Jeremiah 51:43
Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwells, neither does any son of man pass thereby.
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(43) Her cities are a desolation . . .—The word for “wilderness” is Arabah, commonly used of the sandy desert south of the Dead Sea. The prophet seems to dwell with a stern delight on the seeming paradox that the sea with which Babylon is to be oversowed, the floods of invaders and destroyers, shall leave her cities and her plains drier and more sandy than before.

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.A wilderness - Or, a desert of sand.

A land wherein - Rather, "a land - no man shall dwell in them (i. e., its cities), and no human being shall pass through them."

43. Her cities—the cities, her dependencies. So, "Jerusalem and the cities thereof" (Jer 34:1). Or, the "cities" are the inner and outer cities, the two parts into which Babylon was divided by the Euphrates [Grotius]. See Jeremiah 2:6 9:12: the words are all of them descriptive of an utter desolation, that should not only be the fate of Babylon the head city, but of all the inferior cities, that were as daughters to that mother city. Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness,.... Which some understand of Babylon itself, divided into two parts by the river Euphrates running in the midst of it, called by Berosus (f) the inward and outward cities; though rather these design the rest of the cities in Chaldea, of which Babylon was the metropolis, the mother city, and the other her daughters, which should share the same fate with herself; be demolished, and the ground on which they stood become a dry, barren, uncultivated, and desert land:

a land wherein no man dwelleth, neither doth any son of man pass thereby; having neither inhabitant nor traveller; see Jeremiah 50:12.

(f) Apud Joseph. contr. Apion, l. 1. c. 19.

Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwelleth, neither doth any son of man pass thereby.
43. a desert] Cp. Jeremiah 50:12; Jeremiah 50:40.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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