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"Babylon The Great Has Fallen!"
God's Kingdom Rules!



Chapter 14

Her Fall Vindicates Jehovah's Prophecy

(Jeremiah 50)

WHAT transforming consequences the fall of Babylon had for the world and for Jehovah's people! No other worldly event in ancient history was foretold in Bible prophecy with greater fullness and richness of detail. Only the true and living God, with such far-reaching forevision, could have foretold this world event with such accuracy. Fulfillment of his prophecies is reported not just in Bible history but in the historical records of this world. Jehovah is therefore what he declares himself to be, God, the only true one among all those who are called gods. His prophecies are in writing, with his own name Jehovah attached to them. Thus we are able to read them and then compare them with the facts of history. We can prove to our own satisfaction that this God, Jehovah, is true and infallible.

In the fourth year of the reign of King Zedekiah of Jerusalem, or in 614 B.C.E., Jehovah inspired his priest Jeremiah to pen a remarkable prophecy of the fall of the Third World Power, Babylon. (Jeremiah 51: 59, 60) We can appreciate the remarkableness of this prophecy when we measure the time and find that it was written seventy-five years in advance of the actual event in 539 B.C. The prophecy is declared to be, not a man's prediction, but "the word that Jehovah spoke," and in it he tells why he brings about the fall of this capital of the Chaldeans. Accordingly Jeremiah 50:1 says: "The word that Jehovah spoke concerning Babylon, concern-

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ing the land of the Chaldeans, by means of Jeremiah the prophet."

Jehovah foretold that the fall of this city of world importance would be an event of international astonishment and concern, saying:

"Tell it among the nations and publish it. And lift up a signal; publish it. Hide nothing, O men. Say, 'Babylon has been captured. Bel has been put to shame. Merodach has become terrified. Her images have been put to shame. Her dungy idols have become terrified.' "  — Jeremiah 50:2.

Let the fullest publicity be given to Babylon's fall. Let no censorship of the news prevail. She has been captured, despite her high walls in series, despite all her defense system. It is just in time to permit Jehovah's prophecy concerning the seventy years of the desolation of the land of Judah and of Jerusalem to be fulfilled on schedule, as a beneficial result from Babylon's capture. Babylon, who had favored captivity for Jehovah's people, has now herself been captured by the Medes and Persians and their allies. Now the gods of the Babylonians, who had ridiculed the god of Jehovah's people at the fall of Jerusalem, deserved to be ridiculed. What a shame Babylon's capture was for Bel, her protective god! What a weakling god he was! In fact, he was a no-god, a false god. Never would he regain his worthiness of being worshiped by saving his captured city from ultimate destruction or, after it had been utterly destroyed, having it rebuilt, as Jehovah's city Jerusalem was then to be rebuilt. The original god Bel was the mighty hunter Nimrod, who built the first Babylon; and never would the deified dead Nimrod rebuild his city and erect again the Tower of Babel.

Because of Babylon's capture, "Merodach has become terrified." The name Merodach is the Hebrew word for Marduk. He was Babylon's chief god in the days of King Nebuchadnezzar and his dynasty of kings. According to Babylonian theology, Merodach built their

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capital city, along with Erech and Niffer (or Calneh) and their famous temples. Thus Merodach or Marduk appears to be just another symbol for Nimrod; and if, as one or more authorities claim, the name means "Chief Rebel," it suits the deified Nimrod very well. He was a rebel against Jehovah, the God of his greatgrandfather Noah.

When Babylon became the capital of the land of Chaldea, its god Merodach (Marduk) became the head of the Babylonian circle of gods. This was partly because his city had now become the capital of the land and partly because Babylon was the center of his worship and was the place of the Tower of Babel, the famous monument of the ancient world. Merodach's worshipers had terrorized the world till 539 B.C., but now Merodach himself had reason to be terrified. He could not prove himself to be a courageous god able to preserve the dignity of the Third World Power. He was a mere false god.

In Babylon, Bel or Merodach and all the other gods were represented by motionless, lifeless, man-made images, that used to be conveyed each year down her Procession Street. At the capture of the capital city by those who worshiped Zoroastrian and other gods, their fate as Babylonian gods became uncertain. Persecution might be in store for their worshipers. As gods they had failed the Third World Power and had lost prestige. They were brought to shame and thrown into terror, so to speak. Their images, though adorned with gold, silver and precious jewels, were but dungy idols, as filthy as dung in comparison with the worship of the true God Jehovah.

Babylon's gods were unable to block the advance or the strategy of the conquerors whom Jehovah God sent against her from the north. "For against her a nation has come up from the north. It is the one that makes her land an object of astonishment, so that there proves to be no one dwelling in her. Both man and domestic

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animal have taken flight. They have gone away."  — Jeremiah 50:3.

The most of the troops making the attack under Cyrus the Persian were Medes, and in the days of Jeremiah and of the Babylonian world domination the territory of Media lay to the north. In the days of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon the kingdom of the Medes enjoyed its greatest extent, for then it extended from near the Persian Gulf (not including Elam) and northward to the Black Sea. It extended westward to the Lydian Empire, and was bordered on the east by the desert and on the south by the Babylonian Empire.

