a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above


Thus says the L ord:

I am going to stir up a destructive wind

against Babylon

and against the inhabitants of Leb-qamai;


and I will send winnowers to Babylon,

and they shall winnow her.

They shall empty her land

when they come against her from every side

on the day of trouble.


Let not the archer bend his bow,

and let him not array himself in his coat of mail.

Do not spare her young men;

utterly destroy her entire army.


They shall fall down slain in the land of the Chaldeans,

and wounded in her streets.


Israel and Judah have not been forsaken

by their God, the L ord of hosts,

though their land is full of guilt

before the Holy One of Israel.



Flee from the midst of Babylon,

save your lives, each of you!

Do not perish because of her guilt,

for this is the time of the L ord’s vengeance;

he is repaying her what is due.


Babylon was a golden cup in the L ord’s hand,

making all the earth drunken;

the nations drank of her wine,

and so the nations went mad.


Suddenly Babylon has fallen and is shattered;

wail for her!

Bring balm for her wound;

perhaps she may be healed.


We tried to heal Babylon,

but she could not be healed.

Forsake her, and let each of us go

to our own country;

for her judgment has reached up to heaven

and has been lifted up even to the skies.


The L ord has brought forth our vindication;

come, let us declare in Zion

the work of the L ord our God.



Sharpen the arrows!

Fill the quivers!

The L ord has stirred up the spirit of the kings of the Medes, because his purpose concerning Babylon is to destroy it, for that is the vengeance of the L ord, vengeance for his temple.


Raise a standard against the walls of Babylon;

make the watch strong;

post sentinels;

prepare the ambushes;

for the L ord has both planned and done

what he spoke concerning the inhabitants of Babylon.


You who live by mighty waters,

rich in treasures,

your end has come,

the thread of your life is cut.


The L ord of hosts has sworn by himself:

Surely I will fill you with troops like a swarm of locusts,

and they shall raise a shout of victory over you.



It is he who made the earth by his power,

who established the world by his wisdom,

and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.


When he utters his voice there is a tumult of waters in the heavens,

and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth.

He makes lightnings for the rain,

and he brings out the wind from his storehouses.


Everyone is stupid and without knowledge;

goldsmiths are all put to shame by their idols;

for their images are false,

and there is no breath in them.


They are worthless, a work of delusion;

at the time of their punishment they shall perish.


Not like these is the L ord, the portion of Jacob,

for he is the one who formed all things,

and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance;

the L ord of hosts is his name.


Israel the Creator’s Instrument


You are my war club, my weapon of battle:

with you I smash nations;

with you I destroy kingdoms;


with you I smash the horse and its rider;

with you I smash the chariot and the charioteer;


with you I smash man and woman;

with you I smash the old man and the boy;

with you I smash the young man and the girl;


with you I smash shepherds and their flocks;

with you I smash farmers and their teams;

with you I smash governors and deputies.


The Doom of Babylon

24 I will repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea before your very eyes for all the wrong that they have done in Zion, says the L ord.



I am against you, O destroying mountain,

says the L ord,

that destroys the whole earth;

I will stretch out my hand against you,

and roll you down from the crags,

and make you a burned-out mountain.


No stone shall be taken from you for a corner

and no stone for a foundation,

but you shall be a perpetual waste,

says the L ord.



Raise a standard in the land,

blow the trumpet among the nations;

prepare the nations for war against her,

summon against her the kingdoms,

Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz;

appoint a marshal against her,

bring up horses like bristling locusts.


Prepare the nations for war against her,

the kings of the Medes, with their governors and deputies,

and every land under their dominion.


The land trembles and writhes,

for the L ord’s purposes against Babylon stand,

to make the land of Babylon a desolation,

without inhabitant.


The warriors of Babylon have given up fighting,

they remain in their strongholds;

their strength has failed,

they have become women;

her buildings are set on fire,

her bars are broken.


