Series: Thru the Bible
Message – The Fall of Ancient Babylon
The Fall of Ancient Babylon
Thru the Bible Jeremiah 50-52
Finally, at the end of the prophecies of Jeremiah is God’s promised word regarding the destruction of Babylon…
“(1) The word the LORD spoke about Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans, through Jeremiah the prophet:
(2) Announce to the nations; proclaim and raise up a signal flag; proclaim, and hide nothing. Say: Babylon is captured; Bel is put to shame; Marduk is devastated; her idols are put to shame; her false gods, devastated.
[Bel/Marduk the Babilonian version of Baal]
(3) For a nation from the north will come against her; it will make her land desolate. No one will be living in it–both man and beast will escape.
(4) In those days and at that time–this is the LORD’s declaration–the Israelites and Judeans will come together, weeping as they come, and will seek the LORD their God. (5) They will ask about Zion, turning their faces to this road. They will come and join themselves to the LORD in an everlasting covenant that will never be forgotten.
(6) My people are lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray, guiding them the wrong way in the mountains. They have wandered from mountain to hill; they have forgotten their resting place.
“(7) All who found them devoured them.
Their adversaries said: We’re not guilty; instead, they have sinned against the LORD, their righteous grazing land, the hope of their ancestors, the LORD.”
Due to the history of the world being within the literal time span given us in scripture, it has long been my contention that most if not all of the peoples of the earth at this point knew God. They were all immediate ancestors of Noah after all and their disbursement from the tower of Babel was not so terribly long ago that the knowledge of the True God would have been altogether lost. Truth be told, when the secular story of History is attempted to be anchored to anything substantive and verifiable, the farthest we can reliably trace human history linked to migratory patterns and actual civilizations is about 7,000 years…though even secular historians will often admit that reliable data can only be taken to 10,000 years. Everything else is supposed and accepted based upon an evolutionary world-view and therefore humans had to predate their civilizations. The assumption being man was too simple minded, nomadic only and was not yet capable of establishing dynasties, whereas scripture has the first city on earth built by Cain, Adam and Eve’s son who were also skilled in several types of metallurgy.
Now, remember when Abraham was deceitful about his wife, presenting her as only his sister to Abimelech king of Gerar? When he received a troubling dream from God – he acknowledged God as the true God. Similar things happened in other places including in Egypt with Joseph. People of other nations knew the Israelites worshiped the true God of Creation and the flood. This is why we see statements from them like this and it is also one of the reasons why their judgments are so harsh. Like it is recorded in Romans 1, “though they knew God, they did not glorify Him AS God, but made for themselves idols… for this reason God gave them over ”.
In fact, let’s read that passage. I think it is good and healthy to remember these are not innocent, ignorant by-standers. They knew God or at very least knew the gods they worshipped were not the true God and did not seek after Him to know Him – which according to Acts 20 is why God gave them the land to begin with.
“(18) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness, (19) because what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. (20) For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse. (21) For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened. (22) Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools (23) and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles. (24) Therefore God gave them over in the desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies among themselves. (25) They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. (26) For this reason God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones, (27) and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed in their passions for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. (28) And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what should not be done. (29) They are filled with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, malice. They are rife with envy, murder, strife, deceit, hostility. They are gossips, (30) slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, contrivers of all sorts of evil, disobedient to parents, (31) senseless, covenant-breakers, heartless, ruthless. (32) Although they fully know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but also approve of those who practice them.”
“(8) Escape from Babylon; depart from the Chaldeans’ land. Be like the rams that lead the flock. (9) For I will soon stir up and bring against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country. They will line up in battle formation against her; from there she will be captured. Their arrows will be like those of a skilled warrior who does not return empty-handed.
(10) The Chaldeans will become plunder; all her plunderers will be fully satisfied. This is the LORD’s declaration.
(11) Because you rejoice, because you sing in triumph–you who plundered My inheritance–because you frolic like a young cow treading grain and neigh like stallions, (12) your mother will be utterly humiliated; she who bore you will be put to shame.
Look! She will lag behind all the nations–a dry land, a wilderness, an Arabah. (13) Because of the LORD’s wrath, she will not be inhabited; she will become a desolation, every bit of her. Everyone who passes through Babylon will be horrified and scoff because of all her wounds.
