to Jeremiah 23. Priests, kings and prophets, who should discharge the office of shepherds, prove to be wolves. Yea, they are the worst of wolves, who go about in official clothing. There is therefore no more dangerous doctrine than that of an infallible office. Jeremiah 14:14; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 23:2-12.

9. On Jeremiah 50:7. It is the worst condition into which a church of God can come, when the enemies who desolate it can maintain that they are in the right in doing so. It Isaiah, however, a just nemesis when those who will not hear the regular messengers of God must be told by the extraordinary messengers of God what they should have done. Comp. Jeremiah 40:2-3.

10. On Jeremiah 50:8. “Babylon is opened, and it must be abandoned not clung to, for the captivity is a temporary chastisement, not the divine arrangement for the children of God. God’s people must in the general redemption go like rams before the herd of the nations, that these may also attach themselves to Israel, as this was fulfilled at the time of Christ in the first churches and the apostles, who now draw the whole heathen world after them to eternal life. Here the prophet recognizes the new humanity, which proceeds from the ruins of the old, in which also ancient Israel leads the way; thus all, who follow it, become Israel.” Diedrich.—“The heathen felt somewhat of the divine punishment when they overcame so easily the usually so strongly protected nation. But Jeremiah shows them still how they deceived themselves in thinking that God had wholly rejected His people, for of the eternal covenant of grace they certainly understood nothing.” Heim and Hoffmann on the Major Prophets.

11. On Jeremiah 50:18. “The great powers of the world form indeed the history of the world, but they have no future. Israel, however, always returns home to the dear and glorious land. The Jews might as a token of this return under Cyrus; the case is however this, that the true Holy One in Israel, Christ, guides us back to Paradise, when we flee to His hand from the Babylon of this world and let it be crucified for us.” Diedrich.

12. On Jeremiah 50:23. “Although the Chaldeans were called of God for the purpose of making war on the Jewish nation on account of their multitudinous sins, yet they are punished because they did it not as God with a pure intention, namely, to punish the wrong in them and keep them for reformation; for they were themselves greater sinners than the Jews and continued with impenitence in their sins. Therefore they could not go scot-free and remain unpunished. Moreover, they acted too roughly and dealt with the Jews more harshly than God had commanded, for which He therefore fairly punished them. As God the Lord Himself says ( Isaiah 47:6): When I was angry with My people I gave them into thine hands; but thou shewedst them no mercy. Therefore it is not enough that God’s will be accomplished, but there must be the good intention in it, which God had, otherwise such a work may be a sin and call down the divine punishment upon it.” Würtemb. Summ.

13. On Jeremiah 50:31-34. “God calls Babylon Thou Pride, for pride was their inward force and impulse in all their actions. But worldly pride makes a Babylon and brings on a Babylon’s fate .… Pride must fall, for it is in itself a lie against God, and all its might must perish in the fire; thus will the humble and meek remain in possession of the earth: this has a wide application through all times, even to eternity.” Diedrich.

14. On Jeremiah 51:33. “Israel is indeed weak and must suffer in a time of tyranny; it cannot help itself, nor needs it to do Song of Solomon, for its Redeemer is strong, His name The Lord Zebaoth—and He Isaiah, now, having assumed our flesh, among us and conducts our cause so that the world trembles.” Diedrich.

15. On Jeremiah 50:45. “An emblem of the destruction of anti-christian Babylon, which was also the true hammer of the whole world. This has God also broken and must and will do it still more. And this will the shepherd-boys do, as is said here in Jeremiah 51:45 (according to Luther’s translation), that Isaiah, all true teachers and preachers.” Cramer.

16. On Jeremiah 51. “The doctrines accord in all points with the previous chapter. And the prophet Jeremiah both in this and the previous chapter does nothing else but make out for the Babylonians their final discharge and passport, because they behaved so valiantly and well against the people of Judah, that they might know they would not go unrecompensed. For payment is according to service. And had they done better it would have gone better with them. It is well that when tyrants succeed in their evil undertakings they should not suppose they are God’s dearest children and lean on His bosom, since they will yet receive the recompense on their crown, whatever they have earned.” Cramer.

