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Judgment against Babylon

51 This is what the Lord says:

“Look, I’m going to stir up a destroying wind
    against Babylon and the inhabitants of Leb-kamai.[a]
I’ll send foreigners to Babylon,
    and they’ll winnow her,
        and devastate[b] her land.
They’ll come against her from every side
    on the day of her[c] disaster.
Don’t let the archer[d] bend the bow;
    don’t let him rise up in his armor.
Don’t spare her young men.
    Completely destroy her entire army.
The slain will fall in the land of Chaldea,
    pierced through in her streets.
Indeed, Israel and Judah haven’t been
    abandoned[e] by their[f] God,
by the Lord of the Heavenly Armies,
    although their land is full of guilt
        against the Holy One of Israel.”

Flee from Babylon,[g]
    and each of you, escape with your life!
Don’t be destroyed[h] because of her guilt,
    for it’s time for the Lord’s vengeance.
        He is paying back what is due to her.
Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord’s hand,
    making the whole earth drunk.
The nations drank her wine,
    therefore the nations have gone mad.
Suddenly, Babylon fell down and was shattered.
    Wail for her!
Bring balm for her wound,
    perhaps she will be healed.
We tried to heal Babylon,
    but she wouldn’t be healed.
Leave her, and let each of us go to his own country.
    For her judgment has reached to the heavens,
        and is lifted up to the sky.
10 The Lord will vindicate us.
    Come! Let us declare the work of the Lord our God in Zion.

11 Sharpen the arrows, fill the quivers!
The Lord has stirred up the spirit
    of the kings of the Medes—
        he has decided to destroy Babylon.
Indeed, it’s the Lord’s vengeance,
    vengeance for his Temple.
12 Lift up the battle standard[i] against Babylon’s walls.
    Strengthen the guard;
        post watchmen.[j]
Set men in position for an ambush.
    For the Lord will both plan and carry out what he has
        declared against the inhabitants of Babylon.
13 You who live beside many waters,
    rich in treasures,
your end has come,
    your life thread is cut.[k]
14 The Lord of the Heavenly Armies
    has sworn by himself:
“I’ll surely fill you with soldiers[l] like a swarm of locusts,
    and they’ll sing songs of victory over you.”

Praise to the God of Jacob

15 He made the earth by his power.
    He established the world by his wisdom,
        and by his understanding he spread out the heavens.
16 When his voice sounds, there is thunder from
    the waters of heaven,
and he makes clouds rise up
    from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightning for the rain
    and brings wind out of his storehouses.
17 Everyone is stupid[m] and without knowledge.
    Every goldsmith is put to shame by his own idols,
for his images are false,[n]
    and there is no life in them.
18 They’re worthless, a work of mockery,
    and when the time of punishment comes,[o]
        they’ll perish.
19 The Portion of Jacob[p] is not like these.
    He made everything,
including the tribe of his inheritance.
    The Lord of the Heavenly Armies is his name.

The Lord’s Instrument of Judgment

20 “You are my war-club and
    weapons of war.
I’ll smash nations with you
    and destroy kingdoms with you.
21 I’ll smash the horse and its rider with you.
    I’ll smash the chariot and its rider with you.
22 I’ll smash man and woman with you.
    I’ll smash old man and young boy with you.
        I’ll smash young man and young woman[q] with you.
23 I’ll smash the shepherd and his flock with you.
    I’ll smash the farmer and his team of oxen with you.
        I’ll smash governors and officials with you.

24 “Before your eyes I’ll repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea for all the evil that they did in Zion,” declares the Lord.

25 “Look, I’m against you, destroying mountain,
    who destroys the whole earth,”
        declares the Lord.
“I’ll stretch out my hand against you
    and roll you down from the crags.
        And I’ll make you a burned-out mountain.
26 They won’t get a cornerstone
    or a foundation stone from you,
because you will be a wasteland forever,”
    declares the Lord.

