God's Final Effort to Save Jerusalem

Jeremiah lived about a hundred years after Isaiah.

Isaiah had saved Jerusalem from


Jeremiah tried to save it from Babylon, but failed.

Jeremiah was called to the prophetic office (626 B.C.), Jerusalem was partly destroyed (606); further devastated (597); finally burned and desolated (586). Jeremiah lived through these terrible forty years, "the close of the monarchy," "the death agony of the nation"; a pathetic. lonely figure, God's last measure to the Holy City which had become hopelessly and fanatically attached to Idols; carelessly crying that if they would repent God would save them from Babylon.

Thus, as Assyria had been the background of Isaiah's ministry, so Babylon was the background of Jeremiah's ministry.

The Internal Situation

The Northern Kingdom had fallen, and much of Judah. They had suffered reverse after reverse, till Jerusalem alone was left. Still they ignored the continued warnings of the prophets, and grew harder and harder in their Idolatry and Wickedness. The hour of doom was about to strike.

The International Situation

A three-cornered contest for world supremacy was on: Assyria, Babylon and Egypt. For 100 years Assyria, the North Euphrates valley, Nineveh its capital, had ruled the world; but now was growing weak. Babylon, in the South Euphrates valley, was becoming powerful. Egypt, in the Nile valley, which 1000 years before had been a world-power, and had declined, was again becoming ambitious. Babylon won, about the middle of Jeremiah's ministry. It broke the power of Assyria (607 B.C); and 2 years later crushed Egypt, in the battle of Carchemish (605 B.C.); and for 70 years ruled the world, same 70 years as Jews' Captivity.

Jeremiah's Message

From the outset, 20 years before the issue was settled, Jeremiah unceasingly insisted that Babylon would be the victor. All through his incessant and bitter complaints over Judah's wickedness these ideas are ever recurring:

1. Judah is going to be destroyed by victorious Babylon.

2. If Judah will turn from her wickedness, somehow God will save her from destruction at the hands of Babylon.

3. Later, when there seemed no longer any hope of Judah's repentance: if, only as a matter of political expedience, Judah will submit to Babylon, she shall be spared.

4. Judah, destroyed, shall recover, and yet dominate the world.

5. Babylon, destroyer of Judah, shall herself be destroyed, never to rise again.

Jeremiah's Boldness

Jeremiah unceasingly advised Jerusalem to surrender to the king of Babylon, so much that his enemies accused him of being a traitor, Nebuchadnezzar rewarded him for thus advising his people, not only by sparing his life. but by offering him any honor that he would accept, even a worthy place in the Babylonian court (39:12). Yet Jeremiah cried aloud, over and over, that the king of Babylon was committing a heinous crime in destroying the Lord's people, and for that, Babylon. in time, would be desolated, and lie forever so (sec chapters 50, 51).

Contemporary Kings of Judah

Manasseh (697-642 B.C.). 55 years. Very wicked (see under II Chronicles 33). In his reign Jeremiah was born.

Amon (641-640 B.C.). 2 years. The long and wicked reign of his father Manasseh had sealed the doom of Judah.

Josiah (639-608 B.C.). 31 years. A good king. A great reformation, Jeremiah began his ministry in Josiah's 13th year. The reformation was only outward. At heart the people were still Idolaters.

Jehoahaz (608 B.C.). 3 months. Was carried to Egypt.

Jehoiakim (608-597 B.C.). 11 years. Openly for Idols, boldly defiant of God, a bitter enemy of Jeremiah.

Jehoiachin (597 B.C.). 3 months. Was carried to Babylon.

Zedekiah (597-586 B.C.). 11 years. Rather friendly to Jeremiah, but a weak king, a tool in the hands of the wicked princes.

Chronology of Jeremiah's Times

    • 627 B.C. Josiah began his reforms. (See under II Chronicles 34.)

    • 626 B.C. Jeremiah's Call.

    • 626 B.C. Scythian Invasion. (See under Jeremiah 4.)

    • 621 B.C. Book found. Josiah's Great Reformation. (II Kings 22, 23.)

    • 608 B.C. Josiah slain at Megiddo, by Pharaoh.

    • 607 B.C.. Nineveh destroyed by Babylon. (Or 612 B.C.?)

    • 606 B.C. Judah subdued by Babylon. First Captivity.

    • 6o5 B.C. Battle of Carchemish: Babylon crushed Egypt.

    • 597 B.C. Jehoiachin's Captivity.

