Jeremiah 51:42
The sea is come up on Babylon: she is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof.
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(42) The sea is come up upon Babylon . . .—The literal explanation of the words as referring to the foundation of the Euphrates adopted by some commentators is clearly inadmissible, and is at variance with the next verse. The prophet falls back on an image which he had used before (Jeremiah 46:7), and which had become familiar through Isaiah (Isaiah 8:7-8; Isaiah 17:12), and speaks of Babylon as covered with the great sea of nations that were sweeping over her.

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.By a grand metaphor the invading army is compared to the sea. 42. The sea—the host of Median invaders. The image (compare Jer 47:2; Isa 8:7, 8) is appropriately taken from the Euphrates, which, overflowing in spring, is like a "sea" near Babylon (Jer 51:13, 32, 36). A multitude of enemies, that are like the sea in which there is a multitude of waters, or that will overrun them as the sea overfloweth the shore, or any land into which it once breaketh. The sea is come up upon Babylon,.... A vast army, comparable to the great sea for the multitude thereof, even the army of the Medes and Persians under Cyrus; so the Targum,

"a king with his armies, which are numerous like the waters of the sea, is come up against Babylon:''

she is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof; being surrounded, besieged, surprised, and seized upon by the multitude of soldiers in that army, which poured in upon it unawares. Some think here is a beautiful antithesis, between the inundation of Cyrus's army and the draining of the river Euphrates, by which means he poured in his forces into Babylon.

The {z} sea is come up upon Babylon: she is covered with the multitude of its waves.

(z) The great army of the Medes and Persians.

42. The sea is come up] the hostile army arriving in overwhelming force. Cp. Jeremiah 46:7-8, Jeremiah 47:2; Isaiah 17:12.Verse 42. - The sea is come up, etc. It is not clear whether this is to be taken literally or metaphorically (of the sea of nations, comp. ver. 55). Probably it is meant literally. It is said that the annual inundations of the Euphrates at present render many parts of the ruins of Babylon inaccessible. This judgment comes on Babylon for its offences against Israel. The king of Babylon has devoured Israel, etc. Those who complain, in Jeremiah 51:34, are the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem, in whose name the prophet enumerates the crimes of Babylon. "Nebuchadnezzar has devoured us," i.e., oppressed us. The plural suffixes to the verbs have been needlessly changed in the Qeri into singulars, for the simple reason, perhaps, that with מעדני and in Jeremiah 51:35 the address makes a transition into the singular. המם signifies to throw enemies into confusion by causing a panic, for the purpose of destroying them; hence to destroy, see on Deuteronomy 2:15; here to destroy, crush. "He set us down like an empty vessel" refers to the country and the people; he has swept the country of human beings, and robbed the people of everything. תּנּין, usually a sea-monster, crocodile (Isaiah 27:1; Isaiah 51:9, etc.); here a beast of prey which devours everything. מעדנים, "delights," then "dainty meats," Genesis 49:20.

(Note: The form actually found in the Masoretic text is מעדני, "from (out of, with) my dainties." - Tr.)

הדיח, from דּוּח, signifies to wash away, push away (see Delitzsch on Isaiah 4:4); in other places Jeremiah uses הדּיח, Jeremiah 8:3; Jeremiah 16:15, etc. "Let my wrong (i.e., the wrong done me) come upon Babylon." This wrong is more fully specified, with reference to the figure of swallowing, by "my flesh and blood;" cf. Micah 3:3. The Lord will avenge this wrong, Jeremiah 51:36, cf. Jeremiah 50:34; Jeremiah 51:6, Jeremiah 51:11; He will also dry up the sea of Babylon, and make her spring dry up. Many expositors understand these latter words metaphorically, as referring to the sea of nations surging in Babylon (Jeremiah 51:42, Jeremiah 51:55), and view the treasures and riches as the fountain from which the sea of nations sprang up (Hitzig); but the context demands a literal interpretation, inasmuch as in Jeremiah 51:37 the subject treated of is the laying waste of the country. The sea of Babylon is the Euphrates, with its canals, lakes, and marshes, i.e., the abundance of water to which Babylonia owed its fertility, and the city its influence as the centre of the then known world. Isaiah (Isaiah 21:1) accordingly calls Babylon, emblematically, the desert of the sea, inasmuch as the region in which Babylon stands is a plain, broken in such a manner by the Euphrates, as well as by marshes and lakes, as that the city, so to speak, swims in the sea (Delitzsch). The source of spring of the sea is the Euphrates, and the drying up of this spring is not to be understood literally of the drying up of the Euphrates, but signifies a drying up of the springs of water that fertilize the country. On the figures employed in Jeremiah 51:37, cf. Jeremiah 9:10; Jeremiah 18:16; Jeremiah 49:33.

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