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Jeremiah 51 New International Reader's Version (NIRV)

51 The Lord says,

“I will stir up the spirits of destroyers.
    They will march out against Babylon and its people.
I will send other nations against it
    to separate the straw from the grain.
    I will send them to destroy Babylon completely.
They will oppose it on every side.
    At that time it will be destroyed.
Do not let its soldiers get their bows ready to use.
    Do not let them put on their armor.
Do not spare their young men.
    Destroy their armies completely.
They will fall down dead in Babylon.
    They will receive deadly wounds in its streets.
The land of Israel and Judah is full of guilt.
    Its people have sinned against me.
But I have not deserted them. I am their God.
    I am the Lord who rules over all.
    I am the Holy One of Israel.

“People of Judah, run away from Babylon!
    Run for your lives!
    Do not be destroyed because of the sins of its people.
It is time for me to pay them back.
    I will punish them for what they have done.
Babylon was like a gold cup in my hand.
    That city made the whole earth drunk.
The nations drank its wine.
    So now they have gone crazy.
Babylon will suddenly fall and be broken.
    Weep for it!
Get healing lotion for its pain.
    Perhaps it can be healed.

“The nations say, ‘We would have healed Babylon.
    But it can’t be healed.
So let’s leave it. Let’s each go to our own land.
    Babylon’s sins reach all the way to the skies.
    They rise up as high as the heavens.’

10 “The people of Judah say,
    ‘The Lord has made things right for us again.
So come. Let’s tell in Zion
    what the Lord our God has done.’

11 “I have stirred up you kings of the Medes.
    So sharpen your arrows!
Get your shields!
    I plan to destroy Babylon.
I will pay the Babylonians back.
    They have destroyed my temple.
12 Lift up a banner! Attack Babylon’s walls!
    Put more guards on duty!
Station more of them to watch over you!
    Hide and wait to attack them!
I will do what I have planned.
    I will do what I have decided to do
    against the people of Babylon.
13 You who live by the rivers of Babylon,
    your end has come.
You who are rich in treasures,
    it is time for you to be destroyed.
14 I am the Lord who rules over all.
    I have made a promise in my own name.
I have said, ‘I will certainly fill your land with soldiers.
    They will be as many as a huge number of locusts.
They will win the battle over you.
    They will shout for joy.’

15 “I used my power to make the earth.
    I used my wisdom to set the world in place.
    I used my understanding to spread out the heavens.
16 When I thunder, the waters in the heavens roar.
    I make clouds rise from one end of the earth to the other.
I send lightning with the rain.
    I bring out the wind from my storerooms.

17 “No one has any sense.
    No one knows anything.
Everyone who works with gold is put to shame
    by his wooden gods.
His metal gods are fakes.
    They can’t even breathe.
18 They are worthless, and people make fun of them.
    When I judge them, they will be destroyed.
19 But I, the God of Jacob, am not like them.
    I give my people everything they need.
    I can do this because I made everything, including Israel.
They are the people who belong to me.
    My name is the Lord Who Rules Over All.

20 “Babylon, you are my war club.
    You are my weapon for battle.
I use you to destroy nations.
    I use you to wipe out kingdoms.
21 I use you to destroy horses and their riders.
    I use you to destroy chariots and their drivers.
22 I use you to destroy men and women.
    I use you to destroy old people and young people.
    I use you to destroy young men and young women.
23 I use you to destroy shepherds and their flocks.
    I use you to destroy farmers and their oxen.
    I use you to destroy governors and officials.

24 “Judah, I will pay Babylon back. You will see it with your own eyes. I will pay back all those who live in Babylon. I will pay them back for all the wrong things they have done in Zion,” announces the Lord.

25 “Babylon, I am against you.
    Your kingdom is like a destroying mountain.
    You have destroyed the whole earth,”
    announces the Lord.
“I will reach out my hand against you.
    I will roll you off the cliffs.
    I will make you like a mountain that has been burned up.
26 No rock will be taken from you to be used
    as the most important stone for a building.
No stones will be taken from you
    to be used for a foundation.
Your land will be empty forever,”
    announces the Lord.

27 “Nations, lift up a banner in the land of Babylon!
    Blow a trumpet among yourselves!
Prepare yourselves for battle against Babylon.
    Send the kingdoms
    of Ararat, Minni and Ashkenaz against it.
Appoint a commander against it.
    Send many horses against it.
    Let them be as many as a huge number of locusts.
28 Prepare yourselves for battle against Babylon.
    Prepare the kings of the Medes.
Prepare their governors and all their officials.
    Prepare all the countries they rule over.
29 The Babylonians tremble and shake with fear.
    My plans against them stand firm.
I plan to destroy their land completely.
    Then no one will live there.
30 Babylon’s soldiers have stopped fighting.
    They remain in their forts.
Their strength is all gone.
    They have become weak.
Their buildings are set on fire.
    The metal bars that lock their gates are broken.
31 One messenger after another
    comes to the king of Babylon.
All of them announce that
    his entire city is captured.
32 The places where people go across the Euphrates River have been captured.
    The swamps have been set on fire.
    And the soldiers are terrified.”