Some years after the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar the kingdom of Media was conquered by Cyrus the Great, the Persian, and it lined up its warriors under him. The north, the direction from which the conquerors of Babylon came, is spoken of as the direction from which, according to Psalm 75:6-9. the execution of Jehovah's judgment comes against his enemies, making them drink the foaming cup of his wine of wrath. It was the capture and subjugation of Babylon by the Medes and Persians from the north that started the decline of this mighty city, so that finally it became an object of astonishment, a desolation deserted and avoided by man and domestic animal. No worshipers of Bel or Merodach remained in her.

RETURN TO ZION PREDICTED

However, what about Jehovah's people who would be found in exile in the land of Babylon at the time of her fall? Here we remember that in the territories of Babylon there were Jewish exiles from the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel and from the two-tribe kingdom of Judah. What about them after Babylon's fall? Jeremiah says:

" 'In those days and at that time,' is the utterance of Jehovah, 'the sons of Israel, they and the sons of Judah together, will come. They will walk, weeping as they walk, and for Jehovah their God they will seek. To

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Zion they will keep asking the way, with their faces in that direction, saying, "Come and let us join ourselves to Jehovah in an indefinitely lasting covenant that will not be forgotten." ' " — Jeremiah 50:4, 5.

Immediately after Babylon fell and after Darius the Mede became king of the captured city, the prophet Daniel, who was a close student of Bible chronology, turned to Jehovah God in earnest prayer for the release of his people from their reproachful exile far from desolate Jerusalem. (Daniel 9:1-19) This prophet was just an example of thousands of others of the Jewish exiles from the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah. They turned in hopeful prayer to Jehovah before Cyrus the Persian issued his decree in the first year of his reign, releasing them to go back to their homeland to rebuild the temple of their God on its original location in Jerusalem or Zion. Jews from all twelve tribes drew near to Jehovah in prayer. His prophecy had foretold the reunion of the twelve tribes in the united worship of him their God. When Cyrus' decree of release came shortly afterward, in 537 B.C., tens of thousands of them took advantage of it and prepared to leave Babylon and return to the land of Zion, then in its seventieth year of desolation.

As they got on their way, they needed directions, and they would ask the way to Zion. As they marched along in their united thousands, they would weep for joy and in appreciation of Jehovah's merciful forgiveness of them and his fulfillment of his prophecies toward them. God, not politics, was on their heart and mind, as they trudged back to Zion. Down till this holy city was destroyed in 607 B.C., they had persistently broken Jehovah's covenant or solemn contract with their nation, willfully forgetting this covenant. Now they would acknowledge that covenant anew, with the determination not to forget it, so that it would continue in force with all its benefits to them for an "indefinitely lasting" time. Substance was to be given to this deter-

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mination by their rebuilding Jehovah's temple. Rather than to reestablish the fallen kingdom of the house of David, their whole-souled longing was to restore Jehovah's worship in Jerusalem or Zion. There they would again joyfully sing the "songs of Zion," a thing that they had no inclination to do as exiles in Babylon. —  Psalm 137:3.

In his prophecy by Jeremiah, Jehovah described the condition of his exiles in Babylon, and he reminded them of their being to blame for it. He said: "A flock of perishing creatures my people has become. Their own shepherds have caused them to wander about. On the mountains they have led them away. From mountain to hill they have gone. They have forgotten their resting place. All those finding them have eaten them up, and their own adversaries have said, 'We shall not become guilty, due to the fact that they have sinned against Jehovah the abiding place of righteousness and the hope of their forefathers, Jehovah.' " — Jeremiah 50:6, 7.

The Israelites had followed their kings and priests as their shepherds, but these had led them astray. They became as lost sheep on the hills and mountains. They had forgotten their resting-place in Jehovah and in his pure worship. Their shepherds did not help them to find their way back. Their enemies found them straying disunited and acted toward them like wolves, bears and lions, to devour them like sheep. These beastly devourers felt no personal guilt at destroying or exploiting them. They knew that the Israelites had sinned against their God Jehovah, and they felt that they were acting as Jehovah's punishers of his people; and, oh, how this gave them the opportunity to express their malice toward the Israelites! So they felt that they would not be punished for sinning in this way against Jehovah, even though Jehovah was the abiding place of righteousness and the hope of Israel's forefathers. Yet Jehovah did count it as a sin against him when

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they devoured his people like sheep. For this reason he caused Babylon to fall.

"TAKE YOUR FLIGHT OUT"

Jehovah approves of all who leave Babylon and return to Zion. In fact, long in advance he issues his command for them to get out. " 'Take your flight out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth even out of the land of the Chaldeans, and become like the leading animals before the flock. For here I am arousing and bringing up against Babylon a congregation of great nations from the land of the north, and they will certainly array themselves against her. From there she will be captured. One's arrows are like those of a mighty man causing bereavement of children, who does not come back without results. And Chaldea must become a spoil. All those making spoil of her will satisfy themselves,' is the utterance of Jehovah." — .Jeremiah 50: 8-10.

Jehovah's people were to take their flight out of Babylon, but not, of course, before Babylon fell in 539 B.C. How would they be free to flee before the city fell? Also, how could they return and reinhabit the land of Judah and Jerusalem inasmuch as it was Jehovah's decree that the land should lie desolate seventy years, or until two years after Babylon fell? But after the city fell and after the conqueror Cyrus the Great issued his decree granting them release to rebuild Jehovah's temple, ah, then they were to be prompt and to exert themselves so much to get out that their departure from Babylon would be like fleeing from the fallen city.

