Jeremiah 50-51 Good News Translation (GNT)
50 This is the message that the Lord gave me about the city of Babylon and its people:
2 “Tell the news to the nations! Proclaim it!
Give the signal and announce the news!
Do not keep it a secret!
Babylon has fallen!
Her god Marduk has been shattered!
Babylon's idols are put to shame;
her disgusting images are crushed!
3 “A nation from the north has come to attack Babylonia and will make it a desert. People and animals will run away, and no one will live there.”
4 The Lord says, “When that time comes, the people of both Israel and Judah will come weeping, looking for me, their God. 5 They will ask the way to Zion and then go in that direction. They will make an eternal covenant with me and never break it.
6 “My people are like sheep whose shepherds have let them get lost in the mountains. They have wandered like sheep from one mountain to another, and they have forgotten where their home is. 7 They are attacked by all who find them. Their enemies say, ‘They sinned against the Lord, and so what we have done is not wrong. Their ancestors trusted in the Lord, and they themselves should have remained faithful to him.’
8 “People of Israel, run away from Babylonia! Leave the country! Be the first to leave! 9 I am going to stir up a group of strong nations in the north and make them attack Babylonia. They will line up in battle against the country and conquer it. They are skillful hunters, shooting arrows that never miss the mark. 10 Babylonia will be looted, and those who loot it will take everything they want. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
11 The Lord says, “People of Babylonia, you plundered my nation. You are happy and glad, going about like a cow threshing grain or like a neighing horse, 12 but your own great city will be humiliated and disgraced. Babylonia will be the least important nation of all; it will become a dry and waterless desert. 13 Because of my anger no one will live in Babylon; it will be left in ruins, and all who pass by will be shocked and amazed.
14 “Archers, line up for battle against Babylon and surround it. Shoot all your arrows at Babylon, because it has sinned against me, the Lord. 15 Raise the war cry all around the city! Now Babylon has surrendered. Its walls have been broken through and torn down. I am taking my revenge on the Babylonians. So take your revenge on them, and treat them as they have treated others. 16 Do not let seeds be planted in that country nor let a harvest be gathered. Every foreigner living there will be afraid of the attacking army and will go back home.”
17 The Lord says, “The people of Israel are like sheep, chased and scattered by lions. First, they were attacked by the emperor of Assyria, and then King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia gnawed on their bones. 18 Because of this, I, the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, will punish King Nebuchadnezzar and his country, just as I punished the emperor of Assyria. 19 I will restore the people of Israel to their land. They will eat the food that grows on Mount Carmel and in the region of Bashan, and they will eat all they want of the crops that grow in the territories of Ephraim and Gilead. 20 When that time comes, no sin will be found in Israel and no wickedness in Judah, because I will forgive those people whose lives I have spared. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
God's Judgment on Babylonia
21 The Lord says, “Attack the people of Merathaim and of Pekod. Kill and destroy them. Do everything I command you. I, the Lord, have spoken. 22 The noise of battle is heard in the land, and there is great destruction. 23 Babylonia hammered the whole world to pieces, and now that hammer is shattered! All the nations are shocked at what has happened to that country. 24 Babylonia, you fought against me, and you have been caught in the trap I set for you, even though you did not know it. 25 I have opened the place where my weapons are stored, and in my anger I have taken them out, because I, the Sovereign Lord Almighty, have work to do in Babylonia. 26 Attack it from every side and break open the places where its grain is stored! Pile up the loot like piles of grain! Destroy the country! Leave nothing at all! 27 Kill all their soldiers! Slaughter them! The people of Babylonia are doomed! The time has come for them to be punished!”
(28 Refugees escape from Babylonia and come to Jerusalem, and they tell how the Lord our God took revenge for what the Babylonians had done to his Temple.)
29 “Tell the archers to attack Babylon. Send out everyone who knows how to use the bow and arrow. Surround the city and don't let anyone escape. Pay it back for all it has done, and treat it as it has treated others, because it acted with pride against me, the Holy One of Israel. 30 So its young men will be killed in the city streets, and all its soldiers will be destroyed on that day. I, the Lord, have spoken.
31 “Babylonia, you are filled with pride, so I, the Sovereign Lord Almighty, am against you! The time has come for me to punish you. 32 Your proud nation will stumble and fall, and no one will help you up. I will set your cities on fire, and everything around will be destroyed.”
33 The Lord Almighty says, “The people of Israel and of Judah are oppressed. All who captured them are guarding them closely and will not let them go. 34 But the one who will rescue them is strong—his name is the Lord Almighty. He himself will take up their cause and will bring peace to the earth, but trouble to the people of Babylonia.”
35 The Lord says,
“Death to Babylonia!
Death to its people,
to its rulers, to its people of wisdom.
36 Death to its lying prophets—
what fools they are!
Death to its soldiers—
how terrified they are!
37 Destroy its horses and chariots!
Death to its hired soldiers—
how weak they are!
Destroy its treasures;
plunder and loot.
38 Bring a drought on its land
and dry up its rivers.
Babylonia is a land of terrifying idols
that have made fools of the people.
39 “And so Babylon will be haunted by demons and evil spirits, and by unclean birds. Never again will people live there, not for all time to come. 40 The same thing will happen to Babylon that happened to Sodom and Gomorrah, when I destroyed them and the nearby towns. No one will ever live there again. I, the Lord, have spoken.
41 “People are coming from a country in the north,
a mighty nation far away;
many kings are preparing for war.
42 They have taken their bows and swords;
they are cruel and merciless.
They sound like the roaring sea,
as they ride their horses.
They are ready for battle against Babylonia.
43 The king of Babylonia hears the news,
and his hands hang limp.
He is seized by anguish,
by pain like a woman in labor.
44 “Like a lion coming out of the thick woods along the Jordan up to the green pasture land, I, the Lord, will come and make the Babylonians run away suddenly from their city. Then the leader I choose will rule the nation. Who can be compared to me? Who would dare challenge me? What ruler could oppose me? 45 So listen to the plan that I have made against the city of Babylon and to what I intend to do to its people. Even their children will be dragged off, and everyone will be horrified. 46 When Babylon falls, there will be such a noise that the entire earth will shake, and the cries of alarm will be heard by the other nations.”
Further Judgment on Babylonia
51 The Lord says, “I am bringing a destructive wind against Babylonia and its people. 2 I will send foreigners to destroy Babylonia like a wind that blows straw away. When that day of destruction comes, they will attack from every side and leave the land bare. 3 Don't give its soldiers time to shoot their arrows or to put on their armor. Do not spare the young men! Destroy the whole army! 4 They will be wounded and die in the streets of their cities. 5 I, the Lord God Almighty, have not abandoned Israel and Judah, even though they have sinned against me, the Holy One of Israel. 6 Run away from Babylonia! Run for your lives! Do not be killed because of Babylonia's sin. I am now taking my revenge and punishing it as it deserves. 7 Babylonia was like a gold cup in my hand, making the whole world drunk. The nations drank its wine and went out of their minds. 8 Babylonia has suddenly fallen and is destroyed! Mourn over it! Get medicine for its wounds, and maybe it can be healed. 9 Foreigners living there said, ‘We tried to help Babylonia, but it was too late. Let's leave now and go back home. God has punished Babylonia with all his might and has destroyed it completely.’”
10 The Lord says, “My people shout, ‘The Lord has shown that we are in the right. Let's go and tell the people in Jerusalem what the Lord our God has done.’”
11 The Lord has stirred up the kings of Media, because he intends to destroy Babylonia. That is how he will take revenge for the destruction of his Temple.
