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they will not recover;—this would be too strong an interpretation of xxv. 27, and would lead to the conclusion that no nation at all would survive to execute the judgment on Babylon.
Thus Yahveh celebrates His triumph over Bel and Merodach, the gods of Babylon (l. 2, li. 44). But Babylon's fall will be a token of deliverance to captive Israel-Judah; for the Lord will deliver and avenge them by means of that judgment, l . 11 ff., 17 fT., li. 5, 10, 24, 34 ff., 51 f. They return with tears of contrition to their God at Jerusalem, where the eternal covenant of grace is established, l. 4 ff., 19 f., 33 f, cf. xxxi. 9, 31-34.
All this the prophet sees already immediately before him in living realization (cf. l. 2 ff., 14 ff., 21 ff., li. 27 ff.), just as is the case in Isa. xiii. 1 ff. and frequently in prophecy, although intimations are not wanting that it is part of a future that is not to dawn forthwith (cf. l. 4, 20, l1 47, 52). The development of the thoughts is not one of regular progress, but the main factors recur to the prophet's vision in their interdependence again and again. But the actual repetitions without doubt are due to the circumstance that a number of oracles, which did not originate on the same day, are here combined (cf. li. 59 ff.), so that the several oracles can no longer be certainly distinguished.
As concerns the fulfilment of these oracles respecting Babylon, they belong to those from which every one willing to see might convince himself towards the end of the exile of the power of the God of Israel, and of the truth of His revelations (cf. Isa. xli. 24 f. et al.). Not that the oracle gives us a fac-simile of history, so that one might suspect a vaticinium post eventum. We draw attention to the fact that the Persians do not appear in it . Moreover, it brings together the conquest, destruction, and desolation of Babylon, whereas in reality these were accomplished in the course of centuries. Under Cyrus the city remained intact; Darius only destroyed the walls; the sentence of desolation was carried out slowly but terribly in later times. A prophecy invented after the exile must have taken a different form, apart from the fact that it could not contain passages like l. 20. But the present prophecy is proved to be divine in a striking manner by the historical fulfilment. The sudden downfall of the mighty Babylonian empire after a brief rule (seventy years), the insignificance and exemplary desolation into which city and country sank (quite differently from Syria and Egypt), show that the true Lord of history spoke through the prophet . In sight of the ruined plains of Babylon it would be petty dogmatism to point to the present settlements there (Hillah), which are only important through their contrast to the former greatness and splendour of the imperial capital (see Cheyne, p. 550). Even the characteristic circumstances under which the city fell are intimated by passages like l . 24,li. 32, 39. With l. 24, cf. Herod. i. 191: "If the Babylonians had observed beforehand what Cyrus meant to do (penetrate into the city by turning aside the Euphrates), they could have prepared a catastrophe for the Persians and caught them in a trap; but the Persians came upon them so unexpectedly, that those dwelling in the centre of the city suspected nothing when the outer parts of the city were already taken." On the capture by Darius Hystaspes there was a similar surprise, according to Herod. iii. 158. Ch. li. 32 was fulfilled by the drying up of the river, by which Cyrus made his way into the city; this decided the fate of the city. Somewhat more remote, but noteworthy, is the harmony of li. 39 and Isa. xxi. 5 with the fact that the conqueror penetrated into the city during a gay carouse of the Chaldaeans (Herod. i. 191,during a feast; Cyrop. vii. 23; Dan. v. 1 ff.). The carouse spoken of by the prophet is no doubt rather a figurative one. The reality of the fulfilment does not depend at all on the literal happening of such details. At all events, Nagelsbach's thrice-repeated statement, that the prophet had no inkling of the agreement of his words with the future realization, is incomprehensible. He describes this realization, not merely as he surmises, but as he sees it; how could he make any distinction between what he saw and the realization!
