Habakkuk 2:7
Shall they not rise up suddenly that shall bite thee, and awake that shall vex thee, and thou shalt be for booties unto them?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) Bite.—This verb nâshac also means “to oppress with usury,” and this is its force here. Thy turn shall come, and men shall exact usury from thee. Similarly, the verb translated “vex” is, literally, to shake violently, in allusion to a creditor’s forcible seizure of his debtor. (Comp. Matthew 18:28.) The prediction of Habakkuk in these verses was fulfilled by the rise of the Medo-Persian power, and the capture of Babylon by the forces of Cyrus, cir. B.C. 538.

Habakkuk 2:7-8. Shall they not rise up suddenly that shall bite thee? — Is it not just, or what thou deservest, that others should suddenly rise against thee, and bite and tear thee? It is a metaphor taken from the hunting of wild beasts. And awake that shall vex thee — As thou hast been a vexation to others by thy tyranny and cruelty. And thou shalt be for booties unto them — Unto the Medes and Persians. The expression, rise up suddenly, very fitly describes the suddenness with which the Babylonian empire was afterward overthrown. For though Cyrus could not be said to come upon them suddenly, or unexpectedly, yet the blow, whereby the Babylonian empire was overturned, was struck extremely suddenly; for, after all Cyrus’s victories, they thought themselves very secure within the walls of Babylon; and that Cyrus must be wearied out, and his army mouldered away, before he could make himself master of it: but by an unexpected stratagem, in draining the Euphrates, he got possession of the city, and destroyed the king and all his principal men in a few hours time: see notes on Isaiah 13:20; Jeremiah 50:38; and Daniel 5:30. Because, &c. — The prophet proceeds to give an account of the reasons on which divine vengeance proceeded in this affair. Thou hast spoiled many nations —

Hast slain or led captive their people, destroyed their cities, robbed their treasuries, deposed their kings; and hast done this to many nations, whose cry for vengeance is come up to heaven. All the remnant of the people shall spoil thee — Now shalt thou be paid in thine own coin: the remnant of the nations, unspoiled by thee, shall combine against thee, and execute the Lord’s just sentence upon thee. This was evidently verified in the destruction of the Babylonian empire; for Cyrus’s army was made up of a great many different nations. Because of men’s blood — As a just return for thy cruelty, in the slaughter thou hast made of mankind. And for the violence of — Or rather, against, the land — And particularly for the violence offered to the land of Judea, and the city of Jerusalem, and its temple and inhabitants.

2:5-14 The prophet reads the doom of all proud and oppressive powers that bear hard upon God's people. The lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, are the entangling snares of men; and we find him that led Israel captive, himself led captive by each of these. No more of what we have is to be reckoned ours, than what we come honestly by. Riches are but clay, thick clay; what are gold and silver but white and yellow earth? Those who travel through thick clay, are hindered and dirtied in their journey; so are those who go through the world in the midst of abundance of wealth. And what fools are those that burden themselves with continual care about it; with a great deal of guilt in getting, saving, and spending it, and with a heavy account which they must give another day! They overload themselves with this thick clay, and so sink themselves down into destruction and perdition. See what will be the end hereof; what is gotten by violence from others, others shall take away by violence. Covetousness brings disquiet and uneasiness into a family; he that is greedy of gain troubles his own house; what is worse, it brings the curse of God upon all the affairs of it. There is a lawful gain, which, by the blessing of God, may be a comfort to a house; but what is got by fraud and injustice, will bring poverty and ruin upon a family. Yet that is not the worst; Thou hast sinned against thine own soul, hast endangered it. Those who wrong their neighbours, do much greater wrong to their own souls. If the sinner thinks he has managed his frauds and violence with art and contrivance, the riches and possessions he heaped together will witness against him. There are not greater drudges in the world than those who are slaves to mere wordly pursuits. And what comes of it? They find themselves disappointed of it, and disappointed in it; they will own it is worse than vanity, it is vexation of spirit. By staining and sinking earthly glory, God manifests and magnifies his own glory, and fills the earth with the knowledge of it, as plentifully as waters cover the sea, which are deep, and spread far and wide.Shall not they rise up suddenly that shall bite thee, and awake that shall vex thee? - The destruction of the wicked is ever sudden at last. Such was the flood Luke 17:26-27, the destruction of Sodom, of Pharaoh, of the enemies of God's people through the Judges, of Sennacherib, Nineveh, Babylon by the Medes and Persians. Such shall the end be Matthew 24:43-44; Matthew 25:13; Luke 17:26-30; Luke 21:34-35; 1 Thessalonians 5:3; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 16:15. As he by his oppressions had pierced others (it is the word used of the oppression of usury), so should it be done to him. "The Medes and Persians who were before subject to the Babylonian empire, and whose kings were subject to Nebuchudnezzar and his successors, rose up and awaked, i. e., stirred themselves up in the days of Belshazzar to rebel against the successors of Nebuchadnezzar which sat on his throne, like a man who awaketh from sleep." The words "awake," "arise," are used also of the resurrection, when the worm of the wicked gnaweth and dieth not (See Isaiah 14:11; Isaiah 66:24).

