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Jeremiah 51 Common English Bible (CEB)

51 The Lord proclaims:

I’m stirring up a violent wind against Babylon
    and those who live in Leb-qamai.[a]
I will send mercenaries[b] to Babylon
    who will sift her and clear out her land.
They will surround her
    on the day of disaster.
Let the archers draw their bows;
    let them prepare their armor.
Show no mercy to her young men;
    wipe out her entire company!
They will fall wounded in the land of Babylon,
    struck down in her streets.
God, the Lord of heavenly forces,
    hasn’t abandoned Israel and Judah,
        even though they live in a land filled with guilt
            before the holy one of Israel.
Escape from Babylon;
    each of you run for your lives!
Don’t perish because of her guilt,
    because this is the time
    for the Lord’s retribution,
        a day of reckoning for all that Babylon[c] has done.

Babylon was a gold cup in the Lord’s hand;
    it made the whole earth drunk.
The nations drank her wine
    and went mad.
But suddenly Babylon fell
    and shattered into pieces.
Wail for her!
    Bring medicine for her pain;
        perhaps she will recover.
We tried to cure Babylon,
    but she was beyond help.
Let’s depart from her
    and return to your own country, each of you.
Her punishment reaches to heaven
    and extends to the clouds.
10 The Lord has come to our defense,
    so let’s declare in Zion
        what the Lord our God has done!

11 Sharpen your arrows;
    prepare your shields.
The Lord is stirring up
    the spirit of kings from Media.
    He intends to destroy Babylon;
    this is the Lord’s retribution,
        a day of reckoning for his temple.
12 Set up a flag on the walls of Babylon,
    fortify the guards,
    post watchmen,
    prepare an ambush,
        because the Lord has a plan
        against the inhabitants of Babylon.
He will accomplish it,
    just as he said he would.
13 You live beside a great river,
    and you are rich in treasures.
But your time has come;
    your cruelty has caught up with you.[d]
14 The Lord of heavenly forces has sworn by his own name:
    I’m going to fill your cities[e]
        with soldiers like a swarm of locusts;
    they will celebrate their victory over you.

15 God made the earth by his might,
    shaped the world by his wisdom,
        and crafted the skies by his knowledge.
16 At the sound of God’s voice,
    the heavenly waters roar.
        God raises the clouds from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightning for the rain
    and sends the wind from his treasuries.
17 Everyone is too foolish to understand;
    every smith is shamed by his idols,
        for their images are shams;
        they aren’t alive.
18 They are a delusion, a charade;
    at the appointed time they will be ruined!
19 But the portion of Jacob is utterly different,
    for he has formed all things,
    including his very own tribe;
        the Lord of heavenly forces is his name!

20 You are my hammer,
    my weapon of war.
With you I will crush the nations.
    With you I will destroy kingdoms.
21     With you I will crush horse and rider.
    With you I will crush chariot and driver.
22     With you I will crush men and women.
    With you I will crush old and young.
    With you I will crush young men and young women.
23     With you I will crush shepherds and flocks.
    With you I will crush farmers and oxen.
    With you I will crush governors and officials.

24 I will repay Babylon and all its inhabitants
    for the terrible things
    they have done to Zion in your sight,
        declares the Lord.
25 I’m against you, you mountain of destruction,
        declares the Lord,
    you destroyer of the whole earth!
I will reach out against you;
    I will topple you from your heights;
    I will turn you into a rubbish heap.
26 They will never remove a cornerstone
    or a foundation stone from you.
You will be a wasteland forever,
    declares the Lord.

27 Set up a flag in the land;
    sound the alarm among the nations!
Prepare them for war against her;
    summon kingdoms against her—
        Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz.
Appoint a commander against her;
    call up the troops,
        like swarms of locusts!
28 Prepare the nations for war against her,
    the kings of Media,
    its governors, all its officials,
    and all the countries they rule.

29 The earth quakes and trembles
    because the Lord’s plans against Babylon are fulfilled:
        to reduce Babylon to a wasteland,
        with no one left in it.
30 Babylon’s warriors quit fighting;
    they hide in their fortifications.
Their strength is worn out;
    their courage is gone!
Babylon’s houses are burned down,
    and its gates are smashed.
31 Courier joins courier,
    messenger joins messenger
        to relate the news to the king of Babylon
        that his entire city has fallen.
32 The river crossings are blocked;
    the marshes are on fire;
    the soldiers are terrified.

33 The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims:

Daughter Babylon is like a threshing floor
    ready to be trampled down.
        In a little while her harvest will come.

