Jeremiah 51:27
Set ye up a standard in the land, blow the trumpet among the nations, prepare the nations against her, call together against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashchenaz; appoint a captain against her; cause the horses to come up as the rough caterpillers.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(27) Prepare the nations.—The word here and in Jeremiah 51:29 conveys, as in Jeremiah 22:7, the idea of consecration.

Call together against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashchenaz.—The first of these names was unknown to Greek and Roman geographers, and though here rendered Arareth by the LXX., is elsewhere translated by Armenia, as in the English version of Isaiah 37:38. The name Ararat is Sanscrit, and means “the holy land.” The site of Minni has not been identified, and the name does not occur elsewhere, unless, with some scholars, we find it in Psalm 45:9, and translate “out of the ivory palaces of Minni.” The name “Minyes” is found in Josephus (Antt. i. 3, p. 6), and Minnai in the Assyrian inscriptions. Rawlinson (Herod. i. p. 464) places them above Lake Urumiyeh. It is clear from the context that their country formed part of Armenia. Ashchenaz appears in Genesis 10:3 as connected with Gomer, i.e., with the Scythians. The first syllable has been supposed to contain the root of the name Asia, which has been gradually extended to the continent. The modern Jews apply the name Ashkenazim to those of their race that are settled in Germany and Eastern Europe, the name Sephardim being applied to those of Spain and the West.

Appoint a captain against her.—The word for “captain” is found only here and in Nahum 3:17. It was probably an Assyrian word, meaning either “captain” or “host.”

Cause the horses to come up as the rough caterpillers.—Better, as the bristly locusts. The word describes the insect in its third stage of growth, when the wings are not yet unfolded from their cases, and when they are most destructive in their ravages.

Jeremiah 51:27-29. Set ye up a standard — blow the trumpet — These were common signals for assembling armies together. Call together the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashehenaz — These were countries under the dominion of the Medes. The two former probably the greater and lesser Armenia, and the latter a part of Phrygia, near the Hellespont: so Bochart thinks. And that both Armenians and Phrygians composed part of the army which Cyrus led against Babylon, may be seen in Xenophon. Cyropœd., lib. 3. and lib. 7. Appoint a captain against her — Appoint a proper person, who has skill, courage, and conduct, to command and direct all these nations. Such was Cyrus, who was accordingly appointed to this purpose. Cause her horses to come up as the rough caterpillars — Or, the rough locusts, as Bochart renders it, who observes, that there are some insects of that kind rough and hairy. Blaney reads, bristled locusts. Locusts represent horses, not only in their swiftness, but likewise in the shape of their heads, and Joel 2:4, Revelation 9:7, they are said to have the appearance of horses and horsemen. Prepare against her the kings of the Medes — The several princes or viceroys of the provinces belonging to the Median empire, with their people. All princes and governors are called kings in the Hebrew language. The land shall tremble and sorrow — An expression commonly used to express the confusion of the inhabitants under some great calamity. For every purpose of the Lord shall be performed, &c. — See notes on Jeremiah 50:16-40.

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.Ararat, see the Genesis 8:4 note. Minni, probably the western portion of Armenia, as Ararat was that in the center and to the east. Armenia was at this time subject to Media. Ashchenaz was between the Euxine and the Caspian Seas.

A captain - Some prefer the Septuagint rendering in Nahum 3:17 : "a mingled mass of people." (Others, a "scribe," an Assyrian term.)

The rough caterpillers - i. e., locusts in their third stage, when their wings are still enveloped in rough horny cases, which stick up upon their backs. It is in this stage that they are so destructive.

27. (Jer 50:29). As in Jer 51:12 the Babylonians were told to "set up the standard," so here her foes are told to do so: the latter, to good purpose; the former, in vain.

Ararat—Upper or Major Armenia, the regions about Mount Ararat.

Minni—Lower or Lesser Armenia. Rawlinson says that Van was the capital of Minni. It was conquered by Tettarrassa, the general of Tetembar II, the Assyrian king whose wars are recorded on the black obelisk now in the British Museum.

Ashchenaz—a descendant of Japheth (Ge 10:3), who gave his name to the sea now called the Black Sea; the region bordering on it is probably here meant, namely, Asia Minor, including places named Ascania in Phrygia and Bithynia. Cyrus had subdued Asia Minor and the neighboring regions, and from these he drew levies in proceeding against Babylon.

rough caterpillars—The horsemen in multitude, and in appearance bristling with javelins and with crests, resemble "rough caterpillars," or locusts of the hairy-crested kind (Na 3:15).

