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.”
4The LORD says, “When that time comes, the people of both Israel and Judah will come weeping, looking for me, their God. 5They 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. 7They 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.’
“People of Israel, run away from Babylonia! Leave the country! Be the first to leave! 9I 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 skilful hunters, shooting arrows that never miss the mark. 10Babylonia will be looted, and those who loot it will take everything they want. I, the LORD, have spoken.”
11The LORD says, “People of Babylonia, you plundered my nation. You are happy and glad, going about like a cow threshing corn or like a neighing horse, 12but 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. 13Because 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. 15Raise the war cry all round the city! Now Babylon has surrendered. Its walls have been broken through and torn down.50.15 Hebrew has an additional word, the meaning of which is unclear. I am taking my revenge on the Babylonians. So take your revenge on them, and treat them as they have treated others. 16Do not let seeds be sown in that country or let a harvest be gathered. Every foreigner living there will be afraid of the attacking army and will go back home.”
17The 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 their bones. 18Because 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. 19I 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. 20When 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.”
21The LORD says, “Attack the people of Merathaim and of Pekod. Kill and destroy them.50.21 One ancient translation them; Hebrew after them. Do everything I command you. I, the LORD, have spoken. 22The noise of battle is heard in the land, and there is great destruction. 23Babylonia hammered the whole world to pieces, and now that hammer is shattered! All the nations are shocked at what has happened to that country. 24Babylonia, you fought against me, and you have been caught in the trap I set for you, even though you did not know it. 25I 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. 26Attack 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! 27Kill 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.)
“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. 30So 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. 32Your 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.”
33The 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. 34But 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.”
35The LORD says,
“Death to Babylonia!
Death to its people,
to its rulers, to its men of wisdom.
36Death to its lying prophets —
what fools they are!
Death to its soldiers —
how terrified they are!
37Destroy its horses and chariots!
Death to its hired soldiers —
how weak they are!
Destroy its treasures;
plunder and loot.
38Bring a drought on its land
and dry up its rivers.
Babylonia is a land of terrifying idols,
that have made fools of the people.
“And so Babylon will be haunted by demons and evil spirits,50.39 demons and evil spirits; or wildcats and jackals. and by unclean birds. Never again will people live there, not for all time to come. 40
The same thing will happen to Babylon as 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.
42They 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.
43The king of Babylonia hears the news,
and his hands hang limp.
He is seized by anguish,
by pain like a woman in labour.
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? 45So 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. 46When 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.”