Dave Burnette's Commentary

Jeremiah Chapter 51

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Jeremiah
Date Penned: (627-586 BC)
Overview: To Urge God's People to Turn from Sin to God (c 1-52)
Theme: God's Judgement on the Nations (c 46-52)
Message: Jeremiah Predicts the Fall of Babylon (v 1-64)

Jeremiah 51 Commentary

(51:2) Chaff in the Wind - Fanners worked to separate wheat from chaff during the harvest. When winnowers threw the mixture into the air, the wind blew away the worthless chaff while the grains of wheat settled to the floor. Babylon would be blown away like chaff in the wind. (See also Matthew 3:12, where John the Baptist says Jesus will separate the wheat from the chaff.) 

(51:11) The Lord Sustains - Cyrus, king of Persia, had allied himself with Babylon to defeat Nineveh (the capital of the Assyrian Empire) in 612 BC. Later, the Medes joined Persia to defeat Babylon (539 51:15 Some people think that the Lord created the world and then set it off to run on its own, just watching to see what might happen. But this verse shows that the Lord not only created the earth but also sustains it. God is both the maker and the sustainer of heaven and earth. We can be encouraged that he works actively in the world and holds it all together. Nothing happens that he doesn't see and allow. (See Colossians 1:15-20, where Paul describes how Jesus creates and sustains all creation.) 

(51:17-19) Trust the Lord - To trust in human-made images rather than in God is foolish. It is easy to think that the things we see and touch will bring us more security than God. But these things rust, rot, and decay. God is eternal. Why put your trust in something that will eventually disappear? 

(51:19) The Lord of Hosts - The "LORD of hosts" is one of the names God has given to himself. This name of God occurs hundreds of times in the Bible and is also translated "Lord of Heaven's Armies" and "Lord of Sabaoth," meaning the Lord of all the heavenly beings. This is an army above all other armies, and this title conveys his all-surpassing power. 

(51:33) The Threshing Floor - Grain was threshed on a threshing floor, where bundles of grain were brought from the fields. The stalks of grain were distributed on the floor, a large, level section of hard ground. There the grain was beaten and crushed to separate the kernels from the stalks; then the kernels were beaten further with a wooden tool to separate the chaff. Often a wooden sledge studded with stones and pieces of metal was pulled over the grain by animals to speed the threshing process. The threshing was then followed by a winnowing process, in which the grains of wheat were separated from the chaff. When winnowers threw the threshed mixture into the air, the wind blew away the worthless chaff while the grains of wheat settled to the floor (see 51:2 and the note there). According to Jeremiah's message, the Babylonians would soon be "threshed"--trampled like grain on a threshing floor--as God judged them for their sins. Then they would be blown away like chaff in the wind. (See also Matthew 3:12, where John the Baptist said Jesus would separate the wheat from the chaff in a different sense.) 

(51:36) Cyrus Takes Babylon - This verse may refer to an event accomplished by Cyrus, who took Babylon by surprise by diverting the river that ran through the city far upstream and walking beneath the city's fortifications on the dry riverbed. It could also be saying that Babylon would be deprived of life-giving water. Unlike Jerusalem, Babylon would not be restored. 

(51:44) Marduk - Bel is one of the names of Marduk, the chief god of the city of Babylon. 

(51:50) The Exiles - The exiles were far from home, yet Jeremiah urged them to think about their true home in Jerusalem. Like the exiles, we need to anticipate our eternal home in the kingdom of heaven. On the last night of his earthly life, Jesus comforted his disciples by assuring them that he was on his way to his Father's house and that he would be preparing a place  for them there (John 14:1-3). Since there's plenty of room for us in God's kingdom, we should go ahead and live this life as citizens of heaven (Philippians 1:27) 

(51:51) A Return to Jerusalem - The people were paralyzed with guilt over their past. The Babylonian armies had desecrated the temple and the people were ashamed to return to Jerusalem. But God told them to return to the city because he would destroy Babylon for its sins. 

(51:59) Seraiah - Jeremiah could not visit Babylon, so he sent the message with Seraiah, the officer who cared for the comforts of the army. Seraiah was probably Baruch's brother (32:12). 

(51:60-64) In this, the last of Jeremiah's messages, we find again the twin themes of God's sovereignty and his judgment. Babylon had been allowed to oppress the people of Israel, but Babylon itself would be judged. Although God brings good out of evil, he does not allow evil to remain unpunished. The wicked may succeed for a while but resist being alone to give the people of Isreal temptation to follow them, or you may share in their judgment. Be patient. God will restore justice and mercy in his own timing, which, in the end, we will discover was the right timing.


David Burnette's Life Application

Shifting Sand

 Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the Book of Jeremiah 51. In our text today we see how the people must fear or reverence the power of God verses the power of man. Here the people of God feared the Babalyonians vesrses our Lord and in doing so placed their reverence in man which ended up in destruction. In making application we see that today many still do the same fearing or reverencing the world or the world's system over our Lord and it reminds me of building a house on shifting sand. If we place our trust on the wrong foundation our house will not stand and eventually will fall. How about you? Do you fear or reverence the world over our Lord? Let us learn from our text today to remember that we should fear the Lord over man so we will build the foundation of our lives on His foundation verses a life built on shifting sand that will eventually collapse. 


