Jeremiah 52 Summary

Jeremiah 52 Image

Today we finish the book of Jeremiah. What we started 57 lessons ago in January of 2016 we will Lord willing finish today!

We spent the last two lessons on God’s promise to destroy proud Babylon in chapters 50 and 51. But last time we ended at verse 58 of chapter 51. So we’ll pick up there today.

Conveying the Message to Babylon

Now, what we heard so far in chapters 50 and 51 has been the content of what God wanted to communicate about Babylon. But now that the content of the message has been communicated, that message needs to be conveyed. And that’s what happens in verses 59 through 64.

KJV Jeremiah 51:59 ¶ The [word/message/order] which Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah, the [grand…] son of Maaseiah, when he went with Zedekiah the king of Judah into Babylon in the fourth year of his reign [582 BC…]. And this Seraiah was [a quiet prince/a quartermaster].

So, Seraiah was a man who was in charge of housing – a quartermaster. He’s the son of Neriah and therefore the brother of Baruch – Jeremiah’s scribe.

And now, we know that Baruch wasn’t very popular with the ruling class in Judah because of his association with Jeremiah, the unpopular prophet who kept denouncing those folks. But Baruch’s brother was not at all like Baruch in that way. We see Seraiah accompanying King Zedekiah on an official trip to Babylon.

Now, the timeframe is 582 BC. That’s about 6 years before Babylon pays Zedekiah a rather unpleasant visit – in order to invade and exile Judah and King Zedekiah. But, apparently at this point Zedekiah was still obedient to Babylon and all was well.

60 So Jeremiah wrote in a [book/single scroll] all the [evil/calamity/judgments] that [should/would] come upon Babylon,
[even/that is] all these words that [are/have been] written against Babylon.

Which we saw in chapters 50 and 51, I might add!

61 And Jeremiah said to Seraiah,

[When thou/As soon as you] comest to Babylon, [and shalt/then] see[, and shalt/to it that you] read all these [words/prophecies];

So, Seraiah was going to speak these words from chapters 50 and 51 in Babylon when he got there.

To whom was he to speak? We don’t know. Maybe in an open place with people listening. Maybe to the king of Babylon. Maybe to no one. I tend to think it was somewhere along the Euphrates River as we’ll see a hint in verse 63. But was anyone there to hear it? We don’t know.

But when Seraiah reads chapters 50 and 51 then this…

62 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.

That’s what Seraiah is to say. Then we see what Seraiah is to do.

63 And it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading [aloud…] this [book/scroll], that thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates:

Then Seraiah is commanded to say one more thing.

64 ¶ And thou shalt say,

[Thus/In the same way] shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise [from/because of] the [evil/calamity/judgments] that I will bring upon her: and they shall [be weary/grow faint/become exhausted].

So, those were Seraiah’s commands.

We don’t see how he actually did or did not do what he was told. But this was what God wanted him to do.

Anyone in Babylon who saw or heard the message and the associated object lesson would have gotten God’s message to that nation.

And with that we see the last phrase of verse 64.

[Thus far are the words of Jeremiah/The prophecies of Jeremiah end here].

It’s not to say that only the first 51 chapters of this book are breathed out by God. It’s just that chapter 52 features no words of Jeremiah. Actually, Jeremiah is nowhere to be found in chapter 52.

In order to have written the account found in chapter 52, Jeremiah would have been in his late sixties when he wrote it. I’ll give my reasons for saying that later on. But the point is that Jeremiah very likely wrote even this last chapter of his book.

Vindication of Jeremiah’s Ministry

With that assumption, we’ll move into chapter 52 – where we basically see a vindication of Jeremiah’s entire ministry.

The Lord had Jeremiah predict punishment for everyone who refused to submit to God’s authority. For decades so many people doubted that message. But in the end it was God and his faithful prophet who – of course – were right.

Intro

The scene is set in verses 1 and 2.

KJV Jeremiah 52:1 ¶ 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/from] Libnah.

2 And he did [that which was evil in the eyes of/what displeased] the LORD, [according to all that/just as/like] Jehoiakim had done.

There are two kings mentioned in these two verses. Zedekiah and Jehoiakim. But if you recall there was actually a king in between those two kings. His name was Jehoiachin or Jeconiah. But he’s not mentioned here. He’s mentioned at the very end of this chapter.

What happens at this point relating to Zedekiah and Jehoiakim is portrayed as tragic. And that’s because they didn’t submit to God’s authority.

But what ends up happening to Jehoiachin/Jeconiah is gracious. But we need to see the tragedy of not submitting to God’s authority before we see the grace given to one who actually did submit to God’s authority later on at the end of this chapter.

3 ¶ For through the anger of the LORD [it/the following events] came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, [till/when] he had cast them out from his presence, [that/here’s how it started:] Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.

Secular history books might state the bare facts of the Babylonian invasion of Judah. They can state the “what” and the “how”. But God here states the “why” of the invasion from divine perspective. Jeremiah has no doubt and leaves no doubt in our minds that this came about because God was angry at the sins of his people.

Babylon Comes

So, Babylon comes in verse 4. About six years after Seraiah proclaimed God’s coming judgement on Babylon earlier in chapter 51.

4 And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month [Jan 15th, 588 BC…], that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and [pitched/set up camp] [against/outside] it, and built [forts/siege ramps/a siege wall] against it round about.

5 So the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.

Babylon Breaks Into Jerusalem

Then Babylon breaks into Jerusalem in verse 6. About 2 ½ years after they set up camp around the city.

6 And in the fourth month, in the ninth day of the month [July 18th, 586…], the famine was sore in the city, so that there was no bread for the people of the land.

7 Then the city was broken [up/into], and all [the men of war/soldiers] fled, and went forth out of the city by night by the 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 [the Judean soldiers…] went by the way of the plain [headed for the Jordan Valley…].

Zedekiah Captured

When that happened, Zedekiah was captured in verse 8.

8 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/deserted] him.

Zedekiah Sentenced & Exiled

Then Zedekiah is sentenced and exiled in verse 9.

9 Then they took the king, and carried him up unto the king of Babylon to Riblah in the [land/territory] of Hamath; where he [gave judgment/passed sentence] upon him.

10 And the king of Babylon [slew/slaughtered] the sons of Zedekiah [before his eyes/while he was forced to watch]: he slew also all the [princes/nobles] of Judah in Riblah.

11 Then he [put out/blinded] the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in chains, and [carried him/led him off] to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death.

And even here we see Jeremiah’s ministry vindicated. What prevented Nebuchadnezzar from killing Zedekiah instead of just blinding him? It’s the fact that God promised that Zedekiah wouldn’t die. He would see the king of Babylon eye to eye. And then see nothing ever again. But he would not die.

Jerusalem Destroyed

Then with their king exiled, Jerusalem is destroyed in verse 12. About one month after Zedekiah was exiled.

12 ¶ Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month [Aug 17th, 586 BC…], which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem,

13 And burned the [house/temple] of the LORD, and the king’s [house/palace]; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the [houses of the great men/large houses], burned he with fire:

14 And all the army of the Chaldeans, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down all the walls of Jerusalem round about.

People Exiled

Then Babylon exiles the Jews in verse 15.

15 Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive [certain/some] of the poor of the people, and the [residue/rest] of the people that remained in the city, and those that [fell away, that fell to the king of Babylon/deserted to Babylon], and the rest of the [multitude/artisans/craftsmen].

Poor Left

But Babylon leaves some poor people behind in verse 16.

16 But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left certain of the poor of the land for vinedressers and for husbandmen.

Temple Dismantled

And then Jeremiah takes a very long time describing in great detail in verses 17-23 how the temple was dismantled.

17 ¶ Also the pillars of brass that were in the [house/temple] of the LORD, and the bases, and the brasen [basin called the…] sea that was in the house of the LORD, the Chaldeans brake, and carried all the brass of them to Babylon.

18 The [caldrons/pots] also, and the shovels, and the [snuffers/trimming shears], and the [bowls/basins], and the [spoons/pans], and all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered, took they away.

19 And the [basons/bowls], and the firepans, and the bowls, and the caldrons, and the candlesticks, and the spoons, and the cups; that which was of gold in gold, and that which was of silver in silver, took the captain of the guard away.

20 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/too heavy to be weighed].

21 And concerning the pillars, the height of one pillar was [eighteen cubits/27 feet]; [and a fillet of twelve cubits did compass it/18 feet in circumference]; and the thickness thereof was [four fingers/three inches]: it was hollow.

22 And a [chapiter/top/capital] of brass was upon it; and the height of [one chapiter/each capital] was [five cubits/7.5 feet], with [network/latticework] and [ornaments in the shape of…] pomegranates upon the [chapiters/capitals] round about, all of brass. The second pillar also and the pomegranates were like unto these.

23 And there were ninety and six pomegranates on [a side/the sides]; [and/in] all the pomegranates upon the network were an hundred round about.

Religious and Political Officials Killed

With the temple dismantled, Jeremiah describes the death of both religious and political officials in Judah.

24 ¶ And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest [not the quartermaster and brother of Baruch…], and Zephaniah the second [-ranked…] priest, and the three keepers of the door:

25 He took also out of the city an [eunuch/official], which had the charge of the men of war;
and seven men of [them that were near the king’s person/the king’s advisers], which were found in the city;
and the [principal scribe of the host/official army secretary], who [mustered/drafted for military service] the people of the land;
and threescore men of the people of the land, that were found in the midst of the city.

26 So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took them, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah.

27 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.

Summary of the Exiles

And now here is something very interesting. In verses 28 through 30 Jeremiah gives us the numbers of exiles sent away in three different exiles of Judah.

Sometimes we might think that there was just one exile of Judah. There were actually three of them.

28 ¶ This is the people whom Nebuchadrezzar carried away captive:

in the seventh year [597 BC…] [three thousand Jews and three and twenty/3,023 Jews]:

So, 597 BC is when Nebuchadnezzar set up Zedekiah as the king of Judah. In that year he also took away these 3,023 Jews as well.

29 In the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar [586 BC…] he carried away captive from Jerusalem [eight hundred thirty and two persons/832]:

So, that’s when Babylon broke into Jerusalem, blinded Zedekiah, and sent everyone away.

Although apparently not quite everyone. Because, remember that the Jews fled to Egypt. Then God promised to judge Egypt and bring Nebuchadnezzar into Egypt as a judgement on his people? Well, I think that’s what we see recorded in verse 30.

30 In the [three and twentieth/23rd] year of Nebuchadrezzar [581 BC…] Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews [seven hundred forty and five/745] persons:

all the persons were [four thousand and six hundred/4,600].

Now, what I think is so interesting and we need to keep in mind forever after this is the number of exiles.

4,600 is not a lot of people. When we think of Israel, at least I tend to think of the census figures back in the book of Numbers that lead us to believe there were about 2 million Israelites at that time.

But after all their sin and rebellion for several hundred years, they’re left with only less than 5,000 people. That’s one quarter of one percent of their original population in the wilderness.

Can we be reminded that sin is devastating? Sin in a nation and sin in a life – it has devastating consequences. Let’s not be deceived about this.

