Jeremiah 50

Listen to Jeremiah 50
1 The LORD gave Jeremiah the prophet this message concerning Babylon and the land of the Babylonians.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
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.
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 is the LORD ’s vengeance, so take vengeance on her. Do to her as she has done to others!
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.
17 “The Israelites are like sheep that have been scattered by lions. 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.
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.
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.
21 “Go up, my warriors, against the land of Merathaim and against the people of Pekod. Pursue, kill, and completely destroy them, as I have commanded you,” says the LORD .
22 “Let the battle cry be heard in the land, a shout of great destruction.
23 Babylon, the mightiest hammer in all the earth, lies broken and shattered. Babylon is desolate among the nations!
24 Listen, Babylon, for I have set a trap for you. You are caught, for you have fought against the LORD .
25 The LORD has opened his armory and brought out weapons to vent his fury. The terror that falls upon the Babylonians will be the work of the Sovereign LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
26 Yes, come against her from distant lands. Break open her granaries. Crush her walls and houses into heaps of rubble. Destroy her completely, and leave nothing!
27 Destroy even her young bulls— it will be terrible for them, too! Slaughter them all! For Babylon’s day of reckoning has come.
28 Listen to the people who have escaped from Babylon, as they tell in Jerusalem how the LORD our God has taken vengeance against those who destroyed his Temple.
29 “Send out a call for archers to come to Babylon. Surround the city so none can escape. Do to her as she has done to others, for she has defied the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.
30 Her young men will fall in the streets and die. Her soldiers will all be killed,” says the LORD .
31 “See, I am your enemy, you arrogant people,” says the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “Your day of reckoning has arrived— the day when I will punish you.
32 O land of arrogance, you will stumble and fall, and no one will raise you up. For I will light a fire in the cities of Babylon that will burn up everything around them.”
33 This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: “The people of Israel and Judah have been wronged. Their captors hold them and refuse to let them go.
34 But the one who redeems them is strong. His name is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. He will defend them and give them rest again in Israel. But for the people of Babylon there will be no rest!
35 “The sword of destruction will strike the Babylonians,” says the LORD . “It will strike the people of Babylon— her officials and wise men, too.
36 The sword will strike her wise counselors, and they will become fools. The sword will strike her mightiest warriors, and panic will seize them.
37 The sword will strike her horses and chariots and her allies from other lands, and they will all become like women. The sword will strike her treasures, and they all will be plundered.
38 A drought will strike her water supply, causing it to dry up. And why? Because the whole land is filled with idols, and the people are madly in love with them.
39 “Soon Babylon will be inhabited by desert animals and hyenas. It will be a home for owls. Never again will people live there; it will lie desolate forever.
40 I will destroy it as I destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns,” says the LORD . “No one will live there; no one will inhabit it.
41 “Look! A great army is coming from the north. A great nation and many kings are rising against you from far-off lands.
42 They are armed with bows and spears. They are cruel and show no mercy. As they ride forward on horses, they sound like a roaring sea. They are coming in battle formation, planning to destroy you, Babylon.
43 The king of Babylon has heard reports about the enemy, and he is weak with fright. Pangs of anguish have gripped him, like those of a woman in labor.
44 “I will come like a lion from the thickets of the Jordan, leaping on the sheep in the pasture. I will chase Babylon from its land, and I will appoint the leader of my choice. For who is like me, and who can challenge me? What ruler can oppose my will?”
45 Listen to the LORD ’s plans against Babylon and the land of the Babylonians. Even the little children will be dragged off like sheep, and their homes will be destroyed.
46 The earth will shake with the shout, “Babylon has been taken!” and its cry of despair will be heard around the world.