And thou shall be for booties unto them? - The common phrase is modified to explain the manifoldness of the plunder which he should yield. So Jeremiah Jer 50:10, "Chaldaea shall be a spoil; all that spoil her shall be satisfied, saith the Lord." See Cyr: "We may hear Him who saith Matthew 12:29, 'How can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.' For, as soon as He was born of the holy Virgin, He began to 'spoil his goods.' For the Magi came from the East - and worshiped Him and honored Him with gifts and became a first-fruits of the Church of the Gentiles. And being vessels of Satan, and the most honored of all his members, they hastened to Christ."

7. suddenly—the answer to the question, "How long?" (Hab 2:6).

bite—often used of usury; so favoring Lee's rendering (Hab 2:6). As the Chaldean, like a usurer, oppressed others, so other nations shall, like usurers, take pledges of, that is, spoil, him.

Shall they not? this question doth more fully ascertain the thing. Rise up; either grow up, or else, as men who resolve to do a thing thoroughly, get upon their feet and stand to it. The Medes and Persians were growing to power, and would ere long rise up to ruin Babylon.

Suddenly; and surprise it in security, so they were down ere they did perceive themselves falling; and such sudden ruin is most dreadful.

Bite thee; devour and eat thee up.

And awake; thou, O Belshazzar, (and Babylon with thee,) wilt in drunken slumbers (unable to resist) fall into the hands of the awakened Medes and Persians.

Vex thee; as thou hast been, O Babylon, vexation to others by thy proud and insolent behaviour, by scoffs and cruelties, so others shall now be a vexation unto thee.

Thou shalt be for booties; not only your lands, houses, and goods, but your persons, and those of your relations, shall be booties, taken and sold for slaves, to the profit of them, Medes and Persians.

Shall not they rise up suddenly that shall bite thee,.... Or, "thy usurers", or "creditors" (d), as some render it; the Christians, whose money, goods, and substance, they had spoiled them of, but now should be repaid with great usury and gain; these, that is, their princes and emperors, as Constantine and Theodosius, rose up suddenly, and conquered the heathen emperors, and took away their power and authority from them, and their wealth and riches, and gave them to the Christians, what they and those under them had plundered them of:

and awake that shall vex thee, or "move thee" (e); the emperor, from the throne of the empire; and other subordinate magistrates from their places of dignity, trust, and profit; the priests out of their temples; and change the face of things everywhere; and which is expressed in language agreeable to this, in Revelation 6:14, and has respect to the same times and things, "and the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together, and every mountain and island were moved out of their place"; which is to be understood of the fall of the Pagan Roman empire:

and thou shalt be for booties unto them? the wealth and riches found in the Roman empire, as it fell into the hands of Constantine, were converted to the use of the Christians for the building of their temples, and the maintenance of their ministers, the relief of their poor, and for the reparation of losses others had sustained under the persecutions: thus the Christian emperors rose up at once, and exerted themselves; and who before seemed to be asleep awoke, and seized upon the empire, and the riches of it, and divided the spoil among themselves and their people.

