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Babylon's Capture

50 (A)This is the message that the Lord gave me about the city of Babylon and its people:

“Tell the news to the nations! Proclaim it!
    Give the signal and announce the news!
    Do not keep it a secret!
Babylon has fallen!
    Her god Marduk has been shattered!
Babylon's idols are put to shame;
    her disgusting images are crushed!

“A nation from the north has come to attack Babylonia and will make it a desert. People and animals will run away, and no one will live there.”

Israel's Return

The Lord says, “When that time comes, the people of both Israel and Judah will come weeping, looking for me, their God. They will ask the way to Zion and then go in that direction. They will make an eternal covenant with me and never break it.

“My people are like sheep whose shepherds have let them get lost in the mountains. They have wandered like sheep from one mountain to another, and they have forgotten where their home is. They are attacked by all who find them. Their enemies say, ‘They sinned against the Lord, and so what we have done is not wrong. Their ancestors trusted in the Lord, and they themselves should have remained faithful to him.’

(B)“People of Israel, run away from Babylonia! Leave the country! Be the first to leave! I am going to stir up a group of strong nations in the north and make them attack Babylonia. They will line up in battle against the country and conquer it. They are skillful hunters, shooting arrows that never miss the mark. 10 Babylonia will be looted, and those who loot it will take everything they want. I, the Lord, have spoken.”

Babylon's Fall

11 The Lord says, “People of Babylonia, you plundered my nation. You are happy and glad, going about like a cow threshing grain or like a neighing horse, 12 but your own great city will be humiliated and disgraced. Babylonia will be the least important nation of all; it will become a dry and waterless desert. 13 Because of my anger no one will live in Babylon; it will be left in ruins, and all who pass by will be shocked and amazed.

14 “Archers, line up for battle against Babylon and surround it. Shoot all your arrows at Babylon, because it has sinned against me, the Lord. 15 Raise the war cry all around the city! Now Babylon has surrendered. Its walls have been broken through and torn down.[a] I am taking my revenge on the Babylonians. So take your revenge on them, and treat them as they have treated others. 16 Do not let seeds be planted in that country nor let a harvest be gathered. Every foreigner living there will be afraid of the attacking army and will go back home.”

Israel's Return

17 The Lord says, “The people of Israel are like sheep, chased and scattered by lions. First, they were attacked by the emperor of Assyria, and then King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia gnawed on their bones. 18 Because of this, I, the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, will punish King Nebuchadnezzar and his country, just as I punished the emperor of Assyria. 19 I will restore the people of Israel to their land. They will eat the food that grows on Mount Carmel and in the region of Bashan, and they will eat all they want of the crops that grow in the territories of Ephraim and Gilead. 20 When that time comes, no sin will be found in Israel and no wickedness in Judah, because I will forgive those people whose lives I have spared. I, the Lord, have spoken.”

God's Judgment on Babylonia

21 The Lord says, “Attack the people of Merathaim and of Pekod. Kill and destroy them.[b] Do everything I command you. I, the Lord, have spoken. 22 The noise of battle is heard in the land, and there is great destruction. 23 Babylonia hammered the whole world to pieces, and now that hammer is shattered! All the nations are shocked at what has happened to that country. 24 Babylonia, you fought against me, and you have been caught in the trap I set for you, even though you did not know it. 25 I have opened the place where my weapons are stored, and in my anger I have taken them out, because I, the Sovereign Lord Almighty, have work to do in Babylonia. 26 Attack it from every side and break open the places where its grain is stored! Pile up the loot like piles of grain! Destroy the country! Leave nothing at all! 27 Kill all their soldiers! Slaughter them! The people of Babylonia are doomed! The time has come for them to be punished!”

(28 Refugees escape from Babylonia and come to Jerusalem, and they tell how the Lord our God took revenge for what the Babylonians had done to his Temple.)

29 (C)“Tell the archers to attack Babylon. Send out everyone who knows how to use the bow and arrow. Surround the city and don't let anyone escape. Pay it back for all it has done, and treat it as it has treated others, because it acted with pride against me, the Holy One of Israel. 30 So its young men will be killed in the city streets, and all its soldiers will be destroyed on that day. I, the Lord, have spoken.

31 “Babylonia, you are filled with pride, so I, the Sovereign Lord Almighty, am against you! The time has come for me to punish you. 32 Your proud nation will stumble and fall, and no one will help you up. I will set your cities on fire, and everything around will be destroyed.”

33 The Lord Almighty says, “The people of Israel and of Judah are oppressed. All who captured them are guarding them closely and will not let them go. 34 But the one who will rescue them is strong—his name is the Lord Almighty. He himself will take up their cause and will bring peace to the earth, but trouble to the people of Babylonia.”

