You that have escaped the sword, go away, stand not still: remember the LORD afar off, and let Jerusalem come into your mind.
Jehovah is making his severest judgments to fall on Babylon. How severe they are is indicated by the fact that two long chapters are occupied with denunciations upon her. But all the time Israel is in her midst. Israelites are domiciled and settled down. How far they lived by themselves and how far they mingled with their captors we cannot tell. One thing, however, we are sure of, that in the midst of so much destruction to Babylon they, or at least the bulk of them, were preserved. It must have been a very discomposing time for them, even though they had tolerable confidence that all would turn out right. There may be real safety where as yet there is not clear perception of it, and therefore no possibility of untroubled peace. But at last the danger is over, and what will the Israelite do then? He may elect, for reasons personal to himself, to stay in Babylon. He may be tempted to forget his duty as a part in a greater whole. Not for himself, however, not to further any aims of his own, was he thus preserved. He has escaped the sword only that he may the better serve God. Present ease, pleasant associations, may rise attractively in his mind. Not, of course, that these could be found in desolated Babylon, but they might surely be found somewhere else than in Jerusalem so far away. Against natural thoughts of this kind the prophet's word comes in here as a guard. It is a word for those Israelites living in Babylon at the time of Babylon's downfall. The things near to them, which their eyes see and their hands handle, are the least important. The really important considerations are those which may most easily be forgotten. Thus, so to speak, they must be pushed before the mind. Every right-hearted Israelite would keep the God and the city of his fathers in his heart. And so we should keep Jehovah and Jerusalem in mind. The greatest duties and hopes of our life come from our connection with such recollections. - Y.
Parallel VersesKJV: Ye that have escaped the sword, go away, stand not still: remember the LORD afar off, and let Jerusalem come into your mind.