They were to try to be the first ones to get out of all the land of Chaldea, like the leading ones of a flock, like the rams or he-goats that, as soon as the gate of the pen is opened, press forward to be the first to get out and go before the flock. As far as we know, out of all the peoples held captive in Babylonian territory the

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Israelites were the first ones to be released by Cyrus. When Babylon fell sixty-eight years after Jerusalem was destroyed, it proved that Jehovah's prophecy concerning the seventy years' length of the desolation of Judah and Jerusalem was correct and that deliverance was close. So beforehand, in the interval between Babylon's fall and Cyrus' decree, the Israelites could be thinking and praying about their release and could be making what advance preparations they could toward a departure without delay.

There was no reason for uncertainty about their becoming able to flee from the prison house of Babylon, for Jehovah of armies purposed to bring down from the north an army composed of troops from a number of great nations, all these united in the one aim of surrounding Babylon and capturing her. They are famed for being bowmen, and their arrows will bereave the mother organization Babylon of her children, her inhabitants. If the Persian bows were made of metal and three feet long, their shots could cover a great distance to reach the mark. These bowmen will not come back without results. Chaldea will become a spoil to these conquerors out of the north. They will spoil her of what she took in spoiling other nations. There will be enough spoil for the conquerors to satisfy themselves. (Isaiah 45:3) Jehovah declared that it would be so.

The Babylonians had especially spoiled Jehovah's earthly inheritance, his chosen people represented in the kingdom of Judah. (2 Kings 20:14-18) Addressing himself to these Babylonian spoilers, Jehovah says: "For you men kept rejoicing, for you men kept exulting when pillaging my own inheritance. For you kept pawing like a heifer in the tender grass, and you kept neighing like stallions. The mother of you men has become very much ashamed. She that gave you birth has been disappointed. Look! She is the least important of the nations, a waterless wilderness and a desert

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plain. Because of the indignation of Jehovah she will not be inhabited, and she must become a desolate waste in her entirety. As for anyone passing along by Babylon, he will stare in astonishment and whistle on account of all her plagues." — Jeremiah 50:11-13.

The Babylonians had no respect for the God of Zion. They felt no sorrow at the fact that they had to do violent executional work upon the unfaithful nation, the kingdom of Judah. They rejoiced in humiliating the kingdom of Judah and destroying its capital city Jerusalem and in plundering and burning the temple of Jehovah, and then carrying off the precious vessels of the temple to store them in the temple of Babylon's false god Merodach (Marduk). Little did they care that it was Jehovah's "own inheritance," his chosen people, that they were pillaging. They felt frisky about it, like a well-fed heifer pawing in the tender grass and like neighing stallions brimming with energy. That was not the proper spirit for men to have who were acting as Jehovah's executional agents on His people.

Babylon was their mother city. As her citizens or inhabitants they were her children; she had given them birth. Now she who had put Jerusalem or Zion to shame had come in for her own deserved shame by being toppled from her place as mistress of the world and by being captured. That lowered her importance in the world. Her proud hopes for her "children" had been disappointed.

However, her being captured and occupied by foreign conquerors was not the end of the retribution upon her from Jehovah's hand. His indignation at what she did to his own inheritance will not be satisfied till she has become entirely desolated, till she has become the "least important of the nations" by becoming a wild, waterless, deserted wasteland. The absolute ruin to which her plagues from Jehovah will reduce her will cause astonishment to men who knew the glory of her past history. When passing by her ruin, they will

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whistle for self-assurance as at a haunted place. But Babylon's startling fall into obscurity was no mere accident of human history. It was because of the "indignation of Jehovah" at her. He had a hand in her fall and annihilation because of the indignities that Babylon had inflicted on him and his people.

TO THE ATTACK!

As if he were their commander-in-chief, Jehovah of armies addresses himself to the Medes and Persians and their allies, whom he uses as his executional forces against the Third World Power. Prophetically he commands them: "Array yourselves against Babylon on every side, all you who are treading the bow. Shoot at her. Spare no arrow, for it is against Jehovah that she has sinned. Shout a war cry against her on every side. She has given her hand. Her pillars have fallen. Her walls have been torn down. For it is the vengeance of Jehovah. Take your vengeance on her. Just as she has done, do to her. Cut off the sower from Babylon, and the one handling the sickle in the time of harvest. Because of the maltreating sword they will turn each one to his own people, and they will flee each one to his own land." — Jeremiah 50:14-16.

Although Jehovah never was the God of Babylon or in a sacred covenant or solemn contract with her, yet she was a great sinner against him. By destroying the kingdom of Judah and plundering his nation, Babylon had sinned against the God whose name the Jewish nation bore. Babylon was the first one to destroy a temple of Jehovah in Jerusalem, after which she defiled the holy vessels of the temple in the house of her pagan god and in King Belshazzar's last feast. (Daniel 1:1. 2: 5:1-4, 22, 23) By this she has earned destruction for herself from the One against whom she had so sinned.

Jehovah God was therefore justified in bringing against her his military instruments for executing his vengeance upon her. The fact that the men whom he

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commands to besiege and attack her tread the bow and shoot arrows indicates that his executional armies would be men expert in archery, like the Medes and Persians.

