King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Jeremiah 50

The ruin of Babylon. (1-3,8-16,21-32,35-46;) The redemption of God’s people. (4-7,17-20,33,34)

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The ruin of Babylon

1 The word that the LORD spake against Babylon and against the land of the Chaldeans by Jeremiah the prophet.

2 Declare ye among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not: say, Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces.

3 For out of the north there cometh up a nation against her, which shall make her land desolate, and none shall dwell therein: they shall remove, they shall depart, both man and beast.

The redemption of God’s people

4 In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the LORD their God.

5 They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.

6 My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace.

7 All that found them have devoured them: and their adversaries said, We offend not, because they have sinned against the LORD, the habitation of justice, even the LORD, the hope of their fathers.

8 Remove out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be as the he goats before the flocks.

9 For, lo, I will raise and cause to come up against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country: and they shall set themselves in array against her; from thence she shall be taken: their arrows shall be as of a mighty expert man; none shall return in vain.

10 And Chaldea shall be a spoil: all that spoil her shall be satisfied, saith the LORD.

11 Because ye were glad, because ye rejoiced, O ye destroyers of mine heritage, because ye are grown fat as the heifer at grass, and bellow as bulls;

12 Your mother shall be sore confounded; she that bare you shall be ashamed: behold, the hindermost of the nations shall be a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert.

13 Because of the wrath of the LORD it shall not be inhabited, but it shall be wholly desolate: every one that goeth by Babylon shall be astonished, and hiss at all her plagues.

14 Put yourselves in array against Babylon round about: all ye that bend the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrows: for she hath sinned against the LORD.

15 Shout against her round about: she hath given her hand: her foundations are fallen, her walls are thrown down: for it is the vengeance of the LORD: take vengeance upon her; as she hath done, do unto her.

16 Cut off the sower from Babylon, and him that handleth the sickle in the time of harvest: for fear of the oppressing sword they shall turn every one to his people, and they shall flee every one to his own land.

17 Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away: first the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones.

18 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria.

19 And I will bring Israel again to his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied upon mount Ephraim and Gilead.

20 In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.

21 Go up against the land of Merathaim, even against it, and against the inhabitants of Pekod: waste and utterly destroy after them, saith the LORD, and do according to all that I have commanded thee.

22 A sound of battle is in the land, and of great destruction.

23 How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken! how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations!

24 I have laid a snare for thee, and thou art also taken, O Babylon, and thou wast not aware: thou art found, and also caught, because thou hast striven against the LORD.

25 The LORD hath opened his armoury, and hath brought forth the weapons of his indignation: for this is the work of the Lord GOD of hosts in the land of the Chaldeans.

26 Come against her from the utmost border, open her storehouses: cast her up as heaps, and destroy her utterly: let nothing of her be left.

27 Slay all her bullocks; let them go down to the slaughter: woe unto them! for their day is come, the time of their visitation.

28 The voice of them that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the LORD our God, the vengeance of his temple.

29 Call together the archers against Babylon: all ye that bend the bow, camp against it round about; let none thereof escape: recompense her according to her work; according to all that she hath done, do unto her: for she hath been proud against the LORD, against the Holy One of Israel.

30 Therefore shall her young men fall in the streets, and all her men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the LORD.

31 Behold, I am against thee, O thou most proud, saith the Lord GOD of hosts: for thy day is come, the time that I will visit thee.

32 And the most proud shall stumble and fall, and none shall raise him up: and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it shall devour all round about him.

33 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The children of Israel and the children of Judah were oppressed together: and all that took them captives held them fast; they refused to let them go.

34 Their Redeemer is strong; the LORD of hosts is his name: he shall throughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon.

35 A sword is upon the Chaldeans, saith the LORD, and upon the inhabitants of Babylon, and upon her princes, and upon her wise men.

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

37 A sword is upon their horses, and upon their chariots, and upon all the mingled people that are in the midst of her; and they shall become as women: a sword is upon her treasures; and they shall be robbed.

38 A drought is upon her waters; and they shall be dried up: for it is the land of graven images, and they are mad upon their idols.

39 Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation.

40 As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbour cities thereof, saith the LORD; so shall no man abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein.

