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Jeremiah 51:11

11. Make bright the arrows; gather together the shields: the LORD hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his device is against Babylon, to destroy it; because it is the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance of his temple.

11. Polite sagittas (parate, ad verbum,) implete (vel, perficite) clypeos; suscitat Jehova spiritum regum Mediae, quia super Babylonem cogitatio ejus ad perdendum eam, quia ultio Jehovae haec, ultio Templi ejus.


These words might have been addressed to the Medes as well as to the Babylonians. If the latter meaning be approved, that is, that the Prophet addresses the Babylonians, the words are a taunt, as though he had said, that they were to no purpose spending their labors in preparing their armies, because God would be stronger than they, and that the Medes would carry on war under his banner and authority. Nor would what I have also stated, be unsuitable, that is, that the Prophet bids the Medes to prepare themselves and to put on their arms, that they might fight courageously against the Babylonians. 8585     The second clause in the versions and the Targ. is, “Fill the quivers,” i.e., with arrows. But the word means “shields:” hence some render the verb in the sense of filling up or completing. “Complete the shields,” i.e., their number, or rather, more consistently with sharpening or polishing the arrows, “Fill up,” or mend, “the shields.” So Venema and Parkhurst. — Ed.

He now adds the main thing, — that the kings of the Medes would come against Babylon, because they had been called from above; and he mentions the word spirit, that he might more fully express that men’s minds are ruled and turned by the secret power of God, and also that whatever power or boldness is found in them, proceeds altogether from God; as though he had said, that God would so prepare the Medes and the Persians, that he would not only strengthen their arms, hands, and feet, for the war, but would also lead them, and overrule their passions — that he would, in short, turn their spirit here and there, according to his will. He does not now speak of the wind, as before; nor does he point out the enemies generally, but expressly names the Medes. For though Cyaxares, or Darius, as he is called by Daniel, was not a very prudent man, nor skillful in war, yet, as he was higher in dignity, the Prophet here mentions the Medes rather than the Persians. Cyrus excelled in celerity, and was also a man of singular wariness, activity, and boldness: but as he was by no means wealthy, and ruled over a rustic nation, and the limits of his kingdom were confined, the Prophet rightly speaks here of the Medes only, whose power far exceeded that of the Persians.

But we hence learn, that Jeremiah did not speak as a man, but was the instrument of the Spirit; for it was an indubitable seal to his prophecy, that he predicted an event a long time before the war took place. Cyrus was not yet born, who was the leader in this war: nor was Darius as yet born; for seventy years elapsed from the time the Prophet spoke to the taking of Babylon. We then see that this passage is a sure proof of his faithfulness and authority.

He afterwards adds, that God’s thought respecting Babylon was to destroy her He still speaks after the manner of men, and at the same time obviates an objection which might have disturbed weak minds, because Babylon not only remained safe and secure for a long time, but also received an increase of power and dignity. The minds then of the godly might have desponded, when there seemed to be no accomplishment of this prophecy. Hence the Prophet calls attention to the thought of God, as though he had said, that though God did not immediately put forth his hand, if, was yet enough for the faithful to know what he had decreed. in short, the Prophet reminded, them, that they ought to acquiesce in God’s decree, though his work was yet hid.

And he again confirms the Jews, by adding, that it would be his vengeance, even that of God, because he disregarded not his Temple. By these words he intimates that the worship, according to the law, was pleasing to God, because the Jews became a distinct people from heathen nations, when the rule as to religion was prescribed to them. Then the Prophet intimates, that though any sort of religion pleased men, there is yet but one which is approved by God, even that which he himself has commanded. The case being so, we may conclude, that God cannot long endure his worship to be scoffed at. For we know how scornfully and proudly the Chaldeans spoke of the Temple, so that they not only uttered blasphemies, but also heaped every reproach they could think of on the Temple. Since that religion was founded on God’s word, it follows that it could not be but that he must have at length risen and vindicated the wrongs done to him by the Chaldeans. We now perceive the meaning of the Prophet, when he says, that it would be the vengeance of God; and he adds, because God will avenge his temple. He confirms the Jews, when he declares that God would be the vindicator of his own worship; and he, at the same time, shows, that the worship according to the law, which had been taught by Moses, was the only worship in the world which God approved. It afterwards follows, —

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