Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise. Psalm 100:4

Jeremiah 51-52

Jeremiah 51

Severe Judgment against Babylon

1 The Lord says:
“I will raise up against Babylon,
and against those who live in Lebkamai, a destructive wind.
2 I will send to Babylon, strangers who will winnow her;
They will empty her land;
for in the day of trouble they will be against her on every side.
3 Against him who bends, let the archer bend his bow,
also against him who lifts himself up in his coat of mail.
Don’t spare her young men!
Utterly destroy her entire army!
4 They will fall down slain in the land of the Chaldeans,
and thrust through in her streets.
5 For Israel is not forsaken, nor Judah, by his God,
by the Lord of Hosts;
though their land is full of guilt against the Holy One of Israel.

6 “Flee from the midst of Babylon!
Everyone save his own life!
Don’t be cut off in her iniquity;
for it is the time of the Lord’s vengeance.
He will render to her what is due.
7 Babylon has been a golden cup in the hand of the Lord,
who made all the earth drunk.
The nations have drunk of her wine;
therefore the nations have gone mad.
8 Babylon has suddenly fallen and been destroyed!
Wail for her!
Take balm for her pain.
Perhaps she may be healed.

9 “We would have healed Babylon,
but she is not healed.
Forsake her,
and let’s each go into his own country;
for her judgment reaches to heaven,
and is lifted up even to the skies.
10 ‘The Lord has produced our righteousness:
come, and let’s declare in Zion the work of the Lord our God.’

11 “Make the arrows sharp!
Hold the shields firmly!
The Lord has stirred up the spirit of the kings of the Medes,
because his plan is against Babylon, to destroy it;
for it is the vengeance of the Lord,
the vengeance of his temple.
12 Set up a banner along the walls of Babylon!
Make the watch strong!
Set the watchmen,
and prepare the ambushes;
for the Lord has both planned and done
that which he spoke concerning the inhabitants of Babylon.
13 You who live by vast waters, abundant in treasures,
your end has come, the measure of your covetousness.
14 The Lord of Hosts has sworn by himself, saying,
‘Surely I will fill you with men,
as with locusts;
and they will lift up a shout against you.’

Song of Praise

15 “He has made the earth by his power.
He has established the world by his wisdom.
By his understanding he has stretched out the heavens.
16 When he utters his voice,
there is a roar of waters in the heavens,
and he causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightning for the rain,
and brings the wind out of his treasuries.

17 “Every man has become brutish and without knowledge.
Every goldsmith is put to shame by his images;
for his molten images are frauds,
and there is no breath in them.
18 They are worthless,
a work of delusion.
In the time of reckoning, they will perish.
19 The Portion of Jacob is not like these,
for he is the maker of all things.
Israel is the tribe of his inheritance:
The Lord of Hosts is his name.

Babylon’s Punishment

20 “You are my battle ax and weapons of war.
With you I will break the nations into pieces.
With you I will destroy kingdoms.
21 With you I will shatter
the horse and his rider.
22 With you I will shatter
the chariot and the rider.
With you I will shatter
man and woman.
With you I will shatter
the old man and the youth.
With you I will shatter
the young man and the virgin.
23 With you I will shatter
the shepherd and his flock.
With you I will shatter
the farmer and his yoke.
With you I will shatter
governors and deputies.
24 “I will give back to Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all the evil that they have done in Zion in your sight,” says the Lord.
25 “I am against you, mountain of destruction,” says the Lord,
“which destroys all the earth.
I will stretch out my hand on you,
roll you down from the rocks,
and will make you a burned mountain.
26 They won’t take a cornerstone from you,
nor a stone for foundations;
but you will be desolate forever,” says the Lord.

27 “Set up a banner in the land!
Blow the trumpet among the nations!
Prepare the nations against her!
Call together against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz!
Appoint a marshal against her!
Cause the horses to come up like a swarm of locusts!
28 Prepare against her the nations,
the kings of the Medes, its governors, and all its deputies, and all the land in their dominion!
29 The land trembles and is in pain;
for the plans of the Lord against Babylon stand,
to make the land of Babylon a desolation, without inhabitant.
30 The mighty men of Babylon have stopped fighting,
they remain in their strongholds.
Their strength has failed.
They have become like women.
Her dwelling places are set on fire.
Her bars are broken.
31 One runner will run to meet another,
and one messenger to meet another,
to show the king of Babylon that his city is taken on every quarter.
32 So the passages are blocked.
They have burned the reeds down.
The men of war are frightened.”
33 For the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel says:
“The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor at trodding time.
Very soon the time of harvest will have come for her.”

