Jeremiah 51:58 Index
"Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; and the people shall labour in vain, and the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary."
Research Material

" . . . The broad walls of Babylon . . . " (Jeremiah 50:15; Jeremiah 51:30; Jeremiah 51:53)

  • More than a century before, Inspiration had foretold that “the night of ... pleasure” (Isaiah 21:4) during which king and counselors would vie with one another in blasphemy against God, would suddenly be changed into a season of fear and destruction. And now, in rapid succession, momentous events followed one another exactly as had been portrayed in the prophetic scriptures years before the principals in the drama had been born.
    • While still in the festal hall, surrounded by those whose doom has been sealed, the king is informed by a messenger that “his city is taken” (Jeremiah 51:31) by the enemy against whose devices he had felt so secure; “that the passages are stopped, ... and the men of war are affrighted”(Jeremiah 51:32). Even while he and his nobles were drinking from the sacred vessels of Jehovah, and praising their gods of silver and of gold, the Medes and the Persians, having turned the Euphrates out of its channel, were marching into the heart of the unguarded city. The army of Cyrus now stood under the walls of the palace; the city was filled with the soldiers of the enemy, “as with caterpillars” (Jeremiah 51:14); and their triumphant shouts could be heard above the despairing cries of the astonished revelers.
    • In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain,” and an alien monarch sat upon the throne.
    • Clearly had the Hebrew prophets spoken concerning the manner in which Babylon should fall. As in vision God had revealed to them the events of the future, they had exclaimed: “How is Sheshach taken! and how is the praise of the whole earth surprised! how is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations!” (Jeremiah 51:41). “How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken! how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations!” (Jeremiah 50:23). “At the noise of the taking of Babylon the earth is moved, and the cry is heard among the nations (Jeremiah 50:46).
    • Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed” (Jeremiah 51:8). “The spoiler is come upon her, even upon Babylon, and her mighty men are taken, every one of their bows is broken: for the Lord God of recompenses shall surely requite" (Jeremiah 51:56). "And I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men: and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts” (Jeremiah 51:57).
    • I have laid a snare for thee, and thou art also taken, O Babylon, and thou wast not aware: thou art found, and also caught, because thou hast striven against the Lord" (Jeremiah 50:24). "The Lord hath opened His armory, and hath brought forth the weapons of His indignation: for this is the work of the Lord God of hosts in the land of the Chaldeans” (Jeremiah 50:25).
    • Thus saith the Lord of hosts; The children of Israel and the children of Judah were oppressed together: and all that took them captives held them fast; they refused to let them go" (Jeremiah 50:33). "Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is His name: He shall throughly plead their cause, that He may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon” (Jeremiah 50:34).
    • Thus “the broad walls of Babylon” became “utterly broken, and her high gates ... burned with fire” (Jeremiah 51:58). Thus did Jehovah of hosts “cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease,” and lay low “the haughtiness of the terrible.” Thus did “Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency,” become as Sodom and Gomorrah—a place forever accursed. “It shall never be inhabited,” Inspiration has declared, “neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces.” “I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the Lord of hosts.” Isaiah 13:11, 19-2214:23.
    • To the last ruler of Babylon, as in type to its first, had come the sentence of the divine Watcher: “O king, ... to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.” Daniel 4:31. (PK 531-533)

" . . . and her high gates . . . "

  • According to a cuneiform description of Babylon, the city boasted eight main gates, besides several smaller ones. Another cuneiform inscription of Nebuchadnezzar 9the so-called East India House Inscription) states that the leaves of the gates were of cedar covered with copper (Biblical brass). Among the most impressive of the remains discovered at Babylon are the ruins of the Ishtar Gate, in the northern wall, through which passes one of the main thoroughfares of the city. The enamel-glazed bricks of this gate were molded to form fine life-sized reliefs of bulls (sacred to the god Adad) and "sir-rush" (mythological dragon like monsters sacred to Marduk). These figures were white and yellow upon a blue background. Altogether the excavators estimated a minimum of 575 of these animal figures on this one gate. (4BC 535)

" . . . and the folk in the fire . . . "

  • The sense of this passage seems more clearly expressed by the RSV: "The peoples labor for nought, and the nations weary themselves only for fire." (Habakuk 2:13). (4BC 535)