The LORD's Judgment on Babylon
51 1 Thus says the Lord: "Behold, I will stir up the spirit of a destroyer against Babylon, against the inhabitants of Chalde'a; 2 and I will send to Babylon winnowers, and they shall winnow her, and they shall empty her land, when they come against her from every side on the day of trouble. 3 Let not the archer bend his bow, and let him not stand up in his coat of mail. Spare not her young men; utterly destroy all her host. 4 They shall fall down slain in the land of the Chalde'ans, and wounded in her streets. 5 For Israel and Judah have not been forsaken by their God, the Lord of hosts; but the land of the Chalde'ans is full of guilt against the Holy One of Israel. 6 "Flee from the midst of Babylon, let every man save his life! Be not cut off in her punishment, for this is the time of the Lord's vengeance, the requital he is rendering her. 7 Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord's hand, making all the earth drunken; the nations drank of her wine, therefore the nations went mad. 8 Suddenly Babylon has fallen and been broken; wail for her! Take balm for her pain; perhaps she may be healed. 9 We would have healed Babylon, but she was not healed. Forsake her, and let us go each to his own country; for her judgment has reached up to heaven and has been lifted up even to the skies. 10 The Lord has brought forth our vindication; come, let us declare in Zion the work of the Lord our God. 11 "Sharpen the arrows! Take up the shields! The Lord 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 Lord, the vengeance for his temple. 12 Set up a standard against the walls of Babylon; make the watch strong; set up watchmen; prepare the ambushes; for the Lord has both planned and done what he spoke concerning the inhabitants of Babylon. 13 O you who dwell by many waters, rich in treasures, your end has come, the thread of your life is cut. 14 The Lord of hosts has sworn by himself: Surely I will fill you with men, as many as locusts, and they shall raise the shout of victory over you. 15 "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. 16 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 forth the wind from his storehouses. 17 Every man is stupid and without knowledge; every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols; for his images are false, and there is no breath in them. 18 They are worthless, a work of delusion; at the time of their punishment they shall perish. 19 Not like these is he who is the portion of Jacob, for he is the one who formed all things, and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance; the Lord of hosts is his name. 20 "You are my hammer and weapon of war: with you I break nations in pieces; with you I destroy kingdoms; 21 with you I break in pieces the horse and his rider; with you I break in pieces the chariot and the charioteer; 22 with you I break in pieces man and woman; with you I break in pieces the old man and the youth; with you I break in pieces the young man and the maiden; 23 with you I break in pieces the shepherd and his flock; with you I break in pieces the farmer and his team; with you I break in pieces governors and commanders. 24 "I will requite Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chalde'a before your very eyes for all the evil that they have done in Zion, says the Lord. 25 "Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain, says the Lord, which destroys the whole earth; I will stretch out my hand against you, and roll you down from the crags, and make you a burnt mountain. 26 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 Lord. 27 "Set up a standard on the earth, blow the trumpet among the nations; prepare the nations for war against her, summon against her the kingdoms, Ar'arat, Minni, and Ash'kenaz; appoint a marshal against her, bring up horses like bristling locusts. 28 Prepare the nations for war against her, the kings of the Medes, with their governors and deputies, and every land under their dominion. 29 The land trembles and writhes in pain, for the Lord's purposes against Babylon stand, to make the land of Babylon a desolation, without inhabitant. 30 The warriors of Babylon have ceased fighting, they remain in their strongholds; their strength has failed, they have become women; her dwellings are on fire, her bars are broken. 31 One runner runs to meet another, and one messenger to meet another, to tell the king of Babylon that his city is taken on every side; 32 the fords have been seized, the bulwarks are burned with fire, and the soldiers are in panic. 