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Jeremiah 50:1--51:64

Context
Judgment Against Babylon

50:1 The Lord spoke concerning Babylon and the land of Babylonia 1  through the prophet Jeremiah. 2 

50:2 “Announce 3  the news among the nations! Proclaim it!

Signal for people to pay attention! 4 

Declare the news! Do not hide it! Say:

‘Babylon will be captured.

Bel 5  will be put to shame.

Marduk will be dismayed.

Babylon’s idols will be put to shame.

Her disgusting images 6  will be dismayed. 7 

50:3 For a nation from the north 8  will attack Babylon.

It will lay her land waste.

People and animals will flee out of it.

No one will inhabit it.’

50:4 “When that time comes,” says the Lord, 9 

“the people of Israel and Judah will return to the land together.

They will come back with tears of repentance

as they seek the Lord their God. 10 

50:5 They will ask the way to Zion;

they will turn their faces toward it.

They will come 11  and bind themselves to the Lord

in a lasting covenant that will never be forgotten. 12 

50:6 “My people have been lost sheep.

Their shepherds 13  have allow them to go astray.

They have wandered around in the mountains.

They have roamed from one mountain and hill to another. 14 

They have forgotten their resting place.

50:7 All who encountered them devoured them.

Their enemies who did this said, ‘We are not liable for punishment!

For those people have sinned against the Lord, their true pasture. 15 

They have sinned against the Lord in whom their ancestors 16  trusted.’ 17 

50:8 “People of Judah, 18  get out of Babylon quickly!

Leave the land of Babylonia! 19 

Be the first to depart! 20 

Be like the male goats that lead the herd.

50:9 For I will rouse into action and bring against Babylon

a host of mighty nations 21  from the land of the north.

They will set up their battle lines against her.

They will come from the north and capture her. 22 

Their arrows will be like a skilled soldier 23 

who does not return from the battle empty-handed. 24 

50:10 Babylonia 25  will be plundered.

Those who plunder it will take all they want,”

says the Lord. 26 

50:11 “People of Babylonia, 27  you plundered my people. 28 

That made you happy and glad.

You frolic about like calves in a pasture. 29 

Your joyous sounds are like the neighs of a stallion. 30 

50:12 But Babylonia will be put to great shame.

The land where you were born 31  will be disgraced.

Indeed, 32  Babylonia will become the least important of all nations.

It will become a dry and barren desert.

50:13 After I vent my wrath on it Babylon will be uninhabited. 33 

It will be totally desolate.

All who pass by will be filled with horror and will hiss out their scorn

because of all the disasters that have happened to it. 34 

50:14 “Take up your battle positions all around Babylon,

all you soldiers who are armed with bows. 35 

Shoot 36  all your arrows at her! Do not hold any back! 37 

For she has sinned against the Lord.

50:15 Shout the battle cry from all around the city.

She will throw up her hands in surrender. 38 

Her towers 39  will fall.

Her walls will be torn down.

Because I, the Lord, am wreaking revenge, 40 

take out your vengeance on her!

Do to her as she has done!

50:16 Kill all the farmers who sow the seed in the land of Babylon.

Kill all those who wield the sickle at harvest time. 41 

Let all the foreigners return to their own people.

Let them hurry back to their own lands

to escape destruction by that enemy army. 42 

50:17 “The people of Israel are like scattered sheep

which lions have chased away.

First the king of Assyria devoured them. 43 

Now last of all King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has gnawed their bones. 44 

50:18 So I, the Lord God of Israel who rules over all, say: 45 

‘I will punish the king of Babylon and his land

just as I punished the king of Assyria.

50:19 But I will restore the flock of Israel to their own pasture.

They will graze on Mount Carmel and the land of Bashan.

They will eat until they are full 46 

on the hills of Ephraim and the land of Gilead. 47 

50:20 When that time comes,

no guilt will be found in Israel.

No sin will be found in Judah. 48 

For I will forgive those of them I have allowed to survive. 49 

I, the Lord, affirm it!’” 50 

50:21 The Lord says, 51 

“Attack 52  the land of Merathaim

and the people who live in Pekod! 53 

Pursue, kill, and completely destroy them! 54 

Do just as I have commanded you! 55 

50:22 The noise of battle can be heard in the land of Babylonia. 56 

There is the sound of great destruction.

50:23 Babylon hammered the whole world to pieces.

But see how that ‘hammer’ has been broken and shattered! 57 

See what an object of horror

Babylon has become among the nations!

50:24 I set a trap for you, Babylon;

you were caught before you knew it.

You fought against me.

So you were found and captured. 58 

50:25 I have opened up the place where my weapons are stored. 59 

I have brought out the weapons for carrying out my wrath. 60 

For I, the Lord God who rules over all, 61 

have work to carry out in the land of Babylonia. 62 

50:26 Come from far away and attack Babylonia! 63 

Open up the places where she stores her grain!

Pile her up in ruins! 64  Destroy her completely! 65 

Do not leave anyone alive! 66 

50:27 Kill all her soldiers! 67 

Let them be slaughtered! 68 

They are doomed, 69  for their day of reckoning 70  has come,

the time for them to be punished.”

50:28 Listen! Fugitives and refugees are coming from the land of Babylon.

They are coming to Zion to declare there

how the Lord our God is getting revenge,

getting revenge for what they have done to his temple. 71 

50:29 “Call for archers 72  to come against Babylon!

Summon against her all who draw the bow!

Set up camp all around the city!

Do not allow anyone to escape!

Pay her back for what she has done.

Do to her what she has done to others.

For she has proudly defied me, 73 

the Holy One of Israel. 74 

50:30 So her young men will fall in her city squares.

All her soldiers will be destroyed at that time,”

says the Lord. 75 

50:31 “Listen! I am opposed to you, you proud city,” 76 

says the Lord God who rules over all. 77 

“Indeed, 78  your day of reckoning 79  has come,

the time when I will punish you. 80 

50:32 You will stumble and fall, you proud city;

no one will help you get up.

I will set fire to your towns;

it will burn up everything that surrounds you.” 81 

50:33 The Lord who rules over all 82  says,

“The people of Israel are oppressed.

So too are the people of Judah. 83 

All those who took them captive are holding them prisoners.

They refuse to set them free.

50:34 But the one who will rescue them 84  is strong.

He is known as the Lord who rules over all. 85 

He will strongly 86  champion their cause.

As a result 87  he will bring peace and rest to the earth,

but trouble and turmoil 88  to the people who inhabit Babylonia. 89 

50:35 “Destructive forces will come against the Babylonians,” 90  says the Lord. 91 

“They will come against the people who inhabit Babylonia,

against her leaders and her men of wisdom.

50:36 Destructive forces will come against her false prophets; 92 

they will be shown to be fools! 93 

Destructive forces will come against her soldiers;

they will be filled with terror! 94 

50:37 Destructive forces will come against her horses and her 95  chariots.

Destructive forces will come against all the foreign troops within her; 96 

they will be as frightened as women! 97 

Destructive forces will come against her treasures;

they will be taken away as plunder!

50:38 A drought will come upon her land;

her rivers and canals will be dried up. 98 

All of this will happen because her land is filled with idols. 99 

Her people act like madmen because of 100  those idols they fear. 101 

50:39 Therefore desert creatures and jackals will live there.

Ostriches 102  will dwell in it too. 103 

But no people will ever live there again.

No one will dwell there for all time to come. 104 

50:40 I will destroy Babylonia just like I did

Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighboring towns.

No one will live there. 105 

No human being will settle in it,”

says the Lord. 106 

50:41 “Look! An army is about to come from the north.

A mighty nation and many kings 107  are stirring into action

in faraway parts of the earth.

50:42 Its soldiers are armed with bows and spears.

They are cruel and show no mercy.

They sound like the roaring sea

as they ride forth on their horses.

Lined up in formation like men going into battle,

they are coming against you, fair Babylon! 108 

50:43 The king of Babylon will become paralyzed with fear 109 

when he hears news of their coming. 110 

Anguish will grip him,

agony like that of a woman giving birth to a baby. 111 

50:44 “A lion coming up from the thick undergrowth along the Jordan

scatters the sheep in the pastureland around it.

So too I will chase the Babylonians off of their land.

Then I will appoint over it whomever I choose.

For there is no one like me.

There is no one who can call me to account.

There is no ruler that can stand up against me.

50:45 So listen to what I, the Lord, have planned against Babylon,

what I intend to do to the people who inhabit the land of Babylonia. 112 

Their little ones will be dragged off.

I will completely destroy their land because of what they have done.

50:46 The people of the earth will quake when they hear Babylon has been captured.

Her cries of anguish will be heard by the other nations.” 113 

51:1 The Lord says,

“I will cause a destructive wind 114  to blow

against 115  Babylon and the people who inhabit Babylonia. 116 

51:2 I will send people to winnow Babylonia like a wind blowing away chaff. 117 

They will winnow her and strip her land bare. 118 

This will happen when 119  they come against her from every direction,

when it is time to destroy her. 120 

51:3 Do not give her archers time to string their bows

or to put on their coats of armor. 121 

Do not spare any of her young men.

Completely destroy 122  her whole army.

51:4 Let them fall 123  slain in the land of Babylonia, 124 

mortally wounded in the streets of her cities. 125 

51:5 “For Israel and Judah will not be forsaken 126 

by their God, the Lord who rules over all. 127 

For the land of Babylonia is 128  full of guilt

against the Holy One of Israel. 129 

51:6 Get out of Babylonia quickly, you foreign people. 130 

Flee to save your lives.

Do not let yourselves be killed because of her sins.

For it is time for the Lord to wreak his revenge.

He will pay Babylonia 131  back for what she has done. 132 

51:7 Babylonia had been a gold cup in the Lord’s hand.

She had made the whole world drunk.

The nations had drunk from the wine of her wrath. 133 

So they have all gone mad. 134 

51:8 But suddenly Babylonia will fall and be destroyed. 135 

Cry out in mourning over it!

Get medicine for her wounds!

Perhaps she can be healed!

51:9 Foreigners living there will say, 136 

‘We tried to heal her, but she could not be healed.

Let’s leave Babylonia 137  and each go back to his own country.

For judgment on her will be vast in its proportions.

It will be like it is piled up to heaven, stacked up into the clouds.’ 138 

51:10 The exiles from Judah will say, 139 

‘The Lord has brought about a great deliverance for us! 140 

Come on, let’s go and proclaim in Zion

what the Lord our God has done!’

51:11 “Sharpen 141  your arrows!

Fill your quivers! 142 

The Lord will arouse a spirit of hostility in 143  the kings of Media. 144 

For he intends to destroy Babylonia.

For that is how the Lord will get his revenge –

how he will get his revenge for the Babylonians’ destruction of his temple. 145 

51:12 Give the signal to attack Babylon’s wall! 146 

Bring more guards! 147 

Post them all around the city! 148 

Put men in ambush! 149 

For the Lord will do what he has planned.

He will do what he said he would do to the people of Babylon. 150 

51:13 “You who live along the rivers of Babylon, 151 

the time of your end has come.

You who are rich in plundered treasure,

it is time for your lives to be cut off. 152 

51:14 The Lord who rules over all 153  has solemnly sworn, 154 

‘I will fill your land with enemy soldiers.

They will swarm over it like locusts. 155 

They will raise up shouts of victory over it.’

51:15 He is the one who 156  by his power made the earth.

He is the one who by his wisdom fixed the world in place,

by his understanding he spread out the heavens.

51:16 When his voice thunders, the waters in the heavens roar.

He makes the clouds rise from the far-off horizons.

He makes the lightning flash out in the midst of the rain.

He unleashes the wind from the places where he stores it.

51:17 All idolaters will prove to be stupid and ignorant.

Every goldsmith will be disgraced by the idol he made.

For the image he forges is merely a sham.

There is no breath in any of those idols.

51:18 They are worthless, objects to be ridiculed.

When the time comes to punish them, they will be destroyed.

51:19 The Lord, who is the portion of the descendants of Jacob, is not like them.

For he is the one who created everything,

including the people of Israel whom he claims as his own. 157 

He is known as the Lord who rules over all. 158 

51:20 “Babylon, 159  you are my war club, 160 

my weapon for battle.

