Jeremiah 51:33-64 … THE FUTURE DESTRUCTION OF THE BABYLONIAN EMPIRE.
Q.1. Why will God exact His full vengeance on the Babylonians? – (Jer.51:33-44) =
Q.2. How do you reconcile God’s call to leave Babylon when previously Israel was to accept exile there? – (Jer.51:45-58 c.f. Jer.29:1-14) =
Q.3. What unique way was the prophecy of Babylon’s future destruction to be communicated? – (Jer.51:59-64) =
For thus says the Lord 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 her harvest will come.”
34 “Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon has devoured me;
he has crushed me;
he has made me an empty vessel;
he has swallowed me like a monster;
he has filled his stomach with my delicacies;
he has rinsed me out.[a]
35 The violence done to me and to my kinsmen be upon Babylon,”
let the inhabitant of Zion say.
“My blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea,”
let Jerusalem say.
36 Therefore thus says the Lord:
“Behold, I will plead your cause
and take vengeance for you.
I will dry up her sea
and make her fountain dry,
37 and Babylon shall become a heap of ruins,
the haunt of jackals,
a horror and a hissing,
38 “They shall roar together like lions;
they shall growl like lions’ cubs.
39 While they are inflamed I will prepare them a feast
and make them drunk, that they may become merry,
then sleep a perpetual sleep
and not wake, declares the Lord.
40 I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter,
like rams and male goats.
41 “How Babylon[b] is taken,
the praise of the whole earth seized!
How Babylon has become
a horror among the nations!
42 The sea has come up on Babylon;
she is covered with its tumultuous waves.
43 Her cities have become a horror,
a land of drought and a desert,
a land in which no one dwells,
and through which no son of man passes.
44 And I will punish Bel in Babylon,
and take out of his mouth what he has swallowed.
The nations shall no longer flow to him;
the wall of Babylon has fallen.
45 “Go out of the midst of her, my people!
Let every one save his life
from the fierce anger of the Lord!
46 Let not your heart faint, and be not fearful
at the report heard in the land,
when a report comes in one year
and afterward a report in another year,
and violence is in the land,
and ruler is against ruler.
47 “Therefore, behold, the days are coming
when I will punish the images of Babylon;
her whole land shall be put to shame,
and all her slain shall fall in the midst of her.
48 Then the heavens and the earth,
and all that is in them,
shall sing for joy over Babylon,
for the destroyers shall come against them out of the north,
declares the Lord.
49 Babylon must fall for the slain of Israel,
just as for Babylon have fallen the slain of all the earth.
50 “You who have escaped from the sword,
go, do not stand still!
Remember the Lord from far away,
and let Jerusalem come into your mind:
51 ‘We are put to shame, for we have heard reproach;
dishonor has covered our face,
for foreigners have come
into the holy places of the Lord‘s house.’
52 “Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will execute judgment upon her images,
and through all her land
the wounded shall groan.
53 Though Babylon should mount up to heaven,
and though she should fortify her strong height,
yet destroyers would come from me against her,
declares the Lord.
54 “A voice! A cry from Babylon!
The noise of great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans!
55 For the Lord is laying Babylon waste
and stilling her mighty voice.
Their waves roar like many waters;
the noise of their voice is raised,
56 for a destroyer has come upon her,
her warriors are taken;
their bows are broken in pieces,
for the Lord is a God of recompense;
he will surely repay.
57 I will make drunk her officials and her wise men,
her governors, her commanders, and her warriors;
they shall sleep a perpetual sleep and not wake,
declares the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts.
58 “Thus says the Lord of hosts:
The broad wall of Babylon
shall be leveled to the ground,
and her high gates
shall be burned with fire.
The peoples labor for nothing,
and the nations weary themselves only for fire.”
59 The word that Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah, son of Mahseiah, when he went with Zedekiah king of Judah to Babylon, in the fourth year of his reign. Seraiah was the quartermaster. 60 Jeremiah wrote in a book all the disaster that should come upon Babylon, all these words that are written concerning Babylon. 61 And Jeremiah said to Seraiah: “When you come to Babylon, see that you read all these words, 62 and say, ‘O Lord, you have said concerning this place that you will cut it off, so that nothing shall dwell in it, neither man nor beast, and it shall be desolate forever.’ 63 When you finish reading this book, tie a stone to it and cast it into the midst of the Euphrates, 64 and say, ‘Thus shall Babylon sink, to rise no more, because of the disaster that I am bringing upon her, and they shall become exhausted.’”
Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.
Q.1. Why will God exact His full vengeance on the Babylonians? – (Jer.51:33-44) = Babylon had executed judgment without restraint against Judah. Trials and trouble will either make people angry with God, or will drive His children closer to Him. Consequently, the inhabitants of Zion will cry out to God – May the violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon (Jer.51:34). Though God frequently uses others to discipline us, nonetheless they will not be exonerated, if they have failed to show mercy. Will God hear the cries of His erring children? Absolutely! – Behold, I am going to plead your case and exact full vengeance for you (Jer.51:35).
Q.2. How do you reconcile God’s call to leave Babylon, when previously Israel was to accept exile there? – (Jer.51:45-58 c.f. Jer.29:1-14) = The ministry of Jeremiah spanned five decades, from the reign of the good king Josiah, to beyond the defeat of Jerusalem by Babylon in 586 B.C (c.f. Jer.1:1-3). There is a good case for believing that Jeremiah lived long years, in order to pen the book’s closing scene. Previously, Jeremiah had addressed the exiles, including the prophet Daniel, who had been taken captive to Babylon (c.f. Jer.29:1-14). The latter part of Jeremiah’s prophecies related to the destruction of Babylon, and alluded to the ultimate destruction of Babylon, which the apostle John described in Revelation chapters 17 & 18. Here God informed Jeremiah – Come forth from her midst, My people, and each of you save yourselves from the fierce anger of the Lord … Babylon is to fall for the slain of Israel … Depart! Do not stay! Remember the Lord from afar, and let Jerusalem be on your mind (Jer.51:45, 49-50 c.f. Rev.18:4-5). In fact, the Jews settled in various parts of the world and established synagogues to preserve their heritage. The apostle Paul was able to minister in these synagogues, when he spread the Gospel in the Roman Empire as recorded in Acts.
Q.3. In what unique way was the prophecy of Babylon’s future destruction to be communicated? – (Jer.51:59-64) = Jeremiah closed his ministry by writing about the fall and destruction of Babylon (Jer.51:64). Seraiah was to recite the contents of the scroll out loud when he arrived in Babylon – You, O Lord, have promised concerning this place to cut it off, so that there will be nothing dwelling in it, whether man or beast, but it will be a perpetual desolation (Jer.51:62). He was then instructed to take the scroll, tie it around a heavy stone, and throw it into the middle of the Euphrates. No doubt, all the Chaldeans who heard the message in Hebrew thought Seraiah was a fool. However, he was to respond – ‘Just so shall Babylon sink down and not rise again because of the calamity that I am going to bring upon her; and they will become exhausted (Jer.51:64). That vision of the plunging scroll would foreshadow the future destruction of the godless Babylonian system – Then a strong angel took up a stone like a millstone and threw it into the sea saying, ‘So will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence and will not be found any longer’ (Rev.18:21).
(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)
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