Jeremiah: Prophet Of Judgment Followed By Blessing

Part LXXXVIII: God's Judgment Of Babylon For Its Heartlessness Toward His People

(Jeremiah 50:1-16)


I.                 Introduction

A.    The Noahic Covenant called for men to value human life so as to avoid excessive violence and not to commit murder, the reason why capital punishment in Genesis 9:5 is part of that Genesis 8:20-9:17 covenant.

B.     However, the Babylonians, like a number of other Gentile nations, violated the Noahic Covenant in heartlessly mistreating God's people even when God was using Babylon to punish Judah by invading her.

C.     God's judgment was to fall on Babylon for such heartlessness, providing a lesson for us (as follows):

II.              God's Judgment Of Babylon For Its Heartlessness Toward His People, Jeremiah 50:1-16.

A.    The prophet Jeremiah had been commissioned by the Lord to pronounce judgment on Judah for its idolatry, judgment that would come in the form of an invasion by Babylon from the north, Jeremiah 1:14-17; 52:1-23.

B.     On the one hand, Babylon was God's instrument of punishment on His idolatrous people, but on the other hand, the way Babylon administered this punishment violated the spirit of the Noahic Covenant in that Babylon invaded Judah in a heartless manner that God would severely judge, Jeremiah 50:1-16:

1.      God used Jeremiah to pronounce His judgment on Babylon, the nation the Lord had told Jeremiah to predict He would use to punish Judah, and Babylon would be judged for its own sins, Jeremiah 50:1.

2.      Indeed, Jeremiah was to announce that Babylon was to be invaded and overthrown, its protective pagan god Bel also known as Marduk, the chief deity of Babylon, being accordingly put to shame to the dismay of those who put their trust in him, Jeremiah 50:2; Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 1199.

3.      Jeremiah explained that a nation out of the north would come against Babylon to achieve this feat, Jeremiah 50:3.  Though the Persians who conquered Babylon came from Babylon's north and east, "(i)n Jewish thought, the origin of anything sinister, since most of their invasions came from this direction," would be the "north," the direction Jeremiah would use in writing to His people in Judah and the direction from which Persia were to come were it to invade Judah, Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Jer. 50:3.

4.      Jeremiah's prophecy that Babylon would become desolate without man or beast living there (Jer. 50:3) was not immediately fulfilled, but its fulfillment occurred in stages to where Babylon today is desolate.  "The Persians captured Babylon in 539 [B. C.] (Dan. 5:30-31).  In 514 [B. C.] Darius Hystaspes put down a revolt and partially destroyed the walls.  Xerxes demolished the walls and temples of Babylon in 478 [B. C.].  Subsequent attempts to restore the city have been unsuccessful," Ibid., ftn. to Jeremiah 50:13.

5.      Jeremiah 50:4-5 predicts that the people of Israel, the Northern Kingdom, and the people of Judah, the Southern Kingdom, would then unitedly weep over their sins that had led to their Babylonian Captivity, and they would seek the Lord in a perpetual covenant of spiritual renewal.  This was in part fulfilled when the exiles returned from the Babylonian Captivity, but it will more completely be fulfilled in the end time when the descendants of Jacob return to the land for Christ's Messianic Kingdom, Harry A. Ironside, Notes on the Prophecy and Lamentations of Jeremiah, 1928, p. 275.

6.      God through Jeremiah announced that His people had been like lost sheep, their shepherds, the nation's priests, false prophets and kings, had caused the people to go astray from the Lord after false gods, wandering like lost sheep over mountain and hill, forgetting the Lord, their protective fold, Jer. 50:6 ESV. 

7.      Thus, all who found them, a reference to Babylon, had devoured them like wild animals devour lost sheep, and they had heartlessly done so, claiming not to be guilty in abusing them since God's people had sinned against the Lord, their habitation of righteousness and the hope of their forefathers, Jeremiah 50:7.

8.      Accordingly, God called for His people who were held captive in Babylon to flee from Babylon before it too was invaded in divine judgment for such heartless mistreatment of His people, Jeremiah 50:8-10.

9.      Though Babylon had exulted in plundering God's heritage, His people, Babylon would be shamed, becoming a wilderness, a desert uninhabited due to the wrath of God, Jeremiah 50:11-13.

10.  Accordingly, God called for Babylon's attackers to perform their destruction against her, Jer. 50:14-16.


Lesson: Though God used Babylon to punish His people by invading their land, since Babylon did so heartlessly in violation of the spirit of the Noahic Covenant, God judged Babylon to be invaded and permanently destroyed.


Application: May we be considerate of others even if God calls us to discipline them lest we also face discipline.