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VIII. Oracles Against the Nations[a]

Chapter 46

The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the nations.

Against Egypt. Concerning Egypt. Against the army of Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, defeated at Carchemish on the Euphrates[b] by Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, king of Judah:

Prepare buckler and shield!
    move forward to battle!
Harness the horses,
    charioteers, mount up!
Fall in, with helmets on;
    polish your spears, put on your armor.
What do I see?
    Are they panicking, falling apart?
    Their warriors are hammered back,
They flee headlong
    never making a stand.
Terror on every side—
    oracle of the Lord!(A)
The swift cannot flee,
    nor the warrior escape:
There up north, on the banks of the Euphrates
    they stumble and fall.
Who is this? Like the Nile, it rears up;
    like rivers, its waters surge.
Egypt rears up like the Nile,
    like rivers, its waters surge.
“I will rear up,” it says, “and cover the earth,
    destroying the city and its people.(B)
Forward, horses!
    charge, chariots!
March forth, warriors,
    Cush and Put, bearing shields,
    Archers of Lud, stretching bows!”
10 Today belongs to the Lord God of hosts,
    a day of vengeance, vengeance on his foes!
The sword devours and is sated, drunk with their blood:
    for the Lord God of hosts holds a sacrifice
    in the land of the north, on the River Euphrates.(C)
11 Go up to Gilead, procure balm,
    Virgin daughter Egypt!
No use to multiply remedies;
    for you there is no healing.(D)
12 The nations hear your cries,
    your screaming fills the earth.
Warrior stumbles against warrior,
    both collapse together.(E)

13 (F)The word that the Lord spoke to Jeremiah the prophet when Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon, came to attack the land of Egypt:[c]

14 Proclaim in Egypt, announce in Migdol,
    announce in Memphis and Tahpanhes!
Say: Fall in, get ready,
    the sword has devoured your neighbors.(G)
15 Why has Apis[d] fled?
    Your champion did not stand,
Because the Lord thrust him down;
16     he stumbled repeatedly then collapsed.
They said to each other,
    “Get up! We must return to our own people,
To the land of our birth,
    away from the destroying sword.”(H)
17 Give Pharaoh, king of Egypt, the name
    “Braggart-missed-his-chance.”[e]
18 As I live, says the King
    whose name is Lord of hosts,
Like Tabor above mountains,
    like Carmel[f] above the sea, he comes.
19 Pack your bags for exile,
    enthroned daughter Egypt;
Memphis shall become a wasteland,
    an empty ruin.
20 Egypt is a beautiful heifer,
    a horsefly from the north keeps coming.
21 Even the mercenaries in her ranks
    are like fattened calves;
They too turn and flee together—
    they do not stand their ground,
For their day of ruin comes upon them,
    their time of punishment.
22 Her voice is like a snake!
    Yes, they come in force;
They attack her with axes,
    like those who fell trees.
23 They cut down her forest—oracle of the Lord
    impenetrable though it be;
More numerous than locusts,
    they cannot be counted.
24 Shamed is daughter Egypt,
    handed over to a people from the north.

25 The Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, has said: See! I will punish Amon[g] of Thebes and Egypt, gods, kings, Pharaoh, and those who trust in him.(I) 26 I will hand them over to those who seek their lives, to Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon, and to his officers. But later, Egypt shall be inhabited again, as in days of old—oracle of the Lord.(J)

27 But you, my servant Jacob, do not fear;
    do not be dismayed, Israel!
Listen! I will deliver you from far-off lands;
    your offspring, from the land of their exile.
Jacob shall again find rest,
    secure, with none to frighten him.(K)
28 You, Jacob my servant, must not fear—oracle of the Lord
    for I am with you;
I will make an end of all the nations
    to which I have driven you,
But of you I will not make an end:
    I will chastise you as you deserve,
    I cannot let you go unpunished.(L)

Chapter 47

Against the Philistines. The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the Philistines, before Pharaoh attacked Gaza:(M)

Thus says the Lord:
[h] See: waters are rising from the north,
    to become a torrent in flood;
They shall flood the land and all it contains,
    the cities and their inhabitants.
People will howl and wail,
    every inhabitant of the land.
At the noise of the pounding hooves of his steeds,
    the clanking chariots, the rumbling wheels,
Parents do not turn back for their children;
    their hands hang helpless,
Because of the day that is coming
    to destroy all the Philistines
And cut off from Tyre and Sidon[i]
    the last of their allies.
Yes, the Lord is destroying the Philistines,
    the remnant from the coasts of Caphtor.(N)
Baldness is visited upon Gaza,(O)
    Ashkelon is reduced to silence;
Ashdod, remnant of their strength,
    how long will you gash yourself?[j]
Ah! Sword of the Lord!
    When will you find rest?
Return to your scabbard;
    stop, be still!
How can it find rest
    when the Lord has commanded it?
Against Ashkelon and the seacoast,
    there he has appointed it.(P)

