Signal for people to pay attention! 2
Declare the news! Do not hide it! Say:
‘Babylon will be captured.
Bel 3 will be put to shame.
Marduk will be dismayed.
Babylon’s idols will be put to shame.
50:41 “Look! An army is about to come from the north.
A mighty nation and many kings 6 are stirring into action
in faraway parts of the earth.
1 tn The verbs are masculine plural. Jeremiah is calling on other unnamed messengers to spread the news.
2 tn Heb “Raise a signal flag.”
3 sn Bel was originally the name or title applied to the Sumerian storm god. During the height of Babylon’s power it became a title that was applied to Marduk who was Babylon’s chief deity. As a title it means “Lord.” Here it is a poetical parallel reference to Marduk mentioned in the next line.
4 tn The Hebrew word used here (גִּלּוּלִים, gillulim) is always used as a disdainful reference to idols. It is generally thought to have originally referred to “dung pellets” (cf. KBL 183 s.v. גִלּוּלִים). It is only one of several terms used in this way, such as “worthless things” (אַלִילִים, ’alilim), “vanities,” or “empty winds” (הֲבָלִים, havalim).
5 tn The verbs here are all in the tense that views the actions as though they were already done (the Hebrew prophetic perfect). The verbs in the next verse are a mixture of prophetic perfects and imperfects which announce future actions.
sn This refers to the fact that the idols that the Babylonians worshiped will not be able to protect them, but will instead be carried off into exile with the Babylonians themselves (cf. Isa 46:1-2).
6 sn A mighty nation and many kings is an allusion to the Medo-Persian empire and the vassal kings who provided forces for the Medo-Persian armies.