Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Prophecy Against Babylon, Part 2 (Jeremiah 50-51)

The following quotes are taken from

 "Kill All Of Babylon - "Go up, my warriors, against the land of Merathaim and against the people of Pekod. Yes, march against Babylon, the land of rebels, a land that I will judge!  Pursue, kill, and completely destroy them, as I have commanded you," says the LORD.  "Let the battle cry be heard in the land, a shout of great destruction".   (Jeremiah 50:21-22 NLT)

"Kill Old Men and Young Women - "You are my battle-ax and sword," says the LORD.  "With you I will shatter nations and destroy many kingdoms.  With you I will shatter armies, destroying the horse and rider, the chariot and charioteer.  With you I will shatter men and women, old people and children, young men and maidens.  With you I will shatter shepherds and flocks, farmers and oxen, captains and rulers.  "As you watch, I will repay Babylon and the people of Babylonia for all the wrong they have done to my people in Jerusalem," says the LORD.  "Look, O mighty mountain, destroyer of the earth!  I am your enemy," says the LORD.  "I will raise my fist against you, to roll you down from the heights.  When I am finished, you will be nothing but a heap of rubble.  You will be desolate forever.  Even your stones will never again be used for building.  You will be completely wiped out," says the LORD."  (Jeremiah 51:20-26, NLT)

(Note that after God promises the Israelites a victory against Babylon, the Israelites actually get their butts kicked by them in the next chapter.  So much for an all-knowing and all-powerful God.)"

This passage is part of a larger prophecy against Babylon at the end of the book of Jeremiah.  You can read the full passage here:

            As in Isaiah chapters 13-14, this passage was written about an event that would occur in the future.  In Jeremiah chapter 52, the Babylonian army conquered Jerusalem, destroyed the Temple and exiled the people living there to Babylon.  However, the events described in chapters 50-51 were not a prophecy of what would happen immediately - the prophecy was fulfilled about 50 years later (circa 539 BCE), when Babylon was conquered by Persia under Cyrus the Great.
           Why did God allow Babylon to be conquered?  The Babylonian Empire angered God because of their arrogance, wickedness and pride (Isaiah 13:11, 14:13-15).  "Since this is the vengeance of the Lord, take vengeance on her; do to her as she has done to others...Babylon must fall because of Israel’s slain, just as the slain in all the earth have fallen because of Babylon" (Jeremiah 50:15, 51:49, NIV).  God allowed Babylon to conquer Judah because of their rebellion, sin and idolatry, but Babylon was so cruel in their oppression of Judah and other nations that God determined to punish them.  In essence, Babylon was conquered in the same way that they had conquered other nations.
            As in previous passages concerning war, it must be noted that God does not desire that these things should happen.  He always gave the nations he was about to destroy ample warning and an opportunity to repent (Jeremiah 18:7-8, NIV; see also Jonah chapter 3).  Babylon defied God and did not pay attention to the warnings, and so they were overthrown (Jeremiah 50:11-13, 24).