Chapter 48

Against Moab.[k] Concerning Moab. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel:

Ah, Nebo! it is ravaged;
    Kiriathaim is disgraced, captured;
Disgraced and overthrown is the stronghold:
    Moab’s glory is no more.
In Heshbon they plot evil against her:
    “Come! We will put an end to her as a nation.”
You, too, Madmen,[l] shall be silenced;
    you the sword stalks!
Listen! an outcry from Horonaim,(Q)
    “Ruin and great destruction!”
“Moab is crushed!”
    their outcry is heard in Zoar.
Up the ascent of Luhith
    they go weeping;
At the descent to Horonaim
    they hear cries of anguish:
“Flee, save your lives!
    Be like a wild donkey in the wilderness!”
Because you trusted in your works and your treasures,
    you also shall be captured.
Chemosh[m] shall go into exile,
    his priests and princes with him.(R)
The destroyer comes upon every city,
    not a city escapes;
Ruined is the valley,
    wasted the plateau—oracle of the Lord.
Set up a tombstone for Moab;
    it will soon become a complete wasteland,
Its cities turned into ruins
    where no one dwells.
10 Cursed are they who do the Lord’s work carelessly,
    cursed those who keep their sword from shedding blood.
11 [n]Moab has been resting from its youth,
    suspended above its dregs,
Never poured from flask to flask,
    never driven into exile.
Thus it retained its flavor,
    its bouquet is not lost.(S)

12 Be assured! The days are coming—oracle of the Lord—when I will send him wine-makers to decant the wine; they shall empty its flasks and smash its jars. 13 Chemosh shall disappoint Moab, just as the house of Israel was disappointed by Bethel, in which they trusted.(T)

14 How can you say, “We are heroes,
    mighty warriors”?
15 The one who ravages Moab and its cities comes up,
    the best of its youth go down to slaughter—
    oracle of the King, whose name is Lord of hosts.
16 Moab’s ruin is near at hand,
    its disaster approaches swiftly.
17 Mourn, all you neighbors,
    all you who know its name!
Say: How the mighty scepter is broken,
    the glorious staff!
18 Come down from glory, sit on the parched ground,
    enthroned daughter Dibon;[o]
Moab’s destroyer has fallen upon you,
    has shattered your strongholds.(U)
19 Stand along the road, keep watch,
    enthroned Aroer;
Ask the fleeing man, the escaping woman:
    ask them what has happened.(V)
20 “Moab is put to shame, destroyed.”
    Wail and cry out,
Proclaim it at the Arnon:
    “Moab is destroyed!”(W)

21 Judgment has come upon the plateau: on Holon, Jahzah, and Mephaath,(X) 22 on Dibon, Nebo, and Beth-diblathaim, 23 on Kiriathaim, Beth-gamul, and Beth-meon, 24 on Kerioth and on Bozrah: on all the cities of the land of Moab, far and near.

25 The horn of Moab is cut off,
    its arm is broken—oracle of the Lord.

26 Make him drunk because he set himself over against the Lord; let Moab swim in his vomit and become a laughingstock. 27 Has Israel not been a laughingstock to you? Was he caught among thieves that you wag your heads whenever you speak of him?(Y)

28 Abandon the cities, take shelter in the crags,
    inhabitants of Moab.
Be like the dove that nests
    in the walls of a gorge.
29 We have heard of the pride of Moab,(Z)
    pride beyond bounds:
His loftiness, his pride, his scorn,
    his insolent heart.
30 I myself know his arrogance—oracle of the Lord
    liar in word, liar in deed.
31 And so I wail over Moab,
    over all Moab I cry,
    over the people of Kir-heres I moan.(AA)
32 More than for Jazer I weep for you,
    vine of Sibmah.
Your tendrils trailed down to the sea,
    as far as Jazer they stretched.
Upon your summer harvest and your vintage,
    the destroyer has fallen.(AB)
33 Joy and gladness are taken away
    from the garden land, the land of Moab.
I dry up the wine from the wine vats,
    the treader treads no more,
    the vintage shout is stilled.

34 The cry of Heshbon and Elealeh is heard as far as Jahaz; they call from Zoar to Horonaim and to Eglath-shelishiyah; even the waters of Nimrim turn into a wasteland.(AC) 35 I will leave no one in Moab—oracle of the Lord—to offer burnt offerings on the high place or to make sacrifices to their gods. 36 Hence my heart wails like a flute for Moab; my heart wails like a flute for the people of Kir-heres: the wealth they accumulated has perished.(AD) 37 Every head has been shaved bald, every beard cut off; every hand gashed, and all their loins are draped in sackcloth.(AE) 38 On all the rooftops of Moab and in all its squares there is mourning. I have shattered Moab like a pot that no one wants—oracle of the Lord. 39 How terrified they are, how they wail! How Moab turns its back in shame! Moab has become a laughingstock and a horror to all its neighbors!