Resistance by Babylon behind her massive walls and strong gates would be in vain. She would be obliged to give her hand, surrender her power, capitulate to the surprise invaders. At the time of her capture it would be as though the pillars supporting her had fallen, as if her walls had been torn down. The invading bowmen would gain entry into the very heart of the walled city by way of the Euphrates riverbed. Her river defense would fail her, thus neutralizing the defensive strength of her solid walls. Babylon would be captured without a fight at her gates. After her capture, however, Cyrus reduced her fortifications in order to weaken Babylon, though he did retain the city as a royal residence. Later, according to the Greek historian Herodotus (III, 159), the Persian Darius Hystaspis had to recapture Babylon to dispose of the usurper falsely named Smerdis. "Having become master of the place, [he] destroyed the wall, and tore down all the gates." And walls built of mud brick afterward gave way to the wear and erosion of time and the turn of shifting world events. The ruins of her walls became buried.

Babylon lay in a very fruitful valley, served by rivers and many man-made canals. But her farmers were to be cut off, and her productive land to become a waste. When the Medes and Persians took vengeance upon her, they were not sinning against Jehovah but were, rather, carrying out his vengeance upon the sinful city. As she had done to other nations, so let her conquerors do to her as a paying to her of her dues. Let the sword of war be mercilessly applied to her, so that those allied with her and supporting her as the Third World Power will leave her to her just deserts, turning "each one to his own people" and fleeing "each one to

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his own land." Let those doing profitable business with her be scattered!

Whereas Jehovah had no merciful feelings for Babylon, he did have great-hearted compassion for his exiled people. As he spoke of them in tender terms he also made even more vivid Babylon's cruelties and beastliness, for which she could not escape,.Jehovah's attention but deserved his vengeance all the more. He says:

"Israel is a scattered sheep. Lions themselves have done the dispersing. In the first instance the king of Assyria has devoured him, and in this latter instance Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon has gnawed on his bones. Therefore this is what Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel, has said, 'Here I am turning my attention upon the king of Babylon and upon his land in the same way that I turned my attention upon the king of Assyria. And I will bring Israel back to his pasture ground, and he will certainly graze on Carmel and on Bashan; and in the mountainous region of Ephraim and of Gilead his soul will be satisfied.' "

" 'And in those days and at that time,' is the utterance of Jehovah, 'the error of Israel will be searched for, but it will not be; and the sins of Judah, and they will not be found, for I shall forgive those whom I let remain.' " — Jeremiah 50:17-20.

Jehovah as the Great Shepherd loves his sheeplike people. (Psalm 23:1) So it hurt him at heart when the Assyrians conquered and deported part of his people, the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel, and they afterward tried to subdue the other part of his people, the two-tribe kingdom of Judah. The Assyrian king sacked Israel's capital city, Samaria, and deported the surviving Israelites to lands inside the Assyrian Empire, then the Second World Power. After thus putting the kingdom of Israel out of the way, Assyria turned its aggressions upon the little kingdom of Judah. It tried to overrun the country. It boastfully defied Jehovah

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and threatened his holy city Zion (Jerusalem). Indignantly Jehovah put to death 185,000 men of Assyria's invading army in one night in the land of Judah. Later he avenged himself upon Assyria by decreeing the destruction of Assyria's capital, Nineveh, and enforcing that decree upon Nineveh in 633 B.C. (2 Kings 18:9 to 19:36; Nahum 1:1 to 3:19) But the Israelites still remained exiles in foreign territory.

After Assyria fell as the Second World Power, Babylon became the leading assailant against the remaining kingdom of Judah. This small kingdom was like the skeleton bones left out of the larger, more numerous people of Israel. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon did not let those bones lie. He desired to get the most succulent part of the body of Israel, by subduing the holy city of Jerusalem, the Zion of Jehovah. Nebuchadnezzar worshiped the false god Marduk (Merodach), whose symbol was the lion; and, like a lion, he put down rebellion against him in Jerusalem and destroyed it and its temple. In this he was like a lion gnawing the bones of the lone sheep of Israel, crushing them between the teeth to get the sweet marrow out of them. When he destroyed Jerusalem and Jehovah's temple, it was something far more notorious and profane than when Assyria destroyed Israel's paganized capital, Samaria, and its temple to the false god Baal. As Assyria and her capital Nineveh received due attention from Jehovah, even more so did Babylon deserve to get similar attention from him. She did!

Babylon fell to the Medes and Persians. This overthrow of the Third World Power cleared the way for the Great Shepherd, Jehovah, to bring his sheep Israel back to its pasture ground in the Promised Land. All the places that he mentioned in his prophecy, namely, Carmel, Bashan, the mountainous region of Ephraim and of Gilead, were in Israel's one-time territory outside the land of Judah. However, the mention of those places as good for sheep to graze on gave the idea of a

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restoration of the exiled Israelites of all twelve tribes to their homeland. During the Maccabean period of the restored Jews the Israelites did hold those territories again.

But why did this deliverance of his sheep Israel from Babylon and this restoration of Israel to the desolated land of Judah take place? The reason was that Jehovah's appointed time of seventy years was at an end and it was the due time for him to forgive the sins and error of the remaining ones of his chosen people. He blotted out the record of such sins and error. So now nothing against the Israelites and the Judeans could be found, even though it was diligently searched for. Jehovah exacted nothing further from them. He rewarded their repentance and their return to him by restoring them to Zion and the land of Judah as one united people.