The attacking officers command, “Sharpen your arrows! Get your shields ready! 12 Give the signal to attack Babylon's walls. Strengthen the guard! Post the sentries! Place troops in ambush!”
The Lord has done what he said he would do to the people of Babylonia. 13 That country has many rivers and rich treasures, but its time is up, and its thread of life is cut. 14 The Lord Almighty has sworn by his own life that he will bring many men to attack Babylonia like a swarm of locusts, and they will shout with victory.
A Hymn of Praise to God
15 The Lord made the earth by his power;
by his wisdom he created the world
and stretched out the heavens.
16 At his command the waters above the sky roar;
he brings clouds from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightning flash in the rain
and sends the wind from his storeroom.
17 At the sight of this, people feel stupid and senseless;
those who make idols are disillusioned
because the gods they make are false and lifeless.
18 They are worthless and should be despised;
they will be destroyed when the Lord comes to deal with them.
19 The God of Jacob is not like them;
he is the one who made everything,
and he has chosen Israel to be his very own people.
The Lord Almighty is his name.
The Lord's Hammer
20 The Lord says,
“Babylonia, you are my hammer, my weapon of war.
I used you to crush nations and kingdoms,
21 to shatter horses and riders,
to shatter chariots and their drivers,
22 to kill men and women,
to slay old and young,
to kill boys and girls,
23 to slaughter shepherds and their flocks,
to slaughter farmers and their plow horses,
to crush rulers and high officials.”
24 The Lord says, “You will see me repay Babylonia and its people for all the evil they did to Jerusalem. 25 Babylonia, you are like a mountain that destroys the whole world, but I, the Lord, am your enemy. I will take hold of you, level you to the ground, and leave you in ashes. 26 None of the stones from your ruins will ever be used again for building. You will be like a desert forever. I, the Lord, have spoken.
27 “Give the signal to attack! Blow the trumpet so that the nations can hear! Prepare the nations for war against Babylonia! Tell the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz to attack. Appoint an officer to lead the attack. Bring up the horses like a swarm of locusts. 28 Prepare the nations for war against Babylonia. Send for the kings of Media, their leaders and officials, and the armies of all the countries they control. 29 The earth trembles and shakes because the Lord is carrying out his plan to make Babylonia a desert, where no one lives. 30 The Babylonian soldiers have stopped fighting and remain in their forts. They have lost their courage and have become helpless. The city gates are broken down, and the houses are on fire. 31 Messenger after messenger runs to tell the king of Babylonia that his city has been broken into from every side. 32 The enemy have captured the river crossing and have set the fortresses on fire. The Babylonian soldiers have panicked. 33 Soon the enemy will cut them down and trample them like grain on a threshing place. I, the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, have spoken.”
34 The king of Babylonia cut Jerusalem up
and ate it.
He emptied the city like a jar;
like a monster he swallowed it.
He took what he wanted
and threw the rest away.
35 Let the people of Zion say,
“May Babylonia be held responsible
for the violence done to us!”
Let the people of Jerusalem say,
“May Babylonia be held responsible
for what we have suffered!”
The Lord Will Help Israel
36 And so the Lord said to the people of Jerusalem, “I will take up your cause and will make your enemies pay for what they did to you. I will dry up the source of Babylonia's water and make its rivers go dry. 37 That country will become a pile of ruins where wild animals live. It will be a horrible sight; no one will live there, and all who see it will be terrified. 38 The Babylonians all roar like lions and growl like lion cubs. 39 Are they greedy? I will prepare them a feast and make them drunk and happy. They will go to sleep and never wake up. 40 I will take them to be slaughtered, like lambs, goats, and rams. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
41 The Lord says about Babylon: “The city that the whole world praised has been captured! What a horrifying sight Babylon has become to the nations! 42 The sea has rolled over Babylon and covered it with roaring waves. 43 The towns have become a horrifying sight and are like a waterless desert, where no one lives or even travels. 44 I will punish Bel, the god of Babylonia, and make him give up his stolen goods; the nations will not worship him any more.
“Babylon's walls have fallen. 45 People of Israel, run away from there! Run for your life from my fierce anger. 46 Do not lose courage or be afraid because of the rumors you hear. Every year a different rumor spreads—rumors of violence in the land and of one king fighting another. 47 And so the time is coming when I will deal with Babylonia's idols. The whole country will be put to shame, and all its people will be killed. 48 Everything on earth and in the sky will shout for joy when Babylonia falls to the people who come from the north to destroy it. 49 Babylonia caused the death of people all over the world, and now Babylonia will fall because it caused the death of so many Israelites. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
God's Message to the Israelites in Babylonia
50 The Lord says to his people in Babylonia: “You have escaped death! Now go! Don't wait! Though you are far from home, think about me, your Lord, and remember Jerusalem. 51 You say, ‘We've been disgraced and made ashamed; we feel completely helpless because foreigners have taken over the holy places in the Temple.’ 52 So then, I say that the time is coming when I will deal with Babylon's idols, and the wounded will groan throughout the country. 53 Even if Babylon could climb to the sky and build a strong fortress there, I would still send people to destroy it. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
Further Destruction on Babylon
54 The Lord says,
“Listen to the sound of crying in Babylon,
of mourning for the destruction in the land.
55 I am destroying Babylon
and putting it to silence.
The armies rush in like roaring waves
and attack with noisy shouts.
56 They have come to destroy Babylon;
its soldiers are captured,
and their bows are broken.
I am a God who punishes evil,
and I will treat Babylon as it deserves.
57 I will make its rulers drunk—
men of wisdom, leaders, and soldiers.
They will go to sleep and never wake up.
I, the king, have spoken;
I am the Lord Almighty.
58 The walls of mighty Babylon will be thrown to the ground,
and its towering gates burned down.
The work of the nations is all for nothing;
their efforts go up in flames.
I, the Lord Almighty, have spoken.”
Jeremiah's Message Is Sent to Babylonia
59 King Zedekiah's personal attendant was Seraiah, the son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah. In the fourth year that Zedekiah was king of Judah, Seraiah was going to Babylonia with him, and I gave him some instructions. 60 I wrote in a book an account of all the destruction that would come on Babylonia, as well as all these other things about Babylonia. 61 I told Seraiah, “When you get to Babylon, be sure to read aloud to the people everything that is written here. 62 Then pray, ‘Lord, you have said that you would destroy this place, so that there would be no living creatures in it, neither people nor animals, and it would be like a desert forever.’ 63 Seraiah, when you finish reading this book to the people, then tie it to a rock and throw it into the Euphrates River 64 and say, ‘This is what will happen to Babylonia—it will sink and never rise again because of the destruction that the Lord is going to bring on it.’”
The words of Jeremiah end here.
Jeremiah 50-51 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Judgment on Babylon
50 The word that the Lord spoke concerning Babylon, concerning the land of the Chaldeans, by the prophet Jeremiah:
2 Declare among the nations and proclaim,
set up a banner and proclaim,
do not conceal it, say:
Babylon is taken,
Bel is put to shame,
Merodach is dismayed.
Her images are put to shame,
her idols are dismayed.
3 For out of the north a nation has come up against her; it shall make her land a desolation, and no one shall live in it; both human beings and animals shall flee away.
4 In those days and in that time, says the Lord, the people of Israel shall come, they and the people of Judah together; they shall come weeping as they seek the Lord their God. 5 They shall ask the way to Zion, with faces turned toward it, and they shall come and join themselves to the Lord by an everlasting covenant that will never be forgotten.
