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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.


Here again he anticipates an objection which might have been made; for we know that the kingdoms of the world neither rise nor stand, except through the will of God; as, then, the Prophet threatens destruction to Babylon, this objection was ready at hand. “How comes it, then, that this city, which thou sayest is accursed, has hitherto so greatly flourished? for who hath honored Babylon with so great dignity, with so much wealth, and with so many victories? for it has not by chance happened that this monarchy has been elevated so high; for not only all Assyria has been brought, under its yoke, but also the kingdom of Israel, and the kingdom of Judah is not far from its final ruin.” To this the Prophet answers, and says, that Babylon was a cup in God’s hand to inebriate the earth; as though he had said, that God was by no means inconsistent with himself when he employed the Babylonians as his scourges, and when he now chastises them in their turn. And he shows also, that when things thus revolve in the world, they do not happen through the blind force of chance, but through the secret judgments of God, who so governs the world, that he often exalts even the ungodly to the highest power, when his purpose is to execute through them his judgments.

We now, then, understand the design of this passage; for otherwise what the Prophet says might seem abrupt. Having said that the time of God’s vengeance had already come, he now adds, A golden cup is in God’s hand; — to what purpose was this added? By what has been stated, it appears evident how aptly the words run, how sentences which seem to be wide asunder fitly unite together; for a doubt might have crept in as to this, how could it be that God should thus bestow his benefits on this city, and then in a short time destroy it. As, then, it seems unreasonable that God should vary in his doings, as though he was not consistent with himself, the Prophet on the other hand reminds us, that when such changes happen, God does in no degree change his purposes; for he so regulates the government of the world, that those whom he favors with remarkable benefits, he afterwards destroys, they being worthy of punishment on account of their ingratitude, and that he does not without reason or cause use them for a time as scourges to chastise the wickedness of others. And it is for this reason, as I think, that he calls it a golden cup; for God seemed to pour forth his benefits on the Babylonians as with a full hand. When, therefore, the splendor of that city and of the monarchy was so great, all things were there as it were golden.

Then he says, that it was a golden cup, but in the hand of God By saying that it was in God’s hand, he intimates that the Babylonians were not under the government of chance, but were ruled by God as he pleased, and also that their power, though very great, was yet under the restraint of God, so that they did nothing but by his permission, and even by his command.

He afterwards adds how God purposed to carry this cup in his hand, a cup so splendid as it were of gold; his will was that it should inebriate the whole earth These are metaphorical words; for the Prophet speaks here, no doubt, of punishments which produce a kind of fury or madness. When God then designed to take vengeance on all these nations, he inebriated them with evils, and this he did by the Babylonians. For this reason, therefore, Babylon is said to have been the golden cup which God extended with his own hand, and gave it to be drunk by all nations. This similitude has also been used elsewhere, when Jeremiah spoke of the Idumeans,

“All drank of the cup, yea, drank of it to the dregs, so that they were inebriated,”
(Jeremiah 49:12)

He there also called the terrible punishment that was coming on the Idumeans the cup of fury. Thus, then, were many nations inebriated by the Babylonians, because they were so oppressed, that their minds were infatuated, as it were, with troubles; for we know that men are stupefied with adversities, as though they were not in a right mind. In this way Babylon inebriated many nations, because it so oppressed them that they were reduced to a state of rage or madness; for they were not in a composed state of mind when they were miserably distressed. 8383     Some render the last word “reel,” or stagger, and perhaps more consistently with the comparison of drunkenness. The verb in Hithpael, as here, means to be moved violently, either through rage or joy. Moved or agitated is the rendering of the versions and the Targum. To be moved with joy is to exult or glory; and so Blayney renders it, and connects the end of this verse with the following, i.e., that the nations gloried because of the fall of Babylon, —
   Therefore shall nations glory, [saying,] Babylon is suddenly fallen, etc.

    — Ed

To the same purpose is what is added: The nations who drank of her cup became mad. Here he shows that the punishments were not ordinary, by which divers nations were chastised by the Babylonians, but such as deprived them of mind and judgment, as it is usually the case, as I have just said, in extreme evils.

Moreover, this passage teaches us, that when the wicked exercise their power with great display, yet God overrules all their violence, though not apparently; nay, that all the wicked, while they seem to assume to themselves the greatest license, are yet guided, as it were, by the hand of God, and that when they oppress their neighbors, it is done through the secret providence of God, who thus inebriates all who deserve to be punished. At the same time, the Prophet implies, that the Babylonians oppressed so many nations neither by their own contrivance, nor by their own strength; but because it was the Lord’s will that they should be inebriated: otherwise it would have greatly perplexed the faithful to think that no one could be found stronger than the Babylonians. Hence the Prophet in effect gives this answer, that all the nations could not have been overcome, had not the Lord given them to drink the wine of fury and madness. It follows, —

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