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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 51

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verses 1-5

Jer 51:1-5

PROPHECY AGAINST BABYLON (continued)

(The introduction for Jeremiah 50 also applies to this chapter.)

Jeremiah 51:1-5

Thus saith Jehovah: Behold, I will raise up against Babylon, and against them that dwell in Leb-kamai, a destroying wind. And I will send unto Babylon strangers, that shall winnow her; and they 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 coat of mail: and spare ye not her young men; destroy ye utterly all her host. And they shall fall down slain in the land of the Chaldeans, and thrust through in her streets. For Israel is not forsaken, nor Judah, of his God, of Jehovah of hosts; though their land is full of guilt against the Holy One of Israel.

Them that dwell in Leb-kamai...

(Jeremiah 51:1). The proper name here is a kind of trick word called an athbash, devised by numbering the Hebrew alphabet from each end (for example, in English X, Y, Z, would be numbered 3, 2, 1, etc.; and A, B, C, would be numbered 1, 2, 3, etc. Thus, to form an athbash, the letters of a name would be changed. The letter A would be written Z, and the letter B would be written Y, etc.). Leb-kamai here is an athbash for Chaldea.

No one knows why such a device was used here. It was usually a device for concealing the meaning of a word from all except those "in the know"; but the equivalent of Chaldea, i.e., "Babylon," has already been mentioned. We encountered another example of this in Jeremiah 25:26.

Barnes believed that this word for Chaldea, Leb-kamai, was probably "known to everybody"; and, if so, it could have been a kind of nickname for Babylonia, such as "Gotham" or "The Big Apple."

A destroying wind...

(Jeremiah 51:1). Keil noted that this should be translated, The spirit of a destroyer. That rendition is most likely correct, because it was not a wind that mined Babylon; it was a human destroyer, i.e., Cyrus. In Hebrew, the word for wind and spirit is the same.

Strangers. they shall winnow her .....

(Jeremiah 51:2). These were the Medes (Jeremiah 51:11) who would destroy Babylon. F4 The word winnow was a word connected with the threshing industry; and one still hears remarks like, He gave him a threshing!

For Israel. Judah ... is not forsaken of his God .....

(Jeremiah 51:5). Throughout this chapter, the destruction of Babylon, and the protection and blessing of Israel are mentioned in that order repeatedly.

The description of the destroyers of Babylon continues in Jeremiah 51:1-5. God is raising up against Babylon a destroying wind (Jeremiah 50:1) and strangers (Jeremiah 50:2) by means of which He will winnow or sift the inhabitants of Babylonia as a farmer winnows the chaff from the grain. The reference in Jeremiah 50:1 to “Leb-kamai” (ASV) is most interesting. This term means literally “the heart of those who rise up against me.” By this title Babylon is designated as the very heart of opposition to the Lord. But the term Leb-kamai has another meaning too, a meaning that the English reader completely misses. Leb-kamai is another example of the use of the cipher called Atbash (cf. Jeremiah 25:26) in which the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet is replaced by the last letter, the second letter by the next to the last, the third by the third from the last, etc. When Leb-kamai is decoded it spells the word “Chaldeans” in Hebrew.

In Jeremiah 50:3 the attacking armies are again addressed. In spite of the fact that the Babylonians stand guard with their weapons and arrayed in their armor, yet the archers are urged to attack them from without. No one is to be spared; every Chaldean soldier is to be slain in the streets of the city (Jeremiah 50:4). The reason for the slaughter is twofold. First, by means of the destruction of Babylon the Lord will prove that Israel and Judah have not been forsaken (lit., widowed) by their God. Second, the land of Babylon is full of guilt with respect to the Holy One of Israel (Jeremiah 50:5). The word translated “though” in the KJV and ASV is best rendered “for” or “because” and the “guilt” is best regarded as that of the Chaldeans and not the Israelites.

Verses 6-10

Jer 51:6-10

Jeremiah 51:6-10

Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and save every man his life; be not cut off in her iniquity: for it is the time of Jehovah’s vengeance; he will render unto her a recompense. Babylon hath been a golden cup in Jehovah’s hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunk of her wine; therefore the nations are mad. Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: wail 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. Jehovah hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of Jehovah our God.

The analogy between the literal Babylon here and the spiritual Babylon of Revelation is amazing. Note the following: (1) Both shall be utterly destroyed (2) God’s people are commanded to "come out of her." (3) She has a golden cup in her hand. (4) The nations have become drunk with her wine. (5) Her judgment reaches all the way to heaven. (6) Her doom is like a stone cast into the river (see last paragraph of this chapter). (7) She is responsible for all the slain in the land (Jeremiah 51:49). See Vol. 12 (Revelation) in the New Testament commentaries (Rev. 17--18).

Babylon is suddenly fallen...

(Jeremiah 51:8), It happened in a single night, the tragic night dramatically described in the fifth chapter of Daniel.

She is not healed...

(Jeremiah 51:9). Israel’s wounds could be healed by balm from Gilead, but Babylon’s fate was absolute.

Babylon hath been a golden cup...

(Jeremiah 51:7). Not only that; she was called God’s hammer in Jeremiah 50:23. As God’s hammer, she was strong; as his cup of gold, she was rich and beautiful; but nothing could save her from the wrath of God as recompense for her sin.

An Exhortation to Israel Jeremiah 51:6-10

The description of the destruction of Babylon is briefly interrupted by words of exhortation directed to Israel. As God begins the judgment of Babylon the chosen remnant is exhorted to flee out of the midst of the city. The idea is that the people of God must not allow themselves to become embroiled in the defense of Babylon and possibly loose their lives in that futile effort. Babylon’s destruction is an act of divine vengeance; the city is doomed to destruction (Jeremiah 51:6). Beautiful Babylon with her achievements, wealth and power, was like a golden vessel in the hand of the Lord. Many nations drank the wine of God’s wrath from that golden vessel and became as helpless and pitiable as an intoxicated man (Jeremiah 51:7). But now Babylon has served her purpose in the plan of the Almighty; she has acted out her role upon the stage of human history. The Lord will now smash Babylon as a man smashes a vessel which is no longer useful and no longer pleases him (Jeremiah 51:7).