    • 593 B.C. Zedekiah's Visit to Babylon.

    • 586 B.C. Jerusalem Burned. Temporary End of David's Kingdom.

Contemporary Prophets

Jeremiah was leader in the brilliant constellation of prophets clustered around the destruction of Jerusalem.

Ezekiel, a fellow priest, somewhat younger than Jeremiah, preaching in Babylon, among the captives, the same things that Jeremiah was preaching in Jerusalem.

Daniel, a man of royal blood, holding the line in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar.

Habakkuk and Zephaniah helping Jeremiah in Jerusalem.

Nahum, at same time, predicting the Fall of Nineveh.

Obadiah, at same time, predicting the Ruin of Edom.

Chronology of Jeremiah's Book

Some of Jeremiah's messages are dated. Some are not. Time notices which are indicated are: In Josiah's reign: 1:2; 3:6. In Jehoiakim's reign: 22:18; 25:1; 26:1; 35:1; 36:l; 45:1. In Zedekiah's reign: 21:1; 24:1, 8; 27:3, 12; 28:1; 29:3 ;32:1; 34:2, 37:1; 38:5; 39:1; 49:34; 51:.59. In Egypt: 43:7, 8; 44:1. Thus it will be seen that the book is not arranged in chronological order. Some late messages come early in the book, and some early messages come late in the book. These messages were delivered orally, and perhaps repeatedly, for years, possibly, before Jeremiah began to write them. The writing of such a book was a long and laborious task. Writing parchment, made of

sheep or goat skins, was scarce and expensive. It was made into a long roll, and wound around a stick. This may, in part, account for the lack of order in Jeremiah's book. After writing an incident or discourse, some other utterance delivered previously would be suggested, and he would write it down, in some cases without dating it, thus filing up the parchment as he unrolled it.

Chapter 1. The Call of Jeremiah

It was to a hard and thankless task. Like Moses (Exodus 3:11; 4:10), he was reluctant to accept the responsibility. It came when he

was only a "child," probably about 20. "Anathoth" (1), his home, was about 2 1/2 miles northeast of Jerusalem. It is now called "Anata." The "boiling caldron" (13), meant the Babylonian army. Opening utterance: Destruction by Babylon (14).

Chapter 2. Israel's Apostasy

In a pathetic and impassioned rebuke for their shameless Idolatry, Israel is likened to an espoused wife who has forsaken her husband for promiscuous association with men, making of herself a common prostitute.

Chapter 3. Judah Worse than Israel

In chapter 2 "Israel" means the whole nation. In this chapter it means the Northern Kingdom, which 100 years before had split off from Judah, and 100 years before had been carried away captive by the Assyrians. Judah, blind to the significance of Israel's fall, not only did not repent, but under the wicked reign of Manasseh sunk to lower and lower depths of depravity. The re-union of Judah and Israel is predicted (17-18; also 50:4-5; Hosea 1:11). Metaphor of an Adulterous Wife (20).

Chapter 4. Approaching Desolation of Judah

This chapter describes the advance of the devastating Babylonian armies which destroyed Jerusalem (606-586 B.C.). It may also, in part, refer to the Scythian invasion, which shortly preceded chat of the Babylonians.

The Scythian Invasion

The very same year in which Jeremiah was called (626 B.C.), immense swarms of Barbarians from the North struck terror to the nations of Southwest Asia. They dealt a terrific blow to the tottering Assyrian power. Rawlinson thus speaks of them: "Pouring through the passes of the Caucasus-whence coming or what intending none knew horde after horde of the Scythians blackened the rich plains of the south. On they came like a flight of locusts, countless, irresistible, finding the land before them like a garden, leaving behind them a howling wilderness. Neither age nor sex would be spared. The inhabitants would be ruthlessly massacred by the invaders, or at best, forced to become slaves. The crops would be consumed, the herds swept off or destroyed, the villages or homesteads burned, the whole country made a scene of desolation." Their ravages resembled those of the Huns.

Chapter 5. Universal Depravity of Judah

Not one righteous man (1). promiscuous sexual indulgence, even among the married, like animals (7-8); scoffing at the prophet's warning (12); wholly given to deceit, oppression, and robbery (26-28); satisfied with rottenness in the government (30-31. For note on False Prophets [30], see under chapter 23.)