33 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: The daughter of 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." 34 "Nebuchadrez'zar the king 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 rinsed me out. 35 The violence done to me and to my kinsmen be upon Babylon," let the inhabitant of Zion say. "My blood be upon the inhabitants of Chalde'a," let Jerusalem say. 36 Therefore thus says the Lord: "Behold, I will plead your cause and take vengeance for you. I will dry up her sea and make her fountain dry; 37 and Babylon shall become a heap of ruins, the haunt of jackals, a horror and a hissing, without inhabitant. 38 "They shall roar together like lions; they shall growl like lions' whelps. 39 While they are inflamed I will prepare them a feast and make them drunk, till they swoon away and sleep a perpetual sleep and not wake, says the Lord. 40 I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams and he-goats. 41 "How Babylon is taken, the praise of the whole earth seized! How Babylon has become a horror among the nations! 42 The sea has come up on Babylon; she is covered with its tumultuous waves. 43 Her cities have become a horror, a land of drought and a desert, a land in which no one dwells, and through which no son of man passes. 44 And I will punish Bel in Babylon, and take out of his mouth what he has swallowed. The nations shall no longer flow to him; the wall of Babylon has fallen. 45 "Go out of the midst of her, my people! Let every man save his life from the fierce anger of the Lord! 46 Let not your heart faint, and be not fearful at the report heard in the land, when a report comes in one year and afterward a report in another year, and violence is in the land, and ruler is against ruler. 47 "Therefore, behold, 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 the midst of her. 48 Then the heavens and the earth, and all that is in them, shall sing for joy over Babylon; for the destroyers shall come against them out of the north, says the Lord. 49 Babylon must fall for the slain of Israel, as for Babylon have fallen the slain of all the earth. 50 "You that have escaped from the sword, go, stand not still! Remember the Lord from afar, and let Jerusalem come into your mind: 51 'We are put to shame, for we have heard reproach; dishonor has covered our face, for aliens have come into the holy places of the Lord's house.' 52 "Therefore, behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will execute judgment upon her images, and through all her land the wounded shall groan. 53 Though Babylon should mount up to heaven, and though she should fortify her strong height, yet destroyers would come from me upon her, says the Lord. 54 "Hark! a cry from Babylon! The noise of great destruction from the land of the Chalde'ans! 55 For the Lord is laying Babylon waste, and stilling her mighty voice. Their waves roar like many waters, the noise of their voice is raised; 56 for a destroyer has come upon her, upon Babylon; her warriors are taken, their bows are broken in pieces; for the Lord is a God of recompense, he will surely requite. 57 I will make drunk her princes and her wise men, her governors, her commanders, and her warriors; they shall sleep a perpetual sleep and not wake, says the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts. 58 "Thus says the Lord of hosts: The broad wall of Babylon shall be leveled to the ground and her high gates shall be burned with fire. The peoples labor for nought, and the nations weary themselves only for fire."
59 The word which Jeremiah the prophet commanded Serai'ah the son of Neri'ah, son of Mahsei'ah, when he went with Zedeki'ah king of Judah to Babylon, in the fourth year of his reign. Serai'ah was the quartermaster. 60 Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon Babylon, all these words that are written concerning Babylon. 61 And Jeremiah said to Serai'ah: "When you come to Babylon, see that you read all these words, 62 and say, 'O Lord, thou hast said concerning this place that thou wilt cut it off, so that nothing shall dwell in it, neither man nor beast, and it shall be desolate for ever.' 63 When you finish reading this book, bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of the Euphra'tes, 64 and say, 'Thus shall Babylon sink, to rise no more, because of the evil that I am bringing upon her.'" Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.
