50 This is[a] the message that the Lord spoke through the prophet Jeremiah about Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans.
2 “Declare and proclaim among the nations. Lift up a banner and proclaim. Don’t conceal anything.[b] Say, ‘Babylon will be captured. Bel[c] will be disgraced, and Marduk will be destroyed. Her idols will be disgraced, and her filthy images will be destroyed.’ 3 For a nation from the north will go up against her. It will make her land into an object of horror, and no one will live in it. Both people and animals will wander off, and they’ll leave. 4 In those days, and at that time,” declares the Lord, “the people of Israel will come together with the people of Judah. They’ll be weeping as they travel along, and they’ll be seeking the Lord their God. 5 They’ll ask the way to Zion, turning their faces in that direction. They’ll come[d] and join themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that won’t be forgotten. 6 My people have become lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray, turning them toward the mountains. They go from mountain to hill. They have forgotten their resting place. 7 All who find them devour them, but their enemies say, ‘We’re not guilty, because they have sinned against the Lord, the habitation of righteousness, the Lord, the hope of their ancestors.’ 8 Move away from the middle of Babylon, and go out of the land of the Chaldeans. Be like male goats at the head[e] of the flock. 9 Indeed, I’m going to stir up and bring against Babylon a great company of nations from the land of the north. They’ll deploy for battle against her, and from there she will be captured. Their arrows will be like a skilled warrior; they won’t miss their targets.[f] 10 The Chaldeans will become plunder, and all who plunder them will get more than enough,” declares the Lord.
11 “Though you rejoice, though you exult, you plunderers of my inheritance, though you skip around like a heifer in the grass[g] and neigh like stallions, 12 your mother will be greatly devastated, she who gave birth to you will be ashamed. She will become the least of the nations, a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert. 13 Because of the anger of the Lord she won’t be inhabited, but will be utterly devastated. Everyone who passes by Babylon will be horrified and will scoff[h] because of all her wounds.
14 Deploy the troops all around Babylon. All who bend the bow, shoot at her and spare no arrows, for she has sinned against the Lord. 15 Raise a battle cry against her on every side. She has surrendered,[i] her pillars have fallen, her walls are thrown down. For this is the vengeance of the Lord. Take vengeance on her; as she has done, do to her. 16 Eliminate from Babylon the one who plants seeds and the one who uses the sickle at harvest time. Because of the oppressor’s sword, let each one turn toward his own people and flee to his own land.”
Hope for Israel
17 “Israel is a scattered flock, driven out by lions. The first to devour him was the king of Assyria, and then afterward[j] King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon gnawed[k] his bones. 18 Therefore this is what the Lord of the Heavenly Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Look, I’m about to judge the king of Babylon and his land, just as I’ve judged the king of Assyria. 19 I’ll bring Israel back to his pasture. He will graze on Carmel, on Bashan, on Mt. Ephraim, and on Gilead—his hunger will be satisfied. 20 In those days and at that time,’ declares the Lord, ‘the iniquity of Israel will be searched for, but there will be none; and the sin of Judah, but none will be found, because I’ll pardon those I leave as a remnant.’”
God’s Judgment on Babylon
21 “Go up against the land of Merathaim[l] and the inhabitants of Pekod.[m] Kill them with swords, and completely destroy them,” declares the Lord, “and do everything that I’ve commanded you. 22 The noise of battle is in the land, and great destruction. 23 How the hammer of all the earth is cut off and broken! How Babylon has become a horror among the nations! 24 I’ll set a trap for you, and you will be caught, Babylon, but you don’t realize it. You will be found and also seized, because you challenged the Lord!
25 “The Lord will open his armory, and bring out the weapons of his anger. Indeed, a work of the Lord God of the Heavenly Armies will be in the land of the Chaldeans. 26 Come to her from afar.[n] Open up her barns. Pile her up like heaps of grain, and completely destroy her. Don’t leave any survivors. 27 Put all her bulls to the sword, let them go down to the slaughter. How terrible for them because their day has come, the time of their judgment.
28 “The sound of fugitives and refugees will come from the land of Babylon to declare in Zion the vengeance of the Lord our God, vengeance for his Temple.
29 “Summon many to Babylon, all those who bend the bow. Camp all around her, let no one escape. Repay her according to her deeds. Do to her just as she has done. For she has behaved arrogantly against the Lord, against the Holy One of Israel. 30 Therefore, her warriors will fall in her streets, and all her soldiers will be silenced on that day,” declares the Lord. 31 “Look, I’m against you, arrogant one,” declares the Lord God of the Heavenly Armies. “Indeed your day is coming, the time of your judgment. 32 The arrogant one will stumble and fall, and there will be no one to lift him up. I’ll set fire to his cities, and it will devour everything around him.”
33 This is what the Lord of the Heavenly Armies says: “The people of[o] Israel are oppressed, along with the people of [p] Judah. All their captors have held on to them and refused to let them go. 34 Their Redeemer[q] is strong, the Lord of the Heavenly Armies is his name. He will vigorously plead their case in order to bring rest to the earth, but turmoil to the inhabitants of Babylon. 35 A sword against the Chaldeans,” declares the Lord, “and against the inhabitants of Babylon, against her officials and her wise men. 36 A sword against the diviners.[r] They’ll be made fools. A sword against her warriors. They’ll be shattered. 37 A sword against her horses, against her chariots,[s] and against all the foreign troops[t] in her midst. They’ll become women. A sword against her treasures. They’ll be plundered. 38 A drought against her waters. They’ll dry up. For it’s a land of idols, and they go mad over their terrifying images. 39 Therefore the desert creatures along with hyenas will live there. They’ll live in it with ostriches, but people won’t live in it again. They won’t inhabit it from generation to generation. 40 Just as when God overthrew Sodom, Gomorrah, and their neighbors,” declares the Lord, “so also no one will live there. No human being will reside in it.
41 “Look, people are coming from the north. A great nation and many kings will be stirred up from the ends of the earth. 42 They grab bow and spear. They’re cruel and show no mercy. Their sound roars like the sea, as they ride on horses deployed like men ready for battle against you, daughter of Babylon. 43 The king of Babylon has heard the news about them, and his hands hang limp. Distress has seized him, like a woman in labor.
44 “Look, like a lion comes up from the thicket of the Jordan to a pasture that grows year round,[u] so I’ll drive them away from her in an instant, and I’ll appoint whomever is chosen over her. Indeed, who is like me? Who gives me counsel? Who is the shepherd who will stand against me?” 45 Therefore, hear the plan that the Lord has made against Babylon, and the strategy that he devised against the land of the Chaldeans. Surely they’ll drag the little ones of the flock away. Surely their pasture will be desolate because of them. 46 At the shout that Babylon has been seized, the earth will be shaken, and the cry will be heard among the nations.
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