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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Jeremiah 51:20

 

 

He says, "You are My war-club, My weapon of war; And with you I shatter nations, And with you I destroy kingdoms.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Thou art my battle axe - I believe Nebuchadnezzar is meant, who is called, Jeremiah 50:23, the hammer of the whole earth. Others think the words are spoken of Cyrus. All the verbs are in the past tense: "With thee have I broken in pieces," etc., etc.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Jeremiah 51:20". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/jeremiah-51.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Or, Thou art my maul, weapons of war etc. The maul or mace Proverbs 25:18 only differs from the hammer Jeremiah 50:23 in being used for warlike purposes.

Omit the “will” in “will I break.” The crushing of the nations was going on at the time when the prophet wrote. Most commentators consider that Babylon was the mace of God.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Jeremiah 51:20". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/jeremiah-51.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"Thou art my battle-axe and weapons of war: and with thee will I break in pieces the nations; and with thee will I destroy kingdoms; and with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his rider; and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and him that rideth therein; and with thee will I break in pieces man and woman; and with thee will I break in pieces the old man and the youth; and with thee will I break in pieces the young man and the virgin; and with thee will I break in pieces the shepherd and his flock; and with thee will I break in pieces the husbandman and his yoke of oxen; and with thee will I break in pieces governors and deputies. And I will render unto Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight saith Jehovah. Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, saith Jehovah, which destroyeth all the earth; and I will stretch out my hand upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain. And they shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations; but thou shalt be desolate forever, saith Jehovah."

No comment is necessary on Jeremiah 51:20-24, which are merely a somewhat tedious way of saying that God will break in pieces just about everything that pertained to Babylon.

"O destroying mountain ..." (Jeremiah 51:25). Keil uses several pages talking about a volcano here; but we believe Robinson was correct when he said, "The language here is purely figurative."[11] Why did the Lord choose such a metaphor? It could be because of that false mountain called the "Tower of Babel" that had been erected there in the remote past, or because of that Ziggurat, the mountain-like temple of Babylon's pagan religious system. God would roll the whole nation down the multiple terraces of their false mountain.

"Thou shalt be desolate forever, saith Jehovah ..." (Jeremiah 51:26). Thompson complained that, "Cyrus entered Babylon without any appreciable resistance and left the city intact; and this is quite contrary to the description of devastation that appears in Jeremiah 51:26."[12] There are other phases of these prophecies against Babylon that indicate quite clearly that there would be a long period during which Babylon would be the "hindermost" of nations, and that the total desolation promised would be accomplished gradually, but that it would last forever. All of this took place exactly as prophesied. See further comment on this in the previous chapter in the discussion under Jeremiah 51:11-16.


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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 51:20". "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

Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war,.... This is said by the Lord, either to Cyrus, as some, to which our version inclines, whom God made use of as an instrument to subdue nations and kingdoms, and destroy them; see Isaiah 45:1; or rather Babylon, and the king of it, who had been the hammer of the earth, Jeremiah 50:23; as it may be rendered here, "thou art my hammer"F19מפץ אתה לי "malleus es, vel fuisti mihi", Pagninus, Piscator, Cocceius, Schmidt. ; or, "hast been"; an instrument in his hands, of beating the nations to pieces, as stones by a hammer, and of destroying them, as by weapons of war: this, and what follows, are observed to show, that though Babylon had been used by the Lord for the destruction of others, it should not be secure from it itself, but should share the same fate; unless this is to be understood of the church of God, and kingdom of Christ, which in the latter day will break in pieces all the kingdoms of the earth, Daniel 2:44; which sense seems to have some countenance and confirmation from Jeremiah 51:24 "in your sight". The Targum is,

"thou art a scatterer before me, a city in which are warlike arms;'

which seems to refer to Babylon:

for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms; or, "with thee I have broke in pieces, and have destroyed"; the future instead of the pastF20"Dispersi, perdidi", Lutherus; "conquassavi", Munster; "dissipavi", Piscator. ; as the nations and kingdoms of Judea, Egypt, Edom, Moab, Ammon, and others: or, "that I may break in pieces"F21ונפצתי "ut dissiparem", Junius & Tremellius; "ut dispergam", Schmidt. , &c. and so it expresses the end for which he was a hammer, as well as the use he had been or would be of.


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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 51:20". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/jeremiah-51.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Thou [art] my n battle axe [and] weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms;

(n) He means the Medes and Persians, as before he called the Babylonians his hammer, (Jeremiah 50:23).

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Jeremiah 51:20". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/jeremiah-51.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

(See on Jeremiah 50:23). “Break in pieces” refers to the “hammer” there (compare Nahum 2:1, Margin). The club also was often used by ancient warriors.


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 51:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/jeremiah-51.html. 1871-8.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

The Prophet here obviates the doubts of many; for as he had spoken of the destruction of Babylon, it might have been readily objected, that the monarchy which was fortified by so many defenses, and which had subjugated all the neighboring nations, was impregnable. Hence the Prophet here shows that the power and wealth of Babylon were no hindrances that God should not destroy it whenever he pleased; for it is an argument derived from what is contrary. We have before seen that God roots up what he has planted, (Jeremiah 45:4;) and then we have seen the metaphor of the potter and his vessels. When the Prophet went down to the potter, he saw a vessel formed and then broken at the will and pleasure of the potter (Jeremiah 18:2.) So also now God shows that the destruction was as it were in his hand, because the Chaldeans had not raised themselves to eminence through their own power, but he had raised them, and employed them for his own purpose. In short, he compares the Babylonians in this passage to a formed vessel, and he makes himself the potter:

“I am he who has raised Babylon to so great a height; it therefore belongs to me to pull it down whensoever it pleases me.”