17. [“Though in the hand of Babylon is a golden cup; she chooses such a cup, in order that men’s eyes may be dazzled with the glitter of the gold, and may not inquire what it contains. But mark well, in the golden cup of Babylon is the poison of idolatry, the poison of false doctrines, which destroy the souls of men. I have often seen such a golden cup, in fair speeches of seductive eloquence: and when I have examined the venomous ingredients of the golden chalice, I have recognized the cup of Babylon.” Origen in Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]

“The seat and throne of Anti-christ is expressly named Babylon, namely, the city of Rome, built on the seven hills ( Revelation 17:9). Just as Babylon brought so many lands and kingdoms under its sway and ruled them with great pomp and pride (the golden cup, which made all the world drunk, was Babylon in the hand of the Lord ( Jeremiah 51:7), and all the heathen drank of the wine and became mad)—so has the spiritual Babylon a cup in its hand, full of the abomination and uncleanness of its whoredom, of which the kings of the earth and all who dwell on the earth have been made drunk. As it is said of Babylon that she dwells by great waters and has great treasures, so writes John of the Romish Babylon, that it is clothed in silk and purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls ( Revelation 18:12). Of Babylon it is said that the slain in Israel were smitten by her; so also the spiritual Babylon is become drunk with the blood of the saints ( Revelation 17:6). Just, however, as the Chaldean Babylon is a type of the spiritual in its pride and despotism, so also is it a type of the destruction which will come upon it. Many wished to heal Babylon but she would not be healed; so many endeavor to support the ruinous anti-christian Babylon, but all in vain. For as Babylon was at last so destroyed as to be a heap of stones and abode of dragons, so will it be with anti-christian Babylon. Of this it is written in Revelation 14:8 : She is fallen, fallen, that great city, for she has made all nations drink of the wine of her fornication. And again, Babylon the great is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and a hold of all foul and hateful birds ( Revelation 18:2). As the inhabitants of Babylon were admonished to flee from her, that every man might deliver his soul ( Jeremiah 51:6)—and again, My people, go ye out from the midst of her and deliver every man his soul, etc. ( Jeremiah 51:45)—so the Holy Spirit admonishes Christians almost in the same words to go out from the spiritual Babylon, that they be not polluted by her sins and at the same time share in her punishment. For thus it is written in Revelation 18:4, I heard, says John, a voice from heaven saying, Go ye out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues, for her sins reach unto heaven and God remembers her iniquities.” Wurtemb. Summarien.

18. On Jeremiah 51:5. “A monarch can sooner make an end of half a continent than draw a nail from a hut which the Lord protects.—And if it is true that Kaiser Rudolph, when he revoked the toleration of the Picards and the same day lost one of his principal forts, said, ‘I thought it would be Song of Solomon, for I grasped at God’s sceptre’ (Weismanni, Hist. Eccl. Tom. II. p320)—this was a sage remark, a supplement to the words of the wise.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 51:9. We heal Babylon, but she will not be healed. Babylon is an outwardly beautiful but inwardly worm-eaten apple. Hence sooner or later the foulness must become noticeable. So is it with all whose heart and centre is not God. All is inwardly hollow and vain. When this internal vacuity begins to render itself externally palpable, when here and there a rent or foul spot becomes visible, then certainly come the friends and admirers of the unholy form and would improve, cover up, sew up, heal. But it does not avail. When once there is death in the body no physician can effect a cure.

20. On Jeremiah 51:17; Jeremiah 51:19-20. “The children of God have three causes why they may venture on Him. 1. All men are fools, their treasure is it not; 2. The Lord is their hammer; He breaks through everything, and3, they are an instrument in His hand, a heritage; in this there is happiness.” Zinzendorf.