40 For thus says the Lord:
Look there! Like an eagle he swoops,
    spreading his wings over Moab.(AF)
41 Cities are captured,
    strongholds seized:
On that day the hearts of Moab’s warriors
    become like the heart of a woman in labor.(AG)
42 Moab shall be wiped out, a people no more,
    because it set itself over against the Lord.(AH)
43 Terror, pit, and trap be upon you,
    enthroned Moab—oracle of the Lord.(AI)
44 Those fleeing the terror
    fall into the pit;
Those climbing out of the pit
    are caught in the trap;
Ah, yes! I will bring these things upon Moab
    in the year of their punishment—oracle of the Lord.
45 In Heshbon’s shadow the fugitives
    stop short, exhausted;
For fire blazes up from Heshbon,
    and flames up from the house of Sihon:
It consumes the forehead of Moab,
    the scalp of the noisemakers.(AJ)
46 Woe to you, Moab!
    You are finished, people of Chemosh!
Your sons are taken into exile,
    your daughters into captivity.
47 Yet I will restore the fortunes of Moab
    in the days to come—oracle of the Lord.(AK)

Thus far the judgment on Moab.

Chapter 49

Against the Ammonites. Concerning the Ammonites. Thus says the Lord:

Has Israel no sons?
    none to inherit?
Why has Milcom[p] disinherited Gad,
    why are his people living in its cities?
Therefore the days are coming—oracle of the Lord
    when I will sound the battle alarm
    against Rabbah of the Ammonites;
It shall become a mound of ruins,
    and its villages destroyed by fire.
Israel shall then inherit those who disinherited it—
    oracle of the Lord.(AL)
Wail, Heshbon, “The ruin is destroyed!”
    shriek, villages of Rabbah!
Put on sackcloth and lament!
    Run back and forth in the sheepfolds.
For Milcom is going into exile,
    taking priest and prince with him.(AM)
Why boast in your strength,
    your ebbing strength, rebellious daughter?
Why trust in your treasures, saying,
    “Who would dare attack me?”
See, I am bringing terror upon you—
    oracle of the Lord God of hosts—
    from all around you;
You shall be scattered, each in headlong flight,
    with no one to gather the fugitives.(AN)
But afterward I will restore the fortunes
    of the Ammonites—oracle of the Lord.

Against Edom.[q] Concerning Edom. Thus says the Lord of hosts:

Is there no more wisdom in Teman,[r]
    has counsel perished from the prudent,
    is their wisdom gone?
Flee, retreat, hide deep for lodging,
    inhabitants of Dedan:
For I bring disaster upon Esau[s]
    when I come to punish them.(AO)
If vintagers came upon you,
    they would leave no gleanings;
If thieves by night,
    they would destroy as they pleased.(AP)
10 So I myself will strip Esau;
    I will uncover his lairs so he cannot hide.
Offspring and family are destroyed,
    neighbors, too; he is no more.(AQ)
11 Leave your orphans behind, I will keep them alive;
    your widows, let them trust in me.(AR)

12 For thus says the Lord: Look, even those not sentenced to drink the cup must drink it! Shall you then go unpunished? You shall not! You shall drink every bit of it!(AS) 13 By myself I have sworn—oracle of the Lord—Bozrah[t] shall become an object of horror, a disgrace, a desolation, and a curse. Bozrah and all its cities shall become ruins forever.(AT)

14 I have heard a report from the Lord,
    a herald has been sent among the nations:
“Gather together, move against it,
    get ready for battle!”
15 I will make you the least among the nations,
    despised by all people!(AU)
16 The terror you spread,
    the pride of your heart, beguiled you.
You denizens of rocks and crevices,
    occupying towering peaks:
Though you build your nest high as the eagle,
    from there I will bring you down—oracle of the Lord.(AV)

17 Edom shall become an object of horror. Passersby recoil in terror, hissing at all its wounds. 18 As when Sodom, Gomorrah, and their neighbors were overthrown—oracle of the Lord—no one shall live in it, nor anyone settle there.(AW)

19 As when a lion comes up from a thicket of the Jordan
    to a permanent pasture,
So in an instant, I will chase them off;
    I will establish there whomever I choose.
For who is like me? Who holds me accountable?
    What shepherd can stand against me?(AX)
20 Therefore, listen to the strategy
    the Lord devised for Edom;
The plans he has drawn up
    against the inhabitants of Teman:
They shall be dragged away, even the smallest of the flock;
    their pasture shall be aghast because of them.
21 With the din of their collapse the earth quakes,
    to the Red Sea the outcry is heard!
22 Look! like an eagle he soars aloft,
    and spreads his wings over Bozrah;
On that day the hearts of Edom’s warriors become
    like the heart of a woman in labor.(AY)

Against Damascus. 23 Concerning Damascus.

