33 This is what the Lord Almighty says:
“The people of Israel are oppressed,
and the people of Judah as well.
All their captors hold them fast,
refusing to let them go.
34 Yet their Redeemer is strong;
the Lord Almighty is his name.
He will vigorously defend their cause
so that he may bring rest to their land,
but unrest to those who live in Babylon.
35 “A sword against the Babylonians!”
declares the Lord—
“against those who live in Babylon
and against her officials and wise men!
36 A sword against her false prophets!
They will become fools.
A sword against her warriors!
They will be filled with terror.
37 A sword against her horses and chariots
and all the foreigners in her ranks!
They will become weaklings.
A sword against her treasures!
They will be plundered.
38 A drought on her waters!
They will dry up.
For it is a land of idols,
idols that will go mad with terror.
39 “So desert creatures and hyenas will live there,
and there the owl will dwell.
It will never again be inhabited
or lived in from generation to generation.
40 As I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah
along with their neighboring towns,”
declares the Lord,
“so no one will live there;
no people will dwell in it.
(Jeremiah 50:33-40 NIV)
Chapters 50 – 51 contain the dual themes of Babylon’s defeat and God’s people redeemed. Today’s text is the second part of the larger context of verses 21 – 40. Today’s passage carries both themes of Babylon’s demise and Israel’s release.
Verses 33-34 are the Lord’s reiterated promise of redemption for the remnant of exiles from Israel and Judah. The Lord promises to free them and to restore them to the Promised Land. In this promise, the Lord states that He will be their kinsman-redeemer, sparing no expense and risking everything to free them from their captors. The Lord also uses a legal term to say that He will be their advocate and defender in the Divine court of law against their oppressors.
Notice that verse 34b ends with “unrest to those who live in Babylon”. Verses 35 – 38 provide the detail of that unrest:
- God’s wrath against the Babylonians, their officials, their wise men
- False prophets will become fools
- Warriors will become filled with terror
- Horses, chariots, and mercenaries will become like frightened little girls
- Treasures will be plundered
- Waters will be dried up
- Idol worshipers will go mad with terror
Verses 39 – 40 summarize the net result of God’s Divine retribution on Babylon. In short, the city will become uninhabited. No self-respecting creature will live there – only desert creatures, hyenas, and owls will be its new inhabitants. The NIV uses the terms “desert creatures and hyenas” to translate from the Hebrew text; however, some commentaries suggest that “demons and evil spirits” might be more appropriate.
Verse 40 proclaims that Babylon will end up the same as Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24-25). No person will live there from that point forward.
May we remember that while evil may preside for a season, God is ultimately in control and will provide justice against oppressors and will be our advocate.
May we walk in faith today and place our hope, trust, and faith in Him alone.