Babylon Judged for Sins against Israel

51 Thus says the Lord:

“Behold, I am going to arouse against Babylon
And against the inhabitants of [a]Leb-kamai
[b]The (A)spirit of a destroyer.
“I will dispatch [c]foreigners to Babylon that they may (B)winnow her
And may devastate her land;
For on every side they will be opposed to her
In the day of her calamity.
[d]Let not [e]him who [f](C)bends his bow [g]bend it,
[h]Nor let him rise up in his (D)scale-armor;
So do not spare her young men;
Devote all her army to destruction.
“They will fall down [i]slain in the land of the Chaldeans,
And (E)pierced through in their streets.”

For (F)neither Israel nor Judah has been [j]forsaken
By his God, the Lord of hosts,
Although their land is (G)full of guilt
[k]Before the Holy One of Israel.
(H)Flee from the midst of Babylon,
And each of you save his life!
Do not be [l](I)destroyed in her [m]punishment,
For this is the (J)Lord’s time of vengeance;
He is going to (K)render recompense to her.
Babylon has been a golden (L)cup in the hand of the Lord,
Intoxicating all the earth.
The (M)nations have drunk of her wine;
Therefore the nations are (N)going mad.
Suddenly (O)Babylon has fallen and been broken;
(P)Wail over her!
(Q)Bring [n]balm for her pain;
Perhaps she may be healed.
We applied healing to Babylon, but she was not healed;
Forsake her and (R)let us each go to his own country,
For her judgment has (S)reached to heaven
And [o]towers up to the very skies.
10 The Lord has (T)brought [p]about our vindication;
Come and let us (U)recount in Zion
The work of the Lord our God!

11 (V)Sharpen the arrows, fill the quivers!
The Lord has aroused the spirit of the kings of the Medes,
Because His purpose is against Babylon to destroy it;
For it is the (W)vengeance of the Lord, vengeance for His temple.
12 (X)Lift up a [q]signal against the walls of Babylon;
Post a strong guard,
Station [r]sentries,
Place men in ambush!
For the Lord has both (Y)purposed and performed
What He spoke concerning the inhabitants of Babylon.
13 O you who (Z)dwell by many waters,
Abundant in (AA)treasures,
Your end has come,
The [s]measure of your [t](AB)end.
14 The (AC)Lord of hosts has sworn by Himself:
“Surely I will fill you with a [u]population like (AD)locusts,
And they will cry out with [v]shouts of victory over you.”

15 It is (AE)He who made the earth by His power,
Who established the world by His wisdom,
And by His understanding He (AF)stretched out the heavens.
16 When He utters His (AG)voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens,
And He causes the (AH)clouds to ascend from the end of the earth;
He makes lightning for the rain
And brings forth the (AI)wind from His storehouses.
17 (AJ)All mankind is stupid, devoid of knowledge;
Every goldsmith is put to shame by his [w]idols,
For his molten images are (AK)deceitful,
And there is no breath in them.
18 They are (AL)worthless, a work of mockery;
In the time of their punishment they will perish.
19 The (AM)portion of Jacob is not like these;
For the [x]Maker of all is He,
And of the [y]tribe of His inheritance;
The (AN)Lord of hosts is His name.
20 He says, “You are My [z](AO)war-club, My weapon of war;
And with you I (AP)shatter nations,
And with you I destroy kingdoms.
21 “With you I (AQ)shatter the horse and his rider,
And with you I shatter the (AR)chariot and its rider,
22 And with you I shatter (AS)man and woman,
And with you I shatter old man and (AT)youth,
And with you I shatter young man and virgin,
23 And with you I shatter the shepherd and his flock,
And with you I shatter the farmer and his team,
And with you I shatter governors and prefects.

24 “But I will repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of (AU)Chaldea for (AV)all their evil that they have done in Zion before your eyes,” declares the Lord.

25 “Behold, (AW)I am against you, (AX)O destroying mountain,
Who destroys the whole earth,” declares the Lord,
“And I will stretch out My hand against you,
And roll you down from the crags,
And I will make you a (AY)burnt out mountain.
26 “They will not take from you even a stone for a corner
Nor a stone for foundations,
But you will be (AZ)desolate forever,” declares the Lord.

