Jeremiah 50:2
Declare you among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not: say, Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces.
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(2) Set up a standard.—Better, lift up a signal. The noun is the same as in Jeremiah 4:6; Jeremiah 4:21. Here, however, its use is not that of furnishing a rallying point for an army, but that of a means of rapid communication, like the succession of beacon-fires in the opening of the Agamemnon of Æschylus (Agam., 272-307). The tidings of the fall of Babylon are to be proclaimed as quickly as may be throughout the world.

Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces.—Strictly speaking these, as found in the inscriptions, were names of the same deity (see Note on Isaiah 46:1). The name of Bel appears in the names of the two great walls of Babylon, Imgur-Bel and Nimetti-Bel (Records of the Past, v. 125). The latter name, sometimes in the form of Marduk, appears as lord of heaven and earth, and Nebo is subordinate to him. Nebuchadnezzar’s devotion to him is indicated by the name he gave his son, Evil-merodach (Jeremiah 52:31), and by describing himself in his inscriptions as “worshipper of Marduk” (Records of the Past, v. 113). So we have among Chaldæan names Merodach-baladan (2Kings 20:12; Isaiah 39:1), Kurdur-Marduk, and others. The inscriptions at Borsippa speak of him as “the great lord, the most ancient of the gods, the lord of the gates of heaven,” and so on (Rawlinson’s Herodotus, i. 627-631).

Idols . . . images.—The words had better be inverted. The former word denotes sculptured pillars, the latter blocks or columns. (See Note on Leviticus 26:30.)

50:1-7 The king of Babylon was kind to Jeremiah, yet the prophet must foretell the ruin of that kingdom. If our friends are God's enemies, we dare not speak peace to them. The destruction of Babylon is spoken of as done thoroughly. Here is a word for the comfort of the Jews. They shall return to their God first, then to their own land; the promise of their conversion and reformation makes way for the other promises. Their tears flow not from the sorrow of the world, as when they went into captivity, but from godly sorrow. They shall seek after the Lord as their God, and have no more to do with idols. They shall think of returning to their own country. This represents the return of poor souls to God. In true converts there are sincere desires to attain the end, and constant cares to keep in the way. Their present case is lamented as very sad. The sins of professing Christians never will excuse those who rejoice in destroying them.Confounded ... confounded - ashamed ... ashamed.

Merodach - This deity, in the inscriptions Marduk, was the tutelary god of Babylon, and Nebuchadnezzar, who called his son Evil-Merodach, appears to have been especially devoted to his service. He was really identical with Bel, and his equivalent among the planets was Jupiter: and as such he was styled "King of heaven and earth."

2. Declare … among … nations—who would rejoice at the fall of Babylon their oppressor.

standard—to indicate the place of meeting to the nations where they were to hear the good news of Babylon's fall [Rosenmuller]; or, the signal to summon the nations together against Babylon (Jer 51:12, 27), [Maurer].

Bel—the tutelary god of Babylon; the same idol as the Phœnician Baal, that is, lord, the sun (Isa 46:1).

confounded—because unable to defend the city under their protection.

Merodach—another Babylonian idol; meaning in Syria "little lord"; from which Merodach-baladan took his name.

The prophet calls to men to publish it amongst other nations, and to

set up a standard, to make some signal to gather all people together to hear what he had to say from God against Babylon, which had been an instrument of great mischief unto most people that lived about them, to whom it would therefore be glad and joyful news to hear that Babylon their common enemy was ruined. That by

Bel and

Merodach are meant two principal idols of the Babylonians, most think; but what, is not so well agreed. Some think that Bel is Baal by contradiction; but they judge most probably who think it was the image of one Belus, who was formerly a king of Babylon; and they judge the like of Merodach: we find in Scripture that Merodach was some of their kings’ names, Isaiah 39:1 Jeremiah 52:31. Those who desire to be further satisfied about these idols may read the English Annotations upon Isaiah 46:1, and our Annotations upon that verse. It was an ordinary practice amongst the heathens, when they had any princes died that had been famous in their government, to pay a divine homage to their images and statues. These idols are said to be

confounded, either because they should not be able at this pinch to help their suppliants, or because they should be destroyed together with the silly people that adored them. Declare ye among the nations,.... The taking of Babylon; a piece of news, in which the nations of the world had a concern, as well as the Jews, being brought under the Babylonish yoke, from which they would now be freed; and therefore such a declaration must be very acceptable and joyful to them. Some take these words to be the words of God to the prophet; others, the words of Jeremiah to the nations; the meaning is only, that such a declaration should be made, and such things done, as follow:

and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not; cause it to be heard far and near; and, that it may be heard, set up a sign or standard, to gather the people together to hear it; for this standard was not to be set up for the enlisting of men, or gathering them together, to go up and fight against Babylon, since it was now taken; but as a token of victory, and as expressive joy, on account of it; or rather for the reason given; see Isaiah 13:2;

say, Babylon is taken; this is the thing to be declared, published, and not concealed; but with an audible voice to be pronounced, and rung throughout the several nations of the earth. Thus, when the everlasting Gospel is preached to every nation on earth, and Christ is set up in it as an ensign and standard to the people; it shall be everywhere published, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen", Revelation 14:6;

Bel is confounded; an idol of the Babylonians, thought by some to be the same with Baal by contraction; he is by the Septuagint called Belus, the name of one of their kings; who might be idolized after his death, as was usual among the Heathen lions: he is said to be "confounded", because he must have been, could he have been sensible of the taking of Babylon, where his temple stood, and he was worshipped, since he was not able to protect it; or rather, because his worshippers were confounded, that gloried in him, and put their trust in him. So the Targum,

"they are confounded that worship Bel;''

See Gill on Isaiah 46:1.

