Jeremiah 51


אָמַר יְהוָה הִנְנִי מֵעִיר עַל־בָּבֶל וְאֶל־יֹשְׁבֵי לֵב קָמָי רוּחַ מַשְׁחִית׃   51:1

Jere. 51:1   Thus says the Lord:

                      “Behold, I am rousing against Babylon

                              and against the inhabitants of Leb-kamai

                      a destroying wind,

The term Leb-kamai is peculiar and somewhat mysterious.  Normally in a poetic verse such as this a second name is similar to or synonymous with the first one.  But there is no known connection between Babylon and Leb-kamai.  Some think it is a cryptic name for Chaldea, but there doesn’t seem to be any evidence to support this.  The name itself means something like a heart rises (if in this case the noun heart is treated as feminine).

וְשִׁלַּחְתִּי לְבָבֶל זָרִים וְזֵרוּהָ וִיבֹקְקוּ אֶת־אַרְצָהּ כִּי־הָיוּ עָלֶיהָ מִסָּבִיב בְּיֹום רָעָה׃   51:2

Jere. 51:2    and I shall send strangers to Babylon

                              and they shall fan it,

                       as they empty her land.

                              For they are upon her

                       from all around at the evil time.”

The pronoun it in the second line of the translation must refer back to the wind in the first verse.

אֶל־יִדְרֹךְ (יִדְרֹךְ) [ ] הַדֹּרֵךְ קַשְׁתֹּו וְאֶל־יִתְעַל בְּסִרְיֹנֹו וְאַל־תַּחְמְלוּ אֶל־בַּחֻרֶיהָ הַחֲרִימוּ   51:3                 כָּל־צְבָאָהּ׃

Jere. 51:3   Accordingly, shall bend (shall bend)

                             the archer his bow, and,

                      accordingly, he shall lift himself up

                             in his armor.

                      Now have no pity toward her young men!

                             Utterly destroy her entire host!

The second Hebrew word is repeated as the third word (in parentheses) -- very strange!  How can such an error occur?  Perhaps the scribe was rushing to finish writing this.  See the last few verses in this chapter for more on that.

וְנָפְלוּ חֲלָלִים בְּאֶרֶץ כַּשְׂדִּים וּמְדֻקָּרִים בְּחוּצֹותֶיהָ׃   51:4

Jere. 51:4   So they shall fall fatally wounded

                             in the land of the Chaldeans

                      and pierced through in her streets.

כִּי לֹא־אַלְמָן יִשְׂרָאֵל וִיהוּדָה מֵאֱלֹהָיו מֵיְהוָה צְבָאֹות כִּי אַרְצָם מָלְאָה אָשָׁם מִקְּדֹושׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל׃   51:5

Jere. 51:5   For Israel is not separated

                             -- nor Judah -- from his God,

                      from the Lord of hosts,

                             (though their land was full of guilt),

                      from the Holy One of Israel.

נֻסוּ מִתֹּוךְ בָּבֶל וּמַלְּטוּ אִישׁ נַפְשֹׁו אַל־תִּדַּמּוּ בַּעֲוֹנָהּ כִּי עֵת נְקָמָה הִיא לַיהוָה גְּמוּל הוּא מְשַׁלֵּם   51:6  


Jere. 51:6   Flee from the midst of Babylon

                             and save each his life!

                     Do not stand still by her iniquity!

                             For it is the time of vengeance

                      for the Lord.

                             He is delivering retribution to her.

כֹּוס־זָהָב בָּבֶל בְּיַד־יְהוָה מְשַׁכֶּרֶת כָּל־הָאָרֶץ מִיֵּינָהּ שָׁתוּ גֹויִם עַל־כֵּן יִתְהֹלְלוּ גֹויִם׃   51:7

Jere. 51:7   Babylon was a cup of gold

                               in the hand of the Lord,

                      making all the earth drunk.

                               From her wine the nations drank;

                       therefore the nations shall act madly.

פִּתְאֹם נָפְלָה בָבֶל וַתִּשָּׁבֵר הֵילִילוּ עָלֶיהָ קְחוּ צֳרִי לְמַכְאֹובָהּ אוּלַי תֵּרָפֵא׃   51:8

Jere. 51:8   Suddenly Babylon falls and is maimed.

                              Wail for her! Get balm for her pain!

                      Perhaps she can be healed.

