- The severe judgment of God against voluptuous, covetous, tyrannical and idolatrous Babel, in the revenge, and for the redemption of Israel, verse 1-58.
- Jeremiah delivers the book of this prophecy to Seraiah, to be cast into Euphrates, in token of the perpetual sinking of Babylon, verse 59-64.
Forsaken - Not utterly forsaken.
Soul - By soul is meant life, and by iniquity the punishment of the Babylonian's iniquity.
Drunken - She had made all the nations about her drunken with the Lord's fury. Mad - Through the misery they felt from her.
We - The prophet seems to personate the mercenary soldiers, saying, they would have helped Babylon, but there was no healing for her.
Some - These words are spoken in the person of the Jews, owning the destruction of Babylon to be the mighty work of God, and an act of justice, revenging the wrongs of his people.
Set up - These seem to be the prophet's words to the Babylonians, rousing them out of their security. Historians tell us that the city was fortified by walls of fifty cubits high, and two hundred cubits broad, and by a very deep and large ditch.
Waters - Babylon is said to dwell upon many waters, because the great river Euphrates, did not only run by it, but almost encompass it branching itself into many smaller rivers, which made several parts of the city, islands.
Break in pieces - The sense of all these three verses is the same; that God had made use, and was still making use of the Babylonians to destroy many nations, to spoil much people, wasting their goods, routing their armies, killing all sorts of their inhabitants.
Mountain - Babylon was very high for its power, and greatness, and had very high walls and towers, that it looked at a distance like an high rocky mountain. They had destroyed many people. Burnt - Thy cities and towers which appear like a mountain shall be burnt.
As caterpillars - The Median horses are compared to their insects, either with respect to their numbers, or in regard of the terror caused by them when they came, being a great plague to the places which they infected.
The land - Babylon, or the land of Chaldea.
At one end - Cyrus entered the city at one end, by the channel of the river, which he had drained, and surprized Belshazzar in the midst of his feast.
The passages - The passages over the river Euphrates, and all the other passages by which the Babylonians might make their escape, were guarded with soldiers. Reeds - On the border of the river Euphrates were vast quantities of great and tall reeds, which with the mud in which they stood, were as another wall to the city; but the Medes had burnt them so as the way was open.
Threshing floor - Babylon had been a threshing instrument, by which, and a threshing-floor in which God had threshed many other nations; God now intended to make it as a threshing-floor wherein he would thresh the Chaldeans. Tread her - So they used to prepare their threshing-floors against the time of harvest. The time - The harvest which the justice of God would have from the ruin of the Chaldeans.
Me - The prophet speaks this in the name of the Jews. Cast me out - As beasts of prey eat what they please of other beasts they have preyed upon, and leave the rest in the field.
Dry up - Alluding to what Cyrus did.
They - The Babylonians, upon the taking of their city.
Heat - When they shall grow hot with wine, I will make them a feast of another nature. Interpreters judge that Belshazzar, Daniel 5:1, made a feast to a thousand of his Lords, when he and his wives, and concubines, drank wine in the vessels belonging to the temple, during which feast the city was taken. And not awake - While they were merry with their wine, they fell into a sleep which they never awoke out of.
Sheshach - A name given to the city of Babylon.
The sea - A multitude of enemies.
Bel - Bel was the principal Babylonian idol. Bring forth - All the vessels of the temple, 2 Chronicles 36:7, and whatever gifts the Babylonians had presented to him. The wall - And the city of Babylon shall be also ruined.
Go out of her - At all hazards escape for your lives.
Then - All the creatures in heaven and earth shall rejoice at the vengeance which God shall take upon Babylon.
Of all the earth - This term must be understood in a restrained sense; the Chaldeans coming up from all parts of Chaldea to help Babylon, were slain there, as by the means of Babylon the Israelites were slain that came from all parts of Judea to help Jerusalem.
Ye - Ye Jews, leave Babylon as soon as liberty is proclaimed. Remember - And remember in Judea the great things both of justice and mercy which God hath done.
We - We Jews are ashamed to hear the enemies reproaching us, for our God, or for our religion. Strangers - Pagans that were strangers to the commonwealth of Israel, are come, not to worship, but to plunder, the sanctuaries of the Lord; even into the courts of the priests and of the Israelites; yea, into the most holy place.
Wherefore - For this profanation of my holy place, I will be revenged not only upon their idols, but upon the worshippers of them, and cause a groaning of wounded men over all the country of the Chaldeans.
The great voice - The noises caused from multitudes of people walking up and trafficking together. A noise - The noise of her enemies that shall break in upon her shall be like the roaring of the sea.
Because - Little more is said here than was before, only the words hint the taking of Babylon by a surprize when the king, and the inhabitants were not aware of it, which we had before also told us, verse 39,40. Requite - The wrongs done to his people.
Drunk - A plain allusion to the posture the king of Babylon, and the thousand of his lords were in, when their city was taken while they were drinking wine in the bowls that were brought from the temple at Jerusalem.
Weary - Though the people should labour to quench this fire, or to rebuild this city, yet it would be all lost labour.
In the fourth year - This circumstance lets us know that this prophecy was many years before Babylon was destroyed; for it was seven years before Jerusalem was taken; so as it must be above sixty years before it was fulfilled in the first degree.
Shalt read - Probably to the Jews, that were in Babylon.
Shalt say - Thou shalt testify that thou believest what thou hast read.
Weary - With that weight of judgment which shall be upon them. The words - The prophetical words of Jeremiah; for the matter of the next chapter is historical, and the book of Lamentations is not prophetical.