Many say the Bible is the history of Israel, and it is, but it is much more than that. It is a record of the word of the Lord. It is revelation of the way the kingdom of God operates and we find here in the middle of Judah and Babylon, a promise to Elam. We might easily read over this but this is a promise that goes back to the time of Noah. The Lord never forgets. And the Lord will be their when they, in Jeremiah 50:4 “ask their way to Zion” and Israel returns. More importantly, in Jeremiah 50:20 “In those days and at that time,” declares Yahweh, “the guilt of Israel will be sought, but there is none, and the sins of Judah, but they will not be found”.
I Will Restore the Fortunes of Elam
First comes judgement, a scattering of the people, and then a promise in Jeremiah 49:39 “in the last of the days I will restore the fortunes of Elam”. But who is Elam? Elam is a son of Shem in Genesis 10:22, and Shem, was the son of Noah in Genesis 10:1. Abram is also a descendant of Shem in Genesis 11:26. We sometimes forget the lineage of these people groups but God never forgets. For example, these names we hear throughout history, Egypt, Assyria, Israel, all have ancestry through Noah in
Genesis 10:6 “And the sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan”.
Genesis 10:8–11 “And Cush fathered Nimrod … 10 Now, the beginning of his kingdom was Babel … 11 From that land he went out to Assyria, and he built Nineveh …”.
Noah said of his sons in
Genesis 9:26–27 “Then he said, “Blessed be Yahweh, the God of Shem,and let Canaan (son of Ham) be a slave to them. 27 May God make space for Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be a slave for him.”
But it is God’s promise to Noah, and this ancestry, that causes the Lord to say in
Isaiah 19:24–25 “On that day, Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, 25 whom Yahweh of hosts blessed, saying, “May Egypt my people be blessed, and Assyria, the work of my hands, and my inheritance, Israel.””
Since we know the Lord’s throne will be in Jerusalem, a better understanding of what the Lord says in Jeremiah 49:38 “I will set my throne in Elam and I will destroy from there king and officials” might be, “the LORD taking over the reins of government by destroying their former leaders”.1
We might also note here, that what is referred to as “in the last of the days” in Jeremiah 49:39 began with the coming of Jesus Christ and the “Elamites were among the first who heard and accepted it (the outpouring of the Holy Spirit) (Ac 2:9)”.2
They Will Ask the Way to Zion
At the end of the time of exile, a nation will come against Babylon in Jeremiah 50:3. And, “in that time … the people of Israel will come ” in Jeremiah 50:4 and “they will ask their way to Zion … They will come and join themselves to Yahweh by an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten”.
Those that “have devoured them (Israel, Judah, God’s people of the covenant)” in Jeremiah 50:7 will have an excuse “We are not guilty, because they have sinned against Yahweh”. But this is no excuse, this is simply the tactic of the accuser, the destroyer who takes by force and justifies his actions. The truth is, that anyone can choose righteousness rather than force and oppression, but now, in
Jeremiah 50:10 “And Chaldea will be as booty, all those who plunder her will be satisfied,” declares Yahweh.
The Guilt of Israel Will be Sought
It is the guilt of sin that allows the oppressor to take what the Lord has given. We found Babylon claiming they were not guilty of any transgression against Israel because in Jeremiah 50:7 “they have sinned against Yahweh”.
But the nation has been cleansed, and in
Jeremiah 50:20 “In those days and at that time,” declares Yahweh, “the guilt of Israel will be sought, but there is none, and the sins of Judah, but they will not be found, for I will forgive those I left behind.
The Lord, the righteous judge of heaven and earth has been bound by his word. The accuser has used the condemnation of sin and the required penalty of death, to separate them from what the Lord has promised. But Jeremiah looked forward to “those days”, to “that time” when Jesus Christ would give his life, the payment for sin. Now, Christ has risen and taken his place as our righteousness.
Declare in Zion the Vengeance of Yahweh
Babylon rose up and the Lord gave them the kingdoms of the world in their time, and of them the Lord says in
Jeremiah 50:24 I laid a bird snare for you, and you were caught, O Babylon. But you yourself did not know. You were discovered and seized, because with Yahweh you measured yourself.
Now, the judgments against Babylon are meted out in
Jeremiah 50:29 “Take revenge on her according to her deeds. According to all that she has done, so do to her. For against Yahweh she has behaved insolently, against the Holy One of Israel.
To Make Peace For the Earth
Suddenly Babylon Has Fallen
- Jeremiah 49:34–39 I Will Restore the Fortunes of Elam
- Jeremiah 50:1–10 They Will Ask the Way to Zion
- Jeremiah 50:11–20 The Guilt of Israel Will be Sought
- Jeremiah 49:34-39
- Jeremiah 50:1-46
- Jeremiah 51:1-10
- 1. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Je 49:38). Biblical Studies Press.
- 2. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 555). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.