 וְנִשָּׂא רִפִּאנוּ אֶת־בָּבֶל וְלֹא נִרְפָּתָה עִזְבוּהָ וְנֵלֵךְ אִישׁ לְאַרְצֹו כִּי־נָגַע אֶל־הַשָּׁמַיִם מִשְׁפָּטָהּ   51:9                 עַד־שְׁחָקִים׃

Jere. 51:9   We heal Babylon but she is not healed.

                              Forsake her and let us go

                      each to his own land.

                              For her judgment reaches to the heavens

                      and is raised up to the clouds.

הֹוצִיא יְהוָה אֶת־צִדְקֹתֵינוּ בֹּאוּ וּנְסַפְּרָה בְצִיֹּון אֶת־מַעֲשֵׂה יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ׃   51:10

Jere. 51:10   The Lord delivers our justice;

                               come and let us recount

                         the work of the Lord, our God, in Zion.

הָבֵרוּ הַחִצִּים מִלְאוּ הַשְּׁלָטִים הֵעִיר יְהוָה אֶת־רוּחַ מַלְכֵי מָדַי כִּי־עַל־בָּבֶל מְזִמָּתֹו לְהַשְׁחִיתָהּ   51:11          

 כִּי־נִקְמַת יְהוָה הִיא נִקְמַת הֵיכָלֹו׃

Jere. 51:11   Polish the arrows! Complete the shields!

                              The Lord rouses the spirit of the kings of Media,

                        for against Babylon, His intention is to destroy it,

                              because it is the vengeance of the Lord,

                        the vengeance of His Temple.

אֶל־חֹומֹת בָּבֶל שְׂאוּ־נֵס הַחֲזִיקוּ הַמִּשְׁמָר הָקִימוּ שֹׁמְרִים הָכִינוּ הָאֹרְבִים כִּי גַּם־זָםַם יְהוָה   51:12             גַּם־עָשָׂה אֵת אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּר אֶל־יֹשְׁבֵי בָבֶל׃

Jere. 51:12   To the walls of Babylon

                               carry up the standard!

                        Make strong the guard post!

                              Set the watchmen!

                        Prepare the ambushes!

                              For the Lord both devises

                        and does what He speaks

                              to the inhabitants of Babylon.

שֹׁכַנְתִּי) [שֹׁכַנְתְּ] עַל־מַיִם רַבִּים רַבַּת אֹוצָרֹת בָּא קִצֵּךְ אַמַּת בִּצְעֵךְ׃   51:13

Jere. 51:13   Dweller on many waters,

                              abounding in treasures!

                        Your end comes,

                              a measure of your greed.

The word before the left parenthesis is thought to be in error.  I’m not convinced that it is.  It appears in three other places in the bible, but they are found in different contexts.  Here the word is understood to be a participle, while there they are all first-person passive verbs.  However, the word assumed to be the correct one, without the ending yad, in the brackets, is found in only one other place and it too is in a different context.  There it is a second-person passive verb.  I translate the word as a noun, dweller, referring to Babylon.  So for me there is no error.  And once more, please excuse the missing right parenthesis.

נִשְׁבַּע יְהוָה צְבָאֹות בְּנַפְשֹׁו כִּי אִם־מִלֵּאתִיךְ אָדָם כַּיֶּלֶק וְעָנוּ עָלַיִךְ הֵידָד׃   51:14

Jere. 51:14   The Lord of hosts swears by Himself,

                               “Surely if I made you full of men like locusts,

                         then they would shout against you a shout.”

עֹשֵׂה אֶרֶץ בְּכֹחֹו מֵכִין תֵּבֵל בְּחָכְמָתֹו וּבִתְבוּנָתֹו נָטָה שָׁמָיִם׃   51:15

Jere. 51:15   He made the earth with His power,

                                establishing the world with His wisdom,

                        and with His discernment

                                extended the heavens

לְקֹול תִּתֹּו הֲמֹון מַיִם בַּשָּׁמַיִם וַיַּעַל נְשִׂאִים מִקְצֵה־אָרֶץ בְּרָקִים לַמָּטָר עָשָׂה וַיֹּצֵא רוּחַ מֵאֹצְרֹתָיו׃   51:16

Jere. 51:16   to the sound of His gift of the

                               abundance of water in the heavens,

                        and caused vapors to ascend

                               from the ends of the earth,

                       made the lightning bolts in the rain,

                               and brought forth the wind

                        from His treasure houses.