Chapter 6. Destruction from the North

A vivid prophetic description of the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of Babylonian invaders (22-26), which later came to pass within Jeremiah's own lifetime. Over and over (16-19), he warns, with pathetic insistence, that Repentance would be their last possible chance to escape ruin.

Chapter 7. Repentance their Only Hope

This is one of Jeremiah's heart-rending appeals for repentance, based on God's amazing promise that if only the people would hearken to their God Jerusalem would never fall (5-7). With all their abominable practices (9, 31), and even though the had erected idols in the Temple (30), yet they had a superstitious regard for the Temple and its services, and seemed to think that, come what may, God would not let Jerusalem be destroyed because his Temple was there (4, 10). "Queen of heaven" (18), Ashtoreth, principal female Canaanite deity, whose worship was accompanied with the most degrading forms of immorality. "Hinnom" (31-32), the valley on the south side of Jerusalem, where children were burnt in sacrifice to Molech, afterward came to be used as the name of hell, "Gehenna'"

Chapter 8. "The Harvest is Post"

Fully conscious of the futility of his appeals and rebukes, Jeremiah speaks of the impending desolation of Judah as if it were already accomplished (20) . False prophets ( 10-11) : their insistence that Jerusalem was in no danger constituted one of Jeremiah's most difficult problems (see under chapter 23).

Chapter 9. The Broken-Hearted Prophet

Jeremiah, a man of sorrows, in the midst of a people abandoned to everything vile (8:6; 9:2-9), weeping day and night at the thought of frightful impending retribution, moved about among them, begging, pleading, persuading, threatening, entreating, imploring that they turn from their wickedness. But in vain.

Chapter 10. Jehovah the true God

It seems that the threat of Babylonian invasion spurred the people of Judah to great activity in the manufacture of idols, as if idols could save them. This gave Jeremiah occasion to remind them that what they were doing was further aggravation of their already appalling sin against God.

Chapter 11. The Broken Covenant

This chapter seems to belong to the period of reaction, after Josiah's great reformation, as told in II Kings 23, when the people had restored their idols. For Jeremiah's rebuke they had plotted his death (9:21).

Chapter I2. Jeremiah's Complaint

Contrasting his own sufferings with the apparent prosperity of those against whom he was preaching, and who were ridiculing his threats (4), Jeremiah complains of the ways of God. Then the promise of future restoration (15-17).

Chapter 13. The Marred Girdle

Jeremiah made considerable use of symbols in his preaching (see on 19:1). The girdle was probably richly decorated, a conspicuous part of Jeremiah's dress, as he walked about the streets of Jerusalem. Later, rotted, ragged and dirty, it served to attract attention. As curious crowds gathered around the prophet it gave him occasion to

explain that even so Judah, with whom Jehovah had clothed Himself to walk among men, once beautiful and glorious, would be marred and cast off.

Chapters 14, 15. Jeremiah's Intercession

A prolonged drouth had stripped the land of food. Jeremiah, though hated, ridiculed and mocked, it made his heart ache to see them suffer. His intercession to God is as near an approach to the spirit of Christ as is to be found anywhere in the Old Testament. What is called "Jeremiah's Grotto," one of the retreats to which he was said to have retired to weep, was at the foot of the knoll on which,600 years later, the cross of Jesus stood.

Chapter 16. Jeremiah Forbidden lo Marry

The domestic life of the prophets, in some cases, was used to reinforce the burden of their preaching. Isaiah and Hosea were married, and named their children for their principal ideas. Jeremiah was Commanded to remain single, as a sort of symbolic background to his persistent predictions of impending bloody slaughter: "What's the use of raising a family just to be butchered in the frightful carnage about to be loosed upon the inhabitants of Judah"? Again the promise of Restoration (14-15).

Chapter 17. Judah's Sin Indelible

Their downfall inevitable. Yet the promise is flung out again and again that if only they would turn to God, Jerusalem would remain forever (24-25).

Chapter 18. The Potter's Clay

A very apt illustration of God's power to alter the destiny of a nation. Jeremiah used it as the basis for another appeal to the wicked nation to amend its ways. But in vain.

Chapter 19. The Earthen Bottle

It may have been a vase of exquisite workmanship. Being broken in the presence of Jerusalem's leaders was an impressive way of re-announcing impending ruin of the city.

Some other symbols which Jeremiah used to gain attention to his preaching were: the Marred Girdle (chapter 13); Abstinence from Marriage (chapter 16); the Potter's Clay (chapter 18); Bonds and Bars (chapter 27); Buying a Field (chapter 32).

