A sword is on the Chaldeans, said the LORD, and on the inhabitants of Babylon, and on her princes, and on her wise men.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)A sword is upon the Chaldeans.—Better, A sword upon the Chaldeans. Here, and in the verses that follow, the interpolated verb weakens the force of the passage. Jehovah is represented as calling the “sword” and the “drought” to do their work of destruction.
Upon her wise men.—The term points especially to the “wise men” in the technical sense of the term, the soothsayers and astrologers who were prominent among Nebuchadnezzar’s counsellors (Daniel 2:2; Daniel 2:13).Jeremiah 50:35-37. A sword is upon the Chaldeans — That is, there shall come a sword upon them. Upon Babylon and her princes — Who were slain together with their king, Belshazzar, at a feast, Jeremiah 51:39; Daniel 5:2-30. And upon her wise men — The Chaldeans were famous for their skill in astrology, and other arts of divination; and yet the learned in those sciences were not able to foresee or prevent the dangers coming upon themselves in the common calamity. A sword is upon the liars — Upon the diviners, or the pretenders to the knowledge of future events; and they shall dote — They shall be proved to be foolish and ignorant, by things happening directly contrary to what they had thought and said. Thus Isaiah, speaking of the same kind of men, says, He (namely, God) frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad. A sword is upon all the mingled people — Upon her auxiliaries, made up of several nations: see Ezekiel 30:5. And they shall become as women — Fearful, and having neither courage nor any thing else manly in them. A sword is upon her treasures, &c. — “Her treasures shall be a prey to such as come with sword in hand to rifle them: as Solon said to Crœsus, who, by way of ostentation, showed him his treasures, “Sir, if any one come that has better iron than you, he will be master of all your gold.” — Lowth.Daniel 1:4 note).
wise men—(Isa 47:13). Babylon boasted that it was the peculiar seat of wisdom and wise men, especially in astronomy and astrology.
and upon the inhabitants of Babylon; the metropolis of Chaldea; the common people in it, as distinguished from those of high rank and degree following:
and upon her princes; Belshazzar and his nobles, who were slain the night Babylon was taken:
and upon her wise men; prime ministers, politicians, and counsellors of state; neither high birth nor great wisdom can secure from the sword of the enemy, when it has a commission from God, as it had here.A sword is upon the Chaldeans, saith the LORD, and upon the inhabitants of Babylon, and upon her princes, and upon her wise men.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verses 35-38. - No human aid avails against so terrible a foe; therefore Jehovah calls upon his Sword (see on Jeremiah 47:6) to avenge the cause of his people. Verse 35. - A sword is, etc., should rather be, Sword upon the Chaldea, it is an exclamation equivalent to "Let the Sword come upon the Chaldeans" - that sword which never "returns empty." The wise men are, partly the astronomers and astrologers at the various observatories in Babylonia, whose duty it was to send in monthly reports of the appearances in the sky, which were regarded as having an occult political significance (comp. Isaiah 47:13). In the next verse they are called liars, or praters. In Isaiah 44:25 this word stands parallel to "diviners." Possibly "liars" may be a wider term than "wise men," and includes an inferior grade of pretenders to "wisdom." Jeremiah 50:29. "Summon archers against Jerusalem, all those who bend the bow; encamp against her round about. Let there be no escape for her; recompense to her according to her work; according to that which she hath done, do ye to her: for she hath presumed against Jahveh, against the Holy One of Israel. Jeremiah 50:30. Therefore shall her young men fall in her streets, and all her men of war shall fail in that day, saith Jahveh. Jeremiah 50:31. Behold, I am against thee, O Pride! said the Lord, Jahveh of hosts; for thy day hath come, the time [when] I visit thee. Jeremiah 50:32. And Pride shall stumble and fall, and he shall have none to lift him up; and I will kindle fire in his cities, and it shall devour all that is round about him. Jeremiah 50:33. Thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the Children of Israel and the children of Judah are oppressed together, and all who led them captive kept hold of them; they refused to let them go. Jeremiah 50:34. Their Redeemer is strong; Jahveh of hosts is His name: He shall surely plead their cause, that He may give rest to the earth, and make the inhabitants of Babylon tremble. Jeremiah 50:35. A sword [is] against the Chaldeans, saith Jahveh, and against the inhabitants of Babylon, and against her princes, and against her wise men. Jeremiah 50:36. A sword [is] against the liars, and they shall become fools; a sword is against her heroes, and they shall be confounded. Jeremiah 50:37. A sword [is] against his horses, and against his chariots, and against all the auxiliaries which [are] in the midst of her, and they shall become women; a sword is against her treasures, and they shall be plundered. Jeremiah 50:38. A drought is against her waters, and they shall become dry; for it is a land of graven images, and they are mad upon idols. Jeremiah 50:39. Therefore shall wild beasts dwell [there] with jackals, and ostriches shall dwell in it; and it shall no more be inhabited for ever, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation. Jeremiah 50:40. As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and their inhabitants, saith Jahveh, no man shall dwell there, nor shall a son of man sojourn in it."
Further description of the execution of God's wrath. Archers shall come and besiege Babylon round about, so that no one shall escape. The summons, "Call archers hither," is a dramatic turn in the thought that the siege is quickly to ensue. השׁמיע is used here as in Jeremiah 51:27, to summon, call by making proclamation, as in 1 Kings 15:22. רבּים does not signify "many," as the ancient versions give it; this agrees neither with the apposition which follows, "all that bend the bow," nor with Jeremiah 50:26, where all, to the last, are summoned against Babylon. Raschi, followed by all the moderns, more correctly renders it "archers," and derives it from רבה equals רבב, Genesis 49:23, cf. with Jeremiah 21:10, like רב, Job 16:13. The apposition, "all those who bend the bow," gives additional force. חנה with accus. means to besiege; cf. Psalm 53:6. "Let there be no escape" is equivalent to saying, "that none may escape from Babylon." The Qeri להּ after יהי is unnecessary, and merely taken from Jeremiah 50:26. On the expression "render to her," etc., cf. Jeremiah 25:14; and on "according to all," etc., f. Jeremiah 50:15. "For she hath acted presumptuously against Jahveh," by burning His temple, and keeping His people captive: in this way has Babylon offended "against the Holy One of Israel." This epithet of God is taken from Isaiah, cf. Isaiah 51:5. This presumption must be punished.
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