(14) Line up in battle formation around Babylon, all you archers! Shoot at her! Do not spare an arrow, for she has sinned against the LORD. (15) Raise a war cry against her on every side! She has thrown up her hands in surrender; her defense towers have fallen; her walls are demolished. Since this is the LORD’s vengeance, take out your vengeance on her; as she has done, do the same to her. (16) Cut off the sower from Babylon as well as him who wields the sickle at harvest time. Because of the oppressor’s sword, each will turn to his own people, each will flee to his own land.
(17) Israel is a stray lamb, chased by lions. The first who devoured him was the king of Assyria; this last who has crunched his bones was Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. (18) Therefore, this is what the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, says:
“I am about to punish the king of Babylon and his land just as I punished the king of Assyria. (19) I will return Israel to his grazing land, and he will feed on Carmel and Bashan; he will be satisfied in the hill country of Ephraim and of Gilead.
(20) In those days and at that time–this is the LORD’s declaration–one will search for Israel’s guilt, but there will be none, and for Judah’s sins, but they will not be found, for I will forgive those I leave as a remnant.
(21) Go against the land of Merathaim, and against those living in Pekod. Put them to the sword; completely destroy them–this is the LORD’s declaration–do everything I have commanded you.
(22) The sound of war is in the land–a great destruction. (23) How the hammer of the whole earth is cut down and smashed! What a horror Babylon has become among the nations!
(24) Babylon, I laid a trap for you, and you were caught, but you did not even know it. You were found and captured because you fought against the LORD.
(25) The LORD opened His armory and brought out His weapons of wrath, because it is a task of the Lord GOD of Hosts in the land of the Chaldeans. (26) Come against her from the most distant places. Open her granaries; pile her up like mounds of grain and completely destroy her. Leave her no survivors. (27) Put all her young bulls to the sword; let them go down to the slaughter.
Woe to them, because their day has come, the time of their punishment. (28) There is a voice of fugitives and escapees from the land of Babylon announcing in Zion the vengeance of the LORD our God, the vengeance for His temple.
(29) Summon the archers to Babylon, all who string the bow; camp all around her; let none escape. Repay her according to her deeds; just as she has done, do the same to her, for she has acted arrogantly against the LORD, against the Holy One of Israel.
(30) Therefore, her young men will fall in her public squares; all the warriors will be silenced in that day. This is the LORD’s declaration.
(31) Look, I am against you, you arrogant one–this is the declaration of the Lord GOD of Hosts–because your day has come, the time when I will punish you. (32) The arrogant will stumble and fall with no one to pick him up. I will set fire to his cities, and it will consume everything around him.” (33) This is what the LORD of Hosts says:
Israelites and Judeans alike have been oppressed. All their captors hold them fast; they refuse to release them.
(34) Their Redeemer is strong; the LORD of Hosts is His name. He will fervently plead their case so that He might bring rest to the earth but turmoil to those who live in Babylon.
(35) A sword is over the Chaldeans–this is the LORD’s declaration–against those who live in Babylon, against her officials, and against her sages.
(36) A sword is against the diviners, and they will act foolishly. A sword is against her heroic warriors, and they will be terrified.
(37) A sword is against his horses and chariots and against all the foreigners among them, and they will be like women. A sword is against her treasuries, and they will be plundered.
(38) A drought will come on her waters, and they will be dried up. For it is a land of carved images, and they go mad because of terrifying things.
(39) Therefore, desert creatures will live with jackals, and ostriches will also live in her. It will never again be inhabited or lived in through all generations. (40) Just as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns–this is the LORD’s declaration–so no one will live there; no human being will even stay in it as a resident alien.
(41) Look! A people comes from the north. A great nation and many kings will be stirred up from the remote regions of the earth. (42) They grasp bow and javelin. They are cruel and show no mercy. Their voice roars like the sea, and they ride on horses, lined up like men in battle formation against you, Daughter of Babylon.
(43) The king of Babylon has heard reports about them, and his hands fall helpless. Distress has seized him–pain, like a woman in labor.
(44) “Look, it will be like a lion coming up from the thickets of the Jordan to the perennially watered grazing land. Indeed, I will chase Babylon away from her land in a flash. I will appoint whoever is chosen for her. For who is like Me? Who will summon Me? Who is the shepherd who can stand against Me?”
