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Jeremiah 51:51-58

Context

51:51 ‘We 1  are ashamed because we have been insulted. 2 

Our faces show our disgrace. 3 

For foreigners have invaded

the holy rooms 4  in the Lord’s temple.’

51:52 Yes, but the time will certainly come,” 5  says the Lord, 6 

“when I will punish her idols.

Throughout her land the mortally wounded will groan.

51:53 Even if Babylon climbs high into the sky 7 

and fortifies her elevated stronghold, 8 

I will send destroyers against her,” 9 

says the Lord. 10 

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 11  will roar like turbulent 12  waters.

They will make a deafening noise. 13 

51:56 For a destroyer is attacking Babylon. 14 

Her warriors will be captured;

their bows will be broken. 15 

For the Lord is a God who punishes; 16 

he pays back in full. 17 

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

along with her governors, leaders, 18  and warriors.

They will fall asleep forever and never wake up,” 19 

says the King whose name is the Lord who rules over all. 20 

51:58 This is what the Lord who rules over all 21  says,

“Babylon’s thick wall 22  will be completely demolished. 23 

Her high gates will be set on fire.

The peoples strive for what does not satisfy. 24 

The nations grow weary trying to get what will be destroyed.” 25 

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

2 tn Heb “we have heard an insult.”

3 tn Heb “disgrace covers our face.”

4 tn Or “holy places, sanctuaries.”

5 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.

6 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

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

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

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

10 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

11 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.

12 tn Or “mighty waters.”

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

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

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

16 tn Or “God of retribution.”

17 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.”

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

19 sn See the note at Jer 51:39.

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

21 sn See the note at Jer 2:19.

22 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.

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

24 tn Heb “for what is empty.”

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



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