The Book of JEREMIAH
James J. Barker

Lesson 28

Text: JEREMIAH 25:1-38


  1. This is a very important chapter in the book of Jeremiah. Up until now there have been many warnings and many prophecies regarding the Babylonian captivity but this is the first time it is stated that it will last for seventy years (25:11, 12; cf. 29:10).
  2. The book of Jeremiah is not in chronological order. Here in Jeremiah 25:1, we see that this prophecy was given "in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon."



  1. Jeremiah reminded his backslidden listeners that he had been warning them over and over "from the thirteenth year of Josiah" (25:3), that is twenty-three years.
  2. But the stiff-necked people would not listen to Jeremiah, nor would they listen to the other prophets that were sent by the LORD (25:4).
  3. The prophets warned the people to repent and to turn from their idols, but the people refused to listen (25:5-7).
  4. Therefore, they would be invaded by Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, who is identified in verse 9 as God's "servant" (cf. 27:6; 43:10).
  5. Merrill Unger refers to King Nebuchadnezzar as "the LORD'S instrument to chastise His disobedient people" and "the LORD'S whip to castigate Judah" (Unger's Commentary on the Old Testament).
  6. Nebuzaradan, who served as the captain of the guard for King Nebuchadnezzar, understood that Judah was being punished by the LORD and discussed it with Jeremiah (40:1-4).
  7. Here is an example of a heathen having more spiritual discernment than some of God's people. We see another example in Jonah chapter 1, when the shipmaster came to Jonah, and said to the backslidden prophet, "What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not" (Jonah 1:6).
  8. Jeremiah's message was clear: Judah would be utterly destroyed, and would "serve the king of Babylon seventy years" (25:9-11).
  9. For four hundred and ninety years Israel had not observed the sabbatical year, to let the land lie fallow for one year out of seven. Over the course of 490 years, seventy of those sabbatical years had stacked up, and so God said, "I will send you to Babylon for seventy years, while the land enjoys its sabbath for the seventy years you have failed to allow the land to enjoy its sabbath."
  10. In his commentary on the book of Jeremiah, H.A. Ironside refers to Leviticus 25 and 26 and Exodus 23:10, 11, and then says one should "not build too much on numbers; but it would seem that for the entire period from the dedication of the temple till the destruction of it, the Sabbatic year had been unobserved. This was approximately 490 years. Seventy Sabbaths had been neglected. For seventy years they should dwell in the strangerís country while the land kept sabbath. In II Chronicles 36:21, when the threatened captivity had actually taken place, it is stated that it was 'to fulfil the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath to fulfil threescore years and ten.'
  11. "It is impossible to overreach God. Selfish Judah, doubtless, reasoned that time would be gained and wealth more rapidly accumulated if the year of rest were allowed to pass unobserved. So with many a self-seeking child of God since. Time spent in waiting upon Him has been esteemed as time lost. Many are too busy to give Him His portion. Business, pleasure, everything that begins and ends with self, in short, must come first; leaving little or no time for Him. But He invariably balances things at last. Many a saint has spent long, weary months and years on a bed of languishing, for the simple reason that the things of God were crowded out and neglected in days of health and vigor" (Jeremiah).



  1. After the LORD used Babylon to punish Judah, Babylon would be punished "for their iniquity" (25:12).
  2. Although Babylon was an instrument in God's hand to punish backslidden and idolatrous Judah, Babylon would still have to answer to God for her own iniquities (25:12-14).
  3. Daniel 5 records the fall of Babylon. Daniel 5:30 and 31 says, "In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old."



  1. Verse 15 and following looks beyond God's judgment of ancient Babylon, and includes God's judgment upon the nations at the second coming of Christ.
  2. Warren Wiersbe says, "In their messages, the prophets often began with a local situation and then used it as a springboard to describe something God would do in the end times" (The Bible Exposition Commentary).
  3. In verse 15, the LORD said to Jeremiah, "Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it" (cf. vss. 27, 28).
  4. "Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and fall, and rise no more..." (25:27).  These great nations would indeed fall and rise no more.
  5. Ironside says, "How the nations were made to drink and to fall before the might of the Lord has been for long ages a matter of authentic history. In martial meter, and with graphic delineation, the day of the Lordís controversy with the nations and their shepherds, or kings, is set forth in the closing verses (30-38). Comment is unnecessary. The simplicity and grandeur of the description need no interpreter" (Jeremiah).
  6. Jeremiah 25:28 says, "And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ye shall certainly drink."
  7. Similar language is used in other prophecies.  Revelation 14:10 says, "The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation."
  8. Revelation 16:19 says, "And great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath."
  9. Isaiah 51:17 says, "Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the LORD the cup of his fury; thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out."
  10. Judgment will begin with Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah (Jer. 25:18) because "judgment must begin at the house of God" (I Peter 4:17).
  11. It will be "the time of Jacob's trouble" (Jer. 30:7), but it will be a worldwide judgment.

12. Unger says, "The ultimate scope of this prophecy finds fulfillment in the Tribulation, which has its vortex in Jerusalem" (Unger's Commentary on the Old Testament).

  1. Therefore the nations listed (25:19-29) were judged in Jeremiah's day, but prophetically describe God's judgment "upon all the inhabitants of the earth" (25:29).
  2. The Scofield Study Bible says, "The scope of this great prophecy cannot be limited to the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar. If Jehovah does not spare His own city, should the Gentile nations imagine that there is no judgment for them? The prophecy leaps to the very end of this age."
  3. The scope of this prophecy goes beyond Israel and Judah and beyond Babylon.  Verse 33 says, "And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth..."
  4. Revelation 14:20 describes the Battle of Armageddon -- with blood coming out of the winepress of the wrath of God all the way up to the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs (about 200 miles).
  5. That is an amazing prophecy, but Jeremiah says the dead bodies will be lined up from "one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground" (Jer. 25:33).
  6. The LORD is pictured here as a lion coming out of his covert and roaring (25:30-38).
  7. This whole passage speaks of judgment:
  • "the sword that I will send among them" (25:16, 27, 29, 31).
  • "a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth" (25:32).
  • "Howl...cry; and wallow yourselves in the ashes...the days of your slaughter...and ye shall fall " (25:34).
  • "no way to flee, escape" (25:35).
  • "cry...howling...spoiled" (25:36).
  • "And the peaceable habitations are cut down because of the fierce anger of the LORD" (25:37).
  • "He hath forsaken his covert, as the lion: for their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the oppressor, and because of his fierce anger" (25:38).



  1. The cup of God's wrath (25:15, 27, 28, etc.) is seen often in Scripture.
  2. Psalm 75:8 says, "For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them."
  3. Irving Jensen says, "What of ungodly nations today, in this age of deification of science and man? Are such nations impregnable? The prophet's words of millennia ago concerning the finality of God's judgments are as pertinent today as then: 'Therefore thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and fall, and rise no more..." (25:27). {Jeremiah and Lamentations}
  4. In Shakespeare's famous play, Hamlet's wicked uncle King Claudius, put poison in Hamlet's cup, but the queen unknowingly drank it.
  5. In the confusion, Laertes explains to Hamlet, "Thy mother's poisoned...the king's to blame."
  6. Hamlet takes the poisoned cup, and furiously forces the king to drink it, saying, "Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane, Drink off this potion."
  7. It is a powerful scene, but not nearly as powerful as the one given to us in the Word of God.
  8. In Jeremiah 25:27, the LORD says, "Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and fall, and rise no more."

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