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Jeremiah 51 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Utter Destruction of Babylon

51 Thus says the Lord:

“Behold, I will raise up against Babylon,
Against those who dwell in [a]Leb Kamai,
A destroying wind.
And I will send winnowers to Babylon,
Who shall winnow her and empty her land.
For in the day of doom
They shall be against her all around.
Against her let the archer bend his bow,
And lift himself up against her in his armor.
Do not spare her young men;
Utterly destroy all her army.
Thus the slain shall fall in the land of the Chaldeans,
And those thrust through in her streets.
For Israel is not forsaken, nor Judah,
By his God, the Lord of hosts,
Though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.”

Flee from the midst of Babylon,
And every one save his life!
Do not be cut off in her iniquity,
For this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance;
He shall recompense her.
Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord’s hand,
That made all the earth drunk.
The nations drank her wine;
Therefore the nations are deranged.
Babylon has suddenly fallen and been destroyed.
Wail for her!
Take balm for her pain;
Perhaps she may be healed.

We would have healed Babylon,
But she is not healed.
Forsake her, and let us go everyone to his own country;
For her judgment reaches to heaven and is lifted up to the skies.
10 The Lord has revealed our righteousness.
Come and let us declare in Zion the work of the Lord our God.

11 Make[b] the arrows bright!
Gather the shields!
The Lord has raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes.
For His plan is against Babylon to destroy it,
Because it is the vengeance of the Lord,
The vengeance for His temple.
12 Set up the standard on the walls of Babylon;
Make the guard strong,
Set up the watchmen,
Prepare the ambushes.
For the Lord has both devised and done
What He spoke against the inhabitants of Babylon.
13 O you who dwell by many waters,
Abundant in treasures,
Your end has come,
The measure of your covetousness.
14 The Lord of hosts has sworn by Himself:
“Surely I will fill you with men, as with locusts,
And they shall lift up a shout against you.”

15 He has made the earth by His power;
He has established the world by His wisdom,
And stretched out the heaven by His understanding.
16 When He utters His voice—
There is a multitude of waters in the heavens:
“He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth;
He makes lightnings for the rain;
He brings the wind out of His treasuries.”

17 Everyone is dull-hearted, without knowledge;
Every metalsmith is put to shame by the carved image;
For his molded image is falsehood,
And there is no breath in them.
18 They are futile, a work of errors;
In the time of their punishment they shall perish.
19 The Portion of Jacob is not like them,
For He is the Maker of all things;
And Israel is the tribe of His inheritance.
The Lord of hosts is His name.

20 “You are My battle-ax and weapons of war:
For with you I will break the nation in pieces;
With you I will destroy kingdoms;
21 With you I will break in pieces the horse and its rider;
With you I will break in pieces the chariot and its rider;
22 With you also I will break in pieces man and woman;
With you I will break in pieces old and young;
With you I will break in pieces the young man and the maiden;
23 With you also I will break in pieces the shepherd and his flock;
With you I will break in pieces the farmer and his yoke of oxen;
And with you I will break in pieces governors and rulers.

24 “And I will repay Babylon
And all the inhabitants of Chaldea
For all the evil they have done
In Zion in your sight,” says the Lord.

25 “Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain,
Who destroys all the earth,” says the Lord.
“And I will stretch out My hand against you,
Roll you down from the rocks,
And make you a burnt mountain.
26 They shall not take from you a stone for a corner
Nor a stone for a foundation,
But you shall be desolate forever,” says the Lord.

27 Set up a banner in the land,
Blow the trumpet among the nations!
Prepare the nations against her,
Call the kingdoms together against her:
Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz.
Appoint a general against her;
Cause the horses to come up like the bristling locusts.
28 Prepare against her the nations,
With the kings of the Medes,
Its governors and all its rulers,
All the land of his dominion.
29 And the land will tremble and sorrow;
For every purpose of the Lord shall be performed against Babylon,
To make the land of Babylon a desolation without inhabitant.
30 The mighty men of Babylon have ceased fighting,
They have remained in their strongholds;
Their might has failed,
They became like women;
They have burned her dwelling places,
The bars of her gate are broken.
31 One runner will run to meet another,
And one messenger to meet another,
To show the king of Babylon that his city is taken on all sides;
32 The passages are blocked,
The reeds they have burned 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
When 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, he has crushed me;
He has made me an empty vessel,
He has swallowed me up like a monster;
He has filled his stomach with my delicacies,
He has spit me out.
35 Let the violence done to me and my flesh be upon Babylon,”
The inhabitant of Zion will say;
“And my blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea!”
Jerusalem will say.

