Jeremiah 51; Jeremiah 52; Hebrews 9

1 The Lord says, "I am bringing a destructive wind against Babylonia and its people. 2 I will send foreigners to destroy Babylonia like a wind that blows straw away. When that day of destruction comes, they will attack from every side and leave the land bare. 3 Don't give its soldiers time to shoot their arrows or to put on their armor. Do not spare the young men! Destroy the whole army! 4 They will be wounded and die in the streets of their cities. 5 I, the Lord God Almighty, have not abandoned Israel and Judah, even though they have sinned against me, the Holy One of Israel. 6 Run away from Babylonia! Run for your lives! Do not be killed because of Babylonia's sin. I am now taking my revenge and punishing it as it deserves. 7 Babylonia was like a gold cup in my hand, making the whole world drunk. The nations drank its wine and went out of their minds. 8 Babylonia has suddenly fallen and is destroyed! Mourn over it! Get medicine for its wounds, and maybe it can be healed. 9 Foreigners living there said, "We tried to help Babylonia, but it was too late. Let's leave now and go back home. God has punished Babylonia with all his might and has destroyed it completely.' " 10 The Lord says, "My people shout, "The Lord has shown that we are in the right. Let's go and tell the people in Jerusalem what the Lord our God has done.' " 11 The Lord has stirred up the kings of Media, because he intends to destroy Babylonia. That is how he will take revenge for the destruction of his Temple. The attacking officers command, "Sharpen your arrows! Get your shields ready! 12 Give the signal to attack Babylon's walls. Strengthen the guard! Post the sentries! Place troops in ambush!" The Lord has done what he said he would do to the people of Babylonia. 13 That country has many rivers and rich treasures, but its time is up, and its thread of life is cut. 14 The Lord Almighty has sworn by his own life that he will bring many men to attack Babylonia like a swarm of locusts, and they will shout with victory. 15 The Lord made the earth by his power; by his wisdom he created the world and stretched out the heavens. 16 At his command the waters above the sky roar; he brings clouds from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning flash in the rain and sends the wind from his storeroom. 17 At the sight of this, people feel stupid and senseless; those who make idols are disillusioned because the gods they make are false and lifeless. 18 They are worthless and should be despised; they will be destroyed when the Lord comes to deal with them. 19 The God of Jacob is not like them; he is the one who made everything, and he has chosen Israel to be his very own people. The Lord Almighty is his name. 20 The Lord says, "Babylonia, you are my hammer, my weapon of war. I used you to crush nations and kingdoms, 21 to shatter horses and riders, to shatter chariots and their drivers, 22 to kill men and women, to slay old and young, to kill boys and girls, 23 to slaughter shepherds and their flocks, to slaughter farmers and their plow horses, to crush rulers and high officials." 24 The Lord says, "You will see me repay Babylonia and its people for all the evil they did to Jerusalem. 25 Babylonia, you are like a mountain that destroys the whole world, but I, the Lord, am your enemy. I will take hold of you, level you to the ground, and leave you in ashes. 26 None of the stones from your ruins will ever be used again for building. You will be like a desert forever. I, the Lord, have spoken. 27 "Give the signal to attack! Blow the trumpet so that the nations can hear! Prepare the nations for war against Babylonia! Tell the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz to attack. Appoint an officer to lead the attack. Bring up the horses like a swarm of locusts. 28 Prepare the nations for war against Babylonia. Send for the kings of Media, their leaders and officials, and the armies of all the countries they control. 29 The earth trembles and shakes because the Lord is carrying out his plan to make Babylonia a desert, where no one lives. 30 The Babylonian soldiers have stopped fighting and remain in their forts. They have lost their courage and have become helpless. The city gates are broken down, and the houses are on fire. 31 Messenger after messenger runs to tell the king of Babylonia that his city has been broken into from every side. 32 The enemy have captured the river crossing and have set the fortresses on fire. The Babylonian soldiers have panicked. 