The Second Oracle Against Babylon
1Thus says the LORD:
See! I rouse against Babylon,
and the inhabitants of Chaldea,
a destroyer wind.*
2To Babylon I will send winnowers
to winnow and lay waste the land;
They shall besiege it on every side
on the day of affliction.a
3How can the archers draw back their bows,
lift their armor?
Do not spare her young men,
put the entire army under the ban.b
4The slain shall fall in the land of Chaldea,
the wounded, in its streets;c
5For Israel and Judah are not left widowed
by their God, the LORD of hosts,
Even though the land is full of guilt
against the Holy One of Israel.
6Flee from Babylon;
each of you save your own life,
do not perish because of her guilt;
This is a time of retribution from the LORD,
7who pays out her due.d
Babylon was a golden cup in the hand of the LORD
making the whole earth drunk;
The nations drank its wine,
thus they have gone mad.e
8Babylon suddenly falls and is broken:
wail over her!
Bring balm for her wounds,
in case she can be healed.f
9“We have tried to heal Babylon,
but she cannot be healed.
Leave her, each of us must go to our own land.”
The judgment against her reaches the heavens,
it touches the clouds.g
10The LORD has brought forth our vindication;
come, let us tell in Zion
what the LORD, our God, has done.h
11Sharpen the arrows,
fill the quivers;
The LORD has stirred up the spirit of the kings of the Medes,*
for his resolve is Babylon’s destruction.
Yes, it is retribution from the LORD,
retribution for his temple.i
12Over the walls of Babylon raise a signal,
reinforce the watch;
For the LORD has both planned and carried out
what he spoke against the inhabitants of Babylon.
13You who dwell by mighty waters,
rich in treasure,
Your end has come,
the time at which you shall be cut off!j
14The LORD of hosts has sworn by himself:
I will fill you with people as numerous as locusts,
who shall raise over you a joyous shout!
15He made the earth by his power,
established the world by wisdom,
and by his skill stretched out the heavens.k
16When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar,
he summons clouds from the ends of the earth,
Makes lightning flash in the rain,
and brings out winds from their storehouses.
17Every man is stupid, ignorant;
every artisan is put to shame by his idol:
He molds a fraud,
18They are nothing, a ridiculous work,
that will perish at the time of punishment.
19Jacob’s portion is nothing like them:
he is the creator of all things.
Israel is his very own tribe;
LORD of hosts is his name.
20You are my hammer,
a weapon for war;
With you I shatter nations,
with you I destroy kingdoms.
21With you I shatter horse and rider,
with you I shatter chariot and driver.l
22With you I shatter man and woman,
with you I shatter old and young,
with you I shatter the young man and young woman.m
23With you I shatter shepherd and flock,
with you I shatter farmer and team,
with you I shatter governors and officers.
24Thus I will repay Babylon,
all the inhabitants of Chaldea,
For all the evil they committed against Zion,
before your very eyes—oracle of the LORD.n
25Beware! I am against you,
destroying mountain—oracle of the LORD—
destroyer of the entire earth,
I will stretch forth my hand against you,
roll you down over the cliffs,
and make you a burnt mountain:o
26They will not take from you a cornerstone,
or a foundation stone;
You shall remain ruins forever—
oracle of the LORD.p
27Raise a signal in the land,
sound the trumpet among the nations;
Dedicate nations for war against her,
summon against her the kingdoms:
Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz;*
Appoint a recruiting officer against her,
dispatch horses like bristling locusts.q
28Dedicate nations for war against her:
the king of the Medes,
Its governors and all its officers,
every land in its domain.
29The earth quakes and writhes,
the LORD’s plan against Babylon is carried out,
Turning the land of Babylon
into a wasteland without inhabitants.
30Babylon’s warriors have ceased to fight,
they remain in their strongholds;
Dried up is their strength,
they have become women.
Burned down are their homes,
broken their gates.
31One runner meets another,
herald meets herald,
Telling the king of Babylon
that his entire city has been taken.r
32The fords have been seized,
marshes set on fire,
33For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel:
Daughter Babylon is like a threshing floor
at the time of treading;
Yet a little while,
and the harvest time will come for her.s
34“He consumed me, defeated me,
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon;
he left me like an empty vessel,
Swallowed me like a sea monster,
filled his belly with my delicacies and cast me out.
35Let my torn flesh be visited upon Babylon,”
says enthroned Zion;
“My blood upon the inhabitants of Chaldea,”
36But now, thus says the LORD:
I will certainly defend your cause,
I will certainly avenge you;
I will dry up her sea,
and drain her fountain.