Jehoiachin Treated Well

Well, that was the negative side of Jeremiah’s ministry being vindicated.

But now starting in verse 31 and to the end of this book we have the positive side of this vindication of God’s word through Jeremiah.

Remember, God was teaching everyone that the only way to live was to submit to his authority. Most people didn’t – the Jews, the nations of the world – no one was submitting to God’s authority.

And yet, there was one king who submitted to one little part of God’s authority. Let’s rehearse the fact that God initially told the Jews that if they repented they could be in their land still. But then at some point God closed that option to them. They then had to surrender to Babylon to save their lives.

And most didn’t do it. Most of the Jews rebelled and remained in the land and did not surrender to Babylon.

But one king did. His name was Jehoiachin or Jeconiah. He did go out to Babylon.

Now, this king was a bad guy. God says as much – he did evil in the sight of the Lord. And yet, Jehoiachin did submit to God in this one little area of going out to Babylon.

Hmm, I wonder what happens to such a man who submits to God’s authority in even one little area of his life… Let’s see.

31 ¶ And it came to pass in the [seven and thirtieth/37th] year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the [five and twentieth/25th] day of the month [May 20, 561 BC…], that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the first year of his reign [lifted up the head of/showed favor to/pardoned] Jehoiachin king of Judah, and [brought him forth out of/released him from] prison,

Zedekiah was imprisoned to the day of his death for his rebellion against God. But Jehoicahin here is released from prison!

32 And spake kindly unto him, and [set his throne above the throne of/gave him a more prestigious position than] the [other…] kings that were with him in Babylon,

33 And [Jehoicahin…] [changed/took off] his prison garments: and he did [continually/daily] eat [bread/his meals] [before him/in the king’s presence] [all the days/for the rest] of his life.

34 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.

So, we’re not saying that Jehoiachin had an easy life. He was after all in prison for almost 40 years before this gracious act of this new Babylonian king. And yet, eventually God did act and this king was treated better than any other exiled king in Babylon.

Did Jehoiachin deserve this mercy? No. Why did he get it then? Simply because he submitted to God’s authority in this one little area. And because of that, God showed him mercy.

And that’s how God closes this book. Demonstrating the truth of the message of this book which has been Submit to God’s Authority and Live!

Next week we’ll be in the psalms again – probably Psalm 21.

Jeremiah 51 Commentary

Today we’ll finish God’s message of judgement against Babylon. That message started at the beginning of chapter 50 and now ends in verse 58 of chapter 51.

58 verses. One message. With God’s help!

I would start by noting that God thinks this is an important message. Chapter 50 featured 46 verses on this topic of Babylon getting their day of punishment. And now as I said we have 58 verses in chapter 51 dealing with the same topic. That’s 97 verses – almost 100 verses dealing with Babylon’s judgement.

So, let’s start reading in verse 1.

KJV Jeremiah 51:1 ¶ 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/Leb-Kamai],
a destroying [wind/spirit];

Now stop there. “Leb-Kamai” is a code name for the Chaldeans. The word is constructed by substituting the last letter of the alphabet for the first, the second to last letter for the second, and so on.

A similar thing happens later on when Babylon is referred to as Sheshack. It’s a word formed by substituting letters according to the pattern I just described.

Why does God use these terms for Babylon? Maybe so that the readers do what we just did now – stop and think. Sort of like speed bumps on a road – they make you slow down and consider what you’re reading.

2 And will send unto Babylon [fanners/winnowers], that shall [fan/winnow] her, and shall [empty/devastate/strip bare] her land:

for in the day of [trouble/calamity] they [the winnowers…] shall be against her [Babylon…] round about.

3 Against him that bendeth let the [Medo-Persian…] archer bend his bow,
and against him that lifteth himself up in his [brigandine/scale-armor/coat of armor]:

and spare ye not her young men;
destroy ye utterly all her host.

4 Thus the slain shall fall in the land of the Chaldeans,
and they that are thrust through in her streets.

And as we saw in chapter 50, God here is coupling the destruction of Babylon with the salvation of his people Israel.

Why is God going to punish cruel Babylon?

5 For Israel hath not been forsaken,
nor Judah of his God, of the LORD of hosts;

though their [Israel’s] land was filled with [sin/guilt] against the Holy One of Israel.

God hadn’t forsaken Israel despite their sin. That’s why he would make sure that their abusers were punished.

6 Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul:
be not cut off in [the punishment for…] her iniquity;

for this is the time of the LORD’S vengeance;
he will [render/pay] unto her [a recompence/as she has done].

In other words, get out of there before you get caught up in the destruction, Israel!

7 Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD’S hand,
that made all the earth drunken:

the nations have drunken of her wine [i.e., wrath…];
therefore the nations are mad.

God pictures the effect of Babylon’s invasions as making nations drunk and – ultimately – crazy. But that would all change according to verse 8…

8 [But…] Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed:

Then God speaks to an unidentified audience and says…

howl for her; [take balm/get medicine] for her [pain/wounds], [if so be/perhaps] she [may/can] be healed.

And then it appears that the unidentified audience responds…

9 We [i.e., foreigners living there will say…] [would have healed/tried to heal] Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country:

So, the audience recognizes that healing Babylon will be futile. Why?…

for her judgment reacheth unto heaven [I.e., it will be vast in its proportion…],
and is lifted up even to the skies.

Then the exiles of Judah are given a voice…

10 [The Exiles of Judah say…] The LORD hath brought forth our [righteousness/deliverance/vindication]:
come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God.

Next, the Lord gives orders to the Medo-Persian army…

11 [Make bright/Sharpen] the arrows;
gather the shields:

the LORD hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes:
for his [God’s…] device is against Babylon, to destroy it;

because it is the vengeance of the LORD,
the vengeance of his temple.

Again, God used Babylon to punish his idolatrous people. But Babylon was overly-zealous and brutal in executing their task. Add to that the fact that they were sinners just like Judah – and God needs to deal with them after he deals with all the other nations through Babylon.

And as we saw at the end of verse 11 God was particularly displeased with their treatment of his temple.

God speaks again to the Medo-Persian army…

12 Set up the standard [upon/against] the walls of Babylon, [I.e., a signal to attack the walls…]
make the [watch/guards] strong,
set up the watchmen,
prepare the ambushes:

for the LORD hath both devised and done that which he spake against the inhabitants of Babylon.

The Lord then addresses Babylon…

13 O thou that dwellest upon many waters,
abundant in treasures [I.e., of other nations…],

thine end is come,
and the measure of thy covetousness.

14 The LORD of hosts hath sworn by himself, saying,

Surely I will fill thee with [men/enemy soldiers], as with [caterpillers/locusts];
and they shall lift up a shout [I.e., of victory…] against thee.

Then the Lord speaks of his own power. How is it that God would be able to deal so forcefully with Babylon?…

15 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.

16 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.

But here’s what God is really getting at by reminding Jeremiah about these facts. In light of God’s awesome power, idolatry – the kind that both the Lord’s people as well as every other nation was engaged in – is so foolish.

17 Every [idolatrous…] man is brutish by his knowledge;
every founder is confounded by [the/his] graven image:

for his molten image is falsehood,
and there is no breath in them.

18 They are [vanity/worthless], the work [of errors/of mockery/to be ridiculed]:

in the time of their [visitation/punishment] they shall perish.

What’s to interesting is that God uttered words very similar to these in Jeremiah chapter 10. Only in chapter 10 he was denouncing Judah’s idolatry. Here in chapter 51 he is denouncing idolatry in the context of Babylon’s deserved punishment.

And what both Judah and Babylon and every other nation in this world needs to know is that the Lord is not a fake idol. He’s not a lifeless clump of metal!

19 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.

Next, it appears that God speaks to Babylon, rehearsing how he has used them and – from Jeremiah’s vantage point – would yet use them in the future…

20 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;

21 And with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his rider;
and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his rider;

22 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;

23 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 though God had and would use Babylon to punish the whole earth, Babylon would eventually receive the punishment they deserved – especially in light of their abuse of Judah…

24 ¶ [And/But] 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.

Again, catch the note of vengeance for Babylon’s treatment of Jerusalem.

God continues to address Babylon…

25 [Behold/Beware!], 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.

26 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.

Then God summons the Medo-Persian army once again…

27 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;

Those were three kingdoms whom the Medes conquered. They are located in modern-day eastern Turkey and Western Iran. They would have fought for the Medes when Medo-Persia attacked Babylon.

appoint a captain against her;
cause the horses to come up as the [rough caterpillers/bristly locusts].

28 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.

29 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.

Then the Lord foretells Babylon’s defeat…

30 The mighty men of Babylon have [forborn/ceased] to fight,
they have remained in their [holds/forts]:

their might hath failed;
they became as [frightened…] women:

they [Medo-Persia…] have burned her [Babylon’s…] dwellingplaces;
her bars are broken.

31 One [post/courier] shall run to meet another,
and one messenger to meet another,

to [shew/tell] the king of Babylon that his city is taken [at one end/from end to end/wholly],

32 [continuing the report…] And that the [passages/fords] are [stopped/seized/captured],
and the [marshes of…] reeds they have burned with fire,
and the men of war are affrighted.

33 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/stamp her down firmly/trample her flat]:

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

Then God once again gives voice to the people of Israel. And they are thankful for the vengeance that God is carrying out against Babylon…

34 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/monster],
he hath filled his belly with my delicates,
he hath cast me out.

35 The violence done to me and to my [flesh/relatives] be [upon/paid by] Babylon,
shall the inhabitant of Zion say;

and my blood upon the inhabitants of Chaldea,
shall Jerusalem say.

Then God resolves to defend his people…

36 Therefore thus saith the LORD;

Behold, I will [plead/stand up for] thy [Israel’s…] cause,
and take vengeance for thee;

and I will dry up her [Babylon’s…] sea,
and make her springs dry.

37 And Babylon shall become heaps [of ruins…],
a dwellingplace for [dragons/jackals],
an astonishment,
and an hissing, without an inhabitant.

38 They shall roar [for prey…] together like lions:
they shall yell [for something to eat…] as lions’ whelps.

39 [In their heat/When their appetites are stirred up] I will make [their feasts/a banquet for them],
and I will make them drunken,

that they may rejoice,
and sleep a perpetual sleep,
and not wake,

saith the LORD. [Like Bel Shazar’s feast…]

40 I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter,
like rams with [he/male] goats.

41 How is [Sheshach/Babylon] [taken/captured]!

And again, Sheshach is a code name for Babylon where – if it were in English – “a” would be transposed for “z,” “b” for “y,” and so on…

and how is the praise of the whole earth surprised!
how is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations!

42 The sea is come up upon Babylon: [speaking poetically of the multitude of nations that would invade her…]
she is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof.

43 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.

44 And I will punish Bel [the false god…] in Babylon,
and I will bring forth out of his mouth that which he hath swallowed up:

and the nations shall not [flow together/stream] any more unto him:
yea, the wall of Babylon shall fall.

Then God addresses his people Israel directly. They must leave Babylon at the appointed time of her destruction…

45 My people, go ye out of the midst of her,
and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD.

46 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.