33 Soon the enemy will cut them down and trample them like grain on a threshing place. I, the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, have spoken." 34 The king of Babylonia cut Jerusalem up and ate it. He emptied the city like a jar; like a monster he swallowed it. He took what he wanted and threw the rest away. 35 Let the people of Zion say, "May Babylonia be held responsible for the violence done to us!" Let the people of Jerusalem say, "May Babylonia be held responsible for what we have suffered!" 36 And so the Lord said to the people of Jerusalem, "I will take up your cause and will make your enemies pay for what they did to you. I will dry up the source of Babylonia's water and make its rivers go dry. 37 That country will become a pile of ruins where wild animals live. It will be a horrible sight; no one will live there, and all who see it will be terrified. 38 The Babylonians all roar like lions and growl like lion cubs. 39 Are they greedy? I will prepare them a feast and make them drunk and happy. They will go to sleep and never wake up. 40 I will take them to be slaughtered, like lambs, goats, and rams. I, the Lord, have spoken." 41 The Lord says about Babylon: "The city that the whole world praised has been captured! What a horrifying sight Babylon has become to the nations! 42 The sea has rolled over Babylon and covered it with roaring waves. 43 The towns have become a horrifying sight and are like a waterless desert, where no one lives or even travels. 44 I will punish Bel, the god of Babylonia, and make him give up his stolen goods; the nations will not worship him any more. "Babylon's walls have fallen. 45 People of Israel, run away from there! Run for your life from my fierce anger. 46 Do not lose courage or be afraid because of the rumors you hear. Every year a different rumor spreads - rumors of violence in the land and of one king fighting another. 47 And so the time is coming when I will deal with Babylonia's idols. The whole country will be put to shame, and all its people will be killed. 48 Everything on earth and in the sky will shout for joy when Babylonia falls to the people who come from the north to destroy it. 49 Babylonia caused the death of people all over the world, and now Babylonia will fall because it caused the death of so many Israelites. I, the Lord, have spoken." 50 The Lord says to his people in Babylonia: "You have escaped death! Now go! Don't wait! Though you are far from home, think about me, your Lord, and remember Jerusalem. 51 You say, "We've been disgraced and made ashamed; we feel completely helpless because foreigners have taken over the holy places in the Temple.' 52 So then, I say that the time is coming when I will deal with Babylon's idols, and the wounded will groan throughout the country. 53 Even if Babylon could climb to the sky and build a strong fortress there, I would still send people to destroy it. I, the Lord, have spoken." 54 The Lord says, "Listen to the sound of crying in Babylon, of mourning for the destruction in the land. 55 I am destroying Babylon and putting it to silence. The armies rush in like roaring waves and attack with noisy shouts. 56 They have come to destroy Babylon; its soldiers are captured, and their bows are broken. I am a God who punishes evil, and I will treat Babylon as it deserves. 57 I will make its rulers drunk - men of wisdom, leaders, and soldiers. They will go to sleep and never wake up. I, the king, have spoken; I am the Lord Almighty. 58 The walls of mighty Babylon will be thrown to the ground, and its towering gates burned down. The work of the nations is all for nothing; their efforts go up in flames. I, the Lord Almighty, have spoken." 59 King Zedekiah's personal attendant was Seraiah, the son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah. In the fourth year that Zedekiah was king of Judah, Seraiah was going to Babylonia with him, and I gave him some instructions. 60 I wrote in a book an account of all the destruction that would come on Babylonia, as well as all these other things about Babylonia. 61 I told Seraiah, "When you get to Babylon, be sure to read aloud to the people everything that is written here. 62 Then pray, "Lord, you have said that you would destroy this place, so that there would be no living creatures in it, neither people nor animals, and it would be like a desert forever.' 63 Seraiah, when you finish reading this book to the people, then tie it to a rock and throw it into the Euphrates River 64 and say, "This is what will happen to Babylonia - it will sink and never rise again because of the destruction that the Lord is going to bring on it.' " The words of Jeremiah end here.
