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.


This is a remarkable sealing of the whole of what we have hitherto found said respecting the destruction of Babylon; for the Prophet not only spoke and promulgated what the Spirit of God had dictated, but also put it down in a book; and not contented with this, he delivered the book to Seraiah the son of Neriah, when he went to Babylon by the command of Zedekiah the king, that he might read it there, east it into the Euphrates, and strengthen himself in the hope of all those things which had been divinely predicted.

He says first that he commanded Seraiah what he was to do, even to read the volume and to throw it into the Euphrates, as we shall hereafter see. But he points out the time and mentions the disposition of Seraiah, that we might not think it strange that the Prophet dared to give an authoritative command to the king’s messenger, which a man of another character would have refused. As to the time, it was the fourth year of the reign of Zedekiah; seven years before the city was taken, being besieged the ninth year and taken the eleventh. Then seven years before the destruction and ruin of the city, Seraiah was sent by the king to Babylon. There is no doubt but that the message was sent to pacify the king of Babylon, who had been offended with the fickleness and perfidy of King Zedekiah; an ambassador was then sent to seek pardon. But what the Jews say, that Zedekiah went to Babylon, is wholly groundless; and we know that Sederola, whence they have taken this, is full of all kinds of fables and trifles; and on such a point as this, sacred history would not have been silent, for it was a thing of great moment; and then the particle את, at, expresses no such thing, but may be rendered in this sense, that the messenger was sent for, or by, or in the place of Zedekiah. Let us then be satisfied with this simple and obvious explanation, that Seraiah was the king’s messenger sent to remove the offenses taken by the Babylonians. 110110     The Vulg. and Syr. have “with,” but the Sept. and Targ. give it the meaning of “from;” and את has often the meaning of מאת; see Genesis 6:1; Genesis 44:4; Genesis 50:9, 25. So Gataker, Venema, and Blayney. — Ed And this happened in the fourth year of Zedekiah.

Now, by calling Seraiah a prince of quietness, I doubt not but that a reference is made to his gentleness and meekness; and I wonder that in so plain a thing interpreters have toiled so much. One renders it, even the Chaldean paraphrase, “the prince of the oblations,” as though he was set over to examine the presents offered to the king. Others imagine that he was a facetious man who amused the king in his fears; and others think that he was called “prince of quietness,” because he preserved the city in a quiet state. But all these things are groundless. 111111     The variety in the early versions is remarkable; the Sept. and the Targ. have “the prince of gifts” or presents; the Vulg., “the prince of prophecy;” and the Syr., “the prince of warfare.” A similar phrase is found in 1 Chronicles 22:9; Solomon is said to be “a man of rest,” איש מנוחה. The meaning most suitable to this passage is that if Calvin and of our version. So though Gataker; but Lowth and Parkhurst regarded the words as pointing out his office as the king’s chief chamberlain, “the prince of the resting-place,” or chamber; but the objection to this is, that the word is never used in this sense; it means not the rest of sleep, but the rest of peace and quietness. — Ed No other view, then, seems to me right, but that he was a prince of a quiet disposition. Therefore the word “quietness” ought not to be referred to any office, but a noun in the genitive case used instead of an adjective. He was, then, a quiet prince, or one of a placid disposition. And this commendation was not without reason added, because we know how haughtily the princes rejected everything commanded them by the servants of God. Seraiah might have objected, and said that he was sent to Babylon, not by a private person, and one of the common people, but by the king himself. He might then have haughtily reproved the Prophet for taking too much liberty with him, “Who art thou, that thou darest to command me, when I sustain the person of the king? and when I am going in his name to the king of Babylon? and then thou seekest to create disturbances by ordering me to read this volume. What if it be found on me? what if some were to suspect that I carry such a thing to Babylon? would I not, in the first place, carry death in my bosom? and would I not, in the second place, be perfidious to my king? for thus my message would be extremely disliked.”

As then Seraiah might have stated all these things, and have rejected the command which Jeremiah gave him, his gentleness is expressly mentioned, even that he was a meek man, and who withheld not his service — who, in short, was ready to obey God and his servant. What, in a word, is here commended, is the meekness of Seraiah, that he received the Prophet with so much readiness, — that he suffered himself to be commanded by him, and that he also hesitated not to execute what he had commanded, when yet it might have been a capital offense, and it might especially have been adverse to his mission, which was to reconcile the king of Babylon. And surely it is an example worthy of being noticed, that Seraiah was not deterred by danger from rendering immediate obedience to the Prophet’s command, nor did he regard himself nor the omee committed to him, so as to reject the Prophet, according to the usual conduct of princes, under the pretext of their own dignity; but laying aside his own honor and forgetting all his greatness, he became a disciple to Jeremiah, who yet, as it is well known, had been long despised by the people, and had sometimes been nearly brought to death. It was, then, a remarkable instance of virtue in Seraiah, that he received with so much modesty and readiness what had been said to him by the Prophet, and that he obeyed his command, to the evident danger of his own life. It now follows, —

VIEWNAME is study