“I will cause a destroying wind to blow. It will blow against Babylon and the Babylonian people. 2 I will send foreign people to destroy Babylon like a wind that blows chaff away. Those people will make Babylon empty. Armies will surround the city when disaster comes upon her. 3 The Babylonian soldiers will not use their bows and arrows. Those soldiers will not even put on their armor. Don’t feel sorry for the young men of Babylon. Completely destroy her army. 4 Babylon’s soldiers will be killed in Babylon. They will be badly injured in Babylon’s streets. 5 The Lord God of heaven’s armies did not leave Israel and Judah alone. They are fully guilty of leaving the Holy One of Israel. But he has not left them.
6 “Run away from Babylon! Run to save your lives! Don’t stay and be killed because of Babylon’s sins. It is time for the Lord to punish Babylon. Babylon will get the punishment it deserves. 7 Babylon was like a gold cup in the Lord’s hand. It made the whole earth drunk. The nations drank Babylon’s wine. So they went crazy. 8 Babylon will suddenly fall and be broken. Cry for her! Get balm for her pain. Maybe she can be healed.
9 “Foreigners in Babylon say, ‘We tried to heal Babylon. But she cannot be healed. So let us leave her and each go to his own country. Babylon’s guilt is as high as the clouds. Babylon’s guilt reaches to the sky.’
10 “The people of Judah say, ‘The Lord has shown us to be right. Come, let us tell about it in Jerusalem. Let us tell about what the Lord our God has done.’
11 “Sharpen the arrows. Pick up your shields! The Lord has stirred up the kings of the Medes. He has stirred them up because he wants to destroy Babylon. The Lord will give the people of Babylon the punishment they deserve. This is because Babylon destroyed his Temple in Jerusalem. 12 Lift up a banner against the walls of Babylon! Bring more guards. Put the watchmen in their places. Get ready for a secret attack! The Lord will do what he has planned. He will do what he said he would do against the people of Babylon. 13 People of Babylon, you live near much water. You are rich with treasures. But your end as a nation has come. It is time for you to be destroyed. 14 The Lord of heaven’s armies has promised in his own name: ‘Babylon, I will surely fill you with so many enemy soldiers they will be like a swarm of locusts. They will stand over you and shout their victory.’
15 “The Lord made the earth by his power. He used his wisdom to build the world. He used his understanding to stretch out the skies. 16 When he thunders, the waters in the skies roar. He makes clouds rise in the sky all over the earth. He sends lightning with the rain. He brings out the wind from his storehouses.
17 “People are so stupid and know so little. Goldsmiths are made ashamed by their idols. Those statues are only false gods. They have no breath in them. 18 They are worth nothing. People make fun of them. When they are judged, they will be destroyed. 19 But God, who is Jacob’s Portion, is not like the idols. God made everything. And he made Israel to be his special people. The Lord of heaven’s armies is his name.
20 “You are my war club. You are my battle weapon. I use you to smash nations. I use you to destroy kingdoms. 21 I use you to smash horse and rider. I use you to smash chariot and driver. 22 I use you to smash men and women. I use you to smash old men and young men. I use you to smash young men and young women. 23 I use you to smash shepherds and flocks. I use you to smash farmers and oxen. I use you to smash governors and officers.
24 “But I will pay Babylon back, and I will pay back all the Babylonians for all the evil things they did to Jerusalem,” says the Lord.
25 The Lord says, “Babylon, you are a destroying mountain. And I am against you. You have destroyed the whole land. I will put my hand out against you. I will roll you off the cliffs. I will make you a burned-out mountain. 26 People will not find any rocks in Babylon big enough for cornerstones. People will not take any rocks from Babylon to use for the foundation of a building. This is because your city will be just a pile of ruins forever,” says the Lord.
27 “Lift up the banner in the land! Blow the trumpet among the nations! Get the nations ready for battle against Babylon. Call these kingdoms to come fight against Babylon: Ararat, Minni and Ashkenaz. Choose a commander to lead the army against Babylon. Send so many horses that they are like a swarm of locusts. 28 Get the nations ready for battle against Babylon. Get the kings of the Medes ready. Get their governors and all their officers ready. Get all the countries they rule ready for battle against Babylon. 29 The land shakes and moves like it is in pain. It will shake when the Lord does what he planned to Babylon. His plan is to make Babylon into an empty desert. No one will live there. 30 Babylon’s warriors have stopped fighting. They stay in their protected cities. Their strength is gone. They have become like frightened women. Babylon’s houses are burning. The bars of her gates are broken. 31 One messenger follows another. Messenger follows messenger. They announce to the king of Babylon that his whole city has been captured. 32 The river crossings have been captured. The swamplands are burning. All of Babylon’s soldiers are terribly afraid.”