1 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for eleven years. His mother's name was Hamutal, the daughter of the Jeremiah who lived in the city of Libnah. 2 King Zedekiah sinned against the Lord, just as King Jehoiakim had done. 3 The Lord became so angry with the people of Jerusalem and Judah that he banished them from his sight. Zedekiah rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia, 4 and so Nebuchadnezzar came with all his army and attacked Jerusalem on the tenth day of the tenth month of the ninth year of Zedekiah's reign. They set up camp outside the city, built siege walls around it, 5 and kept it under siege until Zedekiah's eleventh year. 6 On the ninth day of the fourth month of that same year, when the famine was so bad that the people had nothing left to eat, 7 the city walls were broken through. Although the Babylonians were surrounding the city, all the soldiers escaped during the night. They left by way of the royal garden, went through the gateway connecting the two walls, and fled in the direction of the Jordan Valley. 8 But the Babylonian army pursued King Zedekiah, captured him in the plains near Jericho, and all his soldiers deserted him. 9 Zedekiah was taken to King Nebuchadnezzar, who was in the city of Riblah in the territory of Hamath, and there Nebuchadnezzar passed sentence on him. 10 At Riblah he put Zedekiah's sons to death while Zedekiah was looking on and he also had the officials of Judah executed. 11 After that, he had Zedekiah's eyes put out and had him placed in chains and taken to Babylon. Zedekiah remained in prison in Babylon until the day he died. 12 On the tenth day of the fifth month of the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia, Nebuzaradan, adviser to the king and commander of his army, entered Jerusalem. 13 He burned down the Temple, the palace, and the houses of all the important people in Jerusalem; 14 and his soldiers tore down the city walls. 15 Then Nebuzaradan took away to Babylonia the people who were left in the city, the remaining skilled workers, and those who had deserted to the Babylonians. 16 But he left in Judah some of the poorest people, who owned no property, and he put them to work in the vineyards and fields. 17 The Babylonians broke in pieces the bronze columns and the carts that were in the Temple, together with the large bronze tank, and they took all the bronze to Babylon. 18 They also took away the shovels and the ash containers used in cleaning the altar, the tools used in tending the lamps, the bowls used for catching the blood from the sacrifices, the bowls used for burning incense, and all the other bronze articles used in the Temple service. 19 They took away everything that was made of gold or silver: the small bowls, the pans used for carrying live coals, the bowls for holding the blood from the sacrifices, the ash containers, the lampstands, the bowls used for incense, and the bowls used for pouring out wine offerings. 20 The bronze objects that King Solomon had made for the Temple - the two columns, the carts, the large tank, and the twelve bulls that supported it - were too heavy to weigh. 21 The two columns were identical: each one was 27 feet high and 18 feet around. They were hollow, and the metal was 3 inches thick. On top of each column was a bronze capital 7 1/2 feet high, and all around it was a grillwork decorated with pomegranates, all of which was also made of bronze. 23 On the grillwork of each column there were a hundred pomegranates in all, and ninety-six of these were visible from the ground. 24 In addition, Nebuzaradan, the commanding officer, took away as prisoners Seraiah the High Priest, Zephaniah the priest next in rank, and the three other important Temple officials. 25 From the city he took the officer who had been in command of the troops, seven of the king's personal advisers who were still in the city, the commander's assistant, who was in charge of military records, and sixty other important men. 26 Nebuzaradan took them to the king of Babylonia, who was in the city of Riblah 27 in the territory of Hamath. There the king had them beaten and put to death. So the people of Judah were carried away from their land into exile. 28 This is the record of the people that Nebuchadnezzar took away as prisoners: in his seventh year as king he carried away 3,023; 29 in his eighteenth year, 832 from Jerusalem; 30 and in his twenty-third year, 745 - taken away by Nebuzaradan. In all, 4,600 people were taken away. 31 In the year that Evil-merodach became king of Babylonia, he showed kindness to King Jehoiachin of Judah by releasing him from prison. This happened on the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month of the thirty-seventh year after Jehoiachin had been taken away as a prisoner. 32 Evil-merodach treated him kindly and gave him a position of greater honor than he gave the other kings who were exiles with him in Babylonia. 33 So Jehoiachin was permitted to change from his prison clothes and to dine at the king's table for the rest of his life. 34 Each day for as long as he lived, he was given a regular allowance for his needs.