The Reign of Zedekiah
52 1 Zedeki'ah was twenty-one years old when he became king; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Hamu'tal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. 2 And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that Jehoi'akim had done. 3 Surely because of the anger of the Lord things came to such a pass in Jerusalem and Judah that he cast them out from his presence. And Zedeki'ah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
The Fall of Jerusalem
4 And in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, Nebuchadrez'zar king of Babylon came with all his army against Jerusalem, and they laid siege to it and built siegeworks against it round about. 5 So the city was besieged till the eleventh year of King Zedeki'ah. 6 On the ninth day of the fourth month the famine was so severe in the city, that there was no food for the people of the land. 7 Then a breach was made in the city; and all the men of war fled and went out from the city by night by the way of a gate between the two walls, by the king's garden, while the Chalde'ans were round about the city. And they went in the direction of the Arabah. 8 But the army of the Chalde'ans pursued the king, and overtook Zedeki'ah in the plains of Jericho; and all his army was scattered from him. 9 Then they captured the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, and he passed sentence upon him. 10 The king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedeki'ah before his eyes, and also slew all the princes of Judah at Riblah. 11 He put out the eyes of Zedeki'ah, and bound him in fetters, and the king of Babylon took him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death.
The Captivity of Judah
12 In the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month--which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadrez'zar, king of Babylon--Nebu'zarad'an the captain of the bodyguard who served the king of Babylon, entered Jerusalem. 13 And he burned the house of the Lord, and the king's house and all the houses of Jerusalem; every great house he burned down. 14 And all the army of the Chalde'ans, who were with the captain of the guard, broke down all the walls round about Jerusalem. 15 And Nebu'zarad'an the captain of the guard carried away captive some of the poorest of the people and the rest of the people who were left in the city and the deserters who had deserted to the king of Babylon, together with the rest of the artisans. 16 But Nebu'zarad'an the captain of the guard left some of the poorest of the land to be vinedressers and plowmen. 17 And the pillars of bronze that were in the house of the Lord, and the stands and the bronze sea that were in the house of the Lord, the Chalde'ans broke in pieces, and carried all the bronze to Babylon. 18 And they took away the pots, and the shovels, and the snuffers, and the basins, and the dishes for incense, and all the vessels of bronze used in the temple service; 19 also the small bowls, and the firepans, and the basins, and the pots, and the lampstands, and the dishes for incense, and the bowls for libation. What was of gold the captain of the guard took away as gold, and what was of silver, as silver. 20 As for the two pillars, the one sea, the twelve bronze bulls which were under the sea, and the stands, which Solomon the king had made for the house of the Lord, the bronze of all these things was beyond weight. 21 As for the pillars, the height of the one pillar was eighteen cubits, its circumference was twelve cubits, and its thickness was four fingers, and it was hollow. 22 Upon it was a capital of bronze; the height of the one capital was five cubits; a network and pomegranates, all of bronze, were upon the capital round about. And the second pillar had the like, with pomegranates. 23 There were ninety-six pomegranates on the sides; all the pomegranates were a hundred upon the network round about.
24 And the captain of the guard took Serai'ah the chief priest, and Zephani'ah the second priest, and the three keepers of the threshold; 25 and from the city he took an officer who had been in command of the men of war, and seven men of the king's council, who were found in the city; and the secretary of the commander of the army who mustered the people of the land; and sixty men of the people of the land, who were found in the midst of the city. 26 And Nebu'zarad'an the captain of the guard took them, and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 27 And the king of Babylon smote them, and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was carried captive out of its land. 28 This is the number of the people whom Nebuchadrez'zar carried away captive: in the seventh year, three thousand and twenty-three Jews; 29 in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrez'zar he carried away captive from Jerusalem eight hundred and thirty-two persons; 30 in the twenty-third year of Nebuchadrez'zar, Nebu'zarad'an the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred and forty-five persons; all the persons were four thousand and six hundred.
Jehoiachin Released and Honored in Babylon
31 And in the thirty-seventh year of the captivity of Jehoi'achin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-fifth day of the month, E'vil-mer'odach king of Babylon, in the year that he became king, lifted up the head of Jehoi'achin king of Judah and brought him out of prison; 32 and he spoke kindly to him, and gave him a seat above the seats of the kings who were with him in Babylon. 33 So Jehoi'achin put off his prison garments. And every day of his life he dined regularly at the king's table; 34 as for his allowance, a regualar allowance was given him by the king according to his daily need, until the day of his death as long as he lived.