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Babylon Will Be Destroyed

51 I, the Lord, am sending
    a wind[a] to destroy
the people of Babylonia[b]
    and Babylon, its capital.
Foreign soldiers will come
    from every direction,
and when the disaster is over,
Babylonia will be empty
    and worthless.
I will tell these soldiers,
    “Attack quickly,
before the Babylonians
can string their bows
    or put on their armor.[c]
Kill their best soldiers
    and destroy their army!”
Their troops will fall wounded
    in the streets of Babylon.

Everyone in Israel and Judah
    is guilty.
But I, the Lord All-Powerful,
their holy God,
    have not abandoned them.

Get out of Babylon!
    Run for your lives!
If you stay, you will be killed
when I take revenge on the city
    and punish it for its sins.

Babylon was my golden cup,
filled with the wine
    of my anger.
The nations of the world
got drunk on this wine
    and went insane.
But suddenly, Babylon will fall
    and be destroyed.

I, the Lord, told the foreigners[d]
    who lived there,
“Weep for the city!
Get medicine for its wounds;
    maybe they will heal.”

The foreigners answered,
    “We have already tried
to treat Babylon’s wounds,
    but they would not heal.
Come on, let’s all go home
    to our own countries.
Nothing is left in Babylonia;
    everything is destroyed.”

10 The people of Israel said,
    “Tell everyone in Zion!
The Lord has taken revenge
    for what Babylon did to us.”

The Lord Wants Babylon Destroyed

11 I, the Lord,
    want Babylon destroyed,
because its army
    destroyed my temple.
So, you kings of Media,[e]
sharpen your arrows
    and pick up your shields.
12 Raise the signal flag
    and attack the city walls.
Post more guards.
Have soldiers watch the city
    and set up ambushes.
I have made plans
to destroy Babylon,
    and nothing will stop me.

13 People of Babylon, you live
along the Euphrates River
    and are surrounded by canals.
You are rich,
but now the time has come
    for you to die.[f]
14 I, the Lord All-Powerful,
    swear by my own life
that enemy soldiers
will fill your streets
    like a swarm of locusts.[g]
They will shout
    and celebrate their victory.

A Hymn of Praise

15 God used his wisdom and power
to create the earth
    and spread out the heavens.
16 The waters in the heavens roar
    at his command.
He makes clouds appear;
he sends the wind
    from his storehouse
and makes lightning flash
    in the rain.

17 People who make idols
    are stupid!
They will be disappointed,
because their false gods
    cannot breathe.
18 Idols are merely a joke,
and when the time is right,
    they will be destroyed.
19 But the Lord, Israel’s God,
    is all-powerful.
He created everything,
and he chose Israel
    to be his very own.

God’s Hammer

The Lord said:

20 Babylonia, you were my hammer;
I used you to pound nations
    and break kingdoms,
21 to shatter cavalry and chariots,
22 as well as men and women,
    young and old,
23 shepherds and their flocks,
farmers and their oxen,
    and governors and leaders.

24 But now, my people will watch,
while I repay you
    for what you did to Zion.

25 You destroyed the nations
and seem strong as a mountain,
    but I am your enemy.
I might even grab you
    and roll you off a cliff.
When I am finished,
you’ll only be a pile
    of scorched bricks.
26 Your stone blocks won’t be reused
for cornerstones
    or foundations,
and I promise that forever
    you will be a desert.
I, the Lord, have spoken.

The Nations Will Attack Babylon

The Lord said:

27 Signal the nations
    to get ready to attack.
Raise a flag and blow a trumpet.
Send for the armies of Ararat,
    Minni, and Ashkenaz.[h]
Choose a commander;
let the cavalry attack
    like a swarm of locusts.
28 Tell the kings and governors,
    the leaders and the people
of the kingdoms of the Medes
    to prepare for war!

29 The earth twists and turns
    in torment,
because I have decided
to make Babylonia a desert
    where no one can live,
and I won’t change my mind.

30 The Babylonian soldiers
have lost their strength
    and courage.[i]
They stay in their fortresses,
    unable to fight,
while the enemy breaks through
the city gates,
    then sets their homes on fire.
31 One messenger after another
    announces to the king,
“Babylon has been captured!
32 The enemy now controls
    the river crossings!
The marshes[j] are on fire!
    Your army has panicked!”

33 I am the Lord All-Powerful,
    the God of Israel,
and I make this promise—
“Soon Babylon will be leveled
    and packed down
like a threshing place
    at harvest time.”[k]

Babylonia Will Pay!

34 The people of Jerusalem say,
“King Nebuchadnezzar[l]
    made us panic.
That monster stuffed himself
with us and our treasures,
    leaving us empty—
he gobbled down
what he wanted
    and spit out the rest.
35 The people of Babylonia
harmed some of us[m]
    and killed others.
Now, Lord, make them pay!”