God vows to destroy Babylon’s idols…

47 Therefore, behold, the days come,
that I will do 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.

And there will be great joy over the defeat of Babylon – reminiscent of the New Testament’s “Hallelujahs” in the book of Revelation…

48 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.

Babylon will experience retribution…

49 As Babylon hath caused the slain of Israel to fall,
so at Babylon shall fall the slain of all the earth.

Then once more the Lord urges any Jew who is in Babylon to go back to Jerusalem…

50 Ye that have escaped the sword, go away, stand not still:
remember the LORD afar off, and let Jerusalem come into your mind.

Then Israel is pictured as speaking and lamenting the fact that the temple is occupied by infidels…

51 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.

God once more vows to destroy Babylon and its idols…

52 Wherefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD,

that I will do judgment upon her graven images:
and through all her land the wounded shall groan.

53 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.

54 A sound of a cry cometh from Babylon,
and great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans:

55 Because the LORD hath spoiled Babylon,
and destroyed [out of her/her] [the great/loud] [voice/noise];

when her waves do roar like great waters,
a noise of their voice is uttered:

56 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/who pays back] shall surely [requite/pay back in full].

57 And I will make drunk
her princes,
and her wise men,
her captains,
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.

58 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/strive for what doesn’t satisfy],
and the folk [in the fire, and they shall be weary/weary themselves for what will be consumed by fire].

That’s the end of God’s promise to destroy Babylon. Next time, Lord-willing, we’ll see the end of this book.

Jeremiah 50 Commentary

We’re almost to the end of the section in Jeremiah where God has been declaring judgement on the unrepentant nations of Jeremiah’s day. And this judgement would be meted out by the nation of Babylon.

But today in chapter 50 we’re going to see that after God used Babylon to punish the known-world of Jeremiah’s day, he would turn and punish Babylon for their own sins.

And the sins that God records in the 50th chapter of Jeremiah involve – to a great extent – wrongs done to Israel and Judah.

And so – interestingly enough – in chapter 50 we’ll see a back-and-forth of God speaking of Babylon for a few verses and then speaking to or about Judah and Israel in the next few verses and so on.

Babylon | 1-3

Now, the Lord starts speaking of Babylon in verses 1-3.

KJV Jeremiah 50:1 ¶ The word that the LORD spake against Babylon and against the land of the Chaldeans by Jeremiah the prophet.

Here it is…

2 Declare ye among the nations,
and publish,

and set up a standard [i.e., raise a flag…];
publish,

and conceal not: say,
Babylon is taken [because it would be — some day when Medo-Persia conquered it…],

Bel [one of their gods, very close to “Baal” of Canaan…] is confounded,
Merodach [same false god, different name…] is broken in pieces;

[her/Babylon’s] idols are confounded,
her images are broken in pieces.

3 ¶ For [out of/from] the north there cometh up a nation against her [i.e., Medo-Persia],
which shall make her land desolate,

and none shall dwell therein:
they shall remove,

they shall [depart/flee],
both man and beast.

And so, here’s how this happened in history. You might want to turn to the maps in the back of your Bible.

So, Babylon was God’s “war club” for decades. God used that nation to destroy other nations who were not submitting to his authority. Judah was one of those nations. And Babylon conquered them in 586 BC.

But then as we’re seeing in Jeremiah chapters 50 and 51, Babylon itself would be destroyed by God from this other nation from the north.

This nation was Persia, which is where modern-day Iran is. Persia is just east of Babylon.

Persia – led by their king Cyrus – conquered the land to its north – known as Media in 550 BC. They then came around to the west – north of Babylon – and conquered land in what we know as Turkey. That happened in 547 BC. Then finally in 539 BC, Persia conquered Babylon. And that was about 37 years after Babylon conquered Jerusalem.

And there’s some poetic justice in the fact that Babylon was going to be conquered by an army “from the north.” Because we’ve seen throughout the book of Jeremiah, Judah was being threatened with an army “from the north.” That army was Babylon.

But when God was done with Babylon – the army “from the north” – now we hear that God was going to do away with that nation by using… another army “from the north!”

Israel and Judah Restored | 4-8

Well, when the Medo-Persians came and conquered Babylon, according to verses 4-8 Israel and Judah – who were captives in that nation – would amazingly be restored to their land.

4 ¶ In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD,
the children of Israel shall come [back to Israel!…],

they and the children of Judah together,
going and weeping [in repentance…]:

they shall go,
and seek the LORD their God.

And we can see much of this happening in Ezra and Nehemiah where the captives return to the land of Israel. But I don’t think we see the following there:

5 They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying,
Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a [perpetual/lasting] covenant that shall not be forgotten.

Now, there are several “perpetual covenants” (berith olam) in the Old Testament. The rainbow (Gen 9), circumcision (Gen 17), the Sabbath (Exo 31 and Lev 24), God’s covenant with David that he would have a son to rule on the throne always (2Sa 23).

But the only other time in the book of Jeremiah that we’ve heard of an “everlasting covenant” was in the Book of Encouragement in chapter 32. And we saw there that this covenant was – and therefore will be – the New Covenant that God inaugurated through the blood of Jesus.

So, there are some aspects of this prophecy that have been fulfilled already. And there are some aspects that have yet to be fulfilled. It’s apparent that Israel did not join itself to the Lord in the New Covenant during Ezra and Nehemiah’s time.

Well, God continues in verse 6 by lamenting his people’s deplorable condition.

6 ¶ My people hath been lost sheep:
their shepherds [i.e., leaders…] 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 restingplace.

7 All that found them have devoured them:
and their adversaries said,

[We offend not/We’re not guilty!],
because they [Israel…] have sinned against the LORD,

the habitation of [justice/righteousness], even the LORD,
the [hope/one trusted in] of their fathers.

So, what God is saying here is that Babylon and Assyria before them and whichever other nation that was oppressing Israel was excusing their own brutality based on Israel’s sin against the Lord.

But a time would come when God had enough of that line of reasoning. He would urge his people to flee Babylon…

8 ¶ [Remove/Get] out of the midst of Babylon,
and go forth out of the land of the Chaldeans,
and be as the he goats [before/that lead] the flocks.

Babylon Destroyed | 9-16

Why the urging to flee Babylon? Verses 9-16 have the Lord shifting his focus back to Babylon. And the Lord proclaims that he will destroy that nation – so the Jews needed to get out of there.

9 For, lo, I will raise and cause to come up against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country [Medo-Persia]:
and they shall set themselves in array against her;

from thence she [Babylon…] shall be taken:
their [Medo-Persia’s…] arrows shall be as of a mighty expert man;
none shall return [in vain/empty-handed].

10 And Chaldea shall be a spoil:
all that spoil her shall be satisfied, saith the LORD.

And then God justifies the destruction of Babylon. And he points to Babylon’s cruelty to the Jews.

11 Because ye were glad,
because ye rejoiced, O ye destroyers of mine [heritage/people],

because ye are grown fat as the heifer at grass,
and bellow as bulls;

12 Your mother shall be sore confounded;
she that bare you shall be ashamed:

behold, [Babylon will be…] the [hindermost/least] of the nations shall be a wilderness,
a dry land, and a desert.

13 Because of the wrath of the LORD it shall not be inhabited,
but it shall be wholly desolate:

every one that goeth by Babylon shall be astonished,
and hiss at all her plagues.

And then as if God is speaking to the Medo-Persian army, he says…

14 Put yourselves in array against Babylon round about:
all ye that bend the bow,

shoot at her,
spare no arrows:

for she hath sinned against the LORD.

Now. Jesus stated that whatever someone does to the least of his people, that person does it to Jesus. He asked Saul why he persecuted him – when in fact Saul was persecuting not him directly, but his people the church. And it seems here in the Old Testament God is saying something similar – Babylon had sinned against the Lord. How? By harming his people.

But it was the Lord who used Babylon to destroy his own people. Right?

Yes, but it’s apparent from other passages that Babylon was over-zealous in their destruction of Judah. They weren’t merely executing God’s punishment in a dispassionate sort of way. They were overly cruel. They gloated about it. And so, yes, God would use Babylon to punish his people. But then God would also need to deal with Babylon.

And God was going to use Persia – a nation from the north… to punish Babylon the nation from the north… whom he used to punish his people.

He speaks to Persia again…

15 Shout [the battle cry…] against her round about:
she hath [given/thrown] her hand [in surrender…]:

her foundations are fallen,
her walls are thrown down:

for it is the vengeance of the LORD:
take vengeance upon her;

as she hath done,
do unto her.

16 Cut off the sower from Babylon,
and him that handleth the sickle in the time of harvest:

for fear of the oppressing sword they shall turn every [one/once-captive nation] to his [own…] people,
and they shall flee every one to his own land.

In other words, any foreigners in Babylon would be scattered back to their native countries to avoid the army of Persia.

Israel | 17

Now, we saw in verse 15 that God tells Persia to do unto Babylon as Babylon has done unto others.

Verse 16 says that the people of Babylon should be scattered. That’s just like they did to Israel in verse 17.

17 ¶ Israel is a scattered sheep;
the lions have driven him away:

first the king of Assyria hath devoured him;
and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones.

Babylon | 18

Back to Babylon…

18 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel;

Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land,
as I have punished the king of Assyria.

And the Lord doesn’t state it here, but he actually punished Assyria though Babylon.

Israel | 19-20

And then back to Israel in verses 19 and 20 where Israel returns and is pictured as a peaceful flock grazing…

19 And I will bring Israel again to his habitation,
and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan,
and his soul shall be satisfied upon mount Ephraim and Gilead.

20 In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD,

the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for,
and there shall be none;

and the sins of Judah,
and they shall not be found:

for I will pardon them whom I reserve [to survive…].

This sounds like a result of the New Covenant in which God’s people’s sins and lawless deeds he will remember no longer.

Babylon | 21-27

And now God once more changes his focus back to Babylon. And he again speaks to Persia.

21 Go up against the land of Merathaim, even against it,
and against the inhabitants of Pekod: [apparently two names for Babylon…]

waste and utterly destroy after them, saith the LORD,
and do according to all that I have commanded thee.

22 A sound of battle is in the land,
and of great destruction.

23 How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken! [Who’s that?…]
how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations!

24 I have laid a snare for thee,
and thou art also taken, O Babylon,

and thou wast not aware:

thou art found, and also caught,
because thou hast striven against the LORD.

25 The LORD hath opened his armoury,
and hath brought forth the weapons of his indignation:

for this is the work of the Lord GOD of hosts 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 Slay all her [bullocks/soldiers];
let them go down to the slaughter:

woe unto them!
for their day is come,
the time of their [visitation/punishment].

Israel | 28

But the focus shifts back to Israel in verse 28, and they’re rejoicing that God has avenged his people and his temple – both of which Babylon ruined.

28 ¶ The voice of them that 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.

Babylon | 29-32

Once again God turns his attention back to Babylon in verses 29-32.

29 ¶ Call together the archers against Babylon:

all ye that bend the bow,
camp against it round about;
let none thereof escape:

recompense her according to her work;
according to all that she hath done, do unto her:

for she hath been proud against the LORD,
against the Holy One of Israel.

30 Therefore shall her young men fall in the streets,
and all her men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the LORD.