34 “Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon has devoured me.
He has crushed me.
He has made me an empty vessel.
He has, like a monster, swallowed me up.
He has filled his mouth with my delicacies.
He has cast me out.
35 May the violence done to me and to my flesh be on Babylon!”
the inhabitant of Zion will say; and,
“May my blood be on the inhabitants of Chaldea!”
Jerusalem will say.

36 Therefore the Lord says:
“I will plead your case,
and will avenge you.
I will dry up her sea,
and make her fountain dry.
37 Babylon will become a heap of ruins,
a dwelling place for jackals,
appalling and contemptuous,
without inhabitant.
38 They will roar together like young lions.
They will growl as lions’ cubs.
39 While they are hot with excitement, I will prepare their feast,
and I will make them drunk,
that they may rejoice,
and then sleep a perpetual sleep,
and not wake up,” says the Lord.

40 “I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter,
like rams with male goats.

41 “How Sheshach is taken!
How the praise of the whole earth seized!
How Babylon has become a desolation among the nations!
42 The sea has come up on Babylon.
She is covered with the multitude of its waves.
43 Her cities have become a desolation,
a dry land, and a desert,
a land in which no man lives.
No son of man passes by it.
44 I will execute judgment on Bel in Babylon,
and I will bring out of his mouth that which he has swallowed up.
The nations will no longer flow to him.
Yes, the wall of Babylon will fall.

Instructions for the Exiles

45 “My people, depart from the midst of her,
and each of you save yourselves from the Lord’s fierce anger.
46 Don’t let your heart faint.
Don’t fear for the news that will be heard in the land.
For news will come one year,
and after that in another year news will come;
of violence in the land,
and ruler against ruler.
47 Therefore the days are coming when I will execute judgment on the engraved images of Babylon;
and her whole land will be disgraced.
All her slain will fall in her midst.
48 Then the heavens and the earth,
and all that is in it,
will sing for joy over Babylon;
for destructive forces will come to her from the north,” says the Lord.

49 “As Babylon has caused the slain of Israel to fall,
so the slain of all the land will fall at Babylon.
50 You who have escaped the sword, go!
Don’t stand still!
Remember the Lord from afar,
and keep Jerusalem in your thoughts.”

51 “We are disgraced.
We have been reproached.
Shame has covered our faces,
for strangers have come into the sanctuaries of the Lord’s house.”

52 “Therefore the days are coming,” says the Lord,
“when I will execute judgment on her engraved images;
and throughout her land the wounded will groan.
53 Though Babylon should mount up to the heavens,
and though she should fortify her to the height of her strength,
yet the destruction will come to her from me,” says the Lord.

54 “The sound of crying comes from Babylon,
and of great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans!
55 For the Lord is laying Babylon to waste;
silencing the sound of her great voice,
roaring like the waves of vast waters,
sounding their voice.
56 For the destroyer has come upon her,
on Babylon.
Her mighty men are taken.
Their bows are broken in pieces,
for the Lord is a God of retribution.
He will surely repay.
57 I will make her princes, her wise men,
her governors, her deputies, and her mighty men drunk.
They will sleep a perpetual sleep,
and not wake up,”
says the King, whose name is the Lord of Hosts.
58 The Lord of Hosts says:
“The wide walls of Babylon will be utterly overthrown.
Her high gates will be burned down.
The peoples will labor in vain,
wearying themselves
in the fire.”

Jeremiah’s Prophecy to Seraiah

59 The word which Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, when he went with Zedekiah the king of Judah to Babylon in the fourth year of his reign. Now Seraiah was chief quartermaster. 60 Jeremiah wrote in a book all the disaster that should come on Babylon, all these words that are written concerning Babylon. 61 Jeremiah said to Seraiah, “When you come to Babylon, then see that you read all these words, 62 and say, ‘Lord, you have spoken concerning this place, to cut it off, that no one will dwell in it, neither man nor animal, but that it will be desolate forever.’ 63 It will be, when you have finished reading this book, that you shall bind a stone to it, and cast it into the middle of the Euphrates. 64 Then you shall say, ‘Thus will Babylon sink, and will not rise again because of the disaster that I will bring on her; and they will be weary.’ ”
Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 52

The Fall of Jerusalem Recounted

1 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he began to reign. He reigned eleven years in Jerusalem: and his mother’s name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. 2 He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, just as Jehoiakim had done. 3 This happened in Jerusalem and Judah, because of the Lord’s anger, until he had cast them out from his presence.

Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. 4 In the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and encamped against it; and they built forts, surrounding against it. 5 So the city was besieged until the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.