FORGE HAMMER OF ALL THE EARTH BROKEN

Alternating between expressing his vengeance against Babylon and expressing mercy toward his people Israel, Jehovah switches back to his purpose against the land of Babylon. " 'Against the land of Merathaim — come up against her and against the inhabitants of Pekod. Let there be a massacre and a devoting to destruction close upon them,' is the utterance of Jehovah, 'and do according to all that I have commanded you. There is the sound of war in the land, and a great breakdown. O how the forge hammer of all the earth has been cut down and gets broken! O how Babylon has become a mere object of astonishment among the nations! I have laid a snare for you and you have also been caught, O Babylon, and you yourself did not know it. You were found and also taken hold of, for it was against Jehovah that you excited yourself.' "  — Jeremiah 50:21-24.

Unnamed here though he is, Cyrus II the Persian was the one here commanded to come up against the land. The names Merathaim and Pekod in the prophecy may

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refer to actual localities then in Babylon's territory. Even if that is so, those particular names are evidently selected because of their meaning. Taking the meaning of the name, the expression "the land of Merathaim" would mean "the land of Double Rebellion," and thus could mean Babylon.

Originally Babylon was founded and built by Nimrod the mighty hunter who rebelled against Jehovah as God. (Genesis 10:8-10) Merodach, the name applied to Nimrod when he was deified, is understood by some to mean "Great Rebel." Babylon always had a rebel spirit toward Jehovah as God. Her rebelliousness, that began with Nimrod, came to its fullness in the Babylonian Empire as the Third World Power. How so? In that it then did what Nimrod had been unable to do, overthrow the kingdom of Jehovah's people, destroy his temple and deport his people back to the land of Shinar from which the Hebrew patriarch Abraham had come. Thus Babylon was more than rebellious. She was twofold rebellious. She was a land of double rebellion.

For this reason Babylon deserved from Jehovah a visitation, a being given attention, a punishment. This is the thought borne by the name Pekod. As deserving a giving of attention, a visitation or punishment, the Babylonians were "inhabitants of Pekod."*

With massacre and a devoting of the Babylonian world power to destruction Cyrus the Great was prophetically commanded to come up against the rebellious Babylonians who were deserving of punishment. Doing all that Jehovah of armies commanded him, Cyrus with his combined military forces was to bring noisy warfare and a breakdown into the land. In the hand of Jehovah God, Babylon had been like a forge hammer with which to break in pieces the earth, particularly


* This thought is confirmed in the translation of Jeremiah 50: 21 in The Twenty-four Books of the Holy Scriptures, by the Jewish scholar Isaac Leeser: "Against the land of twofold rebellion — even against it go thou up, and against the inhabitants of the country of punishment." — Edition of 1853.
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Israel's neighbors who had oppressed Jehovah's people. O how this symbolic forge hammer of all the earth was now broken itself! Coming so suddenly, unexpectedly, it astonished the nations. It was as if Jehovah had skillfully sprung a snare or trap on her, and before she knew exactly what had happened she was caught!

By a surprise route, the Euphrates riverbed, Medes, Persians and allies got inside her walls and took her captive. This maneuver was no mere man's thought. Long in advance Jehovah had foreseen it and he had it successfully carried out. Why, O Babylon, were you unable to escape this? Why were you thus found and taken hold of? "It was against Jehovah that you excited yourself," that is why.

Hence his prophetic word goes on to say: "Jehovah has opened his storehouse, and he brings forth the weapons of his denunciation. For there is a work that the Sovereign Lord, Jehovah of armies, has in the land of the Chaldeans. Come in to her from the farthest part. Open up her granaries. Bank her up, just like those making heaps, and devote her to destruction. May she not come to have any remaining ones. Massacre all her young bulls. May they go down to the slaughter. Woe to them, for their day has come, the time for their being given attention!" — Jeremiah 50: 25-27.

Babylon had not recognized the universal sovereignty of Jehovah, the God of Zion. So, when Babylon set out to gain world domination as the Third World Power, she was inciting herself against the Universal Sovereign, Jehovah. This became manifest when she assaulted "Jehovah's throne" upon which the kings of Jerusalem sat and destroyed Zion and its temple, thus bringing many years of reproach upon Jehovah's name. At his scheduled time He declared war upon Babylon. Ho then opened up his armory, his "storehouse" of weapons, and brought out his weapons, by means of which to pour out his denunciation upon Babylon.

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These weapons were primarily the Medes and the Persians under Cyrus the Great.

"They are coming from the land far away, from the extremity of the heavens, Jehovah and the weapons of his denunciation, to wreck all the earth," to wreck the world domination by Babylon. That is what Isaiah 13:5. 17 had foretold more than a century before the prophet Jeremiah. The overturning of Babylon's world domination was the work that Jehovah, as the Sovereign Lord of all, had in the land of the Chaldeans. No part of the earth, not even the "farthest part," Armenia or Mount Ararat, was too distant for him to draw executional weapons to come in on Babylon.  — Jeremiah 51:27, 28.

