Against him that bends let the archer bend his bow, and against him that lifts himself up in his brigandine: and spare you not her young men; destroy you utterly all her host.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Let the archer bend his bow.—The words represent the sense of the original, but the Hebrew word for “archer” is literally bender, and so the iteration of the verb gains its full rhetorical force. On “brigandine,” as meaning the “coat of mail” of heavy-armed troops, see Note on Jeremiah 46:4. The two classes of soldiers describe collectively the garrison that defended Babylon.Jeremiah 51:3-5. Against him that bendeth let the archer bend — See Jeremiah 50:14; and against him, that lifteth up himself in his brigandine — Or, coat of mail: suffer not them who are skilful in using the bow, or armed in coats of mail, to avail themselves any thing of their skill or their armour, but oppose them with superior skill and force. Thus the slain shall fall in the land of the Chaldeans — There seems to be a transposition of words in this sentence, the sense certainly being, Thus the Chaldeans shall fall down slain to the earth. For Israel hath not been (or rather, shall not be) forsaken, nor Judah of his God — “Though God was justly displeased with his people, yet he would not cast them off utterly, or deprive them of his protection, though he would do so to those that were the rod in his hand, to chastise and scourge his people.”Jeremiah 46:4 note), represent the Babylonians who defend the city.
let the archer bend—that is, the Persian archer (Jer 50:4). The Chaldean version and Jerome, by changing the vowel points, read, "Let not him (the Babylonian) who bendeth his bow bend it." But the close of the verse is addressed to the Median invaders; therefore it is more likely that the first part of the verse is addressed to them, as in English Version, not to the Babylonians, to warn them against resistance as vain, as in the Chaldean version. The word "bend" is thrice repeated: "Against him that bendeth let him that bendeth bend," to imply the utmost straining of the bow.
and against him that lifteth up himself in his brigandine; or coat of mail; that swaggers about in it, proud of it, and putting his confidence in it, as if out of all danger. The sense is, that they should direct their arrows both against those that were more lightly or more heavily armed; since by them they might do execution among the one and the other:
and spare ye not her young men; because of their youth, beauty, and strength:
destroy ye utterly all her host; her whole army, whether officers or common soldiers; or let them be accoutred in what manner they will. The Targum is,Against him that bendeth let the archer bend his bow, and against him that lifteth himself up in his brigandine: and spare ye not her young men; destroy ye utterly all her host.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)3. Let not the archer bend his bow, and let him not lift himself up, etc.] As the mg., when compared with the text, suggests, the Heb. is difficult. It is in fact ungrammatical and probably corrupt. It seems best to omit the negatives, and make the whole v. (as the latter part must be in any case) an address to the assailants of Babylon. If we retain the negatives, the sense will be that it will be useless for Babylon’s warriors to attempt her defence.
destroy ye utterly all] For mg. devote ye all, etc., See on Jeremiah 25:9 and cp. Jeremiah 50:21.Verse 3. - Against him that bendeth, etc. There are two readings in the Hebrew Bible - one that given by the Authorized Version; the other, "Against him that bendeth (let) him that bendeth his bow (come)." The difficulty, however, is in the first two words of the clause, which are the same in either reading. It would be much simpler to alter a single point, and render, "Let not the archer bend his bow; and let him not lift himself up in his coat of mail" (for the old word "brigandine," see on Jeremiah 46:4); which might be explained of the Babylonians, on the analogy of Jeremiah 46:6, "Let him not bend his bow, for it will be useless;" but then the second half of the verse hardly suits the first - the prohibitions seem clearly intended to run on in a connected order. On the other hand, the descriptions, "him that bendeth," and "him that lifteth himself up in his brigandine," seem hardly a natural way of putting "the Chaldean army." 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.
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