I used you to smash nations. 161 

I used you to destroy kingdoms.

51:21 I used you to smash horses and their riders. 162 

I used you to smash chariots and their drivers.

51:22 I used you to smash men and women.

I used you to smash old men and young men.

I used you to smash young men and young women.

51:23 I used you to smash shepherds and their flocks.

I used you to smash farmers and their teams of oxen.

I used you to smash governors and leaders.” 163 

51:24 “But I will repay Babylon

and all who live in Babylonia

for all the wicked things they did in Zion

right before the eyes of you Judeans,” 164 

says the Lord. 165 

51:25 The Lord says, 166  “Beware! I am opposed to you, Babylon! 167 

You are like a destructive mountain that destroys all the earth.

I will unleash my power against you; 168 

I will roll you off the cliffs and make you like a burned-out mountain. 169 

51:26 No one will use any of your stones as a cornerstone.

No one will use any of them in the foundation of his house.

For you will lie desolate forever,” 170 

says the Lord. 171 

51:27 “Raise up battle flags throughout the lands.

Sound the trumpets calling the nations to do battle.

Prepare the nations to do battle against Babylonia. 172 

Call for these kingdoms to attack her:

Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz. 173 

Appoint a commander to lead the attack. 174 

Send horses 175  against her like a swarm of locusts. 176 

51:28 Prepare the nations to do battle against her. 177 

Prepare the kings of the Medes.

Prepare their governors and all their leaders. 178 

Prepare all the countries they rule to do battle against her. 179 

51:29 The earth will tremble and writhe in agony. 180 

For the Lord will carry out his plan.

He plans to make the land of Babylonia 181 

a wasteland where no one lives. 182 

51:30 The soldiers of Babylonia will stop fighting.

They will remain in their fortified cities.

They will lose their strength to do battle. 183 

They will be as frightened as women. 184 

The houses in her cities will be set on fire.

The gates of her cities will be broken down. 185 

51:31 One runner after another will come to the king of Babylon.

One messenger after another will come bringing news. 186 

They will bring news to the king of Babylon

that his whole city has been captured. 187 

51:32 They will report that the fords have been captured,

the reed marshes have been burned,

the soldiers are terrified. 188 

51:33 For the Lord God of Israel who rules over all says,

‘Fair Babylon 189  will be like a threshing floor

which has been trampled flat for harvest.

The time for her to be cut down and harvested

will come very soon.’ 190 

51:34 “King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon

devoured me and drove my people out.

Like a monster from the deep he swallowed me.

He filled his belly with my riches.

He made me an empty dish.

He completely cleaned me out.” 191 

51:35 The person who lives in Zion says,

“May Babylon pay for the violence done to me and to my relatives.”

Jerusalem says,

“May those living in Babylonia pay for the bloodshed of my people.” 192 

51:36 Therefore the Lord says,

“I will stand up for your cause.

I will pay the Babylonians back for what they have done to you. 193 

I will dry up their sea.

I will make their springs run dry. 194 

51:37 Babylon will become a heap of ruins.

Jackals will make their home there. 195 

It will become an object of horror and of hissing scorn,

a place where no one lives. 196 

51:38 The Babylonians are all like lions roaring for prey.

They are like lion cubs growling for something to eat. 197 

51:39 When their appetites are all stirred up, 198 

I will set out a banquet for them.

I will make them drunk

so that they will pass out, 199 

they will fall asleep forever,

they will never wake up,” 200 

says the Lord. 201 

51:40 “I will lead them off to be slaughtered

like lambs, rams, and male goats.” 202 

51:41 “See how Babylon 203  has been captured!

See how the pride of the whole earth has been taken!

See what an object of horror

Babylon has become among the nations! 204 

51:42 The sea has swept over Babylon.

She has been covered by a multitude 205  of its waves. 206 

51:43 The towns of Babylonia have become heaps of ruins.

She has become a dry and barren desert.

No one lives in those towns any more.

No one even passes through them. 207 

51:44 I will punish the god Bel in Babylon.

I will make him spit out what he has swallowed.

The nations will not come streaming to him any longer.

Indeed, the walls of Babylon will fall.” 208 

51:45 “Get out of Babylon, my people!

Flee to save your lives

from the fierce anger of the Lord! 209 

51:46 Do not lose your courage or become afraid

because of the reports that are heard in the land.

For a report will come in one year.

Another report will follow it in the next.

There will be violence in the land

with ruler fighting against ruler.”

51:47 “So the time will certainly come 210 

when I will punish the idols of Babylon.

Her whole land will be put to shame.

All her mortally wounded will collapse in her midst. 211 

51:48 Then heaven and earth and all that is in them

will sing for joy over Babylon.

For destroyers from the north will attack it,”

says the Lord. 212 

51:49 “Babylon must fall 213 

because of the Israelites she has killed, 214 

just as the earth’s mortally wounded fell

because of Babylon. 215 

51:50 You who have escaped the sword, 216 

go, do not delay. 217 

Remember the Lord in a faraway land.

Think about Jerusalem. 218 

51:51 ‘We 219  are ashamed because we have been insulted. 220 

Our faces show our disgrace. 221 

For foreigners have invaded

the holy rooms 222  in the Lord’s temple.’

51:52 Yes, but the time will certainly come,” 223  says the Lord, 224 

“when I will punish her idols.

Throughout her land the mortally wounded will groan.

51:53 Even if Babylon climbs high into the sky 225 

and fortifies her elevated stronghold, 226 

I will send destroyers against her,” 227 

says the Lord. 228 

51:54 Cries of anguish will come from Babylon,

the sound of great destruction from the land of the Babylonians.

51:55 For the Lord is ready to destroy Babylon,

and put an end to her loud noise.

Their waves 229  will roar like turbulent 230  waters.

They will make a deafening noise. 231 

51:56 For a destroyer is attacking Babylon. 232 

Her warriors will be captured;

their bows will be broken. 233 

For the Lord is a God who punishes; 234 

he pays back in full. 235 

51:57 “I will make her officials and wise men drunk,

along with her governors, leaders, 236  and warriors.

They will fall asleep forever and never wake up,” 237 

says the King whose name is the Lord who rules over all. 238 

51:58 This is what the Lord who rules over all 239  says,

“Babylon’s thick wall 240  will be completely demolished. 241 

Her high gates will be set on fire.

The peoples strive for what does not satisfy. 242 

The nations grow weary trying to get what will be destroyed.” 243 

51:59 This is the order Jeremiah the prophet gave to Seraiah son of Neriah, son of Mahseiah, when he went to King Zedekiah of Judah in Babylon during the fourth year of his reign. 244  (Seraiah was a quartermaster.) 245  51:60 Jeremiah recorded 246  on one scroll all the judgments 247  that would come upon Babylon – all these prophecies 248  written about Babylon. 51:61 Then Jeremiah said to Seraiah, “When you arrive in Babylon, make sure 249  you read aloud all these prophecies. 250  51:62 Then say, ‘O Lord, you have announced that you will destroy this place so that no people or animals live in it any longer. Certainly it will lie desolate forever!’ 51:63 When you finish reading this scroll aloud, tie a stone to it and throw it into the middle of the Euphrates River. 251  51:64 Then say, ‘In the same way Babylon will sink and never rise again because of the judgments 252  I am ready to bring upon her; they will grow faint.’”

The prophecies of Jeremiah end here. 253 

1 tn Heb “the land of the Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for explanation.

2 tn Heb “The word which the Lord spoke concerning Babylon, concerning the land of the Chaldeans by the hand of Jeremiah the prophet.”

3 tn The verbs are masculine plural. Jeremiah is calling on other unnamed messengers to spread the news.

4 tn Heb “Raise a signal flag.”

5 sn Bel was originally the name or title applied to the Sumerian storm god. During the height of Babylon’s power it became a title that was applied to Marduk who was Babylon’s chief deity. As a title it means “Lord.” Here it is a poetical parallel reference to Marduk mentioned in the next line.

6 tn The Hebrew word used here (גִּלּוּלִים, gillulim) is always used as a disdainful reference to idols. It is generally thought to have originally referred to “dung pellets” (cf. KBL 183 s.v. גִלּוּלִים). It is only one of several terms used in this way, such as “worthless things” (אַלִילִים, ’alilim), “vanities,” or “empty winds” (הֲבָלִים, havalim).

7 tn The verbs here are all in the tense that views the actions as though they were already done (the Hebrew prophetic perfect). The verbs in the next verse are a mixture of prophetic perfects and imperfects which announce future actions.

sn This refers to the fact that the idols that the Babylonians worshiped will not be able to protect them, but will instead be carried off into exile with the Babylonians themselves (cf. Isa 46:1-2).

8 sn A nation from the north refers to Medo-Persia which at the time of the conquest of Babylon in 539 b.c. had conquered all the nations to the north, the northwest, and the northeast of Babylon forming a vast empire to the north and east of Babylon. Contingents of these many nations were included in her army and reference is made to them in 50:9 and 51:27-28. There is also some irony involved here because the “enemy from the north” referred to so often in Jeremiah (cf. 1:14; 4:6; 6:1) has been identified with Babylon (cf. 25:9). Here in a kind of talionic justice Judah’s nemesis from the north will be attacked and devastated by an enemy from the north.

9 tn Heb “oracle of the Lord.”

10 tn Heb “and the children of Israel will come, they and the children of Judah together. They shall go, weeping as they go, and they will seek the Lord their God.” The concept of “seeking” the Lord often has to do with seeking the Lord in worship (by sacrifice [Hos 5:6; 2 Chr 11:16]; prayer [Zech 8:21, 22; 2 Sam 12:16; Isa 65:1; 2 Chr 15:4]). In Hos 7:10 it is in parallel with returning to the Lord. In Ps 69:6 it is in parallel with hoping in or trusting in the Lord. Perhaps the most helpful parallels here, however, are Hos 3:5 (in comparison with Jer 30:9) and 2 Chr 15:15 where it is in the context of a covenant commitment to be loyal to the Lord which is similar to the context here (see the next verse). The translation is admittedly paraphrastic but “seeking the Lord” does not mean here looking for God as though he were merely a person to be found.

11 tc The translation here assumes that the Hebrew בֹּאוּ (bou; a Qal imperative masculine plural) should be read בָּאוּ (bau; a Qal perfect third plural). This reading is presupposed by the Greek version of Aquila, the Latin version, and the Targum (see BHS note a, which mistakenly assumes that the form must be imperfect).

12 sn See Jer 32:40 and the study note there for the nature of this lasting agreement.

13 sn The shepherds are the priests, prophets, and leaders who have led Israel into idolatry (2:8).

14 sn The allusion here, if it is not merely a part of the metaphor of the wandering sheep, is to the worship of the false gods on the high hills (2:20, 3:2).

15 tn This same Hebrew phrase “the habitation of righteousness” is found in Jer 31:23 in relation to Jerusalem in the future as “the place where righteousness dwells.” Here, however, it refers to the same entity as “their resting place” in v. 6 and means “true pasture.” For the meaning of “pasture” for the word נָוֶה (naveh) see 2 Sam 7:8 and especially Isa 65:10 where it is parallel with “resting place” for the flocks. For the meaning of “true” for צֶדֶק (tsedeq) see BDB 841 s.v. צֶדֶק 1. For the interpretation adopted here see G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, T. G. Smothers, Jeremiah 26-52 (WBC), 365. The same basic interpretation is reflected in NRSV, NJPS, and God’s Word.

16 tn Heb “fathers.”

17 sn These two verses appear to be a poetical summary of the argument of Jer 2 where the nation is accused of abandoning its loyalty to God and worshiping idols. Whereas those who tried to devour Israel were liable for punishment when Israel was loyal to God (2:3), the enemies of Israel who destroyed them (i.e., the Babylonians [but also the Assyrians], 50:17) argue that they are not liable for punishment because the Israelites have sinned against the Lord and thus deserve their fate.

18 tn The words “People of Judah” are not in the Hebrew text but are implicit from the context. They have been supplied in the translation to clarify the subject of the address.

19 tn Heb “the land of the Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for explanation.

20 tn The words “Be the first to leave” are not in the text but spell out the significance of the simile that follows. They have been supplied in the translation for clarity.

