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Jeremiah 51 Modern English Version (MEV)

The Destruction of Babylon

51 Thus says the Lord:

I will raise up against Babylon,
    and against those who dwell in Leb Kamai,
    the spirit of a destroyer.
And I will send foreigners to Babylon
    that they may winnow her and empty her land.
For in the day of trouble
    they will be against her all around.
Let not him who bends his bow bend it,
    and let him not rise up in his scale-armor,
and do not spare her young men;
    utterly destroy all her host.
Thus the slain will fall in the land of the Chaldeans,
    and those who are thrust through in her streets.
For Israel has not been forsaken, nor Judah,
    by his God, the Lord of Hosts,
though their land was filled with sin
    against the Holy One of Israel.

Flee out of the midst of Babylon,
    and each of you deliver his soul!
    Do not be cut off in her punishment,
for this is the time of the vengeance of the Lord;
    He will render to her a recompense.
Babylon has been a golden cup in the hand of the Lord,
    that made all the earth drunk.
The nations have drunk of her wine;
    therefore the nations are mad.
Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed.
    Howl for her.
Take balm for her pain;
    perhaps she may be healed.

We applied healing to Babylon,
    but she is not healed.
Forsake her, and let us each go into his own country;
    for her judgment reaches to heaven
    and is lifted up even to the skies.

10 The Lord has brought forth our righteousness.
    Come, and let us declare in Zion
    the work of the Lord our God.

11 Sharpen the arrows.
    Gather the shields.
The Lord has raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes.
    For His device is against Babylon, to destroy it;
because it is the vengeance of the Lord,
    the vengeance of His temple.
12 Set up the standard against the walls of Babylon,
    make the watch strong,
set up the watchmen,
    prepare the ambushes.
For the Lord has both devised and done
    that which He spoke against the inhabitants of Babylon.
13 O you who dwell by many waters,
    abundant in treasures,
your end has come,
    and the measure of your end.
14 The Lord of Hosts has sworn by Himself,
    saying: Surely I will fill you with men, as with locusts,
    and they will lift up shouts of victory against you.

15 He has made the earth by His power;
    He has established the world by His wisdom,
    and has stretched out the heaven by His understanding.
16 When He utters His voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens,
    and He causes the clouds to ascend from the remote parts of the earth;
He makes lightning with rain,
    and brings out the wind from His storehouses.

17 Every man is ignorant by His knowledge;
    every founder is humiliated by the graven image,
for his molded image is falsehood,
    and there is no breath in them.
18 They are vanity, the work of errors;
    in the time of their punishment they will perish.
19 The portion of Jacob is not like them,
    for He is the former of all things,
and Israel is the rod of His inheritance.
    The Lord of Hosts is His name.

20 He says: You are My battle-ax
    and weapon of war:
for with you I will break in pieces the nations,
    and with you I will destroy kingdoms;
21 and with you I will break in pieces the horse and his rider;
    and with you I will break in pieces the chariot and his rider.
22 With you also I will break in pieces man and woman;
    and with you I will break in pieces old and young;
    and with you I will break in pieces the young man and the young woman.
23 I will also break in pieces with you the shepherd and his flock;
    and with you I will break in pieces the farmer and his yoke of oxen;
    and with you I will break in pieces captains and rulers.

24 I will render to Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, says the Lord.

25 I am against you, O destroying mountain,
    says the Lord,
    who destroys all the earth.
And I will stretch out My hand against you,
    and roll you down from the rocks,
    and will make you a burned mountain.
26 They will not take of you a stone for a corner,
    or a stone for foundations,
    but you will be desolate forever,
    says the Lord.

27 Set up a standard in the land,
    blow the trumpet among the nations,
prepare the nations against her,
    call together against her the kingdoms
    of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz;
appoint a captain against her.
    Cause the horses to come up as the rough locusts.
28 Prepare against her the nations,
    the kings of the Medes,
the captains, and all the rulers,
    and every land of their dominion.
29 So the land trembles and sorrows,
    for the purposes of the Lord will be performed against Babylon,
to make the land of Babylon a desolation
    without an inhabitant.
30 The mighty men of Babylon have ceased fighting;
    they have remained in their strongholds.
Their might has failed;
    they became as women.
They have burned her dwelling places;
    the bars of her gates are broken.
31 One courier will run to meet another,
    and one messenger to meet another,
to show the king of Babylon
    that his city has been captured from end to end,
32 and the passages have been seized,
    and they have burned the reeds with fire,
    and the men of war are terrified.

33 For thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel:

The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor,
it is time to thresh her;
yet a little while and the time of her harvest will come.

34 “Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon
    has devoured me and crushed me;
    he has made me an empty vessel.
He has swallowed me up like a dragon;
    he has filled his belly with my delicacies,
    he has cast me out.
35 May the violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon,”
    the inhabitant of Zion will say;
and, “May my blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea,”
    Jerusalem will say.

36 Therefore thus says the Lord:

I will plead your cause,
    and take vengeance for you.
And I will dry up her sea,
    and make her springs dry.
37 Babylon will become heaps,
    a dwelling place for jackals,
an astonishment, and a hissing,
    without an inhabitant.
38 They will roar together like young lions;
    they will growl as lions’ whelps.
39 When they become heated up,
    I will make their feasts,
    and I will make them drunk,
that they may rejoice,
    and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not awake,
    says the Lord.
40 I will bring them down
    like lambs to the slaughter,
    like rams with male goats.