The former words of this verse are expounded by those that follow; setting up of standards and blowings of trumpets are preparatory to bring armies together. The setting up of standards, and blowing of trumpets, are military signs of the will of those princes or captains-general whose those standards are, and to whom those trumpets belong, that those soldiers who are under their command should gather themselves together to the places where those standards are set up, and those trumpets blown. What this

kingdom of Ararat was, and those of

Minni and

Ashchenaz, is very hard to determine. We read of a mountain called Ararat, where the ark rested after the flood, Genesis 8:4. Of Minni we read no where else: most writers think these were two kingdoms within Armenia. Ashchenaz descended from Noah by Japheth, Genesis 10:3, Certain it is that the emperor of the Medes had the dominion of these places, from whence it is very probable that either Cyrus or Darius, or both, drew out soldiers to help them to conquer the Chaldeans.

Appoint a captain against her: after people are gathered together for war, the first thing to be done is to put them into military order, constituting a captain-general.

Cause the horses to come up as the rough caterpillars. Others read it, like the wasting caterpillar, or like the horrible affrighting caterpillar. Great disputes there are amongst critical interpreters what caterpillars are here meant, the caterpillars being generally smooth; but as we know not the complexion of insects over all the world, so even amongst us we see some caterpillars that look a little rough: that which alone we are here to attend is wily the Median horses are compared to these insects: undoubtedly it is either,

1 With respect to their numbers, for caterpillars in those countries used to come in vast numbers.

2. Or in regard of the horror and trembling caused by them in people when they came, being a great plague to the places which they infested.

Set ye up a standard in the land,.... Not in Chaldea, but rather in any land; or in all the countries which belonged to Media and Persia; where Cyrus's standard is ordered to be set up, to gather soldiers together, and enlist in his service, in order to go with him in his expedition against Babylon:

blow the trumpet among the nations; for the same purpose, to call them to arms, to join the forces of Cyrus, and go with him into the land of Chaldea:

prepare the nations against her: animate them, stir up their spirits against her, and furnish them with armour to engage with her: or, "sanctify" (x) them; select a certain number out of them fit for such work:

call together the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashchenaz; the two former are generally thought to intend Armenia the greater, and the lesser; and the latter Ascania, a country in Phrygia; and certain it is that Cyrus first conquered these countries, and had many Armenians, Phrygians, and Cappadocians, in his army he brought against Babylon, as Xenophon (y) relates. The Targum is, declare

"against her to the kingdoms of the land of Kardu, the army of Armenia and Hadeb,''

or Adiabene:

appoint a captain against her; over all these forces thus collected: Cyrus seems to be intended; unless the singular is put for the plural, and so intends a sufficient number of general officers of the army:

cause the horses to come up as the rough caterpillars; or "locusts" (z); which though generally smooth, yet some fire hairy and rough; to which the horses in Cyrus's army are compared, for their multitude, the shape of their heads, long manes, and manner of going, leaping, and prancing. So the Targum,

"they shall cause the horses to come up, leaping like the shining locust;''

that is of a yellow colour, and shines like gold. So the word the Targum here uses is used by Jonathan in Leviticus 13:32; of hair yellow as gold, and here to be understood of hairy locusts: and, as Aelianus (a) says, there were locusts of a golden colour in Arabia. And such may be meant here by the Chaldee paraphrase, which well expresses their motion by leaping; see Joel 2:5; and which agrees with that of horses. The word rendered "rough" has the signification of horror in it, such as makes the hair to stand upright; see Job 4:15; and so some (b) render it here. And Bochart (c), from Alcamus, an Arabic writer, observes, that there is a sort of locusts which have two hairs upon their head, which are called their horn, which when erected may answer to this sense of the word; and he brings in the poet Claudian (d), as describing the locust by the top of its head, as very horrible and terrible; and that some locusts? have hair upon their heads seems manifest from Revelation 9:8; though it may be, the reason why they are here represented as so dreadful and frightful may not be so much on account of their form, as for the terror they strike men with, when they come in great numbers, and make such terrible havoc of the fruits of the earth as they do; wherefore the above learned writer proposes to render the words, "as the horrible locusts" (e).