21 sn Some of these are named in Jer 51:27-28.

22 tn Heb “She will be captured from there (i.e., from the north).”

23 tc Read Heb ַָמשְׂכִּיל (moskil) with a number of Hebrew mss and some of the versions in place of מַשְׁכִּיל (mashkil, “one who kills children”) with the majority of Hebrew mss and some of the versions. See BHS note d for the details.

24 tn Or more freely, “Their arrows will be as successful at hitting their mark // as a skilled soldier always returns from battle with plunder.”

sn I.e., none of the arrows misses its mark.

25 tn Heb “The land of the Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for explanation.

26 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

27 tn The words “People of Babylonia” are not in the text but they are implicit in the reference in the next verse to “your mother” which refers to the city and the land as the mother of its people. These words have been supplied in the translation to identify the referent of “you” and have been added for clarity.

28 tn Or “my land.” The word can refer to either the land (Jer 2:7, 16:8) or the nation/people (Jer 12:7, 8, 9).

29 tc Reading כְּעֶגְלֵי דֶשֶׁא (kÿegle deshe’) or כְּעֵגֶל בַּדֶּשֶׁא (kÿegel baddeshe’) as presupposed by the Greek and Latin versions (cf. BHS note d-d) in place of the reading in the Hebrew text כְּעֶגְלָה דָשָׁה (kÿeglah dashah, “like a heifer treading out the grain”) which does not fit the verb (פּוּשׁ [push] = “spring about” [BDB 807 s.v. I פּוּשׁ] or “paw the ground” [KBL 756 s.v. פּוּשׁ] and compare Mal 3:20 for usage). This variant reading is also accepted by J. Bright, J. A. Thompson, F. B. Huey, and G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, T. G. Smothers.

30 tn Heb “Though you rejoice, though you exult, you who have plundered my heritage, though you frolic like calves in a pasture and neigh like stallions, your mother…” The particle כִּי (ki) introduces a concessive protasis according to BDB 473 s.v. כִּי 2.c(a). Many interpret the particle as introducing the grounds for the next verse, i.e., “because…” The translation here will reflect the concessive by beginning the next verse with “But.” The long protasis has been broken up and restructured to better conform with contemporary English style.

31 tn Heb “Your mother will be utterly shamed, the one who gave you birth…” The word “mother” and the parallel term “the one who gave you birth” are used metaphorically for the land of Babylonia. For the figure compare the usage in Isa 50:1 (Judah) and Hos 2:2, 5 (2:4, 7 HT) and see BDB 52 s.v. אֵם 2 and 408 s.v. יָלַד Qal.2.c.

32 tn Heb “Behold.” For the use of this particle see the translator’s note on 1:6.

33 tn Heb “From [or Because of] the wrath of the Lord it will be uninhabited.” The causal connection is spelled out more clearly and actively and the first person has been used because the speaker is the Lord. The referent “it” has been spelled out clearly from the later occurrence in the verse, “all who pass by Babylon.”

34 sn Compare Jer 49:17 and the study note there and see also the study notes on 18:16 and 19:8.

35 tn Heb “all you who draw the bow.”

36 tc The verb here should probably be read as a Qal imperative יְרוּ (yÿru) from יָרָה (yarah) with a few Hebrew mss rather than a Qal imperative יְדוּ (yidu) from יָדָה (yadah) with the majority of Hebrew mss. The verb יָדָה (yadah) does not otherwise occur in the Qal and only elsewhere in the Piel with a meaning “cast” (cf. KBL 363 s.v. I יָדָה). The verb יָרָה (yarah) is common in both the Qal and the Hiphil with the meaning of shooting arrows (cf. BDB 435 s.v. יָרָה Qal.3 and Hiph.2). The confusion between ד (dalet) and ר (resh) is very common.

37 tn Heb “Shoot at her! Don’t save any arrows!”

38 tn Heb “She has given her hand.” For the idiom here involving submission/surrender see BDB 680 s.v. נָתַן Qal.1.z and compare the usage in 1 Chr 29:24; 2 Chr 30:8. For a different interpretation, however, see the rather complete discussion in G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, and T. G. Smothers (Jeremiah 26-52 [WBC], 366) who see this as a reference to making a covenant. The verb in this line and the next two lines are all Hebrew perfects and most translators and commentaries see them as past. God’s Word, however, treats them as prophetic perfects and translates them as future. This is more likely in the light of the imperatives both before and after.

39 tn The meaning of this word is uncertain. The definition here follows that of HALOT 91 s.v. אָשְׁיָה, which defines it on the basis of an Akkadian word and treats it as a loanword.

40 tn Heb “Because it is the Lord’s vengeance.” The first person has again been used because the Lord is the speaker and the nominal expression has been turned into a verbal one more in keeping with contemporary English style.

41 tn Heb “Cut off the sower from Babylon, and the one who wields the sickle at harvest time.” For the meaning “kill” for the root “cut off” see BDB 503 s.v. כָּרַת Qal.1.b and compare usage in Jer 11:19. The verb is common in this nuance in the Hiphil, cf. BDB 504 s.v. כָּרַת Hiph, 2.b.

42 tn Heb “Because of [or out of fear of] the sword of the oppressor, let each of them turn toward his [own] people and each of them flee to his [own] country.” Compare a similar expression in 46:16 where the reference was to the flight of the mercenaries. Here it refers most likely to foreigners who are counseled to leave Babylon before they are caught up in the destruction. Many of the commentaries and English versions render the verbs as futures but they are more likely third person commands (jussives). Compare the clear commands in v. 8 followed by essentially the same motivation. The “sword of the oppressor,” of course, refers to death at the hands of soldiers wielding all kinds of weapons, chief of which has been a reference to the bow (v. 14).

43 sn The king of Assyria devoured them. This refers to the devastation wrought on northern Israel by the kings of Assyria beginning in 738 b.c. when Tiglath Pileser took Galilee and the Transjordanian territories and ending with the destruction and exile of the people of Samaria by Sargon in 722 b.c.

44 tn The verb used here only occurs this one time in the Hebrew Bible. It is a denominative from the Hebrew word for “bones” (עֶצֶם, ’etsem). BDB 1126 s.v. עֶָצַם, denom Pi, define it as “break his bones.” HALOT 822 s.v. II עָצַם Pi defines it as “gnaw on his bones.”

sn If the prophecies which are referred to in Jer 51:59-64 refer to all that is contained in Jer 50–51 (as some believe), this would have referred to the disasters of 605 b.c. and 598 b.c. and all the harassment that Israel experienced from Babylon up until the fourth year of Zedekiah (594 b.c.). If on the other hand, the prophecy related there refers to something less than this final form, the destruction of 587/6 b.c. could be referred to as well.

45 tn Heb “Therefore thus says Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.” The first person is again adopted because the Lord is speaking. For this title, “Yahweh of armies,” compare 7:3 and the study note on 2:19.

46 tn Heb “their soul [or hunger/appetite] will be satisfied.”

47 sn The metaphor of Israel as a flock of sheep (v. 17) is continued here. The places named were all in Northern Israel and in the Transjordan, lands that were lost to the Assyrians in the period 738-722 b.c. All of these places were known for their fertility, for their woods and their pastures. The hills (hill country) of Ephraim formed the center of Northern Israel. Mount Carmel lies on the seacoast of the Mediterranean north and west of the hill country of Ephraim. Gilead formed the central part of Transjordan and was used to refer at times to the territory between the Yarmuk and Jabbok Rivers, at times to the territory between the Yarmuk and the Arnon Rivers, and at times for all of Israel in the Transjordan. Bashan refers to the territory north of Gilead.

48 tn Heb “In those days and at that time, oracle of the Lord, the iniquity [or guilt] of Israel will be sought but there will be none and the sins of Judah but they will not be found.” The passive construction “will be sought” raises the question of who is doing the seeking which is not really the main point. The translation has avoided this question by simply referring to the result which is the main point.

49 sn Compare Jer 31:34 and 33:8.

50 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.” In this case it is necessary to place this in the first person because this is already in a quote whose speaker is identified as the Lord (v. 18).

51 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

52 sn The commands in this verse and in vv. 26-27 are directed to the armies from the north who are referred to in v. 3 as “a nation from the north” and in v. 9 as a “host of mighty nations from the land of the north.” The addressee in this section shifts from one referent to another.

53 sn Merathaim…Pekod. It is generally agreed that the names of these two regions were chosen for their potential for wordplay. Merathaim probably refers to a region in southern Babylon near where the Tigris and Euphrates come together before they empty into the Persian Gulf. It was known for its briny waters. In Hebrew the word would mean “double rebellion” and would stand as an epithet for the land of Babylon as a whole. Pekod refers to an Aramean people who lived on the eastern bank of the lower Tigris River. They are mentioned often in Assyrian texts and are mentioned in Ezek 23:23 as allies of Babylon. In Hebrew the word would mean “punishment.” As an epithet for the land of Babylon it would refer to the fact that Babylon was to be punished for her double rebellion against the Lord.

54 tn Heb “Smite down and completely destroy after them.” The word translated “kill” or “smite down” is a word of uncertain meaning and derivation. BDB 352 s.v. III חָרַב relates it to an Aramaic word meaning “attack, smite down.” KBL 329-30 s.v. II חָרַב sees it as a denominative from the word חֶרֶב (kherev, “sword”), a derivation which many modern commentaries accept and reflect in a translation “put to the sword.” KBL, however, gives “to smite down; to slaughter” which is roughly the equivalent of the meaning assigned to it in BDB. The word only occurs here and in v. 27 in the Qal and in 2 Kgs 3:23 in the Niphal where it means something like “attacked one another, fought with one another.” Many commentators question the validity of the word “after them” (אַחֲרֵיהֶם, ’akharehem) which occurs at the end of the line after “completely destroy.” The Targum reads “the last of them” (אַחֲרִיתָם, ’akharitam) which is graphically very close and accepted by some commentators. The present translation has chosen to represent “after them” by a paraphrase at the beginning “pursue them.”

sn For the concept underlying the words translated here “completely destroy” see the study note on Jer 25:9.

55 tn Heb “Do according to all I have commanded you.”

56 tn The words “of Babylonia” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They have been supplied in the translation to clarify the referent.

sn The verbs in vv. 22-25 are all descriptive of the present, but all of this is really to take place in the future. Hebrew poetry has a way of rendering future actions as though they were already accomplished. The poetry of this section makes it difficult, however, to render the verbs as future, as has been done regularly in the present translation.

57 tn Heb “How broken and shattered is the hammer of all the earth!” The “hammer” is a metaphor for Babylon who was God’s war club to shatter the nations and destroy kingdoms just like Assyria is represented in Isa 10:5 as a rod and a war club. Some readers, however, might not pick up on the metaphor or identify the referent, so the translation has incorporated an identification of the metaphor and the referent within it. “See how” and “See what” are an attempt to capture the nuance of the Hebrew particle אֵיךְ (’ekh) which here expresses an exclamation of satisfaction in a taunt song (cf. BDB 32 s.v. אֵיךְ 2 and compare usage in Isa 14:4, 12; Jer 50:23).

58 tn Heb “You were found [or found out] and captured because you fought against the Lord.” The same causal connection is maintained by the order of the translation but it puts more emphasis on the cause and connects it also more closely with the first half of the verse. The first person is used because the Lord is speaking of himself first in the first person “I set” and then in the third. The first person has been maintained throughout. Though it would be awkward, perhaps one could retain the reference to the Lord by translating, “I, the Lord.”

59 tn Or “I have opened up my armory.”

60 tn Heb “The Lord has opened up his armory and has brought out the weapons of his wrath.” The problem of the Lord referring to himself in the third person (or of the prophet speaking on his behalf) is again raised here and is again resolved by using the first person throughout. The construction “weapons of my wrath” would not convey any meaning to many readers so the significance has been spelled out in the translation.

sn The weapons are the nations which God is bringing from the north against them. Reference has already been made in the study notes that Assyria is the “rod” or “war club” by which God vents his anger against Israel (Isa 10:5-6) and Babylon a hammer or war club with which he shatters the nations (Jer 50:23; 51:20). Now God will use other nations as weapons to execute his wrath against Babylon. For a similar idea see Isa 13:2-5 where reference is made to marshaling the nations against Babylon. Some of the nations that the Lord will marshal against Babylon are named in Jer 51:27-28.