41 How Sheshak has been captured!
    And how the praise of the whole earth has been seized!
How Babylon has become an astonishment
    among the nations!
42 The sea has come up over Babylon;
    she has been covered with the multitude of the waves.
43 Her cities have become a desolation,
    a dry land and a wilderness,
a land in which no man dwells,
    through which no son of man passes.
44 I will punish Bel in Babylon,
    and I will bring forth from his mouth what he has swallowed up;
and the nations will not flow together any more to him.
    Indeed, the wall of Babylon will fall.

45 My people, go out of her midst,
    and deliver every man his soul
    from the fierce anger of the Lord,
46 lest your heart grows faint, and you are afraid
    for the report that will be heard in the land—
for the report will come one year, and after that in another year will come another report,
    and violence will be in the land,
    ruler against ruler—
47 therefore the days are coming
    when I will punish the graven images of Babylon;
and her whole land will be humiliated,
    and all her slain will fall in her midst.
48 Then the heaven and the earth, and all that is in it,
    shall sing for joy over Babylon;
for the destroyers will come to her
    from the north,
    says the Lord.

49 As Babylon has caused the slain of Israel to fall,
    so at Babylon the slain of all the earth will fall.
50 You who have escaped the sword,
    go away, do not stand still.
Remember the Lord afar off,
    and let Jerusalem come into your mind.

51 We are humiliated
    because we have heard reproach.
    Shame has covered our faces,
for strangers have come into
    the holy places of the house of the Lord.

52 Therefore, surely the days are coming, says the Lord,
    when I will punish her graven images,
and the mortally wounded shall groan
    through all her land.
53 Though Babylon should mount up to heaven,
    and though she should fortify the height of her strength,
    yet from Me will destroyers come to her,
    says the Lord.

54 A sound of an outcry comes from Babylon,
    and great destruction
    from the land of the Chaldeans,
55 because the Lord has devastated Babylon,
    and destroyed the great voice out of her.
When her waves roar like great waters,
    a noise of their voice is uttered.
56 Because the destroyer is coming against her, even upon Babylon,
    and her mighty men will be captured,
    every one of their bows are broken.
For the Lord is a God of recompense;
    He will completely repay.
57 I will make her officials drunk, and her wise men,
    her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men;
and they will sleep a perpetual sleep, and not awake,
    says the King whose name is the Lord of Hosts.

58 Thus says the Lord of Hosts:

The broad wall of Babylon will be utterly broken,
    and her high gates will be burned with fire;
and the peoples will labor in vain,
    and the nations become exhausted only for fire.

Jeremiah’s Command to Seraiah

59 The word which Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, when he went with Zedekiah the king of Judah into Babylon in the fourth year of his reign. Now Seraiah was a quartermaster. 60 So Jeremiah wrote in a single scroll all the evil that should come upon Babylon, even all these words that are written against Babylon. 61 Jeremiah said to Seraiah, “When you come to Babylon, then see that you read aloud all these words, 62 and say, ‘O Lord, You have spoken against this place to cut it off, that no one will remain in it, neither man nor beast, but that it shall be desolate forever.’ 63 It will be that when you have made an end of reading this scroll that you will bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of the Euphrates, 64 and say, ‘Thus Babylon will sink and not rise from the disaster that I will bring upon her, and they will become weary.’ ”

Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.

Modern English Version (MEV)

The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.

Jeremiah 51 New International Version (NIV)

51 This is what the Lord says:

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

“Flee from Babylon!
    Run for your lives!
    Do not be destroyed because of her sins.
It is time for the Lord’s vengeance;
    he will repay her what she deserves.
Babylon was a gold cup 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 and be broken.
    Wail over her!
Get balm for her pain;
    perhaps she can be healed.

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

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

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

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

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

20 “You are my war club,
    my weapon for battle—
with you I shatter nations,
    with you I destroy kingdoms,
21 with you I shatter horse and rider,
    with you I shatter chariot 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,
23 with you I shatter shepherd and flock,
    with you I shatter farmer and oxen,
    with you I shatter governors and officials.

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

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

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

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

“Daughter Babylon is like a threshing floor
    at the time it is trampled;
    the time to harvest her will soon come.

34 “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has devoured us,
    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 us out.
35 May the violence 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.

36 Therefore this is what the Lord says:

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

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

45 “Come out of her, my people!
    Run for your lives!
    Run from the fierce anger of the Lord.
46 Do not lose heart or be afraid
    when rumors 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 of Babylon;
her whole land will be disgraced
    and her slain will all lie fallen within her.
48 Then heaven and earth and all that is in them
    will shout for joy over Babylon,
for out of the north
    destroyers 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.
50 You who have escaped the sword,
    leave and do not linger!
Remember the Lord in a distant land,
    and call to mind Jerusalem.”

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

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

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

58 This is what the Lord Almighty says:

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

59 This is the message Jeremiah the prophet gave to the staff officer Seraiah son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, when he went to Babylon with Zedekiah king of Judah in the fourth year of his reign. 60 Jeremiah had written on a scroll 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 forever.’ 63 When you finish reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and throw it into the Euphrates. 64 Then say, ‘So will Babylon sink to rise no more because of the disaster I will bring on her. And her people will fall.’”

The words of Jeremiah end here.


  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
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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