50 This is the message the Lord spoke to Babylon and the ·Babylonian people [L Chaldeans] through Jeremiah the prophet.
2 “·Announce [Proclaim] this to the nations [L and let them hear]. Lift up a banner [C a battle standard] and ·tell them [make them hear]. ·Speak the whole message [L Do not conceal anything] and say: ‘Babylon will be captured. The god Bel [C another name for Marduk] will be ·put to shame [humiliated], and the god Marduk [C the chief god of the Babylonians] will be ·afraid [terrified]. ·Babylon’s gods [L Its images] will be ·put to shame [humiliated], and her idols will be ·afraid [terrified]!’ 3 A nation from the north will attack Babylon [C Persia] and make it like an ·empty desert [desolation]. No one will live there; both people and animals will ·run away [flee].”
4 The Lord says, “At that time [L and in those days] the ·people [L sons] of Israel and Judah will come together. They will cry and ·look for [L seek] the Lord their God. 5 Those people will ask ·how to go [L the way/path] to ·Jerusalem [L Zion; C the location of the Temple] and will start in that direction. They will come and join themselves to the Lord. They will make an ·agreement [covenant; treaty] with him that will last forever, an ·agreement [covenant; treaty] that will never be forgotten [31:31–34].
6 “My people have been like lost sheep. Their ·leaders [L shepherds] have led them ·in the wrong way [astray] and made them wander around in the mountains and hills. They forgot where their ·resting place [fold] was [Ps. 23]. 7 Whoever ·saw [L found] my people ·hurt [L devoured] them. And those ·enemies [foes] said, ‘We ·did nothing wrong [are not guilty]. Those people sinned against the Lord, their ·true [L righteous] ·resting place [fold], the God their fathers ·trusted [hoped in].’
8 “·Run away [Flee] from Babylon, and leave the land of the ·Babylonians [L Chaldeans]. Be like the goats that lead the flock. 9 I will soon ·arouse [L stir up] and bring against Babylon ·many great nations [a large assembly of nations] from the north [C led by Persia]. They will take their places for war against it, and it will be captured ·by people from the north [L from there]. Their arrows are like trained soldiers who do not return [C from war] with empty hands. 10 The ·enemy will take all the wealth from the Babylonians [L Chaldeans will be plundered]. ·Those enemy soldiers will get all they want [L The plunderers will be satisfied/sated],” says the Lord.
11 “Babylon, you are excited and happy, because you took my ·land [L inheritance; C Israel]. You ·dance around [run free] like a young cow ·in the grain [during the threshing; Deut. 25:4]. ·Your laughter is like the neighing of male horses [L You neigh like a stallion]. 12 Your mother will be ·very ashamed [humiliated]; the woman who gave birth to you will be disgraced. ·Soon Babylonia will be the least important of all [L It brings up the backside of] the nations. She will be an empty, dry ·desert [wilderness]. 13 Because of the Lord’s anger, no one will live there. She will be completely ·empty [desolate]. Everyone who passes by Babylon will be shocked. They will shake their heads when they see all her injuries.
14 “Take your positions for war against Babylon, all ·you soldiers with [L who draw] bows. Shoot your arrows at Babylon! Do not ·save any of them [L spare any arrows], because Babylon has sinned against the Lord. 15 ·Soldiers around Babylon [L On every side], shout the war cry! Babylon has surrendered, her ·towers [defenses] have fallen, and her walls have been ·torn down [demolished]. The Lord is giving her people the punishment they deserve. ·You nations should give her what she deserves; do to her what she has done to others [L Just as it did, they did]. 16 ·Don’t let the people from Babylon plant their crops [L Cut the sower off from Babylon] ·or gather [L seize the sickle wielder at the time of] the harvest. ·The soldiers treated their captives cruelly [L …before the sword of the oppressor]. Now, let everyone ·go back home [L turn face toward his people]. Let everyone ·run [flee] to his own country [C after the fall of Babylon, the Persians allowed the exiled people to return to their own lands; Ezra 1].
17 “The people of Israel are like a flock of sheep that are scattered from being ·chased [driven] by lions. The first lion to eat them up was the king of Assyria [C Sennacherib defeated the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 bc]. The last lion to ·crush [gnaw] their bones was Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon [C defeated the southern kingdom of Judah in 586 bc].”
18 So this is what the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts], the God of Israel, says:
“I will punish the king of Babylon and his country as I punished the king of Assyria [C defeated by Babylon at the end of the seventh century bc]. 19 But I will bring the people of Israel back to their own pasture. They will ·eat [feed] on Mount Carmel and in Bashan [C particularly lush areas]. They will ·eat and be full [be sated] on the hills of Ephraim and Gilead.” 20 The Lord says, “At that time and in those days people will try to find Israel’s guilt, but there will be no guilt. People will try to find Judah’s sins, but no sins will be found, because I will leave a ·few people alive from Israel and Judah [remnant], and I will forgive their sins.
21 “Attack the land of Merathaim. Attack the people who live in Pekod [C alternate names for Babylon]. ·Chase them, kill them [L Put them to the sword], and ·completely destroy [annihilate] them. Do everything I commanded you!” says the Lord.