61 tn Heb “the Lord Yahweh of armies.” For an explanation of this rendering and the significance of this title see the study note on 2:19.

62 tn The words “of Babylonia” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They have been supplied in the translation to clarify the referent.

sn The verbs in vv. 22-25 are all descriptive of the present but, all of this is really to take place in the future. Hebrew poetry has a way of rendering future actions as though they were already accomplished. The poetry of this section makes it difficult, however, to render the verbs as future as the present translation has regularly done.

63 tn Heb “Come against her from the end.” There is a great deal of debate about the meaning of “from the end” (מִקֵּץ, miqqets). Some follow the suggestion of F. Giesebrecht in BDB 892 s.v. קָצֶה 3 and emend the text to מִקָּצֶה (miqqatseh) on the basis of the presumed parallel in Jer 51:31 which is interpreted as “on all sides,” i.e., “from every quarter/side.” However, the phrase does not mean that in Jer 51:31 but is used as it is elsewhere of “from one end to another,” i.e., in its entirety (so Gen 19:4). The only real parallel here is the use of the noun קֵץ (qets) with a suffix in Isa 37:24 referring to the remotest part, hence something like from the end (of the earth), i.e., from a far away place. The referent “her” has been clarified here to refer to Babylonia in case someone might not see the connection between v. 25d and v. 26.

64 tn Heb “Pile her up like heaps.” Many commentators understand the comparison to be to heaps of grain (compare usage of עֲרֵמָה (’aremah) in Hag 2:16; Neh 13:15; Ruth 3:7). However, BDB 790 s.v. עֲרֵמָה is more likely correct that this refers to heaps of ruins (compare the usage in Neh 4:2 [3:34 HT]).

65 sn Compare Jer 50:21 and see the study note on 25:9.

66 tn Heb “Do not let there be to her a remnant.” According to BDB 984 s.v. שְׁאֵרִית this refers to the last remnant of people, i.e., there won’t be any survivors. Compare the usage in Jer 11:23.

67 tn Heb “Kill all her young bulls.” Commentators are almost universally agreed that the reference to “young bulls” is figurative here for the princes and warriors (cf. BDB 831 s.v. פַּר 2.f, which compares Isa 34:7 and Ezek 39:18). This is virtually certain because of the reference to the time coming for them to be punished; this would scarcely fit literal bulls. For the verb rendered “kill” here see the translator’s note on v. 21.

68 tn Heb “Let them go down to the slaughter.”

69 tn Or “How terrible it will be for them”; Heb “Woe to them.” See the study note on 22:13 and compare the usage in 23:1; 48:1.

70 tn The words “of reckoning” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.

71 tn Heb “Hark! Fugitives and refugees from the land of Babylon to declare in Zion the vengeance of the Lord our God, vengeance for his temple.” For the meaning “Hark!” for the noun קוֹל (qol) see BDB 877 s.v. קוֹל 1.f and compare the usage in Jer 10:22. The syntax is elliptical because there is no main verb. The present translation has supplied the verb “come” as many other English versions have done. The translation also expands the genitival expression “vengeance for his temple” to explain what all the commentaries agree is involved.

sn This verse appears to be a parenthetical exclamation of the prophet in the midst of his report of what the Lord said through him. He throws himself into the future and sees the fall of Babylon and hears the people reporting in Zion how God has destroyed Babylon to get revenge for the Babylonians destroying his temple. Jeremiah prophesied from 627 b.c. (see the study note on 1:2) until sometime after 586 b.c. after Jerusalem fell and he was taken to Egypt. The fall of Babylon occurred in 538 b.c. some fifty years later. However, Jeremiah had prophesied as early as the first year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign (605 b.c.; Jer 25:1) that many nations and great kings would come and subject Babylon, the instrument of God’s wrath – his sword against the nations – to bondage (Jer 25:12-14).

72 tn For this word see BDB 914 s.v. III רַב and compare usage in Prov 26:10 and Job 16:12 and compare the usage of the verb in Gen 49:23. Based on this evidence, it is not necessary to emend the form to רֹבִים (rovim) as many commentators contend.

73 tn Heb “for she has acted insolently against the Lord.” Once again there is the problem of the Lord speaking about himself in the third person (or the prophet dropping his identification with the Lord). As in several other places the present translation, along with several other modern English versions (TEV, CEV, NIrV), has substituted the first person to maintain consistency with the context.

74 sn The Holy One of Israel is a common title for the Lord in the book of Isaiah. It is applied to the Lord only here and in 51:5 in the book of Jeremiah. It is a figure where an attribute of a person is put as a title of a person (compare “your majesty” for a king). It pictures the Lord as the sovereign king who rules over his covenant people and exercises moral authority over them.

75 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

76 tn Heb “Behold, I am against you, proud one.” The word “city” is not in the text but it is generally agreed that the word is being used as a personification of the city which had “proudly defied” the Lord (v. 29). The word “city” is supplied in the translation for clarity.

77 tn Heb “oracle of the Lord Yahweh of armies.” For the rendering of this title and an explanation of its significance see the study note on 2:19.

78 tn The particle כִּי (ki) is probably asseverative here (so J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah [NICOT], 739, n. 13, and cf. BDB 472 s.v. כִּי 1.e for other examples). This has been a common use of this particle in the book of Jeremiah.

79 tn The words “of reckoning” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.

80 sn Compare v. 27.

81 tn Heb “And the proud one will fall and there will be no one to help him up. I will start a fire in his towns and it will consume all that surround him.” The personification continues but now the stance is indirect (third person) rather than direct (second person). It is easier for the modern reader who is not accustomed to such sudden shifts if the second person is maintained. The personification of the city (or nation) as masculine is a little unusual; normally cities and nations are personified as feminine, as daughters or mothers.

82 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.” For an explanation of this title see the study note on 2:19.

83 tn Heb “Oppressed are the people of Israel and the people of Judah together,” i.e., both the people of Israel and Judah are oppressed. However, neither of these renderings is very poetic. The translation seeks to achieve the same meaning with better poetic expression.

84 sn Heb “their redeemer.” The Hebrew term “redeemer” referred in Israelite family law to the nearest male relative who was responsible for securing the freedom of a relative who had been sold into slavery. For further discussion of this term as well as its metaphorical use to refer to God as the one who frees Israel from bondage in Egypt and from exile in Assyria and Babylonia see the study note on 31:11.

85 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies is his name.” For the rendering of this title see the study note on 2:19.

86 tn Or “he will certainly champion.” The infinitive absolute before the finite verb here is probably functioning to intensify the verb rather than to express the certainty of the action (cf. GKC 333 §112.n and compare usage in Gen 43:3 and 1 Sam 20:6 listed there).

87 tn This appears to be another case where the particle לְמַעַן (lÿmaan) introduces a result rather than giving the purpose or goal. See the translator’s note on 25:7 for a listing of other examples in the book of Jeremiah and also the translator’s note on 27:10.

88 tn Heb “he will bring rest to the earth and will cause unrest to.” The terms “rest” and “unrest” have been doubly translated to give more of the idea underlying these two concepts.

89 tn This translation again reflects the problem often encountered in these prophecies where the Lord appears to be speaking but refers to himself in the third person. It would be possible to translate here using the first person as CEV and NIrV do. However, to sustain that over the whole verse results in a considerably greater degree of paraphrase. The verse could be rendered “But I am strong and I will rescue them. I am the Lord who rules over all. I will champion their cause. And I will bring peace and rest to….”

90 tn Heb “the Chaldeans.” For explanation of the rendering see the study note on 21:4. There is no verb in this clause. Therefore it is difficult to determine whether this should be understood as a command or as a prediction. The presence of vav (ו) consecutive perfects after a similar construction in vv. 36b, d, 37c, 38a and the imperfects after “therefore” (לָכֵן, lakhen) all suggest the predictive or future nuance. However, the vav consecutive perfect could be used to carry on the nuance of command (cf. GKC 333 §112.q) but not in the sense of purpose as NRSV, NJPS render them.

sn Heb “A sword against the Chaldeans.” The “sword” here is metaphorical for destructive forces in the persons of the armies of the north (vv. 3, 9) which the Lord is marshaling against Babylon and which he has addressed by way of command several times (e.g., vv. 14, 21, 26-27, 29). Compare 46:14 and the study note there.

91 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

92 tn The meaning and the derivation of the word translated “false prophets” is uncertain. The same word appears in conjunction with the word for “diviners” in Isa 44:25 and probably also in Hos 11:6 in conjunction with the sword consuming them “because of their counsel.” BDB 95 s.v. III בַּד b sees this as a substitution of “empty talk” for “empty talkers” (the figure of metonymy) and refer to them as false prophets. KBL 108 s.v. II בַּד emends the form in both places to read בָּרִים (barim) in place of בַּדִּים (baddim) and defines the word on the basis of Akkadian to mean “soothsayer” (KBL 146 s.v. V בָּר). HALOT 105 s.v. V בַּד retains the pointing, derives it from an Amorite word found in the Mari letters, and defines it as “oracle priest.” However, G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, and T. G. Smothers (Jeremiah 26-52 [WBC], 368) call this identification into question because the word only occurs in one letter from Mari and its meaning is uncertain there. It is hazardous to emend the text in two places, perhaps even three, in light of no textual evidence in any of the passages and to define the word on the basis of an uncertain parallel. Hence the present translation opts here for the derivation and extended definition given in BDB.

93 tn This translation follows the suggestion of BDB 383 s.v. I יָאַל Niph.2. Compare the usage in Isa 19:13 and Jer 5:4.

94 tn The verb here (חָתַת, khatat) could also be rendered “be destroyed” (cf. BDB 369 s.v. חָתַת Qal.1 and compare the usage in Jer 48:20, 39). However, the parallelism with “shown to be fools” argues for the more dominant usage of “be dismayed” or “be filled with terror.” The verb is found in parallelism with both בּוֹשׁ (bosh, “be ashamed, dismayed”) and יָרֵא (yare’, “be afraid”) and can refer to either emotion. Here it is more likely that they are filled with terror because of the approaching armies.

95 tn Hebrew has “his” in both cases here whereas the rest of the possessive pronouns throughout vv. 35-37 are “her.” There is no explanation for this switch unless the third masculine singular refers as a distributive singular to the soldiers mentioned in the preceding verse (cf. GKC 464 §145.l). This is probably the case here, but to refer to “their horses and their chariots” in the midst of all the “her…” might create more confusion than what it is worth to be that pedantic.

96 tn Or “in the country,” or “in her armies”; Heb “in her midst.”

97 tn Heb “A sword against his horses and his chariots and against all the mixed company [or mixed multitude] in her midst and they will become like women.” The sentence had to be split up because it is too long and the continuation of the second half with its consequential statement would not fit together with the first half very well. Hence the subject and verb have been repeated. The Hebrew word translated “foreign troops” (עֶרֶב, ’erev) is the same word that is used in 25:20 to refer to the foreign peoples living in Egypt and in Exod 12:38 for the foreign people that accompanied Israel out of Egypt. Here the word is translated contextually to refer to foreign mercenaries, an identification that most of the commentaries and many of the modern English versions accept (see, e.g., J. Bright, Jeremiah [AB], 355; NRSV; NIV). The significance of the simile “they will become like women” has been spelled out for the sake of clarity.

98 tc Heb “a drought against her waters and they will dry up.” Several of the commentaries and modern English versions accept the emendation proposed by BHS and read here “sword” (חֶרֶב [kherev] in place of חֹרֶב [khorev], the change of only one vowel) in keeping with the rest of the context. According to BHS this reading is supported by the Lucianic and Hexaplaric recensions of the LXX (the Greek version) and the Syriac version. In this case the drying up of the waters (of the canals) is attributed to neglect brought about by war conditions. However, it is just as likely that these versions are influenced by the repetition of the word “sword” as the Hebrew and the other versions are influenced by the concept of “drying up” of the waters to read “drought.” Hence the present translation, along with the majority of modern English versions, retains the Hebrew “drought.”