Chapter 20. Jeremiah Imprisoned

Jeremiah went from his vase-breaking rendezvous with the leaders in the valley of Hinnom to the Temple, and began to proclaim there the same message to the people. For this, Pashhur, one of the chief officers of the Temple, put him in prison. "Stocks" (2), consisted of a wooden frame in which feet, neck and hands were fastened so as

to hold the body in a distorted and painful position. It drew from Jeremiah an outburst of remonstrance with God (7-18).

Chapter 21. The Siege Begins

This chapter belongs to the last days of Jeremiah's life. King Zedekiah, frightened at the approach of the Babylonian army, appeals to Jeremiah to intercede with God. Jeremiah advises Zedekiah to yield the city to the Babylonians, in order to save the people from death.

Chapter 22. Warning to King Jehoiakim

This chapter belongs to the reign of Jehoiakim, a wicked and cruel king. "Shallum" (11), was Jehoahaz, who was carried to Egypt, and died there (II Kings 23:31-34). Jehoiakim's miserable death (18-19), is hinted in II Kings 24:6; ll Chronicles 36:6. Coniah (Jeconiah, Jehoiachin) "childless" (30): he had children II Chronicles 3:17;

Matthew, 1:12), out of whom came Christ, but he and his uncle Zedekiah were the last earthly kings to sit on David's throne. It was the end of the temporal kingdom of Judah.

Chapter 23. False Prophets

A bitter indictment of the leaders of God's people. Jeremiah's stinging arraignment of Davidic kings supplies a background for a pre-vision of the coming Davidic Messiah (25:5-8, see under chapter 33). As for the false prophets: they were the greatest hindrance to the acceptance of Jeremiah's preaching: in the name of God, delivering

their own messages crying out, "Jeremiah is lying. We are prophets of God, and God has told us Jerusalem is safe."

Chapter 24. The two Baskets of Figs

The good figs representing the best of the people, who had been carried to Babylon in Jehoiachin's captivity (597 B.C.), and earlier, including Ezekiel and Daniel; the bad figs, those who had remained in Jerusalem, minded, with Egypt's aid, to resist Babylon (II Kings 24: 10-20).

Chapter 25. Seventy Years' Captivity Predicted

This was in the early part of Jehoiakim's reign ( 1), about 604 B.C. The remarkable thing is that the exact duration of Babylon's sway is foretold (11-14;29:10; II Chronicles 36:21; Ezra 1:1; Daniel 9:2; Zechariah 7:5). An amazing prophecy. No possible way for Jeremiah to know that, except by direct revelation from God.

Chapter 26. Jeremiah's Trial before the Princes

His accusers were the priests and false prophets. Bur Jeremiah had friends among the princes, especially one Ahikam, who saved him flom death. However, one of Jeremiah's fellow prophets, named Uriah, did not fare so well (20-24).

ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: Uriah; Elnathan; Nedabiah; Shallum. Uriah fled to Egypt (20-24). King Jehoiakim sent "Elnathan," one of the princes (22; 36:12), to Egypt, to bring him back.

One of the "Lachish Letters" (see under chapter J4), makes reference to "The commander of the host, Chebariah, son of Elnathan, having passed by on his way to Egypt." This seems like a reference to the incident told in verses 20-24.

This Lachish Letter also speaks of "The letter of Nedabiah, servant of the king, which came to Shallum from the prophet." Nedadiah was grandson of king Jehoiakim (I Chronicles 3:18). Shallum (Jehoahaz) was brother of Jehoiakim (II Kings 23:30, 34; I Chronicles 3:15; Jeremiah 22:11), who had been taken to Egypt.

Chapters 27, 28. Bonds and Bars

Jeremiah put a yoke, like that worn by oxen, on his neck, and went about the city, saying, Thus shall Babylon put a yoke on the necks of this people. One of the false prophets, Hananiah, with brazen impudence, broke the yoke (28:10); and, as a punishment died within two months (28:1, 17).

Chapter 29. Jeremiah's Letter to the Exiles

Written after Jehoiachin, and the best of the people, had bean taken to Babylon, advising them to be peaceful and obedient captives, and promising return, after 70 years (10), to their homeland. But even in Babylon the false prophets kept up their fight against Jeremiah (21-32).

Chapters 30,31. A Song of Restoration

For both Israel and Judah, with Messianic foregleams, commanded of God to be written (2), so that it could be kept to compare with the events of after ages.