The Lord Will Take Revenge on Babylon

36 My people, I am on your side,
and I will take revenge
    on Babylon.
I will cut off its water supply,
    and its stream[n] will dry up.
37 Babylon will be a pile of rubble
    where only jackals[o] live.
People will laugh,
but they will be afraid
    to walk among the ruins.
38 The Babylonians roar and growl
    like young lions.
39 And since they are hungry,
    I will give them a banquet.
They will celebrate, get drunk,
then fall asleep,
    never to wake up!
40 I will lead them away to die,
like sheep, lambs, and goats
    being led to the butcher.
41 All nations now praise Babylon,[p]
but when it is captured,
    those same nations
    will be horrified.
42 Babylon’s enemies will rise
like ocean waves
    and flood the city.
43 Horrible destruction will strike
    the nearby towns.
The land will become
    a barren desert,
where no one can live
    or even travel.
44 I will punish Marduk,[q]
    the god of Babylon,
and make him vomit up
    everything he gobbled down.
Then nations will no longer
    bring him gifts,
and Babylon’s walls will crumble.

The Lord Offers Hope to His People

45 Get out of Babylon, my people,
    and run for your lives,
before I strike the city
    in my anger!
46 Don’t be afraid or lose hope,
though year after year
    there are rumors
of leaders fighting for control
    in the city of Babylon.
47 The time will come
when I will punish
    Babylon’s false gods.
Everyone there will die,
and the whole nation
    will be disgraced,
48 when an army attacks
from the north
    and brings destruction.
Then the earth and the heavens
and everything in them
    will celebrate.
49 Babylon must be overthrown,
    because it slaughtered
the people of Israel
    and of many other nations.

50 My people, you escaped death
    when Jerusalem fell.
Now you live far from home,
but you should trust me
    and think about Jerusalem.
Leave Babylon! Don’t stay!

51 You feel ashamed and disgraced,
because foreigners have entered
    my sacred temple.
52 Soon I will send a war
    to punish Babylon’s idols
and leave its wounded people
    moaning everywhere.
53 Although Babylon’s walls
    reach to the sky,
the army I send
    will destroy that city.
I, the Lord, have spoken.

Babylon Will Be Destroyed

The Lord said:

54 Listen to the cries for help
    coming from Babylon.
Everywhere in the country
the sounds of destruction
    can be heard.
55 The shouts of the enemy,
    like crashing ocean waves,
will drown out Babylon’s cries
    as I level the city.

56 An enemy will attack
    and destroy Babylon.
Its soldiers will be captured
    and their weapons broken,
because I am a God
who takes revenge against nations
    for what they do.
57 I, the Lord All-Powerful,
    the true King, promise
that the officials and advisors,
the governors and leaders
    and the soldiers of Babylon
will get drunk, fall asleep,
    and never wake up.
58 The thick walls of that city
will be torn down,
    and its huge gates burned.
Everything that nation
worked so hard to gain
    will go up in smoke.

Jeremiah Gives Seraiah a Scroll

59 During Zedekiah’s[r] fourth year as king of Judah, he went to Babylon. And Baruch’s brother Seraiah[s] went along as the officer in charge of arranging for places to stay overnight.[t]

60 Before they left, I wrote on a scroll[u] all the terrible things that would happen to Babylon. 61 I gave the scroll to Seraiah and said:

When you get to Babylon, read this scroll aloud, 62 then pray, “Our Lord, you promised to destroy this place and make it into a desert where no people or animals will ever live.”

63 When you finish praying, tie the scroll to a rock and throw it in the Euphrates River. Then say, 64 “This is how Babylon will sink when the Lord destroys it. Everyone in the city will die, and it won’t have the strength to rise again.”

The End of Jeremiah’s Writing

Jeremiah’s writing ends here.

Footnotes

  1. 51.1 wind: Or “spirit.”
  2. 51.1 Babylonia: The Hebrew text has “Leb-Qamai,” a secret way of writing “Babylonia.”
  3. 51.3 I will tell. . . armor: Or “Attack quickly! String your bows and put on your armor.”
  4. 51.8 the foreigners: Or “my people.”
  5. 51.11 kings of Media: Probably kings of smaller kingdoms that were part of the Median Empire (see also verse 27 and the note there).
  6. 51.13 for you to die: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  7. 51.14 locusts: See the note at 46.22,23.
  8. 51.27 Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz: Kingdoms to the north of Babylonia that were part of the Median Empire (see also verse 28).
  9. 51.30 have lost their strength and courage: Hebrew “have lost their strength and have become like women.”
  10. 51.32 marshes: The tall grass in the marshes could have provided hiding places for people trying to escape from Babylon.
  11. 51.33 leveled. . . harvest time: A threshing place with a dirt surface had to be leveled and packed down before it could be used.
  12. 51.34 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2.
  13. 51.35 harmed some of us: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  14. 51.36 stream: Probably the Euphrates River.
  15. 51.37 jackals: See the note at 9.11.
  16. 51.41 Babylon: The Hebrew text has “Sheshach,” a secret way of writing the name “Babylon.”
  17. 51.44 Marduk: Hebrew “Bel” (see the note at 50.2).
  18. 51.59 Zedekiah’s: See the note at 1.3.
  19. 51.59 Baruch’s brother Seraiah: Hebrew “Seraiah son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah”; Baruch helped Jeremiah write down his messages (see 32.12; 36.4-10).
  20. 51.59 arranging for places to stay overnight: Hebrew and one ancient translation; two ancient translations, “the tax money.”
  21. 51.60 scroll: See the note at 30.1,2.

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