Jeremiah 51:34
Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon has devoured me, he has crushed me, he has made me an empty vessel, he has swallowed me up like a dragon, he has filled his belly with my delicates, he has cast me out.
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(34) He hath made me an empty vessel.—The pronouns in one form of the Hebrew text are most of them in the plural, “devoured us, crushed us, made us.” The prophet speaks of himself and Israel as having suffered wrong and outrage at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. The land had been spoiled till it was as an “empty vessel.”

He hath swallowed me up like a dragon.—The Hebrew noun probably stands for a “crocodile” (as in Isaiah 27:1; Isaiah 51:9; Ezekiel 29:3), or is used generally for any sea-monster. The “delicates” (“dainties” in Genesis 49:20) are the corn and wine and oil and fruits of Palestine with which the Chaldæan armies had enriched themselves.

Jeremiah 51:34-35. Nebuchadrezzar hath devoured me — Zion and Jerusalem, which are both expressed in the next verse, are the speakers here, and the words contain a pathetical description of the calamities brought upon the Jews by Nebuchadnezzar and his forces, who, after they had devoured the wealth and laid waste the beauty of Judea, then turned the inhabitants out of it, and led them captives into a strange land. The violence done to me and my flesh be upon Babylon — Let God return upon her the violence she has done to me and to my children. Our nearest relations are called our flesh in Scripture. This imprecation is very similar to that in Psalm 137:8, where see the note.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.Literally, "Nebuchadrezzar ... hath devoured us, hath crushed us, he hath set as aside as an empty vessel, he hath swallowed as like a crocodile, he hath filled his maw with my delicacies Genesis 49:20, he hath cast us out. My wrong and my flesh be upon Babylon, shall the inhabitress of Zion say: and my blood be etc." Nebuchadnezzar had devoured Jerusalem, had treated her as ruthlessly as a crocodile does its prey, and for this cruelty he and Babylon are justly to be punished. 34. me—Zion speaks. Her groans are what bring down retribution in kind on Babylon (Jer 50:17; Ps 102:13, 17, 20).

empty vessel—He has drained me out.

dragon—The serpent often "swallows" its prey whole; or a sea monster [Grotius].

filled his belly … cast me out—like a beast, which, having "filled" himself to satiety, "casts out" the rest [Calvin]. After filling all his storehouses with my goods, he has cast me out of this land [Grotius].

The prophet speaketh this in the name of the Jews, complaining of the

king of Babylon as the author of all the miseries they had endured, which he expresseth by several phrases signifying the same thing, viz. that it was the king of Babylon that had ruined. them, and filled himself and his soldiers with their delicate things, and cast them out of their land, dealing with them as wolves or other beasts of prey, that eat what they please of other beasts they have preyed upon, and leave the rest in the fields. Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me,.... Or "us" (w); everyone of us: these are the words of Zion and Jerusalem, as appears from Jeremiah 51:35; complaining of the injuries done them by the king of Babylon, who had eaten them up; spoiled their substance, as the Targum; took their cities, plundered them of their riches, and carried them away captive:

he hath crushed me; to the earth; or "bruised" or "broken", even all her bones; see Jeremiah 50:17;

he hath made me an empty vessel; emptied the land of its inhabitants and riches, and left nothing valuable in it:

he hath swallowed me up like a dragon; or "whale", or any large fish, which swallow the lesser ones whole. The allusion is to the large swallow of dragons, which is sometimes represented as almost beyond all belief; for not only Pliny (x) from Megasthenes reports, that, in India, serpents, that is, dragons, grow to such a bulk, that they will swallow whole deer, and even bulls; but Posidonius (y) relates, that in Coelesyria was one, whose gaping jaws would admit of a horse and his rider: and Onesicritus (z) speaks of two dragons in the country of Abisarus in India; the one was fourscore and the other a hundred and forty cubits long;

he hath filled his belly with my delicates; with the treasures of the king and his nobles; with the vessels of the temple, and the riches of the people, which he loaded himself with to his full satisfaction. So the Targum,

"he filled his treasury with the good of my land;''

he hath cast me out; out of my land, and carried me captive; so the Targum.

(w) The "Cetib", or textual reading, is "us"; but the "Keri", or marginal reading, is "me", which our version follows, and so the same in the four following words, in the text. (x) Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 14. col. 436. (y) Apud Bochart. Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 3. c. 14. col. 436. (z) Apud Strabo. Geograph. l. 15. p. 480.

Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon hath {t} devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicacies, he hath cast me out.

(t) This is spoken in the person of the Jews bewailing their state and the cruelty of the Babylonians.

34. me] mg. us, but “me” is best throughout the v. as in Jeremiah 51:35. Israel suddenly becomes the speaker. For the figure cp. Isaiah 27:1.

dragon] The Heb. Tannin is lit. any great monster of river or sea, e.g. the crocodile (Psalm 74:13; Ezekiel 29:3).

my delicates] Israel’s treasured possessions. The word is used as a substantive here only in the Bible. Cp. 3 Hen. VI. II. 5, where the king speaks of the shepherd’s homely curds as “far beyond a prince’s delicates.” (Bible Word Book.)Verse 34. - The Jewish captives are introduced, describing the offences of Babylon. Hath devoured me; rather, hath devoured us, and so on. "My delicates" (delights), however, is correct. He hath made me; rather, he hath set us (down) as. Swallowed me up like a dragon; or, literally, like the dragon. Comparing this with ver. 44, it is difficult not to see an allusion to the Babylonian myth of the Serpent, who in the fight with Marduk (Meredach) devoured the tempest, which rent asunder her belly. The cuneiform text is given in Transactions of Society of Biblical Archaeology, vol. 4. part 2, appendix plate 6. Part of it runs thus -

25. ip-te-ra pi-i-sa Ti-amtu a-na la-h-a-h-sa

Opened also her mouth Tiamtu to swallow it.

26. rukhu limnu yus-te-ri-ba a-na la ca-par sap-ti-sa

The evil wind he caused to enter into the uncovering of her lips [ = into her lips before she could close them]

27. iz-zu-ti rukhi car-sa-sa i-tsa-mi-va

violent (were) the winds her belly filled; and

28. in-ni-kud lib-ba-sa va-pa-a-sa yus-pal-ki

she was pierced in her heart and her mouth it caused to divide.

Readers of Smith's 'Chaldean Genesis' will remember Tiamtu the dragon, and the representations thereof given from the gems. In line 27 the word rendered "her belly" contains the Babylonian analogue of the word rendered in this verse "his belly" (k'res). With my delicates, he hath cast me out; rather,... cast us out; or, from my delights he hath cast as out. For the variation of person, comp. Judges 11:19, "Let us pass, we pray thee, through thy land into my place;" and on the whole phrase, Micah 2:9, " have cast out from their pleasant homes." A 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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