(x) "sanctificate", Piscator, Schmidt. (y) Cyropaedia, l. 5. c. 15. & l. 7. c. 21. (z) "sicut bruchum", Montanus, Schmidt. (a) De Animal. l. 10. c. 13. (b) "horripilantem", Montanus; "qui horret", Piscator, Cocceius. (c) Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 4. c. 2. col. 456. (d) "Horret apex capitis, medio fera lumina surgunt Vertice", &c. Epigram. 13. (e) "Non tam horrentem, quam horrendum sonat".

Set ye up a standard in the land, blow the trumpet among the nations, prepare the nations against her, call together against her the kingdoms of {q} Ararat, Minni, and Ashchenaz; appoint a captain against her; cause the horses to come up as the rough caterpillers.

(q) By these three nations he means Armenia the higher, Armenia the lower and Scythia; for Cyrus had gathered an army of various nations.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
27. Set ye up, etc.] Cp. Jeremiah 51:12.

prepare] For mg. sanctify (and so in Jeremiah 51:28) see on Jeremiah 6:4, Jeremiah 22:7.

Ararat] the Assyrian Urartu, N.W. of Lake Van, and corresponding pretty closely to the Armenia of the present day. Cp. Genesis 8:4; 2 Kings 19:37.

Minni] the Mannai of the cuneiform inscriptions, not far from Lake Van.

Ashkenaz] evidently near the two former, but not otherwise known; perhaps the Ashguza of inscriptions. Cp. Genesis 10:3.

a marshal] The Heb. word occurs elsewhere only in Nahum 3:17. It is commonly connected with the frequent Assyrian noun dupsarru, tablet-writer, scribe. But both passages seem to suggest (cp. “horses” in the parallel clause here) that a body of troops is indicated rather than any individual.

Verses 27-37. - A more detailed sketch of the conquest of Babylon; followed (somewhat out of the natural order) by a complaint on the part of Israel, and a promise of championship on that of Jehovah. Verse 27. - Prepare the nations; literally, consecrate the nations; viz. by religious rites. It is in an especial sense a religious war to which they are summoned (see on Jeremiah 6:4, and comp. Isaiah 13:3). Ararat. Ararat appears in the cuneiform inscriptions under the form "Urartu? In Isaiah 37:38 the Authorized Version renders correctly by "Armenia." The Assyrian kings, since Shalmaneser, were constantly at war with the Armenians; Assurbanipal reduced them to pay tribute. Minni. The Mannai of the cuneiform inscriptions. The locality of this tribe has been hitherto wrongly given as the mountain country about Lake Vau. But Professor Sayco has shown that they are rather to be looked for to the southwest of Lake Urumiyeh. A captain. The word (tifsar) is singular, but is probably to be understood collectively as equivalent to "captains," like the word (sus, "horse," equivalent to "horses") to which it is parallel. It is here used loosely of certain officials of the Armenians; but properly it is an Assyrian word (adopted from the Accadian or proto-Babylonian), meaning "tablet writer," and derived, according to Friedrich Delitzsch, from dip or dup, a tablet, and sat, to write (Accadian words). As the rough caterpillars. This is the third of the four kinds of locusts mentioned in Joel 1:4; or, to speak more precisely, it is the locust in its penultimate stage, when its wings are already visible, but enveloped in horn-like sheaths, which stand up upon its back. Hence the epithet "rough," or "bristling." Keil's rendering, "as the dreadful (horrifying) locust," implies a faulty interpretation of Joel 1:4. It would be strange indeed if Joel had accumulated four synonymous terms for locust in such a peculiar context. Jeremiah 51:27A summons addressed to the nations to fight against Babylon, in order that, by reducing the city, vengeance may be taken for the offence committed against Israel by Babylon. Jeremiah 51:27. "Lift up a standard on the earth, sound a trumpet among the nations, prepare the nations against her, call the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz against her; appoint troops against her; bring up horses lie horrid locusts. Jeremiah 51:28. Prepare nations against her, the kings of the Medes and her governors, and all her lieutenant-governors, and all the land of his dominion. Jeremiah 51:29. Then the earth quakes and trembles: for the purposes of Jahveh against Babylon are being performed, to make the land of Babylon a desolation, without an inhabitant. Jeremiah 51:30. The heroes of Babylon have ceased to fight, they sit in the strongholds: their strength is dried up; they have become women; they have set her habitations on fire; her bars are broken. Jeremiah 51:31. One runner runs against another, and one messenger against another, to tell the king of Babylon that his city is wholly taken. Jeremiah 51:32. And the crossing-places have been seized, and the marches have they burned up with fire, and the men of war are confounded. Jeremiah 51:33. For thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing-floor at the time when it is trodden; yet a little, and the time of harvest will come to her. Jeremiah 51:34. Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured us, and ground us down; he hath set us down [like] an empty vessel, he hath swallowed us like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my dainties; he hath thrust me out. Jeremiah 51:35. Let the inhabitress of Zion say, 'My wrong and my flesh [be] upon Babylon;' and let Jerusalem say, 'My blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea.' Jeremiah 51:36. Therefore thus saith Jahveh: Behold, I will plead thy cause, and execute vengeance for thee; ad I will dry up her sea, and make her fountain dry. Jeremiah 51:37. And Babylon shall become heaps [of ruins], a dwelling-place of dragons, an astonishment, and a hissing, without an inhabitant."

