Babylon Judged for Sins against Israel
1 Thus says the Lord: Behold, I will raise up against Babylon and against those who dwell among those rebelling against Me a destroying wind and spirit; 2 And I will send to Babylon strangers or winnowers who will winnow her and will empty her land; for in the day of calamity they will be against her on every side. 3 Against him who bends let the archer bend his bow, and against him who lifts himself up in his coat of mail. And spare not her young men; devote [to God] and utterly destroy her entire host. 4 Thus they shall fall down slain in the land of the Chaldeans, and wounded in her streets.
5 For Israel has not been widowed and forsaken, nor has Judah, by his God, the Lord of hosts, though their land is full of guilt against the Holy One of Israel. 6 Flee out of the midst of Babylon! Let every man save his life! Let not destruction come upon you through her [punishment for] sin and guilt. For it is the time of the Lord's vengeance; He will render to her a recompense. 7 Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord's hand, making all the earth drunken. The nations drank of her wine; therefore the nations have gone mad. 8 Babylon has suddenly fallen and is shattered (destroyed)! Wail for her [if you care to]! Get balm for her [incurable] pain; if [you do] so she may [possibly] be healed! 9 We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed. Forsake her and let us each go to his own country, for her guilt and the judgment against her reach to heaven and are lifted even to the skies. 10 The Lord has brought forth and made known the righteousness [of our cause]; come and let us declare in Zion the work of the Lord our God.
11 Make clean and sharp the arrows, take up the shields or coats of armor [and cover your bodies with them]! The Lord has stirred up the spirit of the kings of the Medes [who with the Persians will destroy the Babylonian Empire], for His purpose concerning Babylon is to destroy it; for that is the vengeance of the Lord, the vengeance [upon Babylon for the plundering and destruction] of His temple. 12 Set up a standard or signal [to spread the news] upon the walls of Babylon! Make the watch and blockade strong, set the guards, prepare the ambushes! For the Lord has both purposed and done that which He spoke against the inhabitants of Babylon. 13 O [Babylon] you who dwell by many waters, rich in treasures, your end has come, and the line measuring your life is cut. 14 The Lord of hosts has sworn by Himself, saying, Surely I will fill you with men, as with [a swarm of] locusts [who strip a land clean], and they will lift up a song and shout [of victory] over you.
15 He made the earth by His power; He established the world by His wisdom and stretched out the heavens by His understanding. 16 When He utters His voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth. He makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from His treasuries. 17 Every man has become stupid and brutelike, without knowledge [of God]; every goldsmith is put to shame by the images he has made; for his molten idols are a lie, and there is no breath [of life] in them. 18 They are worthless (emptiness, falsity, futility), a work of delusion and worthy of derision; in the time of their inspection and punishment they shall [helplessly] perish. 19 Not like these [gods] is He Who is the Portion of Jacob [the true God on Whom Israel has a claim], for He is the One Who formed all things, and Israel is the tribe of His inheritance -- "the Lord of hosts is His name. 20 You [Cyrus of Persia, soon to conquer Babylon] are My battle-ax or maul and weapon of war -- "for with you I break nations in pieces, with you I destroy kingdoms, 21 With you I break in pieces the horse and his rider, with you I break in pieces the chariot and the charioteer, 22 With you I break in pieces man and woman, with you I break in pieces old man and youth, with you I break in pieces young man and maiden, 23 With you I break in pieces the shepherd and his flock, with you I break in pieces the farmer and his yoke of oxen, and with you I break in pieces governors and commanders.
24 And I will [completely] repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea for all the evil that they have done in Zion -- "before your very eyes [I will do it], says the Lord.
25 Behold, I am against you, says the Lord, O destroying mountain [which is burning out, you who will be as barren and desolate as an extinct volcano], you who [would] destroy the whole earth. I will stretch out My hand over and against you and roll you down from the [burnt] crags and will make you a burnt-out mountain [of combustive fires]. 26 And [O Babylon] they shall not take your cracked stones for a cornerstone, or any stone for foundations, but you shall be waste and desolate forever, says the Lord.
27 Set up a standard or signal in the land [to spread the news]! Blow the trumpet among the nations! Prepare and dedicate the nations for war against her; call against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz. Appoint a marshal against her; cause the horses to come up like [a swarm of] locusts [when their wings are not yet released from their horny cases]. 28 Prepare and dedicate the nations for war against her -- "the kings of Media, with their governors and commanders (deputies), and every land of their dominion. 29 [I foresee this:] The land trembles and writhes in pain and sorrow, for the purposes of the Lord against Babylon stand -- "to make the land of Babylon a desolation without inhabitant. 30 The mighty warriors of Babylon have ceased to fight; they have remained in their holds. Their might has failed; they have become [weak and helpless] like women. Her dwelling places are burned up; her bars [and defenses generally] are broken. 31 One post shall run to meet another and one messenger to meet another to show the king of Babylon that his city is taken on every side and to its farthest end, 32 And that the passages [or ferries across the Euphrates] are stopped, and the great marshes they [the Medes] have burned with fire, and the men of war are frightened.
