A message about Babylon
50 This is the word the Lord spoke through Jeremiah the prophet concerning Babylon and the land of the Babylonians:[a]
2 ‘Announce and proclaim among the nations,
lift up a banner and proclaim it;
keep nothing back, but say,
“Babylon will be captured;
Bel will be put to shame,
Marduk filled with terror.
Her images will be put to shame
and her idols filled with terror.”
3 A nation from the north will attack her
and lay waste her land.
No one will live in it;
both people and animals will flee away.
4 ‘In those days, at that time,’
declares the Lord,
‘the people of Israel and the people of Judah together
will go in tears to seek the Lord their God.
5 They will ask the way to Zion
and turn their faces towards it.
They will come and bind themselves to the Lord
in an everlasting covenant
that will not be forgotten.
6 ‘My people have been lost sheep;
their shepherds have led them astray
and caused them to roam on the mountains.
They wandered over mountain and hill
and forgot their own resting place.
7 Whoever found them devoured them;
their enemies said, “We are not guilty,
for they sinned against the Lord, their verdant pasture,
the Lord, the hope of their ancestors.”
8 ‘Flee out of Babylon;
leave the land of the Babylonians,
and be like the goats that lead the flock.
9 For I will stir up and bring against Babylon
an alliance of great nations from the land of the north.
They will take up their positions against her,
and from the north she will be captured.
Their arrows will be like skilled warriors
who do not return empty-handed.
10 So Babylonia[b] will be plundered;
all who plunder her will have their fill,’
declares the Lord.
11 ‘Because you rejoice and are glad,
you who pillage my inheritance,
because you frolic like a heifer threshing corn
and neigh like stallions,
12 your mother will be greatly ashamed;
she who gave you birth will be disgraced.
She will be the least of the nations –
a wilderness, a dry land, a desert.
13 Because of the Lord’s anger she will not be inhabited
but will be completely desolate.
All who pass Babylon will be appalled;
they will scoff because of all her wounds.
14 ‘Take up your positions round Babylon,
all you who draw the bow.
Shoot at her! Spare no arrows,
for she has sinned against the Lord.
15 Shout against her on every side!
She surrenders, her towers fall,
her walls are torn down.
Since this is the vengeance of the Lord,
take vengeance on her;
do to her as she has done to others.
16 Cut off from Babylon the sower,
and the reaper with his sickle at harvest.
Because of the sword of the oppressor
let everyone return to their own people,
let everyone flee to their own land.
17 ‘Israel is a scattered flock
that lions have chased away.
The first to devour them
was the king of Assyria;
the last to crush their bones
was Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.’
18 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says:
‘I will punish the king of Babylon and his land
as I punished the king of Assyria.
19 But I will bring Israel back to their own pasture,
and they will graze on Carmel and Bashan;
their appetite will be satisfied
on the hills of Ephraim and Gilead.
20 In those days, at that time,’
declares the Lord,
‘search will be made for Israel’s guilt,
but there will be none,
and for the sins of Judah,
but none will be found,
for I will forgive the remnant I spare.
21 ‘Attack the land of Merathaim
and those who live in Pekod.
Pursue, kill and completely destroy[c] them,’
declares the Lord.
‘Do everything I have commanded you.
22 The noise of battle is in the land,
the noise of great destruction!
23 How broken and shattered
is the hammer of the whole earth!
How desolate is Babylon
among the nations!
24 I set a trap for you, Babylon,
and you were caught before you knew it;
you were found and captured
because you opposed the Lord.
25 The Lord has opened his arsenal
and brought out the weapons of his wrath,
for the Sovereign Lord Almighty has work to do
in the land of the Babylonians.
26 Come against her from afar.
Break open her granaries;
pile her up like heaps of grain.
Completely destroy her
and leave her no remnant.
27 Kill all her young bulls;
let them go down to the slaughter!
Woe to them! For their day has come,
the time for them to be punished.
28 Listen to the fugitives and refugees from Babylon
declaring in Zion
how the Lord our God has taken vengeance,
vengeance for his temple.
29 ‘Summon archers against Babylon,
all those who draw the bow.
Encamp all round her;
let no one escape.
Repay her for her deeds;
do to her as she has done.
For she defied the Lord,
the Holy One of Israel.
30 Therefore, her young men will fall in the streets;
all her soldiers will be silenced in that day,’
declares the Lord.
31 ‘See, I am against you, you arrogant one,’
declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty,
‘for your day has come,
the time for you to be punished.
32 The arrogant one will stumble and fall
and no one will help her up;
I will kindle a fire in her towns
that will consume all who are around her.’
33 This is what the Lord Almighty says:
‘The people of Israel are oppressed,
and the people of Judah as well.
All their captors hold them fast,
refusing to let them go.
34 Yet their Redeemer is strong;
the Lord Almighty is his name.
He will vigorously defend their cause
so that he may bring rest to their land,
but unrest to those who live in Babylon.
35 ‘A sword against the Babylonians!’
declares the Lord –
‘against those who live in Babylon
and against her officials and wise men!
36 A sword against her false prophets!
They will become fools.
A sword against her warriors!
They will be filled with terror.
37 A sword against her horses and chariots
and all the foreigners in her ranks!
They will become weaklings.
A sword against her treasures!
They will be plundered.
38 A drought on[d] her waters!
They will dry up.
For it is a land of idols,
idols that will go mad with terror.
39 ‘So desert creatures and hyenas will live there,
and there the owl will dwell.
It will never again be inhabited
or lived in from generation to generation.
40 As I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah
along with their neighbouring towns,’
declares the Lord,
‘so no one will live there;
no people will dwell in it.
41 ‘Look! An army 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 bows and spears;
they are cruel and without mercy.
They sound like the roaring sea
as they ride on their horses;
they come like men in battle formation
to attack you, Daughter Babylon.
43 The king of Babylon has heard reports about them,
and his hands hang limp.
Anguish has gripped him,
pain like that of a woman in labour.
44 Like a lion coming up from Jordan’s thickets
to a rich pasture-land,
I will chase Babylon from its land in an instant.
Who is the chosen one I will appoint for this?
Who is like me and who can challenge me?
And what shepherd can stand against me?’
45 Therefore, hear what the Lord has planned against Babylon,
what he has purposed against the land of the Babylonians:
the young of the flock will be dragged away;
their pasture will be appalled at their fate.
46 At the sound of Babylon’s capture the earth will tremble;
its cry will resound among the nations.
- Jeremiah 50:1 Or Chaldeans; also in verses 8, 25, 35 and 45
- Jeremiah 50:10 Or Chaldea
- Jeremiah 50:21 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them; also in verse 26.
- Jeremiah 50:38 Or A sword against