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The Jewish Study Bible Contextualizes the Hebrew Bible with accompanying scholarly text on Jewish traditions and history.

Chapter 51

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Thus said the LORD:

1See, I am rousing a destructive wind Against Babylon and the inhabitants of Leb‐kamai. b Acipher for Kasdim, “Chaldea.” 2I will send strangers c Change of vocalization yields “winnowers.” against Babylon, and they shall winnow her. And they shall strip her land bare; They shall beset her on all sides On the day of disaster. 3Let d Some Heb. mss. and ancient versions read “Let not” here and in next line. the archer draw his bow, And let him stand ready in his coat of mail! Show no pity to her young men, Wipe out all her host! 4Let them fall slain in the land of Chaldea, Pierced through in her streets. 5For Israel and Judah were not bereft e Lit. “widowed.” Of their God the LORD of Hosts, But their land was filled with guilt Before the Holy One of Israel. 6Flee from the midst of Babylon And save your lives, each of you! Do not perish for her iniquity; For this is a time of vengeance for the LORD, He will deal retribution to her. 7Babylon was a golden cup in the LORD's hand, It made the whole earth drunk; The nations drank of her wine— That is why the nations are mad. 8Suddenly Babylon has fallen and is shattered; Howl over her! Get balm for her wounds: Perhaps she can be healed. 9We tried to cure Babylon But she was incurable. Let us leave her and go, Each to his own land; For her punishment reaches to heaven, It is as high as the sky. 10The LORD has proclaimed our vindication; Come, let us recount in Zion The deeds of the LORD our God. 11Polish the arrows, Fill the quivers! The LORD has roused the spirit of the kings of Media, For His plan against Babylon is to destroy her. This is the vengeance of the LORD, Vengeance for His Temple. 12Raise a standard against the walls of Babylon! Set up a blockade; station watchmen; Prepare those in ambush. For the LORD has both planned and performed What He decreed against the inhabitants of Babylon. 13O you who dwell by great waters, With vast storehouses, Your time is come, a‐ Meaning of Heb. uncertain. the hour of your end. ‐a Lit. “At the sound of His making.” 14The LORD of Hosts has sworn by Himself: I will fill you with men like a locust swarm, They will raise a shout against you. 15He made the earth by His might, Established the world by His wisdom, And by His understanding stretched out the skies. 16 a‐ Lit. “At the sound of His making.” When He makes His voice heard, ‐a Lit. “At the sound of His making.” There is a rumbling of waters in the skies; He makes vapors rise from the end of the earth, He makes lightning for the rain, And brings forth wind from His treasuries. 17Every man is proved dull, without knowledge; Every goldsmith is put to shame because of the idol, For his molten image is a deceit— There is no breath in them. 18They are delusion, a work of mockery; In their hour of doom, they shall perish. 19Not like these in the Portion of Jacob, For it is He who formed all things; And [Israel is] His very own tribe. LORD of Hosts is His name. 20You are My war club, [My] weapons of battle; With you I clubbed nations, With you I destroyed kingdoms; 21With you I clubbed horse and rider, With you I clubbed chariot and driver, 22With you I clubbed man and woman, With you I clubbed graybeard and boy, With you I clubbed youth and maiden; 23With you I clubbed shepherd and flock, With you I clubbed plowman and team, With you I clubbed governors and prefects. 24But I will requite Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea For all the wicked things they did to Zion before your eyes

—declares the LORD.

25See, I will deal with you, O mountain of the destroyer

—declares the LORD—

Destroyer of the whole earth! I will stretch out My hand against you And roll you down from the crags, And make you a burnt‐out mountain. 26They shall never take from you A cornerstone or foundation stone; You shall be a desolation for all time

—declares the LORD.

27Raise a standard on earth, Sound a horn among the nations, Appoint nations against her, Assemble kingdoms against her— Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz— Designate a marshal against her, Bring up horses like swarming a Meaning of Heb. uncertain. locusts! 28Appoint nations for war against her— The kings of Media, Her governors and all her prefects, And all the lands they rule! 29Then the earth quakes and writhes, For the LORD's purpose is fulfilled against Babylon, To make the land of Babylon A waste without inhabitant. 30The warriors of Babylon stop fighting, They sit in the strongholds, Their might is dried up, They become women. Her dwellings are set afire, Her bars are broken. 31Runner dashes to meet runner, Messenger to meet messenger, To report to the king of Babylon That his city is captured, from end to end. 32The fords are captured, And the swamp thickets a Meaning of Heb. uncertain. are consumed in fire; And the fighting men are in panic. 33For thus said the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel: Fair Babylon is like a threshing floor Ready to be trodden; In a little while her harvesttime will come. 34“Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon Devoured me and discomfited me; He swallowed me like a dragon, He filled his belly with my dainties, And set me down like an empty dish; Then he b‐ Meaning of Heb. uncertain. rinsed me out. ‐b Meaning of Heb. uncertain. 35Let the violence done me and my kindred Be upon Babylon,” Says the inhabitant of Zion; “And let my blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea,” Says Jerusalem. 36Assuredly, thus said the LORD: I am going to uphold your cause And take vengeance for you; I will dry up her sea And make her fountain run dry. 37Babylon shall become rubble, A den for jackals, An object of horror and hissing, a See note at 18.16 . Without inhabitant. 38Like lions, they roar together, They growl like lion cubs. 39 b‐ Emendation yields “With poison [so Syriac] will I set out their drink / And get them drunk till they fall unconscious” (so ancient versions). When they are heated, I will set out their drink And get them drunk, that they may become hilarious ‐b Emendation yields “With poison [so Syriac] will I set out their drink / And get them drunk till they fall unconscious” (so ancient versions). And then sleep an endless sleep, Never to awake