Hamath and Arpad[u] are shamed,
    for they have heard bad news;
Anxious, they surge like the sea
    which cannot calm down.(AZ)
24 Damascus loses heart, turns to flee;
    panic has seized it.
Distress and pangs take hold,
    like the pain of a woman in labor.
25 How can the glorious city be abandoned,
    the town of joy!
26 But now its young men shall fall in its squares,
    all the warriors destroyed on that day—
    oracle of the Lord of hosts.
27 I will set fire to the wall of Damascus;
    it shall devour the palaces of Ben-hadad.[v]

Against Arabia. 28 About Kedar and the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, defeated.

Thus says the Lord:
Rise up, attack Kedar,
    destroy the people from the east.(BA)
29 Their tents and flocks shall be taken away,
    their tent curtains and all their goods;
Their camels they carry off,
    they shout over them, “Terror on every side!”(BB)
30 Flee! wander about, hide deep for lodging,
    inhabitants of Hazor—oracle of the Lord;
For Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, has devised a strategy against you,
    drawn up a plan against you,
31 Get up! set out against a tranquil nation,
    living in security—oracle of the Lord
Without gates or bars,
    dwelling alone.
32 Their camels shall become spoils,
    their hordes of cattle, plunder;
I will scatter to the winds those who shave their temples;
    from every side I will bring their ruin—
    oracle of the Lord.(BC)
33 Hazor shall become a haunt for jackals,
    a wasteland forever,
Where no one lives,
    no mortal stays.

Against Elam. 34 The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning Elam[w] at the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah:

35 Thus says the Lord of hosts:
Look! I will break the bow of Elam,
    the mainstay of their might.
36 I will bring upon Elam the four winds
    from the four ends of the heavens:
I will scatter them to all these winds, until there is no nation
    to which the outcasts of Elam have not gone.
37 I will terrify Elam before their foes,
    those seeking their life;
I will bring evil upon them,
    my burning wrath—oracle of the Lord.
I will send sword after them
    until I have finished them off;
38 I will set up my throne in Elam
    and destroy from there king and princes—
    oracle of the Lord.
39 But at the end of days I will restore
    the fortunes of Elam—oracle of the Lord.

Chapter 50

The First Oracle Against Babylon. The word the Lord spoke against Babylon,[x] against the land of the Chaldeans, through Jeremiah the prophet:(BD)

Proclaim this among the nations, announce it!
    Announce it, do not hide it, but say:
Babylon is captured, Bel[y] put to shame, Marduk terrified;
    its images are put to shame, its idols shattered.
A nation from the north advances against it,
    making the land desolate
So that no one can live there;
    human beings and animals have fled.(BE)
In those days and at that time—oracle of the Lord
    Israelite and Judahite shall come together,
Weeping as they come, to seek the Lord, their God;(BF)
They shall ask for Zion,
    seeking out the way.
“Come, let us join ourselves to the Lord
    in an everlasting covenant, never to be forgotten.”(BG)
Lost sheep were my people,
    their shepherds misled them,
    leading them astray on the mountains;
From mountain to hill they wandered,
    forgetting their fold.(BH)
Whoever happened upon them devoured them;
    their enemies said, “We are not guilty,
Because they sinned against the Lord,
    the abode of justice, the hope of their ancestors.”(BI)
Flee from the midst of Babylon,
    leave the land of the Chaldeans,
    be like rams at the head of the flock.(BJ)
See, I am stirring up against Babylon
    a band of great nations from the land of the north;
They are arrayed against her,
    from there she shall be taken.
Their arrows are like the arrows of a skilled warrior
    who never returns empty-handed.(BK)
10 Chaldea shall become plunder;
    all its plunderers shall be enriched—
    oracle of the Lord.
11 Yes, rejoice and exult,
    you that plunder my heritage;
Frisk like calves on the grass,
    neigh like stallions!
12 Your mother will indeed be put to shame,
    she that bore you shall be abashed;
See, the last of the nations,
    a wilderness, a dry wasteland.(BL)
13 Because of the Lord’s wrath it shall be uninhabited,
    become an utter wasteland;
Everyone who passes by Babylon will be appalled
    and hiss at all its wounds.(BM)
14 Take your posts encircling Babylon,
    you who bend the bow;
Shoot at it, do not spare your arrows,(BN)
15     raise the war cry against it on every side.
It surrenders, its bastions fall,
    its walls are torn down:[z]
This is retribution from the Lord! Take retribution on her,
    as she has done, do to her;
    for she sinned against the Lord.(BO)
16 Cut off the sower from Babylon
    and those who wield sickles at harvest time!
Before the destroying sword,
    all of them turn back to their own people,
    all flee to their own land.(BP)
17 Israel was a stray sheep
    that lions pursued;
The king of Assyria once devoured him;
    now Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon gnaws his bones.(BQ)
18 Therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel:
I will punish the king of Babylon and his land,
    as I once punished the king of Assyria;(BR)
19 But I will bring Israel back to its pasture,
    to feed on Carmel and Bashan,
And on Mount Ephraim and Gilead,
    until they have their fill.(BS)

