Jeremiah 50:3

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.

3. Quoniam ascendet contra eam gens ab aquilone, quae ponet terram in vastitatem, et (ut) non sit habitator in ea ab homine usque ad bestiam; fugerunt, abierunt.


Let what I have before said be borne in mind, that the Prophet makes use of many words in describing the ruin of Babylon; for it was not enough to predict what was to be; but as weak minds vacillated, it was necessary to add a confirmation. After having then spoken of the power of Babylon and its idols, he now points out the way in which it was to be destroyed -- a nation would come from the north, that is, with reference to Chaldea. And he means the Medes and Persians, as interpreters commonly think; and this is probable, because he afterwards adds that the Jews would then return. As then Jeremiah connects these two things together, the destruction of Babylon and the restoration of God's Church, it is probable that he refers here to the Medes and Persians. If, at the same time, we more narrowly view things, there is no doubt but that this prophecy extends further, and this will appear more evident as we proceed.

He simply says now that a nation would come from the north, which would turn the land to a waste. This clause shews that this prophecy could not be fitly confined to the time when Babylon was taken by Cyrus; for we know that it was betrayed by two Satraps during a siege; and that it was at a time when a feast was held, as though there was peace and security, as Daniel testifies, with whom heathen writers agree. Now Xenophon testifies that Cyrus exercised great forbearance and humanity, and that he used his victory with such moderation, that Babylon seemed as though it had not been taken. It had, indeed, changed masters, but such was the change that the citizens readily submitted to it. But it was afterwards more hardly dealt with, when Darius recovered it by the aid of Zopyrus; for Babylon had revolted from the Persians, and shook off the yoke. Darius having in vain stormed it, at length recovered it by the help of one man; for Zopyrus, having cut off his nose, and mutilated his ears and his face, pretended, in this deformed manner, to be a fugitive, and complained of the cruelty and barbarity of his king, with whom yet he was most intimate. The city was soon afterwards taken by treachery in the night. Then about four thousand of the Persians were hung in the middle of the Forum, nor did Darius spare the people. The Prophet then seems to include this second destruction when he predicted that the whole land would be made desolate. Nor ought this to be deemed unreasonable, for the Prophets so spoke of God's judgments, that they extended what they said further than to the commencement, as was the case in the present instance.

When, therefore, Babylon was taken by the Persians, it received the yoke; and she which ruled over all other nations, was reduced to a state of servitude. For the Persians, as it is well known, were very inhuman, and Isaiah describes them so at large. In the meantime, the city, as I have said, retained its external appearance. The citizens were robbed of their gold and silver, and of their precious things, and were under the necessity of serving strangers: this was bitter to them. But when Darius punished their perfidy and hung so many of the chief men, about four thousand, and also shed indiscriminately the blood of the people, and subjected the city itself to the plunder of his soldiers, then doubtless what the Prophet says here was more fully accomplished. It was yet God's purpose to give only a prelude of his vengeance, when he made the Babylonians subject to the Medes and Persians. It now follows --


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