6. And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him.
6. Et nunc ego dedi omnes terras istas in manum Nebuchadnezer regis abylonis servi mei, atque etiam bestiam agri (hoc est, bestias agrestes) dedi illi ad serviendum ei:
7. And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son's son, until the very time of his land come; and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him.
7. Et servient ei omnes gentes et filio ejus, et filio filii ejus usque dum venerit temput terrae ejus, atque etiam ipsius; et servient ei gentes multae (vel, magnae) et reges magni.
God, after having claimed to himself the government of the whole earth, and shewn that it is in his power to transfer kingdoms to whom he pleases, now declares his decree -- that he would subject to the king of Babylon all the neighboring lands, even Tyrus and Sidon, the country of Moab, the country of Ammon, the country of Edom, and even Judea itself. If Jeremiah had begun by saying, that God had given to King Nebuchadnezzar these lands, the prediction would not have been so easily received, for pride would have been as it were an obstacle to bolt up their minds and hearts. But the preface, as it has been stated, served to shew that they were not to think that they could stand against the will of God. After having then brought down the great height which seemed fixed in their hearts, he now declares that King Nebuchadnezzar would be the lord over Judah as well as over all the countries around, for God had set him over these lands.
He extends also this subjection, of which he speaks, over the very beasts, and not without reason; for he thus indirectly condemns the hardness of men, if they resisted, as though he had said, "What will it avail you to attempt with refractory hearts to shake off the yoke? for the very beasts, tigers, wolves, lions, and every fierce and savage animal in the land, even all these beasts shall know that the King Nebuchadnezzar is their master, even by a hidden instinct. Since, then, these beasts shall obey King Nebuchadnezzar, because he has been raised by God to that dignity, how great must be the stupidity of men in not acknowledging what the very beasts understand?" We hence see the design of mentioning the beasts; the Prophet upbraided men with their madness, if they ferociously resisted the King Nebuchadnezzar; for in that, case the beasts of the field were endued with more intelligence than they. For whence is it that beasts have fear, except that God has imprinted certain marks of dignity on kings, according to what is said by Daniel. (Daniel 2:38.) As, then, the majesty of God appears in kings, the very beasts, though void of reason and judgment, yet willingly obey through a hidden impulse of nature. Hence inexcusable is the pride of men, if at least they do not imitate the example of the very beasts.1
Nebuchadnezzar is afterwards called
But this is not the main thing; for the Prophet speaks of the time of the Chaldean monarchy as well as of the king,
He afterwards adds,
1 Some give this view as to the beasts of the field, that not only towns and cultivated lands would be given up to Nebuchadnezzar, but also hills and mountains, deserts and forests, which were inhabited by wild beasts, and that this was said in order to shew that a complete possession of their lands, and of all things within them, would be given to that king, not excepting the wild beasts. -- Ed.
2 It seems that there were two besides, who exercised for a time regal power, but they were not the descendants of Nebuchadnezzar. -- Ed.
3 This is rendered differently, "until the time of his land, even his, shall come." So the early versions, and so Venema and Blayney. -- Ed.
4 Here Calvin has followed the Vulg.; but our version gives the true meaning. See note on Jeremiah 25:14. The two clauses may be thus translated, "Until the time of his land, even his, shall come; then reduce him (or it, that is, land) to subjection, shall many nations and mighty kings." Such substantially is the version of Venema and of Blayney, and also of Piscator and Junius. -- Ed
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