Chapter 51
Chapter 52

Chapter 51



(Verses 1 through 6) Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will raise up against Babylon, and against them that dwell in the midst of them that rise up against Me, a destroying wind; and will send into Babylon fanners, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land: for in the day of trouble they shall be against her round about. Against him that bendeth let the archer bend his bow, and against him that lifteth himself up in his brigandine: and spare ye not her young men, destroy ye utterly all her host. Thus the slain shall fall in the land of the Chaldeans, and they that are thrust through in her streets. For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the LORD of hosts; although their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel. Flee out of the midst of Babylon , and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD’S vengeance: He will render unto her a recompence.


Here the LORD declares that He will raise up a force against Babylon , that He likens to a destroying wind. In addition to the wind He will send fanners to assist it in blowing away everything of any value therein. He calls for the archer to be ready to shoot any therein that shall bend their bows, or raise up in armor to defend her. Her young men and all her hosts are to be destroyed, so that throughout the land of the Chaldeans, as well as in the streets of Babylon her slain shall fall. For He has not forsaken Israel and Judah , even though they have filled their land with their sins against Him, the Holy One of Israel .. He warns all that are in Babylon that the only way they can save their souls, or lives, is to flee from Babylon , for the time of His vengeance has come upon her. And he will repay her for all her evils.


(Verses 7 through 10) Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD’S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad. Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed. We would have healed Babylon , but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies. The LORD hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God.


The LORD had used Babylon , not only to punish Judah and Israel , but also to punish many nations. Thus she had “been a golden cup in the LORD’S hand” to make the nations drunken and mad. But now she also is to fall and be utterly destroyed. The LORD speaks of this as an already accomplished fact, because He has determined it to be, and nothing can stop it. All any friend can do for her is to lament the terrible calamity that is to overtake her. There may be those who would, if possible, heal her. But this is not to be, “for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.” But the LORD has brought forth the righteousness of His people. Therefore “let us declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God.” Not only was this to be the determination of the remnant of Israel and Judah that were delivered from Babylon, but it certainly should be ours as well, seeing that He has also brought forth our righteousness. For, as the Apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 1:30, “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” The LORD has surely brought forth Christ Jesus, our righteousness. So let us declare it in Zion .


(Verses 11 through 18) Make bright the arrows; gather the shields: the LORD hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for His device is against Babylon , to destroy it; because it is the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance of His temple. Set up the standard upon the walls of Babylon , make the watch strong, set watchmen, prepare the ambushes: for the LORD hath devised and done that which He spake against the inhabitants of Babylon . O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness. The LORD of hosts hath sworn by Himself, saying, Surely I will fill thee with men, as with caterpillars; and they shall lift up a shout against thee. He hath made the earth by His power, He hath established the world by His wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by His understanding. When He uttereth His voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; and He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth: He maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of His treasures. Every man is brutish by His knowledge; every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. They are vanity, the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.


The LORD continues speaking of the vengeance He will bring against Babylon . This vengeance is for both the LORD, and His temple. Not only did the Babylonians take His people away captives, but they also desecrated His temple. Now they must pay the penalty. No matter how strongly they fortify the city, nor how many watchmen they set, He will fill the city with men who shall lift up a shout against it. He then reminds them of some of the mighty things He has done, and some which He still does, things that are far beyond the power of man to do. Then He says, “Every man is brutish by His knowledge.” No matter how wise a man may think himself, or, indeed, how wise he may be perceived by his fellow men, if his wisdom is compared to the knowledge of God, he is found to be no wiser that the brute beasts. God alone has the true wisdom; all man can have is that which the LORD sees fit to give him. The founder, or he who does the casting of metal items, is confounded, or brought to confusion, by the graven, or molten image. If he considers it a god, this is only falsehood. It doesn’t even have any breath, and can therefore do nothing. It is worthless, since it is only the work of the hands of man. And in the day that God sends His judgment upon it, it will certainly perish.