31 Behold, I am against thee, O thou most proud, saith the Lord GOD of hosts:
for thy day [of reckoning…] is come, the time that I will [visit/punish] thee.

32 And the most proud [Babylon…] shall stumble and fall,
and none shall raise him up:

and I will kindle a fire in his cities,
and it shall devour all round about him.

Israel | 33-34

Then the focus turns back to Israel in verses 33 and 34.

33 ¶ Thus saith the LORD of hosts;

The children of Israel and the children of Judah were oppressed together:
and all that took them captives held them fast; they refused to let them go.

34 [but…] Their Redeemer is strong;
the LORD of hosts is his name:

he shall throughly plead their cause,
that he may give rest to the land,
and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon.

Babylon | 35-46

And then to the end of chapter 50 the focus is on Babylon once more.

Sword and drought are coming to Babylon…

35 A sword is upon the Chaldeans, saith the LORD,
and upon the inhabitants of Babylon,

and upon her [princes/officials/leaders],
and upon her wise men.

36 A sword is upon the [liars/false prophets];
and they shall [dote/be shown to be fools/be silly and feebleminded]:

a sword is upon her mighty men;
and they shall be dismayed.

37 A sword is upon their horses,
and upon their chariots,
and upon all the [mingled people/foreigners/foreign troops] that are in the midst of her;
and they shall become as [frightened as…] women:

a sword is upon her treasures;
and they shall be robbed.

38 A drought is upon her [waters/rivers and canals];
and they shall be dried up:

[for/because] it is the land of graven images,
and [they/the people] are mad [upon/because of] their idols.

39 ¶ Therefore the wild beasts of the desert
with the [wild beasts of the islands/jackals] shall dwell there,
and the [owls/ostriches] shall dwell therein:

and it shall be no more inhabited for ever;
neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation.

40 As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah
and the neighbour cities thereof, saith the LORD;

so shall no man abide there,
neither shall any son of man dwell therein.

41 Behold, a people shall come from the north, and a great nation,
and many kings shall be raised up from the [coasts/remote parts] of the earth.

42 They shall hold the bow and the lance:
they are cruel, and will not shew mercy:

their voice shall roar like the sea,
and they shall ride upon horses,

every one put in array, like a man to the battle,
against thee, O daughter of Babylon.

Now, Jeremiah 6:23 says something very similar to what we just read. It says “They shall lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel, and have no mercy; their voice roareth like the sea; and they ride upon horses, set in array as men for war against thee, O daughter of [not Babylon – but …] Zion.

And now the tables will be turned. Judah is spared and Babylon would be punished.

43 The king of Babylon hath heard the report of them [Persia…],
and his hands waxed feeble:

anguish took hold of him,
and pangs as of a woman in travail.

Jeremiah 6:24 speaking from the perspective of the Jews says, “We have heard the fame thereof [of Babylon…]: our hands wax feeble: anguish hath taken hold of us, and pain, as of a woman in travail.”

44 ¶ Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the swelling of Jordan unto the [habitation of the strong/perennially watered pasture]:
but I will make them suddenly run away from her:

and who is a chosen man, that I may appoint over her?
for who is like me?
and who will appoint me the time [to appear in court…]?
and who is that [shepherd/ruler] that will stand before me?

And we saw God say that very thing about Babylon attacking Edom. And now here we see him using this phrasing to speak of Persia attacking Babylon.

So, God is using the same wording he used of the terror that Judah and Edom would experience from Babylon’s attacking them – and he turns it around on Babylon. Babylon will not be exempt from the fear they inspired in others.

45 Therefore hear ye the counsel of the LORD, that he hath taken against Babylon;
and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the land of the Chaldeans:

Surely the least of the flock shall [draw them/be drawn] out:
surely he shall make their habitation desolate [with/because of] them.

46 At the noise of the taking of Babylon the earth is moved,
and the cry is heard among the nations.

And next time we’ll hear even more about the promised destruction of Babylon.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Ammon and Edom

Turn to Jeremiah 49.

We continue the section in Jeremiah that has God promising judgement for several nations of Jeremiah’s time. They had not submitted to God’s authority – oftentimes by not submitting to Babylon. And therefore they would not “live.” Just like what happened to Judah.

And in the first 22 verses of chapter 49 we’ll see judgement promised on the nations of Ammon and Edom.

You might want to reference the maps at the back of your Bible. Have one hand in the text of Jeremiah and the other hand in the maps section of your Bible.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Ammonites | 1-6

First Ammon. Conquered – according to Flavius Josephus – in 582 BC.

It was a nation east of Israel and northeast of Moab.

KJV Jeremiah 49:1 ¶ Concerning the Ammonites, thus saith the LORD;

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Ammon Took Israel’s Land

And to begin with, the Lord is going to remind the people of Ammon of something they did to God’s people, northern Israel, a while ago.

It turns out that Ammon took Israel’s land when Israel went into exile about 150 years before Jeremiah’s time (722 BC).

Hath Israel no sons?
hath he [no heir/no one remaining to inherit his land]?

why then doth [their king/you people who worship Milcom/Heb:Malcam/Molech] [inherit/take possession of] [the territory of…] Gad,
and his people [dwell/live/have settled] in his cities?

Two things. First Gad was the tribe of Israel whose land was immediately west of Ammon. Gad was between Ammon on the east and the Jordan River on the west.

Second, God says in the KJV that “their king” inherited possession of this land of Gad. And in context you’d be led to believe that the king in focus here is Israel’s king.

But the word translated “their king” is actually in Hebrew Malcam. Malcam was another name for Molech, one of the false gods Ammon would have worshipped.

In other words then, God is asking rhetorically whether Israel had descendants to inherit the land of Gad which God gave to that nation. And then he says it’s as if Israel has no sons because Molech and the people who worship him have set up shop in the land of Gad.

But the problem is that Israel does have sons and eventually they would repossess that land. And so God is saying that it’s premature and really inappropriate for Israel’s land – Gad in particular – to be taken by Ammon.

And when God speaks of Ammon taking the land, he speaks in terms of their false god Malcam doing it. Obviously, God knows that their idol is no god at all. But he’s identifying here the people with their god.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
God Will Give Ammon’s Stolen Land Back to Israel

Well, because Ammon took Israel’s land, God says that he’s going to give it back to Israel someday. And he’s going to make this happen by destroying Ammon.

2 [Therefore/Because you did that], behold, the days come, saith the LORD,
that I will cause [an alarm of war/the sound of the battle cry/a trumpet blast of war] to be heard in Rabbah [the capital city…] of the Ammonites;

and it shall be a [desolate heap/mound covered with ruins],
and [her daughters/its villages] shall be burned with fire:

then shall Israel [be heir unto them that were his heirs/take their land back from those who took it from them], saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Ammon Will Cry B/C Their God Will Be Exiled

Ammon will cry out in pain when they are exiled.

3 [Howl/Wail], [O/you people in] Heshbon, for Ai [in Ammon…] is [spoiled/destroyed]:
cry [out in anguish…], ye [daughters of/people in the villages surrounding] Rabbah,

[gird you with/put on] sackcloth; [lament/and cry out in mourning],
and run to and fro [by the hedges/covered with gashes/inside the walls];

for [their king/your god Milcom/Malcam] shall go into [captivity/exile],
and his priests and his [princes/officials] [together/along with].

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Ammon is Arrogant

God then points to Ammon’s arrogance.

4 Wherefore [gloriest thou/do you brag] [in/about] [the valleys/your great power],
[thy flowing valley/your power is ebbing away], [O backsliding daughter?/you rebellious people of Ammon.]

that trusted in her [treasures/riches], saying,
Who [shall come unto/would dare to attack] me?

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
God Will Bring Fearful Invasion and Exile

And of course, Ammon’s arrogance would appear to be as foolish as it truly was once God dealt with them. And as with the other nations, God would indeed deal with Ammon by bringing a fearful invader to exile them.

5 Behold, I will bring a [fear/terror] upon thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts,
from [all those that be about thee/every side/all directions around you];

and ye shall be [driven out/scattered in] every [man right forth/direction];
and none shall gather [up him that wandereth/the fugitives back together].

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
God Will Restore Ammon

And yet, despite the ruin that God would bring to Ammon, God finishes his prophesy against that nation by promising to restore Ammon in the future.

6 ¶ [And afterward/Yet in days to come] I will [bring again the captivity/reverse the ill fortune/restore the fortunes] of the children of Ammon, saith the LORD.

And it’s quite likely that Ammon was allowed to return to its land after Babylon fell to Persia. And even to this day, the area under discussion is populated. Rabbah – which was the capital of ancient Ammon – is modern Amman, which is the capital of Jordan. The point is – there are people there today.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Edom | 7-22

Next we get to God’s promise to judge the nation of Edom. That’s the nation that descended from Esau – Jacob’s brother. They were south and east of Israel and south of Moab – which itself was south of Ammon.

But before we get into the passage, I want to make a correction from our last lesson. In that message I said that the book of Obadiah spoke of Moab’s mistreatment of Israel when they were invaded by the Assyrians. Actually, Obadiah is about Edom’s mistreatment of Israel. And actually, Obadiah is not about Israel but about Judah. And the events pointed to in that book stem from the Babylonian invasion of Judah rather than the Assyrian invasion of northern Israel.

So, with that out of the way, let’s get to God’s promise to judge Edom.

7 Concerning Edom, thus saith the LORD of hosts;

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Wise Counselors Turned Foolish

To begin with, God was planning to do what he often does when he judges a nation. He makes their wisest people fools.

Is wisdom no [more/longer to be found] in Teman?
is [counsel/good advice] [perished/lost] from the [prudent/counselors]?
is their wisdom [vanished/turned bad/decayed]?

Teman was the name of one of Esau’s grandsons. There was a city in the south of Edom named after him. And in this context, Teman basically represents poetically all of Edom.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Foreign Nations to Flee from Edom

And when the wise men of a nation turn fools and God’s judgement is obviously on that nation, it’s not unheard of that the resident aliens in that land will discern the signs of the times and leave. And that’s what we see urged on some of Edom’s resident aliens in verse 8.

8 Flee ye, turn back,
[dwell deep/dwell in the depths/take up refuge in remote places], O inhabitants of Dedan;

for I will bring [the calamity/disaster] [of/on the descendants of] Esau upon him,
[the/it is] time that I will [visit/punish] him.

Dedan was a land in the desert south and east of Edom. This group from that land had apparently immigrated to Edom at some point – probably because of something positive they saw happening in Edom. But when God’s judgement falls of Edom, they will want to run from it.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Edom’s Fate Worse Than Being Robbed

And that’s because Edom’s fate is worse than if a man were robbed by thieves, according to verses 9 and 10.

9 If grapegatherers come to thee [to pick grapes…],
would they not leave some [gleaning grapes/grapes behind]?

if [thieves/robbers] [came…] by night,
they will [destroy/pillage] till they have [enough/what they need].

And the answer to that first question is “yes.” An ancient grape gatherer leaves some grapes behind typically. Just like a thief usually leaves something behind – he doesn’t steal every single thing in the house he robs.

But that’s not how God was going to be when he judged Edom. There would be nothing left when he was done with them.

