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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Jeremiah 51:15

 

 

It is He who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom, And by His understanding He stretched out the heavens.

Adam Clarke Commentary

He hath made the earth by his power - The omnipotence of God is particularly manifested in the works of creation.

He hath established the world by his wisdom - The omniscience of God is particularly seen in the government of תבל tebel, the inhabited surface of the globe. What a profusion of wisdom and skill is apparent in that wondrous system of providence by which he governs and provides for every living thing.

And hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding - Deep thought, comprehensive design, and consummate skill are especially seen in the formation, magnitudes, distances, revolutions, and various affections of the heavenly bodies.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Jeremiah 51:15". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/jeremiah-51.html. 1832.

The Biblical Illustrator

Jeremiah 51:15

He hath made the earth by His power, He hath established the world by His wisdom.

The being of God proved from the frame of the world

The attentive observation of this world, or visible frame, is not only a worthy employment of our thoughts, but even a considerable duty not to be neglected by us. For it is that which affords most cogent and satisfactory arguments to convince us of, and to confirm us in, the belief of that truth which is the foundation of all religion and piety, the being of one God, incomprehensibly excellent in all perfections, the maker and upholder of all things; it also serves to beget in our minds affections toward God, suitable to those notions; a reverent adoration of His unsearchable wisdom; an awful dread of His powerful majesty; a grateful love of His gracious benignity and goodness.

1. View we first, singly, those things which are most familiar and obvious to our senses. First, those plants we every day do see, smell, and taste: Have not that number, that figure, that order, that temperament, that whole contexture of parts we discern in them, a manifest relation to those operations they perform? Whence, then, I inquire, could that fitness proceed? from chance, or casual motions of matter? But is it not repugnant to the name and nature of chance, that anything regular or constant should arise from it? Are not confusion, disparity, deformity, unaccountable change and variety, the proper issues of chance? It is not, therefore, reasonable to ascribe those things to chance: to what then? will you say, to necessity? If you do, you only alter the phrase; for necessary causality is but another name for chance; they both are but several terms denoting blindness and unadvisedness in action; both must imply a fortuitous determination of causes, acting without design or rule. These effects must therefore, I say, proceed from wisdom, and that no mean one, but such as greatly surpasses our comprehension, joined with a power equally great: for to digest bodies so very many, so very fine and subtile, so divers in motion and tendency, that they shall never hinder or disturb one another, but always conspire to the same design, is a performance exceedingly beyond our capacity to reach how it could be contrived or accomplished; all the endeavours of our deepest skill and most laborious industry cannot arrive to the producing of any work not extremely inferior to any of these, not in comparison very simple and base; neither can our wits serve to devise, nor our sense to direct, nor our hand to execute any work, in any degree like to those. And ii we have reason to acknowledge so much wisdom and power discovered in one plant, and the same consequently multiplied in so many thousands of divers kinds; how much more may we discern them in any one animal, in all of them? Who shaped and tempered those hidden subtile springs of life, sense, imagination, memory, passion; who impressed on them a motion so regular and so durable, which through so many years, among so many adverse contingencies assailing it, is yet so steadily maintained? Thus doth commonsense from these sort of beings, whereof there be innumerable exposed daily to our observation, even singly considered, deduce the existence of a wisdom, power, and goodness unconceivably great; and there are probably divers others (stones, metals, minerals, &c.) no less obvious, even here on the earth, our place of dwelling, which, were our senses able to discern their constitution and texture, would afford matter of the same acknowledgment.

2. But if, passing from such particulars, we observe the relation of several kinds of things each to other, we shall find more reason to be convinced concerning the same excellent perfections farther extending themselves. Is there not, for instance, a palpable relation between the frame, the temper, the natural inclinations or instincts of each animal, and its element or natural place and abode; wherein it can only live, finding therein its food, its harbour, its refuge? Is not to each faculty within an object without prepared, exactly correspondent thereto; which were it wanting, the faculty would become vain and useless, yea sometime harmful and destructive; as reciprocally the object would import little or nothing, if such a faculty were not provided and suited thereto? As for example, what would an eye signify, if there were not light prepared to render things visible thereto? and how much less considerable than it is would the goodly light itself be, were all things in nature blind, and uncapable to discern thereby? What would the ear serve for, if the air were not suitably disposed in a due consistency, and capable of moderate undulations distinguishable there-by? The like we might with the same reason inquire concerning the other senses and faculties, vital or animal, and their respective objects, which we may observe with admirable congruity respecting each other. So many, so plain, so exactly congruous are the relations of things here about us each to other; which surely could not otherwise come than from one admirable wisdom and power conspiring thus to adapt and connect them together; as also from an equal goodness, declared in all these things being squared so fitly for mutual benefit and convenience. Well, then, is it to a fortuitous necessity (or a necessary chance) that we owe all these choice accommodations and pre-eminences of nature? must we bless and worship fortune for all this? did she so especially love us, and tender our good? was she so indulgent toward us, so provident for us in so many things, in everything; making us the scope of all her workings and motions here about us? Oh, brutish degeneracy! Are we not, not only wretchedly blind and stupid, if we are not able to discern so clear beams of wisdom shining through so many perspicuous correspondences; if we cannot trace the Divine power by footsteps so express and remarkable; if we cannot read so legible characters of transcendent goodness; but extremely unworthy and ungrateful, if we are not ready to acknowledge, and with hearty thankfulness to celebrate all these excellent perfections, by which all these things have been so ordered, as to conspire and co-operate for our benefit?