99 tn Heb “for it is a land of idols.” The “for,” however, goes back to the whole context not just to the preceding prediction (cf. BDB 473-74 s.v. כִּי 1.c and compare usage in Isa 21:6 listed there).

100 tc Or “Her people boast in.” This translation is based on the reading of the majority of Hebrew mss which read יִתְהֹלָלוּ (yitholalu; cf. usage in Jer 46:9 and see also 25:16; 51:7). Two Hebrew mss and the versions read יִתְהַלָּלוּ (yithallalu; cf. usage in Jer 4:2; 9:23, 24 and Ps 97:7 where a parallel expression is found with “idols”). The reading is again basically the difference in one Hebrew vowel. All of the modern commentaries consulted and all the modern English versions except NEB, REB follow the Hebrew text here rather than the versions.

101 tn Heb “by the terrors.” However, as HALOT 40 s.v. אֵימָה indicates these are “images that cause terror” (a substitution of the effect for the cause). The translation of this line follows the interpretation of the majority of modern English versions and all the commentaries consulted. NIV, NCV, and God’s Word reflect a different syntax, understanding the subject to be the idols just mentioned rather than “her people” which is supplied here for the sake of clarity (the Hebrew text merely says “they.”) Following that lead, one could render “but those idols will go mad with terror.” This makes excellent sense in the context which often refers to effects (vv. 36b, d, 37c, 38b) of the war that is coming. However, that interpretation does not fit as well with the following “therefore/so,” which basically introduces a judgment or consequence after an accusation of sin.

102 tn The identification of this bird has been called into question by G. R. Driver, “Birds in the Old Testament,” PEQ 87 (1955): 137-38. He refers to this bird as an owl. That identification, however, is not reflected in any of the lexicons including the most recent, which still gives “ostrich” (HALOT 402 s.v. יַעֲנָה) as does W. S. McCullough, “Ostrich,” IDB 3:611. REB, NIV, NCV, and God’s Word all identify this bird as “owl/desert owl.”

103 tn Heb “Therefore desert creatures will live with jackals and ostriches will live in it.”

104 tn Heb “It will never again be inhabited nor dwelt in unto generation and generation.” For the meaning of this last phrase compare the usage in Ps 100:5 and Isaiah 13:20. Since the first half of the verse has spoken of animals living there, it is necessary to add “people” and turn the passive verbs into active ones.

105 tn Heb “‘Like [when] God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighboring towns,’ oracle of the Lord, ‘no man will live there.’” The Lord is speaking so the first person has been substituted for “God.” The sentence has again been broken up to better conform with contemporary English style.

sn Compare Jer 49:18 where the same prophecy is applied to Edom.

106 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

107 sn A mighty nation and many kings is an allusion to the Medo-Persian empire and the vassal kings who provided forces for the Medo-Persian armies.

108 tn Heb “daughter Babylon.” The word “daughter” is a personification of the city of Babylon and its inhabitants.

109 tn Heb “his hands will drop/hang limp.” For the meaning of this idiom see the translator’s note on 6:24.

110 tn Heb “The king of Babylon hears report of them and his hands hang limp.” The verbs are translated as future because the passage is prophetic and the verbs may be interpreted as prophetic perfects (the action viewed as if it were as good as done). In the parallel passage in 6:24 the verbs could be understood as present perfects because the passage could be viewed as in the present. Here it is future.

111 sn Compare Jer 6:22-24 where almost the same exact words as 50:41-43 are applied to the people of Judah. The repetition of prophecies here and in the following verses emphasizes the talionic nature of God’s punishment of Babylon; as they have done to others, so it will be done to them (cf. 25:14; 50:15).

112 tn The words “of Babylonia” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They have been supplied in the translation to clarify the referent.

sn The verbs in vv. 22-25 are all descriptive of the present, but all of this is really to take place in the future. Hebrew poetry has a way of rendering future actions as though they were already accomplished. The poetry of this section makes it difficult, however, to render the verbs as future as the present translation has regularly done.

113 tn Heb “among the nations.” With the exception of this phrase, the different verb in v. 46a, the absence of a suffix on the word for “land” in v. 45d, the third plural suffix instead of the third singular suffix on the verb for “chase…off of,” this passage is identical with 49:19-21 with the replacement of Babylon or the land of the Chaldeans for Edom. For the translation notes explaining the details of the translation here see the translator’s notes on 49:19-21.

sn This passage is virtually identical with Jer 49:19-21 with the replacement of Babylon, land of Babylonia for Edom. As God used Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians to destroy Edom, so he would use Cyrus and the Medes and Persians and their allies to destroy Babylon (cf. 25:13, 14). As Nebuchadnezzar was God’s servant to whom all would be subject (25:9; 27:6), so Cyrus is called in Isaiah “his anointed one,” i.e., his chosen king whom he will use to shatter other nations and set Israel free (Isa 45:1-4).

114 sn The destructive wind is a figurative reference to the “foreign people” who will “winnow” Babylon and drive out all the people (v. 2). This figure has already been used in 4:11-12 and in 49:36. See the study note on 4:11-12 and the translator’s notes on 22:22 and 49:36.

115 tn Or “I will arouse the spirit of hostility of a destroying nation”; Heb “I will stir up against Babylon…a destroying wind [or the spirit of a destroyer].” The word רוּחַ (ruakh) can refer to either a wind (BDB 924 s.v. רוּחַ 2.a) or a spirit (BDB 925 s.v. רוּחַ 2.g). It can be construed as either a noun followed by an adjectival participle (so, “a destroying wind”) or a noun followed by another noun in the “of” relationship (a construct or genitival relationship; so, “spirit of a destroyer”). The same noun with this same verb is translated “stir up the spirit of” in 1 Chr 5:26; 2 Chr 21:16; 36:22; Hag 1:14; and most importantly in Jer 51:11 where it refers to the king of the Medes. However, the majority of the exegetical tradition (all the commentaries consulted and all the English versions except NASB and NIV) opt for the “destructive wind” primarily because of the figure of winnowing that is found in the next verse. The translation follows the main line exegetical tradition here for that same reason.

116 sn Heb “the people who live in Leb-qamai.” “Leb-qamai” is a code name for “Chaldeans” formed on the principle of substituting the last letter of the alphabet for the first, the next to the last for the second, and so on. This same principle is used in referring to Babylon in 25:26 and 51:41 as “Sheshach.” See the study note on 25:26 where further details are given. There is no consensus on why the code name is used because the terms Babylon and Chaldeans (= Babylonians) have appeared regularly in this prophecy or collection of prophecies.

117 tn Or “I will send foreign people against Babylonia.” The translation follows the reading of the Greek recensions of Aquila and Symmachus and the Latin version (the Vulgate). That reading is accepted by the majority of modern commentaries and several of the modern versions (e.g., NRSV, REB, NAB, and God’s Word). It fits better with the verb that follows it than the reading of the Hebrew text and the rest of the versions. The difference in the two readings is again only the difference in vocalization, the Hebrew text reading זָרִים (zarim) and the versions cited reading זֹרִים (zorim). If the Hebrew text is followed, there is a wordplay between the two words, “foreigners” and “winnow.” The words “like a wind blowing away chaff” have been supplied in the translation to clarify for the reader what “winnow” means.

sn Winnowing involved throwing a mixture of grain and chaff (or straw) into the air and letting the wind blow away the lighter chaff, leaving the grain to fall on the ground. Since God considered all the Babylonians chaff, they would all be “blown away.”

118 tn Or “They will strip her land bare like a wind blowing away chaff.” The alternate translation would be necessary if one were to adopt the alternate reading of the first line (the reading of the Hebrew text). The explanation of “winnow” would then be necessary in the second line. The verb translated “strip…bare” means literally “to empty out” (see BDB 132 s.v. בָּקַק Polel). It has been used in 19:7 in the Qal of “making void” Judah’s plans in a wordplay on the word for “bottle.” See the study note on 19:7 for further details.

119 tn This assumes that the particle כִּי (ki) is temporal (cf. BDB 473 s.v. כִּי 2.a). This is the interpretation adopted also by NRSV and G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, T. G. Smothers, Jeremiah 26-52 (WBC), 349. J. Bright (Jeremiah [AB], 345) and J. A. Thompson (Jeremiah [NICOT], 747, n. 3) interpret it as asseverative or emphatic, “Truly, indeed.” Many of the modern English versions merely ignore it. Reading it as temporal makes it unnecessary to emend the following verb as Bright and Thompson do (from הָיוּ [hayu] to יִהְיוּ [yihyu]).

120 tn Heb “in the day of disaster.”

121 tc The text and consequent meaning of these first two lines are uncertain. Literally the Masoretic reads “against let him string let him string the one who strings his bow and against let him raise himself up in his coat of armor.” This makes absolutely no sense and the ancient versions and Hebrew mss did not agree in reading this same text. Many Hebrew mss and all the versions as well as the Masoretes themselves (the text is left unpointed with a marginal note not to read it) delete the second “let him string.” The LXX (or Greek version) left out the words “against” at the beginning of the first two lines. It reads “Let the archer bend his bow and let the one who has armor put it on.” The Lucianic recension of the LXX and some Targum mss supplied the missing object “it” and thus read “Let the archer ready his bow against it and let him array himself against it in his coat of mail.” This makes good sense but does not answer the question of why the Hebrew text left off the suffix on the preposition twice in a row. Many Hebrew mss and the Syriac, Targum, and Vulgate (the Latin version) change the pointing of “against” (אֶל [’el]) to “not” (אַל [’al]) and thus read “Let the archer not string the bow and let him not array himself in his armor.” However, many commentators feel that this does not fit the context because it would apparently be addressed to the Babylonians, not the enemy, which would create a sudden shift in addressee with the second half of the verse. However, if it is understood in the sense taken here it refers to the enemy not allowing the Babylonian archers to get ready for the battle, i.e., a surprise attack. This sense is suggested as an alternative in J. Bright, Jeremiah (AB), 346, n. u-u, and J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah (NICOT), 747, n. 5, and is the interpretation adopted in TEV and probably also in NIrV.

122 sn For the concept underlying this word see the study note on “utterly destroy” in Jer 25:9 and compare the usage in 50:21, 26.

123 tn The majority of English versions and the commentaries understand the vav (ו) consecutive + perfect as a future here “They will fall.” However, it makes better sense in the light of the commands in the previous verse to understand this as an indirect third person command (= a jussive; see GKC 333 §112.q, r) as REB and NJPS do.

124 tn Heb “the land of the Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for explanation.

125 tn The words “cities” is not in the text. The text merely says “in her streets” but the antecedent is “land” and must then refer to the streets of the cities in the land.

126 tn Heb “widowed” (cf. BDB 48 s.v. אַלְמָן, an adjective occurring only here but related to the common word for “widow”). It is commonly translated as has been done here.

sn The verses from v. 5 to v. 19 all speak of the Lord in the third person. The prophet who is the spokesman for the Lord (50:1) thus is speaking. However, the message is still from God because this was all what he spoke “through the prophet Jeremiah.”

127 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.” For an explanation of this rendering see the study note on 2:19.

128 tn Or “all, though their land was…” The majority of the modern English versions understand the land here to refer to the land of Israel and Judah (the text reads “their land” and Israel and Judah are the nearest antecedents). In this case the particle כִּי (ki) is concessive (cf. BDB 473 s.v. כִּי 2.c[b]). Many of the modern commentaries understand the referent to be the land of the Chaldeans/Babylonians. However, most of them feel that the line is connected as a causal statement to 51:2-4 and see the line as either textually or logically out of place. However, it need not be viewed as logically out of place. It is parallel to the preceding and gives a second reason why they are to be destroyed. It also forms an excellent transition to the next lines where the exiles and other foreigners are urged to flee and not get caught up in the destruction which is coming “because of her sin.” It might be helpful to note that both the adjective “widowed” and the suffix on “their God” are masculine singular, looking at Israel and Judah as one entity. The “their” then goes back not to Israel and Judah of the preceding lines but to the “them” in v. 4. This makes for a better connection with the following and understands the particle כִּי in its dominant usage not an extremely rare one (see the comment in BDB 473 s.v. כִּי 2.c[b]). This interpretation is also reflected in RSV.

