1This is what the Lord says: ‘See, I will stir up the spirit of a destroyer against Babylon and the people of Leb Kamai.2I 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.3Let not the archer string his bow, nor let him put on his armour. Do not spare her young men; completely destroy her army.4They will fall down slain in Babylon, fatally wounded in her streets.5For Israel and Judah have not been forsaken by their God, the Lord Almighty, though their land is full of guilt before the Holy One of Israel.6‘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.7Babylon 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.8Babylon will suddenly fall and be broken. Wail over her! Get balm for her pain; perhaps she can be healed.9‘ “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.12Lift 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.13You who live by many waters and are rich in treasures, your end has come, the time for you to be destroyed.14The 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.16When 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.18They are worthless, the objects of mockery; when their judgment comes, they will perish.19He 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,21with you I shatter horse and rider, with you I shatter chariot and driver,22with you I shatter man and woman, with you I shatter old man and youth, with you I shatter young man and young woman,23with 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 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 burnt-out mountain.26No rock will be taken from you for a cornerstone, nor any stone for a foundation, for you will be desolate for ever,’ 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.28Prepare the nations for battle against her – the kings of the Medes, their governors and all their officials, and all the countries they rule.29The 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.30Babylon’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.31One courier follows another and messenger follows messenger to announce to the king of Babylon that his entire city is captured,32the river crossings seized, the marshes set on fire, and the soldiers terrified.’33This 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.35May the violence done to our flesh be on Babylon,’ say the inhabitants of Zion. ‘May our blood be on those who live in Babylonia,’ says Jerusalem.36Therefore 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.37Babylon will be a heap of ruins, a haunt of jackals, an object of horror and scorn, a place where no-one lives.38Her people all roar like young lions, they growl like lion cubs.39But while they are aroused, I will set out a feast for them and make them drunk, so that they shout with laughter – then sleep for ever and not awake,’ declares the Lord.40‘I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams and goats.41‘How Sheshak will be captured, the boast of the whole earth seized! How desolate Babylon will be among the nations!42The sea will rise over Babylon; its roaring waves will cover her.43Her towns will be desolate, a dry and desert land, a land where no-one lives, through which no-one travels.44I 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.46Do not lose heart or be afraid when rumours are heard in the land; one rumour comes this year, another the next, rumours of violence in the land and of ruler against ruler.47For 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.48Then 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.50You 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.53Even 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.55The 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.56A 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.57I will make her officials and wise men drunk, her governors, officers and warriors as well; they will sleep for ever and not awake,’ declares the King, whose name is the Lord Almighty.58This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Babylon’s thick wall will be levelled and her high gates set on fire; the peoples exhaust themselves for nothing, the nations’ labour is only fuel for the flames.’59This 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.60Jeremiah had written on a scroll about all the disasters that would come upon Babylon – all that had been recorded concerning Babylon.61He said to Seraiah, ‘When you get to Babylon, see that you read all these words aloud.62Then say, “Lord, you have said you will destroy this place, so that neither people nor animals will live in it; it will be desolate for ever.”63When you finish reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and throw it into the Euphrates.64Then 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.
English Standard Version
The Utter Destruction of Babylon
1Thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will stir up the spirit of a destroyer against Babylon, against the inhabitants of Leb-kamai, (Isa 21:1; Jer 4:11)2and I will send to Babylon winnowers, and they shall winnow her, and they shall empty her land, when they come against her from every side on the day of trouble. (Jer 2:28; Jer 15:7; Mt 3:12)3Let not the archer bend his bow, and let him not stand up in his armor. Spare not her young men; devote to destruction all her army. (Jer 50:14; Jer 50:21; Jer 50:29)4They shall fall down slain in the land of the Chaldeans, and wounded in her streets. (Jer 49:26)5For Israel and Judah have not been forsaken by their God, the Lord of hosts, but the land of the Chaldeans is full of guilt against the Holy One of Israel. (Isa 54:5)6“Flee from the midst of Babylon; let every one save his life! Be not cut off in her punishment, for this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance, the repayment he is rendering her. (Ge 19:15; Jer 50:8; Jer 50:15; Jer 51:45)7Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord’s hand, making all the earth drunken; the nations drank of her wine; therefore the nations went mad. (Ps 75:8; Jer 25:15; Re 14:8; Re 17:4)8Suddenly Babylon has fallen and been broken; wail for her! Take balm for her pain; perhaps she may be healed. (Isa 13:6; Isa 21:9; Jer 46:11; Jer 48:20; Re 18:9; Re 18:11; Re 18:19)9We would have healed Babylon, but she was not healed. Forsake her, and let us go each to his own country, for her judgment has reached up to heaven and has been lifted up even to the skies. (Isa 13:14; Jer 50:8; Jer 50:16; Jer 51:6; Jer 51:45; Re 18:5)10The Lord has brought about our vindication; come, let us declare in Zion the work of the Lord our God. (Ps 37:6; Jer 23:6; Jer 50:28)11“Sharpen the arrows! Take up the shields! The Lord has stirred up the spirit of the kings of the Medes, because his purpose concerning Babylon is to destroy it, for that is the vengeance of the Lord, the vengeance for his temple. (2Ki 17:6; Isa 13:17; Jer 46:4; Jer 50:28; Jer 50:45; Da 5:31)12“Set up a standard against the walls of Babylon; make the watch strong; set up watchmen; prepare the ambushes; for the Lord has both planned and done what he spoke concerning the inhabitants of Babylon. (Isa 13:2; Isa 21:5; Jer 50:2; Jer 51:11; Jer 51:27; Na 2:1)13O you who dwell by many waters, rich in treasures, your end has come; the thread of your life is cut. (Jer 51:36; Re 17:1; Re 17:15)14The Lord of hosts has sworn by himself: Surely I will fill you with men, as many as locusts, and they shall raise the shout of victory over you. (Ps 105:34; Isa 16:9; Jer 22:5; Joe 1:4; Joe 2:25)15“It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. (Jer 10:12)16When he utters his voice there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses.17Every man is stupid and without knowledge; every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, for his images are false, and there is no breath in them.18They are worthless, a work of delusion; at the time of their punishment they shall perish.19Not like these is he who is the portion of Jacob, for he is the one who formed all things, and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance; the Lord of hosts is his name.20“You are my hammer and weapon of war: with you I break nations in pieces; with you I destroy kingdoms; (Da 7:7; Da 7:19; Da 7:23)21with you I break in pieces the horse and his rider; with you I break in pieces the chariot and the charioteer;22with you I break in pieces man and woman; with you I break in pieces the old man and the youth; with you I break in pieces the young man and the young woman; (2Ch 36:17; Isa 13:16; Isa 13:18)23with you I break in pieces the shepherd and his flock; with you I break in pieces the farmer and his team; with you I break in pieces governors and commanders. (Jer 51:28; Jer 51:57)24“I will repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea before your very eyes for all the evil that they have done in Zion, declares the Lord. (Ps 137:8; Jer 50:15; Jer 50:29)25“Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain, declares the Lord, which destroys the whole earth; I will stretch out my hand against you, and roll you down from the crags, and make you a burnt mountain. (Re 8:8; Re 18:8)26No stone shall be taken from you for a corner and no stone for a foundation, but you shall be a perpetual waste, declares the Lord. (Ps 118:22; Isa 28:16; Jer 25:12; Jer 51:62)27“Set up a standard on the earth; blow the trumpet among the nations; prepare the nations for war against her; summon against her the kingdoms, Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz; appoint a marshal against her; bring up horses like bristling locusts. (Ge 8:4; Ge 10:3; 2Ki 19:37; 1Ch 1:6; Jer 4:5; Jer 6:4; Jer 25:14; Jer 50:41; Jer 51:12; Jer 51:14; Na 3:17)28Prepare the nations for war against her, the kings of the Medes, with their governors and deputies, and every land under their dominion. (Jer 34:1; Jer 51:11; Jer 51:23; Jer 51:27; Jer 51:57)29The land trembles and writhes in pain, for the Lord’s purposes against Babylon stand, to make the land of Babylon a desolation, without inhabitant. (Jer 8:16; Jer 50:45)30The warriors of Babylon have ceased fighting; they remain in their strongholds; their strength has failed; they have become women; her dwellings are on fire; her bars are broken. (Isa 19:16; Isa 47:14; Jer 50:37; La 2:9; Na 3:13)31One runner runs to meet another, and one messenger to meet another, to tell the king of Babylon that his city is taken on every side; (2Ch 30:6)32the fords have been seized, the marshes are burned with fire, and the soldiers are in panic. (Jer 51:41)33For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor at the time when it is trodden; yet a little while and the time of her harvest will come.” (Isa 