51:11 “Sharpen 1 your arrows!
Fill your quivers! 2
The Lord will arouse a spirit of hostility in 3 the kings of Media. 4
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. 5
51:12 Give the signal to attack Babylon’s wall! 6
Bring more guards! 7
Post them all around the city! 8
Put men in ambush! 9
For the Lord will do what he has planned.
He will do what he said he would do to the people of Babylon. 10
1 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).
2 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.
3 tn Heb “The
4 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
5 tn Heb “For it is the vengeance of the
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.
6 tn Heb “Raise a banner against the walls of Babylon.”
7 tn Heb “Strengthen the watch.”
8 tn Heb “Station the guards.”
9 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).
10 tn Heb “For the