(45) Therefore, hear the plans that the LORD has drawn up against Babylon and the strategies He has devised against the land of the Chaldeans: Certainly the flock’s little lambs will be dragged away; certainly the grazing land will be made desolate because of them.
(46) At the sound of Babylon’s conquest the earth will quake; a cry will be heard among the nations.”
The Utter Destruction of Babylon
“(1) This is what the LORD says: I am about to stir up a destructive wind against Babylon and against the population of Leb-qamai.
Just so you know Leb-qamai” is a code name for “Chaldeans”. It is formed on the principle of substituting the last letter of the alphabet for the first, the next to the last for the second, and so on. This same principle is used in referring to Babylon in Jer. 25:26 and Jer. 51:41 as “Sheshach.” There is no consensus on why the code name is used because the terms Babylon and Chaldeans have appeared regularly in this collection of prophecies.
“(2) I will send strangers to Babylon who will scatter her and strip her land bare, for they will come against her from every side in the day of disaster. (3) Don’t let the archer string his bow; don’t let him put on his armor. Don’t spare her young men; completely destroy her entire army!
(4) Those who were slain will fall in the land of the Chaldeans, those who were pierced through, in her streets.
(5) For Israel and Judah are not left widowed by their God, the LORD of Hosts, though their land is full of guilt against the Holy One of Israel.
(6) Leave Babylon; save your lives, each of you! Don’t be silenced by her guilt. For this is the time of the LORD’s vengeance–He will pay her what she deserves.
(7) Babylon was a golden cup in the LORD’s hand making the whole earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; therefore, the nations go mad. (8) Suddenly Babylon fell and was shattered. Wail for her; get balm for her wound–perhaps she can be healed.
(9) We tried to heal Babylon, but she could not be healed. Abandon her! Let each of us go to his own land, for her judgment extends to the sky and reaches as far as the clouds.
“(10) The LORD has brought about our vindication; come, let’s tell in Zion what the LORD our God has accomplished.”
“(11) Sharpen the arrows! Fill the quivers! The LORD has put it into the mind of the kings of the Medes because His plan is aimed at Babylon to destroy her, for it is the LORD’s vengeance, vengeance for His temple.
(12) Raise up a signal flag against the walls of Babylon; fortify the watch post; set the watchmen in place; prepare the ambush. For the LORD has both planned and accomplished what He has threatened against those who live in Babylon.
(13) You who reside by many waters, rich in treasures, your end has come, your life thread is cut.
(14) The LORD of Hosts has sworn by Himself: I will fill you up with men as with locusts, and they will sing the victory song over you.
(15) He made the earth by His power, established the world by His wisdom, and spread out the heavens by His understanding. (16) When He thunders, the waters in the heavens are in turmoil, and He causes the clouds to rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain and brings the wind from His storehouses.
(17) Everyone is stupid and ignorant. Every goldsmith is put to shame by his carved image, for his cast images are a lie; there is no breath in them.
(18) They are worthless, a work to be mocked. At the time of their punishment they will be destroyed.
(19) Jacob’s Portion is not like these because He is the One Who formed all things. Israel is the tribe of His inheritance; the LORD of Hosts is His name.
(20) You are My battle club, My weapons of war. With you I will smash nations; with you I will bring kingdoms to ruin. (21) With you I will smash the horse and its rider; with you I will smash the chariot and its rider.
(22) With you I will smash man and woman; with you I will smash the old man and the youth; with you I will smash the young man and the virgin.
(23) With you I will smash the shepherd and his flock; with you I will smash the farmer and his ox-team. With you I will smash governors and officials.
(24) “I will repay Babylon and all the residents of Chaldea for all their evil they have done in Zion before your very eyes.” This is the LORD’s declaration.
(25) Look, I am against you, devastating mountain–this is the LORD’s declaration–you devastate the whole earth. I will stretch out My hand against you, roll you down from the cliffs, and turn you into a burned-out mountain. (26) No one will be able to retrieve a cornerstone or a foundation stone from you, because you will become desolate forever. This is the LORD’s declaration.
(27) Raise a signal flag in the land; blow a ram’s horn among the nations; set apart the nations against her. Summon kingdoms against her–Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz. Appoint a marshal against her; bring up horses like a swarm of locusts. (28) Set apart the nations for battle against her–the kings of Media, her governors and all her officials, and all the lands they rule.
