1The LORD says, “I am bringing a destructive wind 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. 7Babylonia 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. 9Foreigners 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. 13That 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.
A Hymn of Praise to God
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 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.
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.
The 's Hammer
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!”
The will Help Israel
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. 48Everything on earth and in the sky will shout for joy when Babylonia falls to the people who come from the north to destroy it. 49Babylonia 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
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.”
Further Destruction of Babylon
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.”
Jeremiah's Message is Sent to Babylonia
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.’ 63Seraiah, 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.’ ”