129 sn See the note on the phrase “the Holy One of Israel” in 50:29.

130 tn The words “you foreign people” are not in the text and many think the referent is the exiles of Judah. While this is clearly the case in v. 45 the referent seems broader here where the context speaks of every man going to his own country (v. 9).

131 tn Heb “her.”

132 tn Heb “paying to her a recompense [i.e., a payment in kind].”

133 tn The words “of her wrath” are not in the Hebrew text but are supplied in the translation to help those readers who are not familiar with the figure of the “cup of the Lord’s wrath.”

sn The figure of the cup of the Lord’s wrath invoked in Jer 25:15-29 is invoked again here and Babylon is identified as the agent through which the wrath of the Lord is visited on the other nations. See the study note on 25:15 for explanation and further references.

134 tn Heb “upon the grounds of such conditions the nations have gone mad.”

135 tn The verbs in this verse and the following are all in the Hebrew perfect tense, a tense that often refers to a past action or a past action with present results. However, as the translator’s notes have indicated, the prophets use this tense to view the actions as if they were as good as done (the Hebrew prophetic perfect). The stance here is ideal, viewed as already accomplished.

136 tn The words “Foreigners living there will say” are not in the text but are implicit from the third line. These words are generally assumed by the commentaries and are explicitly added in TEV and NCV which are attempting to clarify the text for the average reader.

137 tn Heb “Leave/abandon her.” However, it is smoother in the English translation to make this verb equivalent to the cohortative that follows.

138 tn This is an admittedly very paraphrastic translation that tries to make the figurative nuance of the Hebrew original understandable for the average reader. The Hebrew text reads: “For her judgment [or punishment (cf. BDB 1078 s.v. מִשְׁפָּט 1.f) = ‘execution of judgment’] touches the heavens, and is lifted up as far as the clouds.” The figure of hyperbole or exaggeration is being used here to indicate the vastness of Babylon’s punishment which is the reason to escape (vv. 6, 9c). For this figure see Deut 1:28 in comparison with Num 13:28 and see also Deut 9:1. In both of the passages in Deut it refers to an exaggeration about the height of the walls of fortified cities. The figure also may be a play on Gen 11:4 where the nations gather in Babylon to build a tower that reaches to the skies. The present translation has interpreted the perfects here as prophetic because it has not happened yet or they would not be encouraging one another to leave and escape. For the idea here compare 50:16.

139 tn The words “The exiles from Judah will say” are not in the text but are implicit from the words that follow. They are supplied in the translation to clearly identify for the reader the referent of “us.”

140 tn There is some difference of opinion as to the best way to render the Hebrew expression here. Literally it means “brought forth our righteousnesses.” BDB 842 s.v. צְדָקָה 7.b interprets this of the “righteous acts” of the people of Judah and compares the usage in Isa 64:6; Ezek 3:20; 18:24; 33:13. However, Judah’s acts of righteousness (or more simply, their righteousness) was scarcely revealed in their deliverance. Most of the English versions and commentaries refer to “vindication” i.e., that the Lord has exonerated or proven Israel’s claims to be true. However, that would require more explanation than the idea of “deliverance” which is a perfectly legitimate usage of the term (cf. BDB 842 s.v. צְדָקָה 6.a and compare the usage in Isa 46:13; 51:6, 8; 56:1). The present translation interprets the plural form here as a plural of intensity or amplification (GKC 397-98 §124.e) and the suffix as a genitive of advantage (IBHS 147 §9.5.2e). This interpretation is also reflected in REB and God’s Word.

141 sn The imperatives here and in v. 12 are directed to the soldiers in the armies of the kings from the north (here identified as the kings of Media [see also 50:3, 9; 51:27-28]). They have often been addressed in this prophecy as though they were a present force (see 50:14-16; 50:21 [and the study note there]; 50:26, 29; 51:3) though the passage as a whole is prophetic of the future. This gives some idea of the ideal stance that the prophets adopted when they spoke of the future as though already past (the use of the Hebrew prophetic perfect which has been referred to often in the translator’s notes).

142 tn The meaning of this word is debated. The most thorough discussion of this word including etymology and usage in the OT and Qumran is in HALOT 1409-10 s.v. שֶׁלֶט, where the rendering “quiver” is accepted for all the uses of this word in the OT. For a more readily accessible discussion for English readers see W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 2:422-23. The meaning “quiver” fits better with the verb “fill” than the meaning “shield” which is adopted in BDB 1020 s.v. שֶׁלֶט. “Quiver” is the meaning adopted also in NRSV, REB, NAB, and NJPS.

143 tn Heb “The Lord has stirred up the spirit of…” The verb is rendered here as a prophetic perfect. The rendering “arouse a spirit of hostility” is an attempt to render some meaning to the phrase and not simply ignore the word “spirit” as many of the modern English versions do. For a fuller discussion including cross references see the translator’s note on v. 1.

144 sn Media was a country in what is now northwestern Iran. At the time this prophecy was probably written they were the dominating force in the northern region, the most likely enemy to Babylon. By the time Babylon fell in 538 b.c. the Medes had been conquered and incorporated in the Persian empire by Cyrus. However, several times in the Bible this entity is known under the combined entity of Media and Persia (Esth 1:3, 4, 18, 19; 10:2; Dan 5:28; 6:8, 12, 15; 8:20). Dan 5:31 credits the capture of Babylon to Darius the Mede, which may have been another name for Cyrus or the name by which Daniel refers to a Median general named Gobryas.

145 tn Heb “For it is the vengeance of the Lord, vengeance for his temple.” As in the parallel passage in 50:28, the genitival construction has been expanded in the translation to clarify for the English reader what the commentaries in general agree is involved.

sn Verse 11c-f appears to be a parenthetical or editorial comment by Jeremiah to give some background for the attack which is summoned in vv. 11-12.

146 tn Heb “Raise a banner against the walls of Babylon.”

147 tn Heb “Strengthen the watch.”

148 tn Heb “Station the guards.”

149 tn Heb “Prepare ambushes.”

sn The commands are here addressed to the kings of the Medes to fully blockade the city by posting watchmen and setting men in ambush to prevent people from escaping from the city (cf. 2 Kgs 25:4).

150 tn Heb “For the Lord has both planned and done what he said concerning the people living in Babylon,” i.e., “he has carried out what he planned.” Here is an obvious case where the perfects are to be interpreted as prophetic; the commands imply that the attack is still future.

151 sn Babylon was situated on the Euphrates River and was surrounded by canals (also called “rivers”).

152 tn Heb “You who live upon [or beside] many waters, rich in treasures, your end has come, the cubit of your cutting off.” The sentence has been restructured and paraphrased to provide clarity for the average reader. The meaning of the last phrase is debated. For a discussion of the two options see W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 2:423. Most modern commentaries and English versions see an allusion to the figure in Isa 38:12 where the reference is to the end of life compared to a tapestry which is suddenly cut off from the loom. Hence, NRSV renders the last line as “the thread of your life is cut” and TEV renders “its thread of life is cut.” That idea is accepted also in HALOT 141 s.v. בצע Qal.1.

153 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.” For an explanation of this rendering see the study note on 2:19.

154 tn Heb “has sworn by himself.” See the study note on 22:5 for background.

155 tn Heb “I will fill you with men like locusts.” The “you” refers to Babylon (Babylon is both the city and the land it ruled, Babylonia) which has been alluded to in the preceding verses under descriptive titles. The words “your land” have been used because of the way the preceding verse has been rendered, alluding to people rather than to the land or city. The allusion of “men” is, of course, to enemy soldiers and they are here compared to locusts both for their quantity and their destructiveness (see Joel 1:4). For the use of the particles כִּי אִם (kiim) to introduce an oath see BDB 475 s.v. כִּי אִם 2.c and compare usage in 2 Kgs 5:20; one would normally expect אִם לֹא (cf. BDB 50 s.v. אִם 1.b[2]).

156 tn The participle here is intended to be connected with “Lord who rules over all” in the preceding verse. The passage is functioning to underline the Lord’s power to carry out what he has sworn in contrast to the impotence of their idols who will be put to shame and be dismayed (50:2).

157 tn Heb “For he is the former of all [things] and the tribe of his inheritance.” This is the major exception to the verbatim repetition of 10:12-16 in 51:15-19. The word “Israel” appears before “the tribe of his inheritance” in 10:16. It is also found in a number of Hebrew mss, in the Lucianic recension of the LXX (the Greek version), the Aramaic Targums, and the Latin Vulgate. Most English versions and many commentaries assume it here. However, it is easier to explain why the word is added in a few of the versions and some Hebrew than to explain why it was left out. It is probable that the word is not original here because the addressees are different and the function of this hymnic piece is slightly different (see the study note on the next line for details). Here it makes good sense to understand that the Lord is being called the creator of the special tribe of people he claims as his own property (see the study note on the first line of 10:16).

158 sn With the major exception discussed in the translator’s note on the preceding line vv. 15-19 are a verbatim repetition of 10:12-16 with a few minor variations in spelling. There the passage was at the end of a section in which the Lord was addressing the Judeans and trying to convince them that the worship of idols was vain – the idols were impotent but he is all powerful. Here the passage follows a solemn oath by the Lord who rules over all and is apparently directed to the Babylonians, emphasizing the power of the Lord to carry out his oath.

159 tn Or “Media.” The referent is not identified in the text; the text merely says “you are my war club.” Commentators in general identify the referent as Babylon because Babylon has been referred to as a hammer in 50:23 and Babylon is referred to in v. 25 as a “destroying mountain” (compare v. 20d). However, S. R. Driver, Jeremiah, 317, n. c maintains that v. 24 speaks against this. It does seem a little inconsistent to render the vav consecutive perfect at the beginning of v. 24 as future while rendering those in vv. 20b-23 as customary past. However, change in person from second masculine singular (vv. 20b-23) to the second masculine plural in “before your very eyes” and its position at the end of the verse after “which they did in Zion” argue that a change in address occurs there. Driver has to ignore the change in person and take “before your eyes” with the verb “repay” at the beginning to maintain the kind of consistency he seeks. The vav (ו) consecutive imperfect can be used for either the customary past (GKC 335-36 §112.dd with cross reference back to GKC 331-32 §112.e) or the future (GKC 334 §112.x). Hence the present translation has followed the majority of commentaries (and English versions like TEV, NCV, CEV, NIrV) in understanding the referent as Babylon and v. 24 being a transition to vv. 25-26 (cf., e.g., J. Bright, Jeremiah [AB], 356-57, and J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah [NICOT], 756-57). If the referent is understood as Media then the verbs in vv. 20-23 should all be translated as futures. See also the translator’s note on v. 24.

160 tn This Hebrew word (מַפֵּץ, mappets) only occurs here in the Hebrew Bible, but its meaning is assured from the use of the verbs that follow which are from the same root (נָפַץ, nafats) and there is a cognate noun מַפָּץ (mappats) that occurs in Ezek 9:2 in the sense of weapon of “smashing.”

161 tn Heb “I smash nations with you.” This same structure is repeated throughout the series in vv. 20c-23.

162 tn Heb “horse and its rider.” However, the terms are meant as generic or collective singulars (cf. GKC 395 §123.b) and are thus translated by the plural. The same thing is true of all the terms in vv. 21-23b. The terms in vv. 20c-d, 23c are plural.

163 tn These two words are Akkadian loan words into Hebrew which often occur in this pairing (cf. Ezek 23:6, 12, 23; Jer 51:23, 28, 57). BDB 688 s.v. סָגָן (sagan) gives “prefect, ruler” as the basic definition for the second term but neither works very well in a modern translation because “prefect” would be unknown to most readers and “ruler” would suggest someone along the lines of a king, which these officials were not. The present translation has chosen “leaders” by default, assuming there is no other term that would be any more appropriate in light of the defects noted in “prefect” and “ruler.”

