Jeremiah, chapters 50-51, is a prophesy of the destruction of Babylon. Jeremiah 51:1-2 says, “Thus 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; And 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.” In her fall, Babylon was simply reaping what she had sown. “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.” (Jeremiah 50:15).

In verses 5-6, there are words of assurance and warning for the people of Israel. “For 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. Flee 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.”

Let’s look at the verses in question. First, let’s read Jeremiah 51:33, “For 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.”

The Lord declares that it is time to thresh, or trod upon, Babylon because of her sin. The Lord declares that the time was approaching when He would smite Babylon. Just as the oxen, after harvest, tread out the corn on the threshing-floor with their feet, so would He destroy Babylon.

In Jeremiah 50:17-18 we read, “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. Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria.” So, here in Jeremiah 51:34, we hear Israel cry against the devastation that Babylon had brought upon them. That says, “Nebuchadrezzar 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.” It is the moans of Israel that cause the Lord to bring down His vengeance on Babylon. Here is described Babylon’s beastly character. While a man will eat his prey; a beast will kill, eat, and crush the bones of its prey. Babylon had swallowed Israel up completely. She ate until her belly was full, then cast Israel aside.

In verses 36-37, the Lord promises to avenge His people, “Therefore 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. And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwellingplace for dragons, an astonishment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant.”

I have limited my thoughts here to the historical destruction of Babylon. This prophecy, however, speaks of both the doom of Babylon as it has been and the future doom of the mystical Babylon, so prominent in the book of Revelation. Babylon is written of in chapters 14, 16, 17, and 18 of Revelation. Its final destruction is spoken of in Revelation 18:21, “And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.” I encourage you, as you read through the prophesies of Jeremiah, to consider also this future Babylon and its ultimate destruction at the hands of God. (335.4)