The New Covenant (31:31-34). The Old Testament is the story of God's dealings with the Hebrew nation on the basis of the Covenant given at Mt. Sinai. Here is a definite prediction that the Mosaic Covenant would be superceded by Another Covenant. Displacement of the Mosaic Covenant by the Christian Covenant is the main thesis of the Epistle to Hebrews.

Chapter 32. Jeremiah Buys o Field

This was the year before Jerusalem fell. The burning of the city and desolation of Judah was almost at hand. Amid the gloom and despair of the hour Jeremiah was commanded of God to buy a field, in public ceremony, and put away the deed for safe keeping, to emphasize his prediction that the captives would return, and the land again be cultivated.

Chapter 33. The "Branch"

Of the 20 Davidic kings who reigned over Judah during the 400 years between David and the Captivity, most of them were very bad. Only a few were worthy the name of David. In chapters 22 and 23 Jeremiah bitterly indicted this family line of kings to whom God had given the promise of an ETERNAL THRONE. Here, in chapter 33 repeats with fuller explanation, the prophecy of ONE GREAT KING, called "The Branch," in whom the promise would be fulfilled.

Chapter 34. Zedekiah's Proclamation of Liberty

During the siege Zedekiah proclaimed freedom to all slaves, evidently to gain God's favor; but failed to enforce it.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: The "Lachish Letters." In 34:7 Lachish and Azekah are mentioned as being besieged by the king of Babylon. Fragments of 21 Letters, written during this siege, from an outpost of Lachish, to the captain of the guard who was defending Lachish, were found (1935), by the Welcome Archaeological Expedition, under the direction of J. L. Starkey and Sir Charles Marston.

These letters were written just before Nebuchadnezzar launched his final attack, by kindling fires against its walls.

They were found in a deposit of ash and charcoal on the floor of the guard room.

In one of the letters the outpost says that he was "watching for signals from Lachish," and that "he could see no signals from Azekah" (perhaps already fallen).

These letters refer to and mention bv name certain persons whose names appear in the Biblical narrative, "Gemariah," an officer of king Zedekiah (Jeremiah 29:3). "Jaazaniah," a military captain of Nebuchadnezzar (II Kings 25:23). "Martaniah." original name of king Zedekiah (II Kings 24:17). "Neriah," father of"Baruch, Jeremiah's

scribe (Jeremiah 43:3). They were written in Hebrew, by a contemporary of Jeremiah. Like a voice from the dead, they confirm the reality of Jeremiah's story.

Chapter 35. The Example of the Rechabites

Rechabites were a tribe, descended from the time of Moses (l Chronicles 2:55; Numbers 10:29-32; Judges 1:16; II Kings 10:15,23), who, through the centuries, had adhered to their ascetic life.

Chapter 36. The King Burns Jeremiah's Book

Jeremiah, at this time, had been prophesying for 23 years, from the 13th year of Josiah to the 4th year of Jehoiakim. He is now commanded to gather these prophecies into a book, so that they could be read to the people, for, at the time, Jeremiah himself was not free to speak to the people (5). It took a year or so to write the book (1,9). The reading of the book made a profound impression on some of the princes, but the king brazenly and defiantly burned the book. Then Jeremiah wrote it all over again.

Chapters 37,38. Jeremiah's Imprisonment

During the siege, when the Babylonians had temporarily withdrawn, Jeremiah, probably because of the scarcity of food in Jerusalem, attempted to leave the city to go to his home in Anathoth. This, because of his persistent advice to yield to the king of Babylon, looked, to his enemies, as if it might be an effort to join the Babylonians. Thus, on suspicion that Jeremiah was a traitor, working in the interest of the Babylonians, he was imprisoned. Zedekiah was friendly to Jeremiah, but he was a weak king.

Chapter 39. Jerusalem Burned

This is told also in chapter 52, and in II Kings 25, where see note, and II Chronicles 36. Nebuchadnezzar, knowing of Jeremiah's lifelong admonition to Jerusalem to submit to him, now offered to confer on Jeremiah any honor that he would accept, even a worthy place in the Babylonian court (11-14; 40:1-6).

Chapters 40, 41 . Gedaliah Made Governor

Gedaliah, whom Nebuchadnezzar appointed governor over Judah, was son of Ahikam, Jeremiah's friend (40:5; 26:24). But within 3 months he was assassinated (39:2; 41:1).

ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: Gedaliah's Seal. At Lachish (1935), Starkey, of the Welcome Archaeological Expedition, found, in the lay of ashes left by Nebuchadnezzar's fire, among the "Lachish Letters," a seal bearing this inscription, "Belonging to Gedaliah, the one who is over the house."

Also, Jaazrniah's (Jezaniah) Seal (Jeremiah 40:8; II Kings 25:23). He was one of Gedaliah's army captains. In 1932 W. F. Bade, of the Pacific School of Religion, found in the ruins of Mizpah, seat of Gedaliah's government (Jeremiah 40:6), an exquisite agate seal inscribed, "Belonging to Jaazaniah, servant of the king."

Chapters 42, 43. Departure for Egypt

The remnant, fearing reprisal by Nebuchadnezzar, for the slaying of Gedaliah, fled to Egypt, though explicitly warned of God that it would mean extinction. They took Jeremiah along.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: Tahpahnes (41:8-13). Its site has been identified about 10 miles west of the Suez Canal. In 1886 Sir Flinders Petrie uncovered the ruins of a large castle, in front of which was a "great open platform of brick work," the very place, Petrie believed, where Jeremiah hid the stones (43:8).

Also, Nebuchadnezzar's annals state that he did invade Egypt in 568 B.C., which was 18 years after Jeremiah uttered the prophecy that he would (43:10). Three of Nebuchadnezzar's inscriptions have been found near Tahpahnes.

Chapter 44. Jeremiah's Final Appeal

This last effort to induce them to abandon their idolatry failed. They were defiant. The "queen of heaven" (17), was Ashtoreth, whose worship was with acts of immorality, in this case with their husband's consent (15, 19).

The place and manner of Jeremiah's death are not known. One tradition is that he was stoned to death in Egypt. Another is that he was taken from Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar, with Baruch, to Babylon, and died there.

Chapter 45. Baruch

Baruch, Jeremiah's scribe, was a man of prominence, with high ambitions (5). He was recognized as having great influence with Jeremiah (43:3).

Chapter 45. Egypt

A description of the defeat of the Egyptian army at Carchemish (605 B.C.), in the middle period of Jeremiah's life (1-12); and a later prophecy that Nebuchadnezzar would invade Egypt (13-26), which is an expansion of 43:8-13, which see. Over 100 years earlier Isaiah had prophesied Assyrian invasions of Egypt (see under Isaiah 18 to

20). Ezekiel also had something to say about Egypt (Ezekiel 19 t0 32).

Chapter 47. The Philistines

This prophecy, foretelling the desolation of Philistia by Babylon, was fulfilled 20 years later when Nebuchadnezzar took Judah. Other prophets who paid their respects to the Philistines were: Isaiah (14:28-32); Amos (1:6-8); Ezekiel (25:15-17); Zephaniah (2:4-7); Zechariah (9:1-7).

Chapter 48. Moab

A picture of impending desolation of Moab. Moab helped Nebuchadnezzar against Judah, but later was devastated at his hands (582 B.C.). For centuries the land has lain desolate and sparsely inhabited, the ruins of its many cities, testifying to its ancient populousness. Its restoration (47), and that of Ammon (49:6), may, have been fulfilled

in their absorption into the general Arab race, some of whom were present at Pentecost when the Gospel was first proclaimed to the world (Acts 2:11). Or, it may mean that the land will yet again be prosperous. Other prophecies about Moab are: Isaiah 15, 16; Ezekiel 25:8-11; Amos 2:1-3; Zephaniah 2:8-11.

Chapter 49. Ammon. Edom. Syria. Hazor. Elam

A prediction that Nebuchadnezzar would conquer these nations, which he did. Ammon (see under Ezekiel 25:1-11). Edom (see under Obadiah).

Chapters 50, 51. Prediction of the Fall of Babylon

The fall and perpetual desolation of Babylon is here predicted, in language matching the grandeur of the theme (51:37-43), as Isaiah had done earlier (Isaiah 13:17-22). The Medes, leading a great company of nations, are named as the conquerors (50:9; 51:11, 27, 28). These two chapters, pronouncing the doom of Babylon, were copied in a separate book, and sent to Babylon, in a deputation headed by king Zedekiah, seven years before Nebuchadnezzar burned Jerusalem (51:59-64). The book was to be read publicly, and then, in solemn ceremony, sunk in the Euphrates, with these words, "Thus shall Babylon sink, and not rise."

Chapter 52. Captivity of Judah.

(See on II Kings 24, 25.)