The symbolical action, l. 59-64, stamps a confirming seal on the oracles against Babylon. As Jeremiah was prevented from publishing these messages by considerations stated before, he perhaps felt himself compelled the more to send them to the city to which they applied. It was therefore a significant and, prophetically regarded, eventful act, which he entrusted to a confidential friend of the prophetic revelation in Babylon to carry out. The first part of the act consists in this: Seraiah is to read the prophetic message aloud in face of the city, the intention of which is not that it may be heard by the inhabitants, but that the divine message may be uttered over the city. Again, the message is sunk in the bed of the river, to which they owe their existence and greatness, and thus incorporated with themselves, so that it cleaves to them as a power that will do its work on them. Both actions Seraiah is to accompany by a suitable statement. By the first he testifies that the Lord has now declared to the city its fate, by the second that the city will sink like the stone, never to rise again.
The Destruction Of Jerusalem, Ch. Lh.
LII. 1. Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And the name of his mother was Hamutal, a daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. 2. And he did that which was evil in the eyes of Yahveh, just as Jehoiakim had done. 3. For according to the wrath of Yahveh it came to pass in Jerusalem and in Judah, until he cast them away from his presence. And Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. 4. Then it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth of the month, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came, he and his whole army, against Jerusalem, and encamped against it, and built siege-towers against it round about. 5. So the city was invested until the eleventh year of king Zedekiah. 6. In the fourth month, on the ninth of the month, the famine was great in the city, and there was no more bread for the people of the land. 7. And the city was broken open, and all the men of war fled and forsook the city by night by the way of the gate between the two walls which is in the king's garden, whilst the Chakkeans were around the city, and went the way to the field (of the Jordan). 8. Then the army of the Chaldaeans pursued the king; and they took Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho, and all his army was scattered from him. 9. Then they seized the king, and brought him to the king of Babylon, to Riblah
As ch. lii. is almost literally the same as 2 Kings xxiv. 18xxv. 30, only the peculiarities of Jeremiah's text are noticed.
Ver. 6. "In the fourth month" (xxxix. 2) has fallen out of 2 Kings xxv. 3. Ver. 7 supplies the defective text of 2 Kings xxv. 4 (cf. Jer. xxxix. 4). Ver. 9. Pronounced his judgments in the land of Hamath; and he pronounced his judgments upon him there. 10. And the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and all the princes of Judah also he slew at Riblah. 11. And he put out the eyes of Zedekiah and bound him with chains; and the king of Babylon brought him to Babylon, and put him into the house of confinement until the day of his death. 12. And in the fifth mouth, on the tenth of the month—this was the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon— came Nebuzaradan, the chief of the guards, who stood before the presence of the king of Babylon, to Jerusalem, 13. and burnt the house of Yahveh and the house of the king and all the houses of Jerusalem; and every great house he burnt with fire. 14. Aud all the walls of Jerusalem round about all the troops of the Chaldteans broke down, which were with the chief of the guards. 15. And (of the poor of the people as well as) the remnant of the people that was in the city, and the deserters who went over to the king of Babylon, and the remnant of the workmen, Nebuzaradan, the chief of the guards, carried away captive. 16. And of the poor of the land Nebuzaradan, the chief of the guards, left some behind as grape - gatherers and husbandmen. 17. And the brasen pillars, which were in the house of
upon him, see on i. 16. 2 Kings xxv. 6 has the singular BBCD. Ver. 10 f. (cf. xxxix. 6) is more complete and grammatically better than the parallel text, 2 Kings xxv. 7. "He put him into the house of confinement until the day of his death" is wanting in 2 Kings. Hitzig, Graf suggest the severe confinement, the house of correction, in whicli he would have to turn the mill, like Samson who was similarly treated, Judg. xvi . 21. Also LXX, ils olxiav itxiXmot. Ver. 12. Read 'b IpV; 2 Kings *i3y.—The tenth of the fifth month is correctly given, the seventh in 2 Kings xxv. 8 is wrong. Ver. 15. Djin rninDi, wanting in 2 Kings, seems to have come from ver. 16 by mistake, since this class would scarcely be among those carried off. D^BJn, see on xxi. 9. pDKn (for which 2 Kings xxvii. has pDnn wrrongly), artificer, Prov. viii. 30. A great part of these had been already carried away with Jehoiachin, xxiv. 1, xxix. 2. Ver. 16. rnViD (2 Kings xxv. 12, sing. as in Jer. xl. 7), plur. of the poverties, people in poor circumstances. 3J', to plough (instead of this 2 Kings, Kethib D'ria, from 3U), here only; cf.