1The Lord says,
“I will cause a powerful, destructive
wind to blow against Babylon and the Babylonians.#51:1 Babylonians Literally, “Leb Kammai.” In Hebrew this was a secret way of writing “Chaldeans.”
2I will send foreigners to winnow#51:2 winnow To separate grain from the hulls around it. Farmers threw the grain with the hulls into the air. The wind blew the hulls away and left the good grain. Babylon,
and they will take everything from the city.
Armies will surround the city,
and there will be terrible destruction.
3The Babylonian soldiers will not get to use their bows and arrows.
They will not even put on their armor.
Don’t feel sorry for the soldiers of Babylon.
Destroy her army completely!
4Babylon’s soldiers will be killed in the land of the Chaldeans.
They will be badly wounded in the streets of Babylon.”
5The Lord All-Powerful did not leave Israel and Judah alone, like a widow.
No, they are guilty of leaving the Holy One of Israel.
Their God did not leave them.
They left him!
6Run away from Babylon.
Run to save your lives!
Don’t stay and be killed because of Babylon’s sins!
It is time for the Lord to punish the Babylonians for the bad things they have done.
Babylon will get the punishment that she should have.
7Babylon was like a golden cup in the Lord’S hand.
Babylon made the whole world drunk.
The nations drank Babylon’s wine,
so they went crazy.
8But Babylon will suddenly fall and be broken.
Cry for her!
Get medicine for her pain,
and maybe she can be healed.
9We tried to heal Babylon,
but she cannot be healed.
So let us leave her,
and let each of us go to our own country.
God in heaven will decide Babylon’s punishment.
He will decide what will happen to Babylon.
10The Lord got even for us.
Come, let’s tell about that in Zion.
Let’s tell what the Lord our God has done.
11Sharpen the arrows!
Get your shields!
The Lord has stirred up the kings of the Medes
because he wants to destroy Babylon.
The army from Babylon destroyed his Temple in Jerusalem,
so he will give them the punishment they deserve.
12Lift up a flag against the walls of Babylon.
Bring more guards.
Put the watchmen in their places.
Get ready for a secret attack.
The Lord will do what he has planned.
He will do what he said he would do against the people of Babylon.
13Babylon, you live near much water.
You are rich with treasures, but your end as a nation has come.
It is time for you to be destroyed.
14The Lord All-Powerful used his name to make this promise:
“Babylon, I will fill you with so many enemy soldiers they will be like a cloud of locusts.
They will win their war against you.
They will stand over you shouting their victory cry.”
15God used his great power and made the earth.
He used his wisdom to build the world
and his understanding to stretch out the skies.
16When he thunders, the waters in the skies roar.
He sends clouds all over the earth.
He sends lightning with the rain.
He brings out the wind from his storehouses.
17But people are so stupid.
They don’t understand what God has done.
Skilled workers make statues of false gods.
Those statues are only false gods.
They show how foolish those workers are.
Those statues are not alive.
18Those idols are worthless.
People made them, and they are nothing but a joke.
Their time of judgment will come,
and those idols will be destroyed.
19But God, who is Jacob’s Portion, is not like those worthless statues.
People didn’t make God;
God made his people.
He made everything.
His name is the Lord All-Powerful.
20The Lord says, “Babylon, you are my club.
I used you to smash nations.
I used you to destroy kingdoms.
21I used you to smash horse and rider.
I used you to smash chariot and driver.
22I used you to smash men and women.
I used you to smash men, old and young.
I used you to smash young men and young women.
23I used you to smash shepherds and flocks.
I used you to smash farmers and oxen.
I used you to smash governors and important officials.
24But I will repay Babylonia and all the Babylonians for all the evil things they did to Zion.
I will pay them back so that you can see it, Judah.”
This is what the Lord said.
25The Lord says,
“Babylon, you are like a volcano
that destroys the whole country.
But I have turned against you,
and I will turn you into a burned-out mountain.
26People will not take stones from Babylon to use as the foundation of a building.
That is because they will not find any stones big enough for cornerstones.
Your city will be a pile of broken rocks forever.”
This is what the Lord said.
27“Lift up the war flag in the land!
Blow the trumpet in all the nations!
Prepare the nations for war against Babylon.
Call these kingdoms to come fight against Babylon:
Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz.
Choose a commander to lead the army against her.
Send so many horses that they are like a swarm of locusts.
28Get the nations ready for battle against her.
Get the kings of the Medes ready.
Get their governors and all their important officials ready.
Get all the countries they rule ready for battle against Babylon.
29The land shakes and moves as if it is in pain.
It will shake when the Lord does to Babylon what he plans—
to make the land of Babylon an empty desert,
a place where no one will live.
30Babylon’s soldiers have stopped fighting.
They stay in their forts.
Their strength is gone.
They have become like frightened women.
Babylon’s houses are burning.
The bars of her gates are broken.
31One messenger follows another.
Messenger follows messenger.
They announce to the king of Babylon
that his whole city has been captured.
32The places where people cross the rivers have been captured.
The swamplands are burning.
All of Babylon’s soldiers are afraid.”
33This is what the Lord All-Powerful, the God of the people of Israel, says:
“Babylon is like a threshing floor,
where people beat the grain at harvest time.
