Jeremiah 50:33
Thus said the LORD of hosts; The children of Israel and the children of Judah were oppressed together: and all that took them captives held them fast; they refused to let them go.
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(33) Were oppressed.—Better, are oppressed, and so on through the verse. The English tense is misleading. The prophet, having described the doom that lies in the future, now returns to the present, and finds in the actual state of Israel that which made the destruction of Babylon a necessary condition of its liberation. All appeals to the mercy of their conquerors, Assyrian or Chaldæan, had been made in vain.

Jeremiah 50:33-34. Israel and Judah were oppressed together — Not together with respect to times, for there was a distance of one hundred and fifty years between the time of Israel’s and Judah’s being carried away captive; nor by the same enemy; Israel being carried away by the Assyrians, Judah by the Chaldeans. Together here signifies no more than that they were both oppressed, or alike oppressed. And all that took them captives held them fast — Were determined not to release them. The prophet seems here to intimate, that as their enemies were not only very powerful, but fully resolved to detain them in captivity, his predictions of their deliverance might seem to some but vain words, never likely to be fulfilled. Hence he adds, in the next verse, Their Redeemer is strong — Or, their Avenger, as the word also signifies. He that has a right to them will claim his right, and make good his claim. He is stronger than their enemies who hold them fast, and can, with infinite ease, overpower all their force, and baffle all their subtlety, and put strength into his own people, though they may be very weak. The Lord of hosts is his name — And he will answer his name, and make it appear that he is what his people call him. He shall thoroughly plead their cause — Hebrew, ריכ וריב את ריבם, pleading he will plead it, plead it with jealousy, and effectually plead it and carry it; that he may give rest to the land — To his people’s land, rest from all their enemies round about; or, to the earth, as ארצmore properly signifies, namely, rest from the oppressions of the Babylonish empire; and disquiet — Or, cause to tremble, as some render הרגיז, the inhabitants of Babylon — Because they have disquieted his people, and caused them to tremble, for whose honour and comfort he is jealous.50:33-46 It is Israel's comfort in distress, that, though they are weak, their Redeemer is strong. This may be applied to believers, who complain of the dominion of sin and corruption, and of their own weakness and manifold infirmities. Their Redeemer is able to keep what they commit to him; and sin shall not have dominion over them. He will give them that rest which remains for the people of God. Also here is Babylon's sin, and their punishment. The sins are, idolatry and persecution. He that will not save his people in their sins, never will countenance the wickedness of his open enemies. The judgments of God for these sins will lay them waste. In the judgments denounced against prosperous Babylon, and the mercies promised to afflicted Israel, we learn to choose to suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.Were oppressed - are "oppressed together: and all their captors have laid firm hold upon them: they have refused to let them go." The restoration of Israel and Judah to their land is necessary. As Babylon will not let them go, it must be broken, and its empire destroyed. 33. Israel and … Judah were oppressed—He anticipates an objection, in order to answer it: Ye have been, no doubt, "oppressed," therefore ye despair of deliverance; but, remember your "Redeemer is strong," and therefore can and will deliver you. Were oppressed together; not together in respect of times, for’ there was one hundred and fifty years difference betwixt the time of Israel’s and Judah’s captivity; nor by the same enemy, Israel was carried away captive by the Assyrians, Judah by the Chaldeans.

Together in this place signifies no more than that they were both oppressed, or alike oppressed.

And all that took them captives held them fast; they refused to let them go: and some may think that my prophecies are but flatteries and vain words, for those who have them in their hands are able to keep them, and will not be willing to let them go. Thus saith the Lord of hosts,.... This is a preface to another prophecy, detached from the former, respecting the redemption of the Lord's people by the Messiah; and is used to excite the attention to it, as well as, to assure the truth of it:

the children of Israel and the children of Judah were oppressed together; which cannot be well understood of the ten tribes of Israel, and of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, or the whole body of the Jewish people; since these were not oppressed at one and the same time, nor by one and the same monarch and monarchy. The children of Israel, or the ten tribes, were carried captive by Shalmaneser the Assyrian monarch; and the children of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonian monarch, a hundred and fifty years after; to say that some of the ten tribes were mixed with the children of Judah, at the time when carried captive into Babylon, and so oppressed together with them, can hardly be thought to answer the import of the phrase, "the children of Israel"; which seems to design the body of that people. It is better therefore to understand it of the whole mystical Israel of God, as in their nature state oppressed by sin and Satan, being under their dominion; or as labouring under the oppressions and persecutions of antichrist; or else of the Jewish people in their present captivity, who will be redeemed from it, and converted, and all Israel shall be saved:

and all that took them captives held them fast; they refused to let them go; as the Assyrians and Chaldeans took and held fast literal Israel and Judah; so the elect of God, the Israel he has chosen for himself, are taken captive by sin and Satan, and are held by them, till they are snatched from them by powerful and efficacious grace; and as many of God's Israel are taken and held captive under the antichristian yoke; and as the Jews to this day are in a state of exile and captivity, from which they cannot free themselves.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The children of Israel and the children of Judah were oppressed together: and all that took them captives held them fast; they refused to let them go.
33. hold … refuse] The Babylonian oppressors act like Pharaoh of old.Verse 33. - At the end of ver. 32 a pause occurs in the discourse. Then the prophet takes up the theme again with renewed emphasis. Were oppressed; rather, are oppressed. Because the oppression of Israel and Judah still continues, whereas Israel has by this time been amply punished ("received double," Isaiah 40:2) for her transgressions, Jehovah will himself interpose. He is, in fact, Israel's Goel ("Redeemer"), i.e. charged, like the next of kin, with the duty of recovering thy rights and avenging thy wrongs (comp. Isaiah 41:14; Isaiah 47:4). On the Goel, see Leviticus 25:25; Ruth 4:6; Numbers 30:19. This annihilation will come unexpectedly. As the bird by the snare of the fowler, so shall Babylon be laid hold of by Jahveh, because it has striven against Him. The Lord lays the snare for it, that it may be caught. יקושׁ, "to lay snares;" cf. Psalm 141:9, where פּח is also found. ולא , "and thou didst not perceive," i.e., didst not mark it: this is a paraphrase of the idea "unexpectedly," suddenly; cf. Jeremiah 51:8; Isaiah 47:11. This has been literally fulfilled on Babylon. According to Herodotus (i. 191), Cyrus took Babylon by diverting the Euphrates into a trench he had dug. By this stratagem the Persians threw themselves so unexpectedly on the Babylonians (ἐξ ἀπροσδοκήτου σφι παρέστησαν οἱ Πέρσαι), that when the outmost portions of the city had been already seized, those who lived in the middle had not observed at all that they were captured (τοὺς τὸ μέσον οἰκέοντας ου ̓ μανθάνειν ἑαλωκότας). Similarly, when the city was taken under Darius Hystaspes, they were surprised that Zopyrus traitorously opened the gates to the besiegers (Herodotus, iii. 158). Babylon has contended against Jahveh, because, in its pride, it refused to let the people of God depart; cf. Jeremiah 50:29 and Jeremiah 50:33. In Jeremiah 50:25 the sudden devastation of Babylon is accounted for. Jahveh opens His armoury, and brings out the instruments of His wrath, in order to execute His work on the land of the Chaldeans. אוצר, "magazine, treasure-chamber," is here applied to an armoury. The "instruments of His wrath" are, in Isaiah 13:5, the nations which execute the judgment of god-here, the instruments of war and weapons with which Jahveh Himself marches into battle against Babylon. On 'מלאכה וגו, cf. Jeremiah 48:10. The business which the Lord has there regards the chastisement of Babylon for its insolence. For the transaction of this business He summons His servants, Jeremiah 50:26. באוּ־להּ, as in Jeremiah 46:22; Jeremiah 49:9, is substantially the same as באוּ עליה, Jeremiah 49:14; Jeremiah 48:8. מקּץ, "from the end," or from the last hitherwards, the same as מקּצה, Jeremiah 51:31, i.e., all together on to the last; cf. Genesis 19:4; Genesis 47:2, etc. "Open her (Babylon's) barns" or granaries; "heap it up (viz., what was in the granaries) like heaps" of grain or sheaves, "and devote it to destruction," i.e., consume it with fire, because things on which the curse was imposed must be burnt; cf. Joshua 11:12 and Joshua 11:13. All the property found in Babylon is to be collected in heaps, and then burnt with the city. The use of the image is occasioned by the granaries. מאבסיה is ἅπ. λεγ., from אבס, to give fodder to cattle, - properly a stall for fodder, then a barn, granary. ערמה is a heap of grain (Sol 7:3), sheaves (Ruth 3:7), also of rubbish (Nehemiah 3:34). As Jeremiah 50:26 declares what is to be done with goods and chattels, so does Jeremiah 50:27 state what is to be done with the population. The figure employed in Jeremiah 50:26 is followed by the representation of the people as oxen destined for slaughter; in this Jeremiah had in his mind the prophecy found in Isaiah 34, in which the judgment to come on Edom is depicted as a slaughter of lambs, rams, and he-goats: the people of Edom are thus compared to cattle that may be offered in sacrifice. This figure also forms the basis of the expression ירד לטּבח in Jeremiah 48:15, where this style of speaking is used with regard to the youths or the young troops; cf. also Jeremiah 51:40. The פּרים, accordingly, designate not merely the chief among the people, or the men of rank, but represent the whole human population. In the last clause ("for their day is come," etc.), there is a transition in the discourse from the figure to the real subject itself. The suffix in עליהם does not refer to the oxen, but to the men over whose murder there is an exclamation of woe. In like manner, "their day" means the day of judgment for men, viz., the time of their visitation with punishment; see on Jeremiah 46:21. Fugitives and escaped ones will bring to Zion, and proclaim the news of the execution of this fearful judgment, that the Lord has fulfilled the vengeance of His temple, i.e., avenged on Babylon the burning of His temple by the Chaldeans. The fugitives and escaped ones are the Israelites, who were summoned to flee from Babylon, Jeremiah 50:3. On "the vengeance of Jahveh," cf. Jeremiah 50:15 and Jeremiah 51:11.
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