Jeremiah 50

1 The word that the LORD spoke concerning Babylon, concerning the land of the Chaldeans, by Jeremiah the prophet. 2 Declare amongst the nations and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and don’t conceal: say, Babylon is taken, Bel is disappointed, Merodach is dismayed; her images are disappointed, her idols are dismayed. 3 For out of the north there comes up a nation against her, which shall make her land desolate, and no one shall dwell therein: they are fled, they are gone, both man and animal. 4 In those days, and in that time, says the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together; they shall go on their way weeping, and shall seek the LORD their God. 5 They shall inquire concerning Zion with their faces turned towards it, saying, Come, and join yourselves to the LORD in an everlasting covenant that shall not be forgotten. 6 My people have been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray; they have turned them away on the mountains; they have gone from mountain to hill; they have forgotten their resting place. 7 All who found them have devoured them; and their adversaries said, We are not guilty, because they have sinned against the LORD, the habitation of righteousness, even the LORD, the hope of their fathers. 8 Flee out of the middle of Babylon, and go out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be as the male goats before the flocks. 9 For, behold, I will stir up and cause to come up against Babylon a company of great nations from the north country; and they shall set themselves in array against her; from there she shall be taken: their arrows shall be as of an expert mighty man; no one shall return in vain. 10 Chaldea shall be a prey: all who prey on her shall be satisfied, says the LORD. 11 Because you are glad, because you rejoice, O you who plunder my heritage, because you are wanton as a heifer that treads out the grain, and neigh as strong horses; 12 your mother shall be utterly disappointed; she who bore you shall be confounded: behold, she shall be the least of the nations, a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert. 13 Because of the LORD’s wrath she shall not be inhabited, but she shall be wholly desolate: everyone who goes by Babylon shall be astonished, and hiss at all her plagues. 14 Set yourselves in array against Babylon all around, all you who bend the bow; shoot at her, spare no arrows: for she has sinned against the LORD. 15 Shout against her all around: she has submitted herself; her bulwarks are fallen, her walls are thrown down; for it is the vengeance of the LORD: take vengeance on her; as she has done, do to her. 16 Cut off the sower from Babylon, and him who handles the sickle in the time of harvest: for fear of the oppressing sword they shall turn everyone to his people, and they shall flee everyone to his own land. 17 Israel is a hunted sheep; the lions have driven him away: first, the king of Assyria devoured him; and now at last Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has broken his bones. 18 Therefore the LORD of Armies, the God of Israel, says: Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria. 19 I will bring Israel again to his pasture, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied on the hills of Ephraim and in Gilead. 20 In those days, and in that time, says the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be no one; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I leave as a remnant. 21 Go up against the land of Merathaim, even against it, and against the inhabitants of Pekod: kill and utterly destroy after them, says the LORD, and do according to all that I have commanded you. 22 A sound of battle is in the land, and of great destruction. 23 How is the hammer of the whole earth cut apart and broken! how is Babylon become a desolation amongst the nations! 24 I have laid a snare for you, and you are also taken, Babylon, and you weren’t aware: you are found, and also caught, because you have striven against the LORD. 25 The LORD has opened his armory, and has brought out the weapons of his indignation; for the Lord, the LORD of Armies, has a work to do in the land of the Chaldeans. 26 Come against her from the utmost border; open her storehouses; cast her up as heaps, and destroy her utterly; let nothing of her be left. 27 Kill all her bulls; let them go down to the slaughter: woe to them! for their day has come, the time of their visitation. 28 The voice of those who flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the LORD our God, the vengeance of his temple. 29 Call together the archers against Babylon, all those who bend the bow; encamp against her all around; let none of it escape: recompense her according to her work; according to all that she has done, do to her; for she has been proud against the LORD, against the Holy One of Israel. 30 Therefore her young men will fall in her streets, and all her men of war will be brought to silence in that day, says the LORD. 31 Behold, I am against you, you proud one, says the Lord, the LORD of Armies; for your day has come, the time that I will visit you. 32 The proud one shall stumble and fall, and no one shall raise him up; and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it shall devour all who are around him. 33 the LORD of Armies says: The children of Israel and the children of Judah are oppressed together; and all who took them captive hold them fast; they refuse to let them go. 34 Their Redeemer is strong; the LORD of Armies is his name: he will thoroughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the earth, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon. 35 A sword is on the Chaldeans, says the LORD, and on the inhabitants of Babylon, and on her princes, and on her wise men. 36 A sword is on the boasters, and they shall become fools; a sword is on her mighty men, and they shall be dismayed. 37 A sword is on their horses, and on their chariots, and on all the mixed people who are in the middle of her; and they shall become as women: a sword is on her treasures, and they shall be robbed. 38 A drought is on her waters, and they shall be dried up; for it is a land of engraved images, and they are mad over idols. 39 Therefore the wild animals of the desert with the wolves shall dwell there, and the ostriches shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited forever; neither shall it be lived in from generation to generation. 40 As when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbor cities of it, says the LORD, so shall no man dwell there, neither shall any son of man live therein. 41 Behold, a people comes from the north; and a great nation and many kings shall be stirred up from the uttermost parts of the earth. 42 They lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel, and have no mercy; their voice roars like the sea; and they ride on horses, everyone set in array, as a man to the battle, against you, daughter of Babylon. 43 The king of Babylon has heard the news of them, and his hands wax feeble: anguish has taken hold of him, pains as of a woman in labor. 44 Behold, the enemy shall come up like a lion from the pride of the Jordan against the strong habitation: for I will suddenly make them run away from it; and whoever is chosen, him will I appoint over it: for who is like me? and who will appoint me a time? and who is the shepherd who can stand before me? 45 Therefore hear the counsel of the LORD, that he has taken against Babylon; and his purposes, that he has purposed against the land of the Chaldeans: Surely they shall drag them away, even the little ones of the flock; surely he shall make their habitation desolate over them. 46 At the noise of the taking of Babylon the earth trembles, and the cry is heard amongst the nations.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-7

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

Verses 8-20

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

Verses 21-32

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

Verses 33-46

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

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