Those whom Jehovah of armies used as his weapons of denunciation were to spoil Babylon of her world domination and of her treasures, her stores of grain and her material riches. These were to be taken out of their places of concealment and heaped up outside for the spoilers to carry away for self-enrichment. Babylon as a world power was to be destroyed like something devoted to God, no longer for man to use. She was to be left with no remaining ones to act as successors to power. Her imperial leaders, like young bulls, were to be massacred, led down to the slaughter. Their day had come, the time for Jehovah to give them due attention.

But what is that joyful sound that we hear immediately afterward? "There is the sound of those fleeing and those escaping from the land of Babylon to tell out in Zion the vengeance of Jehovah our God, the vengeance for his temple." — Jeremiah 50:28.

It is the sound of Jehovah's remnant of faithful people. Babylon's conqueror, Cyrus the Great, has issued a decree for all the willing Jews to leave Babylonia and return to Zion and rebuild there the temple of their God. (Ezra 1:1-4) The appreciative remnant and their servants have acted upon Cyrus' decree. So eager and

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zealous are their efforts to leave for Zion, that it is as if they were fleeing from a place of danger or escaping from a prison in the land of Babylon. Yet they have the imperial permission of King Cyrus the Persian to leave and to do so in an orderly manner and for an approved purpose.

How glad they are to carry back the sacred utensils that the Babylonians stole from Jehovah's temple! How glad they are to have the imperial orders and arrangements to build a new temple on the location of the former Solomon's temple in the city of Zion! Back again in Zion, they will be able to tell of how their God executed his vengeance upon Babylon and how he paid back to the Babylonians their just deserts for destroying his temple and profaning its utensils of worship. As a consequence they had gained their freedom to return to Zion and rebuild his house of worship. And the temple of Merodach in Babylon had had to surrender the stolen utensils. Jehovah was still supreme, a living God worthy of a temple.

He is intent on avenging himself upon the enemy: " 'Summon against Babylon archers, all who are treading the bow. Encamp against her all around. May there prove to be no escapees. Pay back to her according to her activity. According to all that she has done, do to her. For it is against Jehovah that she has acted presumptuously, against the Holy One of Israel. Therefore her young men will fall in her public squares, and even all her men of war will be brought to silence in that day,' is the utterance of Jehovah." — Jeremiah 50: 29, 30.

In due time his exiled people would escape, but his command was that no Babylonians were to be allowed to escape from the doomed city. Any trying to do so were to be shot down by the Medes and Persians armed with bows and encamped all around her.

She was to be paid back with her own kind of treatment, especially her treatment of Jehovah's people. It

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was against him that she had acted presumptuously, and she had had no respect for the holiness of the God of Israel. After the Babylonians had razed Jerusalem to the ground in 607 B.C., Jeremiah had made this lamentation for Zion: "Should the women keep eating their own fruitage, the children born fully formed, or in the sanctuary of Jehovah should priest and prophet be killed? Boy and old man have lain down on the earth of the streets. My virgins and my young men themselves have fallen by the sword. You have killed in the day of your anger. You have slaughtered; you have had no compassion." (Lamentations 2:20, 21) Retributively, in 539 B.C., it was the time for Babylon's young men to fall in death in her public squares and especially for her warriors to be silenced in violent death.

Babylon had been so presumptuous against the Sovereign of the universe that she was the very personification of presumptuousness. She could really be called by that name. " 'Look! I am against you, O Presumptuousness,' is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord, Jehovah of armies, 'for your day must come, the time that I must give you attention. And Presumptuousness will certainly stumble and fall, and it will have no one to cause it to rise up. And I will set a fire ablaze in its cities, and it must devour all its surroundings.' "  — Jeremiah 50:31, 32.

Presumptuous Babylon was really the product of the great presumptuous one, Satan the Devil. He was really the god of Babylon in the land of the Chaldeans. During the days of Job of the land of Uz, Satan the Devil had presumptuously questioned whether Jehovah was being worshiped wholeheartedly by anyone on earth, even by this deeply religious man Job. Satan was therefore permitted to put Job to the test as to whether he was serving Jehovah for selfish reasons or not. Satan then proceeded to destroy all Job's material wealth and also his ten children. Notice, now, who were among the

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agents whom Satan the Devil used, as Job's servants one after another reported to him on, the loss of his livestock. Job 1:17 tells us:

"While that one was yet speaking another one came and proceeded to say: 'The Chaldeans made up three bands and went dashing against the camels and taking them, and the attendants they struck down with the edge of the sword; and I got to escape, only I by myself, to tell you."

Unquestionably the Chaldeans served the Devil, Satan. He was really their god. It was nothing strange, then, that Babylon, the capital city of the Chaldeans, was presumptuous, just like its god.

In his proverbs wise Solomon, the former king of Jerusalem, had said: "Everyone that is proud in heart is something detestable to Jehovah." (Proverbs 16: 5) Detestable Babylon deserved to receive Jehovah's attention. She needed to learn the truth of another of Solomon's proverbs: "Pride is before a crash, and a haughty spirit before stumbling." (Proverbs 16:18) Sometime after King Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed the city of Jerusalem, he had a personal experience at the hands of Jehovah God to illustrate this proverb. After he recovered from his seven years of madness and was restored to Babylon's throne, he acknowledged the King of the heavens and said: "Those who are walking in pride he is able to humiliate." (Daniel 4: 1-37) About fifty years later, not only her king Belshazzar but also Babylon herself was made to stumble and fall because of her presumptuousness toward Jehovah the King of the heavens.