22 “The noise of battle can be heard all over the country; it is the noise of ·much destruction [L great fracture]. 23 ·Babylon was the hammer of the whole earth, but how broken and shattered that hammer is now [L How cut down and broken is the hammer of the whole earth]. ·It is truly the most ruined of [L How Babylon has become a horror among] all the nations. 24 I set a trap for you [C Babylon], and you were caught before you knew it. You ·fought against [challenged] the Lord, so you were found and ·taken prisoner [captured]. 25 The Lord has opened up his storeroom and brought out the weapons of his anger, because the Lord God ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts] has work to do in the land of the ·Babylonians [L Chaldeans]. 26 Come against it [C Babylon] from far away. Break open her storehouses of grain. Pile them up [C dead bodies] like heaps of grain. ·Completely destroy Babylon [L Annihilate it] and ·do not leave anyone alive [L let there be no remnant]. 27 ·Kill [L Put to the sword] all its bulls [C the young men in Babylon]; let them go down to the slaughter [C killed like animals]. ·How terrible it will be for [Woe to] them, because ·the time has come for their defeat [L their day has come]; it is time for them to be punished. 28 Listen to the people ·running [fleeing] to escape the country of Babylon! They are telling ·Jerusalem [L Zion; C the location of the Temple] how the Lord our God is punishing Babylon as it deserves for destroying his Temple.
29 “Call for ·the archers [L all those who draw the bow] to come against Babylon. ·Tell them to surround the city [L Camp all around it], and let no one escape. Pay her back for what she has done; do to her what she has done to other nations. Babylon acted with ·pride [arrogance] against the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. 30 So her young men will be killed in her streets. All her soldiers will ·die [L be silenced] on that day,” says the Lord. 31 “You [C Babylon] are too ·proud [arrogant], and I am against you,” says the Lord God ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts]. “·The time has come [L Your day is coming] ·for you to be punished [L the time of your punishment]. 32 The ·proud [arrogant; C Babylon] will stumble and fall, and no one will help her get up. I will ·start [kindle] a fire in her towns, and it will ·burn up [L devour] everything around her.”
33 This is what the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts] says:
“The people of Israel and Judah are ·slaves [oppressed]. ·The enemy took them as prisoners [L Their captors have seized them] and won’t let them go. 34 But ·God is strong and will buy them back [L their redeemer is strong]. His name is the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts]. He will surely ·defend them with power [take up their cause/case] so he can give rest to their land. But ·he will not give rest [turmoil] to those living in Babylon.”
35 The Lord says,
“Let a sword ·kill the people living in Babylon [L be against the Chaldeans] and her officers and wise men! 36 Let a sword ·kill [L be against] her ·false prophets [diviners], and they will become fools. Let a sword ·kill [L be against] her warriors, and they will be full of terror. 37 Let a sword ·kill [L be against] her horses and chariots and all the soldiers hired from other countries! Then they will be like women [C frightened]. Let a sword ·attack [L be against] her treasures, so they will be ·taken away [L plundered]. 38 Let a sword ·attack [L be against] her waters so they will be dried up. She is a land of idols, and the people go ·crazy [mad] with fear over them.
39 “Desert animals and hyenas will live there, and ·owls [or ostriches] will live there [C ritually unclean birds that live in desolate places], but no people will ever live there again. She will never be ·filled with people [resided in] again. 40 God ·completely destroyed [L overturned] the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and ·the towns around them [L their neighbors; 20:6; 23:13–15; 49:18; Gen. 18–19],” says the Lord. “In the same way no people will live there [C Babylon], and no human being will stay there.
41 “Look! An army is coming from the north [C Persia and its allies]. A powerful nation and many kings are ·coming together [L stirred up] from all around the world. 42 ·Their armies have [L They have grabbed] bows and spears. The soldiers are ·cruel [fierce; violent] and have no ·mercy [compassion]. As the soldiers come riding on their horses, the sound is loud like the ·roaring [thundering] sea. They stand in their places, ready for battle. They are ready to attack you, city of Babylon. 43 The king of Babylon heard ·about those armies [L the news/report], and ·he became helpless with fear [L his hands grew slack/feeble]. Distress has gripped him. His pain is like that of a woman ·giving birth to a baby [in labor; 6:22–24].
44 “Like a lion coming up from the thick bushes near the Jordan River to attack a ·strong pen for sheep [or perennial pastures], I will suddenly chase them away [C people of Babylon from their land]. Who is the one I have ·chosen [appointed] to do this? ·There is no one [L Who is…?] like me, ·no one who [L Who…?] can take me to court. ·None of their leaders [L Who is the shepherd who…?] can stand up against me [49:19].”
45 So listen to ·what the Lord has planned to do against Babylon [L counsel/advice of the Lord]. Listen to ·what he has decided to do to [L his plans against] the people in the city of Babylon. He will surely drag away the young of the flock [C the youth of Babylon]. Their ·hometowns [L pasture] will surely be shocked at what happens to them. 46 At the sound of Babylon’s capture, the earth will shake. People in all nations will hear Babylon’s cry of distress.
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