Jeremiah 51:2
And will send to Babylon fanners, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land: for in the day of trouble they shall be against her round about.
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(2) Fanners, that shall fan her.—The Hebrew word as it stands means “strangers,” but a change of the vowel-points would give etymologically “winnowers” or “fanners,” though the word is not found elsewhere. On the whole it would seem best to accept the meaning of “strangers,” the prophet connecting it with the verb for “fan,” which contains the same consonants, for the sake of a rhythmical assonance. The imagery in either case is that of the familiar picture of the “threshing-floor,” where the “strong wind” scatters the chaff in all directions (Psalm 1:4; Psalm 35:5; Isaiah 17:13; Isaiah 29:5). The word for “empty” is the same as that used with an emphatic significance in Jeremiah 19:7.

51:1-58 The particulars of this prophecy are dispersed and interwoven, and the same things left and returned to again. Babylon is abundant in treasures, yet neither her waters nor her wealth shall secure her. Destruction comes when they did not think of it. Wherever we are, in the greatest depths, at the greatest distances, we are to remember the Lord our God; and in the times of the greatest fears and hopes, it is most needful to remember the Lord. The feeling excited by Babylon's fall is the same with the New Testament Babylon, Re 18:9,19. The ruin of all who support idolatry, infidelity, and superstition, is needful for the revival of true godliness; and the threatening prophecies of Scripture yield comfort in this view. The great seat of antichristian tyranny, idolatry, and superstition, the persecutor of true Christians, is as certainly doomed to destruction as ancient Babylon. Then will vast multitudes mourn for sin, and seek the Lord. Then will the lost sheep of the house of Israel be brought back to the fold of the good Shepherd, and stray no more. And the exact fulfilment of these ancient prophecies encourages us to faith in all the promises and prophecies of the sacred Scriptures.Fanners - Or, winnowers. 2. fanners—(See on [998]Jer 15:7). The fanners separate the wheat from the chaff; so God's judgments shall sweep away guilty Babylon as chaff (Ps 1:4). Wicked men are compared to chaff, Psalm 1:4. Such as execute judgment on them are called fanners, Jeremiah 15:7; so Matthew 3:12; because as the fanner keepeth what is in the fan unquiet in a continual motion and agitation, by which (advantaged by the wind) he emptieth it of the chaff; so the executioners of God’s vengeance, by a succession of judgments, keeps a people from quiet, till all their chaff be winnowed out, and the fan be emptied of all but the more solid grain. For (he saith) as the fanner first riddleth what he hath in his fan one way, then another, first throweth it up, then lets it fall into the fan; so the enemies should be round about Babylon, and God would be on every side and every way destroying them. And I will send unto Babylon farmers, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land,.... Or, "strangers that shall fan her" (c); meaning the Medes and Persians, who should be like a strong wind upon the mountains, where corn, having been threshed, was fanned, and the chaff carried away by the wind; and such would the Chaldeans be in the hand of the Persians, scattered and dispersed among the nations as chaff with the wind, and their cities be emptied of inhabitants, and of their wealth and riches. The Targum is,

"I will send against Babylon spoilers, that shall spoil and exhaust the land:''

for in the day of trouble they shall be against her round about; in the time of the siege they shall surround her on all sides, so that none might escape; as Babylon had been a fanner of the Lord's people, now she should be fanned herself, and stripped of all she had; see Jeremiah 15:7.

(c) "alienos", Cocceius; some in Vatablus; so Kimchi, Ben Melech, Abendana.

And will send unto Babylon fanners, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land: for in the day of trouble they shall be against her round about.
2. strangers] mg. (with A.V.) fanners, which (differing only in vocalisation from the other reading) suits the subsequent verb. So Syr. and Targ. The figure is that of men winnowing corn.Verse 2. - Farmers. This is supported by the Septuagint, Peshito, Targum, Vulgate, according to the Massoretic pointing, however, we should render "enemies." Possibly the prophet intended to suggest both meanings, a and o being so nearly related. Shall empty her land. The original has a much mere striking word, shall pour out (for the figures, comp. Jeremiah 48:12), which occurs again in similar contexts in Isaiah 24:1; Nahum 2:3 (Hebrew, 2). The agents who execute the judgment. - Jeremiah 50:41. "Behold, a people shall come from the north, and a great nation, and many kings shall be raised up from the most distant sides of the earth. Jeremiah 50:42. Bow and javelin shall they seize: they are cruel, and will not pity; their voice shall sound like the sea, and they shall ride upon horses, [each one] arrayed like a man for the battle, against thee, O daughter of Babylon. Jeremiah 50:43. The king of Babylon hath heard the report concerning them, and his hands have fallen down: distress hath seized him, writing pain, like [that of] the woman in childbirth. Jeremiah 50:44. Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the glory of Jordan to a habitation of rock; but in a moment will I make them run away from her, and will set over her him who is chosen: for who is like me, and who will appoint me a time [to plead my defence]? and what shepherd [is there] that will stand before me? Jeremiah 50:45. Therefore hear ye the counsel of Jahveh which He hath taken against Babylon, and His purposes which He hath purposed against the land of the Chaldeans: Assuredly they shall drag them away, the smallest of the flock; assuredly [their] habitation shall be astonished at them. Jeremiah 50:46. At the cry, 'Babylon is taken,' the earth is shaken, and a cry [for help] is heard among the nations.

Jeremiah 51

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