נִבְעַר כָּל־אָדָם מִדַּעַת הֹבִישׁ כָּל־צֹרֵף מִפָּסֶל כִּי שֶׁקֶר נִסְכֹּו וְלֹא־רוּחַ בָּם׃   51:17

Jere. 51:17   Bereft is every man of wisdom;

                               every goldsmith is put to shame

                        because of idols,

                               for his molten image is a deception,

                        as no breath is in them.

הֶבֶל הֵמָּה מַעֲשֵׂה תַּעְתֻּעִים בְּעֵת פְּקֻדָּתָם יֹאבֵדוּ׃   51:18

Jere. 51:18   They are vanity, delusional works.

                               At the time of their visitation,

                         they shall vanish.

לֹא־כְאֵלֶּה חֵלֶק יַעֲקֹוב כִּי־יֹוצֵר הַכֹּל הוּא וְשֵׁבֶט נַחֲלָתֹו יְהוָה צְבָאֹות שְׁמֹו׃   51:19

Jere. 51:19   The Portion of Jacob is not like these,

                               for He is the Framer of everything,

                         including the tribe of His inheritance.

                              The Lord of hosts is His name.

מַפֵּץ־אַתָּה לִי כְּלֵי מִלְחָמָה וְנִפַּצְתִּי בְךָ גֹּויִם וְהִשְׁחַתִּי בְךָ מַמְלָכֹות׃   51:20

Jere. 51:20   “You are My battle ax,

                               an implement of war,

                        and I will shatter nations with you,

                               and I will destroy kingdoms with you,

וְנִפַּצְתִּי בְךָ סוּס וְרֹכְבֹו וְנִפַּצְתִּי בְךָ רֶכֶב וְרֹכְבֹו׃   51:21

Jere. 51:21   and I will shatter horse

                               and his rider with you,

                        and I will shatter chariot

                               and its charioteer with you,

וְנִפַּצְתִּי בְךָ אִישׁ וְאִשָּׁה וְנִפַּצְתִּי בְךָ זָקֵן וָנָעַר וְנִפַּצְתִּי בְךָ בָּחוּר וּבְתוּלָה׃   51:22

Jere. 51:22   and I will shatter man

                                and woman with you,

                        and I will shatter the old

                                and the young with you,

                        and I will shatter young man

                                and maiden with you,

וְנִפַּצְתִּי בְךָ רֹעֶה וְעֶדְרֹו וְנִפַּצְתִּי בְךָ אִכָּר וְצִמְדֹּו וְנִפַּצְתִּי בְךָ פַּחֹות וּסְגָנִים׃  51:23

Jere. 51:23   and I will shatter the shepherd

                                and his flock with you,

                        and I will shatter the plowman

                                and his team with you,

                        and I will shatter governors

                                and deputies with you.”

To whom is the Lord addressing the words of the last four verses and the next one (v. 51:20 to v. 51:24)?  Is it the Jews, Israel?  It must be.  Who else would it be?  In the next verse, it seems clear that He is addressing Israel.  So is the Lord saying He will use Israel to destroy all the surrounding nations?  Decide for yourself.  I’m fairly convinced that it is so.

וְשִׁלַּמְתִּי לְבָבֶל וּלְכֹל יֹושְׁבֵי כַשְׂדִּים אֵת כָּל־רָעָתָם אֲשֶׁר־עָשׂוּ בְצִיֹּון לְעֵינֵיכֶם נְאֻם יְהוָה׃   51:24

Jere. 51:24   “And I shall repay to Babylon

                                 and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea

                        all their evil that they did

                                  in Zion for your eyes,”

                        declares the Lord.

הִנְנִי אֵלֶיךָ הַר הַמַּשְׁחִית נְאֻם־יְהוָה הַמַּשְׁחִית אֶת־כָּל־הָאָרֶץ וְנָטִיתִי אֶת־יָדִי עָלֶיךָ וְגִלְגַּלְתִּיךָ   51:25         מִן־הַסְּלָעִים וּנְתַתִּיךָ לְהַר שְׂרֵפָה׃

Jere. 51:25   “Behold, I am against you,

                                 mountain of destruction,”

                        declares the Lord,

                                  “that destroys all the earth,

                        so I will stretch out My ‘hand’ over you

                                  and roll you down from the rocks

                        and make you for a burning hill.”