(Verses 19 through 24) The portion of Jacob is not like them; for He is the former of all things: and Israel is the rod of His inheritance: the LORD of hosts is His name. Thou art My battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms; and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his rider; with thee also will I break in pieces man and woman; and with thee will I break in pieces old and young; and with thee will I break in pieces the young man and the maid; I will also break in pieces with thee the shepherd and his flock; and with thee will I break in pieces the husbandman and his yoke of oxen; and with thee will I break in pieces captains and rulers. And I will render unto Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, saith the LORD.


Having declared the vanity of the idol, and those who make and worship them, the LORD makes it known that He is not like them. Then He tells Israel and Judah that they are His weapons of war, and it is by them that He will break and destroy, not only Babylon , but all nations of the earth. The destruction of which He speaks here covers so many nations, and is so complete, that it seems to be the final destruction that shall be done in that great battle described by Zechariah in Chapter 14 of his prophecy. In that day Jerusalem will be made to triumph over all those nations that will be gathered against her. It cannot be truthfully said that He has ever yet used Israel to break in pieces all these nations. But this He has promised. And His word cannot fail. In that day He will give the victory to Jerusalem .


(Verses 25 through 30) Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, saith the LORD, which destroyest all the earth: and I will stretch out Mine hand upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain. And they shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations; but thou shalt be desolate for ever, saith the LORD. Set ye up a standard in the land, blow the trumpet among the nations, prepare the nations against her, call together against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashchenaz; appoint a captain against her; cause the horses to come up as the rough caterpillars. Prepare against her the nations with the kings of the Medes, the captains thereof, and all the rulers thereof, and all the land of his dominion. And the land shall tremble and sorrow: for every purpose of the LORD shall be performed against Babylon , to make the land of Babylon a desolation without an inhabitant. The mighty men of Babylon have forborne to fight, they have remained in their holds: their might hath failed; they became as women: they have burned her dwellingplaces, her bars are broken.


 Sometimes in scripture kingdoms are spoken of as mountains. In this instance, the LORD calls Babylon a destroying mountain, and declares that He is against it. He will bring upon it such destruction that it will be known as a burnt mountain. He declares that when He brings this destruction upon it, no one will ever take a stone from it to use in the building of anything. According to history, Babylon was destroyed many centuries ago, but not to the point that no stone was ever taken from it to be used in other construction. So that destruction was not so complete as is this described here. However, Revelation 18 tells of the destruction of Babylon . And that destruction fits this description fully. It is a well known and documented fact that Saddam Hussein has for many years been rebuilding Babylon , according to its original plan. And, as of the latest report, it is almost ready to be put into use. He proposes to move his capitol to Babylon when it is ready for occupancy. Perhaps this might give us some clue as to how near the time of the coming of our Lord Jesus is. Even so, we still cannot pinpoint the time. Only the Father knows that day. But He has told us to be ready, “for at such a time as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh.” Verses 27 through 30 definitely refer to the overthrow of Babylon by the Medes and Persians. This take-over was with very little destruction of the city. But it was such a time of fear that many of the Babylonian soldiers did not fight.


(Verses 31 through 35) One post shall run to meet another, and one messenger to meet another, to show the king of Babylon that his city is taken at one end, and that the passages are stopped, and the reeds they have burned with fire, and the men of war are affrighted. For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; The daughter of Babylon is like a threshingfloor, it is time to thresh her: yet a little while, and the time of her harvest shall come. Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out. The violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon , shall the inhabitant of Zion say; and my blood upon the inhabitants of Chaldea, shall Jerusalem say.


When the city begins to fall, the messengers will be running in relay to get the message to the king that one end of his city has been taken, and the men are afraid to fight. This overthrow came upon them so suddenly that everyone was too confused to do anything. Babylon was like a threshingfloor, ready for the threshing to be done. At that time the Jews would remember what the Babylonians had done to them, and would call to the LORD for the same thing to be done to the Chaldeans that they had inflicted upon Israel and Judah . Jerusalem would call for her blood to be avenged.


