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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.


There is no doubt but that the Prophet speaks of Babylon. But it may seem strange to call it a mountain, when that city was situated in a plain, as it is well known; nay, it has no mountains near it. It was a plain, so that streams might be drawn here and there in any direction. Hence they think that the city was called a mountain on account of the height of its walls and also its great buildings. And this is probable, as though the Prophet called it a great mass; for historians tell us that its walls were very high, about two hundred feet, and a foot commonly exceeded three fingers. Then the towers were very high. In short, Babylon was a prodigy for the quantity of its bricks, for the walls were not built with squared stones, but formed of bricks. Their breadth also was incredible; for chariots drawn by four horses could go along without touching one another. Their breadth, according to Strabo and also Pliny, was fifty feet. Then this metaphor was not used without reason, when the Prophet, regarding in one respect the state of the city, called Babylon a mountain, as though Ninus, or Semiramis, or others, had contended with nature itself. The beginning of Babylon was that memorable tower mentioned by Moses, but then the work was left off. (Genesis 11) Afterwards, either because such a beginning inflamed the desire of men, or because the place was very pleasant and fertile, it happened that a city of great size was built there. In short, it was more like a country than a city; for, as Aristotle says, it was not so much a city as a country or a province. This much as to the word mountain.

Now God himself declares war against Babylon, in order that more credit might be given to this prophecy; for the Prophet had no regard to the Chaldeans, but to his own nation, and especially to the remnant of the godly. The greater part derided his prophecy, but a few remained who received the Prophet’s doctrine with becoming reverence. It was then his object to consult their good and benefit; and, as we shall see at the end of this chapter, he wished to lay up this treasure with them, that they might cherish the hope of restoration while they were as it were lost in exile. God then does here encourage them, and declares that he would be an enemy to the Babylonians.

Behold, he says, I am against thee, O mountain of perdition The mountain of perdition is to be taken in an active sense, for destroying mountain, as also a clearer explanation follows, when he says that it had destroyed all the earth For the Babylonians, as it is well known, had afflicted all their neighbors, and had transferred the imperial power of the Medes to their own city. When they subdued the Assyrians they extended their power far and wide, and at length advanced to Syria, Judea, and Egypt. Thus it happened that the Babylonians enjoyed the empire of the east till the time of Cyrus; and then the monarchy was possessed by the Persians. But our Prophet had respect to the former state of things; for he said that the Chaldeans had been like a hammer, which God had employed to break in pieces all the nations; and, according to the same meaning, he now says that all the earth had been destroyed by the Babylonians.

But God here declares that he would be their judge, because he would extend his hand over Babylon, and roll it down from the rocks, he proceeds still with the same metaphor; for as he called Babylon a mountain on account of its great buildings, and especially on account of its high walls and lofty towers, so now he adopts the same kind of language, I will cast thee down, or rather roll thee, from the rocks, and make thee a mountain of burning. He thus intimates that Babylon would become a heap of ashes, though this was not immediately fulfilled; for as we have said, it was so taken as not to be entirely laid waste. For in the time of Alexander the Great, many years after, Babylon was standing, and there Alexander died. It then follows that it was not reduced to solitude and ashes by Darius and Cyrus. But we have already untied this knot, that is, that the Prophet does not only speak of one vengeance of God, but includes others which followed. For Babylon soon after revolted and suffered a grievous punishment for its perfidy, and was then treated with great contempt. Afterwards, Seleucus tried in various ways to destroy it, and for this end Seleucia was built, and then Ctesiphon was set up in opposition to Babylon. Babylon then was by degrees reduced to that solitude of which the Prophet here speaks. Pliny says that in his time the temple of Bel was there, whom they thought to have been the founder of the city; but he afterwards adds that the other parts of the city were deserted. If Jerome, as he says, visited it, we ought; to believe what he had seen; and he says that Babylon was a small ignoble town, and ruins only were seen there. There is, then, nothing unreasonable in this prophecy, for it ought not to be restricted to one calamity only; for God ceased not in various ways to afflict Babylon until it was wholly laid waste, according to what our Prophet testifies. According to this view, then, he says that Babylon would become a mountain of burning, or a burnt mountain, 8888     Blayney views “the mountain” differently, as a metaphor for a nation, or a prince, rising above others in power: and “the rocks” he considers to be the strongholds of this mountain. — Ed. for ruins only would remain; and in the same sense he immediately adds, —

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