God’s Judgment on Babylon

51 This is what the Lord says:

I am about to rouse the spirit of a destroyer[a] against Babylon(A)
and against the population of Leb-qamai.[b][c]
I will send strangers to Babylon
who will scatter her and strip her land bare,(B)
for they will come against her
from every side in the day of disaster.
Don’t let the archer string his bow;
don’t let him put on[d] his armor.(C)
Don’t spare her young men;
completely destroy her entire army!
Those who were slain will fall in the land of the Chaldeans,
those who were pierced through, in her streets.(D)
For Israel and Judah are not left widowed
by their God, the Lord of Armies,
though their land is full of guilt
against the Holy One of Israel.(E)

Leave Babylon;(F)
save your lives, each of you!(G)
Don’t perish because of her guilt.
For this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance—
he will pay her what she deserves.(H)
Babylon was a gold cup in the Lord’s hand,(I)
making the whole earth drunk.
The nations drank her wine;(J)
therefore, the nations go mad.(K)
Suddenly Babylon fell and was shattered.
Wail for her;
get balm(L) for her wound—
perhaps she can be healed.

We tried to heal Babylon,
but she could not be healed.
Abandon her!
Let each of us go to his own land,(M)
for her judgment extends to the sky
and reaches as far as the clouds.(N)

10 The Lord has brought about our vindication;(O)
come, let’s tell in Zion
what the Lord our God has accomplished.(P)

11 Sharpen the arrows!(Q)
Fill the quivers![e]
The Lord has roused the spirit
of the kings of the Medes
because his plan is aimed at Babylon
to destroy her,
for it is the Lord’s vengeance,
vengeance for his temple.(R)
12 Raise up a signal flag(S)
against the walls of Babylon;
fortify the watch post;
set the watchmen in place;
prepare the ambush.
For the Lord has both planned and accomplished
what he has threatened
against those who live in Babylon.(T)
13 You who reside by abundant water,(U)
rich in treasures,
your end has come,
your life thread is cut.

14 The Lord of Armies has sworn by himself:

I will fill you up with men as with locusts,
and they will sing the victory song over you.

15 He made the earth by his power,
established the world(V) by his wisdom,(W)
and spread out the heavens by his understanding.(X)
16 When he thunders,[f]
the waters in the heavens are tumultuous,(Y)
and he causes the clouds
to rise from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightning for the rain
and brings the wind from his storehouses.(Z)

17 Everyone is stupid and ignorant.
Every goldsmith is put to shame by his carved image,(AA)
for his cast images are a lie;(AB)
there is no breath in them.(AC)
18 They are worthless,(AD) a work to be mocked.
At the time of their punishment they will be destroyed.(AE)
19 Jacob’s Portion[g] is not like these
because he is the one who formed all things.(AF)
Israel is the tribe of his inheritance;(AG)
the Lord of Armies is his name.(AH)

20 You are my war club,
my weapons of war.
With you I will smash nations;
with you I will bring kingdoms to ruin.
21 With you I will smash the horse and its rider;
with you I will smash the chariot and its rider.
22 With you I will smash man and woman;(AI)
with you I will smash the old man and the youth;
with you I will smash the young man and the young woman.
23 With you I will smash the shepherd and his flock;
with you I will smash the farmer and his ox-team.[h]
With you I will smash governors and officials.

24 “Before your very eyes, I will repay Babylon and all the residents of Chaldea for all their evil they have done in Zion.”(AJ)

This is the Lord’s declaration.

25 Look, I am against you, devastating mountain.
This is the Lord’s declaration.
You devastate the whole earth.
I will stretch out my hand against you,(AK)
roll you down from the cliffs,
and turn you into a charred mountain.
26 No one will be able to retrieve a cornerstone
or a foundation stone from you,
because you will become desolate forever.
This is the Lord’s declaration.