Turning to sympathetic bystanders the prophet calls for lamentation over the fall of Babylon. Those addressed are foreigners who, whether by choice or force, have been resident in Babylon, and who therefore have an interest in the fate of that city. These are now summoned to heal Babylon, because they are now servants of the Great King and are thus obligated to render assistance to him (Jeremiah 51:8). Those who are addressed do not refuse to render the service, but their efforts are in vain. These captives nations affirm that they have honestly done what they could to prevent the destruction of Babylon and restore her to her former glory. But since their attempts have proved vain these captives think now only of their own safety: “Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and save every man his life.” Perhaps there is an allusion to the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah in the phrase “her judgment (or punishment) reaches unto the heavens” (Jeremiah 51:9). The Jewish captives in Babylon rush home to Zion to declare there what God has done to Babylon. “The Lord has brought forth our righteousness,” they sing. The avenging hand of God had vindicated His people. The idolatry of Israel has been sufficiently punished and God’s people are again to be accounted as righteous (Jeremiah 51:10).

Verses 11-26

Jer 51:11-26

Jeremiah 51:11-14

Make sharp the arrows; hold firm the shields: Jehovah hath stirred up the spirit of the kings of the Medes; because his purpose is against Babylon, to destroy it: for it is the vengeance of Jehovah, the vengeance of his temple. Set up a standard against the walls of Babylon, make the watch strong, set the watchmen, prepare the ambushes; for Jehovah hath both purposed and done that which he spake concerning the inhabitants of Babylon. O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, the measure of thy covetousness. Jehovah of hosts hath sworn by himself, [saying], Surely I will fill thee with men, as with the canker-worm; and they shall lift up a shout against thee.

O thou that dwellest upon many waters...

(Jeremiah 51:13). The great wealth of Babylon was caused not merely by the Euphrates, but by a vast system of canals, which served for defense as well as for irrigation. Harrison thought that there might be, A sarcastic reference here to the mythological tale of the Babylonians concerning a great subterranean ocean; but we believe that the obvious reference to the canals of the Euphrates is a far better interpretation.

The measure of thy covetousness...

(Jeremiah 51:13). This is a metaphor taken from weaving; it compares Babylon to a measure of cloth cut out of the loom, which is a figure for death. Isaiah 38:12 has the same metaphor.

As with the canker-worm

(Jeremiah 51:14). The canker-worm was a very destructive insect. It was the locust in the chrysalis stage, the most destructive phase of the locust’s life. This creature was the source of many of the worst plagues that ever came upon the people of the Near East. The promise here was that God would fill Babylon with men who would do the same thing to Babylon that the horrible locust plague would do to a field of grain.

Jeremiah 51:15-19

He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding hath he stretched out the heavens: when he uttereth his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasuries. Every man is become brutish [and is] without knowledge; every goldsmith is put to shame by his image; for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. They are vanity, a work of delusion: in the time of their visitation they shall perish. The portion of Jacob is not like these; for he is the former of all things; and [Israel] is the tribe of his inheritance: Jehovah of hosts is his name.

These verses, with the exception of a single word are a verbatim repetition of Jeremiah 10:12-16. See my comment on these verses under that reference.

Jeremiah 51:20-26

Thou art my battle-axe and weapons of war: and 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 horse and his rider; and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and him that rideth therein; and with thee will I break in pieces man and woman; and with thee will I break in pieces the old man and the youth; and with thee will I break in pieces the young man and the virgin; and with thee will I break in pieces 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 governors and deputies. 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 Jehovah. Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, saith Jehovah, which destroyest all the earth; and I will stretch out my 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 Jehovah.

No comment is necessary on Jeremiah 51:20-24, which are merely a somewhat tedious way of saying that God will break in pieces just about everything that pertained to Babylon.

O destroying mountain...

(Jeremiah 51:25). Keil uses several pages talking about a volcano here; but we believe Robinson was correct when he said, The language here is purely figurative. Why did the Lord choose such a metaphor? It could be because of that false mountain called the Tower of Babel that had been erected there in the remote past, or because of that Ziggurat, the mountain-like temple of Babylon’s pagan religious system. God would roll the whole nation down the multiple terraces of their false mountain.

Thou shalt be desolate forever, saith Jehovah...

(Jeremiah 51:26). Thompson complained that, Cyrus entered Babylon without any appreciable resistance and left the city intact; and this is quite contrary to the description of devastation that appears in Jeremiah 51:26. There are other phases of these prophecies against Babylon that indicate quite clearly that there would be a long period during which Babylon would be the hindermost of nations, and that the total desolation promised would be accomplished gradually, but that it would last forever. All of this took place exactly as prophesied. See further comment on this in the previous chapter in the discussion under Jeremiah 51:11-16.

Divine Destruction Jeremiah 51:11-26

In Jeremiah 51:11 the agents of the divine judgment upon Babylon are identified as the Medes. Media was a country located northwest of Persia. About the year 548 B.C. Cyrus the Great was able to unite the Medes and Persians and together they became the force that toppled the mighty Babylonian empire. The Medo-Persian army was the instrument used by the Lord to execute His vengeance upon Babylon for the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem (Jeremiah 51:11). The Lord Himself directs the attack against Babylon: “Set up a standard against the walls of Babylon!” No doubt the standards here are certain military signals which indicated the particular area of the wall which was to be attacked, “Make the watch strong! Set the watchmen!” The first order of business in any siege in antiquity was to blockade the city to prevent anyone from leaving or entering with supplies. Furthermore, a guard had to be posted about the camp of the besieging army lest the soldiers within the city launch a surprise attack. “Prepare the ambushes!” These would be small groups of soldiers strategically hidden who would press into the city when the besieged made a rally. The Lord has planned the fall of Babylon and He will execute that plan (Jeremiah 51:12).