27 (BA)Lift up a [aa]signal in the land,
Blow a trumpet among the nations!
Consecrate the nations against her,
Summon against her the (BB)kingdoms of (BC)Ararat, Minni and (BD)Ashkenaz;
Appoint a marshal against her,
Bring up the (BE)horses like bristly locusts.
28 Consecrate the nations against her,
The kings of the Medes,
[ab]Their governors and all [ac]their [ad]prefects,
And every land of [ae]their dominion.
29 So the (BF)land quakes and writhes,
For the purposes of the Lord against Babylon stand,
To make the land of Babylon
[af]A (BG)desolation without inhabitants.
30 The (BH)mighty men of Babylon have ceased fighting,
They stay in the strongholds;
(BI)Their strength is [ag]exhausted,
They are becoming (BJ)like women;
Their dwelling places are set on fire,
The (BK)bars of her gates are broken.
31 One [ah](BL)courier runs to meet [ai]another,
And one [aj](BM)messenger to meet [ak]another,
To tell the king of Babylon
That his city has been captured from end to end;
32 The fords also have been seized,
And they have burned the marshes 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 (BN)threshing floor
At the time [al]it is stamped firm;
Yet in a little while the time of (BO)harvest will come for her.”

34 “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has (BP)devoured me and crushed me,
He has set me down like an (BQ)empty vessel;
He has (BR)swallowed me like a monster,
He has filled his stomach with my delicacies;
He has washed me away.
35 “May the (BS)violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon,”
The [am]inhabitant of Zion will say;
And, “May my blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea,”
Jerusalem will say.

36 Therefore thus says the Lord,

“Behold, I am going to (BT)plead your case
And (BU)exact full vengeance for you;
And (BV)I will dry up her [an]sea
And make her fountain dry.
37 (BW)Babylon will become a heap of ruins, a haunt of jackals,
An (BX)object of horror and hissing, without inhabitants.
38 “They will roar together like (BY)young lions,
They will growl like lions’ cubs.
39 “When they become heated up, I will serve them their banquet
And (BZ)make them drunk, that they may become jubilant
And may (CA)sleep a perpetual sleep
And not wake up,” declares the Lord.
40 “I will bring them down like [ao]lambs (CB)to the slaughter,
Like rams together with male goats.

41 “How [ap](CC)Sheshak has been captured,
And (CD)the praise of the whole earth been seized!
How Babylon has become an object of horror among the nations!
42 “The [aq](CE)sea has come up over Babylon;
She has been engulfed with its tumultuous waves.
43 “Her cities have become an (CF)object of horror,
A parched land and a desert,
A land in which (CG)no man lives
And through which no son of man passes.
44 (CH)I will punish Bel in Babylon,
And I will make what he has swallowed (CI)come out of his mouth;
And the nations will no longer (CJ)stream to him.
Even the (CK)wall of Babylon has fallen down!

45 (CL)Come forth from her midst, My people,
And each of you (CM)save yourselves
From the fierce anger of the Lord.
46 “Now (CN)so that your heart does not grow faint,
And you are not afraid at the (CO)report that will be heard in the land—
For the report will come [ar]one year,
And after that [as]another report in [at]another year,
And violence will be in the land
With (CP)ruler against ruler—
47 Therefore behold, days are coming
When I will punish the (CQ)idols of Babylon;
And her whole land will be (CR)put to shame
And all her slain will fall in her midst.
48 “Then (CS)heaven and earth and all that is in them
Will shout for joy over Babylon,
For (CT)the destroyers will come to her from the north,”
Declares the Lord.

49 (CU)Indeed Babylon is to fall for the slain of Israel,
As also for Babylon (CV)the slain of all the earth have fallen.
50 You (CW)who have escaped the sword,
Depart! Do not stay!
(CX)Remember the Lord from afar,
And let Jerusalem [au]come to your mind.
51 (CY)We are ashamed because we have heard reproach;
Disgrace has covered our faces,
For (CZ)aliens have entered
The holy places of the Lord’s house.

52 “Therefore behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“When I will punish her (DA)idols,
And the mortally wounded will groan throughout her land.
53 “Though Babylon should (DB)ascend to the heavens,
And though she should fortify [av]her lofty stronghold,
From (DC)Me destroyers will come to her,” declares the Lord.

54 The (DD)sound of an outcry from Babylon,
And of great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans!
55 For the Lord is going to destroy Babylon,
And He will make her loud [aw]noise vanish from her.
And their (DE)waves will roar like many waters;
The tumult of their voices [ax]sounds forth.
56 For the (DF)destroyer is coming against her, against Babylon,
And her mighty men will be captured,
Their (DG)bows are shattered;
For the Lord is a God of (DH)recompense,
He will fully repay.
57 “I will (DI)make her princes and her wise men drunk,
Her governors, her prefects and her mighty men,
That they may sleep a (DJ)perpetual sleep and not wake up,”
(DK)Declares the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts.

