Jeremiah 50:1-20 (NLT)
A Message about Babylon
“It is to be observed that there is no gleam of hope for Babylon; that power, for some time material, and persistently spiritual, which was conceived in an attempt to make man great by frustrating Divine purpose. Her doom is irremediable in Old and New Testaments.”
–G. Campbell Morgan
The Lord gave Jeremiah the prophet this message concerning Babylon and the land of the Babylonians.
Babylon is mentioned 164 times in Jeremiah, more than in the rest of God’s Word combined.
The prophecy against Babylon is the climax of the book. The previous prophecies have served Jeremiah’s purpose of showing that Babylon would prevail over “all the nations” (27:7) for a period. Babylon has appeared up to this point as the instrument of God’s wrath. Finally, however (as in 25:17-26), “the word of the Lord” is uttered against Babylon itself, to show that its own time of judgment must come. (The Reformation Bible)
2 This is what the Lord says:
“Tell the whole world,
and keep nothing back.
Raise a signal flag
to tell everyone that Babylon will fall!
Her images and idols will be shattered.
Her gods Bel and Marduk will be utterly disgraced.
Marduk was the chief deity of the Babylonian Empire during the period of Jewish exile in Babylon (sixth-fifth centuries B.C.E.). It was Marduk whom Cyrus the Great of Persia credited with the inspiration to allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple of Yahweh. Marduk’s association with the solar system’s largest planet led indirectly to its being named Jupiter, after the Roman god who occupied Marduk’s place in the pantheon. — wikipedia
3 For a nation will attack her from the north
and bring such destruction that no one will live there again.
Everything will be gone;
both people and animals will flee.
Hope for Israel and Judah
4 “In those coming days,”
says the Lord,
“the people of Israel will return home
together with the people of Judah.
They will come weeping
and seeking the Lord their God.
THE DAY IS COMING . . . when people ask for Zion because they are seeking the Lord.
5 They will ask the way to Jerusalem
and will start back home again.
They will bind themselves to the Lord
with an eternal covenant that will never be forgotten.
They would come back to God on His terms, the terms of His covenant. These are promises associated with the new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34).
This reminds the believer that our relationship with God is based on something with great foundation – on perpetual covenant. Hebrews 8:7-13 is a powerful description of this great covenant. God’s goodness and care is given to us on the basis of covenant.
“I rejoice in those old Scotch books about the covenant: covenant truth was so inwrought into the Scotch heart that Scottish peasants as well as divines talked about it perpetually. You remember the good old cottager’s grace over her porridge. I cannot repeat it in pure Doric, but it ran like this:- ‘Lord, I thank thee for the porridge, I thank thee for an appetite for the porridge, but I thank thee most of all that I have a covenant right to the porridge.’ Only think of that, a covenant right to the porridge.”
–Charles Haddon Spurgeon
6 “My people have been lost sheep.
Their shepherds have led them astray
and turned them loose in the mountains.
They have lost their way
and can’t remember how to get back to the sheepfold.
7 All who found them devoured them.
Their enemies said,
‘We did nothing wrong in attacking them,
for they sinned against the Lord,
their true place of rest,
and the hope of their ancestors.’
8 “But now, flee from Babylon!
Leave the land of the Babylonians.
Like male goats at the head of the flock,
lead my people home again.
9 For I am raising up an army
of great nations from the north.
They will join forces to attack Babylon,
and she will be captured.
“The army of Cyrus was composed of Medes, Persians, Armenians, Caducians, Sacae, &c. Though all these did not come from the north; yet they were arranged under the Medes, who did come from the north, in reference to Babylon.”
The enemies’ arrows will go straight to the mark;
they will not miss!
10 Babylonia will be looted
until the attackers are glutted with loot.
I, the Lord, have spoken!
Babylon’s Sure Fall
11 “You rejoice and are glad,
you who plundered my chosen people.
You frisk about like a calf in a meadow
and neigh like a stallion.
12 But your homeland will be overwhelmed
with shame and disgrace.
You will become the least of nations—
a wilderness, a dry and desolate land.
13 Because of the Lord’s anger,
Babylon will become a deserted wasteland.
All who pass by will be horrified
and will gasp at the destruction they see there.
THE DAY IS COMING . . . when evil will be exposed for what it is.
14 “Yes, prepare to attack Babylon,
all you surrounding nations.
Let your archers shoot at her; spare no arrows.
For she has sinned against the Lord.
15 Shout war cries against her from every side.
Look! She surrenders!
Her walls have fallen.
“It has troubled some scholars that chapters 50-51 predict the violent destruction of Babylon, whereas its defeat by Cyrus in 539 b.c. took place without a battle and with no damage to the city. But with other predictive prophecies, if a fulfillment does not occur in one period, it is to be sought for in another and future one.”
–Charles L. Feinberg
In truth, this interpretive challenge is a strong testimony to the authenticity of Jeremiah’s prophecy. “Those critical scholars who reject the possibility of such a foretelling of the future, and who would put these chapters after Babylonia’s fall in 539 b.c., face an insurmountable problem. If these words were written after the event, they would surely correspond more accurately with the events themselves.”
–Arthur E. Cundall
It is the Lord’s vengeance,
so take vengeance on her.
Do to her as she has done to others!
THE DAY IS COMING . . . when God will deal with all injustice.
16 Take from Babylon all those who plant crops;
send all the harvesters away.
Because of the sword of the enemy,
everyone will run away and rush back to their own lands.
Hope for God’s People
17 “The Israelites are like sheep
that have been scattered by lions.
Earlier in this prophecy Jeremiah spoke of Israel as lost sheep (verse 6). Now he sees them as sheep scattered by the mighty lions of Assyria and Babylon.
First the king of Assyria ate them up.
Then King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon cracked their bones.”
18 Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
the God of Israel, says:
“Now I will punish the king of Babylon and his land,
just as I punished the king of Assyria.
Ninevah, the proud Assyrian capital, fell in 612 B.C., and Assyria herself was conquered by a coalition of Medes and Babylonians in 609. (The Archaeological Study Bible)
19 And I will bring Israel home again to its own land,
to feed in the fields of Carmel and Bashan,
and to be satisfied once more
in the hill country of Ephraim and Gilead.
These are the most fertile parts of Israel, known for their lush pasturelands. (The Reformation Bible)
20 In those days,” says the Lord,
“no sin will be found in Israel or in Judah,
for I will forgive the remnant I preserve.
THE DAY IS COMING . . . when God’s people will be guiltless and sinless.
The false gods Bel and Marduk will be utterly disgraced. But Jesus, the Lamb of God, is worthy of all our praise forever and ever! HERE is Bob Fitts and “You Are My All in All.”
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.