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.
41. Ecce populus veniet ab aquilone, et gens magna, et reges multi (aut, validi) excitabuntur a lateribus terrae.
The Prophet again shows whence destruction was to come on the Babylonians. He does not indeed mention Cyrus, as Isaiah does (Isaiah 44:28; 45:1), nor does he mention the Persians; but he evidently points out the Medes, when he says that a people would come from the north. He adds, a great nation and many or powerful kings; and lastly, from the sides of the earth. It is indeed certain that the war was carried on under the banner and command of Cyrus and Darius. Cyrus was the chief, but Darius, on account of his age, was deemed the king. To whom then does Jeremiah refer, when he says many kings, if we so render the words? even to the satraps or princes, of whom a great number Darius brought with him; for Cyrus came from remote mountains, and from a barbarous nation; but the kingdom of Darius was very wide. There is then no doubt but that he brought with him many kings, who yet obeyed his authority. But we may take Mybr, rebim, in the sense of being strong. However this may be, the Prophet means that the Chaldeans would have to carry on war, not with one nation or one king, but with many nations and with many kings, or certainly with mighty kings. Hence he mentions the sides of the earth, by which phrase he reminds us that the army would come, not from one country but from remote parts; and though the distance might be great, yet the Prophet says, that they would all come together to attack the Chaldeans.
We now see that what afterwards happened is represented as in a picture, in order that the event itself might confirm the Jews, not only in the truth announced by Jeremiah, but also in the whole law and worship of God; for this prophecy was ratified to the faithful when they found that Jeremiah, a faithful interpreter of the law, had thus spoken. And then his doctrine availed also for another purpose, even that the people might know that they rebelled against God when they obstinately resisted the holy Prophet; for we know that they were extremely disobedient. They were then proved, by what happened, to have been guilty of having contended with God in their pertinacious wickedness and contempt. There was afterwards given them a sure ground of hope; for as Jeremiah had spoken of the destruction of Babylon, so, on the other hand, he had promised a return to the Jews. They had then reason to look for restoration, when they saw fulfilled what Jeremiah had spoken.
By the word raised, he expresses something more than by the word come: he says that people would come, and adds, that they would be raised up or roused; he intimates that they would not come of themselves, but by the hidden influence of God, because this war was not carried on merely by men. Cyrus indeed, led by insatiable avarice and ambition, was guided by his own inclination to undertake this war; and he made no end of his cruelty, until he at length miserably died, for he never ceased to shed innocent blood everywhere. But yet the Lord made use of these kings and nations to destroy Babylon: they were in reality the scourges of God, and accordingly he says, that they were roused from the sides of the earth, that is, from the most distant places.