33 The Lord who rules over all is the God of Israel. He says,

“The city of Babylon is like a threshing floor
    when cattle are walking on it.
    The time to destroy it will soon come.”

34 The people of Jerusalem say,
“Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, has destroyed us.
    He has thrown us into a panic.
    He has emptied us out like a jar.
Like a snake he has swallowed us up.
    He has filled his stomach with our rich food.
    Then he has spit us out of his mouth.”
35 The people continue, “May the people of Babylon
    pay for the harmful things they have done to us.
May those who live in Babylon
    pay for spilling the blood of our people.”
    That’s what the people who live in Zion say.

36 So the Lord says,

“I will stand up for you.
    I will pay the Babylonians back for what they did to you.
I will dry up their water supply.
    I will make their springs run dry.
37 Babylon will have all its buildings knocked down.
    It will be a home for wild dogs.
No one will live there.
    People will be shocked at it.
    They will make fun of it.
38 All its people roar like young lions.
    They growl like lion cubs.
39 They are stirred up.
    So I will set a feast in front of them.
    I will make them drunk.
And they will shout and laugh.
    But then they will lie down and die.
    They will never wake up,”
    announces the Lord.
40 “I will lead them down like lambs to be put to death.
    They will be like rams and goats that have been killed.

41 “Babylon will be captured!
    The whole earth was very proud of it.
But it will be taken over by others!
    It will be a deserted place among the nations.
42 Babylon’s enemies will sweep over it like an ocean.
    Like roaring waves they will cover it.
43 The towns of Babylon will be empty.
    It will become a dry and desert land.
No one will live there.
    No one will even travel through it.
44 I will punish the god named Bel in Babylon.
    I will make Bel spit out what he has swallowed.
The nations will not come and worship him anymore.
    And Babylon’s walls will fall down.

45 “Come out of there, my people!
    Run for your lives!
    Run away from my great anger.
46 You will hear about terrible things
    that are happening in Babylon.
    But do not lose hope. Do not be afraid.
You will hear one thing this year.
    And you will hear something else next year.
You will hear about awful things in the land.
    You will hear about one ruler fighting against another.
47 I will punish the gods of Babylon.
    That time will certainly come.
Then the whole land will be full of shame.
    Its people will lie down and die there.
48 So heaven and earth and everything in them will shout for joy.
    They will be glad because of what will happen to Babylon.
Armies will attack it from the north.
    And they will destroy it,”
    announces the Lord.

49 “Babylon’s people have killed my people Israel.
    They have also killed people all over the earth.
    So now Babylon itself must fall.
50 You who have not been killed in the war against Babylon,
    leave! Do not wait!
In a land far away remember me.
    And think about Jerusalem.”

51 The people of Judah reply, “No one honors us anymore.
    People make fun of us.
    Our faces are covered with shame.
People from other lands have entered
    the holy places of the Lord’s house.”

52 “But the days are coming,” announces the Lord.
    “At that time I will punish the gods of Babylon.
And all through its land
    wounded people will groan.
53 What if Babylon reached all the way to the heavens?
    What if it made its high walls even stronger?
    I would still send destroyers against it,”
    announces the Lord.

54 “The noise of people screaming comes from Babylon.
    A terrible sound comes from its land.
    It is the sound of a mighty city being destroyed.
55 I will destroy Babylon.
    I will put an end to all its noise.
Waves of enemies will sweep through it like great waters.
    The roar of their voices will fill the air.
56 A destroying army will come against Babylon.
    The soldiers in the city will be captured.
    Their bows will be broken.
I am the Lord God who pays people back.
    I will pay them back in full.
57 I will make Babylon’s officials and wise men drunk.
    I will do the same thing to its governors, officers and soldiers.
They will lie down and die. They will never wake up,”
    announces the King. His name is the Lord Who Rules Over All.

58 The Lord who rules over all says,

“Babylon’s thick walls will fall down flat.
    Its high gates will be set on fire.
The nations wear themselves out for no reason at all.
    Their hard work will only be burned up in the flames.”

59 Jeremiah the prophet gave a message to the staff officer Seraiah, the son of Neriah. Neriah was the son of Mahseiah. Jeremiah told Seraiah to take the message with him to Babylon. Seraiah went there with Zedekiah, the king of Judah. He left in the fourth year of Zedekiah’s rule. 60 Jeremiah had written about all the trouble that would come on Babylon. He had written it down on a scroll. It included everything that had been recorded about Babylon. 61 Jeremiah said to Seraiah, “When you get to Babylon, here’s what I want you to do. Make sure that you read all these words out loud. 62 Then say, ‘Lord, you have said you will destroy this place. You have said that no people or animals will live here. It will be empty forever.’ 63 Finish reading the scroll. Tie a stone to it. Throw it into the Euphrates River. 64 Then say, ‘In the same way, Babylon will sink down. It will never rise again. That is because I will bring such horrible trouble on it. And its people will fall along with it.’ ”

The words of Jeremiah end here.

New International Reader's Version (NIRV)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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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