Jeremiah 51:51
We are confounded, because we have heard reproach: shame has covered our faces: for strangers are come into the sanctuaries of the LORD's house.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(51) We are confounded, because we have heard reproach . . .—The answer which the prophet seems to hear from the lips of the exiles, is, however, for the present, of a different character. They are cast down and oppressed by the disgrace that has fallen on them and on the Holy City. Aliens in blood and faith have profaned their sanctuaries. Can anything wipe off the stain of that disgrace? The prophet had known the bitterness of that thought himself (Lamentations 1:10; Lamentations 2:7; Lamentations 4:12), and had learnt how to deal with it: “Yes,” he answers in the next verse, “there is comfort in the thought of retribution. The idol-temples which had been enriched with the spoils of their Temple shall be despoiled; the plunderers shall fall by the sword of the destroyer.”

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.Confounded - Or, ashamed. The verse is a statement of the wrong done to the exiles by Babylon, and so leads naturally to Babylon's punishment Jeremiah 51:52. 51. The prophet anticipates the Jews' reply; I know you will say in despair, "We are confounded," &c. "Wherefore (God saith to you) behold, I will," &c. (Jer 51:52) [Calvin]. I prefer taking Jer 51:51 as the prayer which the Jews are directed to offer in exile (Jer 51:50), "let Jerusalem come into your mind" (and say in prayer to God), "We are confounded." This view is confirmed by Ps 44:15, 16; 79:4; 102:17-20; Isa 62:6, 7.

for strangers—The "reproach," which especially has stung us, came when they taunted us with the fact that they had burned the temple, our peculiar glory, as though our religion was a thing of naught.

The words of this verse seem to prove that the Jews were the persons intended in the former verse, whom God would have to go away, and not to stand still; for it is out of doubt that it is of them the prophet here speaketh, and whom the prophet brings in here, saying,

We are confounded, that is, ashamed (as it is expounded in the next words) to hear the enemies reproaching us for our God, or for our religion, as Psalm 137:3; and because pagans that were strangers to the commonwealth of Israel, who, Numbers 1:51, might not come near the tabernacle of the Lord, were come, and that not to worship, but to plunder and rifle in the sanctuaries of the Lord, even into the court of the priests and of the Israelites, and into the most holy place; those whose very presence in these places had been a pollution of them. We are confounded, because we have heard reproach,.... These are the words of the Jews, either objecting to their return to their land; or lamenting the desolation of it; and complaining of the reproach it lay under, being destitute of inhabitants; the land in general lying waste and uncultivated; the city of Jerusalem and temple in ruins; and the worship of God ceased; and the enemy insulting and reproaching; suggesting, that their God could not protect and save them; and, under these discouragements, they could not bear the thoughts of returning to it:

shame hath covered our faces; they knew not which way to look when they heard the report of the state of their country, and the reproach of the enemy, and through shame covered their faces:

for strangers are come into the sanctuaries of the Lord's house; the oracle, or the holy of holies; the temple, or the holy place, and the porch or court; so Kimchi and Abarbinel; into which the Chaldeans, strangers to God and the commonwealth of Israel, had entered, to the profanation of them, and had destroyed them.

We are {f} confounded, because we have heard reproach: shame hath covered our faces: for foreigners are come into the sanctuaries of the LORD'S house.

(f) He shows how they would remember Jerusalem by lamenting the miserable affliction of it.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
51. ashamed] The exiles answer that they are too deeply humiliated to obey the summons; for foreigners are in possession of the holy sites. Cp. Lamentations 1:10 with note.Verse 51. - We are confounded. A reflection of the exiles, expressing their deep shame at the ignominy which has been their lot. Are come; or, came. Since Babylon will be punished by the Lord with destruction, the people of God are to flee out of it, and to preserve their lives from the fierce anger of Jahveh, which will discharge itself on Babylon. חרון אף, as in Jeremiah 4:8, Jeremiah 4:26, etc.
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