Jeremiah 51:34 MEANING

Jeremiah 51:34
(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 Chaldaean armies had enriched themselves.

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, " have cast out from their pleasant homes."

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.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.

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