(29) The earth quakes and trembles, because the LORD’s purposes against Babylon stand: to make the land of Babylon an uninhabited desolation.
(30) Babylon’s warriors have stopped fighting; they sit in their strongholds. Their might is exhausted; they have become like women. Babylon’s homes have been set ablaze, her gate bars are shattered.
(31) Messenger races to meet messenger, and herald to meet herald, to announce to the king of Babylon that his city has been captured from end to end. (32) The fords have been seized, the marshes set on fire, and the soldiers are terrified.
(33) For this is what the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor at the time it is trampled. In just a little while her harvest time will come.
(34) “Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has devoured me; he has crushed me. He has set me aside like an empty dish; he has swallowed me like a sea monster; he filled his belly with my delicacies; he has vomited me out,” (35) says the inhabitant of Zion;
“Let the violence done to me and my family be done to Babylon. Let my blood be on the inhabitants of Chaldea,” says Jerusalem.
(36) Therefore, this is what the LORD says: I am about to plead your case and take vengeance on your behalf; I will dry up her sea and make her fountain run dry. (37) Babylon will become a heap of rubble, a jackals’ den, a desolation and an object of scorn, without inhabitant.
(38) They will roar together like young lions; they will growl like lion cubs. (39) While they are flushed with heat, I will serve them a feast, and I will make them drunk so that they revel. Then they will fall asleep forever and never wake up. This is the LORD’s declaration.
(40) I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams together with male goats. (41) How Sheshach has been captured, the praise of the whole earth seized. What a horror Babylon has become among the nations!
(42) The sea has risen over Babylon; she is covered with its turbulent waves. (43) Her cities have become a desolation, a dry and arid land, a land where no one lives, where no human being passes through.
(44) I will punish Bel in Babylon. I will make him vomit what he swallowed. The nations will no longer stream to him; even Babylon’s wall will fall.
(45) Come out from among her, My people! Save your lives, each of you, from the LORD’s burning anger. (46) May you not become faint-hearted and fearful when the report is proclaimed in the land, for the report will come one year, and then another the next year. There will be violence in the land with ruler against ruler.
(47) Therefore, look, the days are coming when I will punish Babylon’s carved images. Her entire land will suffer shame, and all her slain will lie fallen within her.
(48) Heaven and earth and everything in them will shout for joy over Babylon because the destroyers from the north will come against her. This is the LORD’s declaration.
(49) Babylon must fall because of the slain of Israel, even as the slain of all the earth fell because of Babylon. (50) You who have escaped the sword, go and do not stand still! Remember the LORD from far away, and let Jerusalem come to your mind.
(51) We are ashamed because we have heard insults. Humiliation covers our faces because foreigners have entered the holy places of the LORD’s temple. (52) Therefore, look, the days are coming–this is the LORD’s declaration–when I will punish her carved images, and the wounded will groan throughout her land.
(53) Even if Babylon should ascend to the heavens and fortify her tall fortresses, destroyers will come against her from Me. This is the LORD’s declaration.
(54) The sound of a cry from Babylon! The sound of great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans! (55) For the LORD is going to devastate Babylon; He will silence her mighty voice. Their waves roar like abundant waters; the tumult of their voice resounds, (56) for a destroyer is coming against her, against Babylon. Her warriors will be captured, their bows shattered, for the LORD is a God of retribution; He will certainly repay.
(57) I will make her princes and sages drunk, along with her governors, officials, and warriors. Then they will fall asleep forever and never wake up. This is the King’s declaration; the LORD of Hosts is His name.
(58) This is what the LORD of Hosts says: Babylon’s thick walls will be totally demolished, and her high gates consumed by fire. The peoples will have labored for nothing; the nations will exhaust themselves only to feed the fire.
(59) This is what Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah son of Neriah son of Mahseiah, the quartermaster, when he went to Babylon with Zedekiah king of Judah in the fourth year of Zedekiah’s reign.
(60) Jeremiah wrote on one scroll about all the disaster that would come to Babylon; all these words were written against Babylon.
(61) Jeremiah told Seraiah, “When you get to Babylon, see that you read all these words aloud. (62) You must say, ‘LORD, You have threatened to cut off this place so that no one will live in it–man or beast. Indeed, it will remain desolate forever.’ (63) When you have finished reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and throw it into the middle of the Euphrates River. (64) Then say, ‘In the same way, Babylon will sink and never rise again because of the disaster I am bringing on her. They will grow weary.'” The words of Jeremiah end here.”