1 The first covenant had rules for worship and a place made for worship as well. 2 A tent was put up, the outer one, which was called the Holy Place. In it were the lampstand and the table with the bread offered to God. 3 Behind the second curtain was the tent called the Most Holy Place. 4 In it were the gold altar for the burning of incense and the Covenant Box all covered with gold and containing the gold jar with the manna in it, Aaron's stick that had sprouted leaves, and the two stone tablets with the commandments written on them. 5 Above the Box were the winged creatures representing God's presence, with their wings spread over the place where sins were forgiven. But now is not the time to explain everything in detail. 6 This is how those things have been arranged. The priests go into the outer tent every day to perform their duties, 7 but only the high priest goes into the inner tent, and he does so only once a year. He takes with him blood which he offers to God on behalf of himself and for the sins which the people have committed without knowing they were sinning. 8 The Holy Spirit clearly teaches from all these arrangements that the way into the Most Holy Place has not yet been opened as long as the outer tent still stands. 9 This is a symbol which points to the present time. It means that the offerings and animal sacrifices presented to God cannot make the worshiper's heart perfect, 10 since they have to do only with food, drink, and various purification ceremonies. These are all outward rules, which apply only until the time when God will establish the new order. 11 But Christ has already come as the High Priest of the good things that are already here. The tent in which he serves is greater and more perfect; it is not a tent made by human hands, that is, it is not a part of this created world. 12 When Christ went through the tent and entered once and for all into the Most Holy Place, he did not take the blood of goats and bulls to offer as a sacrifice; rather, he took his own blood and obtained eternal salvation for us. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a burnt calf are sprinkled on the people who are ritually unclean, and this purifies them by taking away their ritual impurity. 14 Since this is true, how much more is accomplished by the blood of Christ! Through the eternal Spirit he offered himself as a perfect sacrifice to God. His blood will purify our consciences from useless rituals, so that we may serve the living God. 15 For this reason Christ is the one who arranges a new covenant, so that those who have been called by God may receive the eternal blessings that God has promised. This can be done because there has been a death which sets people free from the wrongs they did while the first covenant was in effect. 16 In the case of a will it is necessary to prove that the person who made it has died, 17 for a will means nothing while the person who made it is alive; it goes into effect only after his death. 18 That is why even the first covenant went into effect only with the use of blood. 19 First, Moses proclaimed to the people all the commandments as set forth in the Law. Then he took the blood of bulls and goats, mixed it with water, and sprinkled it on the book of the Law and all the people, using a sprig of hyssop and some red wool. 20 He said, "This is the blood which seals the covenant that God has commanded you to obey." 21 In the same way Moses also sprinkled the blood on the Sacred Tent and over all the things used in worship. 22 Indeed, according to the Law almost everything is purified by blood, and sins are forgiven only if blood is poured out. 23 Those things, which are copies of the heavenly originals, had to be purified in that way. But the heavenly things themselves require much better sacrifices. 24 For Christ did not go into a Holy Place made by human hands, which was a copy of the real one. He went into heaven itself, where he now appears on our behalf in the presence of God. 25 The Jewish high priest goes into the Most Holy Place every year with the blood of an animal. But Christ did not go in to offer himself many times, 26 for then he would have had to suffer many times ever since the creation of the world. Instead, now when all ages of time are nearing the end, he has appeared once and for all, to remove sin through the sacrifice of himself. 27 Everyone must die once, and after that be judged by God. 28 In the same manner Christ also was offered in sacrifice once to take away the sins of many. He will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are waiting for him.
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