11 – Jer 46-52 The Nations’ Judgment & Judah’s ExileJeremiah & Lamentations
As we close our study of Jeremiah, we see a significant shift. Having preached about the sins of Judah and her coming exile, now the prophet declares what will happen to neighboring nations. He speaks at length regarding the two superpowers, Egypt and Babylon, as well as many others. Because Yahweh, the LORD God, is sovereign over ALL the nations, He will judge them according to their arrogance, their idolatry, their rejection of Him, and their violence against His people.
Broad Outline of Jeremiah
1-25 Prophecies Against Judah and Jerusalem
Oracles and interpreted symbolic actions re: coming doom. Much conversation/dialogue between the prophet and Yahweh.
26-36 Narratives of Hope for the Future
Two collections, nonchronological, incl. chs. 30–33 (New Covenant).
37-45 Narratives Regarding the Fall of Jerusalem
In chronological order, re: events that fulfill prophecies in chs. 1-25.
46-51 Oracles Against the Nations Egypt, Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Damascus, Kedar & Hazor, Elam, and Babylon.
52 Jerusalem’s Fall
Jer 46 Judgment on Egypt
Pharaoh Necho had defeated Judah and killed King Josiah at Megiddo in 609 BC (2 Chr 35:20–27), but then Nebuchadnezzar defeated Necho at the famous Battle of Carchemish in 605 BC, the fourth year of Jehoiakim. That defeat broke the power of Egypt and made Babylon supreme in the Near East. Jeremiah described the battle from Egypt’s viewpoint (3-12); then he described Babylon’s invasion of Egypt (13-26) (568-567 BC) and concluded with an application to the people of Israel (27-28). – Wiersbe
1-12 Egypt’s Shameful Defeat
Proud officers prepare troops, who then flee. “Terror on every side!”
Rising like the Nile in flood season, yet the day is the LORD’s.
13-26 Babylon’s Triumphant Invasion
Major cities in Egypt. “Stand up!” “Fall by the sword!”
Necho a “big noise” (loudmouth). Heifer bitten by gadfly. Fattened calves to be slaughtered. Serpent hissing and fleeing from the axe.
Babylonian army like swarm of locusts.
“King Yahweh of hosts” over Egypt’s gods, kings, and people.
27-28 Israel’s Assured Future
Israel not to fear. Remnant to return. Cf. 31:1-16.
Jer 47 Judgment on Philistia
Philistines (~Palestinians): sea people from the coasts of Caphtor (Crete). Five cities: Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron, Gath, Gaza.
Babylonians as waters rising in the north … torrent. Fathers in fear desert their children. Philistines unable to help allies, Tyre & Sidon.
Gaza attacked by Egyptians (609 BC). Ashkelon later destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar Nov–Dec, 604 BC. God predicted Philistines would be caught in the middle of the struggle between Babylon and Egypt and would be destroyed. So, shave their heads and cut themselves, signs of mourning or grief. God’s sword of judgment would not rest until it had attacked Ashkelon and the seacoast and destroyed them (cf. Ezek 25:15–17). – Dyer
Jer 48 Judgment on Moab
Descendants of Lot (Gen 19:30-38). Their god: Chemosh (v. 7).
Ruth – a Moabitess. Moab will wallow in vomit (v. 26), cries of dereliction will be heard (vv. 34, 38), fire will scorch the country (v. 45), and the children of the nation will be taken into exile (v. 46).
1-10 Land to Be Destroyed
Nebo, Kiriathaim, Heshbon: Reubenite cities taken by Moab.
In Heshbon (beḥešbôn) men will plot (ḥāšḇû) Moab’s downfall (v. 2).
11-17 Complacency to Be Shattered
18-28 Cities to Be Disgraced
29-39 Pride to Be Humbled
40-47 Nation to Be Destroyed, Renewed
Jer 49 Judgment on Various Nations
1-6 Ammon Also of Lot. Chief deity: Milcom (Molech). Chief city: Rabbah (its remains in Amman, Jordan). Exile. Renewal.
7-22 Edom (Esau). Later called Idumeans (Herod the Great).
Capital: Bozrah (Buseirah in Jordan). Feud with Israel. Celebrated Jerusalem’s fall (Ps 137:7). To drink cup of wrath. As an earthquake.
23-27 Damascus (Aram or Syria) As a woman in labor.
28-33 Kedar and Hazor Arab tribesmen, attacked by Babylon in Nebuchadnezzar’s sixth year (winter of 599 B.C.). The “people of the East.” Lived in tents, traveled via camels, kept sheep and goats.
34-39 Elam c. 597 BC. Southern part of Iran. Capital: Susa. “Break the bow” – their archery skills (Isa 22:6).
Jer 50-51 Judgment on Babylon
Babylon: named 164x in Jer, more than all other OT/NT combined.
From Gen 10-11 (Nimrod, Babel) to Rev 17-19 – continual enemy.
Jeremiah: pro-obedience to Yahweh, not pro-Babylonian.
Setting (Jer 51:59-64): 4th year of Zedekiah (594–593 BC). Baruch’s brother Seraiah to read the scroll in Babylon, then throw it into the Euphrates River. Point: Babylon would sink, never to rise again.
Composition: of several originally separate oracles.
Three groups addressed:  Nations from the north called to attack Babylon,  people of Israel being avenged,  people of Babylon.
Jer 50 Judgment on Babylon (I)
1-28 God Declares War on Babylon
1-10 To and about the Jews
11-13 To Babylon
14-16 To the invading armies
17-20 About the Jews
28 From the Jewish remnant
29-46 God Assembles Armies Against Babylon
Insolence, defiance, and arrogance against the Holy One of Israel.
34 “Their Redeemer is strong, the LORD of hosts is His name!”
Babylon’s enemies as His “sword.”
Jer 51 Judgment on Babylon (II)
1-13 Penalty: Babylon’s fall due to her violence against Judah.
Leb-kamai: atbash, a Jewish cipher code. Swap letters, = Chaldea.
In 25:26, Sheshach, decoded via atbash, = Babylon.
14-24 Sovereignty: Yahweh’s total supremacy; dual oath.
25-32 Destruction: nothing left of Babylon with which to rebuild.
33-58 Victory: Yahweh as Divine Warrior.
Bel (Marduk): Babylon’s god, to spit out nations he had swallowed.
Pleading Judah’s case. Making Babylon to be drunk and to stagger.
59-64 Setting and Object Lesson: 594-593 BC. Scroll dumped.
Jer 52 Fall of Jerusalem
1-3 Cause: Zedekiah’s evil re: God and rebellion re: Babylon.
4-11 Siege & famine: Jan, 588 BC – Jul, 587 BC. No escape.
12-23 Burning & plundering: one month later, Captain Nebuzaradan burned temple, palace, large houses. Itemized temple treasures.
24-30 Execution: 74 priestly, royal, military leaders, at Riblah.
Three deportations: 606 BC (Daniel & youths); 597 BC (10,000, including Ezekiel); now 582 BC.
31-34 Hope: In 561 BC, Jehoiachin found favor in exile under Evil-merodach, Babylon’s king after Nebuchadnezzar’s death.
That message would encourage the Jews in exile as they awaited its end and their return home in 539 BC.
Written by Cory Collins
Cory Collins is a Bible teacher and a minister of the gospel. He serves with Keller church of Christ in Keller, Texas. He and his wife, Tanya, have been married since 1977. They have two children and two grandchildren.