“Look, I’m going to stir up a destroying wind against Babylon and the inhabitants of Leb-kamai.[a] 2 I’ll send foreigners to Babylon, and they’ll winnow her, and devastate[b] her land. They’ll come against her from every side on the day of her[c] disaster. 3 Don’t let the archer[d] bend the bow; don’t let him rise up in his armor. Don’t spare her young men. Completely destroy her entire army. 4 The slain will fall in the land of Chaldea, pierced through in her streets. 5 Indeed, Israel and Judah haven’t been abandoned[e] by their[f] God, by the Lord of the Heavenly Armies, although their land is full of guilt against the Holy One of Israel.”
6 Flee from Babylon,[g] and each of you, escape with your life! Don’t be destroyed[h] because of her guilt, for it’s time for the Lord’s vengeance. He is paying back what is due to her. 7 Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord’s hand, making the whole earth drunk. The nations drank her wine, therefore the nations have gone mad. 8 Suddenly, Babylon fell down and was shattered. Wail for her! Bring balm for her wound, perhaps she will be healed. 9 We tried to heal Babylon, but she wouldn’t be healed. Leave her, and let each of us go to his own country. For her judgment has reached to the heavens, and is lifted up to the sky. 10 The Lord will vindicate us. Come! Let us declare the work of the Lord our God in Zion.
11 Sharpen the arrows, fill the quivers! The Lord has stirred up the spirit of the kings of the Medes— he has decided to destroy Babylon. Indeed, it’s the Lord’s vengeance, vengeance for his Temple. 12 Lift up the battle standard[i] against Babylon’s walls. Strengthen the guard; post watchmen.[j] Set men in position for an ambush. For the Lord will both plan and carry out what he has declared against the inhabitants of Babylon. 13 You who live beside many waters, rich in treasures, your end has come, your life thread is cut.[k] 14 The Lord of the Heavenly Armies has sworn by himself: “I’ll surely fill you with soldiers[l] like a swarm of locusts, and they’ll sing songs of victory over you.”
Praise to the God of Jacob
15 He made the earth by his power. He established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding he spread out the heavens. 16 When his voice sounds, there is thunder from the waters of heaven, and he makes clouds rise up from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain and brings wind out of his storehouses. 17 Everyone is stupid[m] and without knowledge. Every goldsmith is put to shame by his own idols, for his images are false,[n] and there is no life in them. 18 They’re worthless, a work of mockery, and when the time of punishment comes,[o] they’ll perish. 19 The Portion of Jacob[p] is not like these. He made everything, including the tribe of his inheritance. The Lord of the Heavenly Armies is his name.
The Lord’s Instrument of Judgment
20 “You are my war-club and weapons of war. I’ll smash nations with you and destroy kingdoms with you. 21 I’ll smash the horse and its rider with you. I’ll smash the chariot and its rider with you. 22 I’ll smash man and woman with you. I’ll smash old man and young boy with you. I’ll smash young man and young woman[q] with you. 23 I’ll smash the shepherd and his flock with you. I’ll smash the farmer and his team of oxen with you. I’ll smash governors and officials with you.
24 “Before your eyes I’ll repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea for all the evil that they did in Zion,” declares the Lord.
25 “Look, I’m against you, destroying mountain, who destroys the whole earth,” declares the Lord. “I’ll stretch out my hand against you and roll you down from the crags. And I’ll make you a burned-out mountain. 26 They won’t get a cornerstone or a foundation stone from you, because you will be a wasteland forever,” declares the Lord.
27 Lift up a battle standard in the land. Blow a trumpet among the nations. Consecrate the nations against her. Summon the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz against her. Appoint a commander against her, bring up horses like bristling locusts. 28 Consecrate the nations against her, the kings of the Medes, their governors, their prefects, and every land under their domination. 29 The land quakes and writhes because the Lord’s purposes against Babylon stand firm, to make the land of Babylon a waste without inhabitants. 30 The warriors of Babylon have stopped fighting. They stay in their strongholds; their strength is dried up; they have become like women. Her buildings are set on fire; the bars of her gates are broken. 31 One runner runs to meet another runner,[r] and one messenger to meet another messenger,[s] to tell the king of Babylon that his city has been seized from one end to the other.[t] 32 The fords have been captured, and the marshes burned with fire. The soldiers are terrified. 33 For this is what the Lord of the Heavenly Armies, the God of Israel, says: “The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor at the time when it’s pounded down.[u] In just a little while, the time of her harvest will come.”
