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.
21. Super terram exasperantium ascende super eam (sod abundat) et super habitatores visitationis (et habitatores visitationis;) occide et disperde post eos, dicit Jehova; et fac omnia quae praecepi tibi.
The Prophet here undertakes the office of a herald, and animates the Persians and the Medes to make war with Babylon. This prophecy indeed never came to these nations, but we have stated why the Prophets proclaimed war and addressed at one time heathen nations, at another time the Jews -- now one people, then another; for they wished to bring the faithful to the very scene of action, and connected the accomplishment with their predictions. By this mode of speaking, the Prophet then teaches us, that he did not scatter words into the air, but that the power of God was connected with the word which he spoke, as though God had expressly commanded the Medes and the Persians to execute his vengeance on Babylon. And doubtless Jeremiah did not thus speak; according to his own thoughts, nor did he thus speak in the person of man; but on the contrary, he introduced God as the speaker, as it appears front the end of the verse.
He then says,
He afterwards adds,
He then adds,
We now then understand what the Prophet meant by this expression; for he did not mean that Darius and Cyrus obeyed God from the heart, because they knew not that he was the leader and author of that war; no such thing ever entered into their minds. The former mode of commanding, as I have said, is peculiar to the Church; for God is pleased to bestow on us a peculiar privilege and favor, when he shows to us what is right, and prescribes the rule of life. But yet his hidden providence, by which he influences the ungodly, takes the place of a command, as it is said,
"The king's heart is in the hand of God." (Proverbs 21:1)
But Solomon speaks of a king rather than of common men, because, if there be any liberty among mankind, it belongs to kings, for they seem exempt from every yoke; and Solomon declares that the hearts of kings are ruled by God. Though then Darius and Cyrus were carried away by their own cupidity when they made war, yet God, as we shall hereafter see more clearly, guided their hearts. So also he is said to command the heavens and the earth-not that the heavens, being without ears and reason, hear his voice, but because God powerfully moves and influences the heavens; for when he intends to punish us, he commands the heaven not to rain. This command of God the heaven executes, and the earth also obeys God; but there is no word of command given to them, -- what then? it is God's providence which is hid from us. It follows, --
1 Merathaim and Pekod are appellatives, and not proper names, in the early versions, and the first is so in the Targ. and rendered "rebellious;" but by the Sept. "bitterly;" by the Vulg. "rulers;" and by the Syr. "exasperating." The most probable derivation of the word is from
21. Against the land of the most rebellious, against her ascend, And to the inhabitants of visitation; Slay and utterly destroy their posterity, saith Jehovah, And do according to all that I have commanded thee.
As to Babylon being "rebellious," see Jeremiah 50:24, 33. "Inhabitants of visitation" were such as were to be visited, i.e., with judgment; see Jeremiah 50:31. The repetition, "against her," is emphatical. "posterity," i.e., children, or young men, as in Jeremiah 50:30. See 1 Kings 16:3. -- Ed.
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