Jeremiah 50 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Jeremiah 50)

Verse 2

[2] Declare ye among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not: say, Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces.

Bel — Bel and Merodach were the two principal idols of the Babylonians.

Verse 3

[3] For out of the north there cometh up a nation against her, which shall make her land desolate, and none shall dwell therein: they shall remove, they shall depart, both man and beast.

The north — From Media which lay northward to Babylon and Assyria.

Verse 4

[4] In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the LORD their God.

In those days — In the days wherein God shall begin to execute judgment upon Babylon, (which was in the time of Cyrus) the children of Judah shall come out of captivity, and some of the children of Israel hearing that their brethren were gone out of Babylon, shall go up also from the several places into which they were disposed by the Assyrians: weeping for their sins, or for joy that God should shew them such mercy.

Verse 6

[6] My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace.

Their shepherds — Their civil and ecclesiastical governors have been a cause of it. The former by their wicked commands and example; the latter by example as well as doctrine.

Turned them — To offer sacrifices unto idols.

From mountain — From one idolatry to another.

Forgotten — They have forgotten me.

Verse 7

[7] All that found them have devoured them: and their adversaries said, We offend not, because they have sinned against the LORD, the habitation of justice, even the LORD, the hope of their fathers.

Habitation — Some think this is a name here given to God, who indeed is the habitation of justice, but whether the Chaldeans would call him so, may be a question. Others therefore think the preposition in is understood, making this the aggravation of the Jews sins, that they were committed in a land which ought to have been an habitation of justice.

Verse 8

[8] Remove out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be as the he goats before the flocks.

Remove — God commands his people to remove out of Babylon, and to go forth chearfully like the he-goats of a flock leading the way.

Verse 10

[10] And Chaldea shall be a spoil: all that spoil her shall be satisfied, saith the LORD.

Satisfied — Satisfied with spoil and plunder.

Verse 11

[11] Because ye were glad, because ye rejoiced, O ye destroyers of mine heritage, because ye are grown fat as the heifer at grass, and bellow as bulls;

Because — They rejoiced at the ruin of the Jews.

Fat — The cause for which Babylon is threatened, was doubtless their luxury of all sorts commonly attending great wealth.

Verse 12

[12] Your mother shall be sore confounded; she that bare you shall be ashamed: behold, the hindermost of the nations shall be a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert.

Mother — Your country, shall be ashamed of you, who are not able to defend her.

Verse 15

[15] Shout against her round about: she hath given her hand: her foundations are fallen, her walls are thrown down: for it is the vengeance of the LORD: take vengeance upon her; as she hath done, do unto her.

Given her hand — Acknowledging themselves overcome, and yielding.

As she hath done — Unmerciful men find no mercy.

Verse 16

[16] Cut off the sower from Babylon, and him that handleth the sickle in the time of harvest: for fear of the oppressing sword they shall turn every one to his people, and they shall flee every one to his own land.

Every one — Either such strangers as for commerce had their abodes in Babylon, or such assistance as the Babylonians had gotten against their enemies.

Verse 17

[17] Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away: first the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones.

Israel — The whole twelve tribes.

Lions — Enemies cruel as lions had carried them into captivity.

Verse 20

[20] In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.

Not found — God will no longer punish the sins of the Jews, they should be sought for as to punishment and not found.

Reserve — Whom I save from the captivity of Babylon.

Verse 21

[21] Go up against the land of Merathaim, even against it, and against the inhabitants of Pekod: waste and utterly destroy after them, saith the LORD, and do according to all that I have commanded thee.

Merathaim — The names of some places which Cyrus took in his way to Babylon.

Verse 22

[22] A sound of battle is in the land, and of great destruction.

The land — Of Chaldea.

Verse 26

[26] Come against her from the utmost border, open her storehouses: cast her up as heaps, and destroy her utterly: let nothing of her be left.

Open her store-houses — The granaries, or treasures of the Babylonians.

Verse 27

[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.

Bullocks — The great and rich men of Babylon.

Verse 28

[28] The voice of them that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the LORD our God, the vengeance of his temple.

The vengeance — The revenge which God had taken for his holy temple, which the Chaldeans had destroyed.

Verse 33

[33] Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The children of Israel and the children of Judah were oppressed together: and all that took them captives held them fast; they refused to let them go.

Together — Together in this place signifies no more than that they were both oppressed, or alike oppressed.

Verse 34

[34] Their Redeemer is strong; the LORD of hosts is his name: he shall throughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon.

Plead — He will actually and readily effect it.

Verse 36

[36] A sword is upon the liars; and they shall dote: a sword is upon her mighty men; and they shall be dismayed.

Dote — Their soothsayers and wizards shall dote, not foreseeing what will be.

Dismayed — Their hearts shall fail them when this day comes.

Verse 37

[37] A sword is upon their horses, and upon their chariots, and upon all the mingled people that are in the midst of her; and they shall become as women: a sword is upon her treasures; and they shall be robbed.

Horses — Through they be full of chariots and horses, the enemy shall destroy them.

Mingled people — People that were not native Chaldeans, but under their dominion.

Verse 38

[38] A drought is upon her waters; and they shall be dried up: for it is the land of graven images, and they are mad upon their idols.

Dried — This phrase has a plain reference to Cyrus's stratagem used in the surprize of Babylon; one part of it was fortified by the great river Euphrates, which Cyrus diverted by cutting several channels, 'till he had drained it so low, that it became passable for his army; others think that a want of rain is here threatened.

Verse 40

[40] As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbour cities thereof, saith the LORD; so shall no man abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein.

No man — Cyrus only made them tributaries, and took away their government. But Seleucus Nicanor, a Grecian prince, utterly destroyed Babylon, so that in the time of Adrian the Roman emperor, there was nothing left standing of that great city.