—declares the LORD.

40I will bring them down like lambs for slaughter, Like rams and he‐goats. 41How has Sheshach c See note at 25.26 . been captured, The praise of the whole earth been taken! How has Babylon become A horror to the nations! 42The sea has risen over Babylon, She is covered by its roaring waves. 43Her towns are a desolation, A land of desert and steppe, A land no man lives in And no human passes through. 44And I will deal with Bel in Babylon, And make him disgorge what he has swallowed, And nations shall no more gaze on him with joy. Even the wall of Babylon shall fall. 45Depart from there, O My people, Save your lives, each of you, From the furious anger of the LORD. 46Do not be downhearted or afraid At the rumors heard in the land: A rumor will come one year, And another rumor the next year Of violence in the land, And of ruler against ruler. 47Assuredly, days are coming, When I will deal with Babylon's images; Her whole land shall be shamed, And all her slain shall fall in her midst. 48Heavens and earth and all that is in them Shall shout over Babylon; For the ravagers shall come upon her from the north

—declares the LORD.

49Yes, Babylon is to fall [For] the slain of Israel, As the slain of all the earth Have fallen through Babylon. 50You fugitives from the sword, Go, don't delay! Remember the LORD from afar, And call Jerusalem to mind. 51“We were shamed, we heard taunts; Humiliation covered our faces, When aliens entered The sacred areas of the LORD's House.” 52Assuredly, days are coming

—declares the LORD—

When I will deal with her images, And throughout her land the dying shall groan. 53Though Babylon should climb to the skies, Though she fortify her strongholds up to heaven, The ravagers would come against her from Me

—declares the LORD.

54Hark! an outcry from Babylon, Great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans. 55For the LORD is ravaging Babylon; He will put an end to her great din, Whose roar is like waves of mighty waters, Whose tumultuous noise resounds. 56For a ravager is coming upon Babylon, Her warriors shall be captured, their bows shall be snapped. For the LORD is a God of requital, He deals retribution. 57I will make her officials and wise men drunk, Her governors and prefects and warriors; And they shall sleep an endless sleep, Never to awaken

—declares the King whose name is LORD of Hosts

58Thus said the LORD of Hosts: Babylon's broad wall shall be knocked down, And her high gates set afire. Peoples shall labor for naught, And nations have wearied themselves for fire.

59The instructions that the prophet Jeremiah gave to Seraiah son of Neriah son of Mahseiah, when the latter went with a Emendation yields “at the instance of.” King Zedekiah of Judah to Babylonia, in the fourth year of [Zedekiah's] reign. Seraiah was quartermaster. b Meaning of Heb. uncertain. 60Jeremiah wrote down in one scroll all the disaster that would come upon Babylon, all these things that are written concerning Babylon. 61And Jeremiah said to Seraiah, “When you get to Babylon, see that you read out all these words. 62And say, ‘O LORD, You Yourself have declared concerning this place that it shall be cut off, without inhabitant, man or beast; that it shall be a desolation for all time.’ 63And when you finish reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and hurl it into the Euphrates. 64And say, ‘Thus shall Babylon sink and never rise again, because of the disaster that I will bring upon it. And [nations] shall have wearied themselves [for fire].’‐” c Cf. v. 58 , last line.

Thus far the words of Jeremiah.

Notes:

b Acipher for Kasdim, “Chaldea.”

c Change of vocalization yields “winnowers.”

d Some Heb. mss. and ancient versions read “Let not” here and in next line.

e Lit. “widowed.”

a‐a Meaning of Heb. uncertain.

a‐a Lit. “At the sound of His making.”

a Meaning of Heb. uncertain.

b‐b Meaning of Heb. uncertain.

a See note at 18.16 .

b‐b Emendation yields “With poison [so Syriac] will I set out their drink / And get them drunk till they fall unconscious” (so ancient versions).

c See note at 25.26 .

a Emendation yields “at the instance of.”

b Meaning of Heb. uncertain.

c Cf. v. 58 , last line.

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