6 In the fourth month, in the ninth day of the month, the famine was so severe in the city that there was no bread for the people of the land. 7 Then a breach was made in the city, and all the men of war fled, going out of the city by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king’s garden. Now the Chaldeans surrounded against the city. The men of war went toward the Arabah, 8 but the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and his entire army scattered from him. 9 Then they took the king, and carried him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath; and he pronounced judgment on him. 10 The king of Babylon killed the sons of Zedekiah in front of him. He also killed all the princes of Judah in Riblah. 11 He put gouged out the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in fetters, and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison until the day of his death.

The Temple and the City Burned

12 Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, who stood before the king of Babylon, came into Jerusalem. 13 He burned down the house of the Lord, and the king’s house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, even every great house, he burned down. 14 The entire army of the Chaldeans, who were with the captain of the guard, broke down all of the surrounding walls of Jerusalem. 15 Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the poorest of the people, and the remnant of the people who were left in the city, and those who had deserted, who fell to the king of Babylon, and the remnant from the multitudes. 16 But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left the poorest in the land to be vineyard keepers and farmers.

17 The Chaldeans broke the pillars of bronze that were in the house of the Lord, and the bases and the bronze sea that were in pieces in the house of the Lord, and carried all of their bronze to Babylon. 18 They also took away the pots, the shovels, the snuffers, the basins, the spoons, and all the vessels of bronze with which they ministered. 19 The captain of the guard took away the cups, the fire pans, the basins, the pots, the lamp stands, the spoons, and the bowls; that which was of gold, in gold, and that which was of silver, in silver.

20 They took the two pillars, the one sea, and the twelve bronze bulls that were under the bases, which king Solomon had made for the house of the Lord. The bronze from all these vessels was unweighable. 21 As for the pillars, the height of the one pillar was 27 feet; and 18 feet in circumference; and its thickness was four fingers. It was hollow. 22 A capital of bronze was on it; and the height of the one capital was 7 ½ feet with network and pomegranates on the capital all around it, all of bronze: and the second pillar also had like these, and pomegranates. 23 There were 96 pomegranates on the sides; all the pomegranates were 100 on the network all around it.

Captives Carried to Babylon

24 The captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the threshold: 25 and out of the city he took an officer who was set over the men of war; and seven men of those who saw the king’s face, who were found in the city; and the scribe of the captain of the army, who mustered the people of the land; and 60 men of the people of the land, who were found in the midst of the city. 26 Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took them, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah. 27 The king of Babylon struck them, and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath.
So Judah was carried away captive out of his land. 28 This is the number of the people whom Nebuchadnezzar carried away captive:
in the seventh year, 3,023 Jews;

29 in the 18th year of Nebuchadnezzar, he carried away captive from Jerusalem 832 people;

30 in the 23rd year of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews 745 people:
all the people were 4,600.

Evil-Merodach Releases Jehoiachin

31 In the 37th year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the 12th month, in the 25th day of the month, Evil-Merodach king of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, raised up  Jehoiachin king of Judah, and released him from prison. 32 He spoke kindly to him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings who were with him in Babylon, 33 and changed his prison garments. Jehoiachin ate bread before him continually all the days of his life. 34 For his allowance, there was a continual allowance given him by the king of Babylon, every day a portion until the day of his death, all the days of his life.

Titus 3

Obedience to Authorities

1 Remind them to be in subjection to rulers and to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak badly of no one, not to be contentious, to be gentle, showing all humility toward all men.

God’s Mercy to Us

3 For we were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love toward mankind appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy, he saved us through the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly, through Jesus Christ our Savior; 7 that being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 This saying is faithful, and concerning these things I desire that you affirm confidently, so that those who have believed God may be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men;

Avoiding Divisions

9 but avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, strife, and disputes about the law; for they are unprofitable and pointless. 10 Avoid a factious man after a first and second warning, 11 knowing that such a one is perverted and sins, being self-condemned.

Final Remarks and Greetings

12 When I send Artemas to you, or Tychicus, be diligent to come to me to Nicopolis, for I have determined to winter there. 13 Send Zenas, the lawyer, and Apollos on their journey speedily, that nothing may be lacking for them. 14 Let our people also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they may not be unfruitful.

15 All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.

Psalm 100

Shout for Joy to the Lord, All You Lands!

A Psalm of thanksgiving.
1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all you lands!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness.
Come before his presence with singing.
3 Know that the Lord, he is God.
It is he who has made us, and we are his.
We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, and bless his name.
5 For the Lord is good.
His loving kindness endures forever,
his faithfulness to all generations.

Proverbs 26:18-19

18 Like a madman who shoots torches, arrows, and death,
19 is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I am just joking.”

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