The Word of the Lord to Jeremiah

Chapter 51

The severe judgment of God against Babylon in revenge of Israel, 1-58. Jeremiah delivers the book of this prophecy to Seraiah, to be cast into the Euphrates, in token of the perpetual sinking of Babylon, 59-64.

1 Thus says the LORD:

"Behold, I will raise up a destroying wind against Babylon/
and against those who dwell in the midst of those who rise against me,

And will send fanners to Babylon who shall fan her/
and shall empty her land./
For in the day of trouble they shall be against her on all sides.

Against him who bends, let the archer bend his bow,/
and against him who lifts himself up in his coat of mail./
And do not spare her young men./
Utterly destroy all her host.

Thus the slain shall fall in the land of the Chaldeans,/
and those who are thrust through in her streets."

For Israel has not been forsaken,/
nor Judah by his God, by the LORD of hosts,/
though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.

Flee from the midst of Babylon/
and deliver every man his soul./
Do not be cut off in her iniquity,/
for this is the time of the LORD'S vengeance./
He will render to her a recompense.

Babylon has been a golden cup in the LORD'S hand,/
who made all the earth drunken./
The nations have drank of her wine;/
therefore, the nations are mad.

Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed./
Howl for her./
Take balm for her pain./
It may be that she may be healed.

We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed./
Forsake her, and let us each go into his own country,/
for her judgment reaches to heaven/
and is lifted even to the skies.

10 The LORD has brought forth our righteousness./
Come, and let us declare in Zion/
the work of the LORD our God.

11 Make the arrows bright./
Gather the shields./
The LORD has raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes,/
for his purpose is against Babylon to destroy it,/
because it is the vengeance of the LORD,/
the vengeance of his temple.

12 Set up the standard upon the walls of Babylon./
Make the watch strong./
Set up the watchmen./
Prepare the ambushes./
For the LORD has both devised and done/
that which he spoke against the inhabitants of Babylon.

13 O you who dwell upon many waters,/
abundant in treasures,/
your end has come,/
and the measure of your covetousness.

14 The LORD of hosts has sworn by himself, saying,

"Surely I will fill you with men,/
as with licking-locusts,/
and they shall raise a shout against you."

15 He has made the earth by his power,/
he has established the world by his wisdom/
and has stretched out the heaven by his understanding.

16 When he utters his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens,/
and he causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth./
He makes lightnings with rain/
and brings forth the wind out of his treasures.

17 Every man is brutish by his knowledge./
Every founder is confounded by the engraved image,/
for his molten image is falsehood/
and there is no breath in them.

18 They are vanity, the work of errors./
In the time of their visitation they shall perish.

19 The portion of Jacob is not like them,/
for he is the former of all things,/
and Israel is the rod of his inheritance./
The LORD of hosts is his name.

20 "You are my battle-ax and weapons of war./
For with you I will break in pieces the nations,/
with you I will destroy kingdoms,

21 With you I will break in pieces the horse and his rider,/
with you I will break in pieces the chariot and its rider,

22 With you I will break in pieces man and woman,/
with you I will break in pieces old and young,/
with you I will break in pieces the young man and the virgin,

23 With you I will break in pieces the shepherd and his flock,/
with you I will break in pieces the farmer and his yoke of oxen,/
and with you I will break in pieces captains and rulers.

24 And I will render to Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea/
all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight,"/
says the LORD.

25 "Behold, I am against you,/
O destroying mountain," says the LORD,/
"which destroys all the earth./
And I will stretch out my hand upon you,/
roll you down from the rocks,/
and make you a burnt mountain.

26 And they shall not take of you a stone for a corner,/
nor a stone for foundations,/
but you shall be desolate forever," says the LORD.

27 Set up a standard in the land./
Blow the trumpet among the nations./
Prepare the nations against her./
Call together against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashchenaz./
Appoint a captain against her./
Cause the horses to come up as the rough licking-locusts.

28 Prepare against her the nations with the kings of Media,/
her captains, and all her rulers,/
and all the land of his dominion.

29 And the land shall tremble and sorrow,/
for every purpose of the LORD shall be performed against Babylon/
to make the land of Babylon a desolation without an inhabitant.

30 The mighty men of Babylon have forborne to fight./
They have remained in their holds./
Their might has failed./
They became as women./
They have burned her dwelling-places./
Her bars are broken.

