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Current Translation: New Living Translation
Current Chapter: Jeremiah 51
1This is what the LORD says: "I will stir up a destroyer against Babylon and the people of Babylonia.[footnote]
2Foreigners will come and winnow her, blowing her away as chaff. They will come from every side to rise against her in her day of trouble.
3Don't let the archers put on their armor or draw their bows. No one will be spared! Young and old alike will be completely destroyed.[footnote]
4They will fall dead in the land of the Babylonians, slashed to death in her streets.[footnote]
5For the LORD Almighty has not forsaken Israel and Judah. He is still their God, even though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel."
6Flee from Babylon! Save yourselves! Don't get trapped in her punishment! It is the LORD's time for vengeance; he will fully repay her.
7Babylon has been like a golden cup in the LORD's hands, a cup from which he made the whole earth drink and go mad.
8But now suddenly, Babylon, too, has fallen. Weep for her, and give her medicine. Perhaps she can yet be healed.
9We would have helped her if we could, but nothing can save her now. Let her go; abandon her. Return now to your own land, for her judgment will be so great it cannot be measured.
10The LORD has vindicated us. Come, let us announce in Jerusalem everything the LORD our God has done.[footnote]
11Sharpen the arrows! Lift up the shields! For the LORD has stirred up the spirit of the kings of the Medes to march against Babylon and destroy her. This is his vengeance against those who desecrated his Temple.
12Raise the battle flag against Babylon! Reinforce the guard and station the watchmen. Prepare an ambush, for the LORD will fulfill all his plans against Babylon.
13You are a city rich with water, a great center of commerce, but your end has come. The thread of your life is cut.
14The LORD Almighty has taken this vow and has sworn to it by his own name: "Your cities will be filled with enemies, like fields filled with locusts, and they will lift their shouts of triumph over you."
A Hymn of Praise to the LORD
15He made the earth by his power,
and he preserves it by his wisdom.
He has stretched out the heavens
by his understanding.
16When he speaks, there is thunder in the heavens.
He causes the clouds to rise over the earth.
He sends the lightning with the rain
and releases the wind from his storehouses.
17Compared to him, all people are foolish
and have no knowledge at all!
They make idols, but the idols will disgrace their makers,
for they are frauds.
They have no life or power in them.
18Idols are worthless; they are lies!
The time is coming when they will all be destroyed.
19But the God of Israel is no idol!
He is the Creator of everything that exists,
including his people, his own special possession.
The LORD Almighty is his name![footnote]
Babylon's Great Punishment
20"You are my battle-ax and sword," says the LORD. "With you I will shatter nations and destroy many kingdoms.[footnote]
21With you I will shatter armies, destroying the horse and rider, the chariot and charioteer.
22With you I will shatter men and women, old people and children, young men and maidens.
23With you I will shatter shepherds and flocks, farmers and oxen, captains and rulers.
24"As you watch, I will repay Babylon and the people of Babylonia for all the wrong they have done to my people in Jerusalem," says the LORD.[footnote]
25"Look, O mighty mountain, destroyer of the earth! I am your enemy," says the LORD. "I will raise my fist against you, to roll you down from the heights. When I am finished, you will be nothing but a heap of rubble.
26You will be desolate forever. Even your stones will never again be used for building. You will be completely wiped out," says the LORD.
27Signal many nations to mobilize for war against Babylon. Sound the battle cry! Bring out the armies of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz. Appoint a leader, and bring a multitude of horses!
28Bring against her the armies of the kings of the Medes and their generals, and the armies of all the countries they rule.
29Babylon trembles and writhes in pain, for everything the LORD has planned against her stands unchanged. Babylon will be left desolate without a single inhabitant.
30Her mightiest warriors no longer fight. They stay in their barracks. Their courage is gone. They have become as fearful as women. The invaders have burned the houses and broken down the city gates.
31Messengers from every side come running to the king to tell him all is lost!
32All the escape routes are blocked. The fortifications are burning, and the army is in panic.
33For the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "Babylon is like wheat on a threshing floor, about to be trampled. In just a little while her harvest will begin."
