God’s Judgment on Babylon

51 This is what the Lord says:

I am about to rouse the spirit of a destroyer[a] against Babylon(A)
and against the population of Leb-qamai.[b][c]
I will send strangers to Babylon
who will scatter her and strip her land bare,(B)
for they will come against her
from every side in the day of disaster.
Don’t let the archer string his bow;
don’t let him put on[d] his armor.(C)
Don’t spare her young men;
completely destroy her entire army!
Those who were slain will fall in the land of the Chaldeans,
those who were pierced through, in her streets.(D)
For Israel and Judah are not left widowed
by their God, the Lord of Armies,
though their land is full of guilt
against the Holy One of Israel.(E)

Leave Babylon;(F)
save your lives, each of you!(G)
Don’t perish because of her guilt.
For this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance—
he will pay her what she deserves.(H)
Babylon was a gold cup in the Lord’s hand,(I)
making the whole earth drunk.
The nations drank her wine;(J)
therefore, the nations go mad.(K)
Suddenly Babylon fell and was shattered.
Wail for her;
get balm(L) for her wound—
perhaps she can be healed.

We tried to heal Babylon,
but she could not be healed.
Abandon her!
Let each of us go to his own land,(M)
for her judgment extends to the sky
and reaches as far as the clouds.(N)

10 The Lord has brought about our vindication;(O)
come, let’s tell in Zion
what the Lord our God has accomplished.(P)

11 Sharpen the arrows!(Q)
Fill the quivers![e]
The Lord has roused the spirit
of the kings of the Medes
because his plan is aimed at Babylon
to destroy her,
for it is the Lord’s vengeance,
vengeance for his temple.(R)
12 Raise up a signal flag(S)
against the walls of Babylon;
fortify the watch post;
set the watchmen in place;
prepare the ambush.
For the Lord has both planned and accomplished
what he has threatened
against those who live in Babylon.(T)
13 You who reside by abundant water,(U)
rich in treasures,
your end has come,
your life thread is cut.

14 The Lord of Armies has sworn by himself:

I will fill you up with men as with locusts,
and they will sing the victory song over you.

15 He made the earth by his power,
established the world(V) by his wisdom,(W)
and spread out the heavens by his understanding.(X)
16 When he thunders,[f]
the waters in the heavens are tumultuous,(Y)
and he causes the clouds
to rise from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightning for the rain
and brings the wind from his storehouses.(Z)

17 Everyone is stupid and ignorant.
Every goldsmith is put to shame by his carved image,(AA)
for his cast images are a lie;(AB)
there is no breath in them.(AC)
18 They are worthless,(AD) a work to be mocked.
At the time of their punishment they will be destroyed.(AE)
19 Jacob’s Portion[g] is not like these
because he is the one who formed all things.(AF)
Israel is the tribe of his inheritance;(AG)
the Lord of Armies is his name.(AH)

20 You are my war club,
my weapons of war.
With you I will smash nations;
with you I will bring kingdoms to ruin.
21 With you I will smash the horse and its rider;
with you I will smash the chariot and its rider.
22 With you I will smash man and woman;(AI)
with you I will smash the old man and the youth;
with you I will smash the young man and the young woman.
23 With you I will smash the shepherd and his flock;
with you I will smash the farmer and his ox-team.[h]
With you I will smash governors and officials.

24 “Before your very eyes, I will repay Babylon and all the residents of Chaldea for all their evil they have done in Zion.”(AJ)

This is the Lord’s declaration.

25 Look, I am against you, devastating mountain.
This is the Lord’s declaration.
You devastate the whole earth.
I will stretch out my hand against you,(AK)
roll you down from the cliffs,
and turn you into a charred mountain.
26 No one will be able to retrieve a cornerstone
or a foundation stone from you,
because you will become desolate forever.
This is the Lord’s declaration.

27 Raise a signal flag(AL) in the land;
blow a ram’s horn among the nations;(AM)
set apart the nations against her.(AN)
Summon kingdoms against her—
Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz.
Appoint a marshal against her;
bring up horses like a swarm[i] of locusts.
28 Set apart the nations for battle against her—
the kings of Media,
her governors and all her officials,
and all the lands they rule.
29 The earth quakes(AO) and trembles
because the Lord’s intentions against Babylon stand:
to make the land of Babylon a desolation, without inhabitant.
30 Babylon’s warriors have stopped fighting;
they sit in their strongholds.
Their might is exhausted;
they have become like women.(AP)
Babylon’s homes have been set ablaze,
her gate bars are shattered.(AQ)
31 Messenger races to meet messenger,(AR)
and herald to meet herald,
to announce to the king of Babylon
that his city has been captured
from end to end.(AS)
32 The fords have been seized,(AT)
the marshes set on fire,
and the fighting men are terrified.

