A Message About Babylon
1 This is the message the LORD spoke through the prophet Jeremiah about Babylon and its people.
2 “Announce this to all nations!
Lift up a flag and announce the message!
Speak the whole message and say,
‘The nation of Babylon will be captured.
The god Bel will be put to shame.
The god Marduk will be very afraid.
Babylon’s idols will be put to shame.
Her gods will be filled with terror.’
3 A nation from the north will attack Babylon.
That nation will make Babylon like an empty desert.
No one will live there.
Both men and animals will run away.”
4 The LORD says, “At that time
the people of Israel and the people of Judah will be together.
They will cry and cry together,
and together, they will go look for the LORD their God.
5 They will ask how to go to Zion.
They will start to go in that direction.
They will say, ‘Come, let us join ourselves to the LORD.
Let’s make an agreement that will last forever.
Let’s make an agreement that we will never forget.’
6 “My people have been like lost sheep.
Their shepherds led them the wrong way
and caused them to wander away into the mountains and hills.
They forgot where their resting place was.
7 They were attacked by all who saw them.
And their attackers said,
‘We were not wrong to attack them
because they sinned against the LORD.
They should have stayed close to him, their true resting place.
The LORD is the one their fathers trusted in.’
8 “Run away from Babylon.
Leave the land of the Babylonians.
Be like the goats that lead the flock.
9 I will bring many nations together from the north.
This group of nations will get ready for war against Babylon.
Babylon will be captured by people from the north.
Those nations will shoot many arrows at Babylon.
Their arrows will be like soldiers
who don’t come back from war with their hands empty.
10 The enemy will take all the wealth from the Chaldeans.
The soldiers will take all they want.”
This is what the LORD said.
11 “Babylon, you are excited and happy.
You took my land.
You dance around like a young cow
that got into the grain.
Your laughter is like the happy sounds
that horses make.
12 Now your mother will be very ashamed.
The woman who gave you birth will be embarrassed.
Babylon will be the least important of all the nations.
She will be an empty, dry desert.
13 The LORD will show his anger,
so no one will live there.
Babylon will be completely empty.
Everyone who passes by Babylon will be afraid.
They will shake their heads when they see how badly it has been destroyed.
14 “Prepare for war against Babylon.
All you soldiers with bows, shoot your arrows at Babylon.
Don’t save any of your arrows.
Babylon has sinned against the LORD.
15 Soldiers around Babylon, shout the cry of victory!
Babylon has surrendered!
Her walls and towers have been pulled down!
The LORD is giving her people the punishment they deserve.
You nations should give Babylon the punishment she deserves.
Do to her what she has done to other nations.
16 Don’t let the people from Babylon plant their crops.
Don’t let them gather the harvest.
The soldiers of Babylon brought many prisoners to their city.
Now the enemy soldiers have come,
so the prisoners are going back home.
They are running back to their own countries.
17 “Israel is like a flock of sheep that was scattered all over the country.
Israel is like sheep that were chased away by lions.
The first lion to attack was the king of Assyria.
The last lion to crush Israel’s bones was King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
18 So this is what the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says:
‘I will soon punish the king of Babylon and his country
as I punished the king of Assyria.
19 “ ‘I will bring Israel back to his own fields.
He will eat food that grows on Mount Carmel and in the land of Bashan.
He will eat and be full.
He will eat on the hills in the lands of Ephraim and Gilead.’ ”
20 The LORD says, “At that time people will try hard to find Israel’s guilt,
but there will be no guilt.
People will try to find Judah’s sins,
but no sins will be found.
That is because I am saving a few survivors from Israel and Judah.
And I am forgiving them for all their sins.”
21 The LORD says, “Attack the country of Merathaim!
Attack the people living in Pekod!
Kill them and destroy them completely!
Do everything I commanded you!
22 “The noise of battle can be heard all over the country.
It is the noise of much destruction.
23 Babylon was called
‘The Hammer of the Whole Earth.’
But now the ‘Hammer’ is shattered.
