|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
51:1-58 The particulars of this prophecy are dispersed and interwoven, and the same things left and returned to again. Babylon is abundant in treasures, yet neither her waters nor her wealth shall secure her. Destruction comes when they did not think of it. Wherever we are, in the greatest depths, at the greatest distances, we are to remember the Lord our God; and in the times of the greatest fears and hopes, it is most needful to remember the Lord. The feeling excited by Babylon's fall is the same with the New Testament Babylon, Re 18:9,19. The ruin of all who support idolatry, infidelity, and superstition, is needful for the revival of true godliness; and the threatening prophecies of Scripture yield comfort in this view. The great seat of antichristian tyranny, idolatry, and superstition, the persecutor of true Christians, is as certainly doomed to destruction as ancient Babylon. Then will vast multitudes mourn for sin, and seek the Lord. Then will the lost sheep of the house of Israel be brought back to the fold of the good Shepherd, and stray no more. And the exact fulfilment of these ancient prophecies encourages us to faith in all the promises and prophecies of the sacred Scriptures.
Verse 1. - Against them that dwell in the midst of them that rise up against me. The Hebrew has leb-kamai, which is Kasdim, or Chaldea, written in the cypher called Athbash (see on Jeremiah 25:26); just as Sheshach in ver. 41 is equivalent to Babel. The question arises whether the prophet himself is responsible for this covert way of writing, or a scribe in later times (so Ewald). In favour of the former view it may be urged that Babylon and Chaldea receive symbolic names (though not in Athbash) in the connected chapter (Jeremiah 50:21, 31, 32); in favour of the latter, that the Septuagint has Ξαλδαίους in ver. 1, and does not express Sheshach in ver. 41, also that the clause to which Sheshach belongs in Jeremiah 25:26 is of very dubious genuineness. A destroying wind; rather, the spirit (ruakh) of a destroyer (or perhaps, of destruction). The verb rendered in this verse "raise up," when used in connection with ruakh, always means "to excite the spirit of any one" (ver. 11; Haggai 1:14; 1 Chronicles 5:26).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thus saith the Lord, behold, I will raise up against Babylon,.... This is not a new prophecy, but a continuation of the former, and an enlargement of it. The Babylonians being the last and most notorious enemies of the Jews, their destruction is the longer dwelt upon; and as they were against the Lord's people the Lord was against them, and threatens to raise up instruments of his vengeance against them:
and against them that dwell in the midst of them that rise up against me; that dwell in Babylon, the metropolis of the Chaldeans, the seat and centre of the enemies of God and his people. It is a periphrasis of the Chaldeans; and, so the Targum renders it,
"against the inhabitants of the land of the Chaldeans;''
and so the Septuagint version, against the Chaldeans; and Jarchi and Kimchi observe that according to "athbash", a rule of interpretation with the Jews, the letters in "leb kame", rendered "the midst of them that rise up against me", answer to "Cashdim" or the Chaldeans; however they are no doubt designed; for they rose up against God, by setting up idols of their own; and against his people, by taking and carrying them captive: and now the Lord says he would raise up against them
a destroying wind; a northern one, the army of the Modes and Persians, which should sweep away all before it. The Targum is,
"people that are slayers; whose hearts are lifted up, and are beautiful in stature, and their spirit destroying.''
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Jer 51:1-64. Continuation of the Prophecy against Babylon Begun in the Fiftieth Chapter.
1. in the midst of them that rise … against me—literally, "in the heart" of them. Compare Ps 46:2, "the midst of the sea," Margin; Eze 27:4, "the heart of the seas"; Margin; Mt 12:40. In the center of the Chaldeans. "Against Me," because they persecute My people. The cabalistic mode of interpreting Hebrew words (by taking the letters in the inverse order of the alphabet, the last letter representing the first, and so on, Jer 25:26) would give the very word Chaldeans here; but the mystical method cannot be intended, as "Babylon" is plainly so called in the immediately preceding parallel clause.
wind—God needs not warlike weapons to "destroy" His foes; a wind or blast is sufficient; though, no doubt, the "wind" here is the invading host of Medes and Persians (Jer 4:11; 2Ki 19:7).
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