2 "Announce the news among the nations! Proclaim it! Signal for people to pay attention! Declare the news! Do not hide it! Say: 'Babylon will be captured. Bel will be put to shame. Marduk will be dismayed. Babylon's idols will be put to shame. Her disgusting images will be dismayed. 3 For a nation from the north will attack Babylon. It will lay her land waste. People and animals will flee out of it. No one will inhabit it.' 4 "When that time comes," says the Lord, "the people of Israel and Judah will return to the land together. They will come back with tears of repentance as they seek the Lord their God. 5 They will ask the way to Zion; they will turn their faces toward it. They will come and bind themselves to the Lord in a lasting covenant that will never be forgotten.
6 "My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have allow them to go astray. They have wandered around in the mountains. They have roamed from one mountain and hill to another. They have forgotten their resting place. 7 All who encountered them devoured them. Their enemies who did this said, 'We are not liable for punishment! For those people have sinned against the Lord, their true pasture. They have sinned against the Lord in whom their ancestors trusted.'
8 "People of Judah, get out of Babylon quickly! Leave the land of Babylonia! Be the first to depart! Be like the male goats that lead the herd. 9 For I will rouse into action and bring against Babylon a host of mighty nations from the land of the north. They will set up their battle lines against her. They will come from the north and capture her. Their arrows will be like a skilled soldier who does not return from the battle empty-handed. 10 Babylonia will be plundered. Those who plunder it will take all they want," says the Lord. 11 "People of Babylonia, you plundered my people. That made you happy and glad. You frolic about like calves in a pasture. Your joyous sounds are like the neighs of a stallion. 12 But Babylonia will be put to great shame. The land where you were born will be disgraced. Indeed, Babylonia will become the least important of all nations. It will become a dry and barren desert. 13 After I vent my wrath on it Babylon will be uninhabited. It will be totally desolate. All who pass by will be filled with horror and will hiss out their scorn because of all the disasters that have happened to it. 14 "Take up your battle positions all around Babylon, all you soldiers who are armed with bows. Shoot all your arrows at her! Do not hold any back! For she has sinned against the Lord. 15 Shout the battle cry from all around the city. She will throw up her hands in surrender. Her towers will fall. Her walls will be torn down. Because I, the Lord, am wreaking revenge, take out your vengeance on her! Do to her as she has done! 16 Kill all the farmers who sow the seed in the land of Babylon. Kill all those who wield the sickle at harvest time. Let all the foreigners return to their own people. Let them hurry back to their own lands to escape destruction by that enemy army.
17 "The people of Israel are like scattered sheep which lions have chased away. First the king of Assyria devoured them. Now last of all King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has gnawed their bones.
18 So I, the Lord God of Israel who rules over all, say: 'I will punish the king of Babylon and his land just as I punished the king of Assyria.
19 But I will restore the flock of Israel to their own pasture. They will graze on Mount Carmel and the land of Bashan. They will eat until they are full on the hills of Ephraim and the land of Gilead. 20 When that time comes, no guilt will be found in Israel. No sin will be found in Judah. For I will forgive those of them I have allowed to survive. I, the Lord, affirm it!'"
21 The Lord says, "Attack the land of Merathaim and the people who live in Pekod! Pursue, kill, and completely destroy them! Do just as I have commanded you! 22 The noise of battle can be heard in the land of Babylonia. There is the sound of great destruction. 23 Babylon hammered the whole world to pieces. But see how that 'hammer' has been broken and shattered! See what an object of horror Babylon has become among the nations! 24 I set a trap for you, Babylon; you were caught before you knew it. You fought against me. So you were found and captured. 25 I have opened up the place where my weapons are stored. I have brought out the weapons for carrying out my wrath. For I, the Lord God who rules over all, have work to carry out in the land of Babylonia. 26 Come from far away and attack Babylonia! Open up the places where she stores her grain! Pile her up in ruins! Destroy her completely! Do not leave anyone alive! 27 Kill all her soldiers! Let them be slaughtered! They are doomed, for their day of reckoning has come, the time for them to be punished."
28 Listen! Fugitives and refugees are coming from the land of Babylon. They are coming to Zion to declare there how the Lord our God is getting revenge, getting revenge for what they have done to his temple. 29 "Call for archers to come against Babylon! Summon against her all who draw the bow! Set up camp all around the city! Do not allow anyone to escape! Pay her back for what she has done. Do to her what she has done to others. For she has proudly defied me, the Holy One of Israel. 30 So her young men will fall in her city squares. All her soldiers will be destroyed at that time," says the Lord. 31 "Listen! I am opposed to you, you proud city," says the Lord God who rules over all. "Indeed, your day of reckoning has come, the time when I will punish you. 32 You will stumble and fall, you proud city; no one will help you get up. I will set fire to your towns; it will burn up everything that surrounds you."
33 The Lord who rules over all says, "The people of Israel are oppressed. So too are the people of Judah. All those who took them captive are holding them prisoners. They refuse to set them free. 34 But the one who will rescue them is strong. He is known as the Lord who rules over all. He will strongly champion their cause. As a result he will bring peace and rest to the earth, but trouble and turmoil to the people who inhabit Babylonia. 35 "Destructive forces will come against the Babylonians," says the Lord. "They will come against the people who inhabit Babylonia, against her leaders and her men of wisdom. 36 Destructive forces will come against her false prophets; they will be shown to be fools! Destructive forces will come against her soldiers; they will be filled with terror! 37 Destructive forces will come against her horses and her chariots. Destructive forces will come against all the foreign troops within her; they will be as frightened as women! Destructive forces will come against her treasures; they will be taken away as plunder! 38 A drought will come upon her land; her rivers and canals will be dried up. All of this will happen because her land is filled with idols. Her people act like madmen because of those idols they fear.
39 Therefore desert creatures and jackals will live there. Ostriches will dwell in it too. But no people will ever live there again. No one will dwell there for all time to come. 40 I will destroy Babylonia just like I did Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighboring towns. No one will live there. No human being will settle in it," says the Lord.
41 "Look! An army is about to come from the north. A mighty nation and many kings are stirring into action in faraway parts of the earth. 42 Its soldiers are armed with bows and spears. They are cruel and show no mercy. They sound like the roaring sea as they ride forth on their horses. Lined up in formation like men going into battle, they are coming against you, fair Babylon! 43 The king of Babylon will become paralyzed with fear when he hears news of their coming. Anguish will grip him, agony like that of a woman giving birth to a baby.
44 "A lion coming up from the thick undergrowth along the Jordan scatters the sheep in the pastureland around it. So too I will chase the Babylonians off of their land. Then I will appoint over it whomever I choose. For there is no one like me. There is no one who can call me to account. There is no ruler that can stand up against me.
45 So listen to what I, the Lord, have planned against Babylon, what I intend to do to the people who inhabit the land of Babylonia. Their little ones will be dragged off. I will completely destroy their land because of what they have done. 46 The people of the earth will quake when they hear Babylon has been captured. Her cries of anguish will be heard by the other nations."