Babylon's fall was so complete that no one was able to help her back to world dominion, not even Nebuchadnezzar III and Nebuchadnezzar IV, who revolted at Babylon against Persian domination. After Babylon's fall from domination as the Third World Power, Jehovah's anger was to continue to blaze against her till she and her surroundings were all devoured and

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existed no more. She was to become like a "burnt-out mountain." — Jeremiah 51:25.

Babylon did not desire to see the city of Zion restored and its temple to Jehovah rebuilt on Mount Moriah. Presumptuously guarding against such a thing that would bring credit to Jehovah, Babylon held on to his worshipers in exile in her domains. Hence Jeremiah 50:33, 34 goes on to say: "This is what Jehovah of armies has said: The sons of Israel and the sons of Judah are being oppressed together, and all those taking them captive have laid hold on them. They have refused to let them go. Their Repurchaser is strong, Jehovah of armies being his name. Without fail he will conduct their legal case, in order that he may actually give repose to the land and cause agitation to the inhabitants of Babylon.' "

Babylon, the oppressor of the Jewish exiles, underestimated the strength of their God, who had turned his disobedient people over to her for disciplining. Personally God got nothing out of this way of handling matters. He had apparently sold his people to her for nothing, for he got nothing from Babylon. (Isaiah 52: 3) He still had the power of repurchase, however, for he was the Owner of his creation, the earth and the peoples upon it. He could give one people for the release of another people, his own people. This very thing he did in an equitable payment for the release of his people.

To the Persian who overthrew Babylon and released his people from their sold condition, Jehovah gave the land of Egypt, not to Cyrus the Great, but to his son, Cambyses, who added Egypt to the Persian Empire, in this way putting the entire Mesopotamian-Egyptian region under Persia's power by 525 B.C. (Isaiah 43: 3, 4) Jehovah had both the strength of his position and the power to conduct a legal case successfully for his oppressed people, and he did so. Babylon lost the case. She lost Jehovah's people, who returned to their home-

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land where Jehovah gave them repose. But his winning the case surely brought "agitation to the inhabitants of Babylon."

They had reason to be agitated at how the God of Israel conducted his case against Babylon. It was by a war of conquest.

" 'There is a sword against the Chaldeans,' is the utterance of Jehovah, 'and against the inhabitants of Babylon and against her princes and against her wise ones. There is a sword against the empty talkers, and they will certainly act foolishly. There is a sword against her mighty men, and they will actually become terrified. There is a sword against their horses and against their war chariots and against all the mixed company that are in the midst of her, and they will certainly become women. There is a sword against her treasures, and they will actually be plundered. There is a devastation upon her waters, and they must be dried up. For it is a land of graven images, and because of their frightful visions they keep acting crazy. Therefore the haunters of waterless regions will dwell with the howling animals, and in her the ostriches must dwell; and she will nevermore be dwelt in, nor will she reside for generation after generation.' " — Jeremiah 50:35-39.

The sword of warfare was to be wielded by Persian Cyrus the Great. Everything Babylonian was to taste its sharpness — the Chaldeans, the "inhabitants of Babylon," the princes, the wise men, the empty talkers, the mighty men, the horses and war chariots, the mixed company in the midst of her, and her treasures. In her there were many who talked about the permanence and continued greatness of Babylon for time indefinite. But the victorious sword of Cyrus would prove them to be merely empty talkers, who acted foolishly according to their own talk and who would act foolishly when the surprise penetration of Babylon came and she suddenly fell.

Courage would fail the boasted "mighty men" of Babylon. They would become terrified at the unex-

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pected turn of events, as their horses and chariots proved to be unequal to the situation. Any mixture of foreign mercenary soldiers in Babylon would become like women for weakness, like women who stay at home in wartime. No longer protected by courageous guards, Babylon's vast treasures would be plundered by the conquerors. The Euphrates River might just as well have never existed; its waters were devastated by the enemy just when and where they were needed most for defense. Though the Euphrates flowed once again through the city after her fall, devastation came upon her canal system, as time went on.

The fact that the land of the Chaldeans was a "land of graven images" did not save it. Neither the images nor the gods symbolized by the images could save the Chaldean capital. Idolatry does not impart sanity to any people. Idol worshipers have only frightful visions, and it is therefore no wonder that these act crazy, especially when their gods and images fail them in sudden trouble.

Jehovah, whose Ten Commandments condemned image worship, is against a "land of graven images," and he brings his sword of execution upon those who violate his commandment and do not worship the true God, of whom no image or likeness can be made. For her idolatry as well as other sins Babylon must fall from world domination and at last become a desolate place, infested with wild animals and birds, and never again to be inhabited by mankind.

" 'Just as with God's overthrow of Sodom and of Gomorrah and of her neighbor towns,' is the utterance of Jehovah, 'no man will dwell there, nor will the son of mankind reside in her as an alien.' " (Jeremiah 50: 40) This comparison drawn by Jehovah God made it certain that permanent destruction was to come upon Babylon.

