Jeremiah 51:34
Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(34) He hath made me an empty vessel.—The pronouns in one form of the Hebrew text are most of them in the plural, “devoured us, crushed us, made us.” The prophet speaks of himself and Israel as having suffered wrong and outrage at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. The land had been spoiled till it was as an “empty vessel.”

He hath swallowed me up like a dragon.—The Hebrew noun probably stands for a “crocodile” (as in Isaiah 27:1; Isaiah 51:9; Ezekiel 29:3), or is used generally for any sea-monster. The “delicates” (“dainties” in Genesis 49:20) are the corn and wine and oil and fruits of Palestine with which the Chaldæan armies had enriched themselves.

Jeremiah 51:34-35. Nebuchadrezzar hath devoured me — Zion and Jerusalem, which are both expressed in the next verse, are the speakers here, and the words contain a pathetical description of the calamities brought upon the Jews by Nebuchadnezzar and his forces, who, after they had devoured the wealth and laid waste the beauty of Judea, then turned the inhabitants out of it, and led them captives into a strange land. The violence done to me and my flesh be upon Babylon — Let God return upon her the violence she has done to me and to my children. Our nearest relations are called our flesh in Scripture. This imprecation is very similar to that in Psalm 137:8, where see the note.

51:1-58 The particulars of this prophecy are dispersed and interwoven, and the same things left and returned to again. Babylon is abundant in treasures, yet neither her waters nor her wealth shall secure her. Destruction comes when they did not think of it. Wherever we are, in the greatest depths, at the greatest distances, we are to remember the Lord our God; and in the times of the greatest fears and hopes, it is most needful to remember the Lord. The feeling excited by Babylon's fall is the same with the New Testament Babylon, Re 18:9,19. The ruin of all who support idolatry, infidelity, and superstition, is needful for the revival of true godliness; and the threatening prophecies of Scripture yield comfort in this view. The great seat of antichristian tyranny, idolatry, and superstition, the persecutor of true Christians, is as certainly doomed to destruction as ancient Babylon. Then will vast multitudes mourn for sin, and seek the Lord. Then will the lost sheep of the house of Israel be brought back to the fold of the good Shepherd, and stray no more. And the exact fulfilment of these ancient prophecies encourages us to faith in all the promises and prophecies of the sacred Scriptures.Literally, "Nebuchadrezzar ... hath devoured us, hath crushed us, he hath set as aside as an empty vessel, he hath swallowed as like a crocodile, he hath filled his maw with my delicacies Genesis 49:20, he hath cast us out. My wrong and my flesh be upon Babylon, shall the inhabitress of Zion say: and my blood be etc." Nebuchadnezzar had devoured Jerusalem, had treated her as ruthlessly as a crocodile does its prey, and for this cruelty he and Babylon are justly to be punished. 34. me—Zion speaks. Her groans are what bring down retribution in kind on Babylon (Jer 50:17; Ps 102:13, 17, 20).

empty vessel—He has drained me out.

dragon—The serpent often "swallows" its prey whole; or a sea monster [Grotius].

filled his belly … cast me out—like a beast, which, having "filled" himself to satiety, "casts out" the rest [Calvin]. After filling all his storehouses with my goods, he has cast me out of this land [Grotius].

The prophet speaketh this in the name of the Jews, complaining of the

king of Babylon as the author of all the miseries they had endured, which he expresseth by several phrases signifying the same thing, viz. that it was the king of Babylon that had ruined. them, and filled himself and his soldiers with their delicate things, and cast them out of their land, dealing with them as wolves or other beasts of prey, that eat what they please of other beasts they have preyed upon, and leave the rest in the fields.

Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me,.... Or "us" (w); everyone of us: these are the words of Zion and Jerusalem, as appears from Jeremiah 51:35; complaining of the injuries done them by the king of Babylon, who had eaten them up; spoiled their substance, as the Targum; took their cities, plundered them of their riches, and carried them away captive:

he hath crushed me; to the earth; or "bruised" or "broken", even all her bones; see Jeremiah 50:17;

he hath made me an empty vessel; emptied the land of its inhabitants and riches, and left nothing valuable in it:

he hath swallowed me up like a dragon; or "whale", or any large fish, which swallow the lesser ones whole. The allusion is to the large swallow of dragons, which is sometimes represented as almost beyond all belief; for not only Pliny (x) from Megasthenes reports, that, in India, serpents, that is, dragons, grow to such a bulk, that they will swallow whole deer, and even bulls; but Posidonius (y) relates, that in Coelesyria was one, whose gaping jaws would admit of a horse and his rider: and Onesicritus (z) speaks of two dragons in the country of Abisarus in India; the one was fourscore and the other a hundred and forty cubits long;

he hath filled his belly with my delicates; with the treasures of the king and his nobles; with the vessels of the temple, and the riches of the people, which he loaded himself with to his full satisfaction. So the Targum,

"he filled his treasury with the good of my land;''

he hath cast me out; out of my land, and carried me captive; so the Targum.

(w) The "Cetib", or textual reading, is "us"; but the "Keri", or marginal reading, is "me", which our version follows, and so the same in the four following words, in the text. (x) Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 14. col. 436. (y) Apud Bochart. Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 3. c. 14. col. 436. (z) Apud Strabo. Geograph. l. 15. p. 480.

Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon hath {t} devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicacies, he hath cast me out.

(t) This is spoken in the person of the Jews bewailing their state and the cruelty of the Babylonians.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
34. me] mg. us, but “me” is best throughout the v. as in Jeremiah 51:35. Israel suddenly becomes the speaker. For the figure cp. Isaiah 27:1.

dragon] The Heb. Tannin is lit. any great monster of river or sea, e.g. the crocodile (Psalm 74:13; Ezekiel 29:3).

my delicates] Israel’s treasured possessions. The word is used as a substantive here only in the Bible. Cp. 3 Hen. VI. II. 5, where the king speaks of the shepherd’s homely curds as “far beyond a prince’s delicates.” (Bible Word Book.)

Verse 34. - The Jewish captives are introduced, describing the offences of Babylon. Hath devoured me; rather, hath devoured us, and so on. "My delicates" (delights), however, is correct. He hath made me; rather, he hath set us (down) as. Swallowed me up like a dragon; or, literally, like the dragon. Comparing this with ver. 44, it is difficult not to see an allusion to the Babylonian myth of the Serpent, who in the fight with Marduk (Meredach) devoured the tempest, which rent asunder her belly. The cuneiform text is given in Transactions of Society of Biblical Archaeology, vol. 4. part 2, appendix plate 6. Part of it runs thus -

25. ip-te-ra pi-i-sa Ti-amtu a-na la-h-a-h-sa

Opened also her mouth Tiamtu to swallow it.

26. rukhu limnu yus-te-ri-ba a-na la ca-par sap-ti-sa

The evil wind he caused to enter into the uncovering of her lips [ = into her lips before she could close them]

27. iz-zu-ti rukhi car-sa-sa i-tsa-mi-va

violent (were) the winds her belly filled; and

28. in-ni-kud lib-ba-sa va-pa-a-sa yus-pal-ki

she was pierced in her heart and her mouth it caused to divide.

Readers of Smith's 'Chaldean Genesis' will remember Tiamtu the dragon, and the representations thereof given from the gems. In line 27 the word rendered "her belly" contains the Babylonian analogue of the word rendered in this verse "his belly" (k'res). With my delicates, he hath cast me out; rather,... cast us out; or, from my delights he hath cast as out. For the variation of person, comp. Judges 11:19, "Let us pass, we pray thee, through thy land into my place;" and on the whole phrase, Micah 2:9, "...ye have cast out from their pleasant homes." Jeremiah 51:34This judgment comes on Babylon for its offences against Israel. The king of Babylon has devoured Israel, etc. Those who complain, in Jeremiah 51:34, are the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem, in whose name the prophet enumerates the crimes of Babylon. "Nebuchadnezzar has devoured us," i.e., oppressed us. The plural suffixes to the verbs have been needlessly changed in the Qeri into singulars, for the simple reason, perhaps, that with מעדני and in Jeremiah 51:35 the address makes a transition into the singular. המם signifies to throw enemies into confusion by causing a panic, for the purpose of destroying them; hence to destroy, see on Deuteronomy 2:15; here to destroy, crush. "He set us down like an empty vessel" refers to the country and the people; he has swept the country of human beings, and robbed the people of everything. תּנּין, usually a sea-monster, crocodile (Isaiah 27:1; Isaiah 51:9, etc.); here a beast of prey which devours everything. מעדנים, "delights," then "dainty meats," Genesis 49:20.

(Note: The form actually found in the Masoretic text is מעדני, "from (out of, with) my dainties." - Tr.)

הדיח, from דּוּח, signifies to wash away, push away (see Delitzsch on Isaiah 4:4); in other places Jeremiah uses הדּיח, Jeremiah 8:3; Jeremiah 16:15, etc. "Let my wrong (i.e., the wrong done me) come upon Babylon." This wrong is more fully specified, with reference to the figure of swallowing, by "my flesh and blood;" cf. Micah 3:3. The Lord will avenge this wrong, Jeremiah 51:36, cf. Jeremiah 50:34; Jeremiah 51:6, Jeremiah 51:11; He will also dry up the sea of Babylon, and make her spring dry up. Many expositors understand these latter words metaphorically, as referring to the sea of nations surging in Babylon (Jeremiah 51:42, Jeremiah 51:55), and view the treasures and riches as the fountain from which the sea of nations sprang up (Hitzig); but the context demands a literal interpretation, inasmuch as in Jeremiah 51:37 the subject treated of is the laying waste of the country. The sea of Babylon is the Euphrates, with its canals, lakes, and marshes, i.e., the abundance of water to which Babylonia owed its fertility, and the city its influence as the centre of the then known world. Isaiah (Isaiah 21:1) accordingly calls Babylon, emblematically, the desert of the sea, inasmuch as the region in which Babylon stands is a plain, broken in such a manner by the Euphrates, as well as by marshes and lakes, as that the city, so to speak, swims in the sea (Delitzsch). The source of spring of the sea is the Euphrates, and the drying up of this spring is not to be understood literally of the drying up of the Euphrates, but signifies a drying up of the springs of water that fertilize the country. On the figures employed in Jeremiah 51:37, cf. Jeremiah 9:10; Jeremiah 18:16; Jeremiah 49:33.

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