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.”
511The LORD says, “I am bringing a destructive wind51.1 destructive wind; or destroying spirit. against Babylonia and its people. 2I 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. 3Don't give its soldiers time to shoot their arrows or to put on their armour. Do not spare the young men! Destroy the whole army! 4They will be wounded and die in the streets of their cities. 5I, the LORD God Almighty, have not abandoned Israel and Judah, even though they have sinned against me, the Holy One of Israel. 6Run 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. 8Babylonia has suddenly fallen and is destroyed! Mourn over it! Get medicine for its wounds, and perhaps it can be healed. 9
Foreigners living there said, ‘We tried to help Babylonia, but it was too late. Let's leave her now and go back home. God has punished Babylonia with all his might and has destroyed it completely.’ ”
10The 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.’ ”
11The 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! 12Give the signal to attack Babylon's walls. Strengthen the guard! Post the sentries! Place men 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. 14The 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.
15The LORD made the earth by his power;
by his wisdom he created the world
and stretched out the heavens.
16At his command the waters above the sky51.16 waters above the sky: See Gen 1.6–8. roar;
he brings clouds from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightning flash in the rain
and sends the wind from his storeroom.
17At the sight of this, people feel stupid and senseless;
those who make idols are disillusioned
because the gods they make are false and lifeless.
18They are worthless and should be despised;
they will be destroyed when the LORD comes to deal with them.
19The 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.
20The LORD says,
“Babylonia, you are my hammer, my weapon of war.
I used you to crush nations and kingdoms,
21to shatter horses and riders,
to shatter chariots and their drivers,
22to kill men and women,
to slay old and young,
to kill boys and girls,
23to slaughter shepherds and their flocks,
to slaughter ploughmen and their horses,
to crush rulers and high officials.”
24The LORD says, “You will see me repay Babylonia and its people for all the evil they did to Jerusalem. 25Babylonia, 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. 26None of the stones from your ruins will ever be used again for building. You will be like a desert for ever. 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. 28Prepare 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. 29The earth trembles and shakes because the LORD is carrying out his plan to make Babylonia a desert, where no one lives. 30The Babylonian soldiers have stopped fighting and remain in their forts. They have lost their courage and have become like women. The city gates are broken down, and the houses are on fire. 31Messenger after messenger runs to tell the king of Babylonia that his city has been broken into from every side. 32The enemy have captured the river crossing and have set the fortresses on fire. The Babylonian soldiers have panicked. 33Soon the enemy will cut them down and trample them like corn on a threshing place. I, the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, have spoken.”
34The 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.
35Let 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!”
36And 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. 37That 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. 38The Babylonians all roar like lions and growl like lion cubs. 39Are they greedy? I will prepare them a feast and make them drunk and happy. They will go to sleep and never wake up. 40I will take them to be slaughtered, like lambs, goats, and rams. I, the LORD, have spoken.”
41The LORD says about Babylon: “The city that the whole world praised has been captured! What a horrifying sight Babylon has become to the nations! 42The sea has rolled over Babylon and covered it with roaring waves. 43The towns have become a horrifying sight and are like a waterless desert, where no one lives or even travels. 44I 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. 45People of Israel, run away from there! Run for your life from my fierce anger. 46Do not lose courage or be afraid because of the rumours you hear. Every year a different rumour spreads — rumours of violence in the land and of one king fighting another. 47And 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.”
50The 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. 51You say, ‘We've been disgraced and made ashamed; we feel completely helpless because foreigners have taken over the holy places in the Temple.’ 52So then, I say that the time is coming when I will deal with Babylon's idols, and the wounded will groan throughout the country. 53Even 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.”
54The LORD says,
“Listen to the sound of crying in Babylon,
of mourning for the destruction in the land.
55I am destroying Babylon
and putting it to silence.
The armies rush in like roaring waves
and attack with noisy shouts.
56They 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.
57I 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.
58The walls of mighty Babylon will be thrown to the ground,
and its towering gates burnt down.
The work of the nations is all for nothing;
their efforts go up in flames.
I, the LORD Almighty, have spoken.”
59King 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. 60I wrote in a book an account of all the destruction that would come on Babylonia, as well as all these other things about Babylonia. 61I told Seraiah, “When you get to Babylon, be sure to read aloud to the people everything that is written here. 62Then 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 for ever.’ 63
Seraiah, when you finish reading this book to the people, then tie it to a stone and throw it into the River Euphrates, 64and 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.’ ”51.64 One ancient translation on it; Hebrew on it and they will become tired out.