The destruction of cities that were notorious in the days of the patriarch Abraham was used as an example

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of the kind of judgment that Jehovah executes on organizations of that sort. When any city or organization suffers a punishment and the effects of it are like in the case of those cities in the Jordan River basin, it means the everlasting end of them, as if they had been consumed by fire. "Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities about them, after they in the same manner as the foregoing ones had committed fornication excessively and gone out after flesh for unnatural use, are placed before us as a warning example by undergoing the judicial punishment of everlasting fire." That is what Jude 7 tells us.

Babylon must surely have known about the fiery end of Sodom and Gomorrah, for against the kings of those cities Amraphel the king of Shinar had fought in the days of Abraham and Lot. (Genesis 14:1-9) For Babylon not to scoff at the prophecy that a complete destruction would come upon her like that upon those cities, Jehovah directs his words straight to her and says: "Look! A people is coming in from the north; and a great nation and grand kings themselves will be roused up from the remotest parts of the earth. Bow and javelin they handle. They are cruel and will show no mercy. The sound of them is like the sea that is boisterous, and upon horses they will ride; set in array as one man for war against you, O daughter of Babylon." — Jeremiah 50:41, 42.

From outside the bounds of the Babylonian Empire the "great nation and grand kings" were to come, and the military people with them would be even from parts remote from Babylon in her southerly location in the Mesopotamian valley. They have no love for Babylon and will be cruel to her, showing her no mercy. Not only do they know how to use missiles, but they also have cavalry. In their numbers they will overrun the country, like a boisterous sea that pours in irresistibly. They are united in one purpose, war against the

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"daughter of Babylon," that is to say, the city of Babylon, until her world domination is overthrown. They will defeat her armies outside the capital city and will at last close in on the "daughter of Babylon" herself, without mercy for that "woman."

The army of Nabonidus king of Babylon was defeated by the invaders some distance from Babylon and he took refuge in another place. His son Belshazzar was left in control inside Babylon. Is Belshazzar concerned about those besieging his royal city? If not before, he had cause for concern after he had called the prophet Daniel to interpret the mysterious handwriting on the wall and Daniel came to the third and final word of it and said: "PE'RES, your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and the Persians." (Daniel 5: 25-28) Then, at the latest, the full force of the prophecy of Jeremiah 50:43 must have struck him: "The king of Babylon has heard the report about them, and his hands have dropped down. There is distress! Severe pains have seized hold of him, just like a woman giving birth." What must have been his distress when he heard shortly afterward that the Medes and Persians were inside the city walls and moving toward his palace! That these had taken the city by surprise and had got through the city gates without a fight sent a severe pain through him just as suddenly as the birth pang tears through a woman's body when about to give birth.

Babylon's warriors might put up some sort of resistance to the oncoming lionlike conqueror, but they would soon run away from defending the city, especially if they were drunk from feasting. She would have no one to put up as her champion in her defense. It did not matter whom she put up as her champion; Jehovah would defeat him. This challenger could not be like a shepherd before an attacking lion and stand up against Jehovah of armies in his march to victory.

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Jeremiah 50:44-46 hurls defiance at a challenger, saying:

"Look! Someone will come up just like a lion from the proud thickets along the Jordan to the durable abiding place, but in a moment I shall make them run away from her. And the one who is chosen I shall appoint over her. For who is like me, and who will challenge me, and who, now, is the shepherd that can stand before me? Therefore hear, O men, the counsel of Jehovah that he has formulated against Babylon and his thoughts that he has thought out against the land of the Chaldeans. Surely the little ones of the flock will be dragged about. Surely on account of them he will cause their abiding place to be desolated. At the sound when Babylon has been seized, the earth will certainly be set rocking, and among the nations an outcry itself be heard." — Jeremiah 50:44-46.

The fact that the Jordan River traversed the land where Jehovah's people had lived as a free people made it very fitting for him to compare King Cyrus the conqueror to a Jordanian lion coming up from the river thicket against a durable abiding place of sheep. Away back in the prophet Isaiah's time Jehovah had announced Cyrus as the one chosen to be his appointed conqueror over Babylon.

Jehovah would let no challenger stand in Cyrus' way, anymore than in His own way. If people who trusted in Babylon thought that the one like the Jordanian lion could be halted and put to flight, then let such people listen to the counsel that Jehovah has formulated against Babylon and the thought he had thought out against the land of the Chaldeans. What were his counsel and his thoughts?

These: Babylon must be seized, captured. "Surely lambs of their flock shall be destroyed; surely pasture shall be cut off from them." (Jeremiah 50:45, LXX,

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Bagster translation)* The Babylonians will be like lambs before the symbolic Jordanian lion and will be dragged about, to destruction. On account of the badness of the Babylonians, their capital city that seemed to be so durable as an abiding place will finally be reduced to a desolation. The earth, particularly the land of the Chaldeans, must be set rocking at the tremendous sound of Babylon's fall. Also, Babylon's outcry of amazement and distress will be heard among all the nations among whom she dominated as Third World Power. The news of her fall must be published among the nations. Nothing must be hid about her fall.


* Jeremiah 50: 45, as rendered in The Bible — .A New Translation, by Dr. James Moffatt, reads as follows: "Hear, then, the Eternal's plan against Babylon, his purpose for the Chaldeans: their shepherd lads shall be dragged away, and the farm appalled at their fate!" Compare with this the reading by the RSV, also George Lamsa's translation from the Aramaic Peshitta.


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