21. On Jeremiah 51:41-44. “How was Sheshach thus won, the city renowned in all the world thus taken? No one would have thought it possible, but God does it. He rules with wonders and with wonders He makes His church free. Babylon is a wonder no longer for its power, but for its weakness. We are to know the world’s weakness even where it still appears strong. A sea of hostile nations has covered Babylon. Her land is now a desolation. God takes Bel and the Dragon, the principal idol of Babylon, symbolizing its whole civil powers in hand, and snatches his prey from his teeth. Our God is stronger than all worldly forces, and never leaves us to them.” Diedrich.

22. On Jeremiah 51:58. “Yea, so it is with all walls and towers, in which God’s word is not the vital force, even though they be entitled churches and cathedrals … God’s church alone possesses permanence through His pure word.” Diedrich.

23. On Jeremiah 51:60-64. When we wish to preserve an archive safely, we deposit it in a record-office where it is kept in a dry place that no moisture may get to it. Seraiah throws his book-roll into the waters of the Euphrates, which must wash it away, dissolve and destroy it. But this was of no account. The main point was that Hebrews, Seraiah, as representative of the holy nation had taken solemn stock of the word of God against Babylon, and as it were taken God at His word, and reminded Him of it. In this manner the matter was laid up in the most enduring and safest archive that could be imagined; it was made a case of honor with the omniscient and omnipotent God. Such matters can, however, neither be forgotten, nor remain in dead silence, nor be neglected. They must be brought to such an end as the honor of God requires.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 50:2. This text may be used on the feast of the Reformation, or any other occasion with reference to a rem bene gestam. The Triumph of the Good Cause, 1. over what enemies it is gained; 2. to what it should impel us; (a) to the avoidance of that over which we new triumph; (b) to the grateful proclamation of what the Lord has done for us, by word and by deed.

2. On Jeremiah 50:4-8. The deliverance of Israel from the Babylonian captivity a type of the deliverance of the Church1. The Church must humbly acknowledge the captivity suffered as a judgment of God2. She must turn like Israel inwardly with an upright heart unto the Lord; 3. She must become like Israel to all men a pattern and leader to freedom.

3. On Jeremiah 50:5. A confirmation sermon. “What is the hour of confirmation? 1. An hour which calls to separation; 2. an hour which leads to new connections; 3. an hour which fixes forever the old covenant with the soul’s friend.” Florey, 1853.

4. On Jeremiah 50:18-20. Assyria and Babylon the types of all the spiritual enemies of the church as of individual Christians. Every one has his Assyria and his Babylon. Sin is the destruction of men. Forgiveness of sins is the condition of life, for only where forgiveness of sins Isaiah, is there life and blessedness. In Christ we find the forgiveness of sins. He destroys the handwriting. He washes us clean. He is also the good shepherd who leads our souls into green pastures, to the spiritual Carmel.

5. On Jeremiah 50:31-32. Warning against pride. Babylon was very strong and powerful, rich and splendid. It seemed invincible by nature and by art. Had it not then a certain justification in being proud, at least towards men? No; for no one has to contend only with men. Every one who contends has the Lord either for his friend or his enemy. It is the Lord from whom cometh victory ( Proverbs 21:31). He it is who teacheth our hands to fight ( Psalm 18:35; Psalm 144:1). His strength is made perfect in weakness ( 2 Corinthians 12:9). He can make the lame ( Isaiah 33:23; Micah 4:7) and mortally wounded ( Jeremiah 37:10) so strong that they overmaster the sound (comp. Jeremiah 51:45). He can make one man put to flight a thousand ( Deuteronomy 32:30; Isaiah 30:17). With him can one dash in pieces a troop and leap over a wall ( Psalm 18:29). No one accordingly should be proud. The word of the Lord, “I am against thee, thou proud one!” is a terrible word which no one should conjure up against himself.

6. On Jeremiah 50:33-34. The consolation of the Church in persecution1. It suffers violence and injustice2. Its redeemer is strong.

