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A Message Concerning Babylon

50 The word that Yahweh spoke concerning Babylon, concerning the land of the Chaldeans, by the hand of Jeremiah the prophet:

“Declare among the nations and proclaim,
    and lift up a banner.
Proclaim, you must not conceal it.
Say, ‘Babylon is captured,
    Bel is ashamed,
    Merodach is filled with terror,
her idols are ashamed,
    her idols are filled with terror.
For a nation will come up against her from the north.
It will make her land as a horror,
    and an inhabitant will not be in her.
From humans[a] to animals[b] they all will wander off.
    They will go away.
In those days and in that time,’” declares[c] Yahweh,
    “the people[d] of Israel will come,
    they and the people[e] of Judah together.
Weeping as they go,[f] they will go,
    and Yahweh their God they will seek.
They will ask the way to Zion,
    turning their faces there.
They will come and join themselves to Yahweh
    by an everlasting covenant[g] that will not be forgotten.
My people have become lost sheep,
    their shepherds have caused them to go astray.
They led them away to the mountains.
From mountain to hill they have gone,
    they have forgotten their resting place.
All those who found them have devoured them.
    And their foes have said, ‘We are not guilty,
because[h] they have sinned against Yahweh, the true pasture,[i]
    even Yahweh, the hope of their ancestors.’[j]
Flee from the midst of Babylon,
    and from the land of the Chaldeans.
Go out and be like he-goats
    before[k] the flock.
For look, I am going to stir up,
    and I am going to bring against Babylon
a contingent of great nations
    from the land of the north.
And they will draw up a battle formation against her,
    from there she will be captured.
Their arrows are like a warrior who has achieved success,
    he does not return without success.
10 And Chaldea will be as booty,
    all those who plunder her will be satisfied,” declares[l] Yahweh.
11 “Though you rejoice, though you exult,
    O plunderers of my inheritance,
though you frisk about like a heifer on the grass,
    and you neigh like the powerful stallions,
12 your mother will be very ashamed.
    She who gave birth to you will be humiliated.[m]
Look, she will be the least of the nations,
    a desert,[n] dry land, and wilderness.[o]
13 Because of the anger of Yahweh she will not be inhabited,
    but she will be a wasteland, all of her.
Everyone who passes by Babylon will be appalled
    and will hiss because of all her wounds.
14 Draw up a battle formation at Babylon all around,
    all those who bend the bow, shoot at her.
You must not spare arrows,[p]
    for she has sinned against Yahweh.
15 Raise a war cry against her on all sides.
    She has surrendered.[q]
Her towers have fallen,
    her walls are ruined.
For this is the vengeance of Yahweh.
    Take revenge on her.
As she has done to others,
    so do to her.
16 Cut off the sower from Babylon,
    and the one who uses the sickle in the time of harvest.
Because of[r] the sword of the oppressor
    each one will turn to their people,
    and each one will flee to their land.
17 Israel is a sheep scattered,
    lions drove them away.
The first who devoured it was the king of Assyria,
    and now at the end Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, gnawed its bones.”

18 Therefore[s] thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel,

“Look, I am going to punish the king of Babylon and his land
    just as I punished the king of Assyria.
19 And I will restore Israel to its pasture,
    and it will feed on Carmel, and in Bashan,
and on the hills[t] of Ephraim, and in Gilead
    its hunger will be satisfied.
20 In those days and at that time,” declares[u] Yahweh,
    “the guilt of Israel will be sought, but there is none,
and the sins of Judah, but they will not be found,
    for I will forgive those I left behind.
21 To the land of Merathaim,
    go up against her,
and against the inhabitants of Pekod,
    massacre and destroy them,” declares[v] Yahweh,
“and do according to all that I have commanded you.
22 The sound of battle is in the land,
    and great destruction.
23 How the blacksmith’s hammer of all the earth is cut down and broken!
    How Babylon has become as a horror among the nations!
24 I laid a bird snare for you, and you were caught, O Babylon.
    But you yourself did not know.
You were discovered and seized,
    because with Yahweh you measured yourself.
25 Yahweh has opened his armory,
    and he has brought out the weapons of his wrath,
for it is a word for my Lord Yahweh of hosts
    in the land of the Chaldeans.
26 Come against her from the end,
    open her granaries.
Pile her up like heaps and destroy her.
    Let there be no remnant for her.
27 Massacre all her bulls,
    let them go down to the slaughtering.
Woe to them, for their day has come,
    the time of their punishment.
28 There is the sound of fugitives and survivors
    from the land of Babylon,
to declare in Zion the vengeance of Yahweh our God,
    the vengeance for his temple.
29 Summon archers against Babylon,
    all those who bend the bow.
Encamp all around her,
    there must not be for her an escape.
Take revenge on her according to her deeds.
    According to all that she has done, so do to her.
For against Yahweh she has behaved insolently,
    against the Holy One of Israel.
30 Therefore[w] her young men will fall in her public squares,
    and all her soldiers[x] will perish on that day,” declares[y] Yahweh.
31 “Look, I am against you, O arrogant one,”
    declares[z] Lord Yahweh of hosts,
“for your day has come,
    the time when I will punish you.
32 And the arrogant one will stumble and fall,
    and there is no one who raises him up.
And I will kindle a fire in his cities,
    and it will devour everything around him.”