6 My people have been lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains; from mountain to hill they have gone, they have forgotten their fold. 7 All who found them have devoured them, and their enemies have said, “We are not guilty, because they have sinned against the Lord, the true pasture, the Lord, the hope of their ancestors.”
8 Flee from Babylon, and go out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be like male goats leading the flock. 9 For I am going to stir up and bring against Babylon a company of great nations from the land of the north; and they shall array themselves against her; from there she shall be taken. Their arrows are like the arrows of a skilled warrior who does not return empty-handed. 10 Chaldea shall be plundered; all who plunder her shall be sated, says the Lord.
11 Though you rejoice, though you exult,
O plunderers of my heritage,
though you frisk about like a heifer on the grass,
and neigh like stallions,
12 your mother shall be utterly shamed,
and she who bore you shall be disgraced.
Lo, she shall be the last of the nations,
a wilderness, dry land, and a desert.
13 Because of the wrath of the Lord she shall not be inhabited,
but shall be an utter desolation;
everyone who passes by Babylon shall be appalled
and hiss because of all her wounds.
14 Take up your positions around Babylon,
all you that bend the bow;
shoot at her, spare no arrows,
for she has sinned against the Lord.
15 Raise a shout against her from all sides,
“She has surrendered;
her bulwarks have fallen,
her walls are thrown down.”
For this is the vengeance of the Lord:
take vengeance on her,
do to her as she has done.
16 Cut off from Babylon the sower,
and the wielder of the sickle in time of harvest;
because of the destroying sword
all of them shall return to their own people,
and all of them shall flee to their own land.
17 Israel is a hunted sheep driven away by lions. First the king of Assyria devoured it, and now at the end King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon has gnawed its bones. 18 Therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I am going to punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I punished the king of Assyria. 19 I will restore Israel to its pasture, and it shall feed on Carmel and in Bashan, and on the hills of Ephraim and in Gilead its hunger shall be satisfied. 20 In those days and at that time, says the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and none shall be found; for I will pardon the remnant that I have spared.
21 Go up to the land of Merathaim;
go up against her,
and attack the inhabitants of Pekod
and utterly destroy the last of them,
says the Lord;
do all that I have commanded you.
22 The noise of battle is in the land,
and great destruction!
23 How the hammer of the whole earth
is cut down and broken!
How Babylon has become
a horror among the nations!
24 You set a snare for yourself and you were caught, O Babylon,
but you did not know it;
you were discovered and seized,
because you challenged the Lord.
25 The Lord has opened his armory,
and brought out the weapons of his wrath,
for the Lord God of hosts has a task to do
in the land of the Chaldeans.
26 Come against her from every quarter;
open her granaries;
pile her up like heaps of grain, and destroy her utterly;
let nothing be left of her.
27 Kill all her bulls,
let them go down to the slaughter.
Alas for them, their day has come,
the time of their punishment!
28 Listen! Fugitives and refugees from the land of Babylon are coming to declare in Zion the vengeance of the Lord our God, vengeance for his temple.
29 Summon archers against Babylon, all who bend the bow. Encamp all around her; let no one escape. Repay her according to her deeds; just as she has done, do to her—for she has arrogantly defied the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. 30 Therefore her young men shall fall in her squares, and all her soldiers shall be destroyed on that day, says the Lord.
31 I am against you, O arrogant one,
says the Lord God of hosts;
for your day has come,
the time when I will punish you.
32 The arrogant one shall stumble and fall,
with no one to raise him up,
and I will kindle a fire in his cities,
and it will devour everything around him.
33 Thus says the Lord of hosts: The people of Israel are oppressed, and so too are the people of Judah; all their captors have held them fast and refuse to let them go. 34 Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is his name. He will surely plead their cause, that he may give rest to the earth, but unrest to the inhabitants of Babylon.
35 A sword against the Chaldeans, says the Lord,
and against the inhabitants of Babylon,
and against her officials and her sages!
36 A sword against the diviners,
so that they may become fools!
A sword against her warriors,
so that they may be destroyed!
37 A sword against her horses and against her chariots,
and against all the foreign troops in her midst,
so that they may become women!
A sword against all her treasures,
that they may be plundered!
38 A drought against her waters,
that they may be dried up!
For it is a land of images,
and they go mad over idols.
39 Therefore wild animals shall live with hyenas in Babylon, and ostriches shall inhabit her; she shall never again be peopled, or inhabited for all generations. 40 As when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighbors, says the Lord, so no one shall live there, nor shall anyone settle in her.
41 Look, a people is coming from the north;
a mighty nation and many kings
are stirring from the farthest parts of the earth.
42 They wield bow and spear,
they are cruel and have no mercy.
The sound of them is like the roaring sea;
they ride upon horses,
set in array as a warrior for battle,
against you, O daughter Babylon!
43 The king of Babylon heard news of them,
and his hands fell helpless;
anguish seized him,
pain like that of a woman in labor.
44 Like a lion coming up from the thickets of the Jordan against a perennial pasture, I will suddenly chase them away from her; and I will appoint over her whomever I choose. For who is like me? Who can summon me? Who is the shepherd who can stand before me? 45 Therefore hear the plan that the Lord has made against Babylon, and the purposes that he has formed against the land of the Chaldeans: Surely the little ones of the flock shall be dragged away; surely their fold shall be appalled at their fate. 46 At the sound of the capture of Babylon the earth shall tremble, and her cry shall be heard among the nations.
51 Thus says the Lord:
I am going to stir up a destructive wind
and against the inhabitants of Leb-qamai;
2 and I will send winnowers to Babylon,
and they shall winnow her.
They shall empty her land
when they come against her from every side
on the day of trouble.
3 Let not the archer bend his bow,
and let him not array himself in his coat of mail.
Do not spare her young men;
utterly destroy her entire army.
4 They shall fall down slain in the land of the Chaldeans,
and wounded in her streets.
5 Israel and Judah have not been forsaken
by their God, the Lord of hosts,
though their land is full of guilt
before the Holy One of Israel.
6 Flee from the midst of Babylon,
save your lives, each of you!
Do not perish because of her guilt,
for this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance;
he is repaying her what is due.
7 Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord’s hand,
making all the earth drunken;
the nations drank of her wine,
and so the nations went mad.
8 Suddenly Babylon has fallen and is shattered;
wail for her!
Bring balm for her wound;
perhaps she may be healed.
9 We tried to heal Babylon,
but she could not be healed.
Forsake her, and let each of us go
to our own country;
for her judgment has reached up to heaven
and has been lifted up even to the skies.
10 The Lord has brought forth our vindication;
come, let us declare in Zion
the work of the Lord our God.
11 Sharpen the arrows!
Fill the quivers!
The Lord has stirred up the spirit of the kings of the Medes, because his purpose concerning Babylon is to destroy it, for that is the vengeance of the Lord, vengeance for his temple.
12 Raise a standard against the walls of Babylon;
make the watch strong;
prepare the ambushes;
for the Lord has both planned and done
what he spoke concerning the inhabitants of Babylon.
13 You who live by mighty waters,
rich in treasures,
your end has come,
the thread of your life is cut.
14 The Lord of hosts has sworn by himself:
Surely I will fill you with troops like a swarm of locusts,
and they shall raise a shout of victory over you.
15 It is he who made the earth by his power,
who established the world by his wisdom,
and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.
16 When he utters his voice there is a tumult of waters in the heavens,
and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightnings for the rain,
and he brings out the wind from his storehouses.
17 Everyone is stupid and without knowledge;
goldsmiths are all put to shame by their idols;
for their images are false,
and there is no breath in them.
18 They are worthless, a work of delusion;
at the time of their punishment they shall perish.
