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Babylon Will Be Captured

50 The Lord told me to say:

Announce what will happen
and don’t leave anything out.
    Raise the signal flags;
shout so all nations can hear—
    Babylon will be captured!

Marduk,[a] Babylon’s god,
will be ashamed and terrified,
    and his idols broken.
The attack on the Babylonians
    will come from the north;
they and their animals will run,
    leaving the land empty.

Israel and Judah Will Return to Their Land

The Lord said:

People of Israel and Judah,
when these things happen
    you will weep, and together
you will return to your land
and worship me,
    the Lord your God.
You will ask the way to Zion
and then come and join with me
    in making an agreement
    you won’t break or forget.

My people, you are lost sheep
abandoned by their shepherds
    in the mountains.
You don’t even remember
    your resting place.
I am your true pastureland,
the one who gave hope
    to your ancestors.
But you abandoned me,
so when your enemies found you,
    they felt no guilt
    as they gobbled you down.

Escape from Babylonia,
    my people.
Get out of that country!
    Don’t wait for anyone else.
In the north I am bringing
    great nations together.
They will attack Babylon
    and capture it.
The arrows they shoot
are like the best soldiers,[b]
    always finding their target.
10 Babylonia will be conquered,
and its enemies will carry off
    everything they want.

Babylon Will Be Disgraced

The Lord said:

11 People of Babylonia,
you were glad
    to rob my people.
You had a good time,
making more noise
    than horses
and jumping around
    like calves threshing grain.[c]
12 The city of Babylon
    was like a mother to you.
But it will be disgraced
and become nothing
    but a barren desert.
13 My anger will destroy Babylon,
    and no one will live there.
Everyone who passes by
will be shocked to see
    what has happened.

14 Babylon has rebelled against me.
    Archers, take your places.
Shoot all your arrows at Babylon.
15     Attack from every side!

Babylon surrenders!
The enemy tears down
    its walls and towers.
I am taking my revenge
by doing to Babylon
what it did
    to other cities.
16 There is no one in Babylonia
    to plant or harvest crops.
Even foreigners who lived there
have left for their homelands,
    afraid of the enemy armies.

17 Israel is a flock of sheep
    scattered by hungry lions.
The king of Assyria[d]
    first gobbled Israel down.
Then Nebuchadnezzar,[e]
king of Babylonia,
    crunched on Israel’s bones.
18 I, the Lord All-Powerful,
the God of Israel,
    punished the king of Assyria,
and I will also punish
    the king of Babylonia.
19 But I will bring Israel
    back to its own land.
The people will be like sheep
    eating their fill
on Mount Carmel
    and in Bashan,
in the hill country of Ephraim
    and in Gilead.
20 I will rescue a few people
    from Israel and Judah.
I will forgive them so completely
that their sin and guilt
    will disappear,
    never to be found.

The Lord’s Commands to the Enemies of Babylonia

21 The Lord said:

I have told
    the enemies of Babylonia,
“Attack the people of Merathaim
    and Pekod.[f]
Kill them all!
    Destroy their possessions!”

22 Sounds of war
and the noise of destruction
    can be heard.
23 Babylonia was a hammer
pounding every country,
    but now it lies broken.
What a shock to the nations
    of the world!

24 Babylonia challenged me,
    the Lord God All-Powerful,
but that nation doesn’t know
it is caught in a trap
    that I set.
25 I’ve brought out my weapons,
and with them
I will put a curse
    on Babylonia.

26 Come from far away,
    you enemies of Babylon!
Pile up the grain
    from its storehouses,
and destroy it completely,
    along with everything else.
27 Kill the soldiers of Babylonia,
because the time has come
    for them to be punished.

28 The Babylonian army
destroyed my temple,
    but soon I will take revenge.
Then refugees from Babylon
    will tell about it in Zion.

29 Attack Babylon, enemy archers;
set up camp around the city,
    and don’t let anyone escape.
It challenged me, the holy God,
so do to it
    what it did to other cities.

Proud Babylon Will Fall

30 People of Babylon,
    I, the Lord, promise
that even your best soldiers
    will lie dead in the streets.

31 Babylon, you should be named,
    “The Proud One.”
But the time has come when I,
the Lord All-Powerful,
    will punish you.
32 You are proud,
but you will stumble and fall,
    and no one will help you up.
I will set your villages on fire,
and everything around you
    will go up in flames.

33 You Babylonians were cruel
    to Israel and Judah.
You took them captive, and now
    you refuse to let them go.
34 But I, the Lord All-Powerful,
    will rescue and protect them.
I will bring peace to their land
    and trouble to yours.
35 I have declared war on you,
    your officials, and advisors.
36 This war will prove
that your prophets
    are liars and fools.
And it will frighten
    your warriors.
37 Then your chariot horses
and the foreigners in your army
    will refuse to go into battle,
and the enemy will carry away
    everything you treasure.
38 Your rivers and canals
    will dry up.

All of this will happen,
because your land
    is full of idols,
and they have made fools
    of you.
39 Never again will people live
    in your land—
only desert animals, jackals,[g]
    and unclean birds.
40 I destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah
    and the nearby towns,
and I will destroy Babylon
    just as completely.
No one will live there again.

Babylonia Is Invaded

The Lord said:

41 Far to the north,
a nation and its allies
    have been awakened.
They are powerful
    and ready for war.
42 Bows and arrows and swords
    are in their hands.
The soldiers are cruel
    and show no pity.
The hoofbeats of their horses
like ocean waves
    crashing against the shore.
The army has lined up for battle
and is coming to attack you,
    people of Babylonia!

43 Ever since your king heard
    about this army,
he has been weak with fear;
he twists and turns in pain
    like a woman giving birth.
44 Babylonia, I will attack you
    like a lion from the forest,
attacking sheep in a meadow
    along the Jordan.
In a moment the flock runs,
    and the land is empty.
Who will I choose to attack you?
    I will do it myself!
No one can force me to fight
    or chase me away.
45 Listen to my plans for you,
    people of Babylonia.
Your children will be dragged off,
    and your country destroyed.
46 The sounds of your destruction
will be heard among the nations,
    and the earth will shake.


  1. 50.2 Marduk: The Hebrew text has “Bel” and “Marduk,” two names for the same god.
  2. 50.9 the best soldiers: Some Hebrew manuscripts and two ancient translations; most Hebrew manuscripts “soldiers that kill children.”
  3. 50.11 threshing grain: Hebrew; two ancient translations “in a pasture.”
  4. 50.17 king of Assyria: Either Shalmaneser V, who ruled 726-722 B.C., conquered most of the northern kingdom, and surrounded its capital city Samaria; or Sargon II, who ruled 721-705 B.C. and took thousands of prisoners back to Assyria.
  5. 50.17 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2.
  6. 50.21 Merathaim. . . Pekod: Hebrew forms of two Babylonian names that refer to the land of Babylonia. Merathaim probably referred to lagoons near the mouth of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers or to the Persian Gulf, but in Hebrew it means “Twice as Rebellious.” Pekod referred to a tribe of southeastern Babylonia, but in Hebrew it means “Punishment.”
  7. 50.39 jackals: See the note at 9.11.