Babylon Is Doomed!
13 The Message on Babylon. Isaiah son of Amoz saw it:
2-3 “Run up a flag on an open hill.
Yell loud. Get their attention.
Wave them into formation.
Direct them to the nerve center of power.
I’ve taken charge of my special forces,
called up my crack troops.
They’re bursting with pride and passion
to carry out my angry judgment.”
4-5 Thunder rolls off the mountains
like a mob huge and noisy—
Thunder of kingdoms in an uproar,
nations assembling for war.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies is calling
his army into battle formation.
They come from far-off countries,
they pour in across the horizon.
It’s God on the move with the weapons of his wrath,
ready to destroy the whole country.
6-8 Wail! God’s Day of Judgment is near—
an avalanche crashing down from the Strong God!
Everyone paralyzed in the panic,
hysterical and unstrung,
Doubled up in pain
like a woman giving birth to a baby.
Horrified—everyone they see
is like a face out of a nightmare.
* * *
9-16 “Watch now. God’s Judgment Day comes.
Cruel it is, a day of wrath and anger,
A day to waste the earth
and clean out all the sinners.
The stars in the sky, the great parade of constellations,
will be nothing but black holes.
The sun will come up as a black disk,
and the moon a blank nothing.
I’ll put a full stop to the evil on earth,
terminate the dark acts of the wicked.
I’ll gag all braggarts and boasters—not a peep anymore from them—
and trip strutting tyrants, leave them flat on their faces.
Proud humanity will disappear from the earth.
I’ll make mortals rarer than hens’ teeth.
And yes, I’ll even make the sky shake,
and the earth quake to its roots
Under the wrath of God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
the Judgment Day of his raging anger.
Like a hunted white-tailed deer,
like lost sheep with no shepherd,
People will huddle with a few of their own kind,
run off to some makeshift shelter.
But tough luck to stragglers—they’ll be killed on the spot,
throats cut, bellies ripped open,
Babies smashed on the rocks
while mothers and fathers watch,
17-22 “And now watch this:
Against Babylon, I’m inciting the Medes,
A ruthless bunch indifferent to bribes,
the kind of brutality that no one can blunt.
They massacre the young,
wantonly kick and kill even babies.
And Babylon, most glorious of all kingdoms,
the pride and joy of Chaldeans,
Will end up smoking and stinking like Sodom,
and, yes, like Gomorrah, when God had finished with them.
No one will live there anymore,
generation after generation a ghost town.
Not even Bedouins will pitch tents there.
Shepherds will give it a wide berth.
But strange and wild animals will like it just fine,
filling the vacant houses with eerie night sounds.
Skunks will make it their home,
and unspeakable night hags will haunt it.
Hyenas will curdle your blood with their laughing,
and the howling of coyotes will give you the shivers.
“Babylon is doomed.
It won’t be long now.”
Now You Are Nothing
14 1-2 But not so with Jacob. God will have compassion on Jacob. Once again he’ll choose Israel. He’ll establish them in their own country. Outsiders will be attracted and throw their lot in with Jacob. The nations among whom they lived will actually escort them back home, and then Israel will pay them back by making slaves of them, men and women alike, possessing them as slaves in God’s country, capturing those who had captured them, ruling over those who had abused them.
3-4 When God has given you time to recover from the abuse and trouble and harsh servitude that you had to endure, you can amuse yourselves by taking up this satire, a taunt against the king of Babylon:
4-6 Can you believe it? The tyrant is gone!
The tyranny is over!
God has broken the rule of the wicked,
the power of the bully-rulers
That crushed many people.
A relentless rain of cruel outrage
Established a violent rule of anger
rife with torture and persecution.
7-10 And now it’s over, the whole earth quietly at rest.
Burst into song! Make the rafters ring!
Ponderosa pine trees are happy,
giant Lebanon cedars are relieved, saying,
“Since you’ve been cut down,
there’s no one around to cut us down.”
And the underworld dead are all excited,
preparing to welcome you when you come.
Getting ready to greet you are the ghostly dead,
all the famous names of earth.
All the buried kings of the nations
will stand up on their thrones
With well-prepared speeches,
royal invitations to death:
“Now you are as nothing as we are!
Make yourselves at home with us dead folks!”
11 This is where your pomp and fine music led you, Babylon,
to your underworld private chambers,
A king-size mattress of maggots for repose
and a quilt of crawling worms for warmth.
12 What a comedown this, O Babylon!
Daystar! Son of Dawn!
Flat on your face in the underworld mud,
you, famous for flattening nations!
13-14 You said to yourself,
“I’ll climb to heaven.
I’ll set my throne
over the stars of God.
I’ll run the assembly of angels
that meets on sacred Mount Zaphon.
I’ll climb to the top of the clouds.
I’ll take over as King of the Universe!”
15-17 But you didn’t make it, did you?
Instead of climbing up, you came down—
Down with the underground dead,
down to the abyss of the Pit.
People will stare and muse:
“Can this be the one
Who terrorized earth and its kingdoms,
turned earth to a moonscape,
Wasted its cities,
shut up his prisoners to a living death?”
18-20 Other kings get a decent burial,
honored with eulogies and placed in a tomb.
But you’re dumped in a ditch unburied,
like a stray dog or cat,
Covered with rotting bodies,
murdered and indigent corpses.
Your dead body desecrated, mutilated—
no state funeral for you!
You’ve left your land in ruins,
left a legacy of massacre.
The progeny of your evil life
will never be named. Oblivion!
21 Get a place ready to slaughter the sons of the wicked
and wipe out their father’s line.
Unthinkable that they should own a square foot of land
or desecrate the face of the world with their cities!
22-23 “I will confront them”—Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies—“and strip Babylon of name and survivors, children and grandchildren.” God’s Decree. “I’ll make it a worthless swamp and give it as a prize to the hedgehog. And then I’ll bulldoze it out of existence.” Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
Who Could Ever Cancel Such Plans?
24-27 God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaks:
“Exactly as I planned,
it will happen.
Following my blueprints,
it will take shape.
I will shatter the Assyrian who trespasses my land
and stomp him into the dirt on my mountains.
I will ban his taking and making of slaves
and lift the weight of oppression from all shoulders.”
This is the plan,
planned for the whole earth,
And this is the hand that will do it,
reaching into every nation.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies has planned it.
Who could ever cancel such plans?
His is the hand that’s reached out.
Who could brush it aside?
28-31 In the year King Ahaz died, this Message came:
Hold it, Philistines! It’s too soon to celebrate
the defeat of your cruel oppressor.
From the death throes of that snake a worse snake will come,
and from that, one even worse.
The poor won’t have to worry.
The needy will escape the terror.
But you Philistines will be plunged into famine,
and those who don’t starve, God will kill.
Wail and howl, proud city!
Fall prostrate in fear, Philistia!
On the northern horizon, smoke from burned cities,
the wake of a brutal, disciplined destroyer.
32 What does one say to
outsiders who ask questions?
Tell them, “God has established Zion.
Those in need and in trouble find refuge in her.”