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Jeremiah 51:46

46. And lest your heart faint, and ye fear for the rumour that shall be heard in the land; a rumour shall both come one year, and after that in another year shall come a rumour, and violence in the land, ruler against ruler.

46. Et ne forte mollescat cor vestrum, et timeatis in rumore (hoc est, ob rumorem) qui audietar in terra; veniet in anno rumor, et postea in anno (altero, subaudiendum est anno posteriore) rumor, et violentia in terra, et dominator super dominatorem.


Here the Prophet in due time anticipates a danger, lest the Jews should be disturbed in their minds, when they saw those dreadful shakings which afterwards happened; for when their minds were raised to an expectation of a return, great commotions began to arise in Babylon. Babylon, as it is well known, was for a long time besieged, and, as is usual in wars, every day brings forth something new. As, then, God, in a manner, shook the whole land, it could not be, especially under increasing evils, but that the miserable exiles should become faint, being in constant fear; for they were exposed to the wantonness of their enemies. Then the Prophet seasonably meets them here, and shows that there was no cause for them to be disturbed, whatever might happen.

Come, he says, and rise shall various rumors; but stand firm in your minds. Interpreters confine these rumors to the first year of Belshazzar; but I know not whether such a view is correct. I consider the words simply intended to strengthen weak minds, lest they should be overwhelmed, or at least vacillate, through trials, when they heard of grievous commotions.

But there is a doctrine here especially useful; for when God designs to aid his Church, he suffers the world to be, in a manner, thrown into confusion, that the favor of redemption may appear more remarkable. Unless, then, the faithful were to have some knowledge of God’s mercy, they could never endure with courageous minds the trials by which God proves them, and while Satan, on the other hand, seeks to upset their faith. There is the prelude of this very thing to be seen in the ancient people: God had promised to be their redeemer; when the day drew nigh, war suddenly arose, and the Medes and the Persians, as locusts, covered the whole land. We know what various evils war brings with it. There is, then, no doubt but that the children of God sustained many and grievous troubles, especially as they were exiles there; they must have suffered want, they must have been harassed in various ways. Now, as the event of war was uncertain, they might have fainted a hundred times, had they not been supported by this prophecy. But, as I have said, so now also God deals with his Church; for when a deliverer appears, all things seem to threaten ruin rather than to promise a joyful and happy deliverance. It is then necessary, that these prophecies should come to our minds, and that we should apply, for our own benefit, what happened formerly to our fathers, for we are the same body. There is, therefore, no reason for us at this day to wonder, if all things seem to get worse and worse, when yet God has promised that the salvation of his Church will ever be precious to him, and that he will take care of her: how so? because it is said, Let not your heart be faint, fear ye not when rumors arise, one after another; when one year brings tumults, and then another year brings new tumults, yet let not all this disturb your minds. 104104     Some, as Blayney, following the Syr., connect this verse with the preceding: The Jews are bidden to leave Babylon, that they might escape the wrath of God, and lest their hearts should faint at the evil romors that would spread there, —
   And lest your heart faint, And ye be afraid of the rumor rumored in the land, — For it shall come in one year, the romor, etc.

   But if פן, rendered lest, be taken, as it is sometimes, a dissuasive particle, then the rendering would be as follows, —

   And let not your heart be faint, Nor be ye afraid of the rumor rumored in the land; When it shall come in one year, the rumor, And afterwards in a year, the rumor, And violence shall be in the land, ruler against ruler.

   The reference seems to be to the commotions in Babylon before the liberation of the Jews. — Ed.

And Christ seems to allude to these words of the Prophet, when he says,

“Wars shall arise, and rumors of wars: be ye not troubled.” (Matthew 24:6)

These words of Christ sufficiently warn us not to think it strange, if the Church at this day be exposed to violent waves, and be tossed as by continual storms: why so? because it is right and just that our condition should be like that of the fathers, or at least approach to it. We now, then, understand the design of the Prophet, and the perpetual use that ought to be made of what is here taught.

He afterwards adds, Violence in the land, and a ruler upon or after a ruler. This refers to Cyrus, who succeeded Darius, whom some call Cyaxares. They, indeed, as it is well known, both ruled; but Darius, who was older, had the honor of being the supreme king. Afterwards Cyrus, when Darius was dead, became the king of the whole monarchy. And Darius the Mede lived only one year after Babylon was taken. But I doubt not but that the Prophet here bids the Jews to be of good courage and of a cheerful mind, though the land should often change its masters; for that change, however often, could take away nothing from God’s authority and government. It afterwards follows, —

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