Read Aloud All These Words

Babylon has purged Judah taking the skilled and educated and compliant captive, driving out the rebellious, and leaving behind the poorest. Now the Lord hears the cry against Babylon for the slaughter, not just from Judah, but from all affected. Now, Jeremiah sends a prophetic word to Babylon, destruction is coming, they will sink and never rise again. But there are four “You must” actions: In Jeremiah 51:61-64, “And you must say, ‘Yahweh, you yourself spoke against this place, to destroy it”. And, in Jeremiah 51:63 “you must tie a stone on it, and you must throw it into the middle of the Euphrates” and in Jeremiah 51:64 “And you must say, ‘Thus shall Babylon sink, and she will not rise'”.

Yahweh Has Both Planned as Well as Performed

Jeremiah 51:11–19

Prepare the Nations for Holy War

Jeremiah 51:20–32 

I (the Lord) am Going to Contend Your Case

Jeremiah 51:33–39
Though the inhabitants of Zion were taken captive because of the sin of the nation, the rebellion of leaders against the Lord. From their captivity, they now say of Babylon in

Jeremiah 51:35 “May the violence done to me and to my flesh be on Babylon,” the inhabitants of Zion will say; and “My blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea,” Jerusalem will say.

In any conflict like this, there are innocents that are harmed and in

Jeremiah 51:36–37 Therefore thus says Yahweh, “Look, I am going to contend your case, and I will avenge your vengeance, and I will cause her sea to dry up, and I will cause her fountain to dry up. 37 And Babylon will become as a heap of stones, a lair of jackals, an object of horror, and an object of hissing, without inhabitants.


The Glory of All the Earth is Seized!

Jeremiah 51:40–53
The fall of Babylon was swift, and shocking as described in Jeremiah 51:41 “Sheshach is captured, and the glory of all the earth is seized!” In the eyes of the world, the empire was vast and powerful, the city filled with splendor. And the downfall came during their festival, Sheshach, “from the goddess Shach, to whom a five days’ festival was kept … unbridled licentiousness was permitted; slaves ruled their masters, and in every house one called Zogan … was chosen to rule all the rest. He calls Babylon “Sheshach,” to imply that it was during this feast the city was taken”.1

But if we look at the foundation of this empire, we find in Jeremiah 51:48 “Then the heaven and the earth and all that is in them will shout for joy over Babylon” because it was built on slaughter in Jeremiah 51:49 “Babylon must fall not only because of the slain ones of Israel, but also because of Babylon the slain ones of all the earth have fallen”.

The Peoples Will Labor for Nothing

Jeremiah 51:54–58 

Read Aloud All These Words

Jeremiah 51:59–64
Jeremiah is a prophet of the Lord, not only for the children of Israel, but he spoke concerning many of the nations around them as he does here about Babylon. Many have been taken from Judah as captives to Babylon, (see Jer 52:27-30) but Jeremiah remains behind.

These words however, must be spoken in Babylon so, in Jeremiah 51:59 “Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah … the quartermaster” and in Jeremiah 51:61 “At your coming to Babylon, then you must see that you read aloud all these words”. This was to be a pronouncement, a decree of the Lords words, saying back to the Lord what he had already decreed in

Jeremiah 51:62 “And you must say, ‘Yahweh, you yourself spoke against this place, to destroy it, so that there will not be in it anything living, from humankind to animals, for it will be an everlasting desolation.’

Then, there was a required action, in

Jeremiah 51:63–64 “And then when you finish reading aloud this scroll, you must tie a stone on it, and you must throw it into the middle of the Euphrates. 64 And you must say, ‘Thus shall Babylon sink, and she will not rise, because of the face of the disasters that I am bringing on her, and they will grow weary.’ ”

These words, this action, was the connection between the decree in heaven, the realm of the spirit, and the physical world we live in. Things don’t just happen in our natural physical world, they happen because some force acts to make them happen. This decree, speaking the Lords and throwing the scroll into the Euphrates to sink were prophetic acts. And it is by these prophetic acts, acts of faith, that our physical world changes. “The reading was not intended to warn the Babylonians of the destruction threatened them, but was merely to be a proclamation of the word of the Lord against Babylon, on the very spot, for the purpose of connecting with it the symbolic action mentioned in v. 63f”2

Study Verses

Today’s Reading

  • Jeremiah 51:11-64


  • 1. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 558). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  • 2. Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (1996). Commentary on the Old Testament (Vol. 8, p. 454). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.