58 Thus says the Lord of hosts,

“The broad (DL)wall of Babylon will be completely razed
And her high (DM)gates will be set on fire;
So the peoples will (DN)toil for nothing,
And the nations become (DO)exhausted only for fire.”

59 The [ay]message which Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of (DP)Neriah, the grandson of Mahseiah, when he went with (DQ)Zedekiah the king of Judah to Babylon in the fourth year of his reign. (Now Seraiah was quartermaster.) 60 So Jeremiah (DR)wrote in a single [az]scroll all the calamity which would come upon Babylon, that is, all these words which have been written concerning Babylon. 61 Then Jeremiah said to Seraiah, “As soon as you come to Babylon, then see that you read all these words aloud, 62 and say, ‘You, O Lord, have [ba]promised concerning this place to (DS)cut it off, so that there will be (DT)nothing dwelling in it, [bb]whether man or beast, but it will be a perpetual desolation.’ 63 And as soon as you finish reading this [bc]scroll, you will tie a stone to it and (DU)throw it into the middle of the Euphrates, 64 and say, ‘Just so shall Babylon sink down and (DV)not rise again because of the calamity that I am going to bring upon her; and they will become (DW)exhausted.’” (DX)Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.


  1. Jeremiah 51:1 Cryptic name for Chaldea; or the heart of those who rise up against Me
  2. Jeremiah 51:1 Or a destroying wind
  3. Jeremiah 51:2 Some versions read winnowers
  4. Jeremiah 51:3 M.T. reads Against him who
  5. Jeremiah 51:3 I.e. the Chaldean defender
  6. Jeremiah 51:3 Lit tread(s) (in order to string)
  7. Jeremiah 51:3 Lit tread(s) (in order to string)
  8. Jeremiah 51:3 M.T. reads Against him who
  9. Jeremiah 51:4 Or wounded
  10. Jeremiah 51:5 Lit widowed
  11. Jeremiah 51:5 Lit From
  12. Jeremiah 51:6 Or silenced or made lifeless
  13. Jeremiah 51:6 Or penalty for iniquity
  14. Jeremiah 51:8 Or balsam resin
  15. Jeremiah 51:9 Lit is lifted
  16. Jeremiah 51:10 Lit forth
  17. Jeremiah 51:12 Or standard
  18. Jeremiah 51:12 Or watchmen
  19. Jeremiah 51:13 Lit cubit
  20. Jeremiah 51:13 Lit being cut off
  21. Jeremiah 51:14 Or mankind
  22. Jeremiah 51:14 I.e. like the song of grape treaders
  23. Jeremiah 51:17 Or graven images
  24. Jeremiah 51:19 Lit Fashioner
  25. Jeremiah 51:19 Or Scepter; cf Num 24:17
  26. Jeremiah 51:20 Lit shatterer
  27. Jeremiah 51:27 Or standard
  28. Jeremiah 51:28 Lit Her
  29. Jeremiah 51:28 Lit Her
  30. Jeremiah 51:28 I.e. lieutenant governors
  31. Jeremiah 51:28 Lit his
  32. Jeremiah 51:29 Or An object of horror
  33. Jeremiah 51:30 Lit dried up
  34. Jeremiah 51:31 Lit runner
  35. Jeremiah 51:31 Lit runner
  36. Jeremiah 51:31 Lit announcer
  37. Jeremiah 51:31 Lit announcer
  38. Jeremiah 51:33 Lit of treading it
  39. Jeremiah 51:35 Lit inhabitress
  40. Jeremiah 51:36 Or broad river
  41. Jeremiah 51:40 Or young rams
  42. Jeremiah 51:41 Cryptic name for Babylon
  43. Jeremiah 51:42 Or broad river
  44. Jeremiah 51:46 Lit in the
  45. Jeremiah 51:46 Lit the
  46. Jeremiah 51:46 Lit the
  47. Jeremiah 51:50 Lit come upon your heart
  48. Jeremiah 51:53 Lit the height of her strength
  49. Jeremiah 51:55 Or voice
  50. Jeremiah 51:55 Lit is given
  51. Jeremiah 51:59 Lit word
  52. Jeremiah 51:60 Or book
  53. Jeremiah 51:62 Lit spoken
  54. Jeremiah 51:62 Lit from man even to beast
  55. Jeremiah 51:63 Or book

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.


  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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