20 In those days, at that time—oracle of the Lord:

The guilt of Israel may be sought, but it no longer exists,
    the sin of Judah, but it can no longer be found;
    for I will forgive the remnant I preserve.(BT)
21 Attack the land of Merathaim,
    and those who live in Pekod;[aa]
Slaughter and put them under the ban—oracle of the Lord
    do all I have commanded you.
22 Battle alarm in the land,
    great destruction!
23 How the hammer of the whole earth
    has been cut off and broken!
What an object of horror
    Babylon has become among the nations!(BU)
24 You ensnared yourself and were caught,
    Babylon, before you knew it!
You were discovered and seized,
    because you challenged the Lord.(BV)
25 The Lord opens his armory,
    brings out the weapons of his wrath;
The Lord God of hosts has work to do
    in the land of the Chaldeans.(BW)
26 Come upon them from every side,
    open their granaries,
Pile them up in heaps and put them under the ban;
    do not leave a remnant.
27 Slay all the oxen,
    take them down to slaughter;
Woe to them! their day has come,
    the time of their punishment.
28 Listen! the fugitives, the refugees
    from the land of Babylon:
They announce in Zion
    the retribution of the Lord, our God.(BX)
29 Call archers out against Babylon,
    all who bend the bow;
Encamp around them;
    let no one escape.
Repay them for their deeds;
    what they have done, do to them,
For they insulted the Lord,
    the Holy One of Israel.(BY)
30 Therefore their young men shall fall in the squares,
    all their warriors shall be stilled on that day—
    oracle of the Lord.(BZ)
31 I am against you, O Insolence—
    oracle of the Lord God of hosts;
For your day has come,
    the time for me to punish you.
32 Insolence stumbles and falls;
    there is no one to raise him up.
I will kindle a fire in his cities
    to devour everything around him.
33     Thus says the Lord of hosts:
Oppressed are the people of Israel,
    together with the people of Judah;
All their captors hold them fast
    and refuse to let them go.
34 Strong is their Redeemer,
    whose name is Lord of hosts,
The sure defender of their cause,
    who gives rest to their land,
    but unrest to those who live in Babylon.(CA)
35 A sword upon the Chaldeans—oracle of the Lord
    upon the inhabitants of Babylon, her princes and sages!
36 A sword upon the soothsayers,
    and they become fools!
A sword upon the warriors,
    and they tremble;
37 A sword upon their motley throng,
    and they become women!
A sword upon their treasures,
    and they are plundered;(CB)
38 A drought upon the waters,
    and they dry up!
For it is a land of idols,
    soon made frantic by phantoms.(CC)
39 Hence, wildcats shall dwell there with hyenas,
    and ostriches occupy it;
Never again shall it be inhabited or settled,
    from age to age.(CD)
40 As happened when God overturned Sodom
    and Gomorrah and their neighbors—oracle of the Lord
No one shall dwell there,
    no mortal shall settle there.(CE)
41 See, a people comes from the north,
    a great nation, and mighty kings
    rising from the ends of the earth.(CF)
42 Bow and javelin they wield,
    cruel and pitiless are they;
They sound like the roaring sea,
    as they ride forth on horses,
Each in place for battle
    against you, daughter Babylon.
43 The king of Babylon hears news of them,
    and his hands hang helpless;
Anguish takes hold of him,
    like the pangs of a woman giving birth.(CG)
44 As happens when a lion comes up from a thicket of the Jordan
    to permanent pasture,
So I, in an instant, will chase them off,
    and establish there whomever I choose!
For who is like me? Who can call me to account?
    What shepherd can stand against me?(CH)
45 Therefore, hear the strategy of the Lord,
    which he has devised against Babylon;
Hear the plans drawn up
    against the land of the Chaldeans:
They shall be dragged away, even the smallest sheep;
    their own pasture aghast because of them.(CI)
46 At the cry “Babylon is captured!” the earth quakes;
    the outcry is heard among the nations.(CJ)

