Drought and wild animals in Babylon (Jer 50:38-50:40)

“‘A drought

Against her waters!

Thus they may be dried up!

It is a land of images.

They go mad

Over idols.

Therefore,

Wild animals

Shall live

With hyenas

In Babylon.

Ostriches

Shall inhabit her.

She shall never again

Be inhabited

For all generations.

As when God overthrew

Sodom and

Gomorrah,

With their neighbors,

So no one

Shall live there.

No one

Shall settle there.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh was clear. He was going to make Babylon an abandoned desert. The waters of the land would dry up and leave a drought. It is hard to believe that he meant the Tigris River and the Euphrates River. He wanted their images and idols destroyed.   Thus wild animals, hyenas, and ostriches would live in Babylon. No humans would live or settle in Babylon. It would become like the ancient destroyed cites of Sodom and Gomorrah as in Genesis, chapter 19, a desolation.

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The coming destruction of Babylon (Isa 13:17-13:22)

“See!

I am stirring up the Medes

Against them.

They have no regard for silver.

They do not delight in gold.

Their bows

Will slaughter the young men.

They will have no mercy

On the fruit of the womb.

Their eyes will not pity children.

Babylon,

The glory of kingdoms,

The splendor of the Chaldeans,

The pride of the Chaldeans,

Will be like Sodom and Gomorrah

When God overthrew them.

It will never be inhabited.

No one will live in for all generations.

Arabs wills not pitch their tents there.

Shepherds will not make their flocks

Lie down there.

But wild animals will

Lie down there.

Its houses

Will be full of howling creatures.

Ostriches will live there.

Goat demons will dance there.

Hyenas will cry in its towers.

Jackals will be in the pleasant palaces.

Its time is close at hand.

Its days will not be prolonged.”

Very clearly, this is all about the destruction of the city of Babylon. Yahweh will get the people of Medes, an area northwest of Persia, who don’t care about gold and silver, to come and slaughter the young men and the children of Babylon. The glorious Babylon, the pride of the Chaldeans, who were the southern Babylonians, would become like the people in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis, chapters 18-19. There seems to be a fascination with these 2 biblical towns. After this defeat, the city of Babylon would never be inhabited again. Neither wandering Arabs nor shepherds would go there. Only wild animals and howling creatures, like goats, ostriches, hyenas, and jackals would live there in those great buildings. The time of their destruction was at hand. You would not have to wait a long time.

Stay with your own kind (Sir 13:15-13:20)

“Every creature loves its like.

Every person loves his neighbor.

All living beings associate

With their own kind.

People stick close to those

Like themselves.

What does a wolf have in common

With a lamb?

No more has a sinner anything in common

With the devout.

What peace is there

Between a hyena and a dog?

What peace is there

Between the rich and the poor?

Wild asses in the wilderness

Are the prey of lions.

Likewise the poor

Are feeding grounds for the rich.

Humility is an abomination

To the proud.

Likewise the poor are an abomination

To the rich.”

Sirach tells us that people and creatures like to stick with their own kind. There is a natural born prejudice to stay with your own kind of people. Everybody usually loves their neighbors. Why else would they live there? A wolf and a lamb have nothing in common, just like the sinner and the devout do not have anything in common. There can never be peace between hyenas and dogs, so too the animosity between rich and poor cannot be bridged. Wild donkeys are the prey of lions, so too are the poor the feeding grounds of the rich. The rich take advantage of the poor. The proud hate the humble, just like the rich hate the poor.