31 One post shall run to meet another/
and one messenger to meet another/
to show the king of Babylon that his city is taken at one end,

32 And that the passages are stopped,/
the reeds they have burned with fire,/
and the men of war are terrified.

33 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel:

"The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing-floor,/
it is time to thresh her./
Yet a little while and the time of her harvest shall come."

34 "Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon has devoured me./
He has crushed me./
He has made me an empty vessel./
He has swallowed me up like a dragon./
He has filled his belly with my delicacies./
He has cast me out.

35 May the violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon,"/
the inhabitant of Zion shall say./
"May my blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea,"/
Jerusalem shall say.

36 Therefore, thus says the LORD:

"Behold, I will plead your cause/
and take vengeance for you,/
and I will dry up her sea/
and make her springs dry.

37 And Babylon shall become heaps,/
a dwelling-place for jackals,/
an astonishment, and a hissing,/
without an inhabitant.

38 They shall roar together like lions./
They shall yell as lions' whelps.

39 In their heat I will make their feasts,/
and I will make them drunken/
so that they may rejoice/
and sleep a perpetual sleep and not wake,"/
says the LORD.

40 "I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter,/
like rams with male goats.

41 How Sheshach is taken!/
And how the praise of the whole earth is surprised!/
How Babylon has become an astonishment among the nations!

42 The sea has come up upon Babylon./
She is covered with the multitude of its waves.

43 Her cities are a desolation,/
a dry land, and a wilderness,/
a land in which no man dwells,/
neither does any son of man pass by it.

44 And I will punish Bel in Babylon,/
and I will bring forth out of his mouth that which he has swallowed./
And the nations shall not flow together anymore to him./
Even the wall of Babylon shall fall.

45 My people, depart from the midst of her,/
and each of you deliver his soul/
from the fierce anger of the LORD.

46 And lest your heart should faint and you should fear/
for the rumor that shall be heard in the land,/
a rumor shall both come one year,/
and after that in another year a rumor shall come,/
and violence in the land, ruler against ruler.

47 Therefore, behold, the days come/
that I will do judgment upon the engraved images of Babylon./
And her whole land shall be confounded,/
and all her slain shall fall in the midst of her.

48 Then the heaven and the earth and all that is in them/
shall sing for Babylon,/
for the destroyers shall come to her/
from the north," says the LORD.

49 As Babylon has caused the slain of Israel to fall,/
so at Babylon the slain of all the earth shall fall.

50 You who have escaped the sword,/
go away, do not stand still./
Remember the LORD afar off/
and let Jerusalem come into your mind.

51 We are confounded because we have heard reproach./
Shame has covered our faces,/
for strangers have come/
into the sanctuaries of the LORD'S house.

52 "Therefore, behold, the days come," says the LORD,/
"that I will do judgment upon her engraved images./
And through all her land the wounded shall groan.

53 Though Babylon should mount up to heaven,/
and though she should fortify the height of her strength,/
yet from me destroyers shall come to her," says the LORD.

54 A sound of a cry comes from Babylon,/
and great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans,

55 Because the LORD has laid waste Babylon/
and destroyed out of her the great voice./
When her waves roar like great waters,/
a noise of their voice is uttered,

56 Because the destroyer has come upon her, even upon Babylon,/
and her mighty men are taken,/
every one of their bows is broken,/
for the LORD God of recompenses shall surely requite.

57 "And I will make drunk her princes, her wise men,/
her captains, her rulers, and her mighty men./
And they shall sleep a perpetual sleep and not wake,"/
says the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.

58 Thus says the LORD of hosts:

"The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken,/
and her high gates shall be burned with fire./
The people shall labor in vain,/
and the nations for the fire,/
and they shall be weary."

59 This is the word which Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, when he went with Zedekiah the king of Judah into Babylon in the fourth year of his reign. And this Seraiah was a quiet prince. 60 So Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon Babylon, even all these words that are written against Babylon. 61 And Jeremiah said to Seraiah, "When you come to Babylon and see, and read all these words, 62 You shall say, 'O LORD, you have spoken against this place to cut it off so that no one shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but that it shall be desolate forever.' 63 And it shall be, when you have made an end of reading this book, that you shall bind a stone to it and cast it into the midst of the Euphrates, 64 And you shall say, 'Thus Babylon shall sink and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her, and they shall be weary.'"

[Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.]


Matthew Henry Commentary - Jeremiah, Chapter 51[➚]


[v.14] - "licking-locusts" - See the note for Joel 1:4.

[v.27] - "licking-locusts" - See the note for Joel 1:4.