Now the Lord is addressing Babylon again.

וְלֹא־יִקְחוּ מִמְּךָ אֶבֶן לְפִנָּה וְאֶבֶן לְמֹוסָדֹות כִּי־שִׁמְמֹות עֹולָם תִּהְיֶה נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃   51:26

Jere. 51:26   “And they shall not take a stone

                                  for a corner from you,

                        or a stone for foundations.

                                  Indeed, you shall be

                        a desolation forever,”

                                 declares the Lord.

שְׂאוּ־נֵס בָּאָרֶץ תִּקְעוּ שֹׁופָר בַּגֹּויִם קַדְּשׁוּ עָלֶיהָ גֹּויִם הַשְׁמִיעוּ עָלֶיהָ מַמְלְכֹות אֲרָרַט מִנִּי   51:27           וְאַשְׁכְּנָז פִּקְדוּ עָלֶיהָ טִפְסָר הַעֲלוּ־סוּס כְּיֶלֶק סָמָר׃

Jere. 51:27   Raise up a standard in the land!

                                 Sound a horn throughout the nations!

                        Prepare the nations against her!

                                 Summon the kingdoms of Ararat,

                       Minni, and Ashkenaz against her!

                                 Appoint a marshal against her!

                        Cause horse to ascend like a bristling locust!

קַדְּשׁוּ עָלֶיהָ גֹויִם אֶת־מַלְכֵי מָדַי אֶת־פַּחֹותֶיהָ וְאֶת־כָּל־סְגָנֶיהָ וְאֵת כָּל־אֶרֶץ מֶמְשַׁלְתֹּו׃   51:28

Jere. 51:28   Prepare nations against her,

                                 the kings of Media,

                        her governors, and all her deputies,

                                 and the entire land of his realm.

וַתִּרְעַשׁ הָאָרֶץ וַתָּחֹל כִּי קָמָה עַל־בָּבֶל מַחְשְׁבֹות יְהוָה לָשׂוּם אֶת־אֶרֶץ בָּבֶל לְשַׁמָּה מֵאֵין יֹושֵׁב׃   51:29

Jere. 51:29   So the land quakes and writhes,

                                because it has confirmed

                         the plans of the Lord against Babylon,

                                to make the land of Babylon

                         for a waste, without an inhabitant.

חָדְלוּ גִבֹּורֵי בָבֶל לְהִלָּחֵם יָשְׁבוּ בַּמְּצָדֹות נָשְׁתָה גְבוּרָתָם הָיוּ לְנָשִׁים הִצִּיתוּ מִשְׁכְּנֹתֶיהָ נִשְׁבְּרוּ   51:30 בְרִיחֶיהָ׃

Jere. 51:30   The mighty men of Babylon

                                have ceased to do battle;

                         they sit in strongholds;

                                 their strength is withered;

                         they are as women.

                                Her dwelling places are set on fire;

                         her bars are broken.

רָץ לִקְרַאת־רָץ יָרוּץ וּמַגִּיד לִקְרַאת מַגִּיד לְהַגִּיד לְמֶלֶךְ בָּבֶל כִּי־נִלְכְּדָה עִירֹו מִקָּצֶה׃   51:31

Jere. 51:31   One runner will run after another,

                                 and one messenger after another,

                         to announce to the king of Babylon

                                  that his city is captured from the border,

וְהַמַּעְבָּרֹות נִתְפָּשׂוּ וְאֶת־הָאֲגַמִּים שָׂרְפוּ בָאֵשׁ וְאַנְשֵׁי הַמִּלְחָמָה נִבְהָלוּ׃   51:32

Jere. 51:32   and the fords are taken,

                                 and they have burned

                        the marshlands with fire,

                                 and the men of war are terrified.

כִּי כֹה אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאֹות אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּת־בָּבֶל כְּגֹרֶן עֵת הִדְרִיכָהּ עֹוד מְעַט וּבָאָה עֵת־הַקָּצִיר   51:33 לָהּ׃

Jere. 51:33   For thus says the Lord of hosts, God of Israel:

                                 “The daughter of Babylon is like

                        a threshing floor when it is trodden;

                                 wait a short while

                        and the time of harvest shall come for her.”

