Take the 2-minute tour ×
Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Many sources (eg. Bible glosses, articles) state that Jeremiah used Atbash Cipher to hide true meaning of certain names. According to these sources, name "Sheshakh" (ששך) really means "Babylon" (בבל). But why did Jeremiah use both encrypted and original name in 51:41?

Jeremiah 51:41

How is Sheshach taken! and how is the praise of the whole earth surprised! how is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations!

share|improve this question

migrated from christianity.stackexchange.com May 6 at 18:55

This question came from our site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more.

add comment

1 Answer

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The verse is Hebrew poetry. Hebrew poetry isn't like English poetry, relying on rhyme and meter. Instead Hebrew poetry relies on parallels and rhythm of ideas. This site already has an answer with the basics of Hebrew poetry. The second line of a couplet will restate the first in a slightly different manner. This verse has a triplet.

How is Sheshach taken!

and how is the praise of the whole earth surprised!

how is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations!

In the first line, we are told that Sheshach is taken. The second line balances "taken" with "surprised" and expands Sheshach with "the praise of the whole earth." The third line puts "Babylon" in parallel to "Sheshach" and "the praise of the whole earth." To keep the balance, "surprised" and "taken" are expanded to "become an astonishment among the nations."

So he uses both to keep from exact repetition.

share|improve this answer
    
I've seen some possible explanations on the Internet and in various articles but this is the most convincing explanation I've seen! So simple! Thanks! –  Grzegorz Adam Kowalski May 6 at 19:53
    
Wow! You are the man! Wonderful answer. Wonderful question. –  gideon marx May 7 at 8:21
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.