New American Bible (Revised Edition)
2 Proclaim this among the nations, announce it!
Announce it, do not hide it, but say:
Babylon is captured, Bel[b] put to shame, Marduk terrified;
its images are put to shame, its idols shattered.
3 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.(B)
4 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;(C)
5 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.”(D)
6 Lost sheep were my people,
their shepherds misled them,
leading them astray on the mountains;
From mountain to hill they wandered,
forgetting their fold.(E)
7 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.”(F)
8 Flee from the midst of Babylon,
leave the land of the Chaldeans,
be like rams at the head of the flock.(G)
9 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.(H)
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.(I)
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.(J)
14 Take your posts encircling Babylon,
you who bend the bow;
Shoot at it, do not spare your arrows,(K)
15 raise the war cry against it on every side.
It surrenders, its bastions fall,
its walls are torn down:[c]
This is retribution from the Lord! Take retribution on her,
as she has done, do to her;
for she sinned against the Lord.(L)
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.(M)
17 Israel was a stray sheep
that lions pursued;
The king of Assyria once devoured him;
now Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon gnaws his bones.(N)
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;(O)
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.(P)
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.(Q)
21 Attack the land of Merathaim,
and those who live in Pekod;[d]
Slaughter and put them under the ban—oracle of the Lord—
do all I have commanded you.
22 Battle alarm in the land,
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!(R)
24 You ensnared yourself and were caught,
Babylon, before you knew it!
You were discovered and seized,
because you challenged the Lord.(S)
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.(T)
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.(U)
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.(V)
30 Therefore their young men shall fall in the squares,
all their warriors shall be stilled on that day—
oracle of the Lord.(W)
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.(X)
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;(Y)
38 A drought upon the waters,
and they dry up!
For it is a land of idols,
soon made frantic by phantoms.(Z)
39 Hence, wildcats shall dwell there with hyenas,
and ostriches occupy it;
Never again shall it be inhabited or settled,
from age to age.(AA)
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.(AB)
41 See, a people comes from the north,
a great nation, and mighty kings
rising from the ends of the earth.(AC)
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.(AD)
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?(AE)
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.(AF)
46 At the cry “Babylon is captured!” the earth quakes;
the outcry is heard among the nations.(AG)
The Second Oracle Against Babylon
1 Thus says the Lord:
See! I rouse against Babylon,
and the inhabitants of Chaldea,
a destroyer wind.[e]
2 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.(AH)
3 How can the archers draw back their bows,
lift their armor?
Do not spare her young men,
put the entire army under the ban.(AI)
4 The slain shall fall in the land of Chaldea,
the wounded, in its streets;(AJ)
5 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.
6 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,
7 who pays out her due.(AK)
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.(AL)
8 Babylon suddenly falls and is broken:
wail over her!
Bring balm for her wounds,
in case she can be healed.(AM)
9 “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.(AN)
10 The Lord has brought forth our vindication;
come, let us tell in Zion
what the Lord, our God, has done.(AO)
11 Sharpen the arrows,
fill the quivers;
The Lord has stirred up the spirit of the kings of the Medes,[f]
for his resolve is Babylon’s destruction.
Yes, it is retribution from the Lord,
retribution for his temple.(AP)
12 Over the walls of Babylon raise a signal,
reinforce the watch;
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!(AQ)
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.(AR)
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,
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.(AS)
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.(AT)
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.(AU)
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:(AV)
26 They will not take from you a cornerstone,
or a foundation stone;
You shall remain ruins forever—
oracle of the Lord.(AW)
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;[g]
Appoint a recruiting officer against her,
dispatch horses like bristling locusts.(AX)
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.(AY)
32 The fords have been seized,
marshes set on fire,
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.(AZ)
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,”
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,
38 They roar like lions,
growl like lion cubs.(BB)
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:(BC)
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!”(BD) 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.(BE) 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.(BF)
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.(BG)
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.(BH)
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.(BI)
The Prophecy Sent to Babylon. 59 The mission Jeremiah the prophet gave to Seraiah,[h] 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;[i] 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,(BJ) 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,(BK) 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.
- 50:1–51:58 A collection of miscellaneous oracles against Babylon introducing the story in 51:59–64.
- 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).
- 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.
- 50:21 Merathaim…Pekod: “twice bitter,” “punishment,” symbolic terms for Babylon that recall the names of regions in the country.
- 51:1 The destroyer wind is the fierce dry wind from the east (cf. 4:11).
- 51:11 Kings of the Medes: the Medes and the Persians lived in the area known today as Iran.
- 51:27 Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz: regions in eastern Asia Minor under the control of the Medes.
- 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.
- 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.