The greatest supports of the power of Babylonia were the waters surrounding the city and the great riches which Nebuchadnezzar had accumulated. The fruitfulness of the Babylonian territory, the produce of the fields, depended on the overflowing of the Euphrates. By an extensive system of dams and canals the Babylonians had learned in very ancient times to direct the waters of the Euphrates to every area of the otherwise barren plain region of Mesopotamia. These water-courses also served to drain off marsh areas, to avert the violent inundations for which the Euphrates was notorious, and to provide a system of navigation from one end of the land to the other. The watercourses were also of the greatest importance for the defense of the country. As for the riches of the city, one has only to think of the conquests of Nebuchadnezzar. The immense booty of Nineveh, the plunder of Jerusalem, the tributes of Syria and the Phoenician states filled his coffers. It is no wonder then that the prophet addresses Babylon as the city which “dwells on many waters, abundant in treasures.” The mighty walls, the great waters, the fertile lands, the enormous wealth, the multitude of inhabitants, all together are helpless before the Lord of Israel who declares to mighty Babylon, “Your end has come!” Babylon has played her role on the stage of human history and the curtain is about to fall upon the last act of her national existence. The covetousness of Babylon has reached full measure, Her plundering, profiteering, and exorbitant taxation will soon come to an end (Jeremiah 51:13). The Lord of hosts has bound Himself by an oath that the “shout” (lit., vintage song) would be raised over the fallen city. To lighten their task and express their satisfaction with the yield of the crop, those who tread the grapes to produce the wine would often sing a happy song. The fact that the conquerors of Babylon sing a vintage song over the fallen city indicates that their work of conquest is yielding abundant returns. The phrase “surely I will fill you with men as with the cankerworm” has been taken by some commentators to refer to the enemy swarming over Babylon like the cankerworm or locust. Others feel that the Hebrew should be translated “even if I fill you with men like locust, they shall etc.” In this case the meaning would be that the teeming multitudes of Babylon will in no way be able to prevent the destruction of their city.

Lest there be any doubt that the Lord who has sworn to destroy Babylon has the power to make good His oath, Jeremiah inserts at this point a passage which he had used earlier in his ministry. Jeremiah 51:15-19 are all but identical with Jeremiah 10:12-16, the only verbal difference being the omission in Jeremiah 51:19 of the word “Israel” before the words “the rod of His inheritance.” The point of the passage is chat mankind and man-made idols are helpless before the Almighty God. Israel’s God has created the earth and spread out the heavens (Jeremiah 51:15); He it is that controls the rains and brings the storms (Jeremiah 51:16). In contrast to Him, men are stupid and ignorant. The skillful craftsmen who fashion images and pass them off as gods are perpetrating a gigantic hoax. The idols are lifeless and vain. Those who fashioned them will be utterly ashamed of their creations in the day of God’s judgment (Jeremiah 51:17). The idols will be unable to protect themselves in that day let alone their worshipers. In the day of their visitation they shall perish (Jeremiah 51:18). The “portion of Jacob” i.e., Israel’s God, is unlike any of the idols venerated in Babylon. He is Creator of everything including the tribe of His special possession, Israel. It is the God of creation, the God of Israel, the Lord of hosts who has bound Himself by oath to destroy Babylon (Jeremiah 51:19).

After establishing that the Lord is superior to all the gods of Babylon, Jeremiah proceeds to address the conqueror of Babylon: You are my battle axe and weapons of war." Some commentators argue that Babylon itself is the “hammer” of these verses and some even argue that Israel is intended. Just as God had used Assyria and Babylon as instruments to bring judgment upon nations and upon Israel, so now He will use the Medo-Persian armies to destroy Babylon. No nation or military force will be able to stand before God’s battle axe (Jeremiah 51:20-21). The strong as well as the weak, the old as well as the young, the exalted as well as the lowly will all be shattered by the conqueror (Jeremiah 51:22-23). One cannot read these verses without recalling the earlier prophecies of Isaiah concerning Cyrus (Isaiah 45:1). By means of this mighty and powerful army the Lord will recompense Babylon for the maltreatment of the people of God. The Jews held captive in Babylon will have the satisfaction of seeing the requital of their enemy (Jeremiah 51:24).

The second major section of the Babylon oracle concludes with the Lord declaring His hostility to Babylon: “Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain.” This challenge formula occurs earlier in Jeremiah 21:13, Jeremiah 23:30-32, and 60:31. The Hebrew expression translated here “destroying mountains” occurs in 2 Kings 23:13 where it is used of the Mount of Olives and is translated “mount of corruption.” The Mount of Olives evidently received this appellation because of the idolatrous rites which were performed there. In using this expression of Babylon the prophet may have had in mind the corrupting spiritual and moral influence of that nation as well as her physical destructiveness. The picture here is of an active volcano which belches forth destruction to all the earth. The expression “roll you down from the rocks” probably refers to a volcanic eruption during which rocks mixed with burning lava are hurled from the crater and stream down the sides of the mountain. After the fiery outburst of divine retribution Babylon will be nothing but a burned-out crater, its power for evil completely exhausted (Jeremiah 51:25). So completely burned-out is that mountain that its stones are no longer fit for building material. Babylon will never again serve as the seat of an empire; her position as first city of the world is completely shattered; her glory is gone forever. Babylon will be forever desolate (Jeremiah 51:26).

Verses 27-33

Jer 51:27-33

Jeremiah 51:27-33

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 Ashkenaz: appoint a marshal against her; cause the horses to come up as the rough canker-worm. Prepare against her the nations, the kings of the Medes, the governors thereof, and all the deputies thereof, and all the land of their dominion. And the land trembleth and is in pain; for the purposes of Jehovah against Babylon do stand, to make the land of Babylon a desolation, without inhabitant. The mighty men of Babylon have forborne to fight, they remain in their strongholds; their might hath failed; they are become as women: her dwelling-places are set on fire; her bars are broken. One post shall run to meet another, and one messenger to met another, to show the king of Babylon that his city is taken on every quarter: and the passages are seized, and the reeds they have burned with fire, and the men of war are affrighted. For thus saith Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel: The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing-floor at the time when it is trodden; yet a little while, and the time of harvest shall come for her.

Ararat...

(Jeremiah 51:27). This is an ancient name for part of Armenia, including the mountains where the ark rested. It was where the sons of Sennacherib went after they murdered him; and Jeremiah mentioned it here, along with the neighboring districts of Mini and Ashkenaz.

Ashkenaz...

(Jeremiah 51:27). These people were the ancient equivalent of barbarians. Their neighbors were Ararat and Minni. They were located southeast of Lake Van. F14

Minni...

(Jeremiah 51:27). This is the same as Mannai of the Assyrian inscriptions. They were located in the vicinity of the lakes Van and Urmia and seem to have been a very capable people in warfare. They aided the destruction of Nineveh (612 B.C.) and also participated in the capture of Babylon in 539 B.C.). They were vassals of Babylon in the fall of Nineveh, and of the Medes in the fall of Babylon.

The rough canker-worm...

(Jeremiah 51:27). This was the name of the locust in its most devastating phase. See under Jeremiah 51:14, above.

One post shall run to meet another. one messenger to meet another .....

(Jeremiah 51:31). The famed courier system of Babylon brought the drunken king (Daniel 5) the news of the city’s capture from every quarter.

The men of war were affrighted...

