Jeremiah 50

DateVersionReading Plan
@August 13, 2023ESV (2016)ESV Prophets Plan 2023


  • Judgment on Babylon


The chapter opens with a declaration of the LORD concerning Babylon. He calls for a proclamation that “Babylon is taken, Bel is put to shame, Merodach is dismayed.” “Bel” and “Marduk” (”Merodach”) refer to the same Babylonian god.

In Jer. 50:3, God declares that a nation out of the north will come against Babylon. This is most likely Persia since the attack will be against Babylon.

In Jer. 50:4-10, God refers to the Israelites specifically, that the they will seek the LORD when Babylon is judged (Jer. 50:4). Their orientation will be toward Zion (a location near Jerusalem) to serve the LORD (Jer. 50:5). The people had been as lost sheep, led away by the kings, priests, prophets and other leaders. Those left in Babylon are called to “Flee from the midst of Babylon” (Jer. 50:8) before the judgment begins.

In Jer. 50:11-16, God addresses Babylon and that He will judge it in retaliation for what she did to Judah. God refers to Babylon as “plunderers of my heritage” (Israel) who then frolicked like a young cow treading grain (Jer. 50:11). Attacking forces are ordered to line up and let the battle against Babylon begin. All who “bend the bow” are to take aim at Babylon, to “shoot at her” and “spare no arrows” (Jer. 50:14). In this, Babylon is to receive vengeance for what she had done to others (Jer. 50:15).

Jer. 50:17-20 describes the series of judgments that came on Israel; first their devouring by the Assyrians and now by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. However, the same punishment that the LORD placed on the king of Assyria will now come to the king of Babylon (Jer. 50:18). The result will be an Israelite remnant who will be righteous before the LORD. God’s forgiveness will be complete and even if someone searched for guilt within her, none will be found (Jer. 50:20)

Jer. 50:21-26 is a call of attack against Babylon; against the “land of Merathaim and against the inhabitants of Pekod. Merathaim was probably the district of Marratim at the head of the Persian Gulf and Pekod was probably a people of eastern Babylonia. Judgment was coming to them because they had opposed the LORD (Jer. 50:24).

Jer. 50:28-30 are the fleeing of the Israelites from the “land of Babylon” and a call for archers against Babylon, “all those who bend the bow” (Jer. 50:29). The young men of Babylon will fall “in her squares” because they had proudly defied the LORD.

In Jer. 50:31-22, the LORD continues in His address against the Babylonian pride and that He is against them. The “proud one shall stumble and fall” and the LORD will “kindle a fire in its cities” (Jer. 50:32).

Jer. 50:33-34 speak of the oppression of the Israelites and of those who took them captive. The nation is portrayed as waiting for their release. In the past, the LORD (their Redeemer) had delivered them and He will do it again. He would bring rest to the earth (Jer. 50:34).

The remaining verses (Jer. 50:35-46) are of God’s punishment of Babylon. God declares a “A sword” against Babylon’s diviners, warriors, horses and treasures and a drought against her waters (Jer. 50:35-38). Babylon’s destruction will lead to the growth of habitation of desert creatures in the region. A people from the north, “stirring from the farthest parts of the earth”, are arrayed against Babylon (Jer. 50:41-42). The LORD’s power is displayed in His appointment of those He chooses to be against Babylon (Jer. 50:44) and all surrounding nations will hear of their fall (Jer. 50:46).


Following God’s use of the Babylonians as a means of correction for the Israelites, they were now to be judged themselves. Babylon’s role in God’s plan had run its course and they would be brought down as a result of their pride, haughtiness and idolatry. The capability of God’s hand to wield entire nations as chess pieces in this way is simply beyond our comprehension.

This continues to point to our limited perspective; that God is both benevolent and yet employs such means of destruction. God is divinely intentional about all that He does with His eye focused on the larger picture. Our failure to see it should not prompt us to deny its existence but to help us appreciate the power and grandeur of our Creator. He is big and terrifyingly powerful and yet is marvelously balanced in love and mercy.

Scripture Journal Notes

Commentaries & Resources Used