Jeremiah 50:17
Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away: first the king of Assyria has devoured him; and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon has broken his bones.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) Israel is a scattered sheep . . .—The words paint vividly the two blows that had fallen on Israel, as a sheep driven from the fold: first from the Assyrian conquest of the northern kingdom by Salmaneser, and then, when, as it were, the carcase was half devoured and only the bones left, from that of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar. The “lion” appears here, as in Daniel 7:4, as the symbol of the great Eastern monarchies. The fact that the sculptured winged lion appears so constantly in the remains both of Assyria and Babylon gives the imagery a special force.

Jeremiah 50:17. Israel is a scattered sheep — See note on Jeremiah 50:6. The lions have driven him away — As a lion coming among a flock of sheep scatters them one from another; so have these foreign invaders, enemies cruel as lions, served my people. First, the king of Assyria hath devoured him — Namely, Shalmaneser, who carried away the ten tribes into captivity, whence they never in general returned. And last this Nebuchadrezzar hath broken his bones — Hath entirely ruined Judah and Jerusalem, hath destroyed or carried captive the whole nation.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 sin.Israel is a scattered sheep - i. e., is like a flock which has been scared and driven in all directions, for lions have chased him.

First the king ... - Rather, the first lion "ate him, even the king of Assyria; and this one, the last, heath picked his bones, even Nebuchadrezzar etc." The constant wasting of the land by the Assyrians had so lessened the number of Israel, that Nebuchadnezzar had but the bones to pick.

17. lions—hostile kings (Jer 4:7; 49:19).

Assyria—(2Ki 17:6, Shalmaneser; Ezr 4:2, Esar-haddon).

Nebuchadnezzar—(2Ki 24:10, 14).

By Israel is here meant the whole twelve tribes (though sometimes it signifieth the ten tribes in opposition to Judah); they were all wandering sheep, they became penally scattered sheep. Enemies as fierce and cruel as lions had seized them, and carried them into captivity.

First the king of Assyria devoured the ten tribes, which were strictly called Israel, 2 Kings 17:6. Then Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon took Jerusalem, as we heard, Jeremiah 39, and carried away the people, and burnt the temple, which the prophet here calls a breaking of

his bones. Israel is a scattered sheep,.... Or like a sheep that is frightened and drove from the fold, and is dispersed, and wanders about here and there; Israel includes all the twelve tribes:

the lions have driven him away; from his own land, and carried him captive, and scattered him among the nations; these lions are afterwards interpreted of the kings of Assyria and Babylon: so the Targum,

"kings have removed them;''

comparable to lions for their strength, fierceness, and voraciousness:

first the king of Assyria hath devoured him; eaten up his flesh; meaning Shalmaneser king of Assyria, who carried captive the ten tribes, that never returned, and therefore said to be devoured:

and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones; or, "boned him" (t); took out his bones, all his strength and substance; or took the flesh off of them, stripped him of all his wealth and riches, reduced him to his bones, made a mere skeleton of him: we, with Kimchi and Ben Melech, and others, read "broke his bones"; to get the very marrow out, that nothing may be left of him: he took Jerusalem, burnt the temple, and carried captive the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, the strength of Israel; so, between the one and the other, all Israel were like a scattered sheep, dispersed among the nations. Nebuchadrezzar was the then reigning king in Babylon when this prophecy was delivered, and therefore called "this Nebuchadrezzar".

(t) "exossavit eum", Munster, Montanus, Cocceius.

Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away: first the king of {r} Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon hath broken his {s} bones.

(r) Meaning Tiglath-pilesar who carried away the ten tribes.

(s) He carried away the rest, that is Judah and Benjamin.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. The people of God are like a stray sheep, driven hither and thither and preyed upon by savage beasts.

first the king of Assyria, etc.] in deporting the Northern tribes.