Chapter 51

The Second Oracle Against Babylon

    Thus says the Lord:
See! I rouse against Babylon,
    and the inhabitants of Chaldea,
    a destroyer wind.[ab]
To Babylon I will send winnowers
    to winnow and lay waste the land;
They shall besiege it on every side
    on the day of affliction.(CK)
How can the archers draw back their bows,
    lift their armor?
Do not spare her young men,
    put the entire army under the ban.(CL)
The slain shall fall in the land of Chaldea,
    the wounded, in its streets;(CM)
For Israel and Judah are not left widowed
    by their God, the Lord of hosts,
Even though the land is full of guilt
    against the Holy One of Israel.
Flee from Babylon;
    each of you save your own life,
    do not perish because of her guilt;
This is a time of retribution from the Lord,
    who pays out her due.(CN)
Babylon was a golden cup in the hand of the Lord
    making the whole earth drunk;
The nations drank its wine,
    thus they have gone mad.(CO)
Babylon suddenly falls and is broken:
    wail over her!
Bring balm for her wounds,
    in case she can be healed.(CP)
“We have tried to heal Babylon,
    but she cannot be healed.
    Leave her, each of us must go to our own land.”
The judgment against her reaches the heavens,
    it touches the clouds.(CQ)
10 The Lord has brought forth our vindication;
    come, let us tell in Zion
    what the Lord, our God, has done.(CR)
11 Sharpen the arrows,
    fill the quivers;
The Lord has stirred up the spirit of the kings of the Medes,[ac]
    for his resolve is Babylon’s destruction.
Yes, it is retribution from the Lord,
    retribution for his temple.(CS)
12 Over the walls of Babylon raise a signal,
    reinforce the watch;
Post sentries,
    arrange ambushes!
For the Lord has both planned and carried out
    what he spoke against the inhabitants of Babylon.
13 You who dwell by mighty waters,
    rich in treasure,
Your end has come,
    the time at which you shall be cut off!(CT)
14 The Lord of hosts has sworn by himself:
    I will fill you with people as numerous as locusts,
    who shall raise over you a joyous shout!
15 He made the earth by his power,
    established the world by wisdom,
    and by his skill stretched out the heavens.(CU)
16 When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar,
    he summons clouds from the ends of the earth,
Makes lightning flash in the rain,
    and brings out winds from their storehouses.
17 Every man is stupid, ignorant;
    every artisan is put to shame by his idol:
He molds a fraud,
    without life-breath.
18 They are nothing, a ridiculous work,
    that will perish at the time of punishment.
19 Jacob’s portion is nothing like them:
    he is the creator of all things.
Israel is his very own tribe;
    Lord of hosts is his name.
20 You are my hammer,
    a weapon for war;
With you I shatter nations,
    with you I destroy kingdoms.
21 With you I shatter horse and rider,
    with you I shatter chariot and driver.(CV)
22 With you I shatter man and woman,
    with you I shatter old and young,
    with you I shatter the young man and young woman.(CW)
23 With you I shatter shepherd and flock,
    with you I shatter farmer and team,
    with you I shatter governors and officers.
24 Thus I will repay Babylon,
    all the inhabitants of Chaldea,
For all the evil they committed against Zion,
    before your very eyes—oracle of the Lord.(CX)
25 Beware! I am against you,
    destroying mountain—oracle of the Lord
    destroyer of the entire earth,
I will stretch forth my hand against you,
    roll you down over the cliffs,
    and make you a burnt mountain:(CY)
26 They will not take from you a cornerstone,
    or a foundation stone;
You shall remain ruins forever—
    oracle of the Lord.(CZ)
27 Raise a signal in the land,
    sound the trumpet among the nations;
Dedicate nations for war against her,
    summon against her the kingdoms:
    Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz;[ad]
Appoint a recruiting officer against her,
    dispatch horses like bristling locusts.(DA)
28 Dedicate nations for war against her:
    the king of the Medes,
Its governors and all its officers,
    every land in its domain.
29 The earth quakes and writhes,
    the Lord’s plan against Babylon is carried out,
Turning the land of Babylon
    into a wasteland without inhabitants.
30 Babylon’s warriors have ceased to fight,
    they remain in their strongholds;
Dried up is their strength,
    they have become women.
Burned down are their homes,
    broken their gates.
31 One runner meets another,
    herald meets herald,
Telling the king of Babylon
    that his entire city has been taken.(DB)
32 The fords have been seized,
    marshes set on fire,
    warriors panic.

