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Jeremiah 51:12-14 New English Translation (NET Bible)

12 Give the signal to attack Babylon’s wall![a]
Bring more guards;[b]
post them all around the city.[c]
Put men in ambush,[d]
for the Lord will do what he has planned.
He will do what he said he would do to the people of Babylon.[e]
13 “You who live along the rivers of Babylon,[f]

the time of your end has come.
You who are rich in plundered treasure,
it is time for your lives to be cut off.[g]
14 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies[h] has solemnly sworn,[i]
‘I will fill your land with enemy soldiers.
They will swarm over it like locusts.[j]
They will raise up shouts of victory over it.’


  1. Jeremiah 51:12 tn Heb “Raise a banner against the walls of Babylon.”
  2. Jeremiah 51:12 tn Heb “Strengthen the watch.”
  3. Jeremiah 51:12 tn Heb “Station the guards.”
  4. Jeremiah 51:12 tn Heb “Prepare ambushes.”sn Commands are addressed to the kings of the Medes to fully blockade the city by posting watchmen and setting soldiers in ambush to stop people from escaping the city (cf. 2 Kgs 25:4).
  5. Jeremiah 51:12 tn Heb “For the Lord has both planned and done what he said concerning the people living in Babylon,” i.e., “he has carried out what he planned.” Here is an obvious case where the perfects are to be interpreted as prophetic; the commands imply that the attack is still future.
  6. Jeremiah 51:13 sn Babylon was situated on the Euphrates River and surrounded by canals (also called “rivers”).
  7. Jeremiah 51:13 tn Heb “You who live upon [or beside] many waters, rich in treasures, your end has come, the cubit of your cutting off.” The sentence has been restructured and paraphrased to provide clarity for the average reader. The meaning of the last phrase is debated. For a discussion of the two options see W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 2:423. Most modern commentaries and English versions see an allusion to the figure in Isa 38:12, where the end of life is compared to a tapestry suddenly cut off from the loom. Hence, NRSV renders the last line as “the thread of your life is cut,” and TEV translates, “its thread of life is cut.” That idea is accepted also in HALOT 141 s.v. בצע Qal.1.
  8. Jeremiah 51:14 tn Heb “Yahweh of Armies.” For an explanation of this rendering see the study note on 2:19.
  9. Jeremiah 51:14 tn Heb “has sworn by himself.” See the study note on 22:5 for background.
  10. Jeremiah 51:14 tn Heb “I will fill you with men like locusts.” The “you” refers to Babylon (Babylon is both the city and the land it ruled, Babylonia), which has been alluded to in the preceding verses under descriptive titles. The words “your land” have been used because of the way the preceding verse has been rendered, indicating people rather than the land or city. The “men” are, of course, enemy soldiers, compared to locusts both for their quantity and their destructiveness (see Joel 1:4). For the use of the particles כִּי אִם (ki ʾim) to introduce an oath, see BDB 475 s.v. כִּי אִם 2.c, and compare usage in 2 Kgs 5:20; one would normally expect אִם לֹא (cf. BDB 50 s.v. אִם 1.b[2]).
New English Translation (NET)

NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2017 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.


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