Jeremiah 50:24-32 – Babylon: Humbled by God

By Wayne Jackson

Babylon was the glory of the ancient world, and this splendor produced an inordinate pride in the golden city. God thus determined to destroy the capital of the Chaldean kingdom.

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 Jehovah. 25 Jehovah hath opened his armory, and hath brought forth the weapons of his indignation; for the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, hath a work to do in the land of the Chaldeans. 26 Come against her from the utmost border; open her store-houses; cast her up as heaps, and destroy her utterly; let nothing of her be left. 27 Slay all her bullocks; let them go down to the slaughter: woe unto them! for their day is come, the time of their visitation. 28 The voice of them that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of Jehovah our God, the vengeance of his temple. 29 Call together the archers against Babylon, all them that bend the bow; encamp against her 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 Jehovah, against the Holy One of Israel. 30 Therefore shall her young men fall in her streets, and all her men of war shall be brought to silence in that day, saith Jehovah. 31 Behold, I am against thee, O thou proud one, saith the Lord, Jehovah of hosts; for thy day is come, the time that I will visit thee. 32 And the proud one shall stumble and fall, and none shall raise him up; and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it shall devour all that are round about him (Jer. 50:24-32).

Several of the prophets foretold the demise of this mighty empire. In this example, Jeremiah, symbolically addressing the Medes and Persians, says: “Come against her from the utmost border; open her store-houses; cast her up as heaps, and destroy her utterly; let nothing be left of her” (50:26). Two important points must be made regarding this passage.

First, note that the Medo-Persian forces were to open her “store-houses.” Charles Rollin, professor of ancient history at the University of Paris, observed that the Babylonians had provisions within the city walls to withstand a siege of twenty years (p. 128). Babylon thought, therefore, that she would never be taken. But she was! Circle “store-houses,” and enter: Provisions for twenty years.

Second, observe that Babylon was to be “cast up as heaps.” When prominent archaeologist Robert Koldewey excavated Babylon (1899-1917), in many places he found the ruins covered with forty to eighty feet of sand and rubble (Laetsch, p. 355). Underline “heaps” and record: sand and rubble, 40-80 feet.

Finally, it is interesting to observe that the French atheist, Francois Volney (1757-1820), in his volume, The Ruins of Empires (1791), wrote concerning Babylon: “Nothing is left of Babylon but heaps of earth, trodden under foot of men” (quoted in: Sweeney, p. 333). It’s sort of nice when an infidel can offer testimony that supports the very Book he so despises.

Sources

Laetsch, Theo (1965), Jeremiah (St. Louis: Concordia).

Rollin, Charles (1857), Ancient History (New York: Harper & Bros.), Vol. I.

Sweeney, Z.T. (1926), New Testament Christianity (Columbus, IN: New Testament Christianity Book Fund, Inc.), Vol. II.

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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.