10 But I have made Esau bare,
I have uncovered his [secret/hiding] places, and he shall not be able to hide himself:

his [seed/children] is spoiled, and his [brethren/relatives], and his neighbours, and he is [not/no more].

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Yet, God Will Care for the Needy

Yet, interestingly enough in the next breath, God says that he will care for the needy among Edom.

11 Leave [behind…] thy [fatherless children/orphans], I will preserve them alive;
and let thy widows [trust in/depend on] me.

Orphans and widows were two groups in the Old Testament that God often spoke of being concerned for. And here too he says that he will take care of any orphans and widows that are left in Edom.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Edom Won’t Escape Judgement

And perhaps God’s concern for the orphans and widows of Edom would lead us to believe that he would want to take it easy on that nation. But we’re going to see now that he cannot allow them to escape this punishment.

12 ¶ For thus saith the LORD;

Behold, they whose judgment was not to drink of the cup have assuredly drunken;
and art thou he that shall [altogether/completely] go unpunished?

thou shalt not go unpunished,
but thou shalt surely drink of [it/the cup of my wrath].

In other words, relatively innocent people are going to be caught up in this punishment – including some of those orphans and widows just mentioned. That’s unavoidable when war breaks out – innocent people die.

But since that’s the case, it’s not as if God can exempt Edom from this doom. Innocent people have died. And would it be right for guilty Edom to avoid that same fate?

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Sworn Destruction

Well, the answer is no. Edom cannot avoid destruction. After all, God tells Edom that he has sworn to destroy them.

13 For I have sworn [by myself/solemnly], saith the LORD,
that Bozrah shall become a [desolation/pile of ruins],

a reproach, a waste, and a curse;
and all the cities thereof shall [be perpetual wastes/lie in ruins forever].

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Edom and the Nations

And when God brings this punishment on Edom, it would involve many nations around them.

Of course, Babylon was one of those nations. Their role was to invade and destroy and exile.

But other nations would play their part in despising the destroyed Edom.

14 I have heard a [rumour/message] from the LORD,
and [an ambassador/a messenger/an envoy] is sent [unto/among] the [heathen/nations], saying,

Gather [ye/yourselves/your armies] together, and come against her,
and rise up to the battle.

15 For, lo, I will make thee [Edom…] small among the [heathen/nations],
and despised [among/by all] men.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Edom’s Arrogance Would Not Deliver Them

So, Edom would be despised after Babylon invaded them.

And that’s interesting because their pride previous to that defeat was notorious. And that pride deceived them. In their pride, they were thinking that they were invincible. But it would turn out that their pride wouldn’t deliver them from Babylon.

16 [Thy terribleness/The terror you inspire in others] hath deceived thee,
and the [pride/arrogance] of thine heart,

[O thou that/You may] [dwellest/make your home] in the clefts of the rock,
[that/you may] [holdest/occupy] the [height/highest places] of the hill:

[though/but even if] thou shouldest make thy nest as high as the eagle,
I will bring thee down from thence, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
The Reaction of Passersby

And the oft-repeated result of God’s punishment is here spoken of Edom. God previews the reaction of any passerby when they see Edom’s destruction.

17 ¶ Also Edom shall be [a desolation/an object of horror]:
every one that [goeth/passes] by it shall be [astonished/horrified/filled with horror],
and shall hiss [out their scorn…] at all the [plagues/wounds/disasters] thereof.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Edom to be Like Sodom and Gomorrah

Why this reaction of astonishment and hissing scorn? Because God will make Edom like Sodom and Gomorrah – those prototypical cities of destruction.

18 As in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah
and the neighbour cities thereof, saith the LORD,

no man shall abide there,
neither shall a son of man dwell in it.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Edom Will Flee

And so, Edom will flee with no ruler to stand against God’s punishment.

19 [Behold, he shall come up like a lion/A lion coming up] from the [swelling/thick undergrowth] [of/along the] Jordan [against the habitation of the strong/scatters the sheep in the pasture land around it/against a perennially watered pasture]:
[but/so too/for] I will [suddenly make/chase] [him/the Edomites] [run away from her/off their land]:

So, just like a lion coming up from the banks of the Jordan River – where he was in hiding in the thick vegetation – so, too would Babylon come to Edom. And just like sheep would be frightened and scattered at such an event, so too would Edom.

[and who is a chosen man/whomever I choose], that I [may/will] appoint over [her/it]?
for who is like me?
and who will [appoint me the time/summon me into court/call me to account]?
and who is that [shepherd/ruler] that will stand [before/up against] me?

So, with the metaphorical sheep of Edom being scattered by the metaphorical lion of Babylon – God pictures himself as seeking to appoint another shepherd over that nation – another ruler.

And if Edom didn’t like this setup, well, God says, who’s going to call me into court?

And then God’s last statement is either saying that no one can stand up against him. Or it’s saying again that he’s seeking another shepherd to rule over Edom.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
God’s Plan for Edom

And that all sounds like God has a plan for Edom. But it was a plan that involved the destruction of their people and their land.

20 Therefore hear the [counsel/plan] of the LORD, that he hath [taken/planned] against Edom;
and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the inhabitants of Teman:

Surely the [least/little ones] of the flock [shall draw them out/they shall drag off]:
surely he shall make their [habitations/pasture] desolate [with/because of] [them/what they’ve done].

Again, drawing from that theme of the lion scattering the sheep.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Edom’s Fate Known Far and Wide

And with the magnitude of Edom’s destruction, it would become known far and wide.

21 The earth [is moved/has quaked] at the noise of their [fall/downfall],
at the cry [of their anguish…] the noise [thereof/of that cry] was heard [in/at/all the way to] the [Red sea/Gulf of Aqaba].

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Babylon Coming

And the prophecy of Edom ends with one last reminder that Babylon is coming.

22 Behold, [he/a nation] shall [come/mount] up and [fly/swoop] as the eagle, and spread his wings [over/against] Bozrah:
and at that day shall the heart of the [mighty men/soldiers] of Edom be as the heart of a woman in [her pangs/labor].

Notice that God does not promise to restore Edom in the future like he typically has with the other nations. Egypt and Moab were promised restoration. So was Judah. Philistia and now Edom have not been issued such promises.

Next we’ll see God’s promise to punish Damascus, Kedar, Hazor, and Elam.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary vv. 23-39
Damascus, Kedar, Hazor, and Elam

We’re still in the section of Jeremiah that runs from chapter 46 through chapter 51.

In this section we’re told of the fate of the nations of Jeremiah’s day – namely, the ones that did not submit to God’s authority. And because of their lack of submission they would not live. God would have to punish them. And he would do that just like he did with Judah – by bringing Babylon to destroy them.

And so, in this section we’ve seen God’s promise to destroy Egypt in chapter 46. The Philistines in chapter 47. Moab in chapter 48. And then the first 22 verses of chapter 49 last time spoke of the destruction of Ammon and Edom.

Now in verses 23-39 of chapter 49 we have the punishment of four geographical areas – Damascus, Kedar, Hazor, and Elam.

And then next time we’ll see Babylon’s destruction in chapters 50 and 51.

Now, I just want to say that in the world of running – especially in the context of running longer races like marathons – there’s a phenomenon called “hitting the wall.” It’s a condition caused by glycogen being depleted from your muscles and liver. And it’s usually accompanied by negative feelings that urge the runner to quit.

Now, this is our 54th lesson in this book. We’ve been studying this book for over a year. To top it off, we’re now in a section that – to me – doesn’t seem to be a climax point. The climax of the book seemed to be in the previous section that we’ve recognized as the “Bitter End of Judah.” So, now we’re in a section that continually plays the same note of judgement on nations – most of which don’t even exist today.

I’m just saying that I feel like I’m “hitting the wall.” And it could be that some of you feel that way, too.

But the advice offered to those who are experiencing this condition in the running world includes taking the next step – for example, a runner should have in his mind the goal of taking the next city block.

So, with God’s help we’re going to take the next “city block” and cover the rest of Jeremiah 49 today!

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Damascus | 23-27

But for today, we’ll start with God’s prophecy against the ancient city of Damascus.

KJV Jeremiah 49:23 Concerning Damascus.

You might want to turn to the maps in the back of your Bible as we deal with the geography in this chapter.

Unlike most of the other geographical areas that God has dealt with in this section – which have all been nations (Egypt, Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Edom) – Damascus was and still is today a city – not a nation.

To this day, Damascus is located northeast of Israel. Today it’s in the nation of Syria. In Old Testament times it was sometimes referred to as the capital of Aram and sometimes of Syria.

This city was often hostile to Israel. David brought Damascus under subjection to Israel. But a later king – Ahaz – saw in that city an idolatrous altar whose pattern he brought back to Israel to make a replica. And eventually Assyria came through about the time they conquered Israel in 722 BC and they conquered Damascus as well.

And yet, the city apparently recovered after that. And so, now God is addressing the reconstituted city of Damascus in this chapter about 150 years after it was initially taken by Assyria.

Now, God starts by stating that not only Damascus – but two other cities on the way to Damascus will be weakened as Babylon comes to destroy them.

Here are the two other cities to begin with.

Hamath [is confounded/will be dismayed [prophetic perfect-“good as done”]/are put to shame],
and Arpad:

Let’s get some geography in our mind at this point.

Damascus is a little north and east of Mount Hermon which is on the northern border of northern Israel.

Hamath is about 100 miles north of Damascus. And Arpad is about 100 miles north of Hamath.

Why are these two other cities mentioned here? Probably because they would have been on the path of Nebuchadnezzar as he entered this land area from the north. He would have started at Arpad, come down to Hamath, and then entered Damascus – from north to south.

So, Hamath and Arpad are confounded, as we’ve already heard…

for they have heard [evil tidings/bad news]:
they are [fainthearted/disheartened];

there is [sorrow/anxiety] [on/by] the sea;
it cannot be [quiet/calmed].

Damascus is about 60 miles from the Mediterranean Sea. Hamath and Arpad are also fairly close to the sea. I assume this is why the sea is brought into the action here – because of its proximity to these cities.

So, that was the weakness of Hamath and Arpad – cities north of Damascus that would have served as stopping points for Nebuchadnezzar.

And now in verse 24 we have Damascus itself being weakened.

24 Damascus [is waxed feeble/has become helpless],
and turneth herself to flee,

and [fear/panic] hath [seized on/gripped] her:
[anguish/distress] and [sorrows/pangs] have taken her, as a woman in [travail/childbirth/labor].

Then we have this rather puzzling statement in verse 25.

25 How is the city of praise [not left/not been deserted/deserted],
the city [of my/that was once filled with] joy!

The “city of praise” is most certainly Damascus. Apparently it was a city praised by men for its strength, etc. That much is simple enough.

But the KJV says that Damascus was “not left.” It wasn’t forsaken.

Well, Forsaken by whom? I have to assume this is speaking of the city not being left or forsaken by Babylon. But we usually think of being forsaken as a bad thing. Yet, in this case, to have been left or forsaken by Babylon would have been a welcome thing. And yet, this city would not be ignored by the invading Babylonian army. So, that’s how Damascus – the city of men’s praise – was not left or forsaken.

