Jeremiah 51

1 The Lord says this:

‘I will send an enemy to destroy Babylon and the people of Babylonia.

It will come like a strong wind that blows them away.

2 I will send foreign soldiers to remove them from their land,

like a wind that blows chaff away.

They will make the land become empty.

On the day of that great trouble,

they will attack Babylonia from all directions.

3 Do not give Babylon's soldiers time to pick up their weapons!

Do not give them time to put on their armour!

Kill all their young men.

Completely destroy their whole army.

4 Their dead bodies will lie on the ground

all over Babylonia and in the streets of the city.

5 The Lord Almighty, Israel's God,

will not leave Israel and Judah on their own.

Those people are guilty of many bad things

that they have done against Israel's holy God.

51:5‘Those people’ probably means the people of Babylonia. See Jeremiah 50:29. It might mean the people of Israel and Judah, who did bad things against the Lord, but he continued to be with them.

6 Run away from Babylonia!

Run quickly to escape from there!

Do not stay there to die along with Babylonia's people.

The time has come for the Lord to pay them back for their sins.

He will punish them as they deserve.

7 Babylon has been like a gold cup of wine in the Lord's hand.

The nations of the world had to drink that wine.

51:7The cup of wine is a picture of God's anger. He used Babylon to punish other nations. See Jeremiah 25:15-29.

It made everyone become drunk,

and so they all became crazy.

8 But now Babylon will quickly fall.

An enemy will destroy it, so weep for it!

Find some medicine that will make its wounds better.

Perhaps it will become well again.

9 The foreign people in Babylon say,

“We tried to make its wounds better,

but it was not possible to do it.

Now we must leave it.

We must each go back to our own country.

Its punishment will have no end.

It will reach as high as the sky!”

10 The people from Judah who are in Babylon say,

“The Lord has shown that we are his people.

Now we must go to Jerusalem.

We must tell people in Zion

about how the Lord our God has helped us.” ’

11 ‘Make your arrows sharp!

Prepare your weapons!

The Lord has caused Media's kings to prepare for war.

He will use them to destroy Babylon.

The Lord will punish the people of Babylonia

because they destroyed his temple.

12 Wave a flag and prepare to attack Babylon's city walls!

Bring plenty of guards to watch all around the city.

Put soldiers to catch anyone who tries to escape.

Yes, the Lord will now do everything that he has decided.

He will punish Babylon's people, as he said he would do.

13 You people of Babylon, who live beside many rivers,

it is now time for you to die.

You have become rich with many valuable things,

but now your lives will finish.’

51:13Babylon was beside the big Euphrates river and there were many other small rivers (canals). The rich people were traders who brought things from other countries.

14 The Lord Almighty has made this strong promise

with the authority of his own name:

‘I will cause the enemy's soldiers to fill your cities.

They will come like a big crowd of locusts.

They will shout loudly when they take your city for themselves.’

A song to praise the Lord

15 The Lord used his power to make the earth.

He used his wisdom to make it strong.

He knew how to put the sky to cover the earth.

16 When he shouts like thunder,

the water in the sky roars.

He brings the clouds from the far places of the earth.

He causes bright lightning to show in the storms.

He opens his rooms so that the wind comes out

and it blows everywhere.

17 People who worship idols are stupid.

They do not understand what they are doing.

The men who make idols will be ashamed.

They make images of gods that are false.

None of their idols have the breath of life in them.

18 They are useless things that people should laugh at.

When the time for their punishment arrives,

God will destroy them.

19 The God that Jacob's descendants worship

is not like those idols.

He created everything.

He chose Israel's people to belong to him.

His name is the Lord Almighty.

20 ‘You are the weapon that I use to fight my battles.

51:20God is probably saying this to Babylon's army.

I have used you to punish nations.

I have used you to destroy kingdoms.

21 I have used you to destroy whole armies,

with their horses, chariots and riders.

22 I have used you to destroy men and women,

old men, young men, boys and girls.

23 I have used you to destroy shepherds and their sheep,

as well as farmers and their oxen.

I have used you to destroy rulers and their officers.

24 But now I will punish Babylon

and all the people who live in Babylonia.

I will pay them back for all the evil things that they did in Jerusalem.

And you will see me do that.’

That is what the Lord says.

25 The Lord says,

‘Listen to me, Babylon! I am your enemy!

You are like a strong mountain that destroys the whole earth.

I will punish you with all my strength.

I will push you down from your high place.

I will make you a heap of ashes.

26 Nobody will be able to use any of your stones

as a foundation for a new building.

You will remain as empty as a desert for ever.’

That is what the Lord says.

27 ‘Call the nations to come and fight a battle against Babylonia.

Wave a flag and make a noise with trumpets,

so that these kingdoms prepare their armies to attack:

Ararat, Minni and Ashkenaz.

Choose a captain to lead them into battle.

Send an army of soldiers on horses to attack,

like a large crowd of locusts.

28 Tell the nations to prepare their armies for war against Babylonia.

Tell the kings of Media to get ready,

as well as their leaders and officers.

The armies of the countries that they rule must also be ready to fight.

29 The whole earth will shake with pain

as the Lord punishes Babylonia.

He will certainly do what he has decided to do.

He will make the land of Babylonia as empty as a desert.

Nobody will live there.

30 The brave soldiers of Babylonia are no longer fighting!

They remain inside their strong buildings.

Their strength has gone! They are as weak as women.

