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The final overthrow of Babylon

18 1-3 Later I saw another angel coming down from Heaven, armed with great authority. The earth shone with the splendour of his presence, and he cried in a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a haunt of devils, a prison for every unclean spirit, and a cage for every foul and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk the wine of her passionate unfaithfulness and have fallen thereby. The kings of the earth have debauched themselves with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the extravagance of her dissipation!”

4-8 Then I heard another voice from Heaven, crying, “Come out from her, O my people, lest you become accomplices in her sins and must share in her punishment. For her sins have mounted up to the sky, and God has remembered the tale of her wickedness. Pay her back in her own coin—yes, pay her back double for all that she has done! In the cup which she mixed for others mix her a drink of double strength! For the pride in which she flaunted herself give her torture and misery! Because she says to herself, ‘Here I sit a queen on a throne; I am no woman who lacks a man and I shall never know sorrow!’ So in a single day her punishments shall strike her—death, sorrow and famine and she shall be burned in the fire. For mighty is the Lord God who judges her!”

The lament over the city

9-10 Then the kings of the earth, who debauched and indulged themselves with her, will wail and lament over her. Standing at a safe distance through very fear of her torment, they will watch the smoke of her burning and cry, “Alas, alas for the great city, Babylon the mighty city, that your judgment should come in a single hour.”

11-14 The merchants of the earth shall also wail and lament over her, for there is no one left to buy their goods—cargoes of gold and silver, jewels and pearls, fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet, all kinds of scented wood, every sort of ivory vessel, every kind of vessel of precious wood, of bronze, iron and marble; cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour and corn; cattle, sheep and horses; chariots, slaves, the very souls of men.

15-17a Those who bought and sold these things, who had gained their wealth from her, will stand afar off through fear of her punishment, weeping and lamenting and saying, “Alas, alas for the great city that was dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and was bedecked with gold and jewels and pearls—alas that in a single hour all that wealth should be destroyed!”

17b-18 Then every shipmaster and seafarer—sailors and all whose business is upon the sea—stood and watched the smoke of her burning from afar, and cried out, “What city was ever like the great city?”

19 They even threw dust on their heads and cried aloud as they wept, saying, “Alas, alas for the great city where all who had ships on the sea grew wealthy through the richness of her treasure! Alas that in a single hour she should be ruined!”

A comment in the background

20 “Rejoice over her fate, O Heaven, and all you saints, apostles and prophets! For God has pronounced his judgment for you against her!”

The words of Babylon’s doom

21-23a Then a mighty angel lifted up a stone like a huge mill-stone and hurled it into the sea, saying, “So shall Babylon the great city be sent hurtling down to disappear for ever! Never more shall the sound of harpists and musicians, flute-players and trumpeters be heard in you again! Never again shall a craftsman of any craft be found in you; never again will the sound of the mill-stone’s grinding be heard in you! No light of a lamp shall ever shine in you again, and the voices of bridegroom and bride shall be heard in you no more! The fruit of your soul’s desire is lost to you for ever. All your luxuries and brilliance are lost to you and men will never find them in you again!

23b “For your merchants were the great ones of the earth, and all nations were seduced by your witchery!”

24 For in her was discovered the blood of prophets and saints, indeed the blood of all who were ever slaughtered upon the earth.