“(1) Zedekiah was 21 years old when he became king; he reigned 11 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah; she was from Libnah.
(2) Zedekiah did what was evil in the LORD’s sight just as Jehoiakim had done. (3) Because of the LORD’s anger, it came to the point in Jerusalem and Judah that He finally banished them from His presence. Nevertheless, Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. (4) In the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon advanced against Jerusalem with his entire army. They laid siege to the city and built a siege wall all around it. (5) The city was under siege until King Zedekiah’s eleventh year. (6) By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine was so severe in the city that the people of the land had no food.
(7) Then the city was broken into, and all the warriors fled. They left the city by night by way of the gate between the two walls near the king’s garden, though the Chaldeans surrounded the city. They made their way along the route to the Arabah.
(8) The Chaldean army pursued the king and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. Zedekiah’s entire army was scattered from him. (9) The Chaldeans seized the king and brought him to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, and he passed sentence on him.
(10) At Riblah the king of Babylon slaughtered Zedekiah’s sons before his eyes and also slaughtered the Judean commanders. (11) Then he blinded Zedekiah and bound him with bronze chains.
The king of Babylon brought Zedekiah to Babylon, where he kept him in custody until his dying day. (12) On the tenth day of the fifth month–which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon–Nebuzaradan, the commander of the guards, entered Jerusalem as the representative of the king of Babylon. (13) He burned the LORD’s temple, the king’s palace, all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the nobles. (14) The whole Chaldean army with the commander of the guards tore down all the walls surrounding Jerusalem.
(15) Nebuzaradan, the commander of the guards, deported some of the poorest of the people, as well as the rest of the people who were left in the city, the deserters who had defected to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the craftsmen. (16) But some of the poor people of the land Nebuzaradan, the commander of the guards, left to be vinedressers and farmers.
(17) Now the Chaldeans broke into pieces the bronze pillars for the LORD’s temple and the water carts and the bronze reservoir that were in the LORD’s temple, and carried all the bronze to Babylon.
(18) They took the pots, the shovels, the wick trimmers, the sprinkling basins, the dishes, and all the bronze articles used in temple service. (19) The commander of the guards took away the bowls, the firepans, the sprinkling basins, the pots, the lampstands, the pans, and the drink offering bowls–whatever was gold or silver.
(20) As for the two pillars, the one reservoir, and the 12 bronze bulls under the water carts that King Solomon had made for the LORD’s temple, the weight of the bronze of all these articles was beyond measure.
(21) One pillar was 27 feet tall, had a circumference of 18 feet, was hollow–four fingers thick– (22) and had a bronze capital on top of it.
One capital, encircled by bronze latticework and pomegranates, stood seven and a half feet high.
The second pillar was the same, with pomegranates.
(23) Each capital had 96 pomegranates all around it. All the pomegranates around the latticework numbered 100.
(24) The commander of the guards also took away Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest of the second rank, and the three doorkeepers.
(25) From the city he took a court official who had been appointed over the warriors; seven trusted royal aides found in the city; the secretary of the commander of the army, who enlisted the people of the land for military duty; and 60 men from the common people who were found within the city.
(26) Nebuzaradan, the commander of the guards, took them and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. (27) The king of Babylon put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. Thus Judah went into exile from its land.
(28) These are the people Nebuchadnezzar deported: in the seventh year, 3,023 Jews; (29) in his eighteenth year, 832 people from Jerusalem; (30) in Nebuchadnezzar’s twenty-third year, Nebuzaradan, the commander of the guards, deported 745 Jews.
All together 4,600 people were deported.
(31) On the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month of the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Judah’s King Jehoiachin, Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, pardoned King Jehoiachin of Judah and released him from the prison.
(32) He spoke kindly to him and set his throne above the thrones of the kings who were with him in Babylon.
(33) So Jehoiachin changed his prison clothes, and he dined regularly in the presence of the king of Babylon for the rest of his life.
(34) As for his allowance, a regular allowance was given to him by the king of Babylon, a portion for each day until the day of his death, for the rest of his life.”
This last section here reads nearly identical to the same account of these events offered in 2Kings 25:27-30.
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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