Babylon is the most ruined of the nations.
24 Babylon, I set a trap for you,
and you were caught before you knew it.
You fought against the LORD,
so you were found and captured.
25 The LORD has opened up his storeroom
and brought out the weapons of his anger.
The Lord GOD All-Powerful brought out those weapons,
because he has work to do in the land of the Chaldeans.
26 “Come against Babylon from far away.
Break open the storehouses where she keeps her grain.
Destroy Babylon completely.
Don’t leave anyone alive.
Pile up her dead bodies like big piles of grain.
27 Kill all the young men in Babylon.
Let them be slaughtered like bulls.
How terrible for them that their day of defeat has come!
It is time for them to be punished.
28 People are running out of Babylon.
They are escaping from that country and coming to Zion.
They are telling everyone the good news about what the Lord is doing.
The LORD our God is giving Babylon the punishment it deserves.
The Lord is destroying Babylon, because it destroyed his Temple!
29 “Call for the archers.
Tell them to attack Babylon.
Tell them to surround the city.
Don’t let anyone escape.
Pay her back for the bad things she has done.
Do to her what she has done to other nations.
Babylon did not respect the LORD.
Babylon was very rude to the Holy One of Israel.
So punish Babylon.
30 Babylon’s young men will be killed in the streets.
All her soldiers will die on that day.”
This is what the LORD says.
31 “Babylon, you are too proud,
and I am against you,”
says the Lord GOD All-Powerful.
“I am against you,
and the time has come for you to be punished.
32 Proud Babylon will stumble and fall,
and no one will help her get up.
I will start a fire in her towns.
That fire will completely burn up everyone around her.”
33 This is what the LORD All-Powerful says:
“The people of Israel and Judah are slaves.
The enemy took them, and the enemy will not let Israel go.
34 But God will get them back.
His name is the LORD God All-Powerful.
He will defend them very strongly.
He will argue their case so that he can let their land rest.
But there will be no rest for those living in Babylon.”
35 The LORD says,
“Sword, kill the people living in Babylon.
Sword, kill the king’s officials
and the wise men of Babylon.
36 Sword, kill the priests of Babylon.
They will be like fools.
Sword, kill the soldiers of Babylon.
They will be full of fear.
37 Sword, kill the horses and chariots of Babylon.
Sword, kill all the soldiers hired from other countries.
They will be like frightened women.
Sword, destroy the treasures of Babylon.
Those treasures will be taken away.
38 Sword, strike the waters of Babylon.
Those waters will be dried up.
Babylon has many, many idols.
These idols show that the people of Babylon are foolish.
So bad things will happen to them.
39 Babylon will never again be filled with people.
Wild dogs, ostriches, and other desert animals will live there.
But no one will live there ever again.
40 God completely destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah
and the towns around them.
In the same way no one will live in Babylon,
and no one will ever go to live there.”
This is what the LORD says.
41 “Look! There are people coming from the north.
They come from a powerful nation.
Many kings are coming together from all around the world.
42 Their armies have bows and spears.
The soldiers are cruel.
They have no mercy.
The soldiers come riding on their horses;
the sound is as loud as the roaring sea.
They stand in their places, ready for battle.
They are ready to attack you, city of Babylon.
43 The king of Babylon heard about those armies,
and he is paralyzed with fear.
He is overcome with fear and pain,
like a woman giving birth.
44 “Sometimes a lion will come
from the thick bushes near the Jordan River.
It will walk into the fields
where people have their animals.
I will be like that lion;
I will chase Babylon from its land.
Who should I choose to do this?
There is no one like me.
There is no one who can challenge me.
No shepherd will come to chase me away.
I will chase away the Babylonians.”
45 Listen to what the LORD has planned
to do to Babylon.
Listen to what he has decided
to do to the Babylonians.
“I promise that an enemy will drag away the young kids of Babylon’s flock,
and Babylon will become an empty pasture.
46 Babylon will fall,
and that fall will shake the earth.
People in all nations will hear about
the destruction of Babylon.”