(Jeremiah 51:32). This is no wonder. The enemy were all over the city in total control of it; they had already burned the marshes, destroying any place of hiding or of ambush; the king was hopelessly drunk; and the mighty Babylon was as helpless as a woman untrained in war, with no protection, no armor, no weapons, and no hope. Let it be remembered, however, that this was a prophecy of what would happen, not a history of what did happen. The prophecy was so accurate, however, that some have mistaken it for history. The mention of the Medes and their allies both here and in Jeremiah 51:11 are all the proof that is needed that here we have predictive prophecy, not history. No writer, writing afterward would have mentioned the Medes without bringing in the Persians.

Yet a little while, and the time of her harvest shall come for her...

(Jeremiah 51:33). Note the future verb. We have prophecy, not history. Also, the focus upon Israel here, along with the mention of the fall of Babylon follows the pattern already mentioned, namely, (1) the fall of Babylon, followed by (2) the God of Israel’s care for his children.

THE DOOM OF BABYLON Jeremiah 51:27-58

The third section of the Babylon oracle which begins in Jeremiah 51:27 emphasizes the final doom of Babylon. The attack of the enemy is again described in vivid detail (Jeremiah 51:27-33). Israel lodges a complaint before God concerning their treatment at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. The Lord acknowledges their complaint and assures His distressed people that Babylon will be punished for her crimes (Jeremiah 51:34-40). Babylon’s demolition will mean Israel’s liberation (Jeremiah 51:41-46); Babylon’s retribution, Israel’s return (Jeremiah 51:47-53). To all of this is added a final pronouncement against Babylon (Jeremiah 51:54-58).

The Attack of the Enemy Jeremiah 51:27-33

Once again in this oracle the Lord calls upon the nations to make preparations for the final onslaught against Babylon. The standard and the trumpet were means of gathering and directing the operations of great hosts of men in antiquity (cf. Jeremiah 50:2; Jeremiah 51:12). “Prepare” i.e., consecrate or sanctify (ASV mar) “the nations against her.” It was the custom in that time to begin every war with sacred rites in which the soldiers consecrated themselves to the deity. The campaign against Babylon is viewed throughout this oracle as a holy war because it has to do with a “work” of the Lord (Jeremiah 50:25) and the vengeance of His sanctuary” (Jeremiah 50:28). Ararat, Minni and Ashkenaz, located in present-day Armenia, were the northern allies of the Medes. The word translated “marshal” is an Assyrian word denoting a high military officer, perhaps an enlisting or mustering officer. The cavalry which would play such an important role in the conquest of Babylon is compared to a plague of locusts (cankerworm, ASV). The meaning of the word translated “rough” is unknown (Jeremiah 51:27). Led by the rulers of the Medes (Jeremiah 51:28) the vast army marches southward toward Babylon causing the land to tremble and be in pain at the news of their approach. God has determined to make the land of Babylon a desolation without inhabitant and that divine purpose is about to be fulfilled (Jeremiah 51:29).

The prophet turns his gaze to what is happening among the defenders of Babylon. At the approach of the enemy host the Babylonian soldiers become panic-stricken. Cowardice makes them withdraw into the strong fortification where they helplessly watch the bars and gates battered down and the dwelling places burned (Jeremiah 51:30). From every quarter Of the city the messengers hasten to the royal palace with the news that the city has fallen to the enemy (Jeremiah 51:31). The enemy has seized the passages across the river Euphrates which ran through the city thus cutting off all hope of escape. At right angles with the river were the main streets of Babylon. At the end of each was a gate and probably steps leading down to the river. Transportation across the river in boats was provided at each of these points. Other commentators understand the “passages” to be the fords across the canals around Babylon. The reedy swamps around Babylon are put to the torch both to cut off escape and to burn out fugitives who might have sought refuge there (Jeremiah 51:32). Considerable disagreement about the meaning of “reeds burned with fire” exists among commentators. But how can Jeremiah speak so confidently of the demise of Babylon which in his day was at the zenith of power? Jeremiah replies, Babylon is like a threshing-floor, a piece of ground made level by trampling or treading, which the Lord the God of Israel is already preparing for the harvest. It is “yet a little while” and the time of harvest and subsequent threshing shall come to Babylon (Jeremiah 51:33).

Verses 34-40

Jer 51:34-40

Jeremiah 51:34-40

Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath, like a monster, swallowed me up, he hath filled his maw with my delicacies; 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 be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea, shall Jerusalem say. Therefore thus saith Jehovah: Behold, I will plead thy cause, and take vengeance for thee; and I will dry up her sea, and make her fountain dry. And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwelling-place for jackals, an astonishment, and a hissing, without inhabitant. They shall roar together like young lions; they shall growl as lions’ whelps. When they are heated, I will make their feast, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith Jehovah. I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams with he-goats.

Harrison’s summary of this paragraph has this: "Nebuchadnezzar has devoured Jerusalem with the greedy gulp of a monster (the New English Bible has "dragon"), and for this excess his land shall be punished. The idiom of recompense (Jeremiah 51:35) is that of Genesis 16:5)."

I will dry up her sea, and make her fountain dry...

(Jeremiah 51:36). This writer cannot believe that Almighty God would dignify the mythological tale of a vast underground ocean by here promising to dry it up. Could God dry up something that never existed? Therefore, we reject the notion that, This is a reference to the mythological wellsprings of life. The Euphrates and its system of canals were the wellsprings of life for Babylon, not some mythological underground sea. See under Jeremiah 51:13, above. Smith supposed that there might also be a reference here to, The great lake dug by Nitocris to receive the waters of the Euphrates.

Like a monster...

(Jeremiah 51:34). See my comment on Isaiah 27:1 regarding the monster mentioned there.

The Complaint of Israel and the Reply of the Lord Jeremiah 51:34-40

In Jeremiah 51:34-35 Jeremiah hears as it were the bitter complaints of the Jewish captives against the Babylonians. Nebuchadnezzar has devoured and crushed Israel; he has emptied his land and caused it to stand like an empty vessel. Like some great monster of the sea or river the king of Babylon had swallowed all in which Israel delights (his “delicacies”). Just what monster Jeremiah had in mind as he penned these words is uncertain. It was probably a crocodile or perhaps a large serpent. The King James translation “dragon” is unfortunate and misleading. Nebuchadnezzar had “cast out” Israel i.e., he had rejected and discarded Israel as though the people of God were something worthless or repulsive (Jeremiah 51:34). For this violence, outrage and indignity Israel would see the vengeance of the Lord upon Babylon (Jeremiah 51:35). It is as though Israel is a plaintiff standing before a judge and demanding that the guilty oppressor be punished. The reference to the flesh and blood in Jeremiah 51:35 refers back to the figure of Babylon devouring Israel in the previous verse.