17:5; Isa 21:10; Joe 3:13; Re 14:15)34“Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon has devoured me; he has crushed me; he has made me an empty vessel; he has swallowed me like a monster; he has filled his stomach with my delicacies; he has rinsed me out. (Ps 74:13; Jer 50:17; Jer 51:44)35The violence done to me and to my kinsmen be upon Babylon,” let the inhabitant of Zion say. “My blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea,” let Jerusalem say.36Therefore thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will plead your cause and take vengeance for you. I will dry up her sea and make her fountain dry, (Isa 44:27; Jer 50:34; Jer 50:38; Jer 51:13)37and Babylon shall become a heap of ruins, the haunt of jackals, a horror and a hissing, without inhabitant. (Isa 13:22; Isa 25:2; Jer 18:16)38“They shall roar together like lions; they shall growl like lions’ cubs. (Am 3:4; Na 2:11)39While they are inflamed I will prepare them a feast and make them drunk, that they may become merry, then sleep a perpetual sleep and not wake, declares the Lord. (Isa 21:5; Jer 51:57)40I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams and male goats.41“How Babylon is taken, the praise of the whole earth seized! How Babylon has become a horror among the nations! (Isa 13:19; Jer 25:26; Jer 51:32)42The sea has come up on Babylon; she is covered with its tumultuous waves. (Isa 8:7; Jer 51:55)43Her cities have become a horror, a land of drought and a desert, a land in which no one dwells, and through which no son of man passes. (Jer 50:12; Jer 50:40)44And I will punish Bel in Babylon, and take out of his mouth what he has swallowed. The nations shall no longer flow to him; the wall of Babylon has fallen. (Ezr 1:7; Isa 2:2; Isa 46:1; Jer 31:12; Jer 50:2; Jer 51:34; Jer 51:58)45“Go out of the midst of her, my people! Let every one save his life from the fierce anger of the Lord! (Jer 12:13; Jer 51:6)46Let not your heart faint, and be not fearful at the report heard in the land, when a report comes in one year and afterward a report in another year, and violence is in the land, and ruler is against ruler. (Isa 37:7; Mt 24:6)47“Therefore, behold, the days are coming when I will punish the images of Babylon; her whole land shall be put to shame, and all her slain shall fall in the midst of her. (Jer 50:2; Jer 50:12)48Then the heavens and the earth, and all that is in them, shall sing for joy over Babylon, for the destroyers shall come against them out of the north, declares the Lord. (Isa 44:23; Jer 50:3; Re 18:20)49Babylon must fall for the slain of Israel, just as for Babylon have fallen the slain of all the earth. (Jer 51:24)50“You who have escaped from the sword, go, do not stand still! Remember the Lord from far away, and let Jerusalem come into your mind: (Jer 44:28)51‘We are put to shame, for we have heard reproach; dishonor has covered our face, for foreigners have come into the holy places of the Lord’s house.’ (Ps 44:15; Jer 7:19; La 1:10)52“Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will execute judgment upon her images, and through all her land the wounded shall groan. (Job 24:12; Jer 51:47; Eze 26:15)53Though Babylon should mount up to heaven, and though she should fortify her strong height, yet destroyers would come from me against her, declares the Lord. (Isa 14:13; Jer 49:16; Jer 51:25)54“A voice! A cry from Babylon! The noise of great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans! (Jer 50:22)55For the Lord is laying Babylon waste and stilling her mighty voice. Their waves roar like many waters; the noise of their voice is raised, (Jer 5:22; Jer 51:42)56for a destroyer has come upon her, upon Babylon; her warriors are taken; their bows are broken in pieces, for the Lord is a God of recompense; he will surely repay. (Isa 59:18; Jer 50:15)57I will make drunk her officials and her wise men, her governors, her commanders, and her warriors; they shall sleep a perpetual sleep and not wake, declares the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts. (Jer 46:18; Jer 51:23; Jer 51:28; Jer 51:39)58“Thus says the Lord of hosts: The broad wall of Babylon shall be leveled to the ground, and her high gates shall be burned with fire. The peoples labor for nothing, and the nations weary themselves only for fire.” (Isa 45:2; Jer 50:15; Jer 51:44; Jer 51:64; Hab 2:13)59The word that Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah, son of Mahseiah, when he went with Zedekiah king of Judah to Babylon, in the fourth year of his reign. Seraiah was the quartermaster. (Jer 28:1; Jer 32:12)60Jeremiah wrote in a book all the disaster that should come upon Babylon, all these words that are written concerning Babylon. (Jer 36:2; Jer 50:1; Jer 51:1)61And Jeremiah said to Seraiah: “When you come to Babylon, see that you read all these words,62and say, ‘O Lord, you have said concerning this place that you will cut it off, so that nothing shall dwell in it, neither man nor beast, and it shall be desolate forever.’ (Jer 50:3; Jer 51:26)63When you finish reading this book, tie a stone to it and cast it into the midst of the Euphrates, (Jer 19:10; Re 18:21)64and say, ‘Thus shall Babylon sink, to rise no more, because of the disaster that I am bringing upon her, and they shall become exhausted.’” Thus far are the words of Jeremiah. (Jer 51:58; Jer 51:63)