The words of Jeremiah end here.
521Zedekiah was 21 years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for eleven years. His mother's name was Hamutal, the daughter of the Jeremiah who lived in the city of Libnah. 2King Zedekiah sinned against the LORD, just as King Jehoiakim had done. 3The LORD became so angry with the people of Jerusalem and Judah that he banished them from his sight.
Zedekiah rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia, 4
and so Nebuchadnezzar came with all his army and attacked Jerusalem on the tenth day of the tenth month of the ninth year of Zedekiah's reign. They set up camp outside the city, built siege walls round it, 5and kept it under siege until Zedekiah's eleventh year. 6On the ninth day of the fourth month of that same year, when the famine was so bad that the people had nothing left to eat, 7
the city walls were broken through. Although the Babylonians were surrounding the city, all the soldiers escaped during the night. They left by way of the royal garden, went through the gateway connecting the two walls, and fled in the direction of the Jordan Valley. 8But the Babylonian army pursued King Zedekiah, captured him in the plains near Jericho, and all his soldiers deserted him. 9Zedekiah was taken to King Nebuchadnezzar, who was in the city of Riblah in the territory of Hamath, and there Nebuchadnezzar passed sentence on him. 10At Riblah he put Zedekiah's sons to death while Zedekiah was looking on and he also had the officials of Judah executed. 11
After that, he had Zedekiah's eyes put out and had him placed in chains and taken to Babylon. Zedekiah remained in prison in Babylon until the day he died.
12On the tenth day of the fifth month of the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia, Nebuzaradan, adviser to the king and commander of his army, entered Jerusalem. 13
He burnt down the Temple, the palace, and the houses of all the important people in Jerusalem; 14and his soldiers tore down the city walls. 15Then Nebuzaradan took away to Babylonia52.15 Probable text Babylonia; Hebrew Babylonia some of the poorest of the people. the people who were left in the city, the remaining skilled workmen, and those who had deserted to the Babylonians. 16But he left in Judah some of the poorest people, who owned no property, and he put them to work in the vineyards and fields.
The Babylonians broke in pieces the bronze columns and the carts that were in the Temple, together with the large bronze tank, and they took all the bronze to Babylon. 18They also took away the shovels and the ash containers used in cleaning the altar, the tools used in tending the lamps, the bowls used for catching the blood from the sacrifices, the bowls used for burning incense, and all the other bronze articles used in the temple service. 19They took away everything that was made of gold or silver: the small bowls, the pans used for carrying live coals, the bowls for holding the blood from the sacrifices, the ash containers, the lampstands, the bowls used for incense, and the bowls used for pouring out offerings of wine. 20The bronze objects that King Solomon had made for the Temple — the two columns, the carts, the large tank, and the twelve bulls that supported it — were too heavy to weigh. 21-22The two columns were identical: each one was eight metres high and 5.3 metres round. They were hollow, and the metal was 75 millimetres thick. On top of each column was a bronze capital 2.2 metres high, and all round it was a grating decorated with pomegranates, all of which was also made of bronze. 23On the grating of each column there were a hundred pomegranates in all, and 96 of these were visible from the ground.
24In addition, Nebuzaradan, the commanding officer, took away as prisoners Seraiah the High Priest, Zephaniah the priest next in rank, and the three other important temple officials. 25From the city he took the officer who had been in command of the troops, seven of the king's personal advisers who were still in the city, the commander's assistant, who was in charge of military records, and sixty other important men. 26Nebuzaradan took them to the king of Babylonia, who was in the city of Riblah 27in the territory of Hamath. There the king had them beaten and put to death.
So the people of Judah were carried away from their land into exile. 28This is the record of the people that Nebuchadnezzar took away as prisoners: in his seventh year as king he carried away 3,023; 29in his eighteenth year, 832 from Jerusalem; 30and in his 23rd year, 745 — taken away by Nebuzaradan. In all, 4,600 people were taken away.
31In the year that Evil-merodach became king of Babylonia, he showed kindness to King Jehoiachin of Judah by releasing him from prison. This happened on the 25th day of the twelfth month of the 37th year after Jehoiachin had been taken away as a prisoner. 32Evil-merodach treated him kindly and gave him a position of greater honour than he gave the other kings who were exiles with him in Babylonia. 33So Jehoiachin was permitted to change from his prison clothes and to dine at the king's table for the rest of his life. 34Each day for as long as he lived, he was given a regular allowance for his needs.