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Matthew Henry's Commentary – Verses 21–32
Verses 21–32

Here, 1. The forces are mustered and commissioned to destroy Babylon, and every thing is got ready for a descent upon that potent kingdom: Go up against that land by Merathaim, the country of the Mardi, that lay part in Assyria and part in Armenia; and go among the inhabitants of Pekod, another country (mentioned Ezek. 23:23) which Cyrus took in his way to Babylon. The forces of Cyrus are called to go up against Babylon (Jer. 50:21), to come against her from the utmost border. Let all come together, for there will be both work and pay enough for them all, Jer. 50:26. Distance of place must not be their hindrance from engaging in this work. The archers particularly must be called together against Babylon, Jer. 50:29. Thus the Lord hath opened his armoury (Jer. 50:25), his treasury (so the word is), and hath brought forth the weapons of his indignation, as great princes fetch out of their magazines and stores all necessary provisions for their armies when they undertake any great expedition. Media and Persia are now God’s armoury; thence he fetches the weapons of his wrath, Cyrus and his great officers and armies, whom he will make use of for the destruction of Babylon. Note, Great men are but instruments which the great God makes use of to serve his own purposes. He has variety of instruments, has them at command, has armouries ready to be opened according as the occasion is. This is the work of the Lord God of hosts. Note, When God has work to do he will make it appear that he is God of hosts, and will not want instruments to do it with. 2. Instructions are given them what to do. In general, Do according to all that I have commanded thee, Jer. 50:21. It was said of Cyrus (Isa. 44:28), He shall perform all my pleasure, in his expedition against Babylon. They must waste and utterly destroy after them; when they have destroyed once they must go over them again, or destroy their posterity that should come after them. They must open her store-houses (Jer. 50:26), rifle her treasures, and turn her artillery against herself. They must cast her up as heaps; let all the wealth and pomp of Babylon be shovelled up in a heap of ruins and rubbish. Tread her down as heaps (so the margin reads it) and destroy her utterly. See how little account the great God makes of those things which men so much value and value themselves so much upon. Their princes and great men, who are fat and bulky, shall fall by the sword, not as men of war in the field of battle, which we call a bed of honour, but as beasts by the butcher’s hand (Jer. 50:27): Slay all her bullocks, all her mighty men; let them go down sottishly and insensibly, as an ox to the slaughter. Woe unto them! their case is the more sad for the little sense they have of it. Their day has come to fall, the time when they must be reckoned with, and they are not aware of it. 3. Assurances are given them of success. Let them do what God commands, and they shall accomplish what he threatens. A great destruction shall be made, Jer. 50:21. Babylon shall become a desolation (Jer. 50:23); her young men and all her men of war shall be cut off in that day which should have been her defence, Jer. 50:30. God is against her (Jer. 50:31); he has laid a snare for her (Jer. 50:24); he has formed this enterprise against her, that she should be surprised as a bird taken in a snare. Cyrus shall no doubt prevail, for he fights under God. God will kindle a fire in the cities of Babylon (Jer. 50:32); and who can stand before him when he is angry, or quench the fire that he has kindled? 4. Reasons are given for these severe dealings with Babylon. Those that are employed in this war may, if they please, know the grounds of it, and be satisfied in the justice of it, which it is fit all should be that are called to such work. (1.) Babylon has been very troublesome, vexatious, and injurious, to all its neighbours; it has been the hammer of the whole earth (Jer. 50:23), beating, beating down, and beating to pieces, all the nations far and near. It has done so long enough; it is time now that it be cut asunder and broken. Note, He that is the god of nations will sooner or later assert the injured rights of nations against those that unjustly and violently invade them. The God of the whole earth will break the hammer of the whole earth. (2.) Babylon has bidden defiance to God himself: Thou has striven against the Lord (Jer. 50:24), hast joined issue with him (so the word signifies) as in law or battle, hast openly opposed him, set up rivals with him, raised rebellion against him; therefore thou art now found, and caught, as in a snare. Note, Those that strive against the Lord will soon find themselves over-matched. (3.) Babylon ruined Jerusalem, the holy city, and the holy house there, and must now be called to an account for that. This is the manifesto published in Zion, in the day of Babylon’s visitation; it is the vengeance of the Lord our God, the vengeance of his temple, Jer. 50:28. The burning of the temple, and the carrying away of its vessels, were articles in the charge against Babylon on which greater stress was laid than upon its being the hammer of the whole earth; for Zion was the joy and glory of the whole earth. Note, Whatever wrong is done to God’s church (his temple in the world) it will certainly be reckoned for; and no vengeance will be sorer nor heavier than the vengeance of the temple. (4.) Babylon has been very haughty and insolent, and therefore must have a fall; for it is the glory of God to look upon those that are proud and to abase them, Job 40:11. I am against thee, O thou most proud! Jer. 50:31 and again Jer. 50:31. Thou pride (so the word is), as proud as pride itself. Note, the pride of men’s hearts sets God against them and ripens them apace for ruin; for God resists the proud and will bring them down. The most proud shall stumble and fall; they shall fall not so much by others’ thrusting them down as by their own stumbling; for they hold their heads so high that they never look under their feet, to choose their way and avoid stumbling-blocks, but walk at all adventures. Babylon’s pride must unavoidably be her ruin; for she has been proud against the Lord, against the Holy One of Israel (Jer. 50:29), has insulted him in insulting over his people; she has made him her enemy, and therefore, when she has fallen, none shall raise her up, Jer. 50:31. Who can help those up whom God will throw down?