Jeremiah 51:33
For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; The daughter of Babylon is like a threshingfloor, it is time to thresh her: yet a little while, and the time of her harvest shall come.
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(33) The daughter of Babylon . . .—More literally, The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing-floor, in the time when it is trodden (i.e., when it is being prepared for the actual process), yet a little while, and the time of harvest shall come to her. The imagery is so familiar that it hardly needs an illustration (see Psalm 1:4; Isaiah 21:10; Isaiah 28:27-28; Micah 4:13). The time of “her harvest” of the Authorised version is ambiguous. What is meant is that the heaped-up treasures of Babylon are but as the harvest which shall be reaped by her conquerors, and the city itself as the threshing-floor on which men shall trample on the plunder.

Jeremiah 51:33. The daughter of Babylon is like a thrashing-floor — God’s people have been sorely bruised and trodden under foot by the Babylonians, as corn in a thrashing-floor: see note on Isaiah 21:10. It is time to thrash her — It is time for her to feel the miseries she has made others suffer. The word thrash often signifies to subdue by force and power. Yet a little while and the time of her harvest shall come — There shall be a clear riddance made of her inhabitants and their treasures, as the harvest clears the fields, and leaves them empty and bare. By her harvest may be meant the slaughter and spoiling of her inhabitants; and by the thrashing, or treading, which follows the harvest, the destruction of the city itself.

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.Translate, "The daughter of Babylon is as a threshing-floor at the time when it is trampled," i. e., trodden hard in readiness for the threshing: "yet a little while and the harvest-time" shall come to her, i. e., overtake her. In the East, the grain when reaped is carried at once to the threshing-floor, a level spot carefully prepared beforehand, usually about 50 feet in diameter, and trampled hard. The grain after it has been beaten out by a sledge drawn over it by oxen is separated from the chaff and stored up in granaries. 33. like a threshing-floor, it is time to thresh her—rather, "like a threshing-floor at the time of threshing," or "at the time when it is trodden." The treading, or threshing, here put before the harvest, out of the natural order, because the prominent thought is the treading down or destruction of Babylon. In the East the treading out of the corn took place only at harvest-time. Babylon is like a threshing-floor not trodden for a long time; but the time of harvest, when her citizens shall be trodden under foot, shall come [Calvin]. "Like a threshing-floor full of corn, so is Babylon now full of riches, but the time of harvest shall come, when all her prosperity shall be cut off" [Ludovicus De Dieu]. Grotius distinguishes the "harvest" from the "threshing"; the former is the slaying of her citizens, the latter the pillaging and destruction of the city (compare Joe 3:13; Re 14:15, 18). Babylon had been a threshing instrument by which, and a threshing-floor in which, God had threshed many other nations; God now intended to make it as a

threshing-floor wherein he would thresh the Chaldeans.

It is time to thresh her: some think because of the next words, that the words were better translated it is time to tread her, (so the word properly signifies,) as men use to prepare their threshing-floors against the time of harvest, for the time of this harvest was near;

her harvest signifieth the harvest which the justice of God would have from the ruin of the Chaldeans.

For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel,.... "The Lord of hosts", the Lord God omnipotent, and can do all things; "the God of Israel", and therefore will plead their cause, and take vengeance on Babylon:

the daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor; on which the nations of the earth had been threshed, or punished and destroyed; and now she was like a threshing floor, unto which should be gathered, and on which should be laid, her king, princes, and the people of the land, and be there beat and crushed to pieces. The Targum renders it the congregation of Babylon; and the Septuagint the houses of the king of Babylon; so the Arabic version:

it is time to thresh her; not the floor, but the sheaves on it: or, "it is the time to tread her" (u); as corn was trodden out by the oxen; or rather as threshing floors, being new laid with earth, were trodden, and so made hard and even, and by that means prepared for threshing against the harvest; when the corn would be ripe, cut down, and gathered in, and laid up, as follows:

yet a little while, and the time of her harvest shall come; when she would be ripe for ruin, and God would, by his instruments, put in the sickle of his wrath, and cut her down, her king, her princes, her cities, and her people; see Revelation 14:15. The Targum is,

"and yet a very little while, and spoilers shall come to her.''