33 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: The Daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor at the time it is [being prepared]; yet a little while and the time of harvest shall come to her.
34 [The inhabitants of Zion say] Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon has devoured us, he has crushed us, he has made us an empty vessel. Like a monster he has swallowed us up, he has filled his belly with our delicacies; he has rinsed us out and cast us away. 35 May the violence done to me and to my flesh and blood be upon Babylon, will the inhabitant of Zion say; and, May my blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea, will Jerusalem say.
36 Therefore thus says the Lord: Behold, I will plead your cause and take vengeance for you. I will dry up her lake or great reservoir and make her fountain dry. 37 And Babylon shall become heaps [of ruins], a dwelling place of jackals, a horror (an astonishing desolation) and a hissing [of amazement], without inhabitant. 38 They [the Chaldean lords] shall be roaring together [before their sudden capture] like young lions [over their prey], they [the princes] shall be growling like lions' whelps. 39 When the revelers are inflamed [with wine and lust during their drinking bouts], I will prepare them a feast [of My wrath] and make them drunk, that they may rejoice and fall asleep to a perpetual sleep and not waken, says the Lord. 40 I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams together with he-goats.
41 How Sheshach [Babylon] is taken! And the praise of the whole earth is surprised and seized! How Babylon has become an astonishing desolation and a horror among the nations! 42 The sea has come up upon Babylon; she is covered with the tumult and multitude of its waves. 43 Her cities have become a desolation and a horror, a land of drought and a wilderness, a land in which no one lives, nor does any son of man pass through it. 44 And I will punish and execute judgment upon Bel [the god] in Babylon and take out of his mouth what he has swallowed up [the sacred vessels and the people of Judah and elsewhere who were taken captive]. The nations will not flow any more to him. Yes, the wall of Babylon has fallen!
45 My people, come out of the midst of her! And let every man save his life from the fierce anger of the Lord! 46 And beware, lest your heart faint and you be afraid at the report (rumor) heard in the land; for in one year shall one report come and in another year another report, and violence shall be in the land, ruler against ruler. 47 Therefore behold, the days will come when I will execute judgment and punishment upon the idols of Babylon; her whole land will be confounded and put to shame, and all her slain will fall in the midst of her. 48 Then heaven and earth and all that is in them shall sing for joy over Babylon, for the [Median] destroyers shall come against her from the north, says the Lord.
49 As Babylon caused the slain of Israel to fall, so at Babylon shall fall the slain of all [her] land. 50 You who have escaped the sword, go away, stand not still! [Seriously and earnestly] remember the Lord from afar [Babylon], and let [desolate] Jerusalem come into your mind. 51 We are confounded and ashamed, for we have heard reproach; confusion and shame have covered our faces, for strangers have come into the [most] sacred parts of the sanctuary of the Lord [even those forbidden for entrance by all but the high priest or the appointed priests].
52 Therefore behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will execute judgment upon [Babylon's] idols and images, and throughout all her land the wounded will groan. 53 Though Babylon should mount up to heaven, and though she should fortify her strong height (her lofty stronghold), yet destroyers will come upon her from Me, says the Lord.
54 The sound of a cry [comes] from Babylon, and [the sound of] great destruction and ruin from the land of the Chaldeans! 55 For the Lord is destroying Babylon and laying her waste and stilling her great voice [the hum of the city's life]. And the waves [of her conquerors] roar like great waters, the noise of their voices is raised up [like the tramping of an army]. 56 For the destroyer is coming upon her, upon Babylon; and her mighty warriors are taken, their bows are broken in pieces; for the Lord is a God of recompense; He will surely requite. 57 And I will make drunk her princes and her wise men, her governors and her commanders (deputies) and her mighty warriors; and they will sleep a perpetual sleep and not waken, says the King -- "the Lord of hosts is His name.
58 Thus says the Lord of hosts: The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly overthrown and [the foundations] made bare, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; the peoples shall labor in vain, and the nations [only] to satisfy the fire, and they shall be weary.
59 The word that Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, when he went with Zedekiah king of Judah to Babylon in the fourth year of his reign. Now this Seraiah was chief chamberlain or quartermaster [and brother of Baruch]. 60 So Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that would come upon Babylon -- "even all these words that are written against Babylon. 61 And Jeremiah said to Seraiah, When you come to Babylon, see to it that you read all these words. 62 Then say, O Lord, You have spoken concerning this place that it shall be cut off, so that nothing shall remain and dwell in it, neither man nor beast; but it shall be desolate forever. 63 And it shall be that when you have finished reading this book, you shall bind a stone to it and cast it into the midst of the Euphrates. 64 Then say, Thus will Babylon sink and not rise because of the evil that I will bring upon her; and [the Babylonians] will be weary (hopelessly exhausted). Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.