27 Lift up a battle standard in the land.
    Blow a trumpet among the nations.
Consecrate the nations against her.
    Summon the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni,
        and Ashkenaz against her.
Appoint a commander against her,
    bring up horses like bristling locusts.
28 Consecrate the nations against her,
    the kings of the Medes, their governors, their prefects,
        and every land under their domination.
29 The land quakes and writhes
    because the Lord’s purposes
against Babylon stand firm,
    to make the land of Babylon a waste without inhabitants.
30 The warriors of Babylon have stopped fighting.
    They stay in their strongholds;
their strength is dried up;
    they have become like women.
Her buildings are set on fire;
    the bars of her gates are broken.
31 One runner runs to meet another runner,[r]
    and one messenger to meet another messenger,[s]
to tell the king of Babylon that his city has been seized
    from one end to the other.[t]
32 The fords have been captured,
    and the marshes burned with fire.
        The soldiers are terrified.
33 For this is what the Lord of the Heavenly Armies,
    the God of Israel, says:
“The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor
    at the time when it’s pounded down.[u]
In just a little while, the time of her harvest will come.”

Judah’s Complaint against Babylon

34 “King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has devoured me
    and crushed me.
He set me down
    like an empty vessel.
He swallowed me like a monster,
    and filled his belly with my delicacies.
        Then he washed me away.
35 May the violence done to me
    and my flesh be on Babylon,”
        says the inhabitant of Zion.
“May my blood be on the inhabitants of Chaldea,”
    says Jerusalem.

36 Therefore this is what the Lord says:

“Look, I’m going to argue your case
    and take vengeance for you.
I’ll dry up her sea
    and make her fountain dry.[v]
37 Babylon will become a heap of ruins,
    a refuge for jackals,
a desolate place
    and an object of scorn.[w]
38 They’ll roar together like young lions;
    they’ll growl like lion cubs.
39 When they’re excited[x] I’ll serve them their banquet,
    and make them drunk until they’re merry.
They’ll sleep forever and won’t wake up,”
    declares the Lord.
40 “I’ll bring them down like lambs for the slaughter,
    like rams with male goats.

41 “How Sheshak[y] will be captured,
    and the prince of all the earth seized!
How Babylon will become an object of horror
    among the nations!
42 The sea will come up against Babylon,
    and she will be covered by wave upon wave.[z]
43 Her cities will become an object of horror,
    a dry land and a desert,
a land in which no one lives,
    and through which no human being passes.
44 I’ll punish Bel[aa] in Babylon,
    and I’ll make what he has swallowed
        come out of his mouth.
The nations will no longer stream to him.
    Even the wall of Babylon will fall.

45 “Come out of her, my people,
    flee for your lives from the Lord’s anger!
46 Do this[ab] now, so your heart does not grow faint,
    and so you don’t become frightened
        because of the rumors[ac] that are heard in the land—
a rumor comes one year[ad] and then after it
    another rumor[ae] comes the next year[af]
about violence in the land
    and one ruler against another ruler.[ag]
47 Therefore, look, days are coming
    when I’ll punish the idols of Babylon.
Her entire land will be put to shame,
    and all her slain will fall in her midst.
48 Then the heavens and the earth
    and all that are in them
        will shout for joy about Babylon
because the destroyers will come
    out of the north against her,”
        declares the Lord.

49 “So Babylon will fall
    because of the slain of Israel,
even as the slain of all the earth
    have fallen because of Babylon.
50 Go, you who escaped the sword!
    Don’t stand around!
Remember the Lord from far away,
    and let Jerusalem come to your mind.
51 We have been put to shame
    because we have heard insults.
Disgrace has covered our faces because foreigners have
    come into the Holy Places of the Lord’s house.

52 “Therefore, look, days are coming,”
    declares the Lord,
“when I’ll punish her idols,
    and throughout her land the wounded will groan.
53 Though Babylon should reach up to the heavens
    and fortify her high fortresses,
from me destroyers will come to her,”
    declares the Lord.

