Elam was a country north of the Persian Gulf and east of Babylon. This prophecy, delivered soon after the first deportation from Judah in 597, no doubt once the exiles against expecting relief from this direction. Jeremiah looked ahead, beyond the judgment of which Babylon was to be the instrument, to the time when Babylon herself would be judged.
Chapter 50 may be divided as follows: Babylon’s fall (verses 1-3); a message of comfort to Israel (verses 4-7); renewed declaration of Babylon’s doom (verses 8-13); summons to the attackers to begin their work (verses 14-16); Israel’s return to her land and to her God (verses 17-20); the attackers bidden to press on (verses 21-28, 29-34, 35-40); description of the attackers (verses 41-46).
- Why are God’s people to be restored?
- Consider the Solemn truth that, while God may use nation as his instrument, this doesn’t absolve that nation from responsibility before God. Why would Babylon receive no mercy? See especially verses 7, 11-15, 24-25, 27-29, 31; Is. 14:5, 6, 17; 47:6, 7; 51:22, 23; Lam. 1:7.
- 50:2. ‘Bel’ and ‘Marduk’ are names of supreme god of Babylon.
- 50:7. Cf. 40:3
- 50:16. A reference to foreigners in Babylon. Cf. 46:16.
- 50:21. ‘Merathaim’ (perhaps a name for southern Babylonia) and ‘Pekod’ (a people of eastern Babylonia) are probably used here because they are very close to the Hebrew words for ‘double rebellion’ (or ‘bitterness’) and ‘punishment’ (or ‘visitation’), respectively.
- 50:36a. Cf. Is. 44:25.