Jeremiah 25: Seventy
years of captivity & wider judgments
Comment : This chapter comes in two parts. The first
warns Judah and Jerusalem [v.2] that although they have been given
another chance, they refused it and so judgment is coming on them
in the form of Nebuchadnezzar who has just taken over the rule
of Babylon. He will bring destruction and subjection which will
last for seventy years. After that time, judgment will come on
Babylon. The second Part of the chapter brings a much broader
warning of God's judgment that comes on all the ungodly and unrighteous
cities and peoples of the area who have turned from the Lord.
For comment on the seventy years, see the note at the end of the
1: v.1-14: Judgement from and on Babylon
A new word in Jehoiakim's reign
word came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in
the fourth year of Jehoiakim [605
BC] son of Josiah king of Judah,
which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. [the
year of Nebuchadnezzar's first invasion of Judah]
Jeremiah the prophet said to all the people of Judah and to all
those living in Jerusalem:
The people have refused to listen to God's prophetic words
twenty-three years – from the thirteenth year of Josiah son
of Amon king of Judah until this very day – the word of the
Lord has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again,
but you have not listened.
though the Lord has sent all his servants the prophets to you
again and again, you have not listened or paid any attention.
A call to repentance that would save them
said, ‘Turn now, each of you, from your evil ways and your evil
practices, and you can stay in the land the Lord gave to you and
your ancestors for ever and ever.
not follow other gods to serve and worship them; do not arouse
my anger with what your hands have made. Then I will not harm
Their refusal to hear still
you did not listen to me,' declares the Lord, ‘and you have aroused
my anger with what your hands have made, and you have brought
harm to yourselves.'
the Lord Almighty says this: ‘Because you have not listened to
The judgment from Babylon to last for seventy years
will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar
king of Babylon,' declares the Lord, ‘and I will bring them against
this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding
nations. I will completely destroy them and make them an object
of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin.
will banish from them the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices
of bride and bridegroom, the sound of millstones and the light
of the lamp.
whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations
will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years.
Babylon to eventually be punished
when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of
Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their
guilt,' declares the Lord, ‘and will make it desolate for ever.
will bring on that land all the things I have spoken against it,
all that are written in this book and prophesied by Jeremiah against
all the nations.
themselves will be enslaved by many nations and great kings; I
will repay them according to their deeds and the work of their
2: v.15-38: The Cup of God's wrath
A symbolic cup of God anger to be figuratively poured out over
is what the Lord, the God of Israel, said to me: ‘Take from my
hand this cup filled with the wine of my wrath and make all the
nations to whom I send you drink it.
they drink it, they will stagger and go mad because of the sword
I will send among them.'
o I took the
cup from the Lord's hand and made all the nations to whom he sent
me drink it:
All the cities and places that warrant His judgment
and the towns of Judah, its kings and
officials, to make them a ruin and an object of horror and scorn,
a curse – as they are today;
king of Egypt, his attendants, his officials
and all his people,
all the foreign people there; all the kings of Uz;
all the kings of the Philistines (those of Ashkelon,
Gaza, Ekron, and the people left at Ashdod);
Moab and Ammon;
the kings of Tyre and Sidon; the kings of the
coastlands across the sea;
Dedan, Tema, Buz and all who are in distant
the kings of Arabia and all the kings of the
foreign people who live in the wilderness;
the kings of Zimri, Elam and Media;
all the kings of the north, near and far, one after the other –
all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. And after all of them,
the king of Sheshak will drink it too.
This is not an option, you will drink it
tell them, “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel,
says: drink, get drunk and vomit, and fall to rise no more because
of the sword I will send among you.”
if they refuse to take the cup from your hand and drink, tell
them, “This is what the Lord Almighty says: You must drink it!
It will start with Jerusalem but include you all
I am beginning to bring disaster on the city that bears my Name,
and will you indeed go unpunished? You will not go unpunished,
for I am calling down a sword on all who live on the earth, declares
the Lord Almighty.”
The word revealing His wrath and coming disaster
prophesy all these words against them and say to them:
Lord will roar from on high;
he will thunder from his holy dwelling
and roar mightily against his land.
He will shout like those who tread the grapes,
shout against all who live on the earth.
tumult will resound to the ends of the earth,
for the Lord will bring charges against
he will bring judgment on all mankind
and put the wicked to the sword,”'
declares the Lord.
is what the Lord Almighty says:
Disaster is spreading
from nation to nation;
a mighty storm is rising
from the ends of the earth.'
There will be dead bodies throughout the land
that time those slain by the Lord will be everywhere – from
one end of the earth to the other. They will not be mourned or
gathered up or buried, but will be like dung lying on the ground.
It will include leaders as well as the ordinary people
and wail, you shepherds;
roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock.
For your time to be slaughtered has come;
you will fall like the best of the rams.
shepherds will have nowhere to flee,
the leaders of the flock no place to escape.
the cry of the shepherds,
the wailing of the leaders of the flock,
for the Lord is destroying their pasture.
peaceful meadows will be laid waste
because of the fierce anger of the Lord.
a lion he will leave his lair,
and their land will become desolate
because of the sword of the oppressor
and because of the Lord's fierce anger.
Note: The Seventy Years: we should note the following
about this length of time:
In this chapter it refers solely to the length of time Babylon
will rule over this whole area.
Extension of this to include the promise that Judah will be returned
to the Land is left to 29:10
As this word was brought in 605BC and the start of the return
under Cyrus started about 536/5BC [even though Babylon fell in
539] this seems likely to be the seventy years referred to here.
Others have suggested that the seventy year exile is linked to
the temple which fell in 587 and whose rebuilding was completed
almost exactly 70 years later, i.e. divine measurements in respect
of the exile are linked spiritually to the time of the absence
of God's presence in the temple.]
to Chapter 26