אֲכָלָנוּ) [אֲכָלַנִי] (הֲמָמָנוּ) [הֲמָמַנִי] נְבוּכַדְרֶאצַּר מֶלֶךְ בָּבֶל (הִצִּיגָנוּ) [הִצִּיגַנִי] כְּלִי רִיק   51:34             בְּלָעָנוּ) [בְּלָעַנִי] כַּתַּנִּין מִלָּא כְרֵשֹׂו מֵעֲדָנָי (הֱדִיחָנוּ) [הֱדִיחָנִי]׃

Jere. 51:34   Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon,

                                 devoured us, destroyed us;

                        he presented us an empty vessel;

                                 he swallowed us down like a dragon;

                        he filled his belly from my delicacy;

                                 he washed us clean.

This verse is thought to have five errors, all related to the first-person pronouns that are the objects of the respective verbs devoured, destroyed, presented, swallowed, and washed.  Should they be plural (us) or singular (me)?  Notice that one first-person pronoun is singular (my in the fifth line).  The question is who is offering these words?  Is it Jeremiah or someone else? Is it one person or a group?   I suspect the next verse provides a tentative answer.  There we have “one remaining of Zion” and “Jerusalem.”  Could the words with us as the pronoun be the words of Jerusalem, and the words with my as the pronoun be those of the one remaining?  This is the sort of model Jeremiah has used before, only here it seems to reach a frenetic level.  So I conclude that there are no errors in this verse.  I conclude that Jeremiah’s apparent excitement goes overboard here in this chapter.  And now I have to ask you to forgive two missing right parentheses.

חֲמָסִי וּשְׁאֵרִי עַל־בָּבֶל תֹּאמַר יֹשֶׁבֶת צִיֹּון וְדָמִי אֶל־יֹשְׁבֵי כַשְׂדִּים תֹּאמַר יְרוּשָׁלִָם׃   51:35

Jere. 51:35   “The violence to me and my body upon Babylon,”

                                 one remaining of Zion shall say,

                        and “My blood against the inhabitants of Chaldea,”

                                 Jerusalem shall say.

לָכֵן כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה הִנְנִי־רָב אֶת־רִיבֵךְ וְנִקַּמְתִּי אֶת־נִקְמָתֵךְ וְהַחֲרַבְתִּי אֶת־יַמָּהּ וְהֹבַשְׁתִּי   51:36                    אֶת־מְקֹורָהּ׃

Jere. 51:36   Therefore, thus says the Lord:

                                “Behold, I am pleading your cause,

                        and I will avenge your avenging,

                                and dry up her sea,

                        and make her spring dry.”

And now the Lord responds to the Jews’ wailing, continuing until v. 51:48.

וְהָיְתָה בָבֶל לְגַלִּים מְעֹון־תַּנִּים שַׁמָּה וּשְׁרֵקָה מֵאֵין יֹושֵׁב׃   51:37

Jere. 51:37   “And Babylon shall be for heaps,

                                 a den of serpents,

                        a waste and a hissing,

                                 without inhabitant.”

יַחְדָּו כַּכְּפִרִים יִשְׁאָגוּ נָעֲרוּ כְּגֹורֵי אֲרָיֹות׃   51:38

Jere. 51:38   “Together they shall roar like young lions;

                                  they shall yelp like cubs of lions.”

בְּחֻםָּם אָשִׁית אֶת־מִשְׁתֵּיהֶם וְהִשְׁכַּרְתִּים לְמַעַן יַעֲלֹזוּ וְיָשְׁנוּ שְׁנַת־עֹולָם וְלֹא יָקִיצוּ נְאֻם יְהוָה׃   51:39

Jere. 51:39   “In their heat shall I fix their feasts,

                                  and I shall make them drunk

                        so that they will be overcome

                                  and sleep a sleep of eternity

                        and never wake,” declares the Lord.

אֹורִידֵם כְּכָרִים לִטְבֹוחַ כְּאֵילִים עִם־עַתּוּדִים׃   51:40

Jere. 51:40   “I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter,

                                  like rams with the he-goats.”

אֵיךְ נִלְכְּדָה שֵׁשַׁךְ וַתִּתָּפֵשׂ תְּהִלַּת כָּל־הָאָרֶץ אֵיךְ הָיְתָה לְשַׁמָּה בָּבֶל בַּגֹּויִם׃   51:41

Jere. 51:41   How Sheshach is caught and the praise

                                  of all the earth is seized!