33 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel:

Daughter Babylon is like a threshing floor
    at the time of treading;
Yet a little while,
    and the harvest time will come for her.(DC)
34 “He consumed me, defeated me,
    Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon;
    he left me like an empty vessel,
Swallowed me like a sea monster,
    filled his belly with my delicacies and cast me out.
35 Let my torn flesh be visited upon Babylon,”
    says enthroned Zion;
“My blood upon the inhabitants of Chaldea,”
    says Jerusalem.
36 But now, thus says the Lord:
I will certainly defend your cause,
    I will certainly avenge you;
I will dry up her sea,
    and drain her fountain.
37 Babylon shall become a heap of ruins,
    a haunt of jackals;
A place of horror and hissing,
    without inhabitants.(DD)
38 They roar like lions,
    growl like lion cubs.(DE)
39 When they are parched, I will set drink before them
    to make them drunk, that they may be overcome
    with everlasting sleep, never to awaken—
    oracle of the Lord.
40 I will bring them down like lambs to slaughter,
    like rams and goats.
41 How she has been seized, taken captive,
    the glory of the whole world!
What a horror Babylon has become among the nations:(DF)
42     against Babylon the sea rises,
    she is overwhelmed by roaring waves!
43 Her cities have become wasteland,
    a parched and arid land
Where no one lives,
    no one passes through.
44 I will punish Bel in Babylon,
    and make him vomit up what he swallowed;
    nations shall no longer stream to him.
Even the wall of Babylon falls!
45     Leave her, my people; each of you save your own life
    from the burning wrath of the Lord.

46 Do not be discouraged when rumors spread through the land; this year one rumor comes, next year another: “Violence in the land!” or “Ruler against ruler!”(DG) 47 Realize that the days are coming when I will punish the idols of Babylon; the whole land shall be put to shame, all her slain shall fall in her midst. 48 Then heaven and earth and everything in them shall shout over Babylon with joy, when the destroyers come against her from the north—oracle of the Lord.(DH) 49 Babylon, too, must fall, you slain of Israel, because by the hand of Babylon the slain of all the earth have fallen.

50 You who have escaped the sword,
    go, do not stand idle;
Remember the Lord from far away,
    let Jerusalem come to mind.
51 We are ashamed because we have heard taunts,
    disgrace covers our faces;
    strangers have entered sanctuaries in the Lord’s house.(DI)
52 Therefore see, the days are coming—oracle of the Lord
    when I will punish her idols,
    and throughout the land the wounded will groan.
53 Though Babylon scale the heavens,
    and make her strong heights inaccessible,
    my destroyers shall reach her—oracle of the Lord.(DJ)
54 A sound of crying from Babylon,
    great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans;
55 For the Lord lays Babylon waste,
    silences her loud cry,
Waves roaring like mighty waters,
    a clamor resounding.
56 For the destroyer comes upon her, upon Babylon;
    warriors are captured, their bows broken;
The Lord is a God of recompense,
    he will surely repay.(DK)

57 I will make her princes and sages drunk, with her governors, officers, and warriors, so that they sleep an everlasting sleep, never to awaken—oracle of the King, whose name is Lord of hosts.

58     Thus says the Lord of hosts:
The walls of spacious Babylon shall be leveled to the ground,
    its lofty gates destroyed by fire.
The toil of the peoples is for nothing;
    the nations weary themselves for what the flames consume.(DL)

The Prophecy Sent to Babylon. 59 The mission Jeremiah the prophet gave to Seraiah,[ae] son of Neriah, son of Mahseiah, when he went to Babylon with King Zedekiah, king of Judah, in the fourth year of his reign; Seraiah was chief quartermaster. 60 Jeremiah wrote down on one scroll the disaster that would befall Babylon;[af] all these words were written against Babylon. 61 And Jeremiah said to Seraiah: “When you reach Babylon, see that you read all these words aloud,(DM) 62 and then say: Lord, you yourself spoke against this place in order to cut it down so that nothing, human being or beast, could live in it, because it is to remain a wasteland forever. 63 When you have finished reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and throw it into the Euphrates,(DN) 64 and say: Thus Babylon shall sink. It will never rise, because of the disaster I am bringing upon it.” Thus far the words of Jeremiah.

Footnotes

  1. 46:1–51:64 A collection of oracles against foreign nations constitutes the final section of the Hebrew text of Jeremiah; in the Greek text they follow 25:13. The oracles here appear to be arranged in loose chronological order: 46:2 mentions the fourth year of Jehoiakim; the oracles in 50:1–51:64 are evidently from the end of Jeremiah’s life.
  2. 46:2 Carchemish on the Euphrates: the western terminus of the Mesopotamian trade route, where Nebuchadnezzar defeated Pharaoh Neco in 605 B.C., thus gaining undisputed control of Syria and Palestine.
  3. 46:13 In 601 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar advanced into Egypt itself, but finally had to withdraw to Syria.
  4. 46:15 Apis: the chief god of Memphis; the black bull honored as an incarnation of the god Ptah and, later, of the god Osiris.
  5. 46:17 “Braggart-missed-his-chance”: the Hebrew phrase may contain a pun on the Pharaoh’s name or royal title.
  6. 46:18 Tabor…Carmel: mountains in Palestine that seem to tower over their surroundings as Nebuchadnezzar towers over the nations in his path as he makes his way toward Egypt.
  7. 46:25 Amon: the sun-god worshiped at Thebes in Upper Egypt.
  8. 47:2–7 Nebuchadnezzar’s military campaign against Ashkelon in 604 B.C. may provide some historical background for this poem.
  9. 47:4 Tyre and Sidon: Phoenician seaports allied commercially with the Philistines and often rebelling against Nebuchadnezzar; cf. 27:1–4. After the capture of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar carried out a partially successful thirteen-year siege of Tyre. Caphtor: Crete and other Aegean islands, points of origin for the Philistines and other sea peoples; cf. Am 9:7.
  10. 47:5 Baldness…gash yourself: close-cropped hair, silence, and ritual slashing of the body express mourning and grief and here represent the mourner’s awareness that chaos has overcome order (cf. 41:5).
  11. 48:1–47 Moab, located east of the Dead Sea, was one of Israel’s bitter enemies (cf., e.g., Is 15–16; Am 2:1–3). According to Flavius Josephus, Nebuchadnezzar conquered Moab and Ammon in his twenty-third year (582 B.C.), five years after the destruction of Jerusalem. This chapter is full of local place names in Moab.
  12. 48:2 Madmen: a place name, not mentioned elsewhere in the Old Testament.
  13. 48:7 Chemosh: chief god of Moab (cf. Nm 21:29).
  14. 48:11–12 Moabite wine was known for its high quality. Here the wine is a metaphor for Moab’s complacency.
  15. 48:18 Dibon, the capital of Moab at that time, is situated on a height. The prophet here offers a personification of the city, pictured as a confident ruler.
  16. 49:1 Milcom: chief god of the Ammonites (cf. 1 Kgs 11:5). The Ammonites shared a border with Gad, an Israelite tribe in Transjordan (Jos 13:8–10); the Ammonites occupied its territory after the collapse of the Northern Kingdom.
  17. 49:7–22 Edom: southeast of the Dead Sea, a traditional enemy who profited from Judah’s downfall; cf. Ps 137:7; Lam 4:21–22; Ob 11–12.
  18. 49:7 Teman, a district of Edom (cf. Jb 2:11), represents the whole country, which was famous for the wisdom of its sages.
  19. 49:8 Esau: Jacob’s brother, the traditional ancestor of the Edomites; cf. Gn 36:1.
  20. 49:13 Bozrah: capital of Edom.
  21. 49:23 Hamath and Arpad: independent Aramean states north of Damascus, the direction from which the invasion is coming. Cf. Is 10:9–10.
  22. 49:27 Ben-hadad: a dynastic name for some of the kings who ruled in Damascus; cf. 1 Kgs 15:18, 20.
  23. 49:34 Elam: an ancient kingdom east of Babylonia.
  24. 50:1–51:58 A collection of miscellaneous oracles against Babylon introducing the story in 51:59–64.
  25. 50:2 Bel: originally the title of the god of Nippur in Mesopotamia, later associated with Merodach (Marduk), chief god of Babylon (cf. Is 46:1).
  26. 50:15 Its walls are torn down: the prophet describes the downfall of Babylon in conventional language. Babylon surrendered peacefully to the Persians in 539 B.C.
  27. 50:21 Merathaim…Pekod: “twice bitter,” “punishment,” symbolic terms for Babylon that recall the names of regions in the country.
  28. 51:1 The destroyer wind is the fierce dry wind from the east (cf. 4:11).
  29. 51:11 Kings of the Medes: the Medes and the Persians lived in the area known today as Iran.
  30. 51:27 Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz: regions in eastern Asia Minor under the control of the Medes.
  31. 51:59 Seraiah: the brother of Baruch; cf. 32:12. He may have gone to Babylon to explain away the presence of foreign ambassadors in Jerusalem that same year; cf. 27:3.
  32. 51:60 Jeremiah prophesied against Babylon, even as he foretold Judah’s release from Babylon’s power (3:14–18; 32:15; 33:6–9, 12–13); but his scroll against Babylon was thrown in the Euphrates (v. 63). Some of the preceding oracles may have been composed by later writers; see note on 50:1–51:58.

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