164 tn Or “Media, you are my war club…I will use you to smash…leaders. So before your very eyes I will repay…for all the wicked things they did in Zion.” For explanation see the translator’s note on v. 20. The position of the phrase “before your eyes” at the end of the verse after “which they did in Zion” and the change in person from second masculine singular in vv. 20b-23 (“I used you to smite”) to second masculine plural in “before your eyes” argue that a change in referent/addressee occurs in this verse. To maintain that the referent in vv. 20-23 is Media/Cyrus requires that this position and change in person be ignored; “before your eyes” then is attached to “I will repay.” The present translation follows J. A. Thompson (Jeremiah [NICOT], 757) and F. B. Huey (Jeremiah, Lamentations [NAC], 423) in seeing the referent as the Judeans who had witnessed the destruction of Zion/Jerusalem. The word “Judean” has been supplied for the sake of identifying the referent for the modern reader.

165 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

166 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

167 tn The word “Babylon” is not in the text but is universally understood as the referent. It is supplied in the translation here to clarify the referent for the sake of the average reader.

168 tn Heb “I will reach out my hand against you.” See the translator’s note on 6:12 for explanation.

169 tn Heb “I am against you, oh destroying mountain that destroys all the earth. I will reach out my hand against you and roll you down from the cliffs and make you a mountain of burning.” The interpretation adopted here follows the lines suggested by S. R. Driver, Jeremiah, 318, n. c and reflected also in BDB 977 s.v. שְׂרֵפָה. Babylon is addressed as a destructive mountain because it is being compared to a volcano. The Lord, however, will make it a “burned-out mountain,” i.e., an extinct volcano which is barren and desolate. This interpretation seems to this translator to fit the details of the text more consistently than alternative ones which separate the concept of “destroying/destructive” from “mountain” and explain the figure of the mountain to refer to the dominating political position of Babylon and the reference to a “mountain of burning” to be a “burned [or burned over] mountain.” The use of similes in place of metaphors makes it easier for the modern reader to understand the figures and also more easily incorporates the dissonant figure of “rolling you down from the cliffs” which involves the figure of personification.

sn The figure here involves comparing Babylon to a destructive volcano which the Lord makes burned-out, i.e., he will destroy her power to destroy. The figure of personification is also involved because the Lord is said to roll her off the cliffs; that would not be applicable to a mountain.

170 tn This is a fairly literal translation of the original which reads “No one will take from you a stone for a cornerstone nor a stone for foundations.” There is no unanimity of opinion in the commentaries, many feeling that the figure of the burned mountain continues and others feeling that the figure here shifts to a burned city whose stones are so burned that they are useless to be used in building. The latter is the interpretation adopted here (see, e.g., F. B. Huey, Jeremiah, Lamentations [NAC], 423; W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 2:426; NCV).

sn The figure here shifts to that of a burned-up city whose stones cannot be used for building. Babylon will become a permanent heap of ruins.

171 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

172 tn Heb “Raise up a standard on the earth. Blow a ram’s horn among the nations. Consecrate nations against her.” According to BDB 651 s.v. נֵס 1, the raising of a standard was a signal of a war – a summons to assemble and attack (see usage in Isa 5:26; 13:2; Jer 51:12). The “blowing of the ram’s horn” was also a signal to rally behind a leader and join in an attack (see Judg 3:27; 6:34). For the meaning of “consecrate nations against her” see the study note on 6:4. The usage of this phrase goes back to the concept of holy war where soldiers had to be consecrated for battle by the offering of a sacrifice. The phrase has probably lost its ritual usage in later times and become idiomatic for making necessary preparations for war.

173 sn Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz are three kingdoms who were located in the Lake Van, Lake Urmia region which are now parts of eastern Turkey and northwestern Iran. They were kingdoms which had been conquered and made vassal states by the Medes in the early sixth century. The Medes were the dominant country in this region from around 590 b.c. until they were conquered and incorporated into the Persian empire by Cyrus in 550 b.c.

174 tn The translation of this line is uncertain because it includes a word which only occurs here and in Nah 3:17 where it is found in parallelism with a word that is only used once and whose meaning in turn is uncertain. It is probably related to the Akkadian word tupsharru which refers to a scribe (Heb “a tablet writer”). The exact function of this official is disputed. KBL 356 s.v. טִפְסָר relates it to a “recruiting officer,” a sense which is reflected in NAB. The majority of modern English versions render “commander” or “marshal” following the suggestion of BDB 381 s.v. טִפְסָר. G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, T. G. Smothers (Jeremiah 26-52 [WBC], 351) translate “recruiter (scribe)” but explain the function on p. 371 as that of recording the plunder captured in war. The rendering here follows that of TEV and God’s Word and is the nuance suggested by the majority of modern English versions who rendered “appoint a marshal/commander against it.”

175 sn This is probably a poetic or shorthand way of referring to the cavalry and chariotry where horse is put for “rider” and “driver.”

176 tn Heb “Bring up horses like bristly locusts.” The meaning of the Hebrew word “bristly” (סָמָר, samar) is uncertain because the word only occurs here. It is generally related to a verb meaning “to bristle” which occurs in Job 4:15 and Ps 119:120. Exactly what is meant by “bristly” in connection with “locust” is uncertain, though most relate it to a stage of the locust in which its wings are still encased in a rough, horny casing. J. A. Thompson (Jeremiah [NICOT], 759) adds that this is when the locust is very destructive. However, no other commentary mentions this. Therefore the present translation omits the word because it is of uncertain meaning and significance. For a fuller discussion of the way the word has been rendered see W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 2:427.

177 tn See the first translator’s note on 51:27 and compare also 6:4 and the study note there.

178 tn See the translator’s note at 51:23 for the rendering of the terms here.

179 tc The Hebrew text has a confusing switch of possessive pronouns in this verse: “Consecrate the nations against her, the kings of the Medes, her governors and prefects, and all the land of his dominion.” This has led to a number of different resolutions. The LXX (the Greek version) renders the word “kings” as singular and levels all the pronouns to “his,” paraphrasing the final clause and combining it with “king of the Medes” to read “and of all the earth.” The Latin Vulgate levels them all to the third masculine plural, and this is followed by the present translation as well as a number of other modern English versions (NASB, NIV, NRSV, TEV, NCV). The ASV and NJPS understand the feminine to refer to Media, i.e., “her governors and all her prefects” and understand the masculine in the last line to be a distributive singular referring back to the lands each of the governors and prefects ruled over. This is probably correct but since governors and prefects refer to officials appointed over provinces and vassal states it amounts to much the same interpretation that the Latin Vulgate, the present translation, and other modern English versions have given.

180 sn The figure here is common in the poetic tradition of the Lord going forth to do battle against his foes and the earth’s reaction to it is compared to a person trembling with fear and writhing in agony, agony like that of a woman in labor (cf. Judg 5:4; Nah 1:2-5; Hab 3:1-15 [especially v. 6]).

181 tn Heb “For the plans of the Lord have been carried out to make the land of Babylon…” The passive has been turned into an active and the sentence broken up to better conform with contemporary English style. For the meaning of the verb קוּם (qum) in the sense used here see BDB 878 s.v. קוּם 7.g and compare the usage in Prov 19:21 and Isa 46:10.

182 tn The verbs in this verse and v. 30 are all in the past tense in Hebrew, in the tense that views the action as already as good as done (the Hebrew prophetic perfect). The verb in v. 31a, however, is imperfect, viewing the action as future; the perfects that follow are all dependent on that future. Verse 33 looks forward to a time when Babylon will be harvested and trampled like grain on the threshing floor and the imperatives imply a time in the future. Hence the present translation has rendered all the verbs in vv. 29-30 as future.

183 tn Heb “Their strength is dry.” This is a figurative nuance of the word “dry” which BDB 677 s.v. נָשַׁת Qal.1 explain as meaning “fails.” The idea of “strength to do battle” is implicit from the context and is supplied in the translation here for clarity.

184 tn Heb “They have become women.” The metaphor has been turned into a simile and the significance of the comparison drawn out for the sake of clarity. See 50:37 for the same figure.

185 tn Heb “Her dwelling places have been set on fire. Her bars [i.e., the bars on the gates of her cities] have been broken.” The present translation has substituted the word “gates” for “bars” because the intent of the figure is to show that the bars of the gates have been broken giving access to the city. “Gates” makes it easier for the modern reader to understand the figure.

186 tn Heb “Runner will run to meet runner and…” The intent is to portray a relay of runners carrying the news that follows on in vv. 31d-33 to the king of Babylon. The present translation attempts to spell out the significance.

187 tn Heb “Runner will run to meet runner and messenger to meet messenger to report to the king of Babylon that his city has been taken in [its] entirety.” There is general agreement among the commentaries that the first two lines refer to messengers converging on the king of Babylon from every direction bringing news the sum total of which is reported in the lines that follow. For the meaning of the last phrase see BDB 892 s.v. קָצֶה 3 and compare the usage in Gen 19:4 and Isa 56:11. The sentence has been broken down and restructured to better conform with contemporary English style.

188 tn The words “They will report that” have been supplied in the translation to show the linkage between this verse and the previous one. This is still a part of the report of the messengers. The meaning of the word translated “reed marshes” has seemed inappropriate to some commentators because it elsewhere refers to “pools.” However, all the commentaries consulted agree that the word here refers to the reedy marshes that surrounded Babylon. (For a fuller discussion regarding the meaning of this word and attempts to connect it with a word meaning “fortress” see W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 2:427.)

sn Babylon was a city covering over a thousand acres. The city itself was surrounded by two walls, the inner one 21 feet (6.3 m) thick and the outer 11 feet (3.3 m) thick. To provide further security, walls were built to the south and east of the city and irrigation ditches and canals north and east of the city were flooded to prevent direct access to the city. The reference to “fords” here is to the river crossings of the Euphrates River which ran right through the city and the crossings at the ditches and canals. The reference to the “reed marshes” refers to the low lying areas around the city where reeds grew. The burning of the reed marshes would deprive any fugitives of places to hide and flush out any who had already escaped.

189 sn Heb “Daughter Babylon.” See the study note at 50:42 for explanation.

190 tn Heb “Daughter Babylon will be [or is; there is no verb and the tense has to be supplied from the context] like a threshing floor at the time one tramples it. Yet a little while and the time of the harvest will come for her.” It is generally agreed that there are two figures here: one of leveling the threshing floor and stamping it into a smooth, hard surface and the other of the harvest where the grain is cut, taken to the threshing floor, and threshed by trampling the sheaves of grain to loosen the grain from the straw, and finally winnowed by throwing the mixture into the air (cf., e.g., J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah [NICOT], 760). The translation has sought to convey those ideas as clearly as possible without digressing too far from the literal.

sn There are two figures involved here: one of the threshing floor being leveled and stamped down hard and smooth and the other of the harvest. At harvest time the stalks of grain were cut down, gathered in sheaves, taken to the harvest floor where the grain was loosened from the husk by driving oxen and threshing sleds over them. The grain was then separated from the mixture of grain, straw and husks by repeatedly throwing it in the air and letting the wind blow away the lighter husks and ground-up straw. The figure of harvest is often used of judgment in the OT. See, e.g., Joel 3:13 (4:13 Hebrew text) and Hos 6:11 and compare also Mic 4:12-13 and Jer 51:2 where different steps in this process are also used figuratively in connection with judgment. Babylon will be leveled to the ground and its people cut down in judgment.

191 tn This verse is extremely difficult to translate because of the shifting imagery, the confusion over the meaning of one of the verbs, and the apparent inconsistency of the pronominal suffixes here with those in the following verse which everyone agrees is connected with it. The pronominal suffixes are first common plural but the versions all read them as first common singular which the Masoretes also do in the Qere. That reading has been followed here for consistency with the next verse which identifies the speaker as the person living in Zion and the personified city of Jerusalem. The Hebrew text reads: “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon devoured me [cf. 50:7, 17] and threw me into confusion. He set me down an empty dish. He swallowed me like a monster from the deep [cf. BDB 1072 s.v. תַּנִּין 3 and compare usage in Isa 27:1; Ezek 29:3; 32:2]. He filled his belly with my dainties. He rinsed me out [cf. BDB s.v. דּוּח Hiph.2 and compare the usage in Isa 4:4].” The verb “throw into confusion” has proved troublesome because its normal meaning does not seem appropriate. Hence various proposals have been made to understand it in a different sense. The present translation has followed W. L. Holladay (Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 2:428) in understanding the verb to mean “disperse” or “route” (see NAB). The last line has seemed out of place and has often been emended to read “he has spewed me out” (so NIV, NRSV, a reading that presupposes הִדִּיחָנִי [hiddikhani] for הֱדִיחָנִי [hedikhani]). The reading of the MT is not inappropriate if it is combined with the imagery of an empty jar and hence is retained here (see F. B. Huey, Jeremiah, Lamentations [NAC], 425, n. 59; H. Freedman, Jeremiah [SoBB], 344; NJPS). The lines have been combined to keep the imagery together.

sn The speaker in this verse and the next is the personified city of Jerusalem. She laments her fate at the hands of the king of Babylon and calls down a curse on Babylon and the people who live in Babylonia. Here Nebuchadnezzar is depicted as a monster of the deep who has devoured Jerusalem, swallowed her down, and filled its belly with her riches, leaving her an empty dish, which has been rinsed clean.