                        How Babylon is for a horror

                                  among the nations!

Sheshach has been mentioned before, in Jere. 25:26.

עָלָה עַל־בָּבֶל הַיָּם בַּהֲמֹון גַּלָּיו נִכְסָתָה׃   51:42

Jere. 51:42   The sea rises up upon Babylon;

                                  she is covered with the wash of its waves.

הָיוּ עָרֶיהָ לְשַׁמָּה אֶרֶץ צִיָּה וַעֲרָבָה אֶרֶץ לֹא־יֵשֵׁב בָּהֵן כָּל־אִישׁ וְלֹא־יַעֲבֹר בָּהֵן בֶּן־אָדָם׃   51:43

Jere. 51:43   Her cities are wasted,

                                   a desert land and a wilderness,

                        a land no one would live in it

                                   or any son of man would pass through it.

וּפָקַדְתִּי עַל־בֵּל בְּבָבֶל וְהֹצֵאתִי אֶת־בִּלְעֹו מִפִּיו וְלֹא־יִנְהֲרוּ אֵלָיו עֹוד גֹּויִם גַּם־חֹומַת בָּבֶל נָפָלָה׃   51:44

Jere. 51:44   “And I will attend to Bel in Babylon,

                                  and I will extract his ingested ones

                           from his mouth, and will no more nations

                                  flow to him;

                           yes, the wall of Babylon falls.”

צְאוּ מִתֹּוכָהּ עַמִּי וּמַלְּטוּ אִישׁ אֶת־נַפְשֹׁו מֵחֲרֹון אַף־יְהוָה׃   51:45

Jere. 51:45   “Go forth from her midst, My people,

                                  and escape, each with his life,

                        from the ferocity of the ‘anger’ of the Lord.”

וּפֶן־יֵרַךְ לְבַבְכֶם וְתִירְאוּ בַּשְּׁמוּעָה הַנִּשְׁמַעַת בָּאָרֶץ וּבָא בַשָּׁנָה הַשְּׁמוּעָה וְאַחֲרָיו בַּשָּׁנָה   51:46          הַשְּׁמוּעָה וְחָמָס בָּאָרֶץ וּמֹשֵׁל עַל־מֹשֵׁל׃

Jere. 51:46   “And let not your hearts be timid

                                  or you be frightened by any rumor

                        being heard in the land,

                                  as the rumor will come in a year,

                        and after it another rumor in a year,

                                  and violence will be in the land,

                        ruler against ruler.”

לָכֵן הִנֵּה יָמִים בָּאִים וּפָקַדְתִּי עַל־פְּסִילֵי בָבֶל וְכָל־אַרְצָהּ תֵּבֹושׁ וְכָל־חֲלָלֶיהָ יִפְּלוּ בְתֹוכָהּ׃   51:47

Jere. 51:47   “Therefore behold, the days are coming

                                 when I shall pass judgment

                        upon the idols of Babylon,

                                  and her entire land shall be shamed

                        as all her fatally wounded fall in her midst.”

וְרִנְּנוּ עַל־בָּבֶל שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר בָּהֶם כִּי מִצָּפֹון יָבֹוא־לָהּ הַשֹּׁודְדִים נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃   51:48

Jere. 51:48   “Then heaven and earth

                                 and all that are in them

                        shall sing for joy over Babylon,

                                 for the despoilers from the north

                        shall come to her,”

                                 declares the Lord.

גַּם־בָּבֶל לִנְפֹּל חַלְלֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל גַּם־לְבָבֶל נָפְלוּ חַלְלֵי כָל־הָאָרֶץ׃   51:49

Jere. 51:49   As Babylon has made

                                 the fatally wounded of Israel to fall,

                        so fall the fatally wounded

                                 of all the land in Babylon.

פְּלֵטִים מֵחֶרֶב הִלְכוּ אַל־תַּעֲמֹדוּ זִכְרוּ מֵרָחֹוק אֶת־יְהוָה וִירוּשָׁלִַם תַּעֲלֶה עַל־לְבַבְכֶם׃   51:50

Jere. 51:50   Refugees from the sword, go!

                                 You must not stand still.

                        Remember the Lord from a distance,

                                 and let Jerusalem spring up

                         on your minds:

I imagine this is Jeremiah addressing the Jewish remnant.