7. On Jeremiah 51:5. God the Lord manifests such favor to Israel as to declare Himself her husband ( Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:1). But now that Israel and Judah are in exile, it seems as if they were rejected or widowed women. This, however, is only appearance. Israel’s husband does not die. He may well bring a period of chastisement, of purification and trial on His people, but when this period is over, the Lord turns the handle, and smites those through whom He chastised Israel, when they had forgotten that they were not to satisfy their own desire, but only to accomplish the Lord’s will on Israel.

8. On Jeremiah 51:6. A time may come when it is well to separate one’s self. For although it is said in Proverbs 18:1; he who separateth himself, seeketh that which pleaseth him and opposeth all that is good—and therefore separation, as the antipodes of churchliness, i.e., of churchly communion and humble subjection to the law of the co-operation of members ( 1 Corinthians 12:25 sqq.) is to be repudiated, yet there may come moments in the life of the church, when it will be a duty to leave the community and separate one’s self. Such a moment is come when the community has become a Babylon. It should, however, be noted that one should not be too ready with such a decision. For even the life of the church is subject to many vacillations. There are periods of decay, obscurations, as it were, comparable to eclipses of the stars, but to these, so long as the foundations only subsist, must always follow a restoration and return to the original brightness. No one is to consider the church a Babylon on account of such a passing state of disease. It is this only when it has withheld the objective divine foundations, the means of grace, the word and sacrament, altogether and permanently in their saving efficacy. Then, when the soul can no longer find in the church the pure and divine bread of life; it is well “to deliver the soul that it perish not in the iniquity of the church.” From this separation from the church Isaiah, however, to be carefully distinguished the separation within the church, from all that which is opposed to the healthy life of the church, and is therefore to be regarded as a diseased part of the ecclesiastical body. Such separation is the daily duty of the Christian. He has to perform it with respect to his private life in all the manifold relations, indicated to us in Matthew 18:17; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:9 sqq.; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10; 2 John 1:10-11.—Comp. the article on Sects, by Palmer in Herzog, R-Enc., XXI, S. 21, 22.

9. On Jeremiah 51:10. The righteousness which avails before God1. Its origin (not our work or merit, but God’s grace in Christ); 2. Its fruit, praise of that which the Lord has wrought in us (a) by words, (b) by works.

10. On Jeremiah 51:50. This text may be used at the sending out of missionaries or the departure of emigrants. Occasion may be taken to speak1, of the gracious help and deliverance, which the Lord has hitherto shown to the departing; 2, they may be admonished to remain united in their distant land with their brethren at home by (a) remembering the Lord, i.e., ever remaining sincerely devoted to the Lord as the common shield of salvation; (b) faithfuly serving Jerusalem, i.e., the common mother of us all ( Galatians 4:26), the church, with all our powers in the proper place and measure, and ever keeping her in our hearts.

IV. Conclusion

Historical Appendix, Containing A Brief Survey Of The Events From The Beginning Of The Reign Of Zedekiah, To The Death Of Jehoiachin ( Jeremiah 52)

