13 The burden of Babylon (Isaiah, Amoz’s son, saw this message):
Isaiah, like many prophets, bears a burden: speaking as God’s mouthpiece in the world. But the burden he bears is nothing compared to the punishing burden Babylon will face for the violence it inflicts on the small nations it is annexing. Isaiah “sees” this message; no one knows how. Was it a vision? Was it a dream? Was it an insight gleaned from some ordinary moment in his extraordinary life?
2 Eternal One: Raise a signal on a bare mountaintop;
flash the message; broadcast it widely.
Shout out to the nations to assemble an army;
wave them on and welcome them at the gates of the nobles.
3 I have enlisted them to be the ones to execute My fierce anger.
They are mine—I have commanded and consecrated them—these high and mighty ones.
4 Listen! There is restlessness and rumbling on the mountains,
as a powerful company assembles.
Listen! There is an uproar among the nations
as they gather their might together.
The Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies,
is mustering an army—thousands, maybe millions—for war.
5 They come from lands far away,
beyond distant horizons.
That’s where the Eternal calls up His weapons of wrath—
in order to destroy the whole land!
6 Cry out in terror!—the time is coming;
the day of the Eternal is nearly here,
Violence and destruction as only God-All-Powerful can wreak.
7-8 This is why all hands will shake and tremble;
every heart will flutter and melt.
People will be paralyzed with fear, weakened with terror.
Taut and shaking, they’ll be overcome like a woman in labor.
They’ll look to each other dumbfounded,
their faces flushed with fear.
9 See here! The fury of God has been building and is too great to stop;
the day of the Eternal is nearly here.
It will come down in all its cruelty, fury, and fiery anger,
to make the land a wasteland, to wipe out all who failed God.
So complete, so persistent are the nation’s sins that even the lights of heaven go out.
10 For the stars that define the constellations in the heavens
will fail to give their light.
The sun will go dark even when it’s high in the sky;
the moon will not shine.[a]
11 Eternal One: I will turn the world’s wrongdoings back on itself.
I will punish those who act wickedly.
I will stop the arrogant musings of the proud and pompous,
and make them puny and weak.
12 People will be a rarity in the land,
like great chunks of gold from Ophir.
13 Like nothing you’ve ever dreamed,
the heavens will tremble and the earth itself will rock out of place,
When the fury of the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, is unleashed
and the power of God’s anger is loosed.
14 Then, in their confusion and distress,
like a hunted gazelle or a neglected stray sheep,
They will turn to their own people and run for whatever seems safe;
they’ll try to escape to their own land.
15 The terror rages on. Anyone who’s found will be run through with a sword.
Those who are caught will die by its cruel edge.
16 Their babies will be dashed to pieces on the rocks as they look on in horror;
their houses will be ransacked, and their wives will be raped.
17 See, I’m rousing up the Medes against them; they are a people
who kill indiscriminately and can’t be bribed off with silver or gold.
18 The young warriors will fall before their arrows;
not even infants or toddlers will receive mercy at their hands.
19 But afterward, the awesome and mighty city Babylon, pride of the Chaldeans,
will be razed to the ground like Sodom and Gomorrah, which God destroyed.
20 It’ll never be inhabited again, and future generations will never call it home;
there Arab nomads won’t pitch their tents; shepherds won’t rest their flocks.
21 Only desert animals will occupy the deserted city;
owls will nest in their formerly swept-clean houses.
Mangy jackals and wild goats will roam among the rubble
and romp among the ruins.
22 Hyenas will prowl around and howl among its towers;
jackals will haunt its formerly palatial palaces;
Babylon’s time of destruction is coming; her days are numbered.