Judah’s Complaint against Babylon
34 “King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has devoured me and crushed me. He set me down like an empty vessel. He swallowed me like a monster, and filled his belly with my delicacies. Then he washed me away. 35 May the violence done to me and my flesh be on Babylon,” says the inhabitant of Zion. “May my blood be on the inhabitants of Chaldea,” says Jerusalem.
36 Therefore this is what the Lord says:
“Look, I’m going to argue your case and take vengeance for you. I’ll dry up her sea and make her fountain dry.[v] 37 Babylon will become a heap of ruins, a refuge for jackals, a desolate place and an object of scorn.[w] 38 They’ll roar together like young lions; they’ll growl like lion cubs. 39 When they’re excited[x] I’ll serve them their banquet, and make them drunk until they’re merry. They’ll sleep forever and won’t wake up,” declares the Lord. 40 “I’ll bring them down like lambs for the slaughter, like rams with male goats.
41 “How Sheshak[y] will be captured, and the prince of all the earth seized! How Babylon will become an object of horror among the nations! 42 The sea will come up against Babylon, and she will be covered by wave upon wave.[z] 43 Her cities will become an object of horror, a dry land and a desert, a land in which no one lives, and through which no human being passes. 44 I’ll punish Bel[aa] in Babylon, and I’ll make what he has swallowed come out of his mouth. The nations will no longer stream to him. Even the wall of Babylon will fall.
45 “Come out of her, my people, flee for your lives from the Lord’s anger! 46 Do this[ab] now, so your heart does not grow faint, and so you don’t become frightened because of the rumors[ac] that are heard in the land— a rumor comes one year[ad] and then after it another rumor[ae] comes the next year[af] about violence in the land and one ruler against another ruler.[ag] 47 Therefore, look, days are coming when I’ll punish the idols of Babylon. Her entire land will be put to shame, and all her slain will fall in her midst. 48 Then the heavens and the earth and all that are in them will shout for joy about Babylon because the destroyers will come out of the north against her,” declares the Lord.
49 “So Babylon will fall because of the slain of Israel, even as the slain of all the earth have fallen because of Babylon. 50 Go, you who escaped the sword! Don’t stand around! Remember the Lord from far away, and let Jerusalem come to your mind. 51 We have been put to shame because we have heard insults. Disgrace has covered our faces because foreigners have come into the Holy Places of the Lord’s house.
52 “Therefore, look, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I’ll punish her idols, and throughout her land the wounded will groan. 53 Though Babylon should reach up to the heavens and fortify her high fortresses, from me destroyers will come to her,” declares the Lord.
54 “The sound of a cry is coming from Babylon, great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans. 55 For the Lord is destroying Babylon, and he will make the loud sounds from her disappear.[ah] Their waves will roar like many waters, the noise of their voices will sound forth. 56 Indeed, the destroyer is coming against her, against Babylon. Her warriors are captured, and her bows are broken. For the Lord is a God of recompense, and he will repay in full. 57 I’ll make their leaders, their wise men, their governors, their deputies, and their warriors drunk so that they sleep forever and don’t wake up,” declares the King whose name is the Lord of the Heavenly Armies. 58 This is what the Lord of the Heavenly Armies says:
“The broad wall of Babylon will be completely leveled, and its high gate set on fire. and so the peoples toil for nothing, and the nations weary themselves only for fire.”
Jeremiah’s Symbolic Message against Babylon
59 This is[ai] the message that Jeremiah the prophet delivered[aj] to Neriah’s son Seraiah, the grandson of Mahseiah, when he went with King Zedekiah of Judah to Babylon in the fourth year of his reign. Seraiah was the quartermaster. 60 Jeremiah wrote on a single scroll all the disasters that would come on Babylon, all these things that were written about Babylon. 61 Jeremiah told Seraiah, “When you come to Babylon, see that you read all these words, 62 and say, ‘Lord, you have declared about this place that you would destroy it so that there wouldn’t be an inhabitant in it, neither human nor animal, because it will be a wasteland forever.’ 63 When you finish reading this scroll, tie a rock around it and throw it into the middle of the Euphrates. 64 Then say, ‘Babylon will sink like this and won’t rise from the disaster that I’m bringing on her. Her people[ak] will be exhausted.’”
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