Jeremiah 51:39
In their heat I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, said the LORD.
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(39) In their heat I will make their feasts . . .—The words are stern and bitter in their irony. When the revellers are hot with wine and lust (comp. Hosea 7:4-7) Jehovah would call them to a banquet of another kind. The wine cup which He would give them would be that of His wrath (Jeremiah 25:16-17), and their drunken joy should end in an eternal sleep. So Herodotus (i. 191) narrates that when Cyrus took the city by his stratagem the inhabitants were keeping a feast with their wonted revelry and license. (Compare Xenoph. Cyropœd. vii. 23.)

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.In their heat ... - While, like so many young lions, they are in the full glow of excitement over their prey, God prepares for them a drinking-bout to end in the sleep of death. Compare Daniel 5:1. 39. In their heat I will make their feasts—In the midst of their being heated with wine, I will give them "their" potions,—a very different cup to drink, but one which is their due, the wine cup of My stupefying wrath (Jer 25:15; 49:12; Isa 51:17; La 4:21).

rejoice, and sleep … perpetual, &c.—that they may exult, and in the midst of their jubilant exultation sleep the sleep of death (Jer 51:57; Isa 21:4, 5).

When they shall grow hot with wine, I will put, or give, or make them a feast of another nature. Interpreters judge that the prophet referreth to the feast made by Belshazzar, Daniel 5:1,

to a thousand of his lords, when he and his wives and concubines drank wine in the vessels belonging to the temple, during which feast the city was taken. So they were made drunk with the wine cup of God’s fury, because the Lord had designed them to utter ruin and destruction, that as men filled with wine are merry, and shout, and then fall asleep; so the Chaldeans being drunk with the wine of the Lord’s wrath, while they were merry with their cups of wine, might fall into such a sleep as they should never awake out of. In their heat I will make their feasts,.... I will order it that their feasts shall be id the time of heat, that so they may be made drunk; so Jarchi: or when they are hot with feasting, I will disturb their feast by a handwriting on the wall; so Kimchi; see Daniel 5:1; to which he directs: or when they are inflamed with wine, I will put something into their banquets, into their cups; I will mingle their potions with the wine of my wrath; and, while they are feasting, ruin shall come upon them; and so it was, according to Herodotus and Xenophon, that the city of Babylon was taken, while the inhabitants were feasting; and this account agrees with Daniel 5:1. This text is quoted in the Talmud (c), where the gloss on it says,

"this is said concerning Belshazzar and his company, when they returned from a battle with Darius and Cyrus, who besieged Babylon, and Belshazzar overcame that day; and they were weary and hot, and sat down to drink, and were drunken, and on that day he was slain;''

and the Targum is,

"I will bring tribulation upon them:''

and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice; in a riotous and revelling way; or that they may be mad and tremble, as R. Jonah, from the use of the word (d) in the Arabic language, interprets it; so drunken men are oftentimes like mad men, deprived of their senses, and their limbs tremble through the strength of liquor; and here it signifies, that the Chaldeans should be so intoxicated with the cup of divine wrath and vengeance, that they should be at their wits' end; in the utmost horror and trembling; not able to stand, or defend themselves; and so the Targum,

"they shall be like drunken men, that they may not be strong;''

but as weak as they:

and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the Lord; not only fall asleep as drunken men do, and awake again; but sleep, and never awake more; or die, and not live again, until the resurrection morn; no doubt many of the Chaldeans, being in a literal sense drunk and asleep when the city was taken, were slain in their sleep, and never waked again. The Targum is,

"and die the second death, and not live in the world to come;''

see Revelation 21:8.

(c) T. Bab. Megilia, fol. 15. 2.((d) "furor ac repentina mors", Camus apud Golium, col. 1634. "tremor, timor mortis aegroto contingens", Giggeius apud Castel. col. 2772. So R. Sol. Urbiu. Ohel Moed, fol. 32. 1. interprets the words of trembling.

In their {x} heat I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunk, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the LORD.

(x) When they are inflamed with surfeiting and drinking, I will feast with them, alluding to Belshazzar's banquet, Da 5:2.

39. While they are exulting over the spoil which they have won from the conquered nations I will prepare a feast for them, inducing a sleep that shall be endless.

When they are heated] referring either to the glow of passionate indulgence, or to murderous ferocity. But Gi. would read When I am hot (with anger).

may rejoice] The LXX, reading apparently one consonant differently from MT., render, may be stupefied.Permits 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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