(d) "foeneratores tui, seu creditores tui", Cocceius, Van Till. (e) "qui commoveant te", Pagninus, Vatablus; so R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 56. 1. "excutientes", Cocceius, Van Till; "commoventes te", Burkius.

Shall {g} they not rise suddenly that shall bite thee, and awake that shall oppress thee, and thou shalt be for booty to them?

(g) That is, the Medes and persians, that would destroy the Babylonians?

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. that shall bite thee] Such is the usual sense of the word, which is used of the serpent, Genesis 49:17; Numbers 21:8-9; cf. Micah 3:5. The term is employed here in a figurative sense of the attack of enemies. In one form the verb means to exact usury from one, Deuteronomy 23:20, and some would render here thy creditors. This double sense is supposed by some to be one of the taunting allusions (Habakkuk 2:6).

shall vex thee] Or, violently shake thee. Ecclesiastes 12:3; Esther 5:9; cf. Daniel 5:19; Daniel 6:27; Deuteronomy 28:25; Isaiah 28:19.

Verse 7. - That shall bite thee. As thou hast cruelly treated others, so shall they, like fierce vipers (Jeremiah 8:17), bite thee. Henderson, Delitzsch, Keil, and others see in the word a double entendre connected with the meaning of "lending on interest," so the "biting" would signify "exacting a debt with usury." Such a term for usury is not unknown to classical antiquity; thus (quoted by Henderson) Aristoph., 'Nub.,' 12 -

Δακόμενος`ΝΛ´Υπὸ τὴς δαπάνης καὶ τῆς φάτνης καὶ τῶν χρεῶν

"By the expenditure deep bitten,
And by the manger and the debts"
Lucan, 'Phars.,' 1:181," Hinc usura vorax, avidumque in tempore faenus." The "biters" rising up suddenly are the Persians who destroyed the Babylonian power as quickly and as unexpectedly as it had arisen. Vex; literally, shake violently, like διασείσητε (Luke 3:14), or like the violent arrest of a creditor (Matthew 18:28); Septuagint, οἱ ἐπίβουλοί σου, "thy plotters;" Vulgate, lacerantes te. So of the mystic Babylon, her end comes suddenly (Revelation 18:10, 17). Habakkuk 2:7In Habakkuk 2:6-20 the destruction of the Chaldaean, which has been already intimated in Habakkuk 2:4, Habakkuk 2:5, is announced in the form of a song composed of threatening sentences, which utters woes in five strophes consisting of three verses each: (1) upon the rapacity and plundering of the Chaldaean (Habakkuk 2:6-8); (2) upon his attempt to establish his dynasty firmly by means of force and cunning (Habakkuk 2:9-11); (3) upon his wicked ways of building (Habakkuk 2:12-14); (4) upon his base treatment of the subjugated nations (Habakkuk 2:15-17); and (5) upon his idolatry (Habakkuk 2:18-20). These five strophes are connected together, so as to form two larger divisions, by a refrain which closes the first and fourth, as well as by the promise explanatory of the threat in which the third and fifth strophes terminate; of which two divisions the first threatens the judgment of retribution upon the insatiableness of the Chaldaean in three woes (Habakkuk 2:5), and the second in two woes the judgment of retribution upon his pride. Throughout the whole of the threatening prophecy the Chaldaean nation is embraced, as in Habakkuk 2:4, Habakkuk 2:5, in the ideal person of its ruler.

