Jeremiah 50:42

42 They wield bow and spear, they are cruel and have no mercy. The sound of them is like the roaring sea; they ride upon horses, set in array as a warrior for battle, against you, O daughter Babylon!

Jeremiah 50:42 Meaning and Commentary

Jeremiah 50:42

They shall hold the bow and the lance
Or "spear". The Targum interprets it, "shields"; as many in Cyrus's army had F20; the one an offensive, the other a defensive weapon; or, if bow and lance, the one is used at a distance, the other when near. The Medes and Persians were well skilled in handling the bow, as once and again observed: this very properly describes the armour of the Persians; which were, as Herodotus F21 says, large bows and short spears; and Xenophon F23 observes, that, besides bows and arrows, they had two javelins or lances, one of which they cast, and the other they held and used in their hands, as they found necessary; and so Cyrus F24, in a speech of his, says that they had breast plates to cover their bodies, and lances or javelins which they could use by throwing or holding, as they pleased: they [are] cruel, and will not show mercy:
not even to infants, but dash them against the stones, ( Psalms 137:8 Psalms 137:9 ) ; see ( Isaiah 13:17 Isaiah 13:18 ) ; and (See Gill on Isaiah 13:17) and (See Gill on Isaiah 13:18); hence "horribilis Medus", in Horace F25: their voice shall roar like the sea;
when there is a tempest on it. This does not design the shout of the soldiers, when beginning the onset in battle, or making an attack upon a city besieged; but the noise of their march, their foot, and horse, and chariots, and the clashing of their army; all which, by reason of their numbers, would be very clamorous and terrible: and they shall ride upon horses;
the Persians had a large cavalry, their country abounding in horses: [everyone] put in array like a man to the battle, against thee, O
daughter of Babylon;
furnished with armour, and put in a proper disposition, all in rank and file, well accoutred, and full of spirit, prepared to engage in battle, with you, O ye inhabitants of Babylon.


FOOTNOTES:

F20 Cyropaedia, l. 5. c. 15.
F21 Terpsichore, sive l. 5. c. 49. & Polymnia, sive l. 7. c. 61.
F23 Cyropaedia, l. 1. c. 5.
F24 Ibid. l. 4. c. 16.
F25 Carmin. l. 1. Ode 29.

Jeremiah 50:42 In-Context

40 As when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighbors, says the Lord, so no one shall live there, nor shall anyone settle in her.
41 Look, a people is coming from the north; a mighty nation and many kings are stirring from the farthest parts of the earth.
42 They wield bow and spear, they are cruel and have no mercy. The sound of them is like the roaring sea; they ride upon horses, set in array as a warrior for battle, against you, O daughter Babylon!
43 The king of Babylon heard news of them, and his hands fell helpless; anguish seized him, pain like that of a woman in labor.
44 Like a lion coming up from the thickets of the Jordan against a perennial pasture, I will suddenly chase them away from her; and I will appoint over her whomever I choose. For who is like me? Who can summon me? Who is the shepherd who can stand before me?