27 Raise a signal flag(AL) in the land;
blow a ram’s horn among the nations;(AM)
set apart the nations against her.(AN)
Summon kingdoms against her—
Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz.
Appoint a marshal against her;
bring up horses like a swarm[i] of locusts.
28 Set apart the nations for battle against her—
the kings of Media,
her governors and all her officials,
and all the lands they rule.
29 The earth quakes(AO) and trembles
because the Lord’s intentions against Babylon stand:
to make the land of Babylon a desolation, without inhabitant.
30 Babylon’s warriors have stopped fighting;
they sit in their strongholds.
Their might is exhausted;
they have become like women.(AP)
Babylon’s homes have been set ablaze,
her gate bars are shattered.(AQ)
31 Messenger races to meet messenger,(AR)
and herald to meet herald,
to announce to the king of Babylon
that his city has been captured
from end to end.(AS)
32 The fords have been seized,(AT)
the marshes set on fire,
and the fighting men are terrified.

33 For this is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says:

Daughter Babylon is like a threshing floor
at the time it is trampled.(AU)
In just a little while her harvest time will come.(AV)

34 “King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has devoured me;
he has crushed me.
He has set me aside like an empty dish;
he has swallowed me like a sea monster;(AW)
he filled his belly with my delicacies;
he has vomited me out.[j]
35 Let the violence done to me and my family be done to Babylon,”
says the inhabitant of Zion.
“Let my blood be on the inhabitants of Chaldea,”
says Jerusalem.

36 Therefore, this is what the Lord says:

I am about to champion your cause(AX)
and take vengeance on your behalf;
I will dry up her sea(AY)
and make her fountain run dry.
37 Babylon will become a heap of rubble,
a jackals’ den,
a desolation and an object of scorn,(AZ)
without inhabitant.(BA)
38 They will roar together like young lions;
they will growl like lion cubs.
39 While they are flushed with heat, I will serve them a feast,
and I will make them drunk so that they celebrate.[k](BB)
Then they will fall asleep forever
and never wake up.
This is the Lord’s declaration.
40 I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter,
like rams together with male goats.(BC)

41 How Sheshak[l](BD) has been captured,(BE)
the praise(BF) of the whole earth seized.
What a horror Babylon has become
among the nations!(BG)
42 The sea has risen over Babylon;(BH)
she is covered with its tumultuous waves.
43 Her cities have become a desolation,(BI)
an arid desert,
a land where no one lives,
where no human being even passes through.
44 I will punish Bel(BJ) in Babylon.
I will make him vomit what he swallowed.(BK)
The nations will no longer stream to him;(BL)
even Babylon’s wall will fall.

45 Come out from among her, my people!(BM)
Save your lives, each of you,(BN)
from the Lord’s burning anger.
46 May you not become cowardly and fearful
when the report is proclaimed in the land,
for the report will come one year,
and then another the next year.
There will be violence in the land
with ruler against ruler.
47 Therefore, look, the days are coming(BO)
when I will punish Babylon’s carved images.(BP)
Her entire land will suffer shame,
and all her slain will lie fallen within her.(BQ)
48 Heaven and earth and everything in them
will shout for joy(BR) over Babylon
because the destroyers from the north(BS)
will come against her.
This is the Lord’s declaration.

49 Babylon must fall because of the slain of Israel,
even as the slain of the whole earth fell
because of Babylon.
50 You who have escaped the sword,(BT)
go and do not stand still!
Remember the Lord from far away,
and let Jerusalem come to your mind.

51 We are ashamed
because we have heard insults.(BU)
Humiliation covers our faces
because foreigners have entered
the holy places of the Lord’s temple.(BV)

52 Therefore, look, the days are coming—
this is the Lord’s declaration—
when I will punish her carved images,
and the wounded will groan
throughout her land.
53 Even if Babylon should ascend to the heavens(BW)
and fortify her tall fortresses,
destroyers will come against her from me.
This is the Lord’s declaration.

54 The sound of a cry from Babylon!(BX)
The sound of terrible destruction(BY)
from the land of the Chaldeans!
55 For the Lord is going to devastate Babylon;
he will silence her mighty voice.
Their waves roar like a huge torrent;
the tumult of their voice resounds,
56 for a destroyer is coming against her,
against Babylon.
Her warriors will be captured,
their bows shattered,
for the Lord is a God of retribution;
he will certainly repay.
57 I will make her princes and sages drunk,
along with her governors, officials, and warriors.
Then they will fall asleep forever
and never wake up.(BZ)
This is the King’s declaration;
the Lord of Armies is his name.(CA)

58 This is what the Lord of Armies says:

Babylon’s thick walls will be totally demolished,(CB)
and her high gates set ablaze.
The peoples will have labored for nothing;(CC)
the nations will weary themselves only to feed the fire.

