Judgment on Babylon
1 This is what the LORD says:
“Behold, I will stir up against Babylon
and against the people of Leb-kamai a
the spirit of a destroyer.
2 I will send strangers to Babylon
to winnow her and empty her land;
for they will come against her from every side
in her day of disaster.
3 Do not let the archer bend his bow
or put on his armor.
Do not spare her young men;
devote all her army to destruction! b
and pierced through in her streets.
5 For Israel and Judah have not been abandoned
by their God, the LORD of Hosts,
though their land is full of guilt
before the Holy One of Israel.”
6 Flee from Babylon! Escape with your lives!
Do not be destroyed in her punishment.
For this is the time of the LORD’s vengeance;
He will pay her what she deserves.
7 Babylon was a gold cup in the hand of the LORD,
making the whole earth drunk.
The nations drank her wine;
therefore the nations have gone mad.
8 Suddenly Babylon has fallen and been shattered.
Wail for her; get her balm for her pain;
perhaps she can be healed.
9 “We tried to heal Babylon,
but she could not be healed.
Let each of us go to his own land,
for her judgment extends to the sky
and reaches to the clouds.”
10 “The LORD has brought forth our vindication;
come, let us tell in Zion
what the LORD our God has accomplished.”
11 Sharpen the arrows!
Fill the quivers! d
The LORD has aroused the spirit
of the kings of the Medes,
because His plan is aimed at Babylon
to destroy her,
for it is the vengeance of the LORD—
vengeance for His temple.
12 Raise a banner against the walls of Babylon;
post the guard;
station the watchmen;
prepare the ambush.
For the LORD has both devised and accomplished
what He spoke against the people of Babylon.
13 You who dwell by many waters,
rich in treasures,
your end has come;
the thread of your life is cut.
14 The LORD of Hosts has sworn by Himself:
“Surely I will fill you up with men as with locusts,
Praise to the God of Jacob
15 The LORD made the earth by His power;
He established the world by His wisdom
and stretched out the heavens by His understanding.
16 When He thunders,
the waters in the heavens roar;
He causes the clouds to rise
from the ends of the earth.
He generates the lightning with the rain
and brings forth the wind from His storehouses.
17 Every man is senseless and devoid of knowledge;
every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols.
For his molten images are a fraud,
and there is no breath in them.
18 They are worthless, a work to be mocked.
In the time of their punishment they will perish.
19 The Portion of Jacob is not like these,
for He is the Maker of all things,
and of the tribe of His inheritance—
the LORD of Hosts is His name.
20 “You are My war club,
My weapon for battle.
With you I shatter nations;
with you I bring kingdoms to ruin.
21 With you I shatter the horse and rider;
with you I shatter the chariot and driver.
22 With you I shatter man and woman;
with you I shatter the old man and the youth;
with you I shatter the young man and the maiden.
23 With you I shatter the shepherd and his flock;
with you I shatter the farmer and his oxen;
with you I shatter the governors and officials.
24 Before your very eyes I will repay
Babylon and all the dwellers of Chaldea e
for all the evil they have done in Zion,”
declares the LORD.
25 “Behold, I am against you,
O destroying mountain,
you who devastate the whole earth,
declares the LORD.
I will stretch out My hand against you;
I will roll you over the cliffs
and turn you into a charred mountain.
26 No one shall retrieve from you a cornerstone
or a foundation stone,
because you will become desolate forever,”
declares the LORD.
27 “Raise a banner in the land!
Blow the ram’s horn among the nations!
Prepare the nations against her.
Summon the kingdoms against her—
Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz.
Appoint a captain against her;
bring up horses like swarming locusts.
28 Prepare the nations for battle against her—
the kings of the Medes,
their governors and all their officials,
and all the lands they rule.
29 The earth quakes and writhes
because the LORD’s intentions against Babylon stand:
to make the land of Babylon a desolation,
30 The warriors of Babylon have stopped fighting;
they sit in their strongholds.
Their strength is exhausted;
they have become like women.
Babylon’s homes have been set ablaze,
the bars of her gates are broken.
31 One courier races to meet another,
and messenger follows messenger,
to announce to the king of Babylon
that his city has been captured from end to end.
32 The fords have been seized,
the marshes set on fire,
and the soldiers are terrified.”