But then God apparently is calling Damascus the city of his joy. How could God consider the city of a pagan nation that he now has to destroy the city of his joy?

I can’t say I fully understand God’s thoughts toward Damascus. But I am familiar with a story that has seemed a little mysterious to me – kind of like this verse. It involves Aram – the nation of which Damascus was the capital. And It’s found in 1 Kings 19 where God tells Elijah to go and anoint a man named Hazael to be king of Aram.

God sent his prophet to appoint a king over a non-Jewish nation. Did that ever strike you as peculiar? It has seemed to me like God is pretty much mostly concerned for Israel throughout the Old Testament. And yet, here he is showing concern for who rules Damascus – and apparently the Arameans accept God’s choice of king. They didn’t reject God’s anointed king over them.

So, I can’t necessarily explain why God calls Damascus the city of his joy. But I do think there is more to the relationship between God and Damascus than we would tend to assume or understand. But the Lord did definitely have an interest in that city.

Well, because Babylon wouldn’t leave this city alone – wouldn’t forsake it – verse 26…

26 Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets,
and all [the men of war/her soldiers] shall be [cut off/destroyed/silenced] in that day, saith the LORD of hosts.

And through the instrument of Babylon, God says…

27 And I will [kindle a/set] fire in the wall of Damascus,
and it shall [consume/devour] the [palaces/fortified towers] of Ben[-]hadad.

Ben Hadad was a name that was common to the kings of Damascus. There was a Ben Hadad in the time of king Asa of Judah around 900 BC according to 1 Kings 15.

About 50 years later in 850 BC there was another Ben Hadad in the time of Omri and Ahab according to 1 Kings 20.

And then fifty years after that there was one more Ben Haded in the time of Jehoash according to 2 Kings 13.

And that ends God’s prophecy against Damascus. And you’ll notice that God gives no promise of restoration for that city. I’m not quite sure if there’s any significance to that beyond the fact that these people had not promise that God would bring them back to their land after being exiled by Babylon.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Kedar and Hazor | 28-33

Moving on, God prophesies the destruction of these two places called Kedar and Hazor.

28 Concerning Kedar, and concerning the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchad[r/n]ezzar king of Babylon [shall smite/conquered/defeated], thus saith the LORD;

Now, Kedar is apparently a group of people descended from Ishmael – one of Abraham’s sons (according to Genesis 25:13). In Isaiah 21 this group is associated with the Temanites and Dedanites which were two Arabic tribes in the northern Arabian desert. Isaiah 60 says these people of Kedar were sheep breaders. Psalm 120 says they lived in tents. Isaiah 42 tells us they lived in unwalled villages.

Outside of Scripture, Assyrian records claim that this group was involved in fighting with Assyria starting in about 850 BC. And from Babylonian records we know that Babylon defeated this group in 599 BC – about 13 years before Judah fell to Babylon.

As for Hazor – we don’t hear anything else about this particular Hazor outside of this chapter in the Bible. There’s a Hazor in Israel but this is apparently a different group. This Hazor was likely similar to the people of Kedar who lived in tents out in the Arabian desert east of Ammon and Moab and Edom.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Kedar | 28-29

So, God starts his message to these two groups by first singling out Kedar. And though he’s speaking of Kedar, he’s actually addressing Babylon.

Arise ye [army of Babylon…], go up [to attack…] to Kedar,
and [spoil/lay waste/devastate] the men [of the east/who live in the eastern desert].

Again, this group lived to the east of Ammon, Moab, and Edom in the desert over there. And so, they’re referred to as “children of the east” here.

29 Their tents and their flocks [shall they take/will be taken] away:
[they shall take to themselves/will be carried off] their curtains, and all their [vessels/equipment], and their camels;

Babylon will take their tents and flocks and curtains and vessels. And apparently – in addition to looting all their stud – Babylon would also verbally taunt them.

and [they/people] shall [cry/shout] unto them,
[Fear/Terror] is on [every side/all around you] [Magor Misabib…].

So, that’s Kedar. Also note the absence of a promise of return to their land.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Hazor | 30-33

Next, God turns his attention to Hazor.

30 Flee, get you far off, [dwell deep/dwell in the depths/take up refuge in remote places],
O ye inhabitants of Hazor, saith the LORD;

Just like God told the Dedanites who were living in Edom (Jer 49:8). It seems like when God was telling these nomadic groups to flee out into the desert he told them to “dwell deep.”

for Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath [taken counsel against/laid out plans to attack] you,
and hath [conceived/devised/formed] a [purpose/scheme/strategy] [against/on how to defeat] you.

Then God switches focus from addressing Hazor to addressing again the Babylonian army.

31 Arise [Army of Babylon…], get you up unto the [wealthy/at-ease/peaceful and secure] nation,
that dwelleth without care, saith the LORD,

which have neither gates nor bars [for protection…],
which dwell alone.

And because the well-armed Babylonian army would be attacking this peaceful and unprotected city, the following would inevitably be the case…

32 And their camels [shall be a booty/will be taken as plunder],
and the [multitude/vast herds] of their cattle [as…] a spoil:

So, that’s the fate of their stuff. Now, God foretells the fate of their own persons. What will happen to them?

and I will scatter [into all/to the four] winds them that [are in the utmost/cut the] corners;
and I will bring their [calamity/disaster] from all [sides thereof/every direction], saith the LORD.

And with the people exiled, other creatures would end up inhabiting their living spaces.

33 And Hazor shall be a dwelling for [dragons/jackals only],
and a desolation [for ever/permanently]:

So, it will be empty of all but jackals. And, to once more emphasize the fact that humans won’t reside there any more…

there shall no man abide there,
nor any son of man dwell in it.

And we see once more a prophecy that ends with no promise of future restoration.

Jeremiah 49 Commentary
Elam | 34-39

Last, God addresses Elam.

34 ¶ The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against Elam in the [beginning/early part] of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying,

This is probably 598 BC. A little over 10 years before the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC.

Now, Elam was in what is now Iran. It’s basically on the eastern border of ancient Babylon.

I think the geographical movement of the prophecies in this section is interesting.

We started far west with Egypt. Then we moved east to Philistia. Then we moved even further east with Ammon, Moab, and Edom. We moved north with Damascus. Then we came back father east with Kedar and Hazor. And now finally we’re really far to the east with Elam.

So, God has moved in his mind generally from west to east in his foretelling the destruction of these nations. And then of course for the next two chapters he’ll deal with another nation in the east – Babylon.

So, on to what God says about Elam.

To begin, God says he himself will destroy the military capacity of this nation.

35 ¶ Thus saith the LORD of hosts;

Behold, I will [break the bow/kill all the archers] of Elam,
[who are…] the chief [source…] of their [military…] might.

And with the military strength of that nation in ruins, God will send Babylon to conquer and exile them.

36 And upon Elam will I bring [enemies that are like…] the four winds from the four quarters of heaven,
and will scatter [them/Elam] toward all those winds;
and there shall be no nation whither the [outcasts/refugees] of Elam shall not come.

37 For I will cause Elam to be [dismayed/shattered/terrified] before their enemies,
and before them that seek [their life/to kill them]:

and I will bring [evil/calamity] upon them,
even my fierce anger, saith the LORD;

and I will send [the sword/armies] after them,
till I have consumed them:

And God would destroy their rulers so that he alone would rule over Elam – probably in the form of Babylon ruling over them.

38 And I will [set/establish] my [throne/sovereignty] [in/over] Elam,
and will destroy from thence [the/their] king and the princes, saith the LORD.

And for this final prophecy of this chapter, Elam is given the promise of future restoration.

39 ¶ But [it shall come to pass in the latter days/in days to come],
that I will [bring again/restore/reverse] the [captivity/fortunes/ill fortune] of Elam, saith the LORD.

And so, we’ve heard a lot about how Babylon was going to punish these nine people groups of the ancient world. But Babylon itself would eventually be the tenth nation to be judged by the Lord. We’ll see that next time.

Jeremiah 48 Commentary

Moab (48:1-20)

Now, for the entirety of chapter 48 – all 47 verses of it! – we have God’s message of judgement for Moab.

Intro (48:1a)

We’re given an introduction to this message at the beginning of verse 1.

48:1 ¶ Against Moab thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel;

Now, Moab was the country on the south-east side of the Dead Sea. When Israel came up from Egypt they passed through Moab. But God didn’t allow them to attack that nation.

Genesis 19 tells us that Moab was the result of an incestuous relationship between Lot – who was Abraham’s nephew – and Lot’s oldest daughter. As awful as the truth is, both she and her younger sister had children “by their father” – or in Hebrew “me aviy nu” (מֵאָבִ֖ינוּ). And that’s perhaps how Moab got his name – in Hebrew “mow av” (מוֹאָ֑ב).

At any rate, this nation – that was known by the name of their ancestor Moab – started off being obedient to Babylon. As recent as 598 BC they sent bands of men to harass Jehoiakim on Babylon’s behest. But then about 4 years later in 594 BC we see emissaries from Moab visiting Zedekiah king of Judah when plans for revolt against Babylon were being discussed – according to Jeremiah 27:3.

So, at some point, Moab went from obedience to Babylon to rebellion. And whatever the time frame for that happening – the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus tells us that Babylon conquered Moab in 582 BC.

But before any of that happened, God was going to predict that he was sending Babylon to destroy Moab.

Doom for Northern Cities (48:1b-2)

And because that was the case, Babylon would of course be coming from the north. That’s why we see in verses 1 and 2 doom pronounced for a few of the cities in the north of Moab.

[Woe unto/Sure to be judged is] Nebo!
[for/indeed] it [is/will be] [spoiled/laid waste/destroyed]:

Kiriathaim [is/will] [confounded/put to shame/suffer disgrace] and [taken/captured]:
[Misgab/Its fortress] [is/will] [confounded/put to shame/suffer disgrace] and [dismayed/broken down/be torn down].

Both of these cities – Nebo and Kiriathaim – are north of the Arnon River – which is about half way up the Dead Sea on the east side. These two cities north of the Arnon were in an area that originally belonged to Moab. But then Sihon took it from Moab. And finally it was conquered by Israel and given to the tribe of Reuben. Israel ended up losing possession of this land as they kept growing weaker and so at this point it’s very likely that Moab regained possession of these cities and this land north of the Arnon.

2 There shall be no more [praise/renown] of Moab:

in Heshbon they [have devised/planned] [evil/disaster] against it;

[Saying…] [“] come, and let us [cut it off from being a/put an end to that] nation. [”]

Now, Heshbon is another one of these cities in the north of Moab. It – like the other two cities mentioned before — used to belong to Moab. But Heshbon was actually taken by Sihon to be his capital according to Numbers 21:26-30. Then when Israel came in to the land they assigned Heshbon to Reuben. And then they lost it and finally Moab was in possession of it once more.

Doom for Southern Cities (48:2b-5)

So, the destruction that would start in those northern cities would not stop there. The destruction – according to verses 2 through 5 would spread down into the southern cities of Moab.

Also thou shalt be [cut down/brought to silence/destroyed], O [City of…] Madmen [מַדְמֵ֣ן];
[the sword/a destructive army] [shall pursue/will march against] thee.

