Jeremiah 50:14
Put yourselves in array against Babylon round about: all ye that bend the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrows: for she hath sinned against the LORD.
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(14) All ye that bend the bow.—The words are descriptive of the light-armed troops that formed the strength of the Medo-Persian army (see Jeremiah 49:35; Jeremiah 1:14). The words belong properly to the previous clause, and the colon should come after them. Stress is laid in the latter clause on the fact that Babylon has sinned in her cruelty and luxury and tyranny against the righteous government of Jehovah.

50:8-20 The desolation that shall be brought upon Babylon is set forth in a variety of expressions. The cause of this destruction is the wrath of the Lord. Babylon shall be wholly desolated; for she hath sinned against the Lord. Sin makes men a mark for the arrows of God's judgments. The mercy promised to the Israel of God, shall not only accompany, but arise from the destruction of Babylon. These sheep shall be gathered from the deserts, and put again into good pasture. All who return to God and their duty, shall find satisfaction of soul in so doing. Deliverances out of trouble are comforts indeed, when fruits of the forgiveness of the colon after bow. 14. Summons to the Median army to attack Babylon.

against the Lord—By oppressing His people, their cause is His cause. Also by profaning His sacred vessels (Da 5:2).

The prophet calls to the Medes and Persians, with those who should come with them to their assistance, to put themselves in military order ready to come up against Babylon. The Persians (as was noted before) were very famous for the bow, therefore he speaketh unto them as an army of archers, to shoot at the Babylonians, and to

spare no arrows; because Babylon had

sinned against the Lord exceedingly, as Genesis 13:13, by their idolatry, luxury, and cruel usage of the Jews, &c.

Put yourselves in array against Babylon round about,.... This is directed to the Medes and Persians, to dispose of their army in proper places round about the city of Babylon, to besiege it; and to order their instruments of war, fit for that purpose, a convenient manner; since they might be sure of victory, the Lord being wroth with it, and having so severely threatened its ruin:

all ye that bend the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrows; the Elamites, or Persians, as before observed, were well skilled in archery; and, as Xenophon (q) reports, Cyrus had in his army, when he came to Babylon, a great number of archers and slingers; and the archers are called upon to draw the bow, who were expert at it, and not spare their arrows, since they would everyone do execution, as in Jeremiah 50:9; and the slingers to "cast their stones at her" (r), for so may be rendered; and thus it is interpreted, by Jarchi and by Kimchi, of casting either arrows or stones:

for she hath sinned against the Lord; which brought the wrath of God upon her; and chiefly the ill treatment of his people was the sin against him he resented.

(q) Cyropaedia, l. 9. c. 1. & l. 7. c. 1.((r) "jacite contra eam", Pagninus, De Dieu; "jacite ad eam", Montanus.

{o} Put yourselves in array against Babylon on every side: all ye that bend the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrows: for she hath {p} sinned against the LORD.

(o) He speaks to the enemies the Medes and Persians.

(p) Though the Lord called the Babylonians his servants and their work his work in punishing his people, yet because they did it not to glorify God, but for their own malice and to profit themselves, it is here called sin.

14. Cp. Isaiah 13:16-22, specially Jeremiah 50:18.

Verse 14. - Put yourselves in array, etc. The Authorized Version, guided, perhaps, by considerations of rhythm, has misplaced the first stop, which ought to be after "bow." The Medes are referred to in a parallel prophecy as great archers (Isaiah 13:18). Jeremiah 50:14In order to execute this judgment on Babylon, the nations are commanded to conquer and destroy the city. The archers are to place themselves round about Babylon, and shoot at the city unsparingly. ערך does not mean to prepare oneself, but to prepare מלחמה, the battle, combat. The archers are mentioned by synecdoche, because the point in question is the siege and bombardment of Babylon; cf. Isaiah 13:18, where the Medes are mentioned as archers. ידה is used only here, in Kal, of the throwing, i.e., the shooting of arrows, instead of ירה, which is elsewhere the usual word for this; and, indeed, some codices have the latter word in this passage. "Spare not the arrow," i.e., do not spare an arrow; cf. Jeremiah 51:3. הריע, to cry aloud; here, to raise a battle-cry; cf. Joshua 6:16. The effect and result of the cry is, "she hath given her hand," i.e., given herself up. נתן יד usually signifies the giving of the hand as a pledge of faithfulness (2 Kings 10:15; Ezekiel 17:18; Ezra 10:19), from which is derived the meaning of giving up, delivering up oneself; cf. 2 Chronicles 30:8. Cf. Cornelius Nepos, Hamilc. c. 1, donec victi manum dedissent. The ἁπ. λεγ. אשׁויתיה (the Kethib is either to be read אשׁויּתיה, as if from a noun אשׁוית, or to be viewed as an error in transcription for אשׁיותיה, which is the Qeri) signifies "supports," and comes from אשׁה, Arab. asâ, to support, help; then the supports of a building, its foundations; cf. אשּׁיּא, Ezra 4:12. Here the word signifies the supports of the city, i.e., the fortifications of Babylon, ἐπάλξεις, propugnacula, pinnae, the battlements of the city wall, not the foundations of the walls, for which נפל is unsuitable. "It (sc., the destruction of Babylon) is the vengeance of Jahveh." "The vengeance of Jahveh" is an expression derived from Numbers 31:3. "Avenge yourselves on her," i.e., take retribution for what Babylon has done to other nations, especially to the people of God; cf. 27f. and Jeremiah 51:11. The words, "cut off out of Babylon the sower and the reaper," are not to be restricted to the fields, which, according to the testimonies of Diod. Sic. ii. 7, Pliny xviii. 17, and Curtius Jeremiah 51:1, lay within the wall round Babylon, but "Babylon" is the province together with its capital; and the objection of Ngelsbach, that the prophet, in the whole context, is describing the siege of the city of Babylon, is invalid, because Jeremiah 50:12 plainly shows that not merely the city, but the province of Babylon, is to become a wilderness, desert, and steppe. The further threat, also, "every one flees to his own people from before the oppressing sword" (cf. Jeremiah 25:38; Jeremiah 46:16), applies not merely to the strangers residing in Babylon, but generally to those in Babylonia. Hitzig would arbitrarily refer these words merely to the husbandmen and field-workers. The fundamental passage, Isaiah 13:14, which Jeremiah had before his mind and repeats verbatim, tells decidedly against this view; cf. also Jeremiah 51:9, Jeremiah 51:44.
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