In response to the appeal of oppressed Israel the Lord declares that He will take up their cause and bring vengeance upon their enemies. The “sea” and “fountain” of Babylon shall dry up (Jeremiah 51:36). Probably the reference here is to the Euphrates river and to the irrigation canals which crisscrossed the country bringing fertility to an otherwise arid land. Water in many ways was more precious than gold to the ancient Babylonians since the prosperity of the land depended upon transporting the waters of the Euphrates to the inland agricultural regions. With the destruction of this elaborate irrigation and water control system, Babylon rapidly became an uninhabited desert marked by shapeless and unsightly “heaps” (i.e., mounds of ruins) and occupied only by jackals. The King James is again misleading in rendering the Hebrew word “dragons.” A different Hebrew word from that used in Jeremiah 51:34 is used here and commentators are in general agreement that fie word used here means jackals. Those who pass by the desolate site of Babylon will hiss or whistle in astonishment at what has befallen the once proud metropolis (Jeremiah 51:37).

In Jeremiah’s day the Babylonians were like lion cubs growling in exultation over the spoil which they had won from conquered nations (Jeremiah 51:38). But while the Babylonians are in the midst of their greedily enjoyment the Lord will prepare for them a banquet of His own making. He will pour them out a full cup, not of wine but of wrath. Not realizing the fatal contents of that cup the Babylonians drink, become intoxicated, and fall into the drunkard’s sleep—a sleep from which they never will awake (Jeremiah 51:39). The devouring lion shall become as a lamb led to the slaughter (Jeremiah 51:40). The mention of lambs, rams and he-goats in Jeremiah 51:40 may be a way of saying that all classes of the population will go down to the slaughter.

Verses 41-49

Jer 51:41-49

Jeremiah 51:41-44

How is Sheshach taken! and the praise of the whole earth seized! how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations! The sea is come up upon Babylon; she is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof. Her cities are become a desolation, a dry land, and a desert, a land wherein no man dwelleth, neither doth any son of man pass thereby. And I will execute judgment upon Bel in Babylon, and I will bring forth out of his mouth that which he hath swallowed up; and the nations shall not flow any more unto him: yea, the wall of Babylon shall fall.

How is Sheshak taken...

(Jeremiah 51:41). This is an ashbash for Babylon. See under Jeremiah 51:1, above, and under Jeremiah 25:26.

The sea is come up upon Babylon...

(Jeremiah 51:42). This is a metaphor for the destroying army, composed of many nations under the lordship of Cyrus.

I will bring forth out of his mouth...

(Jeremiah 51:44). This reveals the true identity of the one who swallowed up Jerusalem. It was not a sea-monster at all, but Babylon, because Babylon was the one that God forced to disgorge himself of that which he had swallowed.

Jeremiah 51:41-43 here are the same as Jeremiah 6:22-24. See my comments there.

Jeremiah 51:45-49

My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and save yourselves every man from the fierce anger of Jehovah. And let not your heart faint, neither fear ye for the tidings that shall be heard in the land; for tidings shall come one year, and after that in another year [shall come] tidings, and violence in the land, ruler against ruler. Therefore, behold, the days come, that I will execute judgment upon the graven images of Babylon; and her whole land shall be confounded; and all her slain shall fall in the midst of her. Then the heavens and the earth, and all that is therein, shall sing for joy over Babylon; for the destroyers shall come unto her from the north, saith Jehovah. As Babylon hath caused the slain of Israel to fall, so at Babylon shall fall the slain of all the land.

All her slain shall fall in the midst of her...

(Jeremiah 51:47). Harrison noted that this passage will bear the translation: Just as the whole earth’s slain have fallen for Babylon, so at Babylon the whole earth’s slain shall fall. Certainly this idea must be in the passage, because of what God said through the apostle John.

"And in her (Mystery Babylon, the Great Harlot) was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all that have been slain upon the earth" (Revelation 18:24).

Jeremiah 51:44-46 are taken from Jeremiah 49:19-21. See comments there.

Babylon’s Demolition and Israel’s Liberation Jeremiah 51:41-46

Jeremiah begins this section of his oracle with a sarcastic lamentation over the fall of Babylon. The “how” of Jeremiah 51:41 is not the how of amazement. The Hebrew word belongs to the vocabulary of lamentation and perhaps can best be rendered in English by “how sad it is!” No doubt the word is used here sarcastically. “How sad it is that Sheshach, the praise of the whole earth, is captured.” “Sheshach” is a cryptic name for Babylon (see comments on Jeremiah 25:26). How sad it is that Babylon the mighty metropolis has become a desolation and an astonishment among the nations (Jeremiah 51:41). A sea of foreign invaders sweeps over the land of Babylonia (Jeremiah 51:42) leaving in its wake a desolation, a desert, “a land where no man dwells” (Jeremiah 51:43). Some prefer to interpret the word “sea” as referring to the annual inundations of the Euphrates which even to this day render many parts of the ruins of Babylon inaccessible. The fall of Babylon will be as much a judgment upon the gods of Babylon as upon the city itself. Bel, the chief god of Babylon, will be forced to disgorge all that he has devoured of the riches of subjugated nations. No more would Babylonian conquests bring a stream of captives to the prison house of Babylon. Indeed those massive walls themselves would fall and all prisoners within would be free to return to their native lands (Jeremiah 51:44). The gods of Babylon had had their moment of glory and seeming triumph when they destroyed Jerusalem and brought the people of God into captivity. But with the fall of Babylon from a position of world power the once famous gods of Babylon dwindled into insignificance and finally oblivion.

The fall of Babylon means liberation for the people of God and the prophet returns in Jeremiah 51:45-46 to this minor theme which runs throughout the Babylon oracle. He repeats what he earlier has urged (Jeremiah 50:8) that when the captives see the fierce anger of the Lord beginning to be poured out upon Babylon they should flee from the city (Jeremiah 51:45). Meanwhile they should not be disturbed by rumors of war and internal conflict for these but foreshadow that final day of doom for Babylon. Numerous upheavals and throne changes plagued Babylon after the death of Nebuchadnezzar in 562 B.C. The prophet warns his brethren lest these commotions disturb them and arouse premature hopes of release. One is reminded of the similar admonition of Christ concerning the wars and rumors of war which prelude the day of the Lord (Matthew 24:6; Luke 21:28).