34 Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar has eaten us alive;
    he’s drained us of strength;
        he’s left us for dead.[f]
He’s gobbled us up like a great sea monster;
    he’s filled his belly with our treasures;
        and he’s spit us out.
35 May Babylon be violated as our bodies were,
    say the inhabitants of Zion.
May our blood be on the Babylonians,
    say those from Jerusalem.
36 Therefore, the Lord proclaims:
        I’m going to defend your cause;
        I’ll turn the tables on your attacker.
        I’ll dry up her sea;
        I’ll shut up her springs.
37 Babylon will become a heap of ruins,
    a den of wild dogs, a wasteland
        with no one left in it.

38 Like lions they will roar together;
    they will growl like lions’ cubs.
39 They are ready to devour,
    so I’ll prepare the feast
        and mix the drinks!
But after their noisy drunkenness,
    they will fall fast asleep.
    They will sleep forever,
        never to get up,
        declares the Lord.
40 I’ll lead them off
    like lambs for slaughter,
    like rams and goats.

41 How Sheshach[g] has been defeated,
    the pride of the whole earth taken captive!
How Babylon has become a wasteland
    among the nations!
42 The sea has risen over Babylon;
    its pounding waves overwhelm her.
43 Her towns are devastated;
    her land is scorched and barren,
        a place where no one lives
        or dares to pass through.
44 I will punish Bel in Babylon;
    I will force him to vomit what he’s consumed.
Then nations will no longer stream to him,
    and Babylon’s walls will collapse!

45 Get out of Babylon, my people!
    Run for your lives
        from the Lord’s fierce anger.
46 Don’t be distracted or frightened
    by the rumors you hear in the land.
        Sometimes you hear one thing
        and another time something else:
    rumors of violence and uprisings.
47 The time is coming
    when I will deal with Babylon’s idols;
    the whole land will be disgraced,
        and her wounded will fall in her midst.
48 Then all creation will rejoice over Babylon,
    because out of the north
    destroying armies will come to attack her,
        declares the Lord.
49 Babylon must fall
    for the dead in Israel,
        as the dead of all the earth
        have fallen to Babylon.

50 You survivors of war,
    leave now; don’t delay!
Remember the Lord,
    from a faraway land.
Keep Jerusalem alive in your hearts.

51 We’re humiliated by their taunts;
    we’re disgraced that strangers have violated the sacred places
        of the Lord’s temple.

52 The time is coming,
    declares the Lord,
        when I will deal with her idols,
        and the wounded in her land will groan.
53 Even if Babylon scales the heavens
    and strengthens its towering defenses,
        the destroying armies will still come
        against her, at my command,
            declares the Lord.
54 Listen to the cries for help from Babylon,
    signs of massive devastation in the land,
        declares the Lord.
55 The Lord is destroying Babylon
    and silencing her outcry,
        whose roar is like the crushing waves,
        a deafening crash.
56 He certainly comes against her;
    the destroyer comes against Babylon.
Her warriors are captured;
    their bows are broken.
The Lord is an exacting God
    who repays in full.
57 I’ll make her leaders and sages drunk,
    her governors, officials, and warriors as well.
They will sleep forever, never to get up,
    declares the king,
        whose name is the Lord of heavenly forces.
58 The Lord of heavenly forces proclaims:
    Babylon’s massive walls will come down,
        down to the ground;
        and its high gates will be burned to the ground.

People labor in vain;
    nations toil for nothing but ashes!

59 This is what the prophet Jeremiah instructed the staff officer[h] Seraiah, Neriah’s son and Mahseiah’s grandson, when Seraiah went to Babylon with Judah’s King Zedekiah in the fourth year of his rule. 60 Jeremiah wrote down in a single scroll all the disasters that would happen to Babylon—all these things concerning Babylon. 61 Jeremiah said to Seraiah: When you get to Babylon, see to it that you read all these words. 62 Then say, “Lord, you declared that this place will be destroyed and nothing will remain in it—neither human nor animal; that it will forever be a wasteland!” 63 When you finish reading the scroll, tie a stone to it and throw it into the Euphrates River. 64 Then say, “In the same way, Babylon will sink and never rise again because of the disaster I’m bringing against it.”

Jeremiah’s words end here.


  1. Jeremiah 51:1 Or the inhabitants of Leb qamai, a reference to Chaldea (Babylonia); or those who rise up against me
  2. Jeremiah 51:2 Or foreigners
  3. Jeremiah 51:6 Or she or it
  4. Jeremiah 51:13 Heb uncertain
  5. Jeremiah 51:14 Heb lacks cities.
  6. Jeremiah 51:34 Or He’s made us an empty container.
  7. Jeremiah 51:41 Sheshach is a name for Babylon.
  8. Jeremiah 51:59 Or officer of rest, often translated as quartermaster
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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)

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