By the concluding words of Jeremiah 51:64 (Thus far, etc.) the final editor of the book evidently wished to indicate that the words of Jeremiah cease with Jeremiah 51, and that, therefore, what follows is not from him, but some other. We are thus expressly warned by those concluding words against the mistake of attributing chap52 to the prophet. Nevertheless the chapter has been considered by D. Kimchi, Abarbanel and many others, as a work of Jeremiah. Seb. Schmidt, e.g, in opposition to the opinion of Abarbanel, says that the men of the great synagogue took the history of the destruction of Jerusalem from the Book of Kings and inserted it here, “ne forte erremus in eo, quod supra scriptum est.” And afterwards “Contrarium potius statuimus, scripta hæc esse a Jeremia propheta et transsumta in librum Regum, sicut in eum historia Hiskiæ ex Jesaja translata Esther, cum aliqua tamen variatione, ut appareat, utrumque scriptorem habere quod sibi proprium et a Spiritu sancto inspiratum.” All orthodox commentators of the older period do not however adopt this view. The strict Lutheran Förster, e.g, says in his Commentary, which appeared in 1672, “Hucusque fuit prophetia Jeremiæ. Caput istud ultimum ab alio quodam viro pio et sancto ἐπεισάγματος quasi loco superadditum fuit vel huc transscriptum ex II. Reg. c25.”—Among the more modern authors Haevernick adopts the view that Jeremiah wrote the history of Jehoiachin and Zedekiah just as Isaiah wrote that of Hezekiah. He then, as editor of the Book of Kings allotted its natural place to this description in 2 Kings 25. (Einl. II, 1, S. 172) while Jeremiah 52 was added to these by the collectors of the prophecies. He afterwards (II. 2, S. 248) modifies this view, at least declaring Jeremiah 51:31-34 to be a subsequently added notice, which, however, passed naturally and probably at the same time to 2 Kings 25—Keil (Einl. II, Aufl, S. 261; Comm. über die proph. Geschichtsbücher des A. T, III. Bd., 1865, S. 378, 9) is of opinion that an extended history of the last times of the kingdom of Judah, composed “perhaps by Jeremiah or Baruch” (in the Einl, etc, it is “either by Jeremiah or by Baruch”), was in existence. The two narratives of Jeremiah 52,2Kings25 were brief extracts from this. Most commentators, however, are of opinion that the present passage belonged originally to the Book of Kings, and was inserted by a later hand with several lesser and one great modification (the insertion of Jeremiah 52:28-30, in the place of 2 Kings 25:22-26). I also adopt this view in substance, for the following reasons: 1. The introduction of the passage ( Jeremiah 52:1-2) contains the standing formula of the Book of Kings, with which the succession of a new king is usually recorded. This introduction is thus undoubtedly original in the Book of Kings. For whoever composed it, and from whatever source it may have been drawn, it was at any rate, as it now reads, written originally for the Book of Kings, and in Jeremiah 52 is only a transposition from thence. 2. The rest also is so composed that it cannot be said there is anything contained in it contrary in form or purport to the usual character of the Books of the Kings. 3. There Isaiah, therefore, a strong presumption that the narrative also thus introduced was originally written for the Book of Kings, to which it is essential and indispensable, and which, without it, would be so much mutilated, while the Book of Jeremiah receives in it a conclusion however useful, yet essentially foreign. 4. The transference from the Book of Kings is made purposely and with consideration. This is evident from the fact that the brief section, Jeremiah 51:28-30, was inserted instead of the narrative concerning the fate of the Jews remaining in the country, which is only a brief extract from Jeremiah, chh39–43, and therefore in the Book of Jeremiah would have been an unnecessary repetition. 