59 This is what the prophet Jeremiah commanded Seraiah son of Neriah son of Mahseiah,(CD) the quartermaster, when he went to Babylon with King Zedekiah of Judah in the fourth year of Zedekiah’s reign. 60 Jeremiah wrote on one scroll about all the disaster that would come to Babylon;(CE) all these words were written against Babylon.

61 Jeremiah told Seraiah, “When you get to Babylon, see that you read all these words aloud. 62 Say, ‘Lord, you have threatened to cut off(CF) this place so that no one will live in it—people or animals.(CG) Indeed, it will remain desolate forever.’ 63 When you have finished reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and throw it into the middle of the Euphrates River.(CH) 64 Then say, ‘In the same way, Babylon will sink and never rise again because of the disaster I am bringing on her. They will grow weary.’”

The words of Jeremiah end here.

Footnotes

  1. 51:1 Or to stir up a destructive wind
  2. 51:1 Lit heart of my adversaries
  3. 51:1 = Chaldeans
  4. 51:3 Hb obscure
  5. 51:11 Or Grasp the shields!
  6. 51:16 Lit At his giving of the voice
  7. 51:19 = The Lord
  8. 51:23 Lit yoke
  9. 51:27 Hb obscure
  10. 51:34 Lit has rinsed me off
  11. 51:39 LXX reads pass out
  12. 51:41 = Babylon

51 This is what the Lord says:

“See, I will stir(A) up the spirit of a destroyer
    against Babylon(B) and the people of Leb Kamai.[a]
I will send foreigners(C) to Babylon
    to winnow(D) her and to devastate her land;
they will oppose her on every side
    in the day(E) of her disaster.
Let not the archer string his bow,(F)
    nor let him put on his armor.(G)
Do not spare her young men;
    completely destroy[b] her army.
They will fall(H) down slain in Babylon,[c]
    fatally wounded in her streets.(I)
For Israel and Judah have not been forsaken(J)
    by their God, the Lord Almighty,
though their land[d] is full of guilt(K)
    before the Holy One of Israel.

“Flee(L) from Babylon!
    Run for your lives!
    Do not be destroyed because of her sins.(M)
It is time(N) for the Lord’s vengeance;(O)
    he will repay(P) her what she deserves.
Babylon was a gold cup(Q) in the Lord’s hand;
    she made the whole earth drunk.
The nations drank her wine;
    therefore they have now gone mad.
Babylon will suddenly fall(R) and be broken.
    Wail over her!
Get balm(S) for her pain;
    perhaps she can be healed.

“‘We would have healed Babylon,
    but she cannot be healed;
let us leave(T) her and each go to our own land,
    for her judgment(U) reaches to the skies,
    it rises as high as the heavens.’

10 “‘The Lord has vindicated(V) us;
    come, let us tell in Zion
    what the Lord our God has done.’(W)

11 “Sharpen the arrows,(X)
    take up the shields!(Y)
The Lord has stirred up the kings(Z) of the Medes,(AA)
    because his purpose(AB) is to destroy Babylon.
The Lord will take vengeance,(AC)
    vengeance for his temple.(AD)
12 Lift up a banner(AE) against the walls of Babylon!
    Reinforce the guard,
station the watchmen,(AF)
    prepare an ambush!(AG)
The Lord will carry out his purpose,(AH)
    his decree against the people of Babylon.
13 You who live by many waters(AI)
    and are rich in treasures,(AJ)
your end has come,
    the time for you to be destroyed.(AK)
14 The Lord Almighty has sworn by himself:(AL)
    I will surely fill you with troops, as with a swarm of locusts,(AM)
    and they will shout(AN) in triumph over you.