Merodach is broken in pieces; another of their idols, which signifies a "pure lord"; some of their kings had this as one of their names, Isaiah 39:1. The Targum is,

"they are broken that worshipped Merodach;''

her idols are confounded, her images are broken to pieces; these were their lesser deities, as the other two were their greater ones; all should be destroyed along with it; as all the idols and images of the church of Rome will, when that is destroyed, Revelation 9:20.

Declare ye among the nations, and proclaim, and set up a standard; proclaim, and conceal not: say, {a} Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, {b} Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces.

(a) After God had used the Babylonian's service to punish other nations, this shows that their turn will come to be punished.

(b) These were two of their chief idols.

2. and set up a standard; publish] The LXX omit. Cp. for the “standard” Isaiah 13:2 (R.V. “ensign”) as the probable origin of the expression here. It was to be a signal either to attract attention or as a point of rendez-vous.

Bel] properly lord, apparently to be distinguished here from Merodach (Marduk), who was the tutelary divinity of Babylon. Cp. Isaiah 46:1, where Bel occurs coupled with Nebo, son of Merodach.

idols] lit. idol-blocks, a term of contempt very frequently found in Ezekiel (Jeremiah 6:4, Jeremiah 22:3, etc.). It seems to have meant primarily something rolled, hence a long sacred stone, then a stone image, lastly an idol in general.

dismayed] better, as mg. broken down.Verses 2-10. - Babylon's fall and Israel's deliverance. Verses 2, 3. - The prophet, with the eye of faith, sees his revelation accomplished. Babylon (like Moab) is taken; her idols are destroyed. In his exuberant joy, he calls on the bystanders to proclaim the good news to the sympathetic nations, and to set up (or rather, lift up) a standard (as Jeremiah 4:6), to call the attention of those who might not be within hearing of the proclamation. The idols have been convicted of false pretensions; they are ashamed and dismayed (so we should render rather than confounded and broken in pieces) at the terrible result to their worshippers. Bel and Merodach are not different deifies, but merely different names of one of the two principal gods of the later Babylonian empire. Bel, it is true, was originally distinct from Merodach, but ultimately identified with him. Merodach was the tutelary god of Babylon, and Nebuchadnezzar seems to have been specially addicted to his worship, though, indeed, he mentions Nebo also with hardly less honour. This is the beginning of an inscription of this king's, preserved at the India House: - "Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, glorious prince, worshipper of Marduk, adorer of the lofty one, glorifier of Nabu, the exalted, the possessor of intelligence" (Mr. Rodwell's translation, 'Records of the Past,' 5:113). Elsewhere Nebuchadnezzar speaks of Marduk as "the god my maker," "the chief of the gods," and of himself as "his (Marduk's) eldest son, the chosen of his heart." Her images. It is a very peculiar word (gillulim), specially frequent in Ezekiel, and also found in a chapter of Leviticus with which Ezekiel has affinities (Leviticus 26:30). It evidently involves a sore disparagement of idol worship. The etymological meaning is "things rolled," which may be variously interpreted as "idol blocks" (Gesenius), or "doll images" (Ewald). "Thus saith Jahveh of hosts: Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the chief part of their strength. Jeremiah 49:36. And I will bring upon Elam four winds from the four ends of the heaven, and I will scatter them towards all these winds; and there shall be no nation where the scattered ones of Elam shall not come. Jeremiah 49:37. And I will make Elam terrified before their enemies, and before those who seek their life; and I will bring on them evil, the heat of my wrath, saith Jahveh; and I will send after them the sword, until I consume them. Jeremiah 49:38. And I will place my throne in Elam, and will destroy thence king and princes, saith Jahveh. Jeremiah 49:39. But it shall be in the end of the days, that I will turn the captivity of Elam, saith Jahveh."

Elam's martial power is to be destroyed, and its population scattered to the four winds among all nations (Jeremiah 49:25.). The Lord will make them terrified before their enemies, and let them be pursued by the sword till they are swept away (Jeremiah 49:37). In the country itself He will hold a tribunal, and destroy king and priests out of it (Jeremiah 49:38). In Jeremiah 49:35, the bow, as the chief weapon of the Elamites (cf. Isaiah 22:6), is mentioned, by synecdoche, instead of all offensive and defensive weapons, for all the means of resistance and attack employed by this warlike nation. This, indeed, is shown by the apposition, "the first-fruits (i.e., the chief part) of their strength" or valour. To break the bow in pieces is thus equivalent to rendering defenceless. The plural suffix in גּבוּרתם points to Elam as a nation - the Elamites. Hitzig, Graf, and older expositors make an assumption which is both unnecessary and incapable of proof, that קשׁת stands for גבּורים, and means "the valiant, brave people of war," as in Isaiah 21:17 and 1 Samuel 2:4; but neither in these passages can the alleged meaning be fully made out.

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