בֹּשְׁנוּ כִּי־שָׁמַעְנוּ חֶרְפָּה כִּסְּתָה כְלִמָּה פָּנֵינוּ כִּי בָּאוּ זָרִים עַל־מִקְדְּשֵׁי בֵּית יְהוָה׃   51:51

Jere. 51:51   “We are ashamed,

                                 because we understand disgrace;

                        dishonor covers our face;

                                 for strangers have come

                        upon the holy places

                                 of the house of the Lord.”

And here the Jews respond.  Notice the use of the plural first-person pronouns, matching most of those in v. 51:34.

לָכֵן הִנֵּה־יָמִים בָּאִים נְאֻם־יְהוָה וּפָקַדְתִּי עַל־פְּסִילֶיהָ וּבְכָל־אַרְצָהּ יֶאֱנֹק חָלָל׃   51:52

Jere. 51:52   “Therefore behold, the days are coming,”

                                 says the Lord,

                       “when I will pronounce judgment

                                 against her idols,

                        and throughout all her land

                                  they shall groan, fatally wounded.”

כִּי־תַעֲלֶה בָבֶל הַשָּׁמַיִם וְכִי תְבַצֵּר מְרֹום עֻזָּהּ מֵאִתִּי יָבֹאוּ שֹׁדְדִים לָהּ נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃   51:53

Jere. 51:53   “Though Babylon were to rise up to the sky,

                                  and though she were to make

                        the highest place of her strength impregnable,

                                  the destroyers would come from Me to her,”

                        declares the Lord.

קֹול זְעָקָה מִבָּבֶל וְשֶׁבֶר גָּדֹול מֵאֶרֶץ כַּשְׂדִּים׃   51:54

Jere. 51:54   A noise! An outcry from Babylon!

                                  Also a loud shattering

                         from the land of the Chaldeans!

כִּי־שֹׁדֵד יְהוָה אֶת־בָּבֶל וְאִבַּד מִמֶּנָּה קֹול גָּדֹול וְהָמוּ גַלֵּיהֶם כְּמַיִם רַבִּים נִתַּן שְׁאֹון קֹולָם׃   51:55

Jere. 51:55   For the Lord will be destroying Babylon,

                                  and will blot out the loud noise from her,

                        but their waves shall rage like flooding waters;

                                  He permits the roar of their noise.

כִּי בָא עָלֶיהָ עַל־בָּבֶל שֹׁודֵד וְנִלְכְּדוּ גִּבֹּורֶיהָ חִתְּתָה קַשְּׁתֹותָם כִּי אֵל גְּמֻלֹות יְהוָה שַׁלֵּם יְשַׁלֵּם׃   51:56

Jere. 51:56   Indeed the Destroyer comes

                                 against her, against Babylon,

                       and her mighty men shall be taken;

                                 He shatters their bows.

                       For the Lord is a God of recompense.

                                 Surely He shall requite.

וְהִשְׁכַּרְתִּי שָׂרֶיהָ וַחֲכָמֶיהָ פַּחֹותֶיהָ וּסְגָנֶיהָ וְגִבֹּורֶיהָ וְיָשְׁנוּ שְׁנַת־עֹולָם וְלֹא יָקִיצוּ נְאֻם־הַמֶּלֶךְ   51:57         יְהוָה צְבָאֹות שְׁמֹו׃

Jere. 51:57   “So I shall make her princes

                                 and her wise men drunk,

                        her governors and her deputies

                                 and her mighty men,

                        so they will sleep a sleep of eternity

                                 and never awaken,”

                        declares the King,

                                  the Lord of hosts being His name.

כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאֹות חֹמֹות בָּבֶל הָרְחָבָה עַרְעֵר תִּתְעַרְעָר וּשְׁעָרֶיהָ הַגְּבֹהִים בָּאֵשׁ יִצַּתּוּ   51:58               וְיִגְעוּ עַמִּים בְּדֵי־רִיק וּלְאֻמִּים בְּדֵי־אֵשׁ וְיָעֵפוּ׃

Jere. 51:58   Thus says the Lord of hosts:

                                  “The walls of Babylon, though broad,

                        shall be laid utterly bare,

                                  and her tall gates shall burn by fire,

                        and the peoples shall labor in vain,

                                  as the nations have enough of fire,

                        and they shall be weary.”                                              [Return to Haba. 2:13]

הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּה יִרְמְיָהוּ הַנָּבִיא אֶת־שְׂרָיָה בֶן־נֵרִיָּה בֶּן־מַחְסֵיָה בְּלֶכְתֹּו אֶת־צִדְקִיָּהוּ מֶלֶךְ־יְהוּדָה   51:59 בָּבֶל בִּשְׁנַת הָרְבִעִית לְמָלְכֹו וּשְׂרָיָה שַׂר מְנוּחָה׃

Jere. 51:59   Of the word that Jeremiah, the prophet, commanded Seraiah son of Neriah son of Mahseiah on his going with Zedekiah, king of Judah, to Babylon in his reign's fourth year; now Seraiah was a retired official.

Several points about this verse:  First, Seraiah must be Baruch’s brother, as Baruch was also the son of Neriah (see Jere.32:12).  Second, the last two Hebrew words of the verse probably form an idiom, but its meaning is unclear.  Literally translated it could be quiet official or chief of resting place, or anything similar.  I decided that I would be imaginative and assume that the word for rest meant retired, and so you have my translation.  Third and most important, when I first encountered this verse, I didn’t know what to make of the information in it.  Could all of this chapter have happened so early?  In Zedekiah’s fourth year?  This was very early in the battle for Judah.  Then it occurred to me that this might not be a time warp.  That must be when this chapter, and probably many of the previous chapters, were written down.  Amazing, I say!  But who went with Zedekiah to Babylon?  It was Seraiah, not Jeremiah.  But Zedekiah went to Babylon in the eleventh year of his reign, not in his fourth year.  So what’s going on here?  Ah, it’s possible that Zedekiah visited Nebuchadnezzar in his fourth year, but this visit doesn’t appear to have been recorded anywhere else.  So it’s anybody’s guess.

וַיִּכְתֹּב יִרְמְיָהוּ אֵת כָּל־הָרָעָה אֲשֶׁר־תָּבֹוא אֶל־בָּבֶל אֶל־סֵפֶר אֶחָד אֵת כָּל־הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה   51:60        הַכְּתֻבִים אֶל־בָּבֶל׃

Jere. 51:60   Then Jeremiah wrote all the evil that would come to Babylon into one book, all these words written concerning Babylon.

וַיֹּאמֶר יִרְמְיָהוּ אֶל־שְׂרָיָה כְּבֹאֲךָ בָבֶל וְרָאִיתָ וְקָרָאתָ אֵת כָּל־הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה׃   51:61

Jere. 51:61   And Jeremiah said to Seraiah, “After your entering Babylon, then you must see that you read all these words,

וְאָמַרְתָּ יְהוָה אַתָּה דִבַּרְתָּ אֶל־הַמָּקֹום הַזֶּה לְהַכְרִיתֹו לְבִלְתִּי הֱיֹות־בֹּו יֹושֵׁב לְמֵאָדָם   51:62                     וְעַד־בְּהֵמָה כִּי־שִׁמְמֹות עֹולָם תִּהְיֶה׃

Jere. 51:62   and you shall say, ‘Lord, You have spoken concerning this place, cutting it off without any inhabitant being in it, man or beast; surely for ever it shall be desolate.’”

וְהָיָה כְּכַלֹּתְךָ לִקְרֹא אֶת־הַסֵּפֶר הַזֶּה תִּקְשֹׁר עָלָיו אֶבֶן וְהִשְׁלַכְתֹּו אֶל־תֹּוךְ פְּרָת׃   51:63

Jere. 51:63   “And it shall be after your finishing reading this book, you shall tie a stone on it and cast it to the middle of the Euphrates.”

וְאָמַרְתָּ כָּכָה תִּשְׁקַע בָּבֶל וְלֹא־תָקוּם מִפְּנֵי הָרָעָה אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מֵבִיא עָלֶיהָ וְיָעֵפוּ עַד־הֵנָּה דִּבְרֵי   51:64 יִרְמְיָהוּ׃

Jere. 51:64   “Then you shall say, ‘Babylon shall sink like this and never rise, because of the evil that I am bringing upon her,’ and they shall be weary.”  The words of Jeremiah are up to here.

The final words of this verse raise the following complex question:  Did someone else besides Jeremiah write Chapter 52, or was it added later by Jeremiah after this writing and did the writer of Chapter 52 forget to remove these final words or did he leave them out of respect for the sanctity of the bible?


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