(Note: The unity of the threatening prophecy, which is brought out in the clearest manner in this formal arrangement, has been torn in pieces in the most violent manner by Hitzig, through his assumption that the oracle of God includes no more than Habakkuk 2:4-8, and that a second part is appended to it in Habakkuk 2:9-20, in which the prophet expresses his own thoughts and feelings, first of all concerning king Jehoiakim (Habakkuk 2:9-14), and then concerning the Egyptians (Habakkuk 2:15-20). This hypothesis, of which Maurer observes quite correctly, Qua nulla unquam excogitata est infelicior, rests upon nothing more than the dogmatic assumption, that there is no such thing as prophecy effected by supernatural causality, and therefore Habakkuk cannot have spoken of Nebuchadnezzar's buildings before they were finished, or at any rate in progress. The two strophes in Habakkuk 2:9-14 contain nothing whatever that would not apply most perfectly to the Chaldaean, or that is not covered by what precedes and follows (compare Habakkuk 2:9 with 6b and 8a, and Habakkuk 2:10 with 5b and 8a). "The strophe in Habakkuk 2:9-11 contains the same fundamental thought as that expressed by Isaiah in Isaiah 14:12-14 respecting the Chaldaean, viz., the description of his pride, which manifests itself in ambitious edifices founded upon the ruins of the prosperity of strangers" (Delitzsch). The resemblance between the contents of this strophe and the woe pronounced upon Jehoiakim by Jeremiah in Jeremiah 12:13-17 may be very simply explained from the fact that Jehoiakim, like the Chaldaean, was a tyrant who occupied himself with the erection of large state buildings and fortifications, whereas the extermination of many nations does not apply in any respect to Jehoiakim. Lastly, there is no plausible ground whatever for referring the last two strophes (Habakkuk 2:15-20) to the Egyptian, for the assertion that Habakkuk could not pass over the Egyptian in silence, unless he meant to confine himself to the Chaldaean, is a pure petitio principii; and to any unprejudiced mind the allusion to the Chaldaean in this verse is placed beyond all possible doubt by Isaiah 14:8, where the devastation of Lebanon is also attributed to him, just as it is in Habakkuk 2:17 of our prophecy.)

Habakkuk 2:6-8

Introduction of the ode and first strophe. - Habakkuk 2:6. "Will not all these lift up a proverb upon him, and a song, a riddle upon him? And men will say, Woe to him who increases what is not his own! For how long? and who loadeth himself with the burden of pledges. Habakkuk 2:7. Will not thy biters rise up suddenly, and thy destroyers wake up, and thou wilt become booty to them? Habakkuk 2:8. For thou hast plundered many nations, all the rest of the nations will plunder thee, for the blood of men and wickedness on the earth, the city, and all its inhabitants." הלוא is here, as everywhere else, equivalent to a confident assertion. "All these:" this evidently points back to "all nations" and "all people." Nevertheless the nations as such, or in pleno, are not meant, but simply the believers among them, who expect Jehovah to inflict judgment upon the Chaldaeans, and look forward to that judgment for the revelation of the glory of God. For the ode is prophetical in its nature, and is applicable to all times and all nations. Mâshâl is a sententious poem, as in Micah 2:4 and Isaiah 14:4, not a derisive song, for this subordinate meaning could only be derived from the context, as in Isaiah 14:4 for example; and there is nothing to suggest it here. So, again, melı̄tsâh neither signifies a satirical song, nor an obscure enigmatical discourse, but, as Delitzsch has shown, from the first of the two primary meanings combined in the verb לוּץ, lucere and lascivire, a brilliant oration, oratio splendida, from which מליץ is used to denote an interpreter, so called, not from the obscurity of the speaking, but from his making the speech clear or intelligible. חידות לו is in apposition to מליצה and משׁל, adding the more precise definition, that the sayings contain enigmas relating to him (the Chaldaean). The enigmatical feature comes out more especially in the double meaning of עבטיט in Habakkuk 2:6, נשׁכיך in Habakkuk 2:7, and קיקלון in Habakkuk 2:16. לאמר serves, like לאמר elsewhere, as a direct introduction to the speech. The first woe applies to the insatiable rapacity of the Chaldaean. המּרבּה לא־לו, who increases what does not belong to him, i.e., who seizes upon a large amount of the possessions of others. עד־מתי, for how long, sc. will he be able to do this with impunity; not "how long has he already done this" (Hitzig), for the words do not express exultation at the termination of the oppression, but are a sign appended to the woe, over the apparently interminable plunderings on the part of the Chaldaean. וּמכבּיד is also dependent upon hōi, since the defined participle which stands at the head of the cry of woe is generally followed by participles undefined, as though the former regulated the whole (cf. Isaiah 5:20 and Isaiah 10:1). At the same time, it might be taken as a simple declaration in itself, though still standing under the influence of the hōi; in which case הוּא would have to be supplied in thought, like וחוטא in Habakkuk 2:10. And even in this instance the sentence is not subordinate to the preceding one, as Luther follows Rashi in assuming ("and still only heaps much slime upon himself"); but is co-ordinate, as the parallelism of the clauses and the meaning of עבטיט require. The ἁπ. λεγ. עבטיט is probably chosen on account of the resemblance in sound to מכבּיד, whilst it also covers an enigma or double entendre. Being formed from עבט (to give a pledge) by the repetition of the last radical, עבטיט signifies the mass of pledges (pignorum captorum copia: Ges., Maurer, Delitzsch), not the load of guilt, either in a literal or a tropico-moral sense. The quantity of foreign property which the Chaldaean has accumulated is represented as a heavy mass of pledges, which he has taken from the nations like an unmerciful usurer (Deuteronomy 24:10), to point to the fact that he will be compelled to disgorge them in due time. הכבּיד, to make heavy, i.e., to lay a heavy load upon a person. The word עבטיט, however, might form two words so far as the sound is concerned: עב טיט, cloud (i.e., mass) of dirt, which will cause his ruin as soon as it is discharged. This is the sense in which the Syriac has taken the word; and Jerome does the same, observing, considera quam eleganter multiplicatas divitias densum appellaverit lutum, no doubt according to a Jewish tradition, since Kimchi, Rashi, and Ab. Ezra take the word as a composite one, and merely differ as to the explanation of עב. Grammatically considered, this explanation is indeed untenable, since the Hebrew language has formed no appellative nomina composita; but the word is nevertheless enigmatical, because, when heard from the lips, it might be taken as two words, and understood in the sense indicated.

