Quiet my soul, Father, as I come to you and your Word today. I come to rest in you.
Read JEREMIAH 51:33-64
33 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says:
“Daughter Babylon is like a threshing floor
at the time it is trampled;
the time to harvest her will soon come.”
34 “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has devoured us,
he has thrown us into confusion,
he has made us an empty jar.
Like a serpent he has swallowed us
and filled his stomach with our delicacies,
and then has spewed us out.
35 May the violence done to our flesh[a] be on Babylon,”
say the inhabitants of Zion.
“May our blood be on those who live in Babylonia,”
36 Therefore this is what the Lord says:
“See, I will defend your cause
and avenge you;
I will dry up her sea
and make her springs dry.
37 Babylon will be a heap of ruins,
a haunt of jackals,
an object of horror and scorn,
a place where no one lives.
38 Her people all roar like young lions,
they growl like lion cubs.
39 But while they are aroused,
I will set out a feast for them
and make them drunk,
so that they shout with laughter—
then sleep forever and not awake,”
declares the Lord.
40 “I will bring them down
like lambs to the slaughter,
like rams and goats.
41 “How Sheshak[b] will be captured,
the boast of the whole earth seized!
How desolate Babylon will be
among the nations!
42 The sea will rise over Babylon;
its roaring waves will cover her.
43 Her towns will be desolate,
a dry and desert land,
a land where no one lives,
through which no one travels.
44 I will punish Bel in Babylon
and make him spew out what he has swallowed.
The nations will no longer stream to him.
And the wall of Babylon will fall.
45 “Come out of her, my people!
Run for your lives!
Run from the fierce anger of the Lord.
46 Do not lose heart or be afraid
when rumors are heard in the land;
one rumor comes this year, another the next,
rumors of violence in the land
and of ruler against ruler.
47 For the time will surely come
when I will punish the idols of Babylon;
her whole land will be disgraced
and her slain will all lie fallen within her.
48 Then heaven and earth and all that is in them
will shout for joy over Babylon,
for out of the north
destroyers will attack her,”
declares the Lord.
49 “Babylon must fall because of Israel’s slain,
just as the slain in all the earth
have fallen because of Babylon.
50 You who have escaped the sword,
leave and do not linger!
Remember the Lord in a distant land,
and call to mind Jerusalem.”
51 “We are disgraced,
for we have been insulted
and shame covers our faces,
because foreigners have entered
the holy places of the Lord’s house.”
52 “But days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will punish her idols,
and throughout her land
the wounded will groan.
53 Even if Babylon ascends to the heavens
and fortifies her lofty stronghold,
I will send destroyers against her,”
declares the Lord.
54 “The sound of a cry comes from Babylon,
the sound of great destruction
from the land of the Babylonians.[c]
55 The Lord will destroy Babylon;
he will silence her noisy din.
Waves of enemies will rage like great waters;
the roar of their voices will resound.
56 A destroyer will come against Babylon;
her warriors will be captured,
and their bows will be broken.
For the Lord is a God of retribution;
he will repay in full.
57 I will make her officials and wise men drunk,
her governors, officers and warriors as well;
they will sleep forever and not awake,”
declares the King, whose name is the Lord Almighty.
58 This is what the Lord Almighty says:
“Babylon’s thick wall will be leveled
and her high gates set on fire;
the peoples exhaust themselves for nothing,
the nations’ labor is only fuel for the flames.”
59 This is the message Jeremiah the prophet gave to the staff officer Seraiah son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, when he went to Babylon with Zedekiah king of Judah in the fourth year of his reign. 60 Jeremiah had written on a scroll about all the disasters that would come upon Babylon—all that had been recorded concerning Babylon. 61 He said to Seraiah, “When you get to Babylon, see that you read all these words aloud. 62 Then say, ‘Lord, you have said you will destroy this place, so that neither people nor animals will live in it; it will be desolate forever.’ 63 When you finish reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and throw it into the Euphrates. 64 Then say, ‘So will Babylon sink to rise no more because of the disaster I will bring on her. And her people will fall.’”
The words of Jeremiah end here.
- Jeremiah 51:35 Or done to us and to our children
- Jeremiah 51:41 Sheshak is a cryptogram for Babylon.
- Jeremiah 51:54 Or Chaldeans
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Pray the Lord will raise up an army of fearless prophets who will declare God’s Word to every person in this generation: young and old, rich and poor, prince and pauper alike.
At first glance, there is a level of absurdity in this passage, as there would seem to be throughout the book of Jeremiah. We have an obscure and unofficial prophet of a tiny nation whose God seems to have been crushed and his temple stripped, his people either killed or taken into slavery in exile. The survivors feel confused, disgraced, insulted, ashamed, as if they had been swallowed up by some giant snake, digested, and then regurgitated because their temple lies in ruins (vs 34,51). Babylon and its idols have triumphed; the Babylonians feel secure and inviolable. And yet, despite apparent evidence to the contrary, Jeremiah dares to speak authoritatively to the emperor of the world’s superpower, saying that the God of Israel will turn the tables on Babylon and destroy it. Unimaginable, but true. The destruction will be complete; the society and its leadership will disappear; and the army, the buildings, and even the protective wall will all collapse and lie desolate. Indeed, Babylon will be ‘an object of horror and scorn, a place where no one lives’ (v 37).
Jeremiah’s confidence to speak truth to power lies in the fact that the God of Israel is none other than the Lord Almighty, the Creator and Sustainer of all things. He is sovereign and speaks authoritatively into any and every situation. Besides, the Babylonians had dared to slaughter and thus destroy his people Israel (v 49), from whom the desire of all ages, the Messiah of all the earth, would later be revealed. What the Babylonians declared as acceptable colonial strategies of the empire have been recast as genocide, with grave consequences.
Tragedies (personal, national, or international) can destroy hope. God, however, is neither powerless nor indifferent. Appeal to him and he will surely act.
Lord, you are El Shaddai, God Almighty. I will be strong and take heart, and I will wait for you.
Last Updated on December 19, 2023 by kingstar