In their cities, enemy soldiers are burning their houses.

They have broken down the city gates.

31 Now people run to send the news to the king of Babylon.

They pass this message along the line:

“The enemy has taken power over the whole city!

32 They have guards to stop people escaping across the rivers.

They have burned the reeds in the wet fields.

All our soldiers are afraid.”

33 The Lord Almighty, Israel's God, says this:

Babylon is like a threshing floor

that is ready for people to stamp on wheat.

The harvest time will soon come!

Then the enemy will cut down Babylon,

and they will stamp all over it!’

34 ‘King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has destroyed us with his army.

He has made us weak and confused.

He has eaten us like a hungry monster.

He has filled himself with all our good things.

Then he spat us out of his mouth.’

35 Zion's people then say to the Lord,

‘Please punish the people of Babylonia,

because they did cruel things to us.’

Jerusalem's people say,

‘Pay back the people of Babylonia,

because they killed our relatives.’

36 So the Lord says,

‘I will help you to win.

I will punish the people of Babylonia for what they have done to you.

I will cause all their rivers and their springs to become dry.

37 Babylon will become a heap of stones.

Wild animals will live there.

People will see that it is a disgusting place,

and they will laugh at it.

Nobody will live there.

38 Its people shout loudly, like lions that roar.

They make a noise like baby lions that are hungry.

39 While they are feeling so hungry,

I will prepare a feast for them.

I will cause them to become drunk,

and they will become helpless.

They will sleep for ever

and they will never wake up again.’

That is what the Lord says.

40 ‘I will take them down to the place of death.

People will kill them as if they are lambs, sheep and goats.’

41 ‘Now an enemy will take power over Babylon!

Everyone in the world praised it as a great nation.

But now all the nations will see that it is a disgusting place.

42 The sea will pour over it.

Many waves of water will cover it.

43 Babylonia's towns will become heaps of stones.

The land will be dry and empty, like a desert.

Nobody will live there any more.

Nobody will even travel through the land.

44 I will punish Bel, the god of Babylon.

I will cause him to give back everything that he has taken.

Nations will never go to worship him again.

Yes, the walls of Babylon will fall down!’

45 ‘Escape from Babylon, my people!

Run away to save your lives!

The Lord is very angry with that place,

so run away from there!

46 You must be brave!

When you hear news in Babylon of what is happening,

do not be afraid.

People will report one thing this year,

and next year they will report a different thing.

They will speak about violence in the land,

and about rulers who are fighting against each other.

47 So the time will soon come when I will punish Babylon's idols.

The whole country will become ashamed.

Its people will die and their dead bodies will lie everywhere.

48 Then everyone in heaven and everyone on the earth

will shout with joy because of what happens to Babylon.

They will be happy because an army will come from the north to destroy it.’

That is what the Lord says.

49 ‘Babylon's people have caused the death of people everywhere.

They have killed many Israelites.

So now Babylon must lose its power.

50 You Israelites who are still alive,

leave Babylon now! Do not wait!

You are far away from your homes.

But remember that the Lord is with you.

Think about Jerusalem.

51 You say, “We are ashamed. People have insulted us.

We hide our faces in shame

because foreigners have gone into the holy places of the Lord's temple.” ’

52 But the Lord says this:

‘The time will soon come when I will punish Babylon's idols.

People everywhere in that land will cry with pain,

because their wounds are causing them to die.

53 Babylon's people may build their city very high.

They may make its walls very strong.

But I will send an army to destroy it.’

That is what the Lord says.

54 ‘Listen to the noise that comes from Babylon!

People are crying in pain.

Listen to the noise of the enemy army

as it destroys Babylonia.

55 The Lord is preparing to destroy Babylon.

No noise will come from there any more.

The enemy soldiers will attack like great waves of water.

There will be a loud noise of battle.

56 An army is coming to destroy Babylon.

They will take hold of its brave soldiers.

They will break their weapons.

The Lord is a God who punishes people as they deserve.

He always pays them back for their sins.

57 I will make Babylon's officers and its wise men drunk,

as well as its rulers, its leaders and its soldiers.

They will sleep for ever

and they will never wake up again.’

That is what the King says. His name is the Lord Almighty.

58 The Lord Almighty says this:

‘The enemy will completely knock down the strong walls of Babylon.

They will burn its high gates with fire.

The nations work very hard,

but their work is useless.

They make themselves tired,

but fire destroys all their work.’

Jeremiah sends God's message to Babylon

59 This is the command that the prophet Jeremiah gave to the king's officer Seraiah. Seraiah was the son of Neriah and the grandson of Mahseiah. He took the message when he went to Babylon with King Zedekiah of Judah. That happened in the fourth year that Zedekiah had ruled Judah as king. 60 Jeremiah had written on a scroll a list of all the terrible troubles that would happen to Babylon. Those were all the messages that he had written about Babylon. 61 Jeremiah said to Seraiah, ‘When you arrive in Babylon, you must read aloud all these messages. 62 Then say, “Lord, you have said that you will destroy this place. Then no people or animals will live in it any longer. It will be empty for ever.” 63 When you have finished reading aloud all the words on the scroll, tie a big stone to it. Throw it all into the middle of the Euphrates river. 64 Then say, “That is how Babylon will sink! It will go down and it will never rise up again. The Lord is ready to cause all these terrible troubles to happen to Babylon. Its people will be too weak to stop it.” ’

That is the end of Jeremiah's messages.