In Habakkuk 2:7 the threatening hōi is still further developed. Will not thy biters arise? נשׁכיך equals נשׁכתם אתך, those who bite thee. In the description here given of the enemy as savage vipers (cf. Jeremiah 8:17) there is also an enigmatical double entendre, which Delitzsch has admirably interpreted thus: "המּרבּה," he says, "pointed to תּרבּית (interest). The latter, favoured by the idea of the Chaldaean as an unmerciful usurer, which is concentrated in עבטיט, points to נשׁך, which is frequently connected with תּרבּית, and signifies usurious interest; and this again to the striking epithet נשׁכתם, which is applied to those who have to inflict the divine retribution upon the Chaldaean. The prophet selected this to suggest the thought that there would come upon the Chaldaean those who would demand back with interest (neshek) the capital of which he had unrighteously taken possession, just as he had unmercifully taken the goods of the nations from them by usury and pawn." יקצוּ, from יקץ, they will awake, viz., מזעזעך, those who shake or rouse thee up. זעזע, pilel of זוּע, σείω, is used in Arabic of the wind (to shake the tree); hence, as in this case, it was employed to denote shaking up or scaring away from a possession, as is often done, for example, by a creditor (Hitzig, Delitzsch). משׁסּות is an intensive plural.

So far as this threat applies to the Chaldaeans, it was executed by the Medes and Persians, who destroyed the Chaldaean empire. But the threat has a much more extensive application. This is evident, apart from other proofs, from Habakkuk 2:8 itself, according to which the whole of the remnant of the nations is to inflict the retribution. Gōyı̄m rabbı̄m, "many nations:" this is not to be taken as an antithesis to kol-haggōyı̄m (all nations) in Habakkuk 2:5, since "all nations" are simply many nations, as kol is not to be taken in its absolute sense, but simply in a relative sense, as denoting all the nations that lie within the prophet's horizon, as having entered the arena of history. Through ישׁלּוּך, which is placed at the head of the concluding clause without a copula, the antithesis to שׁלּות is sharply brought out, and the idea of the righteous retaliation distinctly expressed. כּל־יתר עמּים, the whole remnant of the nations, is not all the rest, with the exception of the one Chaldaean, for yether always denotes the remnant which is left after the deduction of a portion; nor does it mean all the rest of the nations, who are spared and not subjugated, in distinction from the plundered and subjugated nations, as Hitzig with many others imagine, and in proof of which he adduces the fact that the overthrow of the Chaldaeans was effected by nations that had not been subdued. But, as Delitzsch has correctly observed, this view makes the prophet contradict not only himself, but the whole of the prophetic view of the world-wide dominion of Nebuchadnezzar. According to Habakkuk 2:5, the Chaldaean has grasped to himself the dominion over all nations, and consequently there cannot be any nations left that he has not plundered. Moreover, the Chaldaean, or Nebuchadnezzar as the head of the Chaldaean kingdom, appears in prophecy (Jeremiah 27:7-8), as he does in history (Daniel 2:38; Daniel 3:31; Daniel 5:19) throughout, as the ruler of the world in the highest sense, who has subjugated all nations and kingdoms round about, and compelled them to serve him. These nations include the Medes and Elamites ( equals Persians), to whom the future conquest of Babylon is attributed in