Jeremiah 51:55
Because the LORD has spoiled Babylon, and destroyed out of her the great voice; when her waves do roar like great waters, a noise of their voice is uttered:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(55) Because the Lord hath spoiled Babylon . . .—In Jeremiah 51:54 the prophet hears the cry of the captured city. The “great voice” which Jehovah “destroys” or “makes to cease” is the stir and tumult of life that surged, as it were, through the city (Isa. 18:12, 13). The “waves” are those of the “sea” of the legions of her conqueror (see Jeremiah 51:42), and they “roar” while the voices that were heard before are hushed in the silence of death.

Jeremiah 51:55-57. Because the Lord hath spoiled Babylon, and destroyed out of her the great voice — “When cities are populous, they are of course noisy: see Isaiah 22:2. Silence is therefore a mark of depopulation; and in this sense we are to understand God’s destroying, or taking away out of Babylon, the great noise, which, during the time of her prosperity, was constantly heard there, ‘the busy hum of men,’ as the poet very expressly calls it. In this manner the mystical Babylon is threatened, Revelation 18:22-23. Compare Jeremiah 7:34; Jeremiah 16:9; Jeremiah 25:10.” — Blaney. Every one of their bows is broken — Their strength is quite broken, and they cannot defend themselves, or hurt their enemies. I will make drunk her princes and her wise men, &c. — I will permit her princes, her commanders, and directors to be intoxicated, so that they shall neglect what should be done for their defence, and thereby be slain. 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.Render, "For Yahweh wasteth Babylon, and will make to cease from her the loud noise (of busy life); and their wares (the surging masses of the enemy) roar like many waters: the noise of their shouting is given forth, i. e., resounds." 55. great voice—Where once was the great din of a mighty city, there shall be the silence of death [Vatablus]. Or, the "great voice" of the revellers (Jer 51:38, 39; Isa 22:2). Or, the voice of mighty boasting [Calvin], (compare Jer 51:53).

her waves—"when" her calamities shall cause her to give forth a widely different "voice," even such a one as the waves give that lash the shores (Jer 51:42) [Grotius]. Or, "when" is connected thus: "the great voice" in her, when her "waves," &c. (compare Jer 51:13). Calvin translates, "their waves," that is, the Medes bursting on her as impetuous waves; so Jer 51:42. But the parallel, "a great voice," belongs to her, therefore the wave-like "roar" of "their voice" ought also belong to her (compare Jer 51:54). The "great voice" of commercial din, boasting, and feasting, is "destroyed"; but in its stead there is the wave-like roar of her voice in her "destruction" (Jer 51:54).

The sword is not so much the sword of the Medes a the sword of the Lord. It is he who is to be looked at, a the spoiler of Babylon.

And destroyed out of her the great voice; and hath made to cease in that great city the noise caused from the multitudes of people in it walking up an, down, and trafficking together. The noise of her enemies that shall break in upon her shall be like the noise and roarings of the sea, when it dasheth upon the shore or upon some rocks. That shall be the only noise shall be heard in her, instead of the noises wont there to be made from the multitude of people, or from revellers. Because the Lord hath spoiled Babylon,.... By means of the Merits and Persians; these were his instruments he made use of; to these he gave commission, power, and strength to spoil Babylon; and therefore it is ascribed to him:

and destroyed out of her the great voice; the noise of people, which is very great in populous cities, where people are passing to and fro in great numbers upon business; which ceases when any calamity comes, as pestilence, famine, or sword, which sweep away the inhabitants; this last was the case of Babylon. The Targum is,

"and hath destroyed out of her many armies:''

or it may design the great voice of the roaring revelling company in it at their feast time; which was the time of the destruction of he city, as often observed: or the voice of triumphs for victories obtained, which should be no more in it: or the voice of joy and gladness in common, as will be also the case of mystical Babylon, Revelation 18:22; this "great voice" may not unfitly be applied to the voice of antichrist, that mouth speaking blasphemies, which are long shall be destroyed out of Babylon, Revelation 13:5;

when her waves do roar like great waters, a noise of their voice is uttered; that is, when her enemies come up against her like the waves of the sea: a loud shout will be made by them, which will be very terrible, and silence the noise of mirth and jollity among the Babylonians; see Jeremiah 51:42; though some understand this of the change that should be made among the Chaldeans; that, instead of the voice of joy and triumph, there would be the voice of howling and lamentation; and even among their high and mighty ones, who would be troubled and distressed, as great waters are, when moved by tempests. The Targum is,

"and the armies of many people shall be gathered against them, and shall lift up their voice with a tumult.''

Because the LORD hath spoiled Babylon, and destroyed out of her the great voice; when her waves do roar like great waters, a noise of their voice is uttered:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
55. the great voice] the hum of the city’s life.

and their waves] the surging hosts which pour into the city. See on Jeremiah 51:42.

the noise of their voice] Cp. Jeremiah 6:23; Isaiah 17:12.Verse 55. - The great voice; rather, the loud sound; i.e. the tumult of the city. When her waves; rather, and her waves; i.e. the conquering hosts (comp. Jeremiah 46:7). Heaven and earth, with all that is in them (i.e., the whole world, with its animate and inanimate creatures), break out into rejoicing over the fall of Babylon (cf. Isaiah 44:23), for Babylon has enslaved and laid waste all the world. The second part of Jeremiah 51:48, "for the destroyers shall come from the north," is logically connected with Jeremiah 51:47, to which Jeremiah 51:48 is to be taken as subordinate, in the sense, "over which heaven and earth rejoice." On Jeremiah 51:48, cf. Jeremiah 50:3, Jeremiah 50:9,Jeremiah 50:41. Both parts of Jeremiah 51:49 are placed in mutual relation by גּם־גּם. These two particles, thus used, signify "as well as," "not only...but also," or "as...so." Ewald, Hitzig, and Graf have quite missed the meaning of both clauses, since they take חללי ישׂראל as a vocative, and render the whole thus: "Not only must Babylon fall, O ye slain ones of Israel, but slain ones of the whole earth have fallen on the side of Babylon (or through Babylon)." This view of the expression "slain ones of Israel" cannot be established, either from grammatical considerations or from a regard to the meaning of the whole. Not only is there no occasion for a direct address to the slain ones of Israel; but by such a view of the expression, the antithesis indicated by גּמרררגּם, between "the slain ones of Israel" and "the slain ones of the earth," is thereby destroyed. Viewed grammatically, "the slain ones of Israel" can only be the subject dependent on the inf. לנפּל: "the fall of the slain ones of Israel." Kimchi has long ago hit the meaning in the explanation, גּם בּבל היתה סבּת לנפּל, "as Babylon was the cause of the slain ones of Israel falling." Similarly Jerome: et quomodo fecit Babylon ut caderent occisi ex Israel. This paraphrase may be vindicated on grammatical grounds, for the inf. constr. with ל, with or without היה, is used to express that on which one is engaged, or what one is on the point of doing; cf. Gesenius, 132, 3, Rem. 1. In this meaning, לנפּל stands here without היה: "Just as Babylon was concerned in making the slain ones of Israel fall;" or better: "Just as Babylon was intent on the fall of slain ones in Israel, so also there fall because of Babylon (prop. dative, for Babylon) slain ones of all the earth;" because there are to be found, in the capital of the empire, people from all quarters of the world, who are slain when Babylon is conquered. The perf. נפלוּ is prophetic, like פּקדתּי in Jeremiah 51:47.
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