3 [A voice of crying/Cries of anguish] shall be from Horonaim,

[“] [spoiling/desolation/oh, the ruin] and great destruction. [”]

4 Moab [is destroyed/will be crushed];
her little ones [have caused a cry to be heard/have made a cry/will cry out in distress].

5 For [in the going up/at the ascent] of Luhith [continual weeping shall go up/they go up weeping];
for [in the going down/at the descent] of Horonaim [the enemies/they] [have heard/will hear] [a cry of destruction/the distressed cry/the cries of distress].

Now, we don’t know exactly where Horonaim and Luhith were located from archaeology. But Isaiah 15:5 associates these two cities with a city called Zoar. Zoar was in southern Moab – at the southern tip of the Dead Sea. It’s where Lot and his daughters fled from the destruction of Sodom. Since that’s the case these other two cities were probably also in the south of Moab.

Flee Before Defeat Comes to gods and Kings (48:6-7)

Now, in light of this destruction that will start in the north and work its way down south, Moab is urged to flee before defeat comes to both their kings and their false god. We see this alert issued in verses 6 and 7.

6 [They will hear…] [Flee/Run], save [your lives/yourselves!],
[and/even if you must] be like [the/a lonely] [heath/juniper/shrub] in the [wilderness/desert].

7 For because thou [Moab…] hast trusted in [thy works/the things you do] and in thy [treasures/riches],
thou shalt also be [taken/conquered]:

And [your god…] Chemosh (כְמוֹשׁ) shall go forth into [captivity/exile]
with his priests and his [princes/officials] together.

Now, Chemosh (כְמוֹשׁ) was the god of Moab. Part of his worship involved child sacrifice. Solomon introduced his worship into Israel and Josiah was the one to finally snuff it out.

But not only would this false god be eradicated from Israel, but he would be exiled from his home nation of Moab. We’ve already seen God promise in chapter 43 that Egypt’s gods would be carried off into exile. So this seemed to be a regular practice of victorious armies of those days – to carry off the patron gods of the lands they conquered.

No Town Spared (48:8)

Now, when this defeat came for Moab, no town would be spared. That’s what God says in verse 8.

8 And the [spoiler/destroyer] shall come [upon/against] every [city/town],
and no city shall escape:

the [towns in the…] valley also shall [perish/be destroyed],
and the [cities on the high…] plain shall be [destroyed/laid waste],

as the LORD hath spoken.

Flight for Moab (48:9)

And because no town would be spared the effects of the Babylonian invasion, the Lord commands an unknown character to give wings to Moab so it can flee in verse 9.

9 [Give wings unto/Set up a gravestone for] Moab,
[that/for] it [may/will certainly] [flee and get away/fly away/be laid in ruins]:

for the cities thereof shall be desolate,
without any to dwell therein.

Curse for Slackness (48:10)

And God is so intent on destroying Moab with its detestable idol Chemosh that he issues a curse to any Babylonian who doesn’t destroy Moab with the utmost zeal and violence in verse 10.

10 ¶ Cursed be he that doeth the work of the LORD [deceitfully/with slackness/with laxness],
and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from [blood/bloodshed/carrying out his destruction].

Moab Like Wine (48:11-12)

Next in verses 11 and 12 the Lord compares Moab to old wine whose dregs have settled to the bottom.

11 Moab hath [been at ease/lived undisturbed] from [his youth/its earliest days],
and [he/its people] [hath settled/are like wine allowed to settle undisturbed] on [his/its] [lees/dregs],

and hath not been [emptied/poured out] from [vessel/one jar] to [vessel/another],
neither hath he gone into [captivity/exile]:

therefore his taste remained [the same…] in him,
and his scent is not changed.

And for those of us who don’t know much about wine production – which I trust is most of us – the picture painted here is that Moab had never been exiled and therefore was complacent and had never changed his evil ways.

Continuing the wine motif…

12 ¶ Therefore, behold, the days [come/are coming], [saith/declares/affirms] the LORD, that I will send unto him [wanderers/pourers/ones who will empty out Moab], that shall [cause him to wander/pour him], and shall empty his [vessels/towns of their people], and break their [bottles/jars in pieces/towns].

Moab Ashamed of Idol (48:13)

And when these pourers come to pour out the old sediment-filled bottle of wine that Moab had become – that is to say, by exiling them – then Moab would finally be ashamed of their awful idol Chemosh according to verse 13.

13 And Moab shall be [ashamed of/disappointed by their god] Chemosh,
as the house of Israel was [ashamed/disappointed] of [the calf god at…] Bethel [their confidence/which they trusted].

So, Moab would be ashamed of Chemosh when Babylon came to destroy them. They discovered that their false god was unable to deliver them. In fact, the God of Israel whom they had been rejecting for so long was right all along. And when they were being exiled they would see that.

Moab’s Weak Warriors (48:14-15)

And not only would Moab’s idol be seen as weak as it truly was – but also the weakness of the Moabite warriors would be abundantly evident when Babylon came to destroy them. Verses 14 and 15.

14 How say ye [men of Moab…],

We are [mighty/heroes] and [strong/mighty] men [for the/of/in] [war/battle]?

15 Moab [is spoiled/will be destroyed], and gone up out of her cities,
and his [chosen/choicest/finest] young men are gone down to the slaughter,

saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.

Moab’s Swift Destruction (48:16)

And with otherwise strong warriors made weak, Moab’s destruction would be swift according to verse 16.

16 The [calamity/destruction] of Moab is near [to come/at hand],
and his [affliction/disaster] [hasteth/will come on] [fast/swiftly/quickly].

Call to Moab’s Neighbors (48:17)

So, with Moab’s swift destruction in view, God calls out to all his neighbors – who benefited from him – to take note of his destruction and lament. Verse 17.

17 All ye that [are/live] [about/around] him [Moab…], [bemoan/grieve for/mourn for] him;
and all ye that know his [name/fame], say,

[How/Alas!] is the [strong/mighty] [staff/scepter] broken,
and the [beautiful/glorious] [rod/staff]!

In the context it seems like the staff and rod spoken of here is referring to Moab’s support of those neighbors around him that had come to rely on Moab’s help. That’s why these nations are pictured as crying out and mourning Moab’s destruction – because Moab helped them.

Proud Humbled (48:18)

Verse 18 continues by stating that the proud people of Moab would be humbled when Babylon finally exiled them.

18 [Thou daughter that dost inhabit/O inhabitant of/You who live in] Dibon,
come down from thy [glory/place of honor], and sit [in/on] [thirst/the dry ground];

This city known as Dibon was on what’s called the “King’s Highway.” That’s the road that goes north-south in the east side of the Dead Sea. It still exists today, actually. And I was on it!

for the [spoiler/destroyer] of Moab shall [come upon/come up against/attack] thee,
and he shall destroy thy [strong holds/fortifications].

The News Spreads (48:19-20)

And  we see in verses 19 and 20 that news of Moab’s destruction will spread.

19 O inhabitant of Aroer,
stand by the [way/road], and [espy/watch];

[ask/question] [him/the man] [that/who] fleeth,
and [her/the woman] that escapeth,

and say,
What [is/has] [done/happened]?

20 [They will answer – Here’s where the news is spreading…] Moab is [confounded/put to shame/disgraced];
for it is [broken down/broken/fallen]:

[howl/wail] and [cry/cry out in mourning];
[tell ye it/announce] [in/beside the/along the] Arnon [River…],
that Moab [is/has been] [spoiled/laid waste/destroyed],

 

Judgement Upon All the Cities | 21-24

Verses 21-24 foretell judgement upon all the cities of Moab.

KJV Jeremiah 48:21 ¶ And judgment [is/will/has] come upon the [cities of the…] [plain country/high plain];
upon Holon,
and upon Jahazah,
and upon Mephaath,

22 And upon Dibon,
and upon Nebo,
and upon Beth[-]diblathaim,

23 And upon Kiriathaim,
and upon Beth[-]gamul,
and upon Beth[-]meon,

24 And upon Kerioth,
and upon Bozrah,
and upon all the cities of the land of Moab, far or near.

And sometimes the order in which the Lord lists these cities that he’s denouncing is significant because it follows some sort of linear geographical pattern. Usually in that case they’d go from north to south.

But in this case with these 11 city names the significance is in the fact that their order is totally scattered. If you try to follow these city names on a map as you’re reading you’ll see that they’re all over the place within the borders of Moab.

And I think that’s the point. Like the last phrase of verse 24 says – “all the cities” – “far or near.” In other words, it doesn’t matter where these cities are. They’re all in for God’s judgement.

Moab’s Power Destroyed | 25

And with all of these cities being the target of God’s destruction through the nation of Babylon, Moab’s power will be destroyed, according to verse 25.

25 The [horn/mighty] of Moab [is cut off/will be crushed],
and [his arm/its power] is broken,

[saith/declares/affirms] the LORD.

In the Scripture, horns and arms are often figurative of power. And that’s the case here in this verse as well. The power of Moab – his horn, his arm – will be destroyed.

Contemptible Drunkenness as a Punishment | 26

And God goes on in verse 26 to picture this destruction of Moab’s power as if Moab were a contemptible drunk person.

26 ¶ Make ye him drunken [with the wine of my wrath…]:
for he [magnified himself/vaunted himself/has become arrogant] against the [Me…] LORD:

[With the following result…] Moab also shall [wallow/splash around] in his vomit,
and he also shall be [in derision/a laughingstock].

So, Moab will drink from the cup of God’s wrath with the result that they will be like a drunk. Out of control, helpless, contemptible.

Moab’s Past Contempt for Israel | 27

Contemptible… Sort of like the contempt that the nation of Moab had for Israel so many years previous to this time when Israel was sent into Exile. That contempt of Moab for their neighbor Israel is what God reminds them of in verse 27.

27 For was not Israel a [derision/laughingstock] unto thee [Moab…]?
was he found [by you…] [among/to be nothing but] thieves?

for [since/every time] thou spakest of him,
thou [skippedst for joy/shake your head in contempt and scorn].

What goes around comes around. When Israel was going through their chastening Moab was full of scorn and contempt for them.

But now it’s Moab’s turn to suffer punishment. And just as they scorned Israel and held that nation in contempt, so too now they would be contemptible in the eyes of other nations.

Moab to Flee Like a Dove | 28

And since destruction is coming to Moab, they are encouraged to flee like a dove in verse 28.

28 O ye that dwell in Moab, leave the cities, and dwell [in/among] the [rock/cliffs/crags],
and be like the dove that maketh her nest in the sides of [the hole’s mouth/a ravine/the mouth of the chasm].

The point of the simile is inaccessibility. Make yourself inaccessible, Moab! Because Babylon is coming!

Proud Idle Wrath | 29-30

As we continue, verses 29 and 30 reveal to us one reason that God was going to judge and punish Moab. It’s their proud but idle wrath.

29 [We/I, the Lord] have heard the pride of Moab, (he is exceeding proud)
his loftiness,
and his arrogancy,
and his pride,
and the haughtiness of his heart.

30 I know his [wrath/fury], saith the LORD; but it [shall not be so/is futile];
his [lies/idle boastings] shall [not so effect it/prove to be false/accomplish nothing].