33 Thus says Yahweh of hosts:

“The people[aa] of Israel are oppressed,
    and the people[ab] of Judah likewise,
for[ac] all their captors have seized them,
    they refuse to let them go free.
34 Their redeemer is strong,
    his name is Yahweh of hosts.
Surely he will plead their case,
    in order to make peace for the earth,
but to cause unrest to the inhabitants of Babylon.
35 A sword against the Chaldeans,” declares[ad] Yahweh,
    “and against the inhabitants of Babylon,
and against her officials,
    and against her wise men.
36 A sword against the oracle priests,
    and they will become foolish.
A sword against her warriors,
    and they will be filled with terror.
37 A sword against his horses,
    and against his chariots,[ae]
and against all the foreign troops who are in the midst of her,
    so that they may become as women.
A sword against her treasures,
    so that they may be plundered.
38 A drought will come against her waters,
    and they will dry up,
for it is a land of images,
    and because of the frightful objects, they act like madmen.
39 Therefore[af] desert creatures will live there[ag] with jackals,
    and daughters of ostriches[ah] will inhabit her.
And she will not be inhabited again forever,[ai]
    and she will not be dwelt in for all generations.[aj]
40 As when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah
    and their neighbors,” declares[ak] Yahweh,
“no one will live there,
    and the son of humankind will not dwell as an alien in her.
41 Look, a people is about to come
    from the north,
and a great nation and many kings are woken up
    from the remotest part of the earth.
42 They keep hold of bow and short sword.
    They are cruel and they have no mercy.
Their sound is like the sea, it roars,
    and upon horses they ride.
Drawn up for battle as a man for the battle,
    against you, O daughter of Babylon.
43 The king of Babylon heard their report
    and his hands grew slack.
Anxiety has seized him,
    fear and pain like the woman who gives birth.
44 Look, like a lion he comes up from the thickets[al] of the Jordan
    against a pastureland by a constantly flowing stream,[am]
so I will chase them away quickly[an] from her,
    and I will appoint whoever is chosen over her.
For who is like me, and who can summon me,
    and who is this shepherd who can stand before me?[ao]
45 Therefore[ap] hear the plan of Yahweh
    that he has planned against Babylon,
and his plans
    that he has planned against the land of the Chaldeans.
Surely[aq] they will drag them away,
    the little ones of the flock.
Surely[ar] he will cause their grazing place
    to be desolate over them.
46 At the sound, ‘Babylon has been captured,’
    the earth will quake,
and a cry for help among the nations
    will be heard.”


  1. Jeremiah 50:3 Hebrew “human”
  2. Jeremiah 50:3 Hebrew “animal”
  3. Jeremiah 50:4 Literally “a declaration of”
  4. Jeremiah 50:4 Or “sons/children”
  5. Jeremiah 50:4 Or “sons/children”
  6. Jeremiah 50:4 Literally “They shall go and weeping”
  7. Jeremiah 50:5 Literally “a covenant of eternity”
  8. Jeremiah 50:7 Literally “under that”
  9. Jeremiah 50:7 Literally “settlement of righteousness”
  10. Jeremiah 50:7 Or “fathers”
  11. Jeremiah 50:8 Literally “to the face of”
  12. Jeremiah 50:10 Literally “a declaration of”
  13. Jeremiah 50:12 Or “ashamed”
  14. Jeremiah 50:12 Or “wilderness”
  15. Jeremiah 50:12 Or “Arabah”
  16. Jeremiah 50:14 Hebrew “arrow”
  17. Jeremiah 50:15 Literally “She has given her hand”
  18. Jeremiah 50:16 Literally “From the face of”
  19. Jeremiah 50:18 Literally “To thus”
  20. Jeremiah 50:19 Hebrew “hill”
  21. Jeremiah 50:20 Literally “a declaration of”
  22. Jeremiah 50:21 Literally “a declaration of”
  23. Jeremiah 50:30 Literally “To thus”
  24. Jeremiah 50:30 Literally “her the men of war”
  25. Jeremiah 50:30 Literally “a declaration of”
  26. Jeremiah 50:31 Literally “a declaration of”
  27. Jeremiah 50:33 Or “sons/children”
  28. Jeremiah 50:33 Or “sons/children”
  29. Jeremiah 50:33 Literally “and”
  30. Jeremiah 50:35 Literally “a declaration of”
  31. Jeremiah 50:37 Hebrew “chariot”
  32. Jeremiah 50:39 Literally “To thus”
  33. Jeremiah 50:39 Here the direct object is supplied from context in the English translation
  34. Jeremiah 50:39 Hebrew “ostrich”
  35. Jeremiah 50:39 Literally “to eternity”
  36. Jeremiah 50:39 Literally “until generation and generation”
  37. Jeremiah 50:40 Literally “a declaration of”
  38. Jeremiah 50:44 Hebrew “thicket”
  39. Jeremiah 50:44 Literally “a pasture of ever-flowing”
  40. Jeremiah 50:44 Literally “I will do in an instant I will cause them to run”
  41. Jeremiah 50:44 Literally “to the face of me”
  42. Jeremiah 50:45 Literally “To thus”
  43. Jeremiah 50:45 Literally “If not”
  44. Jeremiah 50:45 Literally “If not”