19 Not like these is the Lord, the portion of Jacob,
for he is the one who formed all things,
and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance;
the Lord of hosts is his name.
Israel the Creator’s Instrument
20 You are my war club, my weapon of battle:
with you I smash nations;
with you I destroy kingdoms;
21 with you I smash the horse and its rider;
with you I smash the chariot and the charioteer;
22 with you I smash man and woman;
with you I smash the old man and the boy;
with you I smash the young man and the girl;
23 with you I smash shepherds and their flocks;
with you I smash farmers and their teams;
with you I smash governors and deputies.
The Doom of Babylon
24 I will repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea before your very eyes for all the wrong that they have done in Zion, says the Lord.
25 I am against you, O destroying mountain,
says the Lord,
that destroys the whole earth;
I will stretch out my hand against you,
and roll you down from the crags,
and make you a burned-out mountain.
26 No stone shall be taken from you for a corner
and no stone for a foundation,
but you shall be a perpetual waste,
says the Lord.
27 Raise a standard in the land,
blow the trumpet among the nations;
prepare the nations for war against her,
summon against her the kingdoms,
Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz;
appoint a marshal against her,
bring up horses like bristling locusts.
28 Prepare the nations for war against her,
the kings of the Medes, with their governors and deputies,
and every land under their dominion.
29 The land trembles and writhes,
for the Lord’s purposes against Babylon stand,
to make the land of Babylon a desolation,
30 The warriors of Babylon have given up fighting,
they remain in their strongholds;
their strength has failed,
they have become women;
her buildings are set on fire,
her bars are broken.
31 One runner runs to meet another,
and one messenger to meet another,
to tell the king of Babylon
that his city is taken from end to end:
32 the fords have been seized,
the marshes have been burned with fire,
and the soldiers are in panic.
33 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel:
Daughter Babylon is like a threshing floor
at the time when it is trodden;
yet a little while
and the time of her harvest will come.
34 “King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon has devoured me,
he has crushed me;
he has made me an empty vessel,
he has swallowed me like a monster;
he has filled his belly with my delicacies,
he has spewed me out.
35 May my torn flesh be avenged on Babylon,”
the inhabitants of Zion shall say.
“May my blood be avenged on the inhabitants of Chaldea,”
Jerusalem shall say.
36 Therefore thus says the Lord:
I am going to defend your cause
and take vengeance for you.
I will dry up her sea
and make her fountain dry;
37 and Babylon shall become a heap of ruins,
a den of jackals,
an object of horror and of hissing,
38 Like lions they shall roar together;
they shall growl like lions’ whelps.
39 When they are inflamed, I will set out their drink
and make them drunk, until they become merry
and then sleep a perpetual sleep
and never wake, says the Lord.
40 I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter,
like rams and goats.
41 How Sheshach is taken,
the pride of the whole earth seized!
How Babylon has become
an object of horror among the nations!
42 The sea has risen over Babylon;
she has been covered by its tumultuous waves.
43 Her cities have become an object of horror,
a land of drought and a desert,
a land in which no one lives,
and through which no mortal passes.
44 I will punish Bel in Babylon,
and make him disgorge what he has swallowed.
The nations shall no longer stream to him;
the wall of Babylon has fallen.
45 Come out of her, my people!
Save your lives, each of you,
from the fierce anger of the Lord!
46 Do not be fainthearted or fearful
at the rumors heard in the land—
one year one rumor comes,
the next year another,
rumors of violence in the land
and of ruler against ruler.
47 Assuredly, the days are coming
when I will punish the images of Babylon;
her whole land shall be put to shame,
and all her slain shall fall in her midst.
48 Then the heavens and the earth,
and all that is in them,
shall shout for joy over Babylon;
for the destroyers shall come against them out of the north,
says the Lord.
49 Babylon must fall for the slain of Israel,
as the slain of all the earth have fallen because of Babylon.
50 You survivors of the sword,
go, do not linger!
Remember the Lord in a distant land,
and let Jerusalem come into your mind:
51 We are put to shame, for we have heard insults;
dishonor has covered our face,
for aliens have come
into the holy places of the Lord’s house.
52 Therefore the time is surely coming, says the Lord,
when I will punish her idols,
and through all her land
the wounded shall groan.
53 Though Babylon should mount up to heaven,
and though she should fortify her strong height,
from me destroyers would come upon her,
says the Lord.
54 Listen!—a cry from Babylon!
A great crashing from the land of the Chaldeans!
55 For the Lord is laying Babylon waste,
and stilling her loud clamor.
Their waves roar like mighty waters,
the sound of their clamor resounds;
56 for a destroyer has come against her,
her warriors are taken,
their bows are broken;
for the Lord is a God of recompense,
he will repay in full.
57 I will make her officials and her sages drunk,
also her governors, her deputies, and her warriors;
they shall sleep a perpetual sleep and never wake,
says the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts.
58 Thus says the Lord of hosts:
The broad wall of Babylon
shall be leveled to the ground,
and her high gates
shall be burned with fire.
The peoples exhaust themselves for nothing,
and the nations weary themselves only for fire.
Jeremiah’s Command to Seraiah
59 The word that the prophet Jeremiah commanded Seraiah son of Neriah son 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 in a scroll all the disasters that would come on Babylon, all these words that are written concerning Babylon. 61 And Jeremiah said to Seraiah: “When you come to Babylon, see that you read all these words, 62 and say, ‘O Lord, you yourself threatened to destroy this place so that neither human beings nor animals shall live in it, and it shall be desolate forever.’ 63 When you finish reading this scroll, tie a stone to it, and throw it into the middle of the Euphrates, 64 and say, ‘Thus shall Babylon sink, to rise no more, because of the disasters that I am bringing on her.’”
Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Jeremiah 50-51 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
50 This is the word which Adonai spoke concerning Bavel, concerning the land of the Kasdim, through Yirmeyahu the prophet:
2 “Declare it among the nations, proclaim it!
Hoist a banner, proclaim it, don’t hide it!
Say: ‘Bavel is captured.
Bel is shamed, M’rodakh disgraced,
her images shamed, her idols disgraced.’
3 For from the north a nation is marching against her
that will desolate her land.
No one will live there —
both humans and animals have fled and gone.
4 In those days, at that time,” says Adonai,
“the people of Isra’el will come,
together with the people of Y’hudah.
They will weep as they go their way,
seeking Adonai their God.
5 They will ask the way to Tziyon;
and, turning their faces toward it, will say,
‘Come, join yourselves to Adonai
by an everlasting covenant never to be forgotten.’
6 My people have been lost sheep.
My shepherds made them go astray,
turning them loose in the mountains.
As they wandered from mountain to hill,
they lost track of where their home is.
7 Everyone finding them ate them up.
Their enemies said, ‘We aren’t guilty;
for they sinned against Adonai,
the resting place of justice;
yes, against Adonai, their ancestors’ hope.’
8 Flee from Bavel! Leave the land of the Kasdim!
Be like male goats leading the flock;
9 for I will stir up and bring against Bavel
an alliance of great nations from the country to the north.
They will array themselves against her;
from there she will be captured.
Their arrows are like those of a death-dealing warrior;
none will return in vain.
10 The land of the Kasdim will be plundered;
all who plunder it will get enough,” says Adonai.
11 “Because you are glad, because you exult,
you plunderers of my heritage;
because you frisk like a calf in the grass
and neigh like stallions;
12 your mother will be utterly shamed,
she who bore you will be disgraced.
Here she is! — last among the nations,
a desert, parched and barren.
