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Jeremiah 51:25

Context

51:25 The Lord says, 1  “Beware! I am opposed to you, Babylon! 2 

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

I will unleash my power against you; 3 

I will roll you off the cliffs and make you like a burned-out mountain. 4 

Jeremiah 51:29

Context

51:29 The earth will tremble and writhe in agony. 5 

For the Lord will carry out his plan.

He plans to make the land of Babylonia 6 

a wasteland where no one lives. 7 

Jeremiah 51:43

Context

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. 8 

Jeremiah 51:62-64

Context
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. 9  51:64 Then say, ‘In the same way Babylon will sink and never rise again because of the judgments 10  I am ready to bring upon her; they will grow faint.’”

The prophecies of Jeremiah end here. 11 

1 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

2 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.

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

4 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.

5 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]).

6 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.

7 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.

8 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.

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

10 tn Or “disaster”; or “calamity.”

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



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