So, Moab’s proud wrath would prove to be idle when God’s appointed punisher would come and exile them.

Mourning for Moab | 31-33

And now, something happens that we might not expect. God – who is bringing this punishment to Moab – now gives a mournful lament for Moab in verses 31-33.

And two aspects of Moab are mourned for in those verses. First for the humans. And then for the produce of the land.

For People | 31

Verse 31 is where the Lord laments for the people of Moab.

31 Therefore will I [howl/weep with sorrow/wail] for Moab,
and I will cry out [in sadness…] for all Moab;
mine heart shall [mourn/moan] for the men of Kir[-]heres.

So, the same all-powerful and sovereign being who is bringing the punishment on Moab is also grieving because of their destruction. He’s punishing, but he’s also lamenting.

Would we expect anything else from the God who created a good world with good people – which was then marred by the sin of those people — which called for him to curse that formerly-good world with the formerly good people?

God will punish. But we shouldn’t be surprised when he grieves for having to punish. It’s like Jesus who lamented over Jerusalem – precisely because he was going to have to send punishment to them for rejecting him as their Messiah.

So, God grieves over having to punish Moab – especially their people.

For Produce | 32-33

And then verses 32 and 33 is where the Lord laments for the produce of Moab.

32 O [vine/grapevines] of Sibmah [northeast point of the Dead Sea, Mt. Pisgah…], I will weep for thee [with the weeping of Jazer/like town of Jazer weeps over them] [Jazer – northeast of Sibmah…]:
[thy plants/their branches/your tendrils] [are gone/once spread/stretched] [over/as far as/across] the [Dead…] sea [to the west…], they [reach/reached] even [to/as far as] the [sea/town] of Jazer [northeast…]:

The branches are pictured as spreading far to the west and to the north. Perhaps this is as far as those grapes or the wine produced by them traveled. The point is then that the produce of Sibmah was enjoyed by many throughout Moab.

But that was going to change when Babylon came…

the [spoiler/destroyer/Babylon] [is fallen upon/will ravage] thy [summer fruits/figs, dates,]
and upon thy [vintage/grape crop].

33 And joy and gladness [is taken/will disappear] from the [plentiful/fruitful] [field/land], [and from the land of/that is] Moab;

and I have caused wine to [fail/cease/cease flowing] from the winepresses: none shall tread with [joyful…] shouting; their [will be…] shouting [of soldiers…] [shall be no/not] shouting [of grape treaders…].

So, there we have God lamenting the produce of Moab.

He grieves for having to destroy both the people and the produce of Moab. And yet, punish he must.

News Spreads from North to South | 34

Now, in verse 34 we’ll see something similar to what we’ve seen before. God says that news of Moab’s destruction – while the destruction is in progress – will go from north to south.

34 ¶ From the [cry/outcry/cries of anguish] of Heshbon even unto Elealeh, and even unto Jahaz, have they [uttered/raised] their voice, [north…]

from Zoar even unto Horonaim, [as an/and to] [heifer of three years old/Eglath-shelishiyah]: [south…] for the waters [also/even] of Nimrim shall [be/become] [desolate/dried up].

The waters on Nimrim may have been a stream either in the north or south of Moab. Perhaps Babylon would have stopped up that stream when it came invading from the north in order to pass through on dry ground – in which case those waters of Nimrim would be in the north.

News of that would start where that occurred – in the north (Heshbon, Elealeh, Jahaz) and travel south as those people fled to Zoar, Horonaim, and Eglath-Shelishiyah.

Destruction for Moab and His Worship | 35

Then in verse 35, God wants to point to a particular element of Moab that he wished to destroy. He wanted to destroy their worship of false gods.

35 Moreover I will [cause to cease/make an end/put an end] [in/to] Moab,
[saith/declares/affirms] the LORD,

[to…] him that [offereth/makes offerings/offers sacrifice] [in/on/at] [the high places/her places of worship],
and him that burneth incense to his gods.

So, in addition to their pride, God is here pointing to Moab’s idolatry as a reason behind his punishing them.

More Mourning for Moab | 36-39

Next, in verses 36-39 there are three entities portrayed as mourning for Moab’s destruction – God (or perhaps Jeremiah), Moab itself, and then Moab’s neighboring nations, in that order.

From God/Jeremiah? | 36

First, God or Jeremiah mourns the destruction of Moab in verse 36.

36 Therefore mine heart [shall sound/moans] for Moab like [pipes/a flute playing a funeral song],
[and/yes] mine heart [shall sound/moans] like [pipes/a flute playing a funeral song] for the men of Kir[-]heres:

because the [riches/wealth/abundance] that he [hath gotten/it produced] [are perished/is lost].

Now, according to Isaiah 15:7, this “riches” (same word, found only in this passage and the one in Isaiah) were carried over a brook as the Moabites tried to escape Babylon. That’s at least one way in which Jeremiah here can say they “perished.”

So, that’s Jeremiah’s lament or perhaps God’s lament for Moab’s lost riches.

From Moab | 37-38

Then in verses 37 and 38 we have a lament for Moab from Moab itself.

37 ¶ For every head shall be bald [in mourning…],
and every beard [clipped/cut off] [to show their sorrow…]:

upon all the hands shall be [cuttings/gashes],
and upon the loins sackcloth.

38 There shall be lamentation [generally/everywhere] upon all the housetops of Moab,
and in the [streets/public squares] thereof:

for I have broken Moab like a [vessel/jar] [wherein is no pleasure/that is unwanted/undesirable],

[saith/affirms/declares] the LORD.

From Other Nations | 39

And then, verse 39 foretells of Moab’s neighbors lamenting Moab’s destruction.

39 They [Moab’s neighbors mentioned at the end of verse 39…] shall [howl/wail], saying,

How is it [broken down/shattered]!
how hath Moab [turned the back/turn away] [with/in] shame!

so shall Moab [be a derision/become a laughingstock/become and object of ridicule] and [a dismaying/an object of terror/terrifying sight] to all [them about/around/the nations that surround] him.

Babylon Coming | 40-42

And of course, these lamentable realities we’ve just read are a result of Babylon coming to destroy Moab. And so, we read of Babylon’s arrival in verses 40-42.

Like an Eagle | 40

Verse 40 tells us that Babylon would come like an eagle.

40 For thus saith the LORD;

[Behold/Look!], [he/a nation] shall fly [as/like] an eagle,
and shall [spread/out] his wings over Moab.

From Strength to Weakness | 41

And when the eagle of Babylon comes, Moab would go from strength to weakness, according to verse 41.

41 Kerioth is taken, and the [strong holds/fortresses] are [surprised/taken/seized],
and the mighty men’s hearts in Moab at that day shall be as the heart of a woman in [her pangs/labor].

We see here the contrast of strength and weakness. Strength before Babylon comes – strong holds, mighty men. Weakness when the enemy arrives – surprise, the emotions of a woman in labor.

Result: Utter Destruction | 42

And then verse 42 relates the result of Babylon’s coming – utter destruction because of their pride.

42 And Moab shall be destroyed from being a people,
because he hath [magnified himself/become arrogant] [against/toward] the LORD.

Inevitable Doom | 43-44

This doom is inevitable, according to verses 43 and 44.

43 [Fear/Terror], and the pit, and the snare, shall be upon thee, O inhabitant of Moab, [saith/affirms/declares] the LORD.

44 He that fleeth from the [fear/terror] shall fall into the pit;
and he that [getteth up/climbs] out of the pit shall be [taken/caught] in the [snare/trap]:

for I will bring upon it, even upon Moab,
the year of their [visitation/punishment], saith the LORD.

So, Moab won’t escape their doom. If they flee from fear they get the pit. If they escape the pit they get the snare. They won’t escape.

And it’s interesting to note that this kind of description is used elsewhere in Scripture to highlight the certainty of the destruction a people would face for whatever reason. You could almost say this kind of way of describing certain destruction was proverbial.

An Old Proverb Revisited | 45

Well, what’s even more interesting is that in verse 45 we have another proverb used. And this time, the proverb is really old, as we’ll see.

45 They that fled stood under the shadow [of the walls…] of Heshbon [because of the force/without strength/helpless]:

So, some Moabites as they were fleeing went and hid in Heshbon. But then this happened…

but a fire shall come forth out of Heshbon,
and a flame from the midst of [the former territory of the Amorite king…] Sihon,

and shall devour the [corner/forehead] of Moab,
and the [crown of the head/scalps] of the [tumultuous ones/riotous revelers/war-lovers/sons of noise].

Now, what might not be readily apparent is that most of verse 45 is a repetition of something that Moses wrote in the book of Numbers about 1,000 years before this incident.

We find the following statement in Numbers 21:25-30.

KJV Numbers 21:25 And Israel took all these cities: and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all the villages thereof.

26 For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab, and taken all his land out of his hand, even unto Arnon.

27 Wherefore they that speak in proverbs say,

Come into Heshbon,
let the city of Sihon be built and prepared:

28 For there is a fire gone out of Heshbon,
a flame from the city of Sihon:

it hath consumed Ar of Moab,
and the lords of the high places of Arnon.

29 Woe to thee, Moab!
thou art undone, O people of Chemosh:

he hath given his sons that escaped,
and his daughters, into captivity unto Sihon king of the Amorites.

30 We have shot at them;
Heshbon is perished even unto Dibon,

and we have laid them waste even unto Nophah,
which reacheth unto Medeba.

So, this old proverb is revisited here in Jeremiah. In Numbers it apparently referred to the Amorites coming and taking Heshbon from the Moabites. But now in Jeremiah 48 it’s referring to – yes, another nation taking land from Moab – but this time that nation is Babylon rather than the Amorites.

Exile for Chemosh Worshippers | 46

Well, when that fire that is Babylon “goes out of Heshbon” and “consumes Moab” then, according to verse 46, those who worshipped the false god Chemosh would be exiled.

46 [Woe be unto thee/You are doomed], O Moab!
the people of Chemosh [perisheth/will be destroyed]:

for thy sons are taken captives,
and thy daughters captives.

And actually, you can see that this verse is repeating some of what that ancient proverb from Numbers 21 said.

Future Restoration for Moab | 47a

But here’s something not stated in Numbers 21. Verse 47 features God promising to restore Moab in the future.

47 Yet will I [bring again the captivity/restore the fortunes/reverse the ill fortune] of Moab in the latter days, saith the LORD.

It’s hard to tie this verse to historical events. Apparently, there may have been some return from exile for the Moabites perhaps around the time Judah was allowed to return to their land. And even now there are people living in the land of Moab. They’re called Jordanians.

Conclusion | 47b

Finally, the conclusion of this extended prophecy concerning Moab’s judgement at the hands of Babylon ends verse 47.

[Thus far/Ending here] is the judgment [of/against] Moab.

And as we close this lesson, let’s just very briefly look forward to what’s to come in this book.

Chapter 49 presents the foretold judgement on six different nations or cities.

Then chapters 50 and 51 are all about the judgement that God was going to bring to bear on Babylon.

And finally, chapter 52 is a rehashing of the final destruction of Judah and the fate of one of their exiled kings.