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.


Here is mentioned the complaint of the chosen people, and this was done designedly by Jeremiah, in order that the Jews might feel assured that their miseries were not overlooked by God; for nothing can distress us so much as to think that God forgets us and disregards the wrongs done to us by the ungodly, hence the Prophet here sets the Israelites in God’s presence, that they might be convinced in their own minds that they were not disregarded by God, and that he was not indifferent to the unjust and cruel treatment they received from their enemies. For this complaint is made, as though they expostulated with God in his presence.

He then says, Devoured me and broken me in pieces has Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon 9696     The pronoun after the verbs in this verse is in the plural number, us, according to the present Hebrew text, but according to the Keri and several copies, it is in the singular number, me. The authority as to MSS. is nearly equal; only the latter reading is favored by the versions and the Targ, and also by the verse which follows. — Ed. The word, to eat, or devour, was enough; but Jeremiah wished to express something more atrocious by adding the word, to break in pieces; 9797     The common meaning of the verb is, violently to disturb, but it is evidently used in the sense of breaking, crushing, or breaking in pieces, in Isaiah 28:28; and this is the most suitable sense here, as it follows “devouring.” — Ed. for he intimates that Babylon had not been like a man who devours meat set before him, but that she had been a cruel wild beast, who breaks in pieces the very bones. We now, then, understand the design of the Prophet; he amplifies the savageness of the king of Babylon, by saying that God’s people had not only been devoured by him as men swallow down their food, but that they had also been torn in pieces by his teeth, as though he had been a lion, or a bear, or some other wild animal; for these not only devour their prey, but also with their teeth break in pieces whatever is harder than flesh, such as bones.

For the same purpose he adds, He has set me an empty vessel, that is, he has wholly exhausted me, as when one empties a flagon or a cask. Then he says, he has swallowed me like a dragon 9898     Or a sea-monster, or a whale, who devours smaller fish whole and entire. — Ed. It is a comparison different from the former, but yet very suitable; for dragons are those who devour a whole animal; and this is what the Prophet means. Though these comparisons do not in everything agree, yet as to the main thing they are most appropriate, even to show that God suffered his people to be devoured, as though they had been exposed to the teeth of a lion or a bear, or as though they had been a prey to a dragon.

He adds, Filled has he his belly with my delicacies, that is, whatever delicate thing I had, he has consumed it. He then says, he has cast off the remnants, like wolves and lions and other wild beasts, who, when they have more prey than what suffices them, choose what is most savory; for they choose the head of man that they may eat the brain; they suck the blood, but leave the intestines and whatever they do not like. So also the Prophet says here of the miserable Jews, that they had been so devoured that the enemy, having been satiated, had cast. off the remainder. 9999     The last verb is left out by the Sept., rendered “cast out,” by the Vulg., “destroyed,” by the Syr.; “made to emigrate,” by the Targ. The verb properly means to drive out or away; and their ejection from the land is what is meant. — Ed.

We hence learn that God’s people had been so exposed to plunder, that the conqueror was not only satisfied, but cast away here and there what remained; for satiety, as it is well known, produces loathsomeness. But the Prophet refers to the condition of the miserable people; for their wealth had been swallowed up by the Chaldeans, but their household furniture was plundered by the neighboring nations; and the men themselves had been driven into exile, so that there came a disgraceful scattering. They were then scattered into various countries, and some were left through contempt in the land; thus was fulfilled what is said here, “He has cast me out,” even because these wild beasts, the Chaldeans, became satiated; meat was rejected by them, because they could not consume all that was presented to them.

By these figurative terms, as it has been stated, is set forth the extreme calamity of the people; and the Prophet no doubt intended to meet such thoughts as might otherwise have proved very harassing to the Jews. For as they found no end to their evils, they might have thought that they had been so cast away by God as to become the most miserable of men. This is the reason why our Prophet anticipates what might have imbittered the minds of the godly, and even driven them to despair, he then says, that notwithstanding all the things which had happened, yet God had not forgotten his people; for all these things were done as in his sight.

With regard to us, were God not only to double the calamities of his Church, but also to afflict it in an extreme degree, yet what the Prophet says here ought to afford us aid, even that God’s chosen people were formerly so consumed, that the remainder was cast away in contempt; for the conqueror, though insatiable, could not yet consume all that he got as a prey, because his cupidity could not contain it. It now follows, —


VIEWNAME is study