and last … bones] The people, weakened by the captivity of the Ten Tribes, have afterwards had the feeble remnant of their strength crushed at the hands of Babylon.Verse 17. - Israel is a scattered sheep, etc. Here a pause in the discourse occurs. The prophet returns to the present condition of Israel, who is likened to a sheep scared away from its fold by lions. The ruin wrought by the lions is described first as "devouring" and then as "breaking the bones" of Israel - in either case it is complete destruction, but the completeness is more emphasized by the second figure. In fact, when the "ten tribes" were carried captive, the elements of the theocracy still remained in the southern kingdom. The devastation of Babylon and glory of Israel. - Jeremiah 50:11. "Thou ye rejoice, though ye exult, O ye plunderers of mine inheritance, though ye leap proudly like a heifer threshing, and neigh like strong horses, Jeremiah 50:12. Your mother will be very much ashamed; she who bare you will blush: behold, the last of the nations [will be] a wilderness, a desert, and a steppe. Jeremiah 50:13. Because of the indignation of Jahveh it shall not be inhabited, and it shall become a complete desolation. Every one passing by Babylon will be astonished, and hiss because of all her plagues. Jeremiah 50:14. Make preparations against Babylon round about, all ye that bend the bow; shoot at her, do not spare an arrow, for she hath sinned against Jahveh. Jeremiah 50:15. Shout against her round about; she hath given herself up: her battlements are fallen, her walls are pulled down; for it is Jahveh's vengeance: revenge yourselves on her; as she hath done, do ye to her. Jeremiah 50:16. Cut off the sower from Babylon, and him that handles the sickle in the time of harvest. From before the oppressing sword each one will turn to his own nation, and each one will flee to his own land. Jeremiah 50:17. Israel is a scattered sheep [which] lions have driven away: the first [who] devoured him [was] the king of Babylon; and this, the last, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, hath broken his bones. Jeremiah 50:18. Therefore thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon ad his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria. Jeremiah 50:19. And I will bring back Israel to his pasture-ground, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and on the mountains of Ephraim his soul shall be satisfied. Jeremiah 50:20. In those days, and at that time, saith Jahveh, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, but it shall not be; and the sins of Judah, but they shall not be found: for I will pardon those whom I will leave remaining."

Jeremiah 50:11-13

Jeremiah 50:11 does not permit of being so closely connected with what precedes as to separate it from Jeremiah 50:12 (De Wette, Ngelsbach). Not only is the translation, "for thou didst rejoice," etc., difficult to connect with the imperfects of all the verbs in the verse, but the direct address also does not suit Jeremiah 50:10, and rather demands connection with Jeremiah 50:12, where it is continued. כּי, of course, introduces the reason, yet not in such a way that Jeremiah 50:11 states the cause why Chaldea shall become a spoil, but rather so that Jeremiah 50:11 and Jeremiah 50:12 together give the reason for the threatening uttered. The different clauses of Jeremiah 50:11 are the protases, to which Jeremiah 50:12 brings the apodosis. "You may go on making merry over the defeat of Israel, but shame will follow for this." The change of the singular forms of the verbs into plurals (Qeri) has been caused by the plural 'שׁסי , but is unnecessary, because Babylon is regarded as a collective, and its people are gathered into the unity of a person; see on Jeremiah 13:20. "Spoilers of mine inheritance," i.e., of the people and land of the Lord; cf. Jeremiah 12:7; Isaiah 17:14. On פּוּשׁ, to gallop (of a horse, Habakkuk 1:8), hop, spring (of a calf, Malachi 3:20), see on Habakkuk 1:8. דּשׁא is rendered by the lxx ἐν βοτάνη, by the Vulgate super herbam; after these, Ewald also takes the meaning of springing like a calf through the grass, since he explains דּשׁא as exhibiting the correct punctuation, and remarks that פּוּשׁ, like הלך, can stand with an object directly after it; see 282, a. Most modern expositors, on the other hand, take דּשׁא as the fem. participle from דּוּשׁ, written with א instead of ה: "like a threshing heifer." On this, A Schultens, in his Animadv. philol., on this passage, remarks: Comparatio petita est a vitula, quae in area media inter frumenta, ore ex lege non ligato (Deuteronomy 25:10), prae pabuli abundantia gestit ex exsultat. This explanation also gives a suitable meaning, without compelling us to do violence to the language and to alter the text. As to אבּירים, stallions, strong horses (Luther), see on Jeremiah 8:16 and Jeremiah 47:3. "Your mother" is the whole body of the people, the nation considered as a unity (cf. Isaiah 50:1; Hosea 2:4; Hosea 4:5), the individual members of which are called her sons; cf. Jeremiah 5:7, etc. In Jeremiah 50:12, the disgrace that is to fall on Babylon is more distinctly specified. The thought is gathered up into a sententious saying, in imitation of the sayings of Balaam. "The last of the nations" is the antithesis of "the first of the nations," as Balaam calls Amalek, Numbers 24:20, because they were the first heathen nation that began to fight against the people of Israel. In like manner, Jeremiah calls Babylon the last of the heathen nations. As the end of Amalek is ruin (Numbers 24:20), so the end of the last heathen nation that comes forward against Israel will be a wilderness, desert, steppe. The predicates (cf. Jeremiah 2:6) refer to the country and kingdom of Babylon. But if the end of the kingdom is a desert, then the people must have perished. The devastation of Babylon is further portrayed in Jeremiah 50:13, together with a statement of the cause: "Because of the anger of Jahveh it shall not be inhabited;" cf. Isaiah 13:20. The words from והיתה onwards are imitated from Jeremiah 49:17 and Jeremiah 19:8.

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