Isaiah 13:17; Isaiah 21:2; Jeremiah 51:11, Jeremiah 51:28. They are both mentioned in Jeremiah 25:25 among the nations, to whom the prophet is to reach the cup of wrath from the hand of Jehovah; and the kingdom of Elam especially is threatened in Jeremiah 49:34. with the destruction of its power, and dispersion to all four winds. In these two prophecies, indeed, Nebuchadnezzar is not expressly mentioned by name as the executor of the judgment of wrath; but in Jeremiah 25 this may plainly be inferred from the context, partly from the fact that, according to Jeremiah 25:9, Judah with its inhabitants, and all nations round about, are to be given into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, and partly from the fact that in the list of the nations enumerated in Jeremiah 25:18-26 the king of Sesach (i.e., Babel) is mentioned as he who is to drink the cup "after them" (Jeremiah 25:26). The expression 'achărēhem (after them) shows very clearly that the judgment upon the nations previously mentioned, and therefore also upon the kings of Elam and Media, is to occur while the Chaldaean rule continues, i.e., is to be executed by the Chaldaeans. This may, in fact, be inferred, so far as the prophecy respecting Elam in Jeremiah 49:34. is concerned, from the circumstance that Jeremiah's prophecies with regard to foreign nations in Jeremiah 46-51 are merely expansions of the summary announcement in Jeremiah 25:19-26, and is also confirmed by Ezekiel 32:24, inasmuch as Elam is mentioned there immediately after Asshur in the list of kings and nations that have sunk to the lower regions before Egypt. And if even this prophecy has a much wider meaning, like that concerning Elam in Jeremiah 49:34, and the elegy over Egypt, which Ezekiel strikes up, is expanded into a threatening prophecy concerning the heathen generally (see Kliefoth, Ezech. p. 303), this further reference presupposes the historical fulfilment which the threatening words of prophecy have received through the judgment inflicted by the Chaldaeans upon all the nations mentioned, and has in this its real foundation and soil.

History also harmonizes with this prophetic announcement. The arguments adduced by Hvernick (Daniel, p. 547ff.) to prove that Nebuchadnezzar did not extend his conquests to Elam, and neither subdued this province nor Media, are not conclusive. The fact that after the fall of Nineveh the conquerors, Nabopolassar of Babylonia, and Cyaxares the king of Media, divided the fallen Assyrian kingdom between them, the former receiving the western provinces, and the latter the eastern, does not preclude the possibility of Nebuchadnezzar, the founder of the Chaldaean empire, having made war upon the Median kingdom, and brought it into subjection. There is no historical testimony, however, to the further assertion, that Nebuchadnezzar was only concerned to extend his kingdom towards the west, that his conquests were all of them in the lands situated there, and gave him so much to do that he could not possibly think of extending his eastern frontier. It is true that the opposite of this cannot be inferred from Strabo, xvi. 1, 18;

(Note: This passage is quoted by Hitzig (Ezech. p. 251) as a proof that Elam made war upon the Babylonians, and, indeed, judging from Jeremiah 49:34, an unsuccessful war. But Strabo speaks of a war between the Elymaeans (Elamites) and the Babylonians and Susians, which M. v. Niebuhr (p. 210) very properly assigns to the period of the alliance between Media (as possessor of Susa) and Babylon.)