We now understand the design of this passage, though the Prophet employs different words.

He says that Babylon was a hammer and weapons of war to break in pieces the nations. The verb נפף, nuphets, means to break in pieces, and carelessly to scatter here and there, and also violently to scatter. He says then, “I have by thee scattered the nations, and by thee have destroyed kingdoms.” But as the Chaldeans had enjoyed so many victories and had subjugated so many nations, he adds, I have by thee broken in pieces the horse and his ride,; the chariot and its rider; and then, I have broken in pieces men and women, old men and children, the young men and the maidens, the shepherds and also their flocks He enumerates here almost all kinds of men. He then mentions husbandmen and yokes of oxen, or of horses; and lastly, he mentions captains and rulers (87) All these things are said by way of concession; but yet the Prophet reminds us that no difficulty would prevent God to destroy Babylon, because Babylon in itself was nothing. According to this sense, then, it is called a hammer. In short, the Prophet takes away the false opinion which might have otherwise disturbed weak minds, as though Babylon was wholly invincible. He shows at the same time that God executed his judgments on all nations by means of Babylon. Thus the faithful might have been confirmed; for otherwise they must have necessarily been cast down when they regarded the formidable power of Babylon; but when they heard that it was only a hammer, and that they would not have been broken in pieces by the Babylonians had they not been armed from above, or rather had they not been driven on by a celestial power, it then appeared that the calamity which the Jews had suffered was nothing more than a punishment inflicted by God’s hand. When, therefore, they heard this, it was no small consolation; it kept them from succumbing under their miseries, and from being swallowed up with sorrow and despair. But it now follows, —

20.A scatterer (or a hammer) art thou to me, A weapon of war; But I will scatter in thee nations, And destroy in thee kingdoms;

21.And I will scatter in thee the horse and its rider, And I will scatter in thee the chariot and its rider;

22.And I will scatter in thee the husband and the wife, And I will scatter in thee the old and the child, And I will scatter in thee the young man and the maid;

23.And I will scatter in thee the shepard and his flock, And I will scatter in thee the plougman and his team, And I will scatter in thee the governors and princes.

The comes, naturally, a summary of the whole, —

24.And I will render to Babylon And to all the inhabitants of Chaldea, All the evil which they have done in Sion, Before your eyes, saith Jehova.

The in the two following verse Babylon is still addressed.

“Scatter” is according to the Sept. , the Syr. , and the Targ. ; “dash against one another” is the Vulg. — Ed.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 51:20". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/jeremiah-51.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Jeremiah 51:20 Thou [art] my battle axe [and] weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms;

Ver. 20. Thou art my battle axe, and weapon of war.] Cestra fuisti mihi, Thou hast been my pole axe, such as horsemen use to batter their enemies’ helmets and other harness.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 51:20". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/jeremiah-51.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Jeremiah 51:20. Thou art my battle-axe Thou hast broken for me the weapons of war; I have broken by thee the nations, and destroyed kingdoms; Houbigant: who renders the following verses also to the 24th in the perfect tense; and he understands the whole as spoken of the dominion of the Babylonians, and not, as is commonly done, of Cyrus their conqueror.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Jeremiah 51:20". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/jeremiah-51.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Interpreters are here divided, whether by

thou or

thee in this and the following verses to understand Cyrus, whom God made use of to destroy Babylon and many other places, or Babylon. Our translators understand it of Cyrus, and therefore speak of the future tense,

will I. The Hebrew text will not resolve us; I rather incline to interpret it of Babylon, as indeed the most do, and so it should be, Thou hast been, and art, for that is the sense; Cyrus and Darius were not yet in being. God had made use of Babylon like a hammer or battle-axe to break many nations in pieces.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Jeremiah 51:20". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/jeremiah-51.html. 1685.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Thou, Cyrus, (Grotius) or more commonly the Chaldeans are understood.


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Jeremiah 51:20". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/jeremiah-51.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

My battle axe: or, My hammer, i.e. Cyrus. Figure of speech Anthropopatheia.

with thee will I break in pieces = with thee will I beat down. Note the Figure of speech Anaphora, by which ten successive sentences commence with these words, This is for special emphasis.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Jeremiah 51:20". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/jeremiah-51.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms;

Thou art my battle-ax ... - (note, Jeremiah 50:23).

With thee will I break in pieces the nations. "Break in pieces" refers to the "hammer" there (cf. Nahum 2:1, "He that dasheth in pieces is come up," margin, 'the disperser, or hammer'). The club also was often used by ancient warriors.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 51:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/jeremiah-51.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(20) Thou art my battle ax . . .—Better, my mace. The axe is not found on Assyrian monuments as a weapon of war till a comparatively late period. It is a question who is thus addressed—Babylon, or Cyrus as the destroyer of Babylon, or Israel. On the whole, the second seems the more probable answer. The “hammer of the whole earth” is broken by a mightier weapon than itself. (See Note on Jeremiah 50:23.)

With thee will I break in pieces . . .—The tense, in this and in the following, should be the present. The force of the verb is multiplied by the emphatic iteration. All obstacles are to be crushed in the victorious march of the conqueror.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 51:20". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/jeremiah-51.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms;
art
50:23; Isaiah 10:5,15; 13:5; 14:5,6; 37:26; 41:15,16; Micah 4:13; Zechariah 9:13,14; Matthew 22:7
with thee
or, in thee, or, by thee. break.
25:9,11; 27:5-7

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Jeremiah 51:20". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/jeremiah-51.html.

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