Jeremiah 51:5
For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the LORD of hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.
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(5) Israel hath not been forsaken.—Better, widowed. The participle is from the word that commonly represents the idea of widowhood. Judah and Israel, the prophet declares, were not, as men thought, abandoned by their husband Jehovah. He was still their protector. The prophet has in his thoughts at once the image of apparent widowhood, as in Isaiah 50:1; Isaiah 54:4-6; Lamentations 1:1, and the thought that Jehovah is, after all, as the husband ready to forgive (Jeremiah 3:4; Jeremiah 3:14; Jeremiah 3:20; Jeremiah 4:1). The assurance of this returning love does not rest on any plea in extenuation of the nation’s guilt, which the words that follow admit without reserve. For “his” it would be better to read her or their, as keeping up the metaphor.

Against the Holy One of Israel.—On Jeremiah’s use of the name, see Note on Jeremiah 50:29.

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 it: "And they," i. e., the young men who form her host Jeremiah 51:3, "shall fall slain in the land of the Chaldaeans, and pierced through in her streets," i. e., the streets of Babylon. 5. forsaken—as a widow (Hebrew). Israel is not severed from her husband, Jehovah (Isa 54:5-7), by a perpetual divorce.

though … sin—though the land of Israel has been filled with sin, that is, with the punishment of their sin, devastation. But, as the Hebrew means "for," or "and therefore," not "though," translate, "and therefore their (the Chaldeans') land has been filled with (the penal consequences of) their sin" [Grotius].

That is, not, utterly forsaken, for in a sense they were forsaken as to some gradual manifestations of God’s love to them, but Judah and Israel were not left as a widow, or were not divorced from God. The word translated sin signifies a most heinous sinning, or desolation, and the best interpreters judge that sin here signifieth the punishment of sin. God hath not forsaken the Jews utterly, though as they were formerly filled with grievous sins, so they be now filled with grievous judgments because of their sins.

For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God,

of the Lord of hosts,.... That is, not totally and finally; for though they might seem to be forsaken, when carried captive by their enemies, yet they were not in such sense as a woman is deprived of her husband when dead, and she is become a widow, as the word (d) used may signify; or when divorced from him; or as children are deprived of their parents, and become orphans; but so it was not with Israel; for thought they were under the frowns of Providence, and the resentment of God they had sinned against, yet the relation between them still subsisted; he was their covenant God and Father, their husband and protector, and who would vindicate them, and avenge them on their enemies:

though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel; which was the reason why they were carried captive, and so seemed to be forsaken of God; or though their land was filled with punishment, with devastation and destruction, yet nevertheless God would appear for them, and restore that and them unto it; or rather this is to be understood of the land of the Chaldeans, as it is by Jarchi and Kimchi; and be rendered, "for their land is filled with punishment for sin, from", or "by", or "because of the Holy One of Israel" (e); by which it appears, that the people of God were not forsaken by him, and were not without a patron and defender of them; since it was a plain case that the land of the Chaldeans was filled with the punishment of the sword and other calamities by the Holy One of Israel, because of the sins they had committed against him, and the injuries they had done to his people. So the Targum,

"for their land is filled with, (punishment for) the sins of murder, by the word of the Holy One of Israel.''

(d) "viduus, sive viduatus", Vatablus, Calvin, Montanus; "ut vidua", Pagninus; "orbus", Schmidt. (e) "quia terra illorum repleta est delicto, sive reatu, vel poena", Grotius; so some in Gataker. "a Sancto Israelis", Montanus, Schmidt; "propter Sanctum Israelis", Vatablus, Calvin, Cocceius; so Ben Melech.

For Israel hath not been {b} forsaken, nor Judah by his God, by the LORD of hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.

(b) Though they were forsaken for a time, yet they were not utterly cast off as though their husbands were dead.

5. forsaken] lit. widowed, cp. Isaiah 54:4. The word is masculine, contrary to the figure (e.g. Jeremiah 2:2) where Israel is the wife, and Jehovah the husband.

though their land, etc.] i.e. in spite of the guilt of the people of Jehovah. The Heb. conjunction, however, is better rendered for, and “their land” understood to be Chaldaea. In that case we should (with Co.) transpose the two parts of the v.

Verses 5-14. - The covenant between Jehovah and Israel is one reason why Babylon must fall; and Babylon's own guilt is another. Hence pity is out of place.

"Here liveth piety where pity ends;
Can any man be guilty more than he
Whose bias with the doom of God contends?"

(Dante, 'Inferno,' 20:28, Cayley.) Flee, therefore, lest ye be involved in Babylon's ruin. For Jehovah's purpose of vengeance cannot be reversed. Verse 5. - Hath not been forsaken. The Hebrew is much more forcible, "is not widowed" - alluding to the fundamental Old Testament idea of a mystic marriage between God and his people (comp. Isaiah 50:1; Isaiah 54:4-6; Hosea 2.). Was filled with sin; rather, with guilt (Hebrew, asham). Jeremiah 51:5Because of the righteousness of Israel, Babylon is to be irretrievably destroyed. Jeremiah 51:5. "For Israel is not forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of Jahveh of hosts; but their land is full of guilt because of the Holy One of Israel. Jeremiah 51:6. Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and save ye every one his life: do not perish for her iniquity; because it is a time of vengeance for Jahveh; He renders to her what she has committed. Jeremiah 51:7. Babylon [was] a golden cup in the hand of Jahveh, that intoxicated all the earth. Nations have drunk of her wine, therefore nations are mad. Jeremiah 51:8. Babylon has fallen suddenly and been broken: howl over her: take balsam for her pain; perhaps she may be healed. Jeremiah 51:9. 'We have tried to heal Babylon, but she is not healed. Leave her, and let us go each one to his own land; for her judgment reaches unto heaven, and is lifted up to the clouds.' Jeremiah 51:10. Jahveh hath brought forth our righteousnesses; come, and let us declare in Zion the doing of Jahveh our God. Jeremiah 51:11. Sharpen the arrow, fill the shields: Jahveh hath roused the spirit of the kings of Media; for His counsel is against Babylon, to destroy it; because it is the vengeance of Jahveh, the vengeance of His temple. Jeremiah 51:12. Against the walls of Babylon raise a standard; strengthen the watch, set watchmen, prepare the ambushes: for Jahveh hath both devised and done what He spake against the inhabitants of Babylon. Jeremiah 51:13. O thou that dwellest upon many waters, rich in treasures, thine end hath sworn by Himself, 'Surely I have filled thee with men, as [with] the locust; and they shall raise a shout of joy against thee.'"

The offence of Babylon against the Holy One of Israel demands its destruction. In Jeremiah 51:5, two reasons are given for God's determination to destroy Babylon. The Lord is induced to this (1) by His relation to Israel and Judah, whom Babylon will not let go; (2) by the grave offence of Babylon. Israel is לא אלמן, "not widowed," forsaken by his God; i.e., Jahveh, the God of hosts, has not rejected His people for ever, so as not to trouble Himself any more about them; cf. Isaiah 50:1; Isaiah 54:4. "Their land" - the land of the Chaldeans - "is full of guilt before the Holy One of Israel," partly through their relation to Israel (Jeremiah 50:21), partly through their idolatry (Isaiah 50:2, 38). מן does not mean here "on the side of," but "on account of," because they do not acknowledge Jahveh as the Holy One of Israel.

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