(u) "tempus calcandi eam", Pagninus, Calvin; "tempus calcare eam", Montanus; "eo tempore quo illa calcari solet", Piscator.

For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; The daughter of Babylon is like a threshingfloor, it is time to thresh her: yet a little while, and the time of her harvest {s} shall come.

(s) When she will be cut up and threshed.

33. at the time when it is trodden] i.e. made smooth and hard in preparation for the corn which is to be threshed upon it.

Verse 33. - It is time to thresh her; rather, at the time when it is trodden (i.e. made level by treading or trampling); comp. Isaiah 21:10; Micah 4:13. Jeremiah 51:33Permits of being taken as a continuation of the message brought to the king. מעבּרות, "crossing-places," do not here mean "fords" (Judges 3:28); for such shallow places, where one could go through the river, are not to be found in the Euphrates. at Babylon: they mean bridges and ferries, because, in addition to the stone bridge built by Nebuchadnezzar (Herodotus, i. 186; see Duncker's Geschichte, i. S. 859), there must also have been at Babylon, throughout its large extent, other means of crossing, either by bridges of boats or ferries. נתפּשׁוּ, "they have been taken," seized by the enemy; cf. Jeremiah 48:41. אגמּים are ponds and artificial lakes which had been formed for the protection of the city, of the waters of the Euphrates (Herodotus, i. 185; Arrian. Jeremiah 7:17); these "they have burned with fire." Inasmuch as a burning of ponds is an impossibility, many, with Kimchi, would understand אגמים of the reeds of the marshes. But the word has no such meaning; moreover, even if it had, the burning of the reeds would have no significance for the taking of the city. Others think of the sluices and the enclosures of the artificial waters, which enclosures were constructed of wood-work; but apart from the basin of water at Sepharvaim, which could be opened by sluices, the enclosure of the ponds with wood-work is a matter of much doubt, and a burning of the wood-work is not a burning of the ponds. The expression, as Calvin long ago remarked, is hyperbolic, and not to be pressed: Propheta hyperbolice ostendit, siccata fuisse vada Euphratis ac si quis lignum exureret igni supposito; hoc quidem aquis non convenit, sed hyperbolice melius exprimit miraculum. On the whole, the picture is not to be taken as a description of the historical circumstances connected with the taking of Babylon by Cyrus; neither, therefore, is the burning of the ponds to be referred to the fact that the bed of the Euphrates was made dry through diversion of the stream (Herodotus, i. 191); but we have here a poetic colouring given to the thought that all Babylon's means of offence and defence will fall into the power of the enemy and be destroyed by them. For (according to the reason assigned in Jeremiah 51:33 for what has been described) the Almighty God of Israel has decreed the destruction of Babylon. "The daughter of Babylon (i.e., not merely the city, but the kingdom of Babylon) is like a threshing-floor at the time when they tread it," i.e., stamp on it, make the ground into a threshing-floor by treading it hard.

(Note: "The threshing-floor is an open spot in the field, carefully levelled and cleared from stones, etc., that the grain may be spread out on it for threshing." - Paulsen, Ackerbau der Morgenl. S. 123. "A level spot is selected for the threshing-floors, which are then constructed near each other, of a circular form, perhaps fifty feet in diameter, merely by beating the earth hard." - Robinson's Pal. ii.227.)

הדריכהּ might be the infinitive (Ewald, 238, d): it is simpler, however, to take it as a perfect, and supply the relative אשׁר. The meaning is, that Babylon is ripe for judgment. עוד מעט, "yet a little while" (i.e., soon), comes the time of harvest, so that the grain will be threshed, i.e., the judgment will be executed. The figure reminds us of Isaiah 21:10, cf. Joel 3:13, Micah 4:13, etc.

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