Jeremiah 50:8
Remove out of the middle of Babylon, and go forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be as the he goats before the flocks.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) Remove out of the midst of Babylon . . .—The prophet re-echoes almost the very words of Isaiah 48:20; Isaiah 52:11. It is obviously in marked contrast with the counsels in Jeremiah 29:5-7 that the exiles should build houses and plant gardens, and seek the peace of the city of their conquerors. That was a wise and right counsel for the time, but it was for a time only; and when the hour of the fall of Babylon came they were to be as the he-goats (better, rams) of the flock, leading the captives of other nations in the work of liberation and of flight. That was their only way of escape from being involved in the destruction of the doomed city.

Jeremiah 50:8. Remove out of the midst of Babylon — All exhortation often used by the prophets on this subject: see the margin. Some learned men suppose that this exhortation relates to the siege of Babylon carried on by Darius Hystaspes in the fifth and sixth years of his reign. Before which time God had warned the Jews, by the Prophet Zechariah, (Zechariah 2:6-7,) to flee out of Babylon, and to deliver themselves from the miseries that should befall that city during the siege: see Dr. Prideaux. And be as the he-goats before the flocks — “Let every one strive to lead the way to others, and give them an example of speedily obeying God’s call, without showing any fondness to the place, or the idolatries there practised.”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.So firmly did the Jews settle themselves in Babylon under Jeremiah's counsels, that they were the last to abandon the place.

He goats - See Isaiah 14:9 note.

8. (Jer 51:6, 45; Isa 48:20; Zec 2:6, 7; Re 18:4). Immediately avail yourselves of the opportunity of escape.

be as … he-goats before … flocks—Let each try to be foremost in returning, animating the weak, as he-goats lead the flock; such were the companions of Ezra (Ezr 1:5, 6).

These words immediately following the other, confirm Mr. Calvin’s notion. God by his prophet commanding his people to remove out of Babylon, and to go forth cheerfully, and skipping like the he-goats of the flock leading the way, and setting an example unto others. We find much such a call Isaiah 48:20 Jeremiah 51:6, which is applied to spiritual Babylon, Revelation 18:4, where the coming out is to be understood of a separation from them as to any religious communion, which also was their duty as to old Babylon; but that is not the coming out here spoken of. Remove out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth out of the land of the Chaldeans,.... This, in the literal sense, is a call to the Jews in Babylon, and in other parts of Chaldea, to go out from thence upon the proclamation of Cyrus; and especially to the chief of them, to animate the rest, and set them an example; such as Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Ezra, and others: and, in the mystical sense, is a call to the people of God in Rome, and the antichristian states, to come out from thence, a little before the destruction thereof, as in Revelation 18:4; which seems to refer to this passage:

and be as the he goats before the flocks; which walk stately and nimbly, cheerfully and readily, without fear and dread, boldly and confidently, and encourage others to follow them. The Targum is,

"as princes at the head of their people.''

{i} Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth from the land of the Chaldeans, and be as the male goats {k} before the flocks.

(i) When God will deliver you by Cyrus.

(k) That is, most forward and without fear.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. Having told of the repentance of Israel, and of their sufferings in the land of exile, the prophet now calls upon them to set out upon their return. Cp. Isaiah 48:20.

be as the he-goats] who press to the front of the flock. So be ye the first of the exiled nations to leave before the crash comes.Verse 8. - The prophet returns to the fate of Babylon. He exhorts the captive Israelites to flee in time, before the hostile army reaches the city (comp. Isaiah 48:20). Be as the he goats before the flocks; rather, as the rams, whose example is followed unhesitatingly by the flock. The "flocks" in this case are the strangers in Babylon (ver. 16). The fall of Babylon, and deliverance of Israel. - Jeremiah 50:2. "Tell it among the nations, and cause it to be heard, and lift up a standard; cause it to be heard, conceal it not: say, Babylon is taken, Bel is ashamed, Merodach is confounded; her images are ashamed, her idols are confounded. Jeremiah 50:3. For there hath come up against her a nation out of the north; it will make her land a desolation, and there shall be not an inhabitant in it: from man to beast, [all] have fled, are gone. Jeremiah 50:4. In those days, and at that time, saith Jahveh, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together; they shall go, weeping as they go, and shall seek Jahveh their God. Jeremiah 50:5. They shall ask for Zion, with their faces [turned to] the road hitherwards, [saying], Come, and let us join ourselves to Jahveh by an eternal covenant [which] shall not be forgotten. Jeremiah 50:6. My people have been a flock of lost ones; their shepherds have misled them [on] mountains which lead astray: from mountain to hill they went; they forgot their resting-place. Jeremiah 50:7. All who found them have devoured them; and their enemies said, We are not guilty, for they have sinned against Jahveh, the dwelling-place of justice, and the hope of their fathers, Jahveh. Jeremiah 50:8. Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and from the land of the Chaldeans; let them go forth, and let them be like he-goats before a flock. Jeremiah 50:9. For, behold, I will stir up, and bring up against Babylon, an assembly of great nations out of the land of the north: and they shall array themselves against her; on that side shall she be taken: his arrows [are] like [those of] a skilful hero [who] does not return empty. Jeremiah 50:10. And [the land of the] Chaldeans shall become a spoil; all those who spoil her shall be satisfied, saith Jahveh."

In the spirit Jeremiah sees the fall of Babylon, together with its idols, as if it had actually taken place, and gives the command to proclaim among the nations this event, which brings deliverance for Israel and Judah. The joy over this is expressed in the accumulation of the words for the summons to tell the nations what has happened. On the expression, cf. Jeremiah 4:5-6; Jeremiah 46:14. The lifting up of a standard, i.e., of a signal-rod, served for the more rapid spreading of news; cf. Jeremiah 4:6; Jeremiah 6:1, Isaiah 13:2, etc. "Cause it to be heard" is intensified by the addition of "do not conceal it." The thing is to be proclaimed without reserve; cf. Jeremiah 38:14. "Babylon is taken," i.e., conquered, and her idols have become ashamed, inasmuch as, from their inability to save their city, their powerlessness and nullity have come to light. Bel and Merodach are not different divinities, but merely different names for the chief deity of the Babylonians. Bel equals Baal, the Jupiter of the Babylonians, was, as Bel-merodach, the tutelary god of Babylon. "The whole of the Babylonian dynasty," says Oppert, Expd. en Msopot. ii. p. 272, "places him [Merodach] at the head of the gods; and the inscription of Borsippa calls him the king of heaven and earth." עצבּים, "images of idols," and גּלּוּלים, properly "logs," an expression of contempt for idols (see on Leviticus 26:30), are synonymous ideas for designating the nature and character of the Babylonian gods.

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