54 “The sound of a cry is coming from Babylon,
    great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans.
55 For the Lord is destroying Babylon,
    and he will make the loud sounds from her disappear.[ah]
Their waves will roar like many waters,
    the noise of their voices will sound forth.
56 Indeed, the destroyer is coming against her,
    against Babylon.
Her warriors are captured,
    and her bows are broken.
For the Lord is a God of recompense,
    and he will repay in full.
57 I’ll make their leaders, their wise men,
    their governors, their deputies,
and their warriors drunk so that they sleep forever
    and don’t wake up,”
declares the King
    whose name is the Lord of the Heavenly Armies.
58 This is what the Lord of the Heavenly Armies says:

“The broad wall of Babylon will be completely leveled,
    and its high gate set on fire.
and so the peoples toil for nothing,
    and the nations weary themselves only for fire.”

Jeremiah’s Symbolic Message against Babylon

59 This is[ai] the message that Jeremiah the prophet delivered[aj] to Neriah’s son Seraiah, the grandson of Mahseiah, when he went with King Zedekiah of Judah to Babylon in the fourth year of his reign. Seraiah was the quartermaster. 60 Jeremiah wrote on a single scroll all the disasters that would come on Babylon, all these things that were written about Babylon. 61 Jeremiah told Seraiah, “When you come to Babylon, see that you read all these words, 62 and say, ‘Lord, you have declared about this place that you would destroy it so that there wouldn’t be an inhabitant in it, neither human nor animal, because it will be a wasteland forever.’ 63 When you finish reading this scroll, tie a rock around it and throw it into the middle of the Euphrates. 64 Then say, ‘Babylon will sink like this and won’t rise from the disaster that I’m bringing on her. Her people[ak] will be exhausted.’”

This concludes the writings of Jeremiah.


  1. Jeremiah 51:1 I.e. a cryptogram for Chaldea
  2. Jeremiah 51:2 Lit. empty out
  3. Jeremiah 51:2 The Heb. lacks her
  4. Jeremiah 51:3 Lit. one who bends the bow
  5. Jeremiah 51:5 Lit. widowed
  6. Jeremiah 51:5 Lit. his
  7. Jeremiah 51:6 Lit. from the midst of Babylon
  8. Jeremiah 51:6 Or silent
  9. Jeremiah 51:12 I.e. Give the signal to attack
  10. Jeremiah 51:12 Or guards
  11. Jeremiah 51:13 Or the measure of your unjust gain
  12. Jeremiah 51:14 Lit. men
  13. Jeremiah 51:17 I.e. like a beast
  14. Jeremiah 51:17 Lit. deception
  15. Jeremiah 51:18 Lit. at the time of their punishment
  16. Jeremiah 51:19 I.e. Portion of Jacob is a name for the Lord
  17. Jeremiah 51:22 Or virgin
  18. Jeremiah 51:31 Lit. to meet a runner
  19. Jeremiah 51:31 Lit. to meet a messenger
  20. Jeremiah 51:31 Lit. from the end
  21. Jeremiah 51:33 I.e. threshing floors were pounded and smoothed in preparation for an upcoming harvest
  22. Jeremiah 51:36 I.e. dry up the source of Babylon’s waters
  23. Jeremiah 51:37 Lit. hissing; i.e. as a sign of mocking and contempt
  24. Jeremiah 51:39 Lit. hot
  25. Jeremiah 51:41 Sheshak is a cryptogram for Babylon.
  26. Jeremiah 51:42 Lit. its many waves
  27. Jeremiah 51:44 Bel was another name for Marduk, the sun god of Babylon.
  28. Jeremiah 51:46 Lit. And
  29. Jeremiah 51:46 Lit. rumor
  30. Jeremiah 51:46 Lit. in a year
  31. Jeremiah 51:46 Lit. a rumor
  32. Jeremiah 51:46 Lit. in a year
  33. Jeremiah 51:46 Lit. a ruler against a ruler
  34. Jeremiah 51:55 Lit. perish
  35. Jeremiah 51:59 The Heb. lacks This is
  36. Jeremiah 51:59 Lit. commanded
  37. Jeremiah 51:64 Lit. They