(Verses 36 through 44) Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will plead thy cause, and take vengeance for thee; and I will dry up her sea, and make her springs dry. And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwellingplace for dragons, an astonishment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant. They shall roar together like lions: they shall yell as lions’ whelps. In their heat I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the LORD. I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams with he goats. How is Sheshach taken! and how is the praise of the whole earth surprised! how is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations! The sea is come up upon Babylon : she is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof. Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwelleth, neither doth any son of man pass thereby. And I will punish Bel in Babylon , and I will bring forth out of his mouth that which he hath swallowed up: and the nations shall not flow together any more unto him: yea, the wall of Babylon shall fall.


The LORD comforts Israel and Judah , declaring to them that he will indeed take vengeance for them against Babylon . He will destroy her so that she shall have no inhabitant. He will bring them down to a perpetual sleep, death. Babylon shall be made such a desolation that the whole world shall wonder how it could be, that a city praised by all as she was, could be brought so low. This seems very much in keeping with what is said, in Revelation 18, about the lamentation of the merchants for Babylon . And it may, at least partially, look forward to that day. He declares that he will punish Bel, one of the great idols of Babylon , taking out of his mouth that which he had already swallowed up. And as a result of this, the nations shall no more be flowing to him, as before. For the wall, or protection, of Babylon shall be broken down completely.


(Verses 45 through 47) My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD. And lest your heart faint, and ye fear for the rumour that shall be heard in the land; a rumour shall both come one year, and after that in another year shall come a rumour, and violence in the land, ruler against ruler. Therefore, behold, the days come that I will do judgment upon the graven images of Babylon : and her whole land shall be confounded, and her slain shall fall in the midst of her.


The LORD gives His people warning to deliver themselves from the destruction of Babylon , by leaving the city before the destruction comes upon her.. The Babylonian captivity of Israel and Judah continued on for a while after the Medes and Persians overcame the city. The Jews could not leave until Cyrus gave them permission to rebuild the temple and the city of Jerusalem . But this warning sounds very similar to the one given in Revelation 18:4-5: “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, ‘Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.’” Certainly, in that day, His judgment will be upon all her graven images, her whole land shall be confused, and her slain will fall in her midst.


(Verses 48 through 58) Then the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein shall sing for Babylon : for the spoilers shall come unto her from the north, saith the LORD. As Babylon hath caused the slain of Israel to fall, so at Babylon shall fall the slain of all the earth. Ye that have escaped the sword, go away, stand not still: remember the LORD afar off, and let Jerusalem come into your mind. We are confounded because we have heard reproach: shame hath covered our faces: for strangers are come into the sanctuaries of the LORD’S house. Wherefore the days come, saith the LORD, that I will do judgment upon her graven images: and through all her land the wounded shall groan. Though Babylon should mount up to heaven, and though she should fortify the height of her strength, yet from Me shall spoilers come unto her, saith the LORD. A sound of a cry cometh from Babylon, and great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans: because the LORD hath spoiled Babylon, and destroyed out of her the great voice; when her waves do roar like great waters, a noise of their voice is uttered: because the spoiler is come upon her, even upon Babylon, and her mighty men are taken, every one of their bows is broken: for the LORD God of recompences shall surely requite. And I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, and her rulers, and her mighty men: and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, Whose name is the LORD of hosts. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; and the people shall labour in vain, and the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary.