33 This is what the Lord of heaven’s armies, the God of Israel, says:
“The city of Babylon is like a threshing floor, where people crush the grain at harvest time. The time to harvest Babylon is coming soon.”
34 “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has destroyed us. In the past he took our people away. And we became like an empty jar. He was like a giant snake that swallowed us. He ate everything until he was full of our best things. Then he spit us out. 35 Babylon did terrible things to hurt us. Now let those things happen to Babylon,” say the people of Jerusalem. “The people of Babylon are guilty of killing our people. Now let them be punished for the evil they did,” says Jerusalem.
36 So this is what the Lord says:
“I will defend you, Judah. I will make sure that Babylon is punished. I will dry up Babylon’s sea. And I will make her springs become dry. 37 Babylon will become a pile of ruins. Wild dogs will live there. People will be shocked by what happened there. No one lives there anymore. 38 Babylon’s people are like roaring young lions. They growl like baby lions. 39 While they are stirred up, I will give a feast for them. I will make them drunk. They will shout and laugh. And they will sleep forever and never wake up!” says the Lord. 40 “I will take the people of Babylon to be killed. They will be like lambs, like male sheep and goats waiting to be killed.
41 “How Babylon will be defeated! The pride of the whole earth will be taken captive. People from other nations will be shocked at what happened to Babylon. And the things they see will make them afraid. 42 The sea will rise over Babylon. Its roaring waves will cover her. 43 Babylon’s towns will be ruined and empty. Babylon will become a dry, desert land. It will become a land where no one lives. People will not even travel through Babylon. 44 I will punish the god Bel in Babylon. I will make him spit out what he has swallowed. Nations will no longer come to Babylon. And the wall around the city will fall.
45 “Come out of Babylon, my people! Run for your lives! Run from the Lord’s great anger. 46 Don’t lose courage. Rumors will spread, but don’t be afraid. One rumor comes this year, and another comes the next year. There will be rumors of terrible fighting in the country. There will be rumors of rulers fighting against rulers. 47 The time will surely come when I will punish the idols of Babylon. And the whole land will be disgraced. There will be many dead people lying all around. 48 Then heaven and earth and all that is in them will shout for joy about Babylon. They will shout because the army came from the north and fought against Babylon,” says the Lord.
49 “Babylon killed people from Israel. Babylon killed people from everywhere on earth. So Babylon must fall. 50 You people escaped being killed with swords. You must hurry and leave Babylon. Don’t wait! Remember the Lord in the faraway land where you are. And think about Jerusalem.”
51 “We people of Judah are disgraced. We have been insulted. We have been shamed. This is because strangers have gone into the holy places of the Lord’s Temple!”
52 The Lord says, “The time is coming when I will punish the idols of Babylon. Wounded people will cry with pain all over that land. 53 Babylon might grow until she touches the sky. She might make her cities strong. But I will send people to destroy that city,” says the Lord.
54 “We can hear people crying in Babylon. We hear the sound of people destroying things in the land of the Babylonians. 55 The Lord will destroy Babylon. He will make the loud sounds of the city become silent. Enemies will come roaring in like ocean waves. People all around will hear that roar. 56 The army will come and destroy Babylon. Babylon’s soldiers will be taken captive. Their bows will be broken. This is because the Lord is a God who punishes people for the evil they do. He gives them the full punishment they deserve. 57 I will make Babylon’s rulers and wise men drunk. I will make her governors, officers and soldiers drunk, too. Then they will sleep forever and never wake up,” says the King. His name is the Lord of heaven’s armies.
58 This is what the Lord of heaven’s armies says:
“Babylon’s thick wall will be pulled down. Her high gates will be burned. The people will work hard, but it won’t help. Their work will only become fuel for the flames!”
A Message to Babylon
59 This is the message that Jeremiah the prophet gave to the officer Seraiah. Seraiah was the son of Neriah, who was the son of Mahseiah. Seraiah went to Babylon with Zedekiah king of Judah. This happened in the fourth year Zedekiah was king of Judah. 60 Jeremiah had written on a scroll all the terrible things that would happen to Babylon. He had written all these words about Babylon. 61 Jeremiah said to Seraiah, “Go to Babylon. Be sure to read this message so all the people can hear you. 62 Then say, ‘Lord, you have said that you will destroy this place. You will destroy it so that no people or animals will live in it. It will be an empty ruin forever.’ 63 After you finish reading this scroll, tie a stone to it. And throw it into the Euphrates River. 64 Then say, ‘In the same way Babylon will sink. It will not rise again. It will sink because of the terrible things I will make happen here. Her people will fall.’”
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