One runner runs to meet another,

and one messenger to meet another,

to tell the king of Babylon

that his city is taken from end to end:


the fords have been seized,

the marshes have been burned with fire,

and the soldiers are in panic.


For thus says the L ord of hosts, the God of Israel:

Daughter Babylon is like a threshing floor

at the time when it is trodden;

yet a little while

and the time of her harvest will come.



“King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon has devoured me,

he has crushed me;

he has made me an empty vessel,

he has swallowed me like a monster;

he has filled his belly with my delicacies,

he has spewed me out.


May my torn flesh be avenged on Babylon,”

the inhabitants of Zion shall say.

“May my blood be avenged on the inhabitants of Chaldea,”

Jerusalem shall say.


Therefore thus says the L ord:

I am going to defend your cause

and take vengeance for you.

I will dry up her sea

and make her fountain dry;


and Babylon shall become a heap of ruins,

a den of jackals,

an object of horror and of hissing,

without inhabitant.



Like lions they shall roar together;

they shall growl like lions’ whelps.


When they are inflamed, I will set out their drink

and make them drunk, until they become merry

and then sleep a perpetual sleep

and never wake, says the L ord.


I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter,

like rams and goats.



How Sheshach is taken,

the pride of the whole earth seized!

How Babylon has become

an object of horror among the nations!


The sea has risen over Babylon;

she has been covered by its tumultuous waves.


Her cities have become an object of horror,

a land of drought and a desert,

a land in which no one lives,

and through which no mortal passes.


I will punish Bel in Babylon,

and make him disgorge what he has swallowed.

The nations shall no longer stream to him;

the wall of Babylon has fallen.



Come out of her, my people!

Save your lives, each of you,

from the fierce anger of the L ord!


Do not be fainthearted or fearful

at the rumors heard in the land—

one year one rumor comes,

the next year another,

rumors of violence in the land

and of ruler against ruler.



Assuredly, the days are coming

when I will punish the images of Babylon;

her whole land shall be put to shame,

and all her slain shall fall in her midst.


Then the heavens and the earth,

and all that is in them,

shall shout for joy over Babylon;

for the destroyers shall come against them out of the north,

says the L ord.


Babylon must fall for the slain of Israel,

as the slain of all the earth have fallen because of Babylon.



You survivors of the sword,

go, do not linger!

Remember the L ord in a distant land,

and let Jerusalem come into your mind:


We are put to shame, for we have heard insults;

dishonor has covered our face,

for aliens have come

into the holy places of the L ord’s house.



Therefore the time is surely coming, says the L ord,

when I will punish her idols,

and through all her land

the wounded shall groan.


Though Babylon should mount up to heaven,

and though she should fortify her strong height,

from me destroyers would come upon her,

says the L ord.



Listen!—a cry from Babylon!

A great crashing from the land of the Chaldeans!


For the L ord is laying Babylon waste,

and stilling her loud clamor.

Their waves roar like mighty waters,

the sound of their clamor resounds;


for a destroyer has come against her,

against Babylon;

her warriors are taken,

their bows are broken;

for the L ord is a God of recompense,

he will repay in full.


I will make her officials and her sages drunk,

also her governors, her deputies, and her warriors;

they shall sleep a perpetual sleep and never wake,

says the King, whose name is the L ord of hosts.



Thus says the L ord of hosts:

The broad wall of Babylon

shall be leveled to the ground,

and her high gates

shall be burned with fire.

The peoples exhaust themselves for nothing,

and the nations weary themselves only for fire.


Jeremiah’s Command to Seraiah

59 The word that the prophet Jeremiah commanded Seraiah son of Neriah son of Mahseiah, when he went with King Zedekiah of Judah to Babylon, in the fourth year of his reign. Seraiah was the quartermaster. 60Jeremiah wrote in a scroll all the disasters that would come on Babylon, all these words that are written concerning Babylon. 61And Jeremiah said to Seraiah: “When you come to Babylon, see that you read all these words, 62and say, ‘O L ord, you yourself threatened to destroy this place so that neither human beings nor animals shall live in it, and it shall be desolate forever.’ 63When you finish reading this scroll, tie a stone to it, and throw it into the middle of the Euphrates, 64and say, ‘Thus shall Babylon sink, to rise no more, because of the disasters that I am bringing on her.’ ”

Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.