When this great judgment is wrought on Babylon , it will affect the heaven and the earth. And all therein shall sing for, or because of, her. That is all will recognize that this judgment is no more than is her due, and they will therefore rejoice. Since she has caused the slain of Israel to fall, the slain of all the earth shall fall at Babylon . This is to avenge the terrible things the Chaldeans have done to the LORD’S people and His temple. For that, He will bring judgment upon the graven images of Babylon ; and throughout her land there shall be the groaning of her wounded. When the LORD shall bring this judgment upon her, her mighty men shall be taken , and all their weapons of war shall be broken. He shall bring destruction upon her princes, her rulers, her wise men, and her mighty men. They shall sleep the sleep of death, and not awake. Her walls shall be broken, her gates burned with fire, and all her people shall be weary from their vain efforts. Nothing they can do will be sufficient to save them from the terrible disaster that the LORD will bring upon them.


(Verses 59 through 64) The word which Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, when he went with Zedekiah the king of Judah into Babylon in the fourth year of his reign. And this Seraiah was a quiet prince. So Jeremiah said to Seraiah, When thou comest to Babylon, and shalt see, and shalt read all these words; then shalt thou say, O LORD, Thou hast spoken against this place, to cut it off, that none shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but that it shall be desolate for ever. and it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading this book, that thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of the Euphrates: and thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her: and they shall be weary. Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.


It will be remembered that Jeremiah did not himself go to Babylon . So He wrote in a scroll all the evils that would come upon Babylon , and sent that book by Seraiah, who was being taken with king Zedekiah. When Seraiah reached Babylon, he was to read this book against Babylon, pray to the LORD that He perform these things He had said He would against Babylon, tie a stone to the book, and cast it into the river Euphrates, as a symbol of how Babylon would be cast down, and never rise again. And all the people of Babylon would be weary. This also reminds us of the action and speech of the great angel in Revelation 18:21-23. The action in Revelation was done by a mighty angel, instead of a man, and his speech was somewhat longer that was that of Seraiah, but the messages are essentially the same. Babylon will be utterly destroyed, never again to rise.

Chapter 52

(Verses 1 through 7) Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem . And his mother’s name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. And he did that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah , till He had cast them out of His presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon . And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem , and pitched against it, and built forts against it round about. So the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah. And in the fourth month, in the ninth day of the month, the famine was sore in the city, so that there was no bread for the people of the land. Then the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled, and went forth out of the city by night by way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king’s garden; (now the Chaldeans were by the city round about:) and they went by the way of the plain.


Jeremiah tells us a little matter of history concerning the siege of Jerusalem . It started on the tenth day of the tenth month of the ninth year of the reign of Zedekiah the king of Judah , and Jerusalem fell on the ninth day of the fourth month of the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign, making the siege to have lasted one day less than one year and six months. Zedekiah was one who did evil in the sight of the LORD. And, instead of surrendering to Nebuchadrezzar, as the LORD had instructed him by Jeremiah, he and his men of war tried to slip away during the night, to avoid capture by the Chaldeans.


(Verses 8 through 11) But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after the king, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho ; and all his army was scattered from him. Then they took the king, and carried him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath , where he gave judgment upon him. And the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes: he slew also all the princes of Judah in Riblah. Then he put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and the king of Babylon bound him in chains, and carried him to Babylon , and put him in prison till the day of his death.


This is, essentially, a repetition of Chapter 39, verses 5 through 7, which we have earlier discussed. Jeremiah had warned Zedekiah that his best course of action was to surrender to the Chaldeans. If he would do this, not only would his life be spared, but so would the city of Jerusalem . Since he had disobeyed the word of the LORD, though the Chaldeans did not kill him, they did make him watch while they slew all his sons and the princes of Judah . Then they put out his eyes, carried him captive to Babylon , and put him in prison for the remainder of his life. And although it is not mentioned here, they also burned Jerusalem .