33 For this is what the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, says:
“The Daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor
at the time it is trampled.
In just a little while
her harvest time will come.”
34 “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has devoured me;
he has crushed me.
He has set me aside like an empty vessel;
he has swallowed me like a monster;
he filled his belly with my delicacies
and vomited me out. f
35 May the violence done to me
and to my flesh
be upon Babylon,”
says the dweller of Zion.
“May my blood be on the dwellers of Chaldea,”
36 Therefore this is what the LORD says:
“Behold, I will plead your case
and take vengeance on your behalf;
I will dry up her sea
and make her springs run dry.
37 Babylon will become a heap of rubble,
a haunt for jackals, g
an object of horror and scorn,
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 may revel;
then they will fall asleep forever and never wake up,
declares the LORD.
40 I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter,
like rams with male goats.
The praise of all the earth has been seized.
What a horror Babylon has become
among the nations!
42 The sea has come up over Babylon;
she is covered in turbulent waves.
43 Her cities have become a desolation,
a dry and arid land,
a land where no one lives,
where no son of man passes through.
44 I will punish Bel in Babylon.
I will make him spew out what he swallowed.
The nations will no longer stream to him;
Save your lives, each of you,
from the fierce anger of the LORD.
46 Do not let your heart grow faint,
and do not be afraid
when the rumor is heard in the land;
for a rumor will come one year—
and then another the next year—
of violence in the land
and of ruler against ruler.
47 Therefore, behold, the days are coming
when I will punish the idols of Babylon.
Her entire land will suffer shame,
and all her slain will lie fallen within her.
48 Then heaven and earth and all that is in them
will shout for joy over Babylon
because the destroyers from the north
will come against her,”
declares the LORD.
49 “Babylon must fall
on account of the slain of Israel,
just as the slain of all the earth
have fallen because of Babylon.
50 You who have escaped the sword,
depart and do not linger!
Remember the LORD from far away,
and let Jerusalem come to mind.”
51 “We are ashamed because we have heard reproach;
disgrace has covered our faces,
because foreigners have entered
the holy places of the LORD’s house.”
52 “Therefore, behold, the 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,
the destroyers I send will come against her,”
declares the LORD.
54 “The sound of a cry
comes from Babylon,
the sound of great destruction
from the land of the Chaldeans!
55 For the LORD will destroy Babylon;
He will silence her mighty voice.
The waves will roar like great waters;
the tumult of their voices will resound.
56 For a destroyer is coming against her—
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 princes and wise men drunk,
along with her governors, officials, and warriors.
Then they will fall asleep forever
and not wake up,”
declares the King,
whose name is the LORD of Hosts.
58 This is what the LORD of Hosts says:
“Babylon’s thick walls will be leveled,
and her high gates consumed by fire.
So the labor of the people will be for nothing;
the nations will exhaust themselves to fuel the flames.”
Jeremiah’s Message to Seraiah
59 This is the message that Jeremiah the prophet gave to the quartermaster Seraiah son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, when he went to Babylon with King Zedekiah of Judah in the fourth year of Zedekiah’s reign. 60 Jeremiah had written on a single scroll about all the disaster that would come upon Babylon—all these words that had been written concerning Babylon.
61 And Jeremiah said to Seraiah, “When you get to Babylon, see that you read all these words aloud, 62 and say, ‘O LORD, You have promised to cut off this place so that no one will remain—neither man nor beast. Indeed, it will be desolate forever.’
63 When you finish reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and cast it into the Euphrates. 64 Then you are to say, ‘In the same way Babylon will sink and never rise again, because of the disaster I will bring upon her. And her people will grow weary.’ ”
Here end the words of Jeremiah.
1 a Leb-kamai is a code name for Chaldea, that is, Babylonia.
3 b Forms of the Hebrew cherem refer to the giving over of things or persons to the LORD, either by destroying them or by giving them as an offering.
4 c That is, the Babylonians; also in verse 54
11 d LXX and some translations of the Hebrew; literally Fill the hand with the shields! or Take up the shields!
24 e That is, Babylonia; also in verse 35
34 f Or expelled me
37 g Or serpents or dragons
41 h Sheshach is a code name for Babylon.
45 i See Revelation 18:4.