Jeremiah 51
Contemporary English Version

Babylon Will Be Destroyed

1I, the Lord, am sending

a wind+ to destroy

the people of Babylonia+

and Babylon, its capital.

2Foreign soldiers will come

from every direction,

and when the disaster is over,

Babylonia will be empty

and worthless.

3I will tell these soldiers,

“Attack quickly,

before the Babylonians

can string their bows

or put on their armor.+

Kill their best soldiers

and destroy their army!”

4Their troops will fall wounded

in the streets of Babylon.

5Everyone in Israel and Judah

is guilty.

But I, the Lord All-Powerful,

their holy God,

have not abandoned them.

6Get 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.

7 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.

8But suddenly, Babylon will fall

and be destroyed.

I, the Lord, told the foreigners+

who lived there,

“Weep for the city!

Get medicine for its wounds;

maybe they will heal.”

9The 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.”

10The people of Israel said,

“Tell everyone in Zion!

The Lord has taken revenge

for what Babylon did to us.”

The Lord Wants Babylon Destroyed

11I, the Lord,

want Babylon destroyed,

because its army

destroyed my temple.

So, you kings of Media,+

sharpen your arrows

and pick up your shields.

12Raise 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.+

14I, the Lord All-Powerful,

swear by my own life

that enemy soldiers

will fill your streets

like a swarm of locusts.+

They will shout

and celebrate their victory.

A Hymn of Praise

(Jeremiah 10.12-16)

15God used his wisdom and power

to create the earth

and spread out the heavens.

16The 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.

17People who make idols

are stupid!

They will be disappointed,

because their false gods

cannot breathe.

18Idols are merely a joke,

and when the time is right,

they will be destroyed.

19But 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:

20Babylonia, you were my hammer;

I used you to pound nations

and break kingdoms,

21to shatter cavalry and chariots,

22as well as men and women,

young and old,

23shepherds and their flocks,

farmers and their oxen,

and governors and leaders.

24But now, my people will watch,

while I repay you

for what you did to Zion.

25You 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.

26Your 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:

27Signal the nations

to get ready to attack.

Raise a flag and blow a trumpet.

Send for the armies of Ararat,

Minni, and Ashkenaz.+

Choose a commander;

let the cavalry attack

like a swarm of locusts.

28Tell the kings and governors,

the leaders and the people

of the kingdoms of the Medes

to prepare for war!

29The 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.

30The Babylonian soldiers

have lost their strength

and courage.+

They stay in their fortresses,

unable to fight,

while the enemy breaks through

the city gates,

then sets their homes on fire.

31One messenger after another

announces to the king,

“Babylon has been captured!

32The enemy now controls

the river crossings!

The marshes+ are on fire!

Your army has panicked!”

33I 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.”+

Babylonia Will Pay!

34The people of Jerusalem say,

“King Nebuchadnezzar+

made us panic.

That monster stuffed himself

with us and our treasures,

leaving us empty—

he gobbled up

what he wanted

and spit out the rest.

35The people of Babylonia

harmed some of us+

and killed others.

Now, Lord, make them pay!”

The Lord Will Take Revenge on Babylon

36My people, I am on your side,

and I will take revenge

on Babylon.

I will cut off its water supply,

and its stream+ will dry up.

37Babylon will be a pile of rubble

where only jackals+ live,

and everyone will be afraid

to walk among the ruins.

38The Babylonians roar and growl

like young lions.

39And since they are hungry,

I will give them a banquet.

They will celebrate, get drunk,

then fall asleep,

never to wake up!

40I will lead them away to die,

like sheep, lambs, and goats

being led to the butcher.

41All nations now praise Babylon,+

but when it is captured,

those same nations

will be horrified.

42Babylon's enemies will rise

like ocean waves

and flood the city.

43Horrible destruction will strike

the nearby towns.

The land will become

a barren desert,

where no one can live

or even travel.

44I will punish Marduk,+

the god of Babylon,

and make him vomit out

everything he gobbled up.

Then nations will no longer

bring him gifts,

and Babylon's walls will crumble.

The Lord Offers Hope to His People

45Get out of Babylon, my people,

and run for your lives,

before I strike the city

in my anger!

46Don't be afraid or lose hope,

though year after year

there are rumors

of leaders fighting for control

in the city of Babylon.

47The 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.

50My 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!

51You feel ashamed and disgraced,

because foreigners have entered

my sacred temple.

52Soon I will send a war

to punish Babylon's idols

and leave its wounded people

moaning everywhere.

53Although 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:

54Listen to the cries for help

coming from Babylon.

Everywhere in the country

the sounds of destruction

can be heard.

55The shouts of the enemy,

like crashing ocean waves,

will drown out Babylon's cries

as I level the city.

56An 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.

57I, 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.

58The 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

59During Zedekiah's+ fourth year as king of Judah, he went to Babylon. And Baruch's brother Seraiah+ went along as the officer in charge of arranging for places to stay overnight.+

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

When you get to Babylon, read this scroll aloud, 62then 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.


51.1 wind: Or “spirit.”
51.1 Babylonia: The Hebrew text has “Leb-Qamai,” a secret way of writing “Babylonia.”
51.3 I will tell … armor: Or “Attack quickly! String your bows and put on your armor.”
51.8 the foreigners: Or “my people.”
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).
51.13 for you to die: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
51.14 locusts: See the note at 46.22.
51.27 Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz: Kingdoms to the north of Babylonia that were part of the Median Empire (see also verse 28).
51.30 have lost their strength and courage: Hebrew “have lost their strength and have become like women.”
51.32 marshes: The tall grass in the marshes could have provided hiding places for people trying to escape from Babylon.
51.33 leveled … harvest time: A threshing place with a dirt surface had to be leveled and packed down before it could be used.
51.34 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2.
51.35 harmed some of us: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
51.36 stream: Probably the Euphrates River.
51.37 jackals: See the note at 9.11.
51.41 Babylon: The Hebrew text has “Sheshach,” a secret way of writing the name “Babylon.”
51.44 Marduk: Hebrew “Bel” (see the note at 50.2).
51.59 Zedekiah's: See the note at 1.3.
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).
51.59 arranging for places to stay overnight: Hebrew and one ancient translation; two ancient translations, “the tax money.”
51.60 scroll: See the note at 30.1,2.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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