41 Behold, a people shall come from the north, and a great nation, and many kings shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.

42 They shall hold the bow and the lance: they are cruel, and will not shew mercy: their voice shall roar like the sea, and they shall ride upon horses, every one put in array, like a man to the battle, against thee, O daughter of Babylon.

43 The king of Babylon hath heard the report of them, and his hands waxed feeble: anguish took hold of him, and pangs as of a woman in travail.

44 Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the swelling of Jordan unto the habitation of the strong: but I will make them suddenly run away from her: and who is a chosen man, that I may appoint over her? for who is like me? and who will appoint me the time? and who is that shepherd that will stand before me?

45 Therefore hear ye the counsel of the LORD, that he hath taken against Babylon; and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the land of the Chaldeans: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out: surely he shall make their habitation desolate with them.

46 At the noise of the taking of Babylon the earth is moved, and the cry is heard among the nations.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Prophet. He had spoken against them in the fourth year of Joachim, and now is more explicit in the fourth of Sedecias, (C. li. 60.) sending his predictions to be read, and then thrown into the Euphrates. The fall of Babylon was gradual. It was in consequence of her pride and cruelty, v. 11, 17, 23, 29. Is. xlvii. 6. C. — It had shewn the greatest enmity to the Jews, and was at last overthrown by the Medes and Persians. W.

Ver. 2. Declare. This is grand. Let all the captives publish these tidings. C. — Bel, &c. Bel and Merodach were worshipped for gods by the men of Babylon. Ch. — Merodach might be an ancient king deified. C. — These greatest of their idols could neither save the people nor themselves. W.

Ver. 3. A nation, &c. viz. the Medes, (Ch.) under Darius, (Dan. v. 31. Theod. Grot.) or rather under Cyrus, who came upon Babylon from the north, after conquering Asia; though he was born to the east of that city. Is. lxi. 2. 25. He was a Mede by his mother, and ruler of that nation. He gave liberty to the Jews, as the prophet inculcates ten times. — Desolate. Herodotus. Xenophon, &c. say not that Cyrus demolished any part of the city; but Berosus informs us that he took it without opposition, and levelled the outer walls. Hystaspes did more damage. Herod. iii. 150.

Ver. 4. Weeping for joy and compunction. Israel returns, as well as Juda. C. — Thus Joseph wept when he beheld his brethren. Gen. xlii. 24. W.

Ver. 5. Covenant. They renewed the old one under Nehemias, and never publicly broke it, as they had done. Yet the covenant of Christ is more properly meant.

Ver. 6. Shepherds; kings, (C.) and false prophets. H.

Ver. 7. Not sinned: the Jews were such notorious offenders. But in what had they injured the Chaldees? — Beauty. Heb. “dwelling or fold.”

Ver. 8. Kids; rams. This comparison was not ignoble. Go boldly out of the city, before it be besieged.

Ver. 9. Nations. Cyrus had Armenians, &c. in his army. C. — Thence, by the bed of the Euphrates, the waters of which were mostly let out into the marshes. Thus the city was taken, while the people were feasting. Herod. i. 191. — Aristotle (Pol. iii. 3.) says, three days passed before all the citizens were apprised of its fate, it was so extensive: but this is incredible. If we follow the account of Berosus, Cyrus routed Nabonides, who fled to Borsippe, while he took Babylon and demolished the outer walls. Jos. c. Ap. i. C. — North, with respect to Babylon. W. — The Persians lay rather to the south, and to the east of Palestine, (H.) if our maps be accurate. C.

Ver. 11. Bulls. You have rioted in Juda, and treated my people cruelly. H. — In Hebrew four verbs have improperly i for v; but C. li. 34. v supplants i five times. Kennicott.

Ver. 12. Dust, like a suppliant. Is. xlvii. 1. C. — Dry. The country shall be equally unfruitful. The waters of the Euphrates being let off, gave a passage to the enemy. v. 9. H. — Babylon soon lost its splendour. C. — Vologeses completed its ruin. Pliny vi. 26. — It ceased to be the metropolis or mother city. H. — The whole country was laid waste. W.

Ver. 15. Hand, to form leagues; or she faints, (Sept.) and submits. Lam. v. 6.