36 Therefore thus says the Lord:

“Behold, I will plead your case and take vengeance for you.
I will dry up her sea and make her springs dry.
37 Babylon shall become a heap,
A dwelling place for jackals,
An astonishment and a hissing,
Without an inhabitant.
38 They shall roar together like lions,
They shall growl like lions’ whelps.
39 In their excitement I will prepare their feasts;
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 “Oh, how Sheshach[c] is taken!
Oh, how the praise of the whole earth is seized!
How Babylon has become desolate among the nations!
42 The sea has come up over Babylon;
She is covered with the multitude of its waves.
43 Her cities are a desolation,
A dry land and a wilderness,
A land where no one dwells,
Through which no son of man passes.
44 I will punish Bel[d] in Babylon,
And I will bring out of his mouth what he has swallowed;
And the nations shall not stream to him anymore.
Yes, the wall of Babylon shall fall.

45 “My people, go out of the midst of her!
And let everyone deliver [e]himself from the fierce anger of the Lord.
46 And lest your heart faint,
And you fear for the rumor that will be heard in the land
(A rumor will come one year,
And after that, in another year
A rumor will come,
And violence in the land,
Ruler against ruler),
47 Therefore behold, the days are coming
That I will bring judgment on the carved images of Babylon;
Her whole land shall be ashamed,
And all her slain shall fall in her midst.
48 Then the heavens and the earth and all that is in them
Shall sing joyously over Babylon;
For the plunderers shall 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 shall fall.
50 You who have escaped the sword,
Get away! Do not stand still!
Remember the Lord afar off,
And let Jerusalem come to your mind.

51 We are ashamed because we have heard reproach.
Shame has covered our faces,
For strangers have come into the [f]sanctuaries of the Lord’s house.

52 “Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord,
“That I will bring judgment on her carved images,
And throughout all her land the wounded shall groan.
53 Though Babylon were to [g]mount up to heaven,
And though she were to fortify the height of her strength,
Yet from Me plunderers would come to her,” says the Lord.

54 The sound of a cry comes from Babylon,
And great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans,
55 Because the Lord is plundering Babylon
And silencing her loud voice,
Though her waves roar like great waters,
And the noise of their voice is uttered,
56 Because the plunderer comes against her, against Babylon,
And her mighty men are taken.
Every one of their bows is broken;
For the Lord is the God of recompense,
He will surely repay.

57 “And I will make drunk
Her princes and wise men,
Her governors, her deputies, and her mighty men.
And they shall 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 walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken,[h]
And her high gates shall be burned with fire;
The people will labor in vain,
And the nations, because of the fire;
And they shall be weary.”

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 to Babylon in the fourth year of his reign. And Seraiah was the quartermaster. 60 So Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that would come upon Babylon, all these words that are written against Babylon. 61 And Jeremiah said to Seraiah, “When you arrive in Babylon and see it, and read all these words, 62 then you shall say, ‘O Lord, You have spoken against this place to cut it off, so that none shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but it shall be desolate forever.’ 63 Now it shall be, when you have finished reading this book, that you shall tie a stone to it and throw it out into the Euphrates. 64 Then you shall say, ‘Thus Babylon shall sink and not rise from the catastrophe that I will bring upon her. And they shall be weary.’ ”

Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 51:1 Lit. The Midst of Those Who Rise Up Against Me; a code word for Chaldea, Babylonia
  2. Jeremiah 51:11 Polish the arrows!
  3. Jeremiah 51:41 A code word for Babylon, Jer. 25:26
  4. Jeremiah 51:44 A Babylonian god
  5. Jeremiah 51:45 Lit. his soul
  6. Jeremiah 51:51 holy places
  7. Jeremiah 51:53 ascend
  8. Jeremiah 51:58 Lit. laid utterly bare
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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.

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
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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