Jeremiah 51

Jeremiah 51

 1Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will raise up against Babylon, and against them that dwell in the midst of them that rise up against me, a destroying wind;

 2And will send unto Babylon fanners, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land: for in the day of trouble they shall be against her round about.

 3Against him that bendeth let the archer bend his bow, and against him that lifteth himself up in his brigandine: and spare ye not her young men; destroy ye utterly all her host.

 4Thus the slain shall fall in the land of the Chaldeans, and they that are thrust through in her streets.

 5For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the LORD of hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.

 6Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD's vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence.

 7Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD's hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad.

 8Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed.

 9We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.

 10The LORD hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God.

 11Make bright the arrows; gather the shields: the LORD hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his device is against Babylon, to destroy it; because it is the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance of his temple.

 12Set up the standard upon the walls of Babylon, make the watch strong, set up the watchmen, prepare the ambushes: for the LORD hath both devised and done that which he spake against the inhabitants of Babylon.

 13O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness.

 14The LORD of hosts hath sworn by himself, saying, Surely I will fill thee with men, as with caterpillers; and they shall lift up a shout against thee.

 15He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding.

 16When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth: he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.

 17Every man is brutish by his knowledge; every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.

 18They are vanity, the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.

 19The portion of Jacob is not like them; for he is the former of all things: and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: the LORD of hosts is his name.

 20Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms;

 21And with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his rider; and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his rider;

 22With thee also will I break in pieces man and woman; and with thee will I break in pieces old and young; and with thee will I break in pieces the young man and the maid;

 23I will also break in pieces with thee the shepherd and his flock; and with thee will I break in pieces the husbandman and his yoke of oxen; and with thee will I break in pieces captains and rulers.

 24And I will render unto Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, saith the LORD.

 25Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, saith the LORD, which destroyest all the earth: and I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain.

 26And they shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations; but thou shalt be desolate for ever, saith the LORD.

 27Set ye up a standard in the land, blow the trumpet among the nations, prepare the nations against her, call together against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashchenaz; appoint a captain against her; cause the horses to come up as the rough caterpillers.

 28Prepare against her the nations with the kings of the Medes, the captains thereof, and all the rulers thereof, and all the land of his dominion.

 29And the land shall tremble and sorrow: for every purpose of the LORD shall be performed against Babylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without an inhabitant.

 30The mighty men of Babylon have forborn to fight, they have remained in their holds: their might hath failed; they became as women: they have burned her dwellingplaces; her bars are broken.

 31One post shall run to meet another, and one messenger to meet another, to shew the king of Babylon that his city is taken at one end,

 32And that the passages are stopped, and the reeds they have burned with fire, and the men of war are affrighted.

 33For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; The daughter of Babylon is like a threshingfloor, it is time to thresh her: yet a little while, and the time of her harvest shall come.

 34Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out.

 35The violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon, shall the inhabitant of Zion say; and my blood upon the inhabitants of Chaldea, shall Jerusalem say.

 36Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will plead thy cause, and take vengeance for thee; and I will dry up her sea, and make her springs dry.

 37And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwellingplace for dragons, an astonishment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant.

 38They shall roar together like lions: they shall yell as lions' whelps.

 39In their heat I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the LORD.

 40I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams with he goats.

 41How is Sheshach taken! and how is the praise of the whole earth surprised! how is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations!

 42The sea is come up upon Babylon: she is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof.

 43Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwelleth, neither doth any son of man pass thereby.

 44And I will punish Bel in Babylon, and I will bring forth out of his mouth that which he hath swallowed up: and the nations shall not flow together any more unto him: yea, the wall of Babylon shall fall.

 45My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD.

 46And lest your heart faint, and ye fear for the rumour that shall be heard in the land; a rumour shall both come one year, and after that in another year shall come a rumour, and violence in the land, ruler against ruler.

 47Therefore, behold, the days come, that I will do judgment upon the graven images of Babylon: and her whole land shall be confounded, and all her slain shall fall in the midst of her.

 48Then the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, shall sing for Babylon: for the spoilers shall come unto her from the north, saith the LORD.

 49As Babylon hath caused the slain of Israel to fall, so at Babylon shall fall the slain of all the earth.

 50Ye that have escaped the sword, go away, stand not still: remember the LORD afar off, and let Jerusalem come into your mind.

 51We are confounded, because we have heard reproach: shame hath covered our faces: for strangers are come into the sanctuaries of the LORD's house.

 52Wherefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will do judgment upon her graven images: and through all her land the wounded shall groan.

 53Though Babylon should mount up to heaven, and though she should fortify the height of her strength, yet from me shall spoilers come unto her, saith the LORD.

 54A sound of a cry cometh from Babylon, and great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans:

 55Because the LORD hath spoiled Babylon, and destroyed out of her the great voice; when her waves do roar like great waters, a noise of their voice is uttered:

 56Because 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 recompences shall surely requite.

 57And 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.

 58Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; and the people shall labour in vain, and the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary.

 59The 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.

 60So Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon Babylon, even all these words that are written against Babylon.

 61And Jeremiah said to Seraiah, When thou comest to Babylon, and shalt see, and shalt read all these words;

 62Then shalt thou say, 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.

 63And it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading this book, that thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates:

 64And thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her: and they shall be weary. Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.