Ver. 16. Harvest. Such were usually unmolested. C. — Babylon was so large, that people sowed corn within the walls. Curt. v. — The environs were well cultivated. Pliny xviii. 17. — Dove, or the destroyer; for the Hebrew word signifies either the one or the other. Ch. C. xxv. 38. and xlvi. 16. — Lit. “from before the sword of the dove.” The power of Babylon is no more. H. — The king is compared to a dove, for his swiftness; or God is meek, though terrible. W. — Land. The other nations were set free as well as the Jews. C.

Ver. 17. Bones. He completely ruined the nation, which the Assyrians had left. H. — They led the ten tribes away, and the Chaldees took the rest. 4 K. xviii. and xxv. W.

Ver. 18. Assyria. This monarchy was subdued by Nabopolasser.

Ver. 19. Israel; the ten tribes, whose country is specified.

Ver. 20. None. Idolatry shall not be re-established.

Ver. 21. Rulers: the most potent empire of Babylon. — All. Heb. “anathematize them and their posterity.”

Ver. 23. Hammer. The violent injustice of the Chaldees is thus entitled.

Ver. 24. Aware. Men seemed to rise out of the earth. v. 9.

Ver. 25. Armoury. Fire and war are the Lord’s weapons. Job xxxviii. 22. — Work: punishment. C. xlviii. 10.

Ver. 26. That. Heb. “her granaries; trample on her as on heaps of corn, destroy,” &c. He alludes to the custom of oxen trampling out the corn. C. li. 33.

Ver. 28. Voice. I hear the captives proclaiming this at their return.

Ver. 30. Peace, in the grave; (C.) or shall submit quietly. 1 Mac. i. 3. H.

Ver. 31. Proud. So the Chaldees are often styled in the Psalms. C. — The prophet addresses Nabuchodonosor, or rather Baltassar, (M.) under whom the city was taken, (Jos. &c.) by Darius and Cyrus. He may be the Nabonides of Berosus, the question is so much perplexed. Yet “we are convinced that Darius reigned at Babylon before Cyrus, and took the city after the death of Baltassar.” C. — Most commentators are of a difficult opinion. H.

Ver. 33. Israel. Samaria had been destroyed forty-four years before the fourth of Joakim, from which period many of Juda had been captives seventy years, till Cyrus became their deliverer, and chastised the Chaldees. C. — Both kingdoms had been oppressed by a strong hand, till a stronger, even God himself, delivered them. W.

Ver. 34. Name. He gives victory to Cyrus. Thus the Lord directs all for the sake of his elect, and laughs at the vain projects of men. C.

Ver. 35. Wise men. They were styled Chaldees, and inhabited a certain part of the city, being employed in astronomical and mathematical observations. They disapproved of those who cast nativities. Strabo xvi.

Ver. 36. Diviners. Heb. “impostors.” They were nowhere more plentiful. Dan. i. 20. Fortune-tellers were consulted on every occasion. The eastern nations are still much addicted to this superstition.

Ver. 38. Drought. Cyrus almost drained the Euphrates. C. li. 42. Is. xxi. — Things, fit to terrify children. Bar. vi. 14. C. — Prot. “they are made upon their idols.” H.

Ver. 39. Fig-fauns. Monsters of the desert, or demons in monstrous shapes; such as the ancients called fauns and satyrs: and as they imagined them to live upon wild figs, they called them fauni-ficarii, or fig-fauns. Ch. — Maldonat reads sicariis, “ruffians.” Sixtus V. and S. Jerom, (in Is. xiii. 21.) have fatuis, “foolish wild men.” Heb. “the Tsiim iwth the iim shall dwell there, and the daughters of the Yahana (H. swans) shall there reside,” or “fishermen among the rushes shall dwell,” &c. — Ever. Its situation is unknown. There is still a town of the same name, but not in the same place.

Ver. 42. Cruel. The Medes will not spare for money. v. 3. Is. xiii. 7.

Ver. 43. King. Baltassar, (though he was succeeded by Darius) or Nabonides. v. 31. C.

Ver. 44. And beautiful. Heb. “habitation.” H. — He will rush into the fold. C. xlix. 19. C. — The king of Babylon had ruined many. Others shall destroy him, rushing on like the Jordan. W.