« PreviousContinue »
do judgment upon the graven images of Babylon and her whole land shall be confounded, and all her slain shall fall in the 48 midst of her. Then the heaven and the earth, and all that
[is] therein, shall sing for Babylon: for the spoilers shall come 49 unto her from the north, saith the LORD. As Babylon [hath caused] the slain of Israel to fall, so at Babylon shall fall the 50 slain of all the earth. Ye that have escaped the sword, go away, stand not still; remember the LORD afar off, and let Jerusalem come into your mind; think not of Babylon, but return 51 to Jerusalem. We are confounded, because we have heard reproach shame hath covered our faces: for strangers are come into the sanctuaries of the LORD's house; it is a reproach to us that the sanctuary should continue waste, when we may go 52 and rebuild it. Wherefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will do judgment upon her graven images: and 53 through all her land the wounded shall groan. Though Babylon should mount up to heaven, and though she should fortify the height of her strength, [yet] from me shall spoilers come 54 unto her, saith the LORD. A sound of a cry [cometh] from Babylon, and great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans: 55 Because the LORD hath spoiled Babylon, and destroyed out of her the great voice; when her waves do roar like great waters, 56 a noise of their voice is uttered: Because the spoiler is come upon her, [even] upon Babylon, and her mighty men are taken, every one of their bows is broken: for the Lord God of rec57 ompenses shall surely requite. And I will make drunk her princes, and her wise [men,] her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name [is] the LORD of hosts. 58 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The broad walls of Babylon. shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire, though the walls are fifty feet broad, and three hundred feet high, full of towers and strong brazen gates; and the people shall labour in vain to save themselves, and the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary.
The word which Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, when he went with Zedekiah the king of Judah into Babylon in the fourth year of his reign. And [this] Seraiah [was] a quiet prince; or rather, the chief chamberlain, who was charged with some present or trib60 ute to the king of Babylon. So Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon Babylon, [even] all these words 61 [that are] written against Babylon. And Jeremiah said to Se
raiah, When thou comest to Babylon, and shalt see, and shalt 62 read all these words to the captive Jews; Then shalt thou say, 63 O LORD, thou hast spoken against this place, to cut it off, that none shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but that it shall be desolate for ever. And it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading this book, [that] thou shalt bind a stone to it, and
64 cast it into the midst of Euphrates: And thou shalt say, Thus shalt Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her and they shall be weary; they shall not succeed, whatever attempts they may make for their safety. Thus far [are] the words of Jeremiah.
OD's wonderful appearances for a people ought to be ac
in which many share, ought to be owned with united hearts and tongues, especially the blessings of peace and national prosperity.
2. It becomes us to concern ourselves in the interests of the church; to have Jerusalem in our mind, though at a distance from it. Whether in prosperity, or in trouble, still the concerns of the church should affect our hearts; and we should seek the things of Jesus Christ.
3. When we are hearing the declarations of God's word, we ought to acknowledge the truth and justice of them, v. 62. Babylon was now flourishing, its strength and populousness made it unlikely that it should be taken and destroyed; but Seraiah is directed to own, after reading the predictions against it, that they were God's declarations, and would certainly be fulfilled: and thus should we acknowledge, O Lord, thy words are true, thy judgments are right. 4. The accomplishment of this prophecy should confirm our faith in the downfall of mystical Babylon, the church of Rome; which is described in images like these; the mother of harlots, the seat of idolatry and persecution. Many passages in the Revelations are taken from this chapter; particularly the angel taking a millstone and casting it into the sea, is an allusion to the prophet's casting the book into Euphrates; and we may rest assured that it shall be fulfilled in its season. Let us pray for its accomplishment; and in the mean time, as God hath granted us deliverance from Babylon, let us declare in Zion the works of the Lord.
This historical chapter was added by some other hand, probably by Ezra, after Jeremiah's time, to throw light upon the prophecies of this book, and to illustrate the Lamentations, which follow. It con tains an account of Zedekiah's rebellion; of the siege and taking of Jerusalem; of Zedekiah's sons being killed, and his own eyes put out; and of the city being spoiled and burned.
EDEKIAH [was] one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name [was] Hamutal the daughter of Jeremi. 2 ah of Libnah. And he did [that which was] evil in the eyes of
3 the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, till he had cast them out from his presence, the presence of his providence in the land, and of his grace in the temple, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth [day] of the month, [that] Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it, and built forts against it round 5 about, to prevent relief and to batter the city. So the city was 6 besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.' And in the fourth month, in the ninth [day] of the month, the famine was sore in the city, so that there was no bread for the people of the 7 land, many having fled out of the country into it. Then the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled, and went forth out of the city by night, by the way of the gate between the two walls, which [was] by the king's garden; (now the Chaldeans [were] by the city round about:) and they went by the way of the plain. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after the king, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and all his army 9 was scattered from him. Then they took the king and carried him up unto the king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Ha10 math; where he gave judgment upon him as a rebel. And the king of Babylon slew the sons, the young children, of Zedekiah before his eyes: he slew also all the princes of Judah in Riblah. 11 Then he put out the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in chains, and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death.
