Their Redeemer Is Strong.


“Summon archers against Babylon, all those who bend the bow. Encamp around her; let no one escape. Repay her according to her deeds; do to her according to all that she has done. For she has proudly defied the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. Therefore her young men shall fall in her squares, and all her soldiers shall be destroyed on that day, declares the Lord.

“Behold, I am against you, O proud one,
    declares the Lord God of hosts,
for your day has come,
    the time when I will punish you.
The proud one shall stumble and fall,
    with none to raise him up,
and I will kindle a fire in his cities,
    and it will devour all that is around him.

“Thus says the Lord of hosts: The people of Israel are oppressed, and the people of Judah with them. All who took them captive have held them fast; they refuse to let them go. Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is his name. He will surely plead their cause, that he may give rest to the earth, but unrest to the inhabitants of Babylon.

“A sword against the Chaldeans, declares the Lord,
    and against the inhabitants of Babylon,
    and against her officials and her wise men!
A sword against the diviners,
    that they may become fools!
A sword against her warriors,
    that they may be destroyed!
A sword against her horses and against her chariots,
    and against all the foreign troops in her midst,
    that they may become women!
A sword against all her treasures,
    that they may be plundered!
A drought against her waters,
    that they may be dried up!
For it is a land of images,
    and they are mad over idols.

“Therefore wild beasts shall dwell with hyenas in Babylon, and ostriches shall dwell in her. She shall never again have people, nor be inhabited for all generations. As when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring cities, declares the Lord, so no man shall dwell there, and no son of man shall sojourn in her.

“Behold, a people comes from the north;
    a mighty nation and many kings
    are stirring from the farthest parts of the earth.
They lay hold of bow and spear;
    they are cruel and have no mercy.
The sound of them is like the roaring of the sea;
    they ride on horses,
arrayed as a man for battle
    against you, O daughter of Babylon!

“The king of Babylon heard the report of them,
    and his hands fell helpless;
anguish seized him,
    pain as of a woman in labor.

“Behold, like a lion coming up from the thicket of the Jordan against a perennial pasture, I will suddenly make them run away from her, and I will appoint over her whomever I choose. For who is like me? Who will summon me? What shepherd can stand before me? Therefore hear the plan that the Lord has made against Babylon, and the purposes that he has formed against the land of the Chaldeans: Surely the little ones of their flock shall be dragged away; surely their fold shall be appalled at their fate. At the sound of the capture of Babylon the earth shall tremble, and her cry shall be heard among the nations.” Jeremiah 50:29-46 ESV

Babylon the great would prove no match for God the Almighty. That is the bottom-line essence of this very long and quite detailed oracle. Babylon, “the proud one”, would fall before God, the Redeemer of Israel and Judah. Multiple times in this section of the oracle, God points out the pride of Babylon.

“Repay her according to her deeds; do to her according to all that she has done. For she has proudly defied the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.” – Jeremiah 50:29 ESV

Again, it may seem disconcerting to us that God would hold Babylon accountable for something He had summoned her to do. They had acted as a instrument of judgment in His hands, meting out justice against the rebellious people of Judah. But God has made it clear that their role was completely complicit and willing. He had not forced them to attack the nations of Canaan and Palestine. He had given Nebuchadnezzar his desire for global domination. God had simply used the greed and aggrandizement of the Babylonians for His divine purposes. And they would be hold accountable for their role. The fact was, they had not given their attack against the people of God a second thought. They had arrogantly planned and carried out their destruction of Jerusalem without a hint of fear or remorse. And now, God let’s them know that they will be repaid in full for what they had done. Their pride would result in their fall.

“Behold, I am against you, O proud one,
    declares the Lord God of hosts,
for your day has come,
    the time when I will punish you.
The proud one shall stumble and fall,
    with none to raise him up…” – Jeremiah 50:31-32 ESV

When God was done with them, there would be no return to power for the Babylonians. Their defeat would not be temporary or partial. This would not be a case of a battle lost or an inconvenient setback in their plans. It would be the end of all Babylon stood for and it would be devastatingly complete.

Right in the middle of this section of the oracle, God places a well-chosen word about Israel and Judah, His covenant people.

“Thus says the Lord of hosts: The people of Israel are oppressed, and the people of Judah with them. All who took them captive have held them fast; they refuse to let them go. Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is his name. He will surely plead their cause, that he may give rest to the earth, but unrest to the inhabitants of Babylon.” – Jeremiah 50:33-34 ESV

Through His prophet, Jeremiah, God reminds the people of Judah that they are His and He is their Redeemer. No matter how bad things may get and how difficult their lot in life may appear, He will be with them. He has been and continues to be their Redeemer. The Hebrew word that is translated, “redeemer” is ga’al and it refers to a kinsman-redeemer, a close relative whose job it is to step in and rescue their afflicted or oppressed family member. Boaz was Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer, marrying her and rescuing her from her poverty. Abraham played the part of Lot’s kinsman-redeemer, rescuing him from captivity. The kinsman-redeemer was expected to avenge, revenge, ransom or rescue the one in trouble. And that is exactly what God was promising to do for Israel and Judah, His two wayward children. Both of these nations, made up of the 12 tribes of Israel, had wandered away from God. They had played the part of the prodigal son, leaving their Father and wasting all He had given them in lives of self-indulgent pleasure and promiscuity. But now, He would turn from being their prosecutor to being their rescuer.

God is bringing a sword against the leaders of Babylon, the inhabitants of the nation, the diviners, warriors, horses and chariots, mercenaries, treasures, idols and images. No one will be spared. From their many false gods to the people that worship them, all would fall under God’s judgment. And God makes it quite clear that there is nothing the nation of Babylon will be able to do to escape their fate.

“I will appoint over her whomever I choose. For who is like me? Who will summon me? What shepherd can stand before me?” – Jeremiah 50:44 ESV

He describes Himself as a lion, suddenly pouncing on His prey. They will be like helpless sheep, incapable of defending themselves and left totally unprotected by their shepherds. It’s interesting to note that the prophet, Hosea, wrote of God using this same description, but in speaking of His judgment against Israel and Judah.

“For I will be like a lion to Ephraim,
    and like a young lion to the house of Judah.
I, even I, will tear and go away;
    I will carry off, and no one shall rescue.

“I will return again to my place,
    until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face,
    and in their distress earnestly seek me.” – Hosea 5:14-15 ESV

Now, God was going to turn the tables and come against the enemies of Israel and Judah. And the book of Revelation describes yet another description of the lion, this time of Jesus, as the conquering, victorious Messiah. The apostle John writes:

But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders.Revelation 5:5-6 ESV

God’s plan is comprehensive and complete. He is the Redeemer of His people. His Son, the Messiah, while finished with His redemptive work on the cross, has one last job to complete. He will one day return and redeem His people. He will restore order to the chaos that currently rules the world. He will fulfill every promise made by God the Father to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He will fulfill the promise made to David that he would have an heir to sit on his throne is Jerusalem forever. The Redeemer of Israel and Judah is strong. His Word is true. His plan is perfect. And His Son is the Lion of the tribe of Judah.


English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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