Verses 50-53

Jer 51:50-53

Jeremiah 51:50-53

Ye that have escaped the sword, go ye, stand not still; remember Jehovah from afar, and let Jerusalem come into your mind. We are confounded, because we have heard reproach; confusion hath covered our faces: for strangers are come into the sanctuaries of Jehovah’s house. Wherefore, behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will execute 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 destroyers come unto her, saith Jehovah.

Go ye, stand not still...

(Jeremiah 51:50). See under Jeremiah 51:6, above for comment on this.

We are confounded...

(Jeremiah 51:51). God’s people appear to be the speakers here. God’s thundering reply came in the next verse.

Fortify the height of her strength...

(Jeremiah 51:53). This may be either a reference to their famed Ziggurat, or to their high wall that surrounded the 200 square mile interior of the city. Speaking of the great wall, Smith has given us various estimates of its height.

"There is in this an allusion to the vast height of the walls of Babylon, though their actual measurement is very uncertain. Herodotus gave the height as 335 English feet, Pliny 235, Q. Curtius 150, and Strabo 75!"

Incidentally, the above named historians regarding the walls of Babylon are among that company of pagan writers sometimes quoted by radical critics as "authorities" in remarks that are alleged to cast doubt upon or to deny something in the Bible. Can one intelligently suppose that the whole crowd of ancient writers were any more reliable than the sacred writers of the Holy Bible?

Babylon’s Retribution and Israel’s Return Jeremiah 51:47-53

Using a formula which he has previously used some fourteen times, “Behold, the days come,” Jeremiah develops anew the theme of the divine vengeance upon Babylon and the subsequent vindication of Israel. The threat against Bel in Jeremiah 51:44 is now expanded to include all the idols of Babylon (cf. also Jeremiah 50:2). Realizing that they have no higher power to whom they can turn the idolaters of Babylon are utterly confounded and ashamed. The defenders of Babylon are wounded and slain in the very midst of the city and the gods are unable to intervene on their behalf (Jeremiah 51:47). When the destroyer from the north, the Medo-Persian armies, capture Babylon the whole universe rejoices (Jeremiah 51:48). Heaven and earth rejoice because once again the Lord has demonstrated His wisdom, power and justice; once again it becomes evident that He and not Satan is the real Ruler of this universe. The sin of Babylon against Israel shall be recompensed. Just as Babylon had caused so many of Israel to fall in battle, so many from all over the land of[420] Babylonia shall be slain when Babylon fails (Jeremiah 51:49). The Hebrew word for Babylonia can also be translated “earth.” Keil thinks this verse refers to the multitudes from all over the world who might be in Babylon at the time the city falls.

The prophet next turns to those who have escaped the sword of divine vengeance against Babylon. He bids thee exiles to remember the Lord and Jerusalem and not to tarry in Babylonia (Jeremiah 51:50). But the captives are so filled with grief and remorse at what has happened to their Temple that they seem not to hear or acknowledge the joyful prophetic exhortation of Jeremiah 51:50. “We are confounded, dismayed, confused because strangers have entered into the sacred sanctuaries of the Lord’s house thus profaning them.” The Babylonian victory over Jerusalem was regarded by the heathen as a sign of triumph for their gods. Those Israelites who tried to remain faithful to the Lord alone were subjected to constant reproach and ridicule by their neighbors (Jeremiah 51:51). But again the Lord reminds those captives of what He has previously stated in this oracle, that the days are coming when He will vindicate Himself by executing judgment on the gods of Babylon (Jeremiah 51:52). Though the city should raise up her defensive walls and towers even to the heavens, yet the city will not be able to withstand the assault of the destroyer sent against her by the Lord (Jeremiah 51:53).

Verses 54-58

Jer 51:54-58

Jeremiah 51:54-58

The sound of a cry from Babylon, and of great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans! For Jehovah layeth Babylon waste, and destroyeth out of her the great voice; and their waves roar like many waters; the noise of their voice is uttered: for the destroyer is come upon her, even upon Babylon, and her mighty men are taken, their bows are broken in pieces; for Jehovah is a God of recompenses, he will surely requite. And I will make drunk her princes and her wise men, her governors and her deputies, and her mighty men; and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is Jehovah of hosts. Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly overthrown, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; and the peoples shall labor for vanity, and the nations for the fire; and they shall be weary.

They shall sleep. saith the King .....

(Jeremiah 51:57). Right in the midst of all the records regarding ancient kings, governors, deputies, etc., the real KING is introduced. He is Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel.

The broad walls of Babylon...

(Jeremiah 51:58). Once more, we shall allow the ancient pagan authorities to tell us about those broad walls. Herodotus gave their breadth as 85 feet, Strabo and Curtius agreed that they were 31 feet; and Donald Wiseman found some pagan authority who gave the width as 25 feet! One ancient writer tells us that four chariots could be raced abreast upon the top of Babylon’s walls.

E. The Final Pronouncement Against Babylon Jeremiah 51:54-58

With prophetic ear Jeremiah can hear the cry at Babylon as the destruction of the city commences (Jeremiah 51:54). The foe sweeps into Babylon like a great sea, its roar drowning out “the great voice” (the tumult) of the city (Jeremiah 51:55). The military arm of Babylon is crushed, the defensive weapons are destroyed (Jeremiah 51:56). The leaders of Babylon will drink the cup of God’s wrath and fall into a helpless stupor that they may not be able to defend the city. Indeed they will be slain in their drunkenness and will “sleep a perpetual sleep,” the sleep of death (cf. Jeremiah 51:39). The Lord of hosts, the King of creation, has spoken it and it shall come to pass (Jeremiah 51:57). The broad walls of Babylon, which must have appeared impregnable to the captives there, will be overthrown and the gates of the city will be burned. Ancient testimony about the dimensions of the walls of Babylon is contradictory. Herodotus, the Greek historian, estimated these walls to have been more than 350 feet high. On the basis of excavation at the ancient site of Babylon modern scholars estimate the walls to have been about 60 or 70 feet high and about 40 feet wide. Herodotus further testifies that in the circuit of the wall of Babylon were a hundred gates, all of brass, with brazen lintels and side-posts. These gates will be “burned” i.e., attacked, destroyed and melted down. Countless thousands of workers from many nations of the world labored to make the citadel of Babylon impregnable. But when the Lord begins to pour out His wrath upon that city all of their weary labor will be proved to have been in vain; all the work of their hands will be set to the torch. It is very appropriate that Jeremiah closes the Babylon oracle with a quote from his contemporary Habakkuk: “The peoples shall labor for vanity, and the nations for fire; and they shall be weary” (cf. Habakkuk 2:13).