13 Because of the anger of Adonai,
no one will live there any more;
all of it will be desolate.
Everyone passing Bavel will whistle
in shock at all her plagues.
14 “Take your positions surrounding Bavel,
all you whose bows are strung;
shoot at her, spare no arrows;
because she sinned against Adonai.
15 From all sides raise the war cry against her!
Now she surrenders!
Her buttresses fall, her walls are thrown down,
for this is the vengeance of Adonai.
Avenge yourself on her!
As she has done, do to her!
16 Cut off the sower from Bavel
and the reaper with sickle at harvest-time.
For fear of the destroying sword
everyone returns to his own people,
each one flees to his own land.
17 “Isra’el is a stray lamb,
driven away by lions.
First to devour him was Ashur’s king;
and the last to break his bones
is this N’vukhadretzar king of Bavel.”
18 Therefore Adonai-Tzva’ot,
the God of Isra’el, says:
“I will punish the king of Bavel and his land
as I punished the king of Ashur.
19 I will bring Isra’el back to his pasture,
to graze on the Karmel and the Bashan,
on the hills of Efrayim and in Gil‘ad
until he has his fill.
20 In those days, at that time,” says Adonai,
“Isra’el’s guilt will be sought,
but there will be none,
and Y’hudah’s sins,
but they won’t be found;
for I will pardon the remnant I leave.
21 “Attack the land of Meratayim;
attack it and those living in P’kod.
Waste them, utterly destroy them;
do all I have ordered you,” says Adonai.
22 “The sound of battle is heard in the land,
with great destruction!
23 How the hammer of the whole earth
lies hacked apart and shattered!
What an object of horror among the nations
Bavel has become!
24 I set a trap and caught you,
Bavel, before you knew it.
You were discovered and seized,
because you challenged Adonai.
25 Adonai has opened his store of arms
and brought out the weapons of his wrath;
for Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot has work
to do in the land of the Kasdim.
26 Attack her from every direction!
Open her stores of grain!
Pile her up like heaps of grain;
destroy her completely; leave nothing!
27 Kill all her bulls!
let them go down to be slaughtered!
Woe to them! for their day has come,
the time for them to be punished.”
28 Hear the sound of the fugitives,
of those escaping from Bavel,
coming to proclaim in Tziyon
the vengeance of Adonai our God,
vengeance over his temple.
29 “Call up archers against Bavel,
all whose bows are strung.
Besiege her from every side,
let no one escape.
Repay her for her deeds;
as she has done, do to her.
For she insulted Adonai,
the Holy One of Isra’el.
30 This is why her young men will fall
in her open places,
why all her warriors will be silenced
on that day,” says Adonai.
31 “I am against you, arrogant [nation],”
says Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot.
“For your day has come,
the time for you to be punished.
32 The arrogant [nation] will stumble and fall,
and no one will lift him up again.
I will set his cities on fire,
and it will devour everything around him.”
33 Thus says Adonai-Tzva’ot:
“The people of Isra’el are oppressed,
and so are the people of Y’hudah.
Those who took them captive hold them fast;
they refuse to let them go.
34 But their redeemer is strong;
Adonai-Tzva’ot is his name.
He will thoroughly plead their cause,
so that he can give rest to the land
but unrest to those who live in Bavel.
35 Adonai says,
“A sword hangs over the Kasdim,
and over those who live in Bavel,
over her leaders and over her sages.
36 A sword hangs over the lying diviners;
they will become fools.
A sword hangs over her warriors;
they will be disgraced.
37 A sword hangs over their horses,
also over their chariots,
also over the foreigners within her;
they will become like women.
A sword hangs over her treasures;
they will be robbed.
38 A drought hangs over her waters;
they will be dried up.
For this is a land of idols;
they go mad over these horrors of theirs.
39 “Therefore wildcats and jackals will live there,
and ostriches will settle there.
It will never again be peopled,
it will be uninhabited age after age;
40 as when God overthrew S’dom,
‘Amora and their neighboring towns,” says Adonai.
“No one will settle there any more,
no human being will live there again.
41 “Look! A people is coming from the north;
a great nation and many kings
are being stirred up from the ends of the earth.
42 They are armed with bow and spear;
they are cruel, without compassion;
their sound is like the roaring sea,
as they ride forth on horses.
Their men take their battle positions
against you, daughter of Bavel.
43 The king of Bavel has heard news of them;
his hands droop, helpless.
Anguish seizes hold of him
and pain, like a woman in labor.
44 “It will be like a lion coming up from the thickets
of the Yarden against a strong settlement;
in an instant I will chase him away
and appoint over it whomever I choose.
For who is like me? Who can call me to account?
What shepherd can stand up to me?”
45 So hear the plan of Adonai
that he has devised against Bavel,
and his goals that he will accomplish
against the land of the Kasdim:
the least of the flock will drag them away;
their own pasture will be in shock at them.
46 At the sound of Bavel’s capture the earth quakes;
their cry is heard throughout the nations.
“Against Bavel and those living in Lev-Kamai
I will stir up a destructive wind.
2 Against Bavel I will send foreigners
to winnow her and leave her land empty.
They will besiege her from every side
on the day of disaster.
3 Let the archer draw his bow,
let him flaunt his coat of mail;
do not spare her young men,
completely destroy her whole army.
4 In the land of the Kasdim the slain will fall,
those thrust through [by the sword] in her streets.
5 Isra’el and Y’hudah are not left widowed
of their God, Adonai-Tzva’ot;
but the land of [the Kasdim] is full of guilt
before the Holy One of Isra’el.”
6 Flee from Bavel, let each one save his life!
Don’t perish because of her guilt.
For the time has come for the vengeance of Adonai;
he will repay her what she deserves.
7 Bavel was a gold cup in the hands of Adonai;
it made the whole earth drunk —
the nations drank her wine;
this is why the nations have lost their senses.
8 Bavel has suddenly fallen.
She is broken; wail for her.
Bring healing ointment for her wounds;
perhaps she can be healed.
9 “We tried to heal Bavel,
but she cannot be healed.
So leave her alone, and each of us
will return to his own country.”
For the judgment against her rises to the skies
and reaches even the clouds.
10 Adonai has brought forth our victory.
Come, let us proclaim in Tziyon
the work of Adonai our God!
11 Sharpen the arrows! Fill the quivers!
Adonai roused the spirit of the kings of the Medes,
because he plans to destroy Bavel.
This is the vengeance of Adonai
vengeance over his temple.
12 Raise a standard against the walls of Bavel!
Strengthen the guard! Post the sentries!
Prepare ambushes! For Adonai
has both planned and accomplished
what he promised to do to those living in Bavel.
13 You who live near plenty of water,
so rich in treasure — your end has come,
your time for being cut off!
14 Adonai-Tzva’ot has sworn by himself,
“I will fill you with men as numerous as grasshoppers;
they will raise over you a shout of triumph.”
15 He made the earth by his power,
established the world by his wisdom
spread out the sky by his understanding.
16 When he thunders, the waters in heaven roar,
he raises clouds from the ends of the earth,
he makes the lightning flash in the rain
and brings the wind out from his storehouses.
17 At this, everyone is proved stupid, ignorant,
every goldsmith put to shame by his idol!
The figures he casts are a fraud,
there is no breath in them,
18 they are nothings, ridiculous objects;
when the day for their punishment comes, they will perish.
19 Ya‘akov’s portion is not like these,
for he is the one who formed all things,
including the tribe he claims as his heritage.
Adonai-Tzva’ot is his name.