The lifting up of the standard (Jeremiah 51:27) serves as a signal for the nations to assemble for the struggle against Babylon. בּארץ does not mean "in the land," but, as the parallel "among the nations" shows, "on the earth." קדּשׁוּ, "consecrate prepare against her (Babylon) nations" for the war; cf. Jeremiah 6:4; Jeremiah 22:7. השׁמיעוּ, as in Jeremiah 50:29. The kingdoms summoned are: Ararat, i.e., the middle (or eastern) province of Armenia, in the plain of Araxes, which Moses of Chorene calls Arairad, Araratia (see on Genesis 8:4); Minni, which, according to the Syriac and Chaldee, is also a name of Armenia, probably its western province (see Gesenius' Thesaurus, p. 807); and Ashkenaz, which the Jews take to be Germany, although only this much is certain, that it is a province in the neighbourhood of Armenia. For Askên is an Armenian proper name, and az an Armenian termination; cf. Lagarde's Gesammelte Abhandll. S. 254, and Delitzsch on Genesis 10:3, Genesis 10:4 ed. פּקדוּ, "appoint, order against her." טפסר does not mean "captains" or leaders, for this meaning of the foreign word (supposed to be Assyrian) rests on a very uncertain etymology; it means some peculiar kind of troops, but nothing more definite can be affirmed regarding it. This meaning is required by the context both here and in Nahum 3:17, the only other place where the word occurs: see on that passage. The sing. טפסר corresponds with the sing. סוּס, and is therefore to be taken collectively, "troops and horses." Whether the simile כּילק ס belongs merely to "horses," or to the combination "troops and horses," depends on the meaning attached to the expression. Modern expositors render it "bristly locusts;" and by that they understand, like Credner (Joel, S. 298), the young grasshopper after it has laid aside its third skin, when the wings are still enveloped in rough horny sheaths, and stick straight up from the back of the animal. But this explanation rests on an erroneous interpretation of Nahum 3:17. סמר means to shudder, and is used of the shivering or quivering of the body (Psalm 119:120), and of the hair (Job 4:15); and ילק does not mean a particular kind of locusts, through Jerome, on Nahum 3:17, renders it attelabus (parva locusta est inter locustam et bruchum, et modicis pennis reptans potius quam volans, semperque subsiliens), but is a poetic epithet of the locust, "the devourer." If any one prefers to view סמר as referring to the nature of the locusts, he may with Bochart and Rosenmller, think of the locustarum species, quae habet caput hirsutum. But the epithet "horrid" is probably intended merely to point out the locusts as a fearful scourge of the country. On this view, the comparison refers to both clauses, and is meant to set forth not merely the enormous multitude of the soldiery, but also the devastation they make of the country. In Jeremiah 51:28 mention is further made of the kings of the Medes (see on Jeremiah 51:11), together with their governors and lieutenant-governors (see on Jeremiah 51:23), and, in order to give prominence to the immense strength of the army, of "all the land of his dominion;" on these expressions, cf. Jeremiah 34:1 and 1 Kings 9:19. The suffix refers to the king of Media, as the leader of the whole army; while those in "her governors, and all her lieutenant-governors," refer to the country of Media.

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