15 “He made the earth by his power;
    he founded the world by his wisdom(AO)
    and stretched(AP) out the heavens by his understanding.(AQ)
16 When he thunders,(AR) the waters in the heavens roar;
    he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth.
He sends lightning with the rain(AS)
    and brings out the wind from his storehouses.(AT)

17 “Everyone is senseless and without knowledge;
    every goldsmith is shamed by his idols.
The images he makes are a fraud;(AU)
    they have no breath in them.
18 They are worthless,(AV) the objects of mockery;
    when their judgment comes, they will perish.
19 He who is the Portion(AW) of Jacob is not like these,
    for he is the Maker of all things,
including the people of his inheritance(AX)
    the Lord Almighty is his name.

20 “You are my war club,(AY)
    my weapon for battle—
with you I shatter(AZ) nations,(BA)
    with you I destroy kingdoms,
21 with you I shatter horse and rider,(BB)
    with you I shatter chariot(BC) and driver,
22 with you I shatter man and woman,
    with you I shatter old man and youth,
    with you I shatter young man and young woman,(BD)
23 with you I shatter shepherd and flock,
    with you I shatter farmer and oxen,
    with you I shatter governors and officials.(BE)

24 “Before your eyes I will repay(BF) Babylon(BG) and all who live in Babylonia[e] for all the wrong they have done in Zion,” declares the Lord.

25 “I am against(BH) you, you destroying mountain,
    you who destroy the whole earth,”(BI)
declares the Lord.
“I will stretch out my hand(BJ) against you,
    roll you off the cliffs,
    and make you a burned-out mountain.(BK)
26 No rock will be taken from you for a cornerstone,
    nor any stone for a foundation,
    for you will be desolate(BL) forever,”
declares the Lord.

27 “Lift up a banner(BM) in the land!
    Blow the trumpet among the nations!
Prepare the nations for battle against her;
    summon against her these kingdoms:(BN)
    Ararat,(BO) Minni and Ashkenaz.(BP)
Appoint a commander against her;
    send up horses like a swarm of locusts.(BQ)
28 Prepare the nations for battle against her—
    the kings of the Medes,(BR)
their governors and all their officials,
    and all the countries they rule.(BS)
29 The land trembles(BT) and writhes,
    for the Lord’s purposes(BU) against Babylon stand—
to lay waste(BV) the land of Babylon
    so that no one will live there.(BW)
30 Babylon’s warriors(BX) have stopped fighting;
    they remain in their strongholds.
Their strength is exhausted;
    they have become weaklings.(BY)
Her dwellings are set on fire;(BZ)
    the bars(CA) of her gates are broken.
31 One courier(CB) follows another
    and messenger follows messenger
to announce to the king of Babylon
    that his entire city is captured,(CC)
32 the river crossings seized,
    the marshes set on fire,(CD)
    and the soldiers terrified.(CE)

33 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says:

“Daughter Babylon(CF) is like a threshing floor(CG)
    at the time it is trampled;
    the time to harvest(CH) her will soon come.(CI)

34 “Nebuchadnezzar(CJ) king of Babylon has devoured(CK) us,(CL)
    he has thrown us into confusion,
    he has made us an empty jar.
Like a serpent he has swallowed us
    and filled his stomach with our delicacies,
    and then has spewed(CM) us out.
35 May the violence(CN) done to our flesh[f] be on Babylon,”
    say the inhabitants of Zion.
“May our blood be on those who live in Babylonia,”
    says Jerusalem.(CO)

36 Therefore this is what the Lord says:

“See, I will defend your cause(CP)
    and avenge(CQ) you;
I will dry up(CR) her sea
    and make her springs dry.
37 Babylon will be a heap of ruins,
    a haunt(CS) of jackals,
an object of horror and scorn,(CT)
    a place where no one lives.(CU)
38 Her people all roar like young lions,(CV)
    they growl like lion cubs.
39 But while they are aroused,
    I will set out a feast for them
    and make them drunk,(CW)
so that they shout with laughter—
    then sleep forever(CX) and not awake,”
declares the Lord.(CY)
40 “I will bring them down
    like lambs to the slaughter,
    like rams and goats.(CZ)

41 “How Sheshak[g](DA) will be captured,(DB)
    the boast of the whole earth seized!
How desolate(DC) Babylon will be
    among the nations!
42 The sea will rise over Babylon;
    its roaring waves(DD) will cover her.
43 Her towns will be desolate,
    a dry and desert(DE) land,
a land where no one lives,
    through which no one travels.(DF)
44 I will punish Bel(DG) in Babylon
    and make him spew out(DH) what he has swallowed.
The nations will no longer stream to him.
    And the wall(DI) of Babylon will fall.

