Jeremiah 51:11

11 1"Sharpen the arrows! Take up the shields!2The LORD has stirred up the spirit of the kings of 3the Medes, because 4his purpose concerning Babylon is to destroy it, 5for that is the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance for 6his temple.

Jeremiah 51:11 Meaning and Commentary

Jeremiah 51:11

Make bright the arrows
Which were covered with rust; scour them of it; anoint them with oil, as armour were wont to be; make them neat, clean, and bright, that they may pierce the deeper; hence we read of a "polished shaft", or arrow, one made bright and pure, ( Isaiah 49:2 ) ; agreeably to this some render the word "sharpen the arrows" {k}; so the Targum. The word has the signification of "choosing"; but, as Gussetius observes F12, whether the direction be to choose the best arrows, or to scour clean and polish them, the end is the same; namely, to have such as are most fit for use. Joseph Kimchi derives the word from another, which signifies a feather; and so renders it, "feather the arrows" F13; that they may fly the swifter. These and what follow are either the words of God, or of the prophet; or, as some think, of the Jews about to return to Judea, whose words are continued, exhorting the Medes and Persians to go on with the war against the Chaldeans; but they rather seem to be addressed to the Chaldeans themselves, putting them upon doing these things; and suggesting, that when they had done all they could, it would be to no purpose: gather the shields;
which lay scattered about and neglected in time of peace: or, "fill" them; fill the hands with them; or bring in a full or sufficient number; since there would be now occasion for them, to defend them against the enemy. The Targum, and several versions, render it, "fill the quivers" F14; that is, with arrows; and so Jarchi: or, "fill the shields" F15; that is, with oil; anoint them, as in ( Isaiah 21:5 ) ; the Lord hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes;
of Cyaxares, or Darius the Mede, and of Cyrus, who succeeded his uncle as king of Media; and indeed the army that came against Babylon was an army of Medes joined by the Persians, Cyrus being employed as general of it by his uncle. The Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, read it, "the spirit of the king of the Medes"; with which the following clause seems to agree: for his device [is] against Babylon, to destroy it;
the device of the king of the Medes, Darius; or rather the device of the Lord, who stirred up the spirit of the kings of the Medes; put it into their hearts to fulfil his will; and gave them wisdom and skill, courage and resolution, to do it; and as he will to the kings of the earth against mystical Babylon, ( Revelation 17:16 Revelation 17:17 ) ; because it [is] the vengeance of the Lord, the vengeance of his temple;
his vengeance on Babylon, for the destruction of his temple, and the profanation of it; see ( Jeremiah 50:28 ) .


F11 (Myuxh wrbh) "acuite sagittas", V. L. Castalio; "exacuite", Montanus.
F12 Ebr. Comment. p. 148.
F13 "Ponite pennas in sagittis", so some in Vatablus.
F14 (Myjlvh walm) (plhroute tav faretrav) , Sept. "implete pharetras", V. L. Castalio, So Syr. this version is prefered by Gussetius, Ebr. Comment. p. 860, 945.
F15 "Implete scuta, scil. oleo", Stockius, p. 1098.

Jeremiah 51:11 In-Context

9 We would have healed Babylon, but she was not healed. Forsake her, and let us go each to his own country, for her judgment has reached up to heaven and has been lifted up even to the skies.
10 The LORD has brought about our vindication; come, let us declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God.
11 "Sharpen the arrows! Take up the shields!The LORD has stirred up the spirit of the kings of the Medes, because his purpose concerning Babylon is to destroy it, for that is the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance for his temple.
12 "Set up a standard against the walls of Babylon; make the watch strong; set up watchmen; prepare the ambushes; for the LORD has both planned and done what he spoke concerning the inhabitants of Babylon.
13 O you who dwell by many waters, rich in treasures, your end has come; the thread of your life is cut.

Cross References 6

  • 1. Jeremiah 46:4
  • 2. See Isaiah 13:17
  • 3. 2 Kings 17:6; Daniel 5:31
  • 4. [Jeremiah 50:45]
  • 5. Jeremiah 50:28
  • 6. Jeremiah 50:28
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.