but it may be inferred, as M. v. Niebuhr (Gesch. Assurs, pp. 211-12) has said, from the fact that according to Jeremiah 27 and 28, at the beginning of Zedekiah's reign, and therefore not very long after Nebuchadnezzar had conquered Jerusalem in the time of Jehoiachin, and restored order in southern Syria in the most energetic manner, the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Zidon, entered into negotiations with Zedekiah for a joint expedition against Nebuchadnezzar. M. v. Niebuhr infers from this that troublous times set in at that period for Nebuchadnezzar, and that this sudden change in the situation of affairs was connected with the death of Cyaxares, and leads to the conjecture that Nebuchadnezzar, who had sworn fealty to Cyaxares, refused at his death to do homage to his successor; for fidelity to a father-in-law, with whose help the kingdom was founded, would assume a very different character if it was renewed to his successor. Babel was too powerful to accept any such enfeoffment as this. And even if Nebuchadnezzar was not a vassal, there could not be a more suitable opportunity for war with Media than that afforded by a change of government, since kingdoms in the East are so easily shaken by the death of a great prince. And there certainly was no lack of inducement to enter upon a war with Media. Elam, for example, from its very situation, and on account of the restlessness of its inhabitants, must have been a constant apple of discord. This combination acquires extreme probability, partly from the fact that Jeremiah's prophecy concerning Elam, in which that nation is threatened with the destruction of its power and dispersion to all four winds, was first uttered at the commencement of Zedekiah's reign (Jeremiah 49:34), whereas the rest of his prophecies against foreign nations date from an earlier period, and that against Babel is the only one which falls later, namely, in the fourth year of Zedekiah (Jeremiah 51:59), which appears to point to the fact that at the commencement of Zedekiah's reign things were brewing in Elam which might lead to his ruin. And it is favoured in part by the account in the book of Judith of a war between Nabuchodonosor (Nebuchadnezzar) and Media, which terminated victoriously according to the Rec. vulg. in the twelfth year of his reign, since this account is hardly altogether a fictitious one. These prophetic and historical testimonies may be regarded as quite sufficient, considering the universally scanty accounts of the Chaldaean monarchy given by the Greeks and Romans, to warrant us in assuming without hesitation, as M. v. Niebuhr has done, that between the ninth and twentieth years of Nebuchadnezzar's reign - namely, at the commencement of Zedekiah's reign - the former had to make war not only with Elam, but with Media also, and that it is to this eastern war that we should have to attribute the commotion in Syria.

From all this we may see that there is no necessity to explain "all the remnant of the nations" as relating to the remainder of the nations that had not been subjugated, but that we may understand it as signifying the remnant of the nations plundered and subjugated by the Chaldaeans (as is done by the lxx, Theodoret, Delitzsch, and others), which is the only explanation in harmony with the usage of the language. For in Joshua 23:12 yether haggōyı̄m denotes the Canaanitish nations left after the war of extermination; and in Zechariah 14:2 yether hâ‛âm signifies the remnant of the nation left after the previous conquest of the city, and the carrying away of half its inhabitants. In Zephaniah 2:9 yether gōi is synonymous with שׁארית עמּי, and our יתר עמּים is equivalent to שׁארית הגּוים in Ezekiel 36:3-4. מדּמי אדם: on account of the human blood unjustly shed, and on account of the wickedness on the earth (chămas with the Genesis obj. as in Joel 3:19 and Obadiah 1:10). 'Erets without an article is not the holy land, but the earth generally; and so the city (qiryâh, which is still dependent upon chămas) is not Jerusalem, nor any one particular city, but, with indefinite generality, "cities." The two clauses are parallel, cities and their inhabitants corresponding to men and the earth. The Chaldaean is depicted as one who gathers men and nations in his net (Habakkuk 1:14-17). And so in Jeremiah 50:23 he is called a hammer of the whole earth, in Jeremiah 51:7 a cup of reeling, and in Jeremiah 51:25 the destroyer of the whole earth.

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