3. Yea, all of them join together in one universal consort, with one harmonious voice, to proclaim one and the same wisdom to have designed, one and the same power to have produced, one and the same goodness to have set both wisdom and power on work in designing and in producing their being; in preserving and governing it: for this whole system of things what is it, but one goodly body, as it were, compacted of several members and organs; so aptly compacted together, that each confers its being and its operation to the grace and ornament, to the strength and stability of the whole; one soul (of Divine providence) enlivening in a manner, and actuating it all? We may perhaps not discern the use of each part, or the tendency of each particular effect; but of many they are so plain and palpable, that reason obliges us to suppose the like of the rest. Even as a person whom we observe frequently to act with great consideration and prudence when at other times we cannot penetrate the drift of his proceedings, we must yet imagine that he hath some latent reason, some reach of policy, that we are not aware of; or, as in an engine consisting of many parts, curiously combined, whereof we do perceive the general use, and apprehend how divers parts thereof conduce thereto, reason prompts us (although we neither see them all, nor can comprehend the immediate serviceableness of some) to think they are all in some way or other subservient to the artist’s design: such an agent is God, the wisdom of whose proceedings being in so many instances notorious, we ought to suppose it answerable in the rest; such an engine is this world, of which we may easily enough discern the general end, and how many of its parts do conduce thereto; and cannot therefore in reason but suppose the rest in their kind alike congruous, and conducible to the same purpose. If the nature of any cause be discoverable by its effects; if from any work we may infer the workman’s ability; if in any case the results of wisdom are distinguishable from the consequences of chance, we have reason to believe that the Architect of this magnificent and beautiful frame was one incomprehensibly wise, powerful, and good Being; so that “they are inexcusable, who from hence do not know God”; or knowing Him do not render unto Him His due glory and service. (Isaac Barrow, D. D.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Jeremiah 51:15". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/jeremiah-51.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding hath he stretched out the heavens. When he utters his voice, there is a tumult in the waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasuries. Every man is become brutish and is without knowledge; every goldsmith is put to shame by his image; for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. They are vanity, a work of delusion: in the time of their visitation they shall perish. The portion of Jacob is not like these; for he is the former of all things; and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance: Jehovah of hosts is his name."

These verses, with the exception of a single word are a verbatim repetition of Jeremiah 10:12-16. See my comment on these verses under that reference.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Jeremiah 51:15". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/jeremiah-51.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding. The Targum prefaces the words thus,

"these things saith he who hath made the earth, &c.'

The verses Jeremiah 51:16 are the same with Jeremiah 10:12. God is described by his sovereignty, power, and wisdom; and the stupidity of men that trust in idols, and the vanity of them, are exposed, to convince the Babylonians that the Lord, who had determined on their destruction, would surely effect it, and that it would not be in the power of their idols to prevent it. See Gill on Jeremiah 10:12.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 51:15". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/jeremiah-51.html. 1999.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

The Prophet commends here, as I have already said, in high terms, the power of God; but we must bear in mind his purpose, for abrupt sentences would be otherwise uninteresting. His object was to encourage the Jews to entertain hope; for they were not to judge of Babylon according to its splendor, which dazzled the eyes of all; nor were they to measure by their own notions what God had testified, he bids the faithful to raise all their thoughts above the world, and to behold with admiration the incomprehensible power of God, that they might not doubt but that Babylon would at length be trodden under foot; for had they fixed their eyes on that monarchy, they could have hardly believed the words of prophecy; for the Prophet spoke of things which could not be comprehended by the human mind.