35 The Lord says,

“Death to Babylonia!
    Death to its people,
    to its rulers, to its people of wisdom.
36 Death to its lying prophets—
    what fools they are!
Death to its soldiers—
    how terrified they are!
37 Destroy its horses and chariots!
Death to its hired soldiers—
    how weak they are!
Destroy its treasures;
    plunder and loot.
38 Bring a drought on its land
    and dry up its rivers.
Babylonia is a land of terrifying idols
    that have made fools of the people.

39 (D)“And so Babylon will be haunted by demons and evil spirits,[c] and by unclean birds. Never again will people live there, not for all time to come. 40 (E)The same thing will happen to Babylon that happened to Sodom and Gomorrah, when I destroyed them and the nearby towns. No one will ever live there again. I, the Lord, have spoken.

41 “People are coming from a country in the north,
    a mighty nation far away;
    many kings are preparing for war.
42 They have taken their bows and swords;
    they are cruel and merciless.
They sound like the roaring sea,
    as they ride their horses.
They are ready for battle against Babylonia.
43 The king of Babylonia hears the news,
    and his hands hang limp.
    He is seized by anguish,
    by pain like a woman in labor.

44 “Like a lion coming out of the thick woods along the Jordan up to the green pasture land, I, the Lord, will come and make the Babylonians run away suddenly from their city. Then the leader I choose will rule the nation. Who can be compared to me? Who would dare challenge me? What ruler could oppose me? 45 So listen to the plan that I have made against the city of Babylon and to what I intend to do to its people. Even their children will be dragged off, and everyone will be horrified. 46 When Babylon falls, there will be such a noise that the entire earth will shake, and the cries of alarm will be heard by the other nations.”

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 50:15 Hebrew has an additional word, the meaning of which is unclear.
  2. Jeremiah 50:21 One ancient translation them; Hebrew after them.
  3. Jeremiah 50:39 demons and evil spirits; or wildcats and jackals.

A Message About Babylon(A)

50 This is the word the Lord spoke through Jeremiah the prophet concerning Babylon(B) and the land of the Babylonians[a]:

“Announce and proclaim(C) among the nations,
    lift up a banner(D) and proclaim it;
    keep nothing back, but say,
‘Babylon will be captured;(E)
    Bel(F) will be put to shame,(G)
    Marduk(H) filled with terror.
Her images will be put to shame
    and her idols(I) filled with terror.’
A nation from the north(J) will attack her
    and lay waste her land.
No one will live(K) in it;
    both people and animals(L) will flee away.

“In those days, at that time,”
    declares the Lord,
“the people of Israel and the people of Judah together(M)
    will go in tears(N) to seek(O) the Lord their God.
They will ask the way(P) to Zion
    and turn their faces toward it.
They will come(Q) and bind themselves to the Lord
    in an everlasting covenant(R)
    that will not be forgotten.

“My people have been lost sheep;(S)
    their shepherds(T) have led them astray(U)
    and caused them to roam on the mountains.
They wandered over mountain and hill(V)
    and forgot their own resting place.(W)
Whoever found them devoured(X) them;
    their enemies said, ‘We are not guilty,(Y)
for they sinned against the Lord, their verdant pasture,
    the Lord, the hope(Z) of their ancestors.’

“Flee(AA) out of Babylon;(AB)
    leave the land of the Babylonians,
    and be like the goats that lead the flock.
For I will stir(AC) up and bring against Babylon
    an alliance of great nations(AD) from the land of the north.(AE)
They will take up their positions against her,
    and from the north she will be captured.(AF)
Their arrows(AG) will be like skilled warriors
    who do not return empty-handed.
10 So Babylonia[b] will be plundered;(AH)
    all who plunder her will have their fill,”
declares the Lord.

11 “Because you rejoice and are glad,
    you who pillage my inheritance,(AI)
because you frolic like a heifer(AJ) threshing grain
    and neigh like stallions,
12 your mother will be greatly ashamed;
    she who gave you birth will be disgraced.(AK)
She will be the least of the nations—
    a wilderness, a dry land, a desert.(AL)
13 Because of the Lord’s anger she will not be inhabited
    but will be completely desolate.(AM)
All who pass Babylon will be appalled;(AN)
    they will scoff(AO) because of all her wounds.(AP)

14 “Take up your positions around Babylon,
    all you who draw the bow.(AQ)
Shoot at her! Spare no arrows,(AR)
    for she has sinned against the Lord.
15 Shout(AS) against her on every side!
    She surrenders, her towers fall,
    her walls(AT) are torn down.
Since this is the vengeance(AU) of the Lord,
    take vengeance on her;
    do to her(AV) as she has done to others.(AW)
16 Cut off from Babylon the sower,
    and the reaper with his sickle at harvest.
Because of the sword(AX) of the oppressor
    let everyone return to their own people,(AY)
    let everyone flee to their own land.(AZ)

17 “Israel is a scattered flock(BA)
    that lions(BB) have chased away.
The first to devour(BC) them
    was the king(BD) of Assyria;
the last to crush their bones(BE)
    was Nebuchadnezzar(BF) king(BG) of Babylon.”