20 “[Bavel] you are my war club and weapons of war —
with you I shatter nations;
with you I destroy kingdoms;
21 with you I shatter horses and their riders;
with you I shatter chariots and their drivers;
22 with you I shatter husbands and wives;
with you I shatter old and young;
with you I shatter young men and virgins;
23 with you I shatter shepherds and their flocks;
with you I shatter farmers and their teams;
with you I shatter governors and deputies.
24 “But I will repay Bavel and all living
in the land of the Kasdim for all the evil
they did in Tziyon,” says Adonai,
“before your eyes [, Y’hudah].”
25 “I am against you, destructive mountain,
destroying all the earth,” says Adonai.
“I will stretch out my hand against you,
to send you tumbling down from the crags
and make you a burned-out mountain.
26 No one will make cornerstones
or foundation-stones from you again;
but you will be desolate
forever,” says Adonai.
27 Raise up a banner in the land,
blow the shofar among the nations.
Prepare the nations for war against her.
Summon kingdoms against her —
Ararat, Minni and Ashkenaz.
Appoint an officer against her;
bring up horses like bristling grasshoppers.
28 Prepare the nations against her,
the kings of the Medes, his governors and deputies,
and all the land he controls.
29 The earth quakes and writhes,
as Adonai’s designs against Bavel are fulfilled,
to make the land of Bavel a ruin,
with no one living there.
30 Bavel’s warriors have given up fighting;
they remain in their fortresses;
their courage has failed; they are now like women.
Her homes are on fire, her gate-bars broken.
31 One runner runs to meet another,
messenger to meet messenger,
to report to the king of Bavel
that every part of his city is taken,
32 the fords have been occupied,
and the swamp thickets set on fire,
while the warriors are seized with panic.
33 For here is what Adonai-Tzva’ot,
the God of Isra’el, says:
“The daughter of Bavel is like
a threshing-floor at treading-time.
Just a little while longer,
and the time for harvesting her will come.”
34 N’vukhadretzar king of Bavel
has devoured me, crushed me.
He left me like an empty pot.
Like a monster, he swallowed me whole.
With my delicacies he stuffed his belly;
then he rinsed me out.
35 But one who lives in Tziyon will say,
“May my torn flesh be avenged on Bavel”;
and Yerushalayim will say,
“May my blood be avenged on the Kasdim.”
36 Therefore here is what Adonai says:
“I will plead your cause.
I will take vengeance for you.
I will dry up her river
and make her water sources dry.
37 Bavel will become a heap of ruins,
a place for jackals to live,
an object of horror and hissing,
with no one living there.
38 Together they roar like young lions,
growl like lion cubs.
39 When they are hot with desire,
I will prepare them a drink.
I will make them so drunk
they will have convulsions,
sleep forever and never wake up,”
40 “I will drag them down like lambs to be slaughtered,
like rams and male goats.”
41 Sheshakh has been captured,
the pride of the whole earth seized!
Bavel has become an object of horror
throughout the nations!
42 The sea has flooded Bavel,
overwhelmed her with its raging waves.
43 Her cities have become desolate —
parched, arid land,
a land where no one lives;
nobody even passes through.
44 “I will punish Bel in Bavel
and make him disgorge what he swallowed.
The nations will no longer flow to him.
Bavel’s wall will fall.
45 Get out of her, my people!
Each one, save yourself
from Adonai’s furious anger!
46 Don’t be fainthearted, don’t be afraid
of the rumors spreading abroad in the land.
One year one rumor comes,
the next year another one,
rumors of violence in the land
and rulers fighting rulers.
47 Therefore, listen! The days are coming
when I will pass judgment on Bavel’s idols.
Her whole land will be put to shame,
as all her slain fall on home soil.
48 Then heaven and earth and all that is in them
will sing for joy over Bavel;
for the plunderers from the north
are coming to her,” says Adonai.
49 Just as Bavel caused
the slain of Isra’el to fall,
so at Bavel will fall
the slain of all the land.
50 You who escaped the sword,
go! Don’t stand still!
Remember Adonai from afar,
let Yerushalayim come into your minds.
51 “The reproaches we have heard have put us to shame,
disgrace covers our faces;
because foreigners have entered
the sanctuaries of Adonai’s house.”
52 “Therefore,” says Adonai, “the days are coming
when I will pass judgment on her idols,
and the wounded will groan throughout her land.
53 Even if Bavel scales the heavens
or reinforces her lofty stronghold,
plunderers will come to her
from me,” says Adonai.
54 An agonized cry is heard from Bavel!
Great destruction in the land of the Kasdim!
55 For Adonai is plundering Bavel
and silencing her noisy din —
their waves roar like the raging ocean,
their clamor sounds and resounds.
56 Yes, the plunderer has fallen upon her,
fallen on Bavel.
Her warriors are captured, their bows are broken.
For Adonai is a God of retribution;
he will surely repay.
57 “I will intoxicate her leaders and sages,
her governors, deputies and warriors.
They will sleep forever and never wake up,”
says the king, whose name is Adonai-Tzva’ot.
58 Thus says Adonai-Tzva’ot:
“The wide walls of Bavel will be razed to the ground,
her lofty gates will be set on fire.
The peoples are toiling for nothing,
the nation’s labor goes up in flames,
and everyone is exhausted.”
59 This is the order which Yirmeyahu the prophet gave to S’rayah the son of Neriyah, the son of Machseyah, when he went to Bavel with Tzidkiyahu the king of Y’hudah in the fourth year of his reign. S’rayah was quartermaster. 60 Yirmeyahu had written on a separate scroll all the above words describing the disaster that was to befall Bavel. 61 Yirmeyahu said to S’rayah, “See to it that when you arrive in Bavel you read all these words aloud. Then say, 62 ‘Adonai, you have promised to destroy this place, that no one will live here, neither human nor animal, but that it will be desolate forever.’ 63 When you finish reading this scroll, tie a rock to it, throw it into the middle of the Euphrates, 64 and say, ‘Like this, Bavel will sink, never to rise again, because of the disaster I am bringing on her; and they will grow weary.’”
(Up to here, these have been the words of Yirmeyahu.)
Jeremiah 50-51 The Message (MSG)
Get Out of Babylon as Fast as You Can
50 1-3 The Message of God through the prophet Jeremiah on Babylon, land of the Chaldeans:
“Get the word out to the nations! Preach it!
Go public with this, broadcast it far and wide:
Babylon taken, god-Bel hanging his head in shame,
god-Marduk exposed as a fraud.
All her god-idols shuffling in shame,
all her play-gods exposed as cheap frauds.
For a nation will come out of the north to attack her,
reduce her cities to rubble.
Empty of life—no animals, no people—
not a sound, not a movement, not a breath.
4-5 “In those days, at that time”—God’s Decree—
“the people of Israel will come,
And the people of Judah with them.
Walking and weeping, they’ll seek me, their God.
They’ll ask directions to Zion
and set their faces toward Zion.
They’ll come and hold tight to God,
bound in a covenant eternal they’ll never forget.
6-7 “My people were lost sheep.
Their shepherds led them astray.
They abandoned them in the mountains
where they wandered aimless through the hills.
They lost track of home,
couldn’t remember where they came from.
Everyone who met them took advantage of them.
Their enemies had no qualms:
‘Fair game,’ they said. ‘They walked out on God.
They abandoned the True Pasture, the hope of their parents.’
8-10 “But now, get out of Babylon as fast as you can.
Be rid of that Babylonian country.
On your way. Good sheepdogs lead, but don’t you be led.
Lead the way home!
Do you see what I’m doing?
I’m rallying a host of nations against Babylon.
They’ll come out of the north,
attack and take her.