And the time to beat Babylon is coming soon.
34“King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon destroyed us in the past.
In the past he hurt us.
In the past he took our people away,
and we became like an empty jar.
He took the best we had.
He was like a giant monster that ate everything until it was full.
He took the best we had
and then threw us away.
35Babylon did terrible things to hurt us.
Now I want those things to happen to Babylon.”
The people living in Zion said,
“The people of Babylon are guilty of killing our people.
Now they are being punished for the bad things they did.”
The city of Jerusalem said those things.
36So this is what the Lord says:
“I will defend you, Judah.
I will make sure that Babylon is punished.
I will dry up Babylon’s sea.
And I will make her water springs become dry.
37Babylon will become a pile of ruined buildings,
a place fit only for wild dogs.
People will be shocked and shake their heads at what is left there.
It will be a place where no one lives.
38“The people of Babylon are like roaring young lions.
They growl like baby lions.
39They are acting like powerful lions.
I will give a party for them.
I will make them drunk.
They will laugh and have a good time,
and then they will sleep forever.
They will never wake up.”
This is what the Lord said.
40“Babylon will be like sheep, rams, and goats waiting to be killed.
I will lead them to the slaughter.
41“Sheshach#51:41 Sheshach Jeremiah used a special code to create this secret name for Babylon. will be defeated.
The best and proudest country of the whole earth will be taken captive.
People from other nations will look at Babylon,
and what they see will make them afraid.
42The sea will rise over Babylon.
Its roaring waves will cover her.
43Babylon will be like a dry, desert land.
Its cities will be empty ruins.
No one will live in those cities.
No one will even travel through them.
44I will punish the false god Bel in Babylon.
I will make him vomit out the people he swallowed.
The wall around Babylon will fall,
and other nations will stop coming to Babylon.
45Come out of the city of Babylon, my people.
Run to save your lives.
Run from the Lord’S great anger.
46“Don’t be sad, my people.
Rumors will spread, but don’t be afraid.
One rumor comes this year.
Another rumor will come next year.
There will be rumors about terrible fighting in the country.
There will be rumors about rulers fighting against other rulers.
47The time will surely come when I will punish the false gods of Babylon,
and the whole land of Babylon will be put to shame.
There will be many dead people,
lying in the streets of that city.
48Then heaven and earth and all that is in them
will shout with joy about Babylon.
They will shout because an army came from the north
and fought against Babylon.”
This is what the Lord said.
49“Babylon killed people from Israel.
Babylon killed people from every place on earth.
So Babylon must fall!
50You people escaped the swords.
You must hurry and leave Babylon.
Don’t wait!
You are in a faraway land,
but remember the Lord where you are and remember Jerusalem.”
51“We people of Judah are ashamed.
We have been insulted,
because strangers have gone into
the holy places of the Lord’S Temple.”
52The Lord says, “The time is coming,
when I will punish the idols of Babylon.
At that time wounded people will cry
with pain everywhere in that country.
53Babylon might grow until she touches the sky.
Babylon might make her forts strong,
but I will send people to fight against that city.
And they will destroy her.”
This is what the Lord said.
54“We can hear people crying in Babylon.
We hear the sound of people destroying things in the land of Babylon.
55The Lord will destroy Babylon very soon.
He will stop the loud noises in that city.
Enemies will come roaring in like ocean waves.
People all around will hear that roar.
56The army will come and destroy Babylon.
Its soldiers will be captured, and their bows will be broken,
This will happen because the Lord punishes people for the bad things they do.
He gives them the full punishment they deserve.
57I will make Babylon’s wise men
and important officials drunk.
I will make the governors, officers,
and soldiers drunk too.
Then they will sleep forever.
They will never wake up.”
This is what the King said.
His name is the Lord All-Powerful.
58This is what the Lord All-Powerful says:
“Babylon’s thick, strong wall will be pulled down.
Her high gates will be burned.
The people of Babylon will work hard,
but it will not help.
They will get very tired trying to save the city.
But they will only be fuel for the flames.”
Jeremiah Sends a Message to Babylon
59This is the message that Jeremiah gave to the officer Seraiah#51:59 Seraiah Seraiah was a brother of Baruch, Jeremiah’s secretary. son of Neriah. Neriah was the son of Mahseiah. Seraiah went to Babylon with King Zedekiah of Judah. This happened in the fourth year that Zedekiah#51:59 the fourth year … Zedekiah That is, 594–593 B.C. was king of Judah. At that time Jeremiah gave this message to Seraiah, the officer. 60Jeremiah had written on a scroll all the terrible things that would happen to Babylon. He had written all these things about Babylon.
61Jeremiah said to Seraiah, “Seraiah, go to Babylon. Be sure to read this message so that all the people can hear you. 62Then say, ‘Lord, you have said that you will destroy this place, Babylon. You will destroy it so that no people or animals will live in it. This place will be an empty ruin forever.’ 63After you finish reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and throw it into the Euphrates River. 64Then say, ‘In the same way Babylon will sink. Babylon will rise no more. It will sink because of the terrible things that I will make happen here.’”
The words of Jeremiah end here.