45 “Come out(DJ) of her, my people!
    Run(DK) for your lives!
    Run from the fierce anger(DL) of the Lord.
46 Do not lose heart(DM) or be afraid(DN)
    when rumors(DO) are heard in the land;
one rumor comes this year, another the next,
    rumors of violence in the land
    and of ruler against ruler.
47 For the time will surely come
    when I will punish the idols(DP) of Babylon;
her whole land will be disgraced(DQ)
    and her slain will all lie fallen within her.(DR)
48 Then heaven and earth and all that is in them
    will shout(DS) for joy over Babylon,
for out of the north(DT)
    destroyers(DU) will attack her,”
declares the Lord.

49 “Babylon must fall because of Israel’s slain,
    just as the slain in all the earth
    have fallen because of Babylon.(DV)
50 You who have escaped the sword,
    leave(DW) and do not linger!
Remember(DX) the Lord in a distant land,(DY)
    and call to mind Jerusalem.”

51 “We are disgraced,(DZ)
    for we have been insulted
    and shame covers our faces,
because foreigners have entered
    the holy places of the Lord’s house.”(EA)

52 “But days are coming,” declares the Lord,
    “when I will punish her idols,(EB)
and throughout her land
    the wounded will groan.(EC)
53 Even if Babylon ascends to the heavens(ED)
    and fortifies her lofty stronghold,
    I will send destroyers(EE) against her,”
declares the Lord.

54 “The sound of a cry(EF) comes from Babylon,
    the sound of great destruction(EG)
    from the land of the Babylonians.[h]
55 The Lord will destroy Babylon;
    he will silence(EH) her noisy din.
Waves(EI) of enemies will rage like great waters;
    the roar of their voices will resound.
56 A destroyer(EJ) will come against Babylon;
    her warriors will be captured,
    and their bows will be broken.(EK)
For the Lord is a God of retribution;
    he will repay(EL) in full.
57 I will make her officials(EM) and wise(EN) men drunk,(EO)
    her governors, officers and warriors as well;
they will sleep(EP) forever and not awake,”
    declares the King,(EQ) whose name is the Lord Almighty.

58 This is what the Lord Almighty says:

“Babylon’s thick wall(ER) will be leveled
    and her high gates(ES) set on fire;
the peoples(ET) exhaust(EU) themselves for nothing,
    the nations’ labor is only fuel for the flames.”(EV)

59 This is the message Jeremiah the prophet gave to the staff officer Seraiah son of Neriah,(EW) the son of Mahseiah, when he went to Babylon with Zedekiah(EX) king of Judah in the fourth(EY) year of his reign. 60 Jeremiah had written on a scroll(EZ) about all the disasters that would come upon Babylon—all that had been recorded concerning Babylon. 61 He said to Seraiah, “When you get to Babylon, see that you read all these words aloud. 62 Then say, ‘Lord, you have said you will destroy this place, so that neither people nor animals will live in it; it will be desolate(FA) forever.’ 63 When you finish reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and throw it into the Euphrates.(FB) 64 Then say, ‘So will Babylon sink to rise no more(FC) because of the disaster I will bring on her. And her people(FD) will fall.’”(FE)

The words of Jeremiah end(FF) here.

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 51:1 Leb Kamai is a cryptogram for Chaldea, that is, Babylonia.
  2. Jeremiah 51:3 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them.
  3. Jeremiah 51:4 Or Chaldea
  4. Jeremiah 51:5 Or Almighty, / and the land of the Babylonians
  5. Jeremiah 51:24 Or Chaldea; also in verse 35
  6. Jeremiah 51:35 Or done to us and to our children
  7. Jeremiah 51:41 Sheshak is a cryptogram for Babylon.
  8. Jeremiah 51:54 Or Chaldeans

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