34"King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has eaten and crushed us and emptied out our strength. He has swallowed us like a great monster and filled his belly with our riches. He has thrown us out of our own country.[footnote]
35May Babylon be repaid for all the violence she did to us," say the people of Jerusalem. "May the people of Babylonia be paid in full for all the blood they spilled," says Jerusalem.
The LORD's Vengeance on Babylon
36The LORD says to Jerusalem, "I will be your lawyer to plead your case, and I will avenge you. I will dry up her river, her water supply,
37and Babylon will become a heap of rubble, haunted by jackals. It will be an object of horror and contempt, without a single person living there.
38"In their drunken feasts, the people of Babylon roar like lions.
39And while they lie inflamed with all their wine, I will prepare a different kind of feast for them. I will make them drink until they fall asleep, never again to waken," says the LORD.
40"I will bring them like lambs to the slaughter, like rams and goats to be sacrificed.
41"How Babylon is fallen--great Babylon, praised throughout the earth! The world can scarcely believe its eyes at her fall![footnote]
42The sea has risen over Babylon; she is covered by its waves.
43Her cities now lie in ruins; she is a dry wilderness where no one lives or even passes by.
44And I will punish Bel, the god of Babylon, and pull from his mouth what he has taken. The nations will no longer come and worship him. The wall of Babylon has fallen.
A Message for the Exiles
45"Listen, my people, flee from Babylon. Save yourselves! Run from the LORD's fierce anger.
46But do not panic when you hear the first rumor of approaching forces. For rumors will keep coming year by year. Then there will be a time of violence as the leaders fight against each other.
47For the time is surely coming when I will punish this great city and all her idols. Her whole land will be disgraced, and her dead will lie in the streets.
48The heavens and earth will rejoice, for out of the north will come destroying armies against Babylon," says the LORD.
49"Just as Babylon killed the people of Israel and others throughout the world, so must her people be killed.
50Go, you who escaped the sword! Do not stand and watch--flee while you can! Remember the LORD, even though you are in a far-off land, and think about your home in Jerusalem."
51"We are ashamed," the people say. "We are insulted and disgraced because the LORD's Temple has been defiled by foreigners."
52"Yes," says the LORD, "but the time is coming when Babylon's idols will be destroyed. The groans of her wounded people will be heard throughout the land.
53Though Babylon reaches as high as the heavens, and though she increases her strength immeasurably, I will send enemies to plunder her," says the LORD.
Babylon's Complete Destruction
54Listen! Hear the cry of Babylon, the sound of great destruction from the land of the Babylonians.
55For the LORD is destroying Babylon. He will silence her. Waves of enemies pound against her; the noise of battle rings through the city.
56Destroying armies come against Babylon. Her mighty men are captured, and their weapons break in their hands. For the LORD is a God who gives just punishment, and he is giving Babylon all she deserves.
57"I will make drunk her officials, wise men, rulers, captains, and warriors," says the King, whose name is the LORD Almighty. "They will fall asleep and never wake up again!"
58This is what the LORD Almighty says: "The wide walls of Babylon will be leveled to the ground, and her high gates will be burned. The builders from many lands have worked in vain, for their work will be destroyed by fire!"
Jeremiah's Message Sent to Babylon
59The prophet Jeremiah gave this message to Zedekiah's staff officer, Seraiah son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah, when he went to Babylon with King Zedekiah of Judah. This was during the fourth year of Zedekiah's reign.[footnote]
60Jeremiah had recorded on a scroll all the terrible disasters that would soon come upon Babylon.
61He said to Seraiah, "When you get to Babylon, read aloud everything on this scroll.
62Then say, `LORD, you have said that you will destroy Babylon so that neither people nor animals will remain here. She will lie empty and abandoned forever.'
63Then, when you have finished reading the scroll, tie it to a stone, and throw it into the Euphrates River.
64Then say, `In this same way Babylon and her people will sink, never again to rise, because of the disasters I will bring upon her.'"This is the end of Jeremiah's messages.
From the Holy Bible, New Living Translation®, by Tyndale Charitable Trust copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.