192 tn Heb “‘The violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon,’ says the one living in Zion. ‘My blood be upon those living in Chaldea,’ says Jerusalem.” For the usage of the genitive here in the phrase “violence done to me and my relatives” see GKC 414 §128.a (a construct governing two objects) and IBHS 303 §16.4d (an objective genitive). For the nuance of “pay” in the sense of retribution see BDB 756 s.v. עַל 7.a(b) and compare the usage in Judg 9:24. For the use of שְׁאֵר (shÿer) in the sense of “relatives” see BDB 985 s.v. שְׁאֵר 2 and compare NJPS. For the use of “blood” in this idiom see BDB 197 s.v. דָּם 2.k and compare the usage in 2 Sam 4:11; Ezek 3:18, 20. The lines have been reversed for better English style.

193 tn Heb “I will avenge your vengeance [= I will take vengeance for you; the phrase involves a verb and a cognate accusative].” The meaning of the phrase has been spelled out in more readily understandable terms.

194 tn Heb “I will dry up her [Babylon’s] sea and make her fountain dry.” “Their” has been substituted for “her” because “Babylonians” has been inserted in the previous clause and is easier to understand than the personification of Babylon = “her.”

sn The reference to their sea is not clear. Most interpreters understand it to be a figurative reference to the rivers and canals surrounding Babylon. But some feel it refers to the reservoir that the wife of Nebuchadnezzar, Queen Nictoris, had made.

195 tn Heb “a heap of ruins, a haunt for jackals.” Compare 9:11.

196 tn Heb “without an inhabitant.”

197 tn Heb “They [the Babylonians] all roar like lions. They growl like the cubs of lions.” For the usage of יַחְדָו (yakhdav) meaning “all” see Isa 10:8; 18:6; 41:20. The translation strives to convey in clear terms what is the generally accepted meaning of the simile (cf., e.g., J. Bright, Jeremiah [AB], 358, and J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah [NICOT], 762).

198 tn Heb “When they are hot.”

199 tc The translation follows the suggestion of KBL 707 s.v. עָלַז and a number of modern commentaries (e.g., Bright, J. A. Thompson, and W. L. Holladay) in reading יְעֻלְּפוּ (yeullÿfu) for יַעֲלֹזוּ (yaalozu) in the sense of “swoon away” or “grow faint” (see KBL 710 s.v. עָלַף Pual). That appears to be the verb that the LXX (the Greek version) was reading when they translated καρωθῶσιν (karwqwsin, “they will be stupefied”). For parallel usage KBL cites Isa 51:20. This fits the context much better than “they will exult” in the Hebrew text.

200 sn The central figure here is the figure of the cup of the Lord’s wrath (cf. 25:15-29, especially v. 26). Here the Babylonians have been made to drink so deeply of it that they fall into a drunken sleep from which they will never wake up (i.e., they die, death being compared to sleep [cf. Ps 13:3 (13:4 HT); 76:5 (76:6 HT); 90:5]). Compare the usage in Jer 51:57 for this same figure.

201 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

202 tn Heb “I will bring them down like lambs to be slaughtered, like rams and he goats.”

sn This statement is highly ironic in light of the fact that the Babylonians were compared to lions and lion cubs (v. 38). Here they are like lambs, rams, and male goats which are to be lead off to be slaughtered.

203 sn Heb “Sheshach.” For an explanation of the usage of this name for Babylon see the study note on Jer 25:26 and that on 51:1 for a similar phenomenon. Babylon is here called “the pride of the whole earth” because it was renowned for its size, its fortifications, and its beautiful buildings.

204 tn Heb “How Sheshach has been captured, the pride of the whole earth has been seized! How Babylon has become an object of horror among the nations!” For the usage of “How” here see the translator’s note on 50:23.

sn This is part of a taunt song (see Isa 14:4) and assumes prophetically that the city has already been captured. The verbs in vv. 41-43a are all in the Hebrew tense that the prophets often use to look at the future as “a done deal” (the so-called prophetic perfect). In v. 44 which is still a part of this picture the verbs are in the future. The Hebrew tense has been retained here and in vv. 42-43 but it should be remembered that the standpoint is prophetic and future.

205 tn For the meaning “multitude” here rather than “tumult” see BDB 242 s.v. הָמוֹן 3.c, where reference is made that this refers to a great throng of people under the figure of an overwhelming mass of waves. The word is used of a multitude of soldiers, or a vast army in 1 Sam 14:16; 1 Kgs 20:13, 18 (cf. BDB 242 s.v. הָמוֹן 3.a for further references).

206 tn Heb “The sea has risen up over Babylon. She has been covered by the multitude of its waves.”

sn This is a poetic and figurative reference to the enemies of Babylon, the foe from the north (see 50:3, 9, 51:27-28), which has attacked Babylon in wave after wave. This same figure is used in Isa 17:12. In Isa 8:7-8 the king of Assyria (and his troops) are compared to the Euphrates which rises up and floods over the whole land of Israel and Judah. This same figure, but with application to Babylon, is assumed in Jer 47:2-3. In Jer 46:7-8 the same figure is employed in a taunt of Egypt which had boasted that it would cover the earth like the flooding of the Nile.

207 tn Heb “Its towns have become a desolation, [it has become] a dry land and a desert, a land which no man passes through them [referring to “her towns”] and no son of man [= human being] passes through them.” Here the present translation has followed the suggestion of BHS and a number of the modern commentaries in deleting the second occurrence of the word “land,” in which case the words that follow are not a relative clause but independent statements. A number of modern English versions appear to ignore the third feminine plural suffixes which refer back to the cities and refer the statements that follow to the land.

208 tn Heb “And I will punish Bel in Babylon…And the nations will not come streaming to him anymore. Yea, the walls of Babylon have fallen.” The verbs in the first two lines are vav consecutive perfects and the verb in the third line is an imperfect all looking at the future. That indicates that the perfect that follows and the perfects that precede are all prophetic perfects. The translation adopted seemed to be the best way to make the transition from the pasts which were adopted in conjunction with the taunting use of אֵיךְ (’ekh) in v. 41 to the futures in v. 44. For the usage of גַּם (gam) to indicate a climax, “yea” or “indeed” see BDB 169 s.v. גַּם 3. It seemed to be impossible to render the meaning of v. 44 in any comprehensible way, even in a paraphrase.

sn In the ancient Near East the victory of a nation over another nation was attributed to its gods. The reference is a poetic way of referring to the fact that God will be victorious over Babylon and its chief god, Bel/Marduk (see the study note on 50:2 for explanation). The reference to the disgorging of what Bel had swallowed is to captured people and plundered loot that had been taken to Babylon under the auspices of the victory of Bel over the foreign god (cf. Dan 5:2-4). The plundered treasures and captive people will be set free and nations will no longer need to pay homage to him because Babylon will be destroyed.

209 tn Heb “Go out from her [Babylon’s] midst, my people. Save each man his life from the fierce anger of the Lord.” The verb has been paraphrased to prevent gender specific terms.

sn Compare Jer 50:8-10; 51:6 where the significance of saving oneself from the fierce anger of the Lord is clarified.

210 tn Heb “That being so, look, days are approaching.” לָכֵן (lakhen) often introduces the effect of an action. That may be the case here, the turmoil outlined in v. 46 serving as the catalyst for the culminating divine judgment described in v. 47. Another possibility is that לָכֵן here has an asseverative force (“certainly”), as in Isa 26:14 and perhaps Jer 5:2 (see the note there). In this case the word almost has the force of “for, since,” because it presents a cause for an accompanying effect. See Judg 8:7 and the discussion of Isa 26:14 in BDB 486-87 s.v. כֵּן 3.d.

211 tn Or “all her slain will fall in her midst.” In other words, her people will be overtaken by judgment and be unable to escape. The dead will lie in heaps in the very heart of the city and land.

212 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

213 tn The infinitive construct is used here to indicate what is about to take place. See IBHS 610 §36.2.3g.

214 tn Heb “the slain of Israel.” The words “because of” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The preceding context makes it clear that Babylon would be judged for its atrocities against Israel (see especially 50:33-34; 51:10, 24, 35).

215 tn The juxtaposition of גַםגַם (gam...gam), often “both…and,” here indicates correspondence. See BDB 169 s.v. גַּם 4. Appropriately Babylon will fall slain just as her victims, including God’s covenant people, did.

216 sn God’s exiled people are told to leave doomed Babylon (see v. 45).

217 tn Heb “don’t stand.”

218 tn Heb “let Jerusalem go up upon your heart.” The “heart” is often viewed as the seat of one’s mental faculties and thought life.

map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

219 sn The exiles lament the way they have been humiliated.

220 tn Heb “we have heard an insult.”

221 tn Heb “disgrace covers our face.”

222 tn Or “holy places, sanctuaries.”

223 tn Heb “that being so, look, days are approaching.” Here לָכֵן (lakhen) introduces the Lord’s response to the people’s lament (v. 51). It has the force of “yes, but” or “that may be true.” See Judg 11:8 and BDB 486-87 s.v. כֵּן 3.d.

224 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

225 tn Or “ascends [into] heaven.” Note the use of the phrase in Deut 30:12; 2 Kgs 2:11; and Amos 9:2.

226 tn Heb “and even if she fortifies her strong elevated place.”

227 tn Heb “from me destroyers will go against her.”

228 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

229 tn The antecedent of the third masculine plural pronominal suffix is not entirely clear. It probably refers back to the “destroyers” mentioned in v. 53 as the agents of God’s judgment on Babylon.

230 tn Or “mighty waters.”

231 tn Heb “and the noise of their sound will be given,”

232 tn Heb “for a destroyer is coming against her, against Babylon.”

233 tn The Piel form (which would be intransitive here, see GKC 142 §52.k) should probably be emended to Qal.

234 tn Or “God of retribution.”

235 tn The infinitive absolute emphasizes the following finite verb. Another option is to translate, “he certainly pays one back.” The translation assumes that the imperfect verbal form here describes the Lord’s characteristic actions. Another option is to take it as referring specifically to his judgment on Babylon, in which case one should translate, “he will pay (Babylon) back in full.”

236 sn For discussion of the terms “governors” and “leaders” see the note at Jer 51:23.

237 sn See the note at Jer 51:39.

238 tn For the title “Yahweh of armies” see the study note on Jer 2:19.

239 sn See the note at Jer 2:19.

240 tn The text has the plural “walls,” but many Hebrew mss read the singular “wall,” which is also supported by the ancient Greek version. The modifying adjective “thick” is singular as well.

241 tn The infinitive absolute emphasizes the following finite verb. Another option is to translate, “will certainly be demolished.”

242 tn Heb “for what is empty.”

243 tn Heb “and the nations for fire, and they grow weary.”

244 sn This would be 582 b.c.

245 tn Heb “an officer of rest.”

246 tn Or “wrote.”

247 tn Or “disaster”; or “calamity.”

248 tn Heb “words” (or “things”).

249 tn Heb “see [that].”

250 tn Heb “words” (or “things”).

251 tn The word “River” is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied for clarity.

252 tn Or “disaster”; or “calamity.”

253 sn The final chapter of the book of Jeremiah does not mention Jeremiah or record any of his prophecies.



TIP #08: Use the Strong Number links to learn about the original Hebrew and Greek text. [ALL]
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