Now in the fifth month, in the tenth [day] of the month, which [was] the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, [which] serv13 ed the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem, And burned the house of the LORD, and the king's house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great [men,] burned he with fire; the temple having been spared when the city was taken, a cruel resolution was formed a month afterward to destroy both it 14 and the city: And all the army of the Chaldeans, that [were] with the captain of the guard, brake down all the walls of Jerusalem round about, that it might make no further resistance, 15 Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive [certain] of the poor of the people, and the residue of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to 16 the king of Babylon, and the rest of the multitude. But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left [certain] of the poor of the land for vine dressers and for husbandmen.
Also the pillars of brass that [were] in the house of the LORD, and the bases, and the brazen sea that [was] in the house of the LORD, the Chaldeans brake, and carried all the brass of them We have a dreadful description of this in the book of the Lamentations.
18 to Babylon. The caldrons also, and the shovels, and the snuffers, and the bowls, and the spoons, and all the vessels of brass 19 wherewith they ministered, took they away. And the basons, and the fire pans, and the bowls, and the caldrons, and the candlesticks, and the spoons, and the cups; [that] which [was] of gold [in] gold, and [that] which [was] of silver [in] silver, 20 took the captain of the guard away. The two pillars, one sea, and twelve brazen bulls that [were] under the bases, which king Solomon had made in the house of the LORD: the brass of all 21 these vessels was without weight. And [concerning] the pillars, the height of one pillar [was] eighteen cubits; and a fillet of twelve cubits did compass it; and the thickness thereof 22 [was] four fingers: [it was] hollow. And a chapiter of brass [was] upon it; and the height of one chapiter [was] five cubits, with network and pomegranates upon the chapiters round about, all [of] brass. The second pillar also and the pomegran23 ates [were] like unto these. And there were ninety and six pomegranates on a side; [and] all the pomegranates upon the network [were] an hundred round about.
And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, who was to act in case of the sickness or incapacity of the high priest, and the three keepers of 25 the door: He took also out of the city an eunuch, which had the charge of the men of war; and seven men of them that were near the king's person, which were found in the city; and the principal scribe of the host, who mustered the people of the land; and threescore men of the people of the land, that were found in the midst of the city, and who were the principal persons employed in preventing Zedekiah's surrender, and in prosecuting 26 Jeremiah. So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took them, 27 and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah. And the king of Babylon smote them, and put them to death in Riblah in the land of Hamath. Thus Judah was carried away captive out of his own land.
This [is] the people whom Nebuchadrezzar carried away captive in the seventh year, three thousand Jews and three and twenty of the tribe of Judah, (for there were in all ten thou29 sand, 2 Kings xxiv. 14.) In the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar, he carried away captive from Jerusalem eight hundred 30 thirty and two persons: In the three and twentieth year of Nebuchadrezzar, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred forty and five persons; a third captivity, not mentioned elsewhere, (probably the persons concerned in the murder of Gedaliah ;) all the persons [were] four thousand and six hundred.
And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth [day] of the month, [that] Evilmero
In the book of Kings it is said the twenty seventh; perhaps the orders were given the twenty fifth, and executed the twenty seventh.
dach king of Babylon, in the [first] year of his reign lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth 32 out of prison, And spake kindly unto him, and set his throne
above the throne of the kings that [were] with him in Babylon, 33 And changed his prison garments: and he did continually eat 34 bread before him all the days of his life. And [for] his diet, there was a continual diet given him of the king of Babylon, every day a portion until the day of his death, all the days of his life; that is, he gave him an allowance for the support of his family; which was an encouragement to the pious Jews, and an omen of their approaching deliverance.
S a general lesson from this chapter and the whole book, we may observe the sad consequences of rebellion against God, and of refusing to hearken to his word. Zedekiah would not take warning, though it was so plainly and affectionately given by Jeremiah; and therefore he was involved in all this misery; his sons were slain, his eyes were put out, and he was made a prisoner for life. The Israelites would not hearken, and therefore were they carried captive; their principal persons slain; and their city and temple destroyed. A terrible description of their misery will be seen in the next book. See how wretchedly God's own people may degenerate; and that when they do so, their relation to him will not save them from ruin, but expose them to greater. See also how righteous and faithful, how exact and punctual, how awful and terrible, God is, in executing his threatenings. No word of his falls to the ground. May we, may all the inhabitants of Britain, take warning by this dreadful story! All these things happened to them for ensamples, and they are written for our admonition.
2. From the captivity of Jehoiachin we may observe, what surprizing scenes of Providence sometimes open upon men; and what a changing world this is. First he was a monarch; then seven and thirty years a prisoner; then released, and honourably supported. God knows how to bring about such changes; he can debase the highest down to the dust; can take the poor from the dunghill, to set them among princes; and give men favour in the eyes of their enemies. Those who are now prosperous should remember the days of darkness, which may be many, that they may be humble and cautious. Those who have been long in deep affliction, should be patient and contented; not knowing what prosperous acenes may be before them. It is at least certain, that all good men shall experience a more wonderful change than this monarch did, when Christ shall call them from the prison of the grave, give them the garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness, and advance them to sit down on his throne, to be happy with him for ever.