As he had called idols a lie, so now in the same sense he declares that they were vanity, even because they were nothing real, but vain pomps, or phantoms, or masks; and he afterwards expresses himself more clearly by saying that they were the work of illusions But he does not seem to take the word תעתעים, toroim, in a passive but in an active sense. He then means that it was a deceptive work, which was a snare to men; as though he had said, that they were the work of imposture, or impostures.

This passage, and such as are like it, ought to be carefully noticed; because the Papists seem to themselves to find a way to escape when they confess their images are not to be worshipped, but that they are books for the unlearned. They who are moderate in their views have recourse to this evasion. This was once suggested by Gregory, but very foolishly; and they who wish to appear more enlightened than others under the papacy repeat the same saying, that images ought to be tolerated, because they are the books of the ignorant. But what does the Holy Spirit, on the other hand, declare here, and also by the Prophet Habakkuk? that they are the work of impostures, even mere snares or traps. (Habakkuk 2:18.) All, then, who seek instruction from statues or pictures gain nothing, but become entangled in the snares of Satan, and find nothing but impostures. And doubtless, whatever draws us away from the contemplation of the only true God, ought justly to be deemed an imposture or a deception; for who by the sight of a picture or a statue can form a right idea of the true God? Is not the truth respecting him thus turned into falsehood? and is not his glory thus debased? For we have then only the true knowledge of God, when we regard him to be God alone, when we ascribe to him an infinite essence which fills heaven and earth, when we acknowledge him to be a spirit, when, in short, we know that he alone, properly speaking, exists, and that heaven and earth, and everything they contain, exist through his power. Can a stone or wood teach us these things? No; but on the contrary, I am led by the stone to imagine that God is fixed and confined to a certain place. And then the life of God, does it appear in the stone or in the wood? Besides, what likeness has a body, and that lifeless, to an infinite spirit? It. is, then, not without reason that he complains, as it is recorded by Isaiah, that he is thus wholly degraded:

“To whom have ye made me like? for I contain the earth in my fist, and ye confine me to wood or stone.” (Isaiah 40:12, 18)

If, in a word, the minds of men received no other error from idols than the thought that God is corporeal, what can be more preposterous?

We hence see that the Prophet does not here say without cause, that all idols are vanity, and the work of imposture or deception.

He lastly adds, that all fictitious gods would perish at the time of visitation In this clause he exhorts the faithful to patience, and in a manner sustains their minds, that they might not despond; for it was not a small trial to see the monarchy of Babylon flourishing, when yet it had no other protection than that of idols. As, then, the Babylonians thought flint fictitious gods were the guardians and defenders of their safety, and that through them they had subdued all their neighbors, they became thus more and more addicted to their superstitions, the reward of which they regarded all their wealth and power. Inasmuch as the minds of the godly could not have been otherwise than shaken by such a trial, the Prophet here supports them, and reminds them to wait for the time of visitation when the idols were to perish. However, a reference may be intended to the Babylonians as well as to the idols, when he says, They shall perish at the time of their visitation, that is, when the Chaldeans shall be visited. But it is probable that the time of visitation refers here especially to idols, because the Prophet had spoken before of all the wicked and reprobate. However this may be, we understand that his object was to show that however prosperous idolaters might be for a time, yet the hand of God was to be patiently borne until the suitable time came, which is here called the time of visitation. And the metaphor refers to the notions of men, for we think that God dwells idly in heaven and turns away his eyes from us, while he spares the ungodly. Hence the Prophet calls the judgment of God a visitation, because he then shows really, by evident proofs, that he does not disregard the affairs of men. It now follows, —

VIEWNAME is study