English Standard Version
“The king of Babylon heard the report of them, and his hands fell helpless; anguish seized him, pain as of a woman in labor.
King James Bible
The king of Babylon hath heard the report of them, and his hands waxed feeble: anguish took hold of him, and pangs as of a woman in travail.
American Standard Version
The king of Babylon hath heard the tidings of them, and his hands wax feeble: anguish hath taken hold of him, and pangs as of a woman in travail.
The king of Babylon hath heard the report of them, and his hands are grown feeble: anguish hath taken hold of him, pangs as a, woman in labour.
English Revised Version
The king of Babylon hath heard the fame of them, and his hands wax feeble: anguish hath taken hold of him, and pangs as of a woman in travail.
Webster's Bible Translation
The king of Babylon hath heard the report of them, and his hands became feeble: anguish took hold of him, and pangs as of a woman in travail.
Jeremiah 50:43 Parallel
CommentaryKeil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament
Further description of the guilt and punishment of Babylon. The presumptuous pride manifests itself in the fact that Israel and Judah still languish in exile. All those who have been seized and carried away they have kept hold of. שׁביהם is used as in Isaiah 14:2. They refuse to let them go, as Pharaoh once did, Exodus 7:14, 27; Exodus 9:2; cf. Isaiah 14:17. Jahveh, the deliverer of Israel, cannot endure this. As the strong One, the God of hosts, He will lead them in the fight; as their advocate, He will obtain their dues for them; cf. Jeremiah 25:31; Isaiah 49:25. Dahler, Ewald, and Umbreit follow the Vulgate and the Chaldee in taking 'למען הרגּיע as synonymous with הרגּיז, in the sense of shaking, rousing, a meaning which רגע has in the Kal, but which cannot be made out for the Hiphil. In the Hiphil it means to give rest, to come to rest, Deuteronomy 28:65; Isaiah 34:14; Isaiah 61:4; Jeremiah 31:2; and in the Niphal, to rest, keep quiet, Jeremiah 47:6. This is the meaning given by the Syriac, Raschi, Kimchi, Rosenmller, Maurer, Hitzig, etc., and supported by a comparison with Isaiah 14:7, Isaiah 14:3,Isaiah 14:16. Babylon has hitherto kept the earth in unrest and anxiety (Isaiah 14:16); now it is to get rest (Isaiah 14:3, Isaiah 14:7), and trembling or quaking for fear is to come on Babylon. The two verbs, which have similar sounds, express a contrast. On the form of the infinitive הרגּיע, cf. Ewald, 238, d. In order to conduct the case of Israel as against Babylon, the Lord (Jeremiah 50:35-38) calls for the sword against the Chaldeans, the inhabitants of Babylon, on their princes, wise men, heroes, and the whole army, the treasures and the waters. There is no verb following חרב, but only the object with על, the words being put in the form of an exclamation, on account of the passion pervading them. The sword is to come and show its power on the Chaldeans, i.e., the population of the rural districts, on the inhabitants of the capital, and further, on the princes and wise men (magicians). A special class of the last named are the בּדּים, properly "babblers," those who talk at random, here "soothsayers" and lying prophets, the astrologers of Babylon; see Delitzsch on Isaiah 44:25 [Clark's translation, For. Theol. Lib.]. ונאלוּ, "And they shall be as fools;" see on Jeremiah 5:4. Further, on the warriors, the horses, and war-chariots, the main strength of the Asiatic conquerors, cf. Jeremiah 46:9, Isaiah 43:17; Psalm 20:8. כּל־הערב, "all the mixed multitude" in the midst of Babylon: these are here the mercenaries ad allies (as to this word, see on Jeremiah 25:20). These shall become women, i.e., weak and incapable of resistance; see Nahum 3:13. The last objects of vengeance are the treasures and the waters of Babylon. In Jeremiah 50:38 the Masoretes have pointed חרב, because חרב, "sword," seemed to be inapplicable to the waters. But indeed neither does the sword, in the proper sense of the word, well apply to treasures; it rather stands, by synecdoche, for war. In this improper meaning it might also be used with reference to the waters, in so far as the canals and watercourses, on which the fertility of Babylonia depended, were destroyed by war. Hence many expositors would read חרב here also, and attribute the employment of this word to the rhetorical power connected with enumeration. Others are of opinion that חרב may also mean aridity, drought, in Deuteronomy 28:22; but the assumption is erroneous, and cannot be confirmed by that passage. Neither can it be denied, that to confine the reference of the expression "her waters" to the canals and artificial watercourses of Babylonia seems unnatural. All these received their water from the rivers Euphrates and Tigris, the volume of water in which remained uninfluenced by war. We therefore follow Hitzig in holding that חרב is the correct punctuation; in the transition from חרב into חרב, with its similar sound, we neither perceive any injury done to rhetorical force, derived from an enumeration of objects, nor any need for referring the following clause, which assigns the reason merely to such rhetorical considerations as Graf does. In the drying up of the water there is no allusion to the diversion of the Euphrates, by which Cyrus opened up for himself an entrance into the city (Herodotus, i. 190); the drying up is merely appointed by God, as a consequence of continued drought, for the purpose of destroying the land. Hitzig's opinion neither suits the context, nor can be justified otherwise; he holds that water is the emblem of the sea on nations, the surging multitude of people in the streets of the city, and he refers for proof to Jeremiah 51:36 and Isaiah 21:1 (!). The clauses in Jeremiah 50:38, which assign the reason, refer to the whole threatening, Jeremiah 50:35-38. Babylon is to be destroyed, with its inhabitants and all its means of help, because it is a land of idols (cf. Jeremiah 51:52 and Isaiah 21:9), and its inhabitants suffer themselves to be befooled by false gods. התהולל means to act or behave like a madman, rave, Jeremiah 25:16; here, to let oneself be deprived of reason, not (as Graf thinks) to fall into a sacred frenzy. אימים, terrors, Psalm 88:16; here, objects of fear and horror, i.e., idols.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
We have heard the report of it; our hands fall helpless; anguish has taken hold of us, pain as of a woman in labor.
Ask now, and see, can a man bear a child? Why then do I see every man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor? Why has every face turned pale?
Damascus has become feeble, she turned to flee, and panic seized her; anguish and sorrows have taken hold of her, as of a woman in labor.
One runner runs to meet another, and one messenger to meet another, to tell the king of Babylon that his city is taken on every side;
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