Oh, they know how to fight, these armies.
They never come home empty-handed.
Babylon is ripe for picking!
All her plunderers will fill their bellies!” God’s Decree.
11-16 “You Babylonians had a good time while it lasted, didn’t you?
You lived it up, exploiting and using my people,
Frisky calves romping in lush pastures,
wild stallions out having a good time!
Well, your mother would hardly be proud of you.
The woman who bore you wouldn’t be pleased.
Look at what’s come of you! A nothing nation!
Rubble and garbage and weeds!
Emptied of life by my holy anger,
a desert of death and emptiness.
Travelers who pass by Babylon will gasp, appalled,
shaking their heads at such a comedown.
Gang up on Babylon! Pin her down!
Throw everything you have against her.
Hold nothing back. Knock her flat.
She’s sinned—oh, how she’s sinned, against me!
Shout battle cries from every direction.
All the fight has gone out of her.
Her defenses have been flattened,
her walls smashed.
‘Operation God’s Vengeance.’
Pile on the vengeance!
Do to her as she has done.
Give her a good dose of her own medicine!
Destroy her farms and farmers,
ravage her fields, empty her barns.
And you captives, while the destruction rages,
get out while the getting’s good,
get out fast and run for home.
17 “Israel is a scattered flock,
hunted down by lions.
The king of Assyria started the carnage.
The king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar,
Has completed the job,
gnawing the bones clean.”
18-20 And now this is what God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
the God of Israel, has to say:
“Just watch! I’m bringing doom on the king of Babylon and his land,
the same doom I brought on the king of Assyria.
But Israel I’ll bring home to good pastures.
He’ll graze on the hills of Carmel and Bashan,
On the slopes of Ephraim and Gilead.
He will eat to his heart’s content.
In those days and at that time”—God’s Decree—
“they’ll look high and low for a sign of Israel’s guilt—nothing;
Search nook and cranny for a trace of Judah’s sin—nothing.
These people that I’ve saved will start out with a clean slate.
21 “Attack Merathaim, land of rebels!
Go after Pekod, country of doom!
Hunt them down. Make a clean sweep.” God’s Decree.
“These are my orders. Do what I tell you.
22-24 “The thunderclap of battle
shakes the foundations!
The Hammer has been hammered,
smashed and splintered,
I set out a trap and you were caught in it.
O Babylon, you never knew what hit you,
Caught and held in the steel grip of that trap!
That’s what you get for taking on God.
25-28 “I, God, opened my arsenal.
I brought out my weapons of wrath.
The Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
has a job to do in Babylon.
Come at her from all sides!
Break into her granaries!
Shovel her into piles and burn her up.
Leave nothing! Leave no one!
Kill all her young turks.
Send them to their doom!
Doom to them! Yes, Doomsday!
The clock has finally run out on them.
And here’s a surprise:
Runaways and escapees from Babylon
Show up in Zion reporting the news of God’s vengeance,
taking vengeance for my own Temple.
29-30 “Call in the troops against Babylon,
anyone who can shoot straight!
Tighten the noose!
Leave no loopholes!
Give her back as good as she gave,
a dose of her own medicine!
Her brazen insolence is an outrage
against God, The Holy of Israel.
And now she pays: her young strewn dead in the streets,
her soldiers dead, silent forever.” God’s Decree.
31-32 “Do you get it, Mister Pride? I’m your enemy!”
Decree of the Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
“Time’s run out on you:
That’s right: It’s Doomsday.
Mister Pride will fall flat on his face.
No one will offer him a hand.
I’ll set his towns on fire.
The fire will spread wild through the country.”
33-34 And here’s more from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
“The people of Israel are beaten down,
the people of Judah along with them.
Their oppressors have them in a grip of steel.
They won’t let go.
But the Rescuer is strong:
Yes, I will take their side,
I’ll come to their rescue.
I’ll soothe their land,
but rough up the people of Babylon.
35-40 “It’s all-out war in Babylon”—God’s Decree—
“total war against people, leaders, and the wise!
War to the death on her boasting pretenders, fools one and all!
War to the death on her soldiers, cowards to a man!
War to the death on her hired killers, gutless wonders!
War to the death on her banks—looted!
War to the death on her water supply—drained dry!
A land of make-believe gods gone crazy—hobgoblins!
The place will be haunted with jackals and scorpions,
night-owls and vampire bats.
No one will ever live there again.
The land will reek with the stench of death.
It will join Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighbors,
the cities I did away with.” God’s Decree.
“No one will live there again.
No one will again draw breath in that land, ever.
41-43 “And now, watch this! People pouring
out of the north, hordes of people,
A mob of kings stirred up
from far-off places.
Flourishing deadly weapons,
barbarians they are, cruel and pitiless.
Roaring and relentless, like ocean breakers,
they come riding fierce stallions,
In battle formation, ready to fight
you, Daughter Babylon!
Babylon’s king hears them coming.
He goes white as a ghost, limp as a dishrag.
Terror-stricken, he doubles up in pain, helpless to fight,
like a woman giving birth to a baby.
44 “And now watch this: Like a lion coming up
from the thick jungle of the Jordan,
Looking for prey in the mountain pastures,
I’ll take over and pounce.
I’ll take my pick of the flock—and who’s to stop me?
All the so-called shepherds are helpless before me.”
45-46 So, listen to this plan that God has worked out against Babylon, the blueprint of what he’s prepared for dealing with Chaldea:
Believe it or not, the young,
the vulnerable—mere lambs and kids—will be dragged off.
Believe it or not, the flock
in shock, helpless to help, watches it happen.
When the shout goes up, “Babylon’s down!”
the very earth will shudder at the sound.
The news will be heard all over the world.
51 1-5 There’s more. God says more:
I’m whipping up
A death-dealing hurricane against Babylon—‘Hurricane Persia’—
against all who live in that perverse land.
I’m sending a cleanup crew into Babylon.
They’ll clean the place out from top to bottom.
When they get through there’ll be nothing left of her
worth taking or talking about.
They won’t miss a thing.
A total and final Doomsday!
Fighters will fight with everything they’ve got.
They will spare nothing and no one.
It’s final and wholesale destruction—the end!
Babylon littered with the wounded,
streets piled with corpses.
It turns out that Israel and Judah
are not widowed after all.
As their God, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, I am still alive and well,
committed to them even though
They filled their land with sin
against Israel’s most Holy God.
6-8 “Get out of Babylon as fast as you can.
Run for your lives! Save your necks!
Don’t linger and lose your lives to my vengeance on her
as I pay her back for her sins.
Babylon was a fancy gold chalice
held in my hand,
Filled with the wine of my anger
to make the whole world drunk.
The nations drank the wine
and they’ve all gone crazy.
Babylon herself will stagger and crash,
senseless in a drunken stupor—tragic!
Get anointing balm for her wound.
Maybe she can be cured.”
9 “We did our best, but she can’t be helped.
Babylon is past fixing.
Give her up to her fate.
The judgment on her will be vast,
a skyscraper-memorial of vengeance.
Your Lifeline Is Cut
10 “God has set everything right for us.
Come! Let’s tell the good news
Back home in Zion.
Let’s tell what our God did to set things right.
11-13 “Sharpen the arrows!
Fill the quivers!
God has stirred up the kings of the Medes,
infecting them with war fever: ‘Destroy Babylon!’
God’s on the warpath.
He’s out to avenge his Temple.
Give the signal to attack Babylon’s walls.
Station guards around the clock.
Bring in reinforcements.
Set men in ambush.
God will do what he planned,
what he said he’d do to the people of Babylon.
