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Jeremiah 50:36

36. A sword is upon the liars; and they shall dote: a sword is upon her mighty men; and they shall be dismayed.

36. Gladius super divinos ejus, et infatuabuntur; gladius super fortes ejus, et conterentur (vel, expavescent.)


He repeats the same thing, but in other words; and in the first clause he mentions diviners whom he before called wise men; and he calls them now by their true and proper name; for בדים, bedim, mean mendacious men as well as falsehoods. He then calls those now impostors to whom he conceded before the name of wise men. But when he called them wise men, he spoke according to the common opinion, and he was unwilling to contend with the Chaldeans as to the character of their wisdom: he, however, at the same time made known the impositions of those who boasted that they had a familiar intercourse with God and angels, whilst they pronounced by the stars what was to be. 7272     The word is rendered “diviners” by the Vulg., the Syr., and the Targ.; it is left out by the Sept. Some derive it from בדא, to feign, to devise, to invent, the א being left out in בדים, others say that it comes from בד, alone, solitary, separate, so that בדים were the recluse, retirement or seclusion being often the habit of impostors. It is connected, in Isaiah 44:25, with קסמים, diviners, prognosticators. — Ed. That art itself is indeed worthy of praise, were men to preserve moderation. But as the curiosity of men is insatiable, so they wandered here and there, and overleaped all limits, and thus perverted the whole order of nature. The Chaldeans, then, were not genuine, but, on the contrary, spurious astrologers.

This is the reason why the Prophet calls them now liars; for we have before seen, that it was a mere imposition, when the Chaldeans held that the whole life of man is subject to the influence of the stars. Hence he exhorted the faithful to fear no dangers from the stars. It is then no wonder that the Prophet now charges all the diviners with falsehoods, who yet proudly arrogated to themselves the name of wise men, they shall be infatuated, he says. The verb יאל, ial, means indeed to begin, but in Niphal it means to become foolish, or to be infatuated. 7373     Events would prove, that they were foolish and ignorant, being not able to foretell the ruin of their own nation, notwithstanding their boast in the knowledge of futurity. — Ed.

Then he says, The sword shall be on her valiant men; whom before he called chief men or princes, שרים, sherim, he now calls strong, גברים, geberim, or those who excelled in valor. The amount of the whole is, — that whatever wisdom Babylon arrogated to itself would become folly, and that the valor in which it prided, would vanish away. For he says, that they would be broken in pieces The verb חתת, chetat, means to be broken, but as we have elsewhere seen, it is often applied to the mind, and then it means to dread, or to be terrified. He then says, that the valiant would not be able to stand when the sword was upon them, for they would become, as it were, lifeless, or, at least, they would become so effeminate as to think of nothing but flight.

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