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God Will Punish Babylon

13 (A)This is a message about Babylon, which Isaiah son of Amoz received from God.

On the top of a barren hill raise the battle flag! Shout to the soldiers and raise your arm as the signal for them to attack the gates of the proud city. The Lord has called out his proud and confident soldiers to fight a holy war and punish those he is angry with.

Listen to the noise on the mountains—the sound of a great crowd of people, the sound of nations and kingdoms gathering. The Lord of Armies is preparing his troops for battle. They are coming from far-off countries at the ends of the earth. In his anger the Lord is coming to devastate the whole country.

(B)Howl in pain! The day of the Lord is near, the day when the Almighty brings destruction. Everyone's hands will hang limp, and everyone's courage will fail. They will all be terrified and overcome with pain, like the pain of a woman in labor. They will look at each other in fear, and their faces will burn with shame. The day of the Lord is coming—that cruel day of his fierce anger and fury. The earth will be made a wilderness, and every sinner will be destroyed. 10 (C)Every star and every constellation will stop shining, the sun will be dark when it rises, and the moon will give no light.

11 The Lord says, “I will bring disaster on the earth and punish all wicked people for their sins. I will humble everyone who is proud and punish everyone who is arrogant and cruel. 12 Those who survive will be scarcer than gold. 13 I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place on that day when I, the Lord Almighty, show my anger.

14 “The foreigners living in Babylon will run away to their homelands, scattering like deer escaping from hunters, like sheep without a shepherd. 15 Anyone who is caught will be stabbed to death. 16 While they look on helplessly, their babies will be battered to death, their houses will be looted, and their wives will be raped.”

17 The Lord says, “I am stirring up the Medes[a] to attack Babylon. They care nothing for silver and are not tempted by gold. 18 With their bows and arrows they will kill the young men. They will show no mercy to babies and take no pity on children. 19 (D)Babylonia is the most beautiful kingdom of all; it is the pride of its people. But I, the Lord, will overthrow Babylon as I did Sodom and Gomorrah! 20 No one will ever live there again. No wandering Arab will ever pitch a tent there, and no shepherd will ever pasture a flock there. 21 (E)It will be a place where desert animals live and where owls build their nests. Ostriches will live there, and wild goats will prance through the ruins. 22 The towers and palaces will echo with the cries of hyenas and jackals. Babylon's time has come! Her days are almost over.”

The Return from Exile

14 The Lord will once again be merciful to his people Israel and choose them as his own. He will let them live in their own land again, and foreigners will come and live there with them. Many nations will help the people of Israel return to the land which the Lord gave them, and there the nations will serve Israel as slaves. Those who once captured Israel will now be captured by Israel, and the people of Israel will rule over those who once oppressed them.

The King of Babylon in the World of the Dead

The Lord will give the people of Israel relief from their pain and suffering and from the hard work they were forced to do. When he does this, they are to mock the king of Babylon and say:

“The cruel king has fallen! He will never oppress anyone again! The Lord has ended the power of the evil rulers who angrily oppressed the peoples and never stopped persecuting the nations they had conquered. Now at last the whole world enjoys rest and peace, and everyone sings for joy. The cypress trees and the cedars of Lebanon rejoice over the fallen king, because there is no one to cut them down, now that he is gone!

“The world of the dead is getting ready to welcome the king of Babylon. The ghosts of those who were powerful on earth are stirring about. The ghosts of kings are rising from their thrones. 10 They all call out to him, ‘Now you are as weak as we are! You are one of us! 11 You used to be honored with the music of harps, but now here you are in the world of the dead. You lie on a bed of maggots and are covered with a blanket of worms.’”

12 (F)King of Babylon, bright morning star, you have fallen from heaven! In the past you conquered nations, but now you have been thrown to the ground. 13 (G)You were determined to climb up to heaven and to place your throne above the highest stars. You thought you would sit like a king on that mountain in the north where the gods assemble. 14 You said you would climb to the tops of the clouds and be like the Almighty. 15 But instead, you have been brought down to the deepest part of the world of the dead.

16 The dead will stare and gape at you. They will ask, “Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble? 17 Is this the man who destroyed cities and turned the world into a desert? Is this the man who never freed his prisoners or let them go home?”

18 All the kings of the earth lie in their magnificent tombs, 19 but you have no tomb, and your corpse is thrown out to rot. It is covered by the bodies of soldiers killed in battle, thrown with them into a rocky pit, and trampled down. 20 Because you ruined your country and killed your own people, you will not be buried like other kings. None of your evil family will survive. 21 Let the slaughter begin! The sons of this king will die because of their ancestors' sins. None of them will ever rule the earth or cover it with cities.

God Will Destroy Babylon

22 The Lord Almighty says, “I will attack Babylon and bring it to ruin. I will leave nothing—no children, no survivors at all. I, the Lord, have spoken. 23 I will turn Babylon into a marsh, and owls will live there. I will sweep Babylon with a broom that will sweep everything away. I, the Lord Almighty, have spoken.”

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 13:17 People of a nation northeast of Babylonia, which became part of the Persian Empire.

The Lord's Message about Philistia

47 (A)Before the king of Egypt attacked Gaza, the Lord spoke to me about Philistia. He said:

“Look! Waters are rising in the north
    and will rush like a river in flood.
They will cover the land and everything on it,
    cities and the people who live there.
People will call out for help;
    everyone on earth will cry bitterly.
They will hear the hoofbeats of horses,
    the clatter of chariots,
    the rumble of wheels.
Parents will not turn back for their children;
    their hands will hang limp at their sides.
The time has come to destroy Philistia,
    to cut off from Tyre and Sidon
    all the help that remains.
I, the Lord, will destroy the Philistines,
    all who came from the shores of Crete.
Great sorrow has come to the people of Gaza,
    and Ashkelon's people are silent.
    How long will the rest of Philistia mourn?
You cry out, ‘Sword of the Lord!
    How long will you go on slashing?
Go back to your scabbard,
    stay there and rest!’
But how can it rest,
    when I have given it work to do?
I have commanded it to attack Ashkelon
    and the people who live on the coast.”

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