Jeremiah 50:3
For out of the north there cometh up a nation against her, which shall make her land desolate, and none shall dwell therein: they shall remove, they shall depart, both man and beast.
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(3) Out of the north there cometh up a nation.—It is significant that the very phrase which had described the danger that threatened Judah from Babylon (Jeremiah 1:10) is now used for the danger that threatened Babylon itself from Media. It is as though the prophet watched that northern quarter of the heavens, and saw storm after storm, torrent after torrent, bursting out upon the south. The nations are named in Jeremiah 51:27-28. We are almost irresistibly reminded of the language in which the historians of the fourth and fifth centuries speak of the Gothic and Teutonic tribes that poured down upon the Roman Empire.

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.Out of the north - Media lay to the northwest of Babylon. This constant use of the north, the quarter where the sun never shines, and therefore the region of darkness, is symbolic of the region from where danger ever comes.

They shall remove ... - Translate it (as in Jeremiah 9:10): "from man even to cattle they are fled, they are gone."

3. a nation—the Medes, north of Babylon (Jer 51:48). The devastation of Babylon here foretold includes not only that by Cyrus, but also that more utter one by Darius, who took Babylon by artifice when it had revolted from Persia, and mercilessly slaughtered the inhabitants, hanging four thousand of the nobles; also the final desertion of Babylon, owing to Seleucia having been built close by under Seleucus Nicanor. From Media, which lay northward to Babylon and Assyria, through which Cyrus’s way to Babylon lay. This prophecy seemeth not to relate only to Cyrus’s first taking of Babylon, who dealt very gently with it, but to a second taking of it by Darius the king of the Medes, who upon their defection from the Persian monarchy came and made a horrible devastation amongst them, hanging up (as some tell us) four thousand of their nobles, and slaying multitudes of the common people; or of the mischief done them afterward by Seleucus Nicanor, who is said to have built a city, which he called Seleucia, within fourscore and ten miles of Babylon, by which means he brought Babylon to an utter desolation.

For out of the north there cometh up a nation against her,.... The Medes and Persians, which under Cyrus were one nation; and which not only lay north of Judea, where this prophecy came, but of Babylon, against which they were to come; and might lay more north to it, before the enlargement of their dominions; and besides, Cyrus came through Assyria to Babylon, which lay north of it; see Isaiah 41:25. Thus, as Rome Pagan was sacked and taken by the Goths and Vandals, that came out of the north; so Rome Papal, and the antichristian states, will be destroyed by the Christian princes of the north, or those who have embraced what the Papists call the northern heresy; tidings out of the north shall trouble antichrist, Daniel 11:44;

which shall make her land desolate, and none shall dwell therein; that is, in process of time; for this desolation was not made at once; it was begun by Cyrus, made greater by Darius, and completed by Seleucus Nicator;

they shall remove, they shall depart, both man and beast; or, "from man to beast" (d); such as were not slain should either flee away or be carried captive; so that in time none should remain, either of man or beast; see Isaiah 13:19; and for the accomplishment of it on mystical Babylon see Revelation 18:2.

(d) "ab homine et usque ad animal", Pagninus, Montanus; "ad bestiam", Schmidt.

For out of the north {c} there cometh a nation against her, which shall make her land desolate, and none shall dwell in it: they shall remove, they shall depart, both man and beast.

(c) That is, the Medes and the Persians.

3. out of the north] characteristic of Jeremiah, but meaning with him first the Scythians and then the Babylonians, whereas the Persians are here meant.

they are fled, etc.] Cp. Jeremiah 9:10.

Verse 3. - Out of the north. There was a peculiar mystery attaching to the north in the Hebrew mind, as, in fact, the word very for "north" in Hebrew (literally, the hidden) indicates. The burnt offering was to be sacrificed on the north side of the altar (Leviticus 1:11), and the four cherubim, in the vision of Ezekiel, are described as coming from the north (Ezekiel 1:4). The horror with which Babylon was regarded was intensified, apparently, by its northern position (Jeremiah 1:14), and now the "hidden" north again pours forth its swarms of warriors against Babylon herself. They shall remove, they shall depart; rather, they are fled, they are gone; almost the same clause occurs in Jeremiah 9:10. The prediction is realized as past. Jeremiah 50:3Babylon is fallen by a people from the north, that has gone out against her, and makes her land a desolation. This nation is described in Jeremiah 50:9 as a collection, union of great nations, that are enumerated especially in Jeremiah 51:27-28. On "it [the nation] shall make her land," etc., cf. Jeremiah 2:15; Jeremiah 48:9; on the expression "from man to beast," cf. Jeremiah 33:12; Jeremiah 9:9. נדוּ is from נוּד, Jeremiah 50:8 and Jeremiah 49:30 equals נדדוּ, from נדד, Jeremiah 9:9.
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