Jeremiah 50 Commentary

Chapter 50

The ruin of Babylon. (1-3,8-16,21-32,35-46;) The redemption of God's people. (4-7,17-20,33,34)

Verses 1-7 The king of Babylon was kind to Jeremiah, yet the prophet must foretell the ruin of that kingdom. If our friends are God's enemies, we dare not speak peace to them. The destruction of Babylon is spoken of as done thoroughly. Here is a word for the comfort of the Jews. They shall return to their God first, then to their own land; the promise of their conversion and reformation makes way for the other promises. Their tears flow not from the sorrow of the world, as when they went into captivity, but from godly sorrow. They shall seek after the Lord as their God, and have no more to do with idols. They shall think of returning to their own country. This represents the return of poor souls to God. In true converts there are sincere desires to attain the end, and constant cares to keep in the way. Their present case is lamented as very sad. The sins of professing Christians never will excuse those who rejoice in destroying them.

Verses 8-20 The desolation that shall be brought upon Babylon is set forth in a variety of expressions. The cause of this destruction is the wrath of the Lord. Babylon shall be wholly desolated; for she hath sinned against the Lord. Sin makes men a mark for the arrows of God's judgments. The mercy promised to the Israel of God, shall not only accompany, but arise from the destruction of Babylon. These sheep shall be gathered from the deserts, and put again into good pasture. All who return to God and their duty, shall find satisfaction of soul in so doing. Deliverances out of trouble are comforts indeed, when fruits of the forgiveness of sin.

Verses 21-32 The forces are mustered and empowered to destroy Babylon. Let them do what God demands, and they shall bring to pass what he threatens. The pride of men's hearts sets God against them, and ripens them apace for ruin. Babylon's pride must be her ruin; she has been proud against the Holy One of Israel; who can keep those up whom God will throw down?

Verses 33-46 It is Israel's comfort in distress, that, though they are weak, their Redeemer is strong. This may be applied to believers, who complain of the dominion of sin and corruption, and of their own weakness and manifold infirmities. Their Redeemer is able to keep what they commit to him; and sin shall not have dominion over them. He will give them that rest which remains for the people of God. Also here is Babylon's sin, and their punishment. The sins are, idolatry and persecution. He that will not save his people in their sins, never will countenance the wickedness of his open enemies. The judgments of God for these sins will lay them waste. In the judgments denounced against prosperous Babylon, and the mercies promised to afflicted Israel, we learn to choose to suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.

Footnotes 9

  • [a]. Or Chaldeans; also in 50:8, 25, 35, 45 .
  • [b]. The Hebrew term (literally round things ) probably alludes to dung.
  • [c]. Hebrew Zion; also in 50:28 .
  • [d]. Or Chaldea.
  • [e]. Hebrew your mother.
  • [f]. Hebrew Nebuchadrezzar, a variant spelling of Nebuchadnezzar.
  • [g]. The Hebrew term used here refers to the complete consecration of things or people to the, either by destroying them or by giving them as an offering.
  • [h]. Or sword; the Hebrew words for drought and sword are very similar.
  • [i]. Hebrew as God.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO JEREMIAH 50

This and the following chapter contain a long prophecy concerning the destruction of Babylon; and which is expressed in such language, that it may be, and is to be, accommodated to the destruction of mystical Babylon; and several passages in the book of the Revelation are borrowed from hence; and it is intermixed with promises and prophecies of the deliverance of God's people from thence, and of the conversion of the Jews, and the restoration of them to their own which will be at that time; see Jer 50:4,5,8,19,20,33,34. The destruction of Babylon in general is proclaimed and declared, and the manner and cause of it, Jer 50:1-13; then the enemies of Babylon are stirred up and animated to proceed against her, and execute the judgments of God upon her, Jer 50:14-30. Next follows the Lord's controversy with her, because of her pride and oppression of his people; and threatens her with the sword, drought, and utter destruction, Jer 50:31-40; and then a description is given of her enemies, that should be the instruments of her destruction, Jer 50:41-44; and the chapter is closed with observing, that this is all according to the counsel and purpose of God, Jer 50:45,46.

Jeremiah 50 Commentaries