37Babylon shall become a heap of ruins,
a haunt of jackals;
A place of horror and hissing,
38They roar like lions,
growl like lion cubs.u
39When they are parched, I will set drink before them
to make them drunk, that they may be overcome
with everlasting sleep, never to awaken—
oracle of the LORD.
40I will bring them down like lambs to slaughter,
like rams and goats.
41How she has been seized, taken captive,
the glory of the whole world!
What a horror Babylon has become among the nations:v
42against Babylon the sea rises,
she is overwhelmed by roaring waves!
43Her cities have become wasteland,
a parched and arid land
Where no one lives,
no one passes through.
44I will punish Bel in Babylon,
and make him vomit up what he swallowed;
nations shall no longer stream to him.
Even the wall of Babylon falls!
45Leave her, my people; each of you save your own life
from the burning wrath of the LORD.
46Do not be discouraged when rumors spread through the land; this year one rumor comes, next year another: “Violence in the land!” or “Ruler against ruler!”w 47Realize that the days are coming when I will punish the idols of Babylon; the whole land shall be put to shame, all her slain shall fall in her midst. 48Then heaven and earth and everything in them shall shout over Babylon with joy, when the destroyers come against her from the north—oracle of the LORD.x 49Babylon, too, must fall, you slain of Israel, because by the hand of Babylon the slain of all the earth have fallen.
50You who have escaped the sword,
go, do not stand idle;
Remember the LORD from far away,
let Jerusalem come to mind.
51We are ashamed because we have heard taunts,
disgrace covers our faces;
strangers have entered sanctuaries in the LORD’s house.y
52Therefore see, the days are coming—oracle of the LORD—
when I will punish her idols,
and throughout the land the wounded will groan.
53Though Babylon scale the heavens,
and make her strong heights inaccessible,
my destroyers shall reach her—oracle of the LORD.z
54A sound of crying from Babylon,
great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans;
55For the LORD lays Babylon waste,
silences her loud cry,
Waves roaring like mighty waters,
a clamor resounding.
56For the destroyer comes upon her, upon Babylon;
warriors are captured, their bows broken;
The LORD is a God of recompense,
he will surely repay.a
57I will make her princes and sages drunk, with her governors, officers, and warriors, so that they sleep an everlasting sleep, never to awaken—oracle of the King, whose name is LORD of hosts.
58Thus says the LORD of hosts:
The walls of spacious Babylon shall be leveled to the ground,
its lofty gates destroyed by fire.
The toil of the peoples is for nothing;
the nations weary themselves for what the flames consume.b
The Prophecy Sent to Babylon. 59The mission Jeremiah the prophet gave to Seraiah,* son of Neriah, son of Mahseiah, when he went to Babylon with King Zedekiah, king of Judah, in the fourth year of his reign; Seraiah was chief quartermaster. 60Jeremiah wrote down on one scroll the disaster that would befall Babylon;* all these words were written against Babylon. 61And Jeremiah said to Seraiah: “When you reach Babylon, see that you read all these words aloud,c 62and then say: LORD, you yourself spoke against this place in order to cut it down so that nothing, human being or beast, could live in it, because it is to remain a wasteland forever. 63When you have finished reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and throw it into the Euphrates,d 64and say: Thus Babylon shall sink. It will never rise, because of the disaster I am bringing upon it.” Thus far the words of Jeremiah.
* [51:1] The destroyer wind is the fierce dry wind from the east (cf. 4:11).
* [51:11] Kings of the Medes: the Medes and the Persians lived in the area known today as Iran.
* [51:27] Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz: regions in eastern Asia Minor under the control of the Medes.
* [51:59] Seraiah: the brother of Baruch; cf. 32:12. He may have gone to Babylon to explain away the presence of foreign ambassadors in Jerusalem that same year; cf. 27:3.
* [51:60] Jeremiah prophesied against Babylon, even as he foretold Judah’s release from Babylon’s power (3:14–18; 32:15; 33:6–9, 12–13); but his scroll against Babylon was thrown in the Euphrates (v. 63). Some of the preceding oracles may have been composed by later writers; see note on 50:1–51:58.
d. [51:7] Jer 50:8, 15, 29; Is 48:20.
i. [51:11] 2 Kgs 17:6; Is 13:17.
n. [51:24] Jer 25:14; 50:29; Ps 137:8.
p. [51:26] Jer 25:12; Ps 118:22.
r. [51:31] 2 Chr 30:6; Jb 1:14–18.
y. [51:51] Ps 44:16–17; 78:1–4.