33 For this is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says:

Daughter Babylon is like a threshing floor
at the time it is trampled.(AU)
In just a little while her harvest time will come.(AV)

34 “King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has devoured me;
he has crushed me.
He has set me aside like an empty dish;
he has swallowed me like a sea monster;(AW)
he filled his belly with my delicacies;
he has vomited me out.[j]
35 Let the violence done to me and my family be done to Babylon,”
says the inhabitant of Zion.
“Let my blood be on the inhabitants of Chaldea,”
says Jerusalem.

36 Therefore, this is what the Lord says:

I am about to champion your cause(AX)
and take vengeance on your behalf;
I will dry up her sea(AY)
and make her fountain run dry.
37 Babylon will become a heap of rubble,
a jackals’ den,
a desolation and an object of scorn,(AZ)
without inhabitant.(BA)
38 They will roar together like young lions;
they will growl like lion cubs.
39 While they are flushed with heat, I will serve them a feast,
and I will make them drunk so that they celebrate.[k](BB)
Then they will fall asleep forever
and never wake up.
This is the Lord’s declaration.
40 I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter,
like rams together with male goats.(BC)

41 How Sheshak[l](BD) has been captured,(BE)
the praise(BF) of the whole earth seized.
What a horror Babylon has become
among the nations!(BG)
42 The sea has risen over Babylon;(BH)
she is covered with its tumultuous waves.
43 Her cities have become a desolation,(BI)
an arid desert,
a land where no one lives,
where no human being even passes through.
44 I will punish Bel(BJ) in Babylon.
I will make him vomit what he swallowed.(BK)
The nations will no longer stream to him;(BL)
even Babylon’s wall will fall.

45 Come out from among her, my people!(BM)
Save your lives, each of you,(BN)
from the Lord’s burning anger.
46 May you not become cowardly and fearful
when the report is proclaimed in the land,
for the report will come one year,
and then another the next year.
There will be violence in the land
with ruler against ruler.
47 Therefore, look, the days are coming(BO)
when I will punish Babylon’s carved images.(BP)
Her entire land will suffer shame,
and all her slain will lie fallen within her.(BQ)
48 Heaven and earth and everything in them
will shout for joy(BR) over Babylon
because the destroyers from the north(BS)
will come against her.
This is the Lord’s declaration.

49 Babylon must fall because of the slain of Israel,
even as the slain of the whole earth fell
because of Babylon.
50 You who have escaped the sword,(BT)
go and do not stand still!
Remember the Lord from far away,
and let Jerusalem come to your mind.

51 We are ashamed
because we have heard insults.(BU)
Humiliation covers our faces
because foreigners have entered
the holy places of the Lord’s temple.(BV)

52 Therefore, look, the days are coming—
this is the Lord’s declaration—
when I will punish her carved images,
and the wounded will groan
throughout her land.
53 Even if Babylon should ascend to the heavens(BW)
and fortify her tall fortresses,
destroyers will come against her from me.
This is the Lord’s declaration.

54 The sound of a cry from Babylon!(BX)
The sound of terrible destruction(BY)
from the land of the Chaldeans!
55 For the Lord is going to devastate Babylon;
he will silence her mighty voice.
Their waves roar like a huge torrent;
the tumult of their voice resounds,
56 for a destroyer is coming against her,
against Babylon.
Her warriors will be captured,
their bows shattered,
for the Lord is a God of retribution;
he will certainly repay.
57 I will make her princes and sages drunk,
along with her governors, officials, and warriors.
Then they will fall asleep forever
and never wake up.(BZ)
This is the King’s declaration;
the Lord of Armies is his name.(CA)

58 This is what the Lord of Armies says:

Babylon’s thick walls will be totally demolished,(CB)
and her high gates set ablaze.
The peoples will have labored for nothing;(CC)
the nations will weary themselves only to feed the fire.

59 This is what the prophet Jeremiah commanded Seraiah son of Neriah son of Mahseiah,(CD) the quartermaster, when he went to Babylon with King Zedekiah of Judah in the fourth year of Zedekiah’s reign. 60 Jeremiah wrote on one scroll about all the disaster that would come to Babylon;(CE) all these words were written against Babylon.

61 Jeremiah told Seraiah, “When you get to Babylon, see that you read all these words aloud. 62 Say, ‘Lord, you have threatened to cut off(CF) this place so that no one will live in it—people or animals.(CG) Indeed, it will remain desolate forever.’ 63 When you have finished reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and throw it into the middle of the Euphrates River.(CH) 64 Then say, ‘In the same way, Babylon will sink and never rise again because of the disaster I am bringing on her. They will grow weary.’”

The words of Jeremiah end here.


  1. 51:1 Or to stir up a destructive wind
  2. 51:1 Lit heart of my adversaries
  3. 51:1 = Chaldeans
  4. 51:3 Hb obscure
  5. 51:11 Or Grasp the shields!
  6. 51:16 Lit At his giving of the voice
  7. 51:19 = The Lord
  8. 51:23 Lit yoke
  9. 51:27 Hb obscure
  10. 51:34 Lit has rinsed me off
  11. 51:39 LXX reads pass out
  12. 51:41 = Babylon

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