The Seventy-Year Captivity
Verse 1 – The word came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, King of Judah (which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon),
Jeremiah gave this message 20 years before it began in reality. You would think after hearing the same message from a prophet of God, that they would listen and change, nope!
Verse 2 – which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to all the people of Judah and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying,
Verse 3 – “From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, even to this day, this is the twenty-third year in which the word of the Lord has come to me; and I have spoken to you, rising early and speaking, but you have not listened.
Imagine preaching the same message 23 years and being rejected. Jeremiah was not the only prophet sent by God at this time. Uriah, Zephaniah, and Habakkuk, were also sent.
No matter how people respond when you tell them about what Christ has done for them, remain faithful to God, for He is your rewarder.
Verse 4 – “And the Lord has sent to you all His servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear.
Verse 5 – “They said, ‘Repent now every one of his evil way and his evil doings, and dwell in the land that the Lord has given to you and your fathers forever and ever.
Verse 6 – ‘Do not go after other gods to serve them and worship them, and do not provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands; and I will not harm you.’
Verse 7 – “Yet you have not listened to Me, “says the Lord, “that you might provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.
Verse 8 – “Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Because you have not heard My words,
Verse 9 – ‘behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,’ says the Lord, ‘and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, against the inhabitants, and against these nations all around, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, a hissing, and perpetual desolation.
Did you catch that? God called the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, His servant, meaning he will be used by God to do His will in punishing Judah.
We don’t always understand God’s ways, but they are to a divine wisdom beyond our comprehension and it covers a bigger plan than what has entered our thoughts or imagination. He uses whom He chooses to accomplish His will.
Verse 10 – ‘Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp.
Verse 11 – ‘And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
Verse 12 – ‘Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldea’s, for their iniquity,’ says the Lord; ‘and I will make it a perpetual desolation.
The Babylonia’s would be punished for their own sins, not because they carried Judah’s people off. Zerubbabel led the first group back to Judah. The troops of Cyrus the Great entered Babylon in 539 B.C. and killed Belshazzar, the last Babylonian ruler.
Verse 13 – ‘So I will bring on that land all My words which I have pronounced against it, all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah has prophesied concerning all the nations.
Verse 14 – ‘For many nations and great kings shall be served by them also; and I will repay them according to their deeds and according to the work of their own hands. ‘ ”
Verse 15 – For thus says the Lord God of Israel to me: “Take this wine-cup of fury from My hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send you, to drink it.
Verse 16 – “And they will drink and stagger and go mad because of the sword that I will send among them.”
Verse 17 – Then I took the cup from the Lord’s hand, and made all the nations drink, to whom the Lord had sent me;
This was a vision that God gave Jeremiah of His wrath going to all the nations that had come against Him.
Verse 18 – Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, its kings and its princes, to make them a desolation an astonishment, a hissing, and a curse, as it is this day;
Verse 19 – Pharaoh king of Egypt, his servants, his princes, and all his people;
Verse 20 – All the mixed multitude, all the kings of the land of Uz, all the kings of the land of the Philistines (namely, Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod);
Verse 21 – Edom, Moab, and the people of Ammon;
Verse 22 – All the king s of Tyre, all the kings of Sidon, and the kings of the coast lands which are across the sea;
Verse 23 – Dedan, Tema, Buz, and all who are in the farthest corners;
Verse 24 – all the kings of Arabia and all the kings of the mixed multitude who dwell in the desert;
Verse 25 – all the kings of Zimri, all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes;
Verse 26 – all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world which are on the face of the earth. Also the king of Sheshach shall drink after them.
Jeremiah stood in Jerusalem and pronounced God’s wrath on all these nations and kings. The news of this would then be spread to all these nations.
Verse 27 – “Therefore you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Drink, be drunk, and vomit! Fall and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you.” ‘
Verse 28 – “And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup from your hand to drink, then you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “You shall certainly drink!
Verse 29 – “For behold, I begin to bring calamity on the city which is called by My name, and should you be utterly unpunished? You shall not be unpunished, for I will call for a sword on all the inhabitants of the earth,” says the Lord of hosts.’
The Lord was saying, if His wrath began in the nation that is called by His name for doing these sins, then how could the other nations go unpunished?
There always has been and will continue to be severer consequences for nations who reject God All Mighty.
Verse 30 – “Therefore prophesy against them all these words, and say to them: ‘The Lord will roar from on high, and utterly destroy His voice from His holy habitation; He will roar mightily against His fold. He will give a shout, as those who tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth.
Verse 31 – A noise will come to the ends of the earth – for the Lord has a controversy with the nations; He will plead His case with all flesh. He will give those who are wicked to the sword,’ says the Lord.”
Verse 32 – Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Behold, disaster shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the farthest parts of the earth.
Verse 33 – “And at that day the slain of the Lord shall be from one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth. They shall not be lamented, or gathered, or buried; they shall become refuse on the ground.
The imagery changes from a cup of wine to a lion, to the Lord treading on grapes in a wine-press, to a great storm as nation after nation succumbs to Babylon’s advances.
God was going to use Babylon as the great destroyer and then destroy Babylon. Babylon is mentioned again in chapter 17 of the Book of Revelation where she is depicted as the great harlot that is full of blasphemies and once again will be destroyed.
Verse 34 – “Wail, shepherds, and cry! Roll about in the ashes, you leaders of the flock! For the days of your slaughter and your dispersion’s are fulfilled; you shall fall like a precious vessel.
All the leaders of these nations will fall like a precious vessel made of glass or porcelain, that cannot be put together again after they are shattered.
Verse 35 – And the shepherds will have no way to flee, nor the leaders of the flock to escape.
Verse 36 – A voice of the cry of the shepherds, and a wailing of the leaders to the flock will be heard. For the Lord has plundered their pasture,
Verse 37 – and the peaceful habitations are cut down because of the fierce anger of the Lord.
Verse 38 – He has left His lair like the lion; for their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the Oppressor, and because of His fierce anger.”
Because of God’s great mercy and patience, He didn’t destroy them when the first idol was set up. Nor did He destroy them when little by little they began to disregard His principles, but sent prophets down throughout history to guide and warn them to change,. Warning after warning the prophets pleaded with the inhabitants to turn back towards God so they could avoid the judgment that was surely to come. And now it has!