Scripture reading – Jeremiah 51


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The LORD chose Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon to chasten Judah and punish the nations that oppressed Israel and Judah down through the centuries. Arguably, Babylon was the first great world empire, and the other countries of the Middle East and Egypt bowed to the will of the King of the Chaldeans. Yet, like all great and powerful nations before and since, the sins and debauchery of Babylon’s leaders and people proved its downfall.


Jeremiah 51 

The LORD’s Controversy with Babylon (Jeremiah 51:1-3)

Jeremiah’s prophecies against Babylon continued in Jeremiah 51. Leaving no doubt that the LORD is Sovereign of the nations, we read: “1Thus 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” (Jeremiah 51:1).

I wonder if Jeremiah was stunned by the LORD’s revelation when He declared, “Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; Her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces” (Jeremiah 50:2). The LORD foretold Babylon’s adversary would come “out of the north” and leave a path of destruction and the Chaldean nation would become a “land desolate, And none shall dwell therein: They shall remove, they shall depart, both man and beast” (Jeremiah 51:3).

The LORD’s Controversy with Babylon (Jeremiah 51:1-3)

The LORD Remembered His People (Jeremiah 51:4-5)

Amid the LORD’s pronouncement against Babylon came the promise that He had not forgotten His covenant with Israel. Jeremiah assured those in captivity that when Babylon’s demise came, “The children of Israel shall come, They and the children of Judah together, Going and weeping: they shall go, And seek the Lord their God” (Isaiah 50:4). We know captivity lasted seventy years. The majority of those led away to Babylon perished.

Nevertheless, God’s people could look past the hardships and cleave to the promise that the day would come when they would “ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord In a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten” (Jeremiah 50:5).


The LORD Exhorted His People (Jeremiah 51:6-10)

The people of Israel and Judah became like “lost sheep,” led astray by their shepherds (i.e., kings, priests, prophets, Jeremiah 50:6). They “sinned against the LORD” (Jeremiah 50:7). Yet, though living in captivity, they were to be ready, for when the end of Babylon came, they were to “remove out of the midst of Babylon” (Jeremiah 50:8). Again, the LORD foretold the enemy of Babylon would be “an assembly of great nations from the north country” (Jeremiah 50:9).

From the Scriptures and history, we know the “great nations” prophesied would be an alliance of the Medes and Persian countries. The children of Israel and Judah were to be ready and looking for the day they would be set at liberty to return to their land (Jeremiah 51:10).

The LORD’s Warning Against Babylon (Jeremiah 51:11-23)

The LORD’s Warning Against Babylon (Jeremiah 51:11-23)

The LORD did not forget the wickedness of the Chaldeans, which they committed against His people (Jeremiah 50:10). He remembered their joy in destroying His heritage (i.e., Judah, Jeremiah 50:11). Therefore, Babylon would be humbled. Her land would become “a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert” (Jeremiah 50:12). The ruins of Babylon would become an object of scorn (Jeremiah 50:13).

Who could bring that great empire to its knees and leave its capital in ruins? Jeremiah revealed that the LORD would stir the Medes and Persians to attack and destroy Babylon (Jeremiah 51:11). Though seventy years did pass, the destruction and end of Babylon were prophesied as imminent and its fate sealed. 

It was the LORD, the Creator, who was against Babylon. It is He that “made the earth by his power…established the world by his wisdom, And hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding” that determined to destroy the enemy of His people (Jeremiah 51:15). Israel’s God is the Sustainer of nature (Jeremiah 51:16). Our Lord knows the heart and nature of humanity (Jeremiah 51:17-18). He chose Jacob, and “Israel is the rod of His inheritance: The LORD of hosts is his name” (Jeremiah 51:19).

The LORD chose the Medes as His “weapons of war” (Jeremiah 51:11, 20) and determined that Babylon’s army and the citizens of its kingdom would be shattered and broken into pieces (Jeremiah 51:21-23). None of the inhabitants of Babylon would be spared (Jeremiah 51:24-26).


Closing thoughts – The Defeat of Babylon (Jeremiah 51:27-58)

When God sets Himself against a nation and its leaders, no man can save it. Though the LORD employed Nebuchadnezzar’s aspirations for wealth and power to punish the nations, Babylon would not go unpunished (Jeremiah 51:24-41). Describing the scale of the Medes and Persians army, Jeremiah declared, “42The sea is come up upon Babylon: She is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof” (Jeremiah 51:42). Babylon had spoiled other nations, now she would become spoil to her enemies (Jeremiah 51:43-58).

The end of Babylon marked the revival of the children of Israel, who would return to their homeland soon after. All that Jeremiah wrote in his prophecy came to pass. To this day, Babylon has not been rebuilt, and the ruins of that city lie under the sands of the desert as a testimony of God’s judgment (Jeremiah 51:59-64).

Don’t forget, my friend, that the Scriptures are the Word of the LORD, and His promises shall never fail!

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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