(Verses 12 through 23) Now in the fifth month , in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem, and burned the house of the LORD, and the king’s house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great men, burned he with fire. And all the army of the Chaldeans, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down the walls of Jerusalem round about. Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away certain of the poor of the people, and the residue of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the multitude. But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left certain of the poor of the land for vinedressers and husbandmen. Also the pillars of brass that were in the house of the LORD, and the bases, and the brasen sea that was in the house of the LORD, the Chaldeans brake, and carried all the brass of them to Babylon. The caldrons also, and the shovels, and the snuffers, and the bowls, and the spoons, and all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered, took they away. And the basins, and the firepans, and the bowls, and the caldrons, and the candlesticks, and the spoons, and the cups; that which was gold in gold, and that which was in silver in silver, took the captain of the guard away. The two pillars, one sea, and twelve brasen bulls that were under the bases, which king Solomon had made in the house of the LORD: the brass of all these vessels was without weight. And concerning the pillars, the height of one pillar was eighteen cubits; and a fillet of twelve cubits did compass it; and the thickness thereof was four fingers: it was hollow. And a chapiter of brass was upon it; and the height of one chapiter was five cubits, with network and pomegranates upon the chapiters round about, all of brass. The second pillar also and the pomegranates were like unto these. And there were ninety and six pomegranates on a side; and all the pomegranates upon the network were an hundred round about.


Jeremiah went into great detail in describing the work of Nebuzaradan’s guard, as they demolished the temple of the LORD, and looted everything they considered worth taking. They took small items as they were; and larger ones they melted down, and took only as the metals of which they were made. Items of brass were taken only as brass, those of silver as silver, and those of gold as gold. They burned the temple, and the houses of the king and the great men of Jerusalem , and broke down the walls of Jerusalem . They took the remnant of those in the city, together with some of the poor of the land captive to Babylon , leaving some of the poor to be vinedressers and farmers. So, in the nineteenth year of the reign of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon , in the fifth month, and on the fifth day, the looting of the city and the temple came about. In I Kings, chapter 7, is a more detailed description of the furnishings of the temple. It was a very ornate building. But the Babylonians took all that they considered of sufficient value to be worth their trouble, and carried it to Babylon .


(Verses 24 through 30) And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and three keepers of the door: he took also out of the city an eunuch, which had charge of the men of war; and seven men of them that were near the king’s person, which were found in the city; and the principal scribe of the host, who mustered the people of the land; and threescore men of the people of the land, that were found in the midst of the city. So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took them, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah. And the king of Babylon smote them, and put them to death in Riblah in the land of Hamath . Thus Judah was carried away captive out of his own land. This is the people whom Nebuchadrezzar carried away captive: in the seventh year three thousand Jews and three and twenty: in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar he carried away captive from Jerusalem eight hundred thirty and two persons: in the three and twentieth year of Nebuchadrezzar Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred forty and five persons: all the persons were four thousand and six hundred.


Jeremiah tells us that when Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard came to Jerusalem to do what is usually refereed to as “mopping up” the city after the siege was over, he took seventy-three of those he found, and brought them to Riblah, where Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon had set up his temporary headquarters. Nebuchadrezzar had them all executed. And this, apparently, wound up the action of this campaign. There had been three different groups of the Jews taken to Babylon . He gives us the number in each group. The total of all three groups was four thousand, six hundred.


(Verses 31 through 34) And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king  of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth day of the month, that Evil-merodach king of Babylon in the first year of his reign lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison, and spake kindly unto him, and set his throne above the thrones of the kings that were with him in Babylon, and changed his prison garments: and he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life. And for his diet, there was a continual diet given him of the king of Babylon , every day a portion until the day of his death, all the days of his life.


This Jehoiachin is the same man we have formerly met as “Jehoiakim,” He was carried away in the first wave of captives carried to Babylon . Perhaps the language difference between the Jews and the Babylonians accounts for the difference in the spelling of his name. After he had been in prison for thirty-seven years, Evil-merodach the successor to Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon took him out of prison, and raised him up as one of those who sat before him, even making his position a little above that of the other kings who held this privilege. The king had Jehoiachin dressed appropriately for his new status, and provided him a daily allowance of food for the remainder of his life, all of which indicates that he was well pleasing to the king.


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