5. As to the form of the text the relation is as follows: (a) in Jeremiah 51:1-5, Jeremiah 52 has some traces of an older form of the text, not yet purified from roughnesses. Comp. וִיחוּדָה עַד־הִשְׁלִיכוֹ, Jeremiah 51:3, with 2 Kings 24:20. Likewise the older form [Illigible] נְבוּכַדְרֶ Jeremiah 51:4, with 2 Kings 25:1. On the other hand וַיַהֽנֲוּ ib. betrays the hand of an emendator, (b) In Jeremiah 51:6-11, the text of Jeremiah 52. is in general, especially as regards completeness and correctness much better; Jeremiah 51:6 contains the indispensable statement of the month, which is strangely lacking in 2 Kings 25:3; so also Jeremiah 52:7 contains the verbs indispensable to the sense, יבִרִחוּ וַיֵצְאוּ ו׳. Jeremiah 51:10 b contains the statement concerning princes of Judah, Jeremiah 51:11 a similar one concerning the imprisonment of Zedekiah, which are both wanting in 2 Kings 25. The text of 2 Kings 25. thus appears here to be more than contracted (comp. also אֹתוֹ, 2 Kings 25:5 with אֶת־צִדְקִיָהוּ Jeremiah 52:8, whereby the harshness occasioned in 2 Kings 25:7 by a change of subjects is removed). The absence of those essential parts of speech in Jeremiah 51:3-4, can be the result only of the transformations which the text has suffered. Thus also the other wants of the text may be explained, and there is no necessity for assuming the common use of a third source. (e). From Jeremiah 51:12-23 the Book of Kings shows in Jeremiah 51:8-17 a text variously emended and purged from real or apparent offences. In Jeremiah 51:8 Nebuchadnezzar, ib. עֶבֶד for עָמַד, and ירְוּשָלֵם for בּי׳, in Jeremiah 51:9 כָּל־בֵּית־גָדוֹל for the more difficult הַגָּדוֹל. In Jeremiah 51:10 the superfluous כֹּל is absent before חוֹמֹת; in Jeremiah 51:11 for the same reason is wanting וּמִדַּלּוֹת הָעָם; the rare word הִָאָמוֹן is altered into the more current הֶהָמוֹן, in Jeremiah 51:12 we read דַּלַּת for דַּלּוֹת, which does not occur elsewhere; ib. the name Nebuzaradan seemed superfluous; ib. גָּבִים Chethibh for יֹגְבִּים, not occurring elsewhere; in Jeremiah 51:14 מִזְדָקוֹת, and likewise in Jeremiah 51:15 סִפִּים and סִירוֹת, because otherwise these names would be mentioned twice, also in Jeremiah 51:15 the two neighboring words to the two last mentioned have disappeared; in Jeremiah 51:16 with perfect justice the statement concerning the twelve oxen is absent; ib. we find the easier לִנְהשֶׁת; in Jeremiah 51:17 the apparently superfluous וְהָעַמּוּדִים is wanting in the beginning, then all from חוּט, perhaps because these statements were already to be found in 1 Kings 7:15-16; in Jeremiah 51:17 אַחַת is wanting after הַכֹּתֶרֶת; ib. שָׁלשׁ is an evident mistake; after Jeremiah 51:17 that is entirely wanting which forms Jeremiah 52:23, perhaps because its main import had been already expressed in 1 Kings 7:20.—(d). In verses24–27 again the text of Jeremiah 52. shows itself to have been emended, but not, happily; in Jeremiah 51:24 הַמִּשְׁנֶה is only an apparent improvement; in Jeremiah 51:25 אֲשֶׁר הָיהָ is certainly plainer; ib. שִׁבְעָה is doubtful; the absence of the article before סֹפֶר seems to proceed from ignorance. (e). In the concluding section, Jeremiah 51:31-34; again the text of the book of Kings betrays the hand of the emendator; in Jeremiah 51:27 ( 2 Kings 25.) הֲמִשָׁה is obscure, but וַיוֹצֵא אֹתוֹ seemed evidently superfluous; instead of the rarer form כְּלִיא stands the more usual מֵעֵל כִּסֵּא,כֶּלֶא is a simplification; שִׁנָּא in Jeremiah 51:29 is a later Aramaic form; in Jeremiah 51:30 בָּבֶל is wanting as superfluous, for the same reason also עַד יוֹם מוֹתוֹ

From all this it seems to follow that Jeremiah 52. is certainly a transposition of 2 Kings 25. but that in the former passage we have a better text, neither disfigured by needless correction nor by other injuries. Whether the author of the book of Kings is Jeremiah himself, or whether especially at the close of his history he made use of this prophet’s writings, I leave undecided. This much, however, is certain, that this chapter neither stood originally in this place, nor is it an extract made by another person from the same source, from which 2 Kings 25:18-25; 2 Kings 25:30 was derived. Whatever opinion, however, may be held regarding the sources, Jeremiah 52. was not drawn therefrom by another person, but transposed from the book of Kings, and yet has preserved the text more pure than the original passage.

The object of the transposition was evidently first to furnish the reader of the prophecies with the necessary historical guidance. The object may also have been prominent to show how completely and exactly the threatenings of the prophet against the stiff-necked people were fulfilled.

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Jeremiah 51:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/jeremiah-51.html. 1857-84.

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