We now then understand why the Prophet set forth the power of God, even that. the faithful might learn to think of something sublimer than the whole world, while contemplating the destruction of Babylon, for that would not be effected in a way usual or natural, but through the incredible power of God. The same words are also found in the tenth chapter; and the five verses we meet with here were there explained. But Jeremiah had then a different object in view, for he addressed the Jewish exiles, and bade them firmly to persevere in the worship of God: though religion was oppressed, and though the victorious Chaldeans proudly derided God, he yet bade them to stand firm in their religion, and then said,

“When ye come to Babylon, say, Cursed are all the gods who made not the heaven and the earth.” (Jeremiah 10:11)

And there, indeed, he used a foreign language, and taught them to speak in the Chaldee, that they might more plainly profess that they would persevere in the worship of the only true God. He afterwards added what he now repeats, even that the power of God was not diminished, though he had chastised for a time his own people. But now, as we have said, he speaks in sublime terms of the power of God, in order that the faithful might know that what the judgment of the flesh held as impossible, could easily be done by that God who can do all things.

He says first, He who made the earth He does not mention God’s name; but the expression is more emphatical, when he says, the Maker of the earth; as though he had said, “Who can be found to be the creator of the heaven and the earth except the only true God?” We hence see more force in the sentence than if God’s name had been expressed; for he thus excluded all the fictitious gods, who had been devised by the heathens; as though he had said, “The only true God is He who made the earth.” Then he says, by his power He speaks of God’s power in connection with the earth, as it is probable, on account of its stability.

He afterwards adds, Who hath constituted the world by his wisdom, and by his knowledge extended the heavens The wisdom of God is visible through the whole world, but especially in the heavens. The Prophet indeed speaks briefly, but he leads us to contemplate God’s wonderful work in its manifold variety, which appears above and below. For though it may seem a light matter, when he says, that the world was constituted by the wisdom of God, yet were any one to apply his mind to the meditation of God’s wisdom in the abundance of all fruits, in the wealth of the whole world, in the sea, (which is included in the world,) it could not, doubtless, be, but that he must be a thousand times filled with wonder and admiration: for the more carefully we attend to the consideration of God’s works, we ourselves in a manner vanish into nothing; the miracles which present themselves on every side, before our eyes, overwhelm us. As to the heavens, what do we see there? an innumerable multitude of stars so arranged, as though an army were so in order throughout, all its ranks; and then the wandering planets, not fixed, having each its own course, and yet appearing among the stars. Then the course of the sun, how much admiration ought it to produce in us! — I say, not in those only who understand the whole system of astronomy, but also in those who see it only with their own eyes; for when the sun, in its daily course, completes so great and so immense a distance, they who are not amazed at such a miracle must be more than stupid; and then the sun, as it is well known, has its own course, which is performed every year, and never passes in the least beyond its own boundaries; and the bulk of that body is immense (for, as it is well known, it far exceeds the earth,) and yet it rolls with great celerity and at the same time in such order as though it advanced by degrees quietly. Surely it is a wonderful specimen of God’s wisdom. The Prophet, then, though he speaks in an ordinary way, yet suppress the godly with materials of thought, so that they might apply their minds to the consideration of God’s works. Some explain the words, that God expands the heavens whenever they are covered with clouds; but this is wholly foreign to the meaning of the Prophet; for there is no doubt but that he points out in this verse the perpetual order of nature, as in the next verse he speaks of those changes which sometimes happen.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 51:15". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/jeremiah-51.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Jeremiah 51:15 He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding.

Ver. 15. He hath made the earth by his power.] And can therefore easily and quickly unmake this great monarchy. See Jeremiah 10:12. {See Trapp on "Jeremiah 10:12"}


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 51:15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/jeremiah-51.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Jeremiah 51:15. He hath made the earth In this and the following verses we have an elegant and sublime description of the power and wisdom of the Almighty, in opposition to the weakness and inanity of idols. See Psalms 135:7. At the beginning of the 17th verse we may read, Brutish, for want of knowledge.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Jeremiah 51:15". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/jeremiah-51.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Yahweh created the earth below with His power and Wisdom of Solomon , and He stretched out the heavens above with His understanding. "Marduk," the Babylonian "creator god" ( Jeremiah 50:2), did not do this. This verse describes God"s past activity with regard to nature.


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Jeremiah 51:15". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/jeremiah-51.html. 2012.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

made the earth, &c. Reference to Pentateuch (Gen 1). Compare Jeremiah 10:12, &c. verses: Jeremiah 51:15-19 are repeated from Jeremiah 10:12-16.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Jeremiah 51:15". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/jeremiah-51.html. 1909-1922.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding.
hath made
10:12-16; 32:17; Genesis 1:1-6; Psalms 107:25; 146:5,6; 148:1-5; Isaiah 40:26; Acts 14:15; 17:24; Romans 1:20; Colossians 1:16,17; Hebrews 1:2,3; Revelation 4:11
by his wisdom
Psalms 104:24; 136:5; Proverbs 3:19; Romans 11:33
and hath
Job 9:8; Psalms 104:2; Isaiah 40:22; 42:5; 44:24; 45:12; 48:13; 51:13

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Jeremiah 51:15". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/jeremiah-51.html.

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