You have more water than you need,
you have more money than you need—
But your life is over,
your lifeline cut.”
14 God-of-the-Angel-Armies has solemnly sworn:
“I’ll fill this place with soldiers.
They’ll swarm through here like locusts
chanting victory songs over you.”
15-19 By his power he made earth.
His wisdom gave shape to the world.
He crafted the cosmos.
He thunders and rain pours down.
He sends the clouds soaring.
He embellishes the storm with lightnings,
launches the wind from his warehouse.
Stick-god worshipers look mighty foolish!
god-makers embarrassed by their handmade gods!
Their gods are frauds, dead sticks—
deadwood gods, tasteless jokes.
They’re nothing but stale smoke.
When the smoke clears, they’re gone.
But the Portion-of-Jacob is the real thing;
he put the whole universe together,
With special attention to Israel.
His name? God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
They’ll Sleep and Never Wake Up
20-23 God says, “You, Babylon, are my hammer,
my weapon of war.
I’ll use you to smash godless nations,
use you to knock kingdoms to bits.
I’ll use you to smash horse and rider,
use you to smash chariot and driver.
I’ll use you to smash man and woman,
use you to smash the old man and the boy.
I’ll use you to smash the young man and young woman,
use you to smash shepherd and sheep.
I’ll use you to smash farmer and yoked oxen,
use you to smash governors and senators.
24 “Judeans, you’ll see it with your own eyes. I’ll pay Babylon and all the Chaldeans back for all the evil they did in Zion.” God’s Decree.
25-26 “I’m your enemy, Babylon, Mount Destroyer,
you ravager of the whole earth.
I’ll reach out, I’ll take you in my hand,
and I’ll crush you till there’s no mountain left.
I’ll turn you into a gravel pit—
no more cornerstones cut from you,
No more foundation stones quarried from you!
Nothing left of you but gravel.” God’s Decree.
27-28 “Raise the signal in the land,
blow the shofar-trumpet for the nations.
Consecrate the nations for holy work against her.
Call kingdoms into service against her.
Enlist Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz.
Appoint a field marshal against her,
and round up horses, locust hordes of horses!
Consecrate the nations for holy work against her—
the king of the Medes, his leaders and people.
29-33 “The very land trembles in terror, writhes in pain,
terrorized by my plans against Babylon,
Plans to turn the country of Babylon
into a lifeless moonscape—a wasteland.
Babylon’s soldiers have quit fighting.
They hide out in ruins and caves—
Cowards who’ve given up without a fight,
exposed as cowering milksops.
Babylon’s houses are going up in flames,
the city gates torn off their hinges.
Runner after runner comes racing in,
each on the heels of the last,
Bringing reports to the king of Babylon
that his city is a lost cause.
The fords of the rivers are all taken.
Wildfire rages through the swamp grass.
Soldiers desert left and right.
I, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, said it would happen:
‘Daughter Babylon is a threshing floor
at threshing time.
Soon, oh very soon, her harvest will come
and then the chaff will fly!’
34-37 “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon
chewed up my people and spit out the bones.
He wiped his dish clean, pushed back his chair,
and belched—a huge gluttonous belch.
Lady Zion says,
‘The brutality done to me be done to Babylon!’
And Jerusalem says,
‘The blood spilled from me be charged to the Chaldeans!’
Then I, God, step in and say,
‘I’m on your side, taking up your cause.
I’m your Avenger. You’ll get your revenge.
I’ll dry up her rivers, plug up her springs.
Babylon will be a pile of rubble,
scavenged by stray dogs and cats,
A dumping ground for garbage,
a godforsaken ghost town.’
38-40 “The Babylonians will be like lions and their cubs,
ravenous, roaring for food.
I’ll fix them a meal, all right—a banquet, in fact.
They’ll drink themselves falling-down drunk.
Dead drunk, they’ll sleep—and sleep, and sleep . . .
and they’ll never wake up.” God’s Decree.
“I’ll haul these ‘lions’ off to the slaughterhouse
like the lambs, rams, and goats,
never to be heard of again.
41-48 “Babylon is finished—
the pride of the whole earth is flat on her face.
What a comedown for Babylon,
to end up inglorious in the sewer!
Babylon drowned in chaos,
battered by waves of enemy soldiers.
Her towns stink with decay and rot,
the land empty and bare and sterile.
No one lives in these towns anymore.
Travelers give them a wide berth.
I’ll bring doom on the glutton god-Bel in Babylon.
I’ll make him vomit up all he gulped down.
No more visitors stream into this place,
admiring and gawking at the wonders of Babylon.
The wonders of Babylon are no more.
Run for your lives, my dear people!
Run, and don’t look back!
Get out of this place while you can,
this place torched by God’s raging anger.
Don’t lose hope. Don’t ever give up
when the rumors pour in hot and heavy.
One year it’s this, the next year it’s that—
rumors of violence, rumors of war.
Trust me, the time is coming
when I’ll put the no-gods of Babylon in their place.
I’ll show up the whole country as a sickening fraud,
with dead bodies strewn all over the place.
Heaven and earth, angels and people,
will throw a victory party over Babylon
When the avenging armies from the north
descend on her.” God’s Decree!
Remember God in Your Long and Distant Exile
49-50 “Babylon must fall—
compensation for the war dead in Israel.
Babylonians will be killed
because of all that Babylonian killing.
But you exiles who have escaped a Babylonian death,
get out! And fast!
Remember God in your long and distant exile.
Keep Jerusalem alive in your memory.”
51 How we’ve been humiliated, taunted and abused,
kicked around for so long that we hardly know who we are!
And we hardly know what to think—
our old Sanctuary, God’s house, desecrated by strangers.
52-53 “I know, but trust me: The time is coming”
“When I will bring doom on her no-god idols,
and all over this land her wounded will groan.
Even if Babylon climbed a ladder to the moon
and pulled up the ladder so that no one could get to her,
That wouldn’t stop me.
I’d make sure my avengers would reach her.”
54-56 “But now listen! Do you hear it? A cry out of Babylon!
An unearthly wail out of Chaldea!
God is taking his wrecking bar to Babylon.
We’ll be hearing the last of her noise—
Death throes like the crashing of waves,
death rattles like the roar of cataracts.
The avenging destroyer is about to enter Babylon:
Her soldiers are taken, her weapons are trashed.
Indeed, God is a God who evens things out.
All end up with their just deserts.
57 “I’ll get them drunk, the whole lot of them—
princes, sages, governors, soldiers.
Dead drunk, they’ll sleep—and sleep and sleep . . .
and never wake up.” The King’s Decree.
His name? God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
58 God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaks:
“The city walls of Babylon—those massive walls!—
will be flattened.
And those city gates—huge gates!—
will be set on fire.
The harder you work at this empty life,
the less you are.
Nothing comes of ambition like this
59 Jeremiah the prophet gave a job to Seraiah son of Neriah, son of Mahseiah, when Seraiah went with Zedekiah king of Judah to Babylon. It was in the fourth year of Zedekiah’s reign. Seraiah was in charge of travel arrangements.
60-62 Jeremiah had written down in a little booklet all the bad things that would come down on Babylon. He told Seraiah, “When you get to Babylon, read this out in public. Read, ‘You, O God, said that you would destroy this place so that nothing could live here, neither human nor animal—a wasteland to top all wastelands, an eternal nothing.’
63-64 “When you’ve finished reading the page, tie a stone to it, throw it into the River Euphrates, and watch it sink. Then say, ‘That’s how Babylon will sink to the bottom and stay there after the disaster I’m going to bring upon her.’”