The abiding lesson in all this is succinctly stated in Jeremiah 51:56 : “The Lord is a God of recompense. He will surely requite.” The God of the Bible is a God of judgment however much moderns may wish it otherwise. He will require, i.e., render the full payment, to any individual or nation that despises Him and mocks His word. “Be not deceived, God is not mocked; whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).

Verses 59-64

Jer 51:59-64

Jeremiah 51:59-64

The word which Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, when he went with Zedekiah the king of Judah to Babylon in the fourth year of his reign. Now Seraiah was chief chamberlain. And Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon Babylon, even all these words that are written concerning Babylon. And Jeremiah said to Seraiah, When thou comest to Babylon, then see that thou read all these words, and say, O Jehovah, thou hast spoken concerning this place, to cut it off, that none shall dwell therein, 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 again because of the evil that I will bring upon her; and they shall be weary. Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.

Seraiah... the chamberlain...

(Jeremiah 51:59). This man was a brother of Baruch; and his being called the chamberlain indicates that he had charge of such things as accommodations and travel arrangements when Zedekiah made that trip to Babylon in the fourth year of his tenure as vassal king under Nebuchadnezzar, in 593 B.C.

"Jeremiah gave Seraiah a scroll upon which was written a prophecy against Babylon." This comment is incorrect, because the scroll had not "a prophecy" against Babylon, but, it had all that Jeremiah said, "even all these words" (Jeremiah 51:60). This proves that all the prophecies of Jeremiah against Babylon came early in the reign of Zedekiah (593 B.C.). Jeremiah wrote many other prophecies after that date, but all the prophecies against Babylon were concluded before the event mentioned in this paragraph. "There is no valid reason for questioning either the act recorded here or the account of it. It is dated in the fourth year of the reign of Zedekiah (594-593 B.C.).

As he did in Jeremiah 18:1-17 when he visited the house of the potter, and again in Jeremiah 32:6-15 when he bought a field, Jeremiah here reinforced his prophecy against Babylon by a symbolical action carried out for him by Seriah who read the prophecies first (publicly) and then tied a stone to the scroll and cast it into the middle of the Euphrates.

The importance of this action is seen in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 18:21), where a similar action by a mighty angel of God symbolized the overthrow and destruction of Mystery Babylon the Great.

With regard to that trip which Zedekiah made to Babylon on that occasion in his fourth year as king, Smith sheds some light.

"Zedekiah made that trip possibly with the hope of receiving some favor from Nebuchadnezzar, or because Nebuchadnezzar summoned him to be present for some state occasion; and it is even possible that Nebuchadnezzar suspected the loyalty of Zedekiah and demanded that he appear in Babylon with an explanation of why the ambassadors that year (Jeremiah 27:3) were assembled in Jerusalem from Moab, Ammon, Edom and Phoenicia."

Thus far the words of Jeremiah...

(Jeremiah 51:64). This is called a Colophon, i.e., an editorial note probably inserted by the scribe who connected Jeremiah 52 to Jeremiah as an historical appendix. Very frequently in our Bible studies, we encounter allegations that editors, redactors, and interpolators have added this or that; but here we really have such an example; and let it be noted, that the addition is clearly distinguished from the words of the author. Whoever it was that added Jeremiah 52 evidently felt that it was his duty to point out that it was not written by Jeremiah. It is an instance of the scrupulous care the Jews took in guarding the integrity of their sacred books, which God committed to their keeping.

The fact of this comment’s appearance here demonstrates that the postulation widely accepted by radical critics that all kinds of comments and additions were added to the original writings of the prophets is simply false. The attitude of the nameless scribe who wrote the final sentence of Jeremiah 51:64 effectively disproves it.

THE HISTORY OF THE BABYLON PROPHECY Jeremiah 51:59-64

In the fourth year of his reign king Zedekiah made a trip to Babylon to meet his overlord Nebuchadnezzar. The purpose of this trip is not stated and thus commentators are left to speculate as to why it was undertaken. In that same year a number of ambassadors from the neighboring countries had assembled in Jerusalem to map plans for a new rebellion against the Chaldeans hegemony (chap. 27). Hearing of this conclave, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Zedekiah to Babylon that he might reaffirm his loyalty and renew his vassal oath. Accompanying Zedekiah on the trip was Seraiah the chief chamberlain (not “quiet prince” as in KJV) whose job it was to prepare in advance the royal chambers. No doubt Seraiah would ride one day’s journey ahead of the royal party to make all necessary arrangements at the next halting place along the way. Seraiah was a brother of Baruch, Jeremiah’s faithful scribe, and a friend of the prophet (Jeremiah 51:59). Both Baruch (Jeremiah 32:12) and Seraiah are said to be sons of Neriah.

When Jeremiah learned of the trip to Babylon he seized the opportunity to secure the help of Seraiah in carrying out a very special mission. The prophet gathered together into one book-roll all the oracles against Babylon which he had written or uttered up until the fourth year of Zedekiah. Probably the reason Jeremiah was careful to use one roll (ASV mar) is because a single roll could be handled more easily and safely than two. The phrase “even all these words which are written concerning Babylon” points back to the content of chapters 50–51. Seraiah was given the scroll and commanded to read it aloud in Babylonia (Jeremiah 51:61).

As he opens the scroll he is to summarize its contents (Jeremiah 51:62) before he begins to read. When the reading has been completed he is instructed to bind a stone about the scroll and cast it into the midst of the Euphrates (Jeremiah 51:63). As he does so he is to cry “thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise again” (Jeremiah 51:64).

The words, “they shall be weary” (in Hebrew, one word) are the last words of the Babylon prophecy (cf. Jeremiah 51:58) of chapters 50–51. The repetition of the word by Seraiah serves to join together the symbolic act and the prophecy which has just been read.

Some questions about this episode need to be answered. To whom was Seraiah to read the scroll? Probably not to the Babylonians or even to a large assembly of Jews as this would be fraught with great danger to Seraiah and possibly even to Zedekiah himself. Rather this whole action was performed before certain trustworthy witnesses who would be able to testify in later days as to what they had heard and seen. But what was the purpose of this reading? With respect to the city of Babylon it was an announcement of doom. In view of the circumstances of this journey to Babylon the announcement of judgment is even more significant. While the king of Judah was publicly casting himself in homage before the Chaldean throne, Seraiah was to cast a roll in the Euphrates on which was prophesied the destruction of Babylon and the deliverance of Israel. With respect to God the reading of the scroll was a pledge to His people that He would intervene on their behalf and bring them out of their bondage. Throughout the Years of the exile the people of God could call upon Him to make good the promises contained in this oracle. With respect to the Israelites the reading of the scroll would be a great comfort and no doubt those who heard the reading and witnessed the sinking were called upon to recite again and again the wonderful message.

Still another question which needs to be answered is why was the Babylon scroll sunk in the Euphrates river? The sinking of the scroll was not an act of sympathetic magic such as was practiced among the heathen. By dramatically acting out an event pagan religious leaders believed that they magically were setting the wheels of fate in motion which would actually bring the event to pass. But Jeremiah, the man of God, would certainly not authorize such a superstitious act. The sinking of the scroll in the Euphrates was simply a symbolic act such as was common to the prophetic ministries. The act was a visual aid to the message proclaimed in the scroll; it foretold the doom of Babylon.

A final question of importance: What is the relationship between the scroll sunk in the Euphrates river and the Babylon prophecy of Jeremiah 50:2 to Jeremiah 51:58? As already noted, some feel that the situation reflected in the Babylon oracle is not that of the fourth year of Zedekiah. They have therefore proposed that when Jeremiah rewrote the scroll which he sent to Babylon he added many similar threats against Babylon. For example, those words which suggested that the Temple has already been destroyed under this theory could be assigned to a date subsequent to the fall of Jerusalem. While this theory has much to command it the present writer does not feel that it is necessary. The impression left in Jeremiah 51:60 and in Seraiah’s repetition of the last Hebrew word of Jeremiah 51:58 (cf. Jeremiah 51:64) is that the scroll which he read in Babylon was identical with the prophecy of Jeremiah 50:2 to Jeremiah 51:58.

Prophecies about Foreign Nations - Jeremiah 46:1 to Jeremiah 51:64

Open It

1. What, in your mind, is a good example of a situation in which justice was served?

2. In what strategic defense or weapon would you have the most confidence during a personal attack?

Explore It

3. Why did Jeremiah say that the mighty warriors of Egypt would cower before Nebuchadnezzar? (Jeremiah 46:13-17)

4. Despite the judgment coming on Egypt, what did God promise them eventually? (Jeremiah 46:25-26)

5. What promises did God make to Israel with honesty, justice, and hope? (Jeremiah 46:27-28)

6. To what terrifying natural disaster did God compare the Egyptian conquest of Philistia? (Jeremiah 47:2-5)

7. Where did the people of Moab misplace their trust, sending themselves and their idols into captivity? (Jeremiah 48:6-9)

8. In the context of judging the nations, what curse did Jeremiah pronounce on the lax or merciful? (Jeremiah 48:10)

9. Why would it be particularly appropriate when Moab became an object of scorn and ridicule? (Jeremiah 48:26-27)

10. What brought about Moab’s destruction as a nation? (Jeremiah 48:42)

11. What was the source of Ammon’s false sense of security? (Jeremiah 49:4)

12. What did God promise to the Ammonites when their punishment was complete? (Jeremiah 49:6)

13. How did God say He would treat the helpless, even within the borders of His enemy, Edom? (Jeremiah 49:11)

14. Why did Edom think its location made it invincible? (Jeremiah 49:15-16)

15. How would Damascus along with Kedar and the kingdoms of Hazor also fall under God’s judgment? (Jeremiah 49:23-33)

16. What would eventually happen to the nation of Elam after it was defeated and taken into exile? (Jeremiah 49:37-39)

17. With their enemies facing God’s wrath, what did Jeremiah predict Israel and Judah would do? (Jeremiah 50:4-5)

18. What attitude of the Babylonians in relation to God’s people convinced God to leave them desolate? (Jeremiah 50:11-13)

19. Since the Babylonians had exiled many of the peoples they conquered from their own land, what would happen when God punished them? (Jeremiah 50:16)

20. When Babylon was made accountable to God, what would become of Israel’s guilt? (Jeremiah 50:20)

21. What did Jeremiah tell us about Israel’s Redeemer? (Jeremiah 50:34)

22. To what historic event did God compare the coming destruction of Babylon? (Jeremiah 50:39-40)

23. What were the Babylonians failing to take into account about God’s relationship to Israel? (Jeremiah 51:5)

24. What nation was to become God’s instrument of justice against Babylon? (Jeremiah 51:11-14)

25. How did Jeremiah contrast the God of Israel with the idols of the other nations? (Jeremiah 51:17-19)

26. What religious disgrace of the people of Israel would be remedied by God Himself? (Jeremiah 51:51-53)

27. What message about Babylon was Seraiah to deliver to the exiles in Babylon? (Jeremiah 51:59-64)

Get It

28. Why was it important for the Jews exiled in Babylon to know that Babylon’s great power would soon fall?

29. Why was it important that each instrument of God’s wrath not be lax?

30. In what ways does modern society practice some of the same evil and rebellious attitudes that brought on God’s punishments for these nations?

31. What will become of those who rejoice when one of God’s servants stumbles morally?

32. How does our worship become acceptable to God?

Apply It

33. In what situation can you demonstrate a new attitude toward a Christian who has stumbled?

34. Through what difficult circumstance will you ask God to give you perspective, patience, and (eventually) freedom?

Questions On Jeremiah Chapter Fifty-One

By Brent Kercheville

1 What hope does God give in Jeremiah 51:5? What lessons do we learn about us and about God?

2 What hope does God give in Jeremiah 51:10? What lessons do we learn about us and about God?

3 Who is God using to destroy the Babylonians (Jeremiah 51:11-13)?

4 Describe the imagery God gives about himself (Jeremiah 51:14-16).

Why does God say these things about himself?

What is the audience to understand?

5 Why is idolatry foolish (Jeremiah 51:17-19)?

6 What is the call for God’s people (Jeremiah 51:45-48)? How is this to give the people hope?

7 What hope does God give in Jeremiah 51:52-58? How does this give hope for us?

8 What instructions does Jeremiah give to Seraiah? What’s the message?

TRANSFORMATION:

How does this relationship change your relationship with God?

What did you learn about him?

What will you do differently in your life?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Jeremiah 51". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/jeremiah-51.html.
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