18 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says:

“I will punish the king of Babylon and his land
    as I punished the king(BH) of Assyria.(BI)
19 But I will bring(BJ) Israel back to their own pasture,
    and they will graze on Carmel and Bashan;
their appetite will be satisfied(BK)
    on the hills(BL) of Ephraim and Gilead.(BM)
20 In those days, at that time,”
    declares the Lord,
“search will be made for Israel’s guilt,
    but there will be none,(BN)
and for the sins(BO) of Judah,
    but none will be found,
    for I will forgive(BP) the remnant(BQ) I spare.

21 “Attack the land of Merathaim
    and those who live in Pekod.(BR)
Pursue, kill and completely destroy[c] them,”
declares the Lord.
    “Do everything I have commanded you.
22 The noise(BS) of battle is in the land,
    the noise of great destruction!
23 How broken and shattered
    is the hammer(BT) of the whole earth!(BU)
How desolate(BV) is Babylon
    among the nations!
24 I set a trap(BW) for you, Babylon,
    and you were caught before you knew it;
you were found and captured(BX)
    because you opposed(BY) the Lord.
25 The Lord has opened his arsenal
    and brought out the weapons(BZ) of his wrath,
for the Sovereign Lord Almighty has work to do
    in the land of the Babylonians.(CA)
26 Come against her from afar.(CB)
    Break open her granaries;
    pile her up like heaps of grain.(CC)
Completely destroy(CD) her
    and leave her no remnant.
27 Kill all her young bulls;(CE)
    let them go down to the slaughter!(CF)
Woe to them! For their day(CG) has come,
    the time(CH) for them to be punished.
28 Listen to the fugitives(CI) and refugees from Babylon
    declaring in Zion(CJ)
how the Lord our God has taken vengeance,(CK)
    vengeance for his temple.(CL)

29 “Summon archers against Babylon,
    all those who draw the bow.(CM)
Encamp all around her;
    let no one escape.(CN)
Repay(CO) her for her deeds;(CP)
    do to her as she has done.
For she has defied(CQ) the Lord,
    the Holy One(CR) of Israel.
30 Therefore, her young men(CS) will fall in the streets;
    all her soldiers will be silenced in that day,”
declares the Lord.
31 “See, I am against(CT) you, you arrogant one,”
    declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty,
“for your day(CU) has come,
    the time for you to be punished.
32 The arrogant(CV) one will stumble and fall(CW)
    and no one will help her up;(CX)
I will kindle a fire(CY) in her towns
    that will consume all who are around her.”

33 This is what the Lord Almighty says:

“The people of Israel are oppressed,(CZ)
    and the people of Judah as well.
All their captors hold them fast,
    refusing to let them go.(DA)
34 Yet their Redeemer(DB) is strong;
    the Lord Almighty(DC) is his name.
He will vigorously defend their cause(DD)
    so that he may bring rest(DE) to their land,
    but unrest to those who live in Babylon.

35 “A sword(DF) against the Babylonians!”(DG)
    declares the Lord
“against those who live in Babylon
    and against her officials and wise(DH) men!
36 A sword against her false prophets!
    They will become fools.
A sword against her warriors!(DI)
    They will be filled with terror.(DJ)
37 A sword against her horses and chariots(DK)
    and all the foreigners in her ranks!
    They will become weaklings.(DL)
A sword against her treasures!(DM)
    They will be plundered.
38 A drought on[d] her waters!(DN)
    They will dry(DO) up.
For it is a land of idols,(DP)
    idols that will go mad with terror.

39 “So desert creatures(DQ) and hyenas will live there,
    and there the owl will dwell.
It will never again be inhabited
    or lived in from generation to generation.(DR)
40 As I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah(DS)
    along with their neighboring towns,”
declares the Lord,
“so no one will live there;
    no people will dwell in it.(DT)

41 “Look! An army is coming from the north;(DU)
    a great nation and many kings
    are being stirred(DV) up from the ends of the earth.(DW)
42 They are armed with bows(DX) and spears;
    they are cruel(DY) and without mercy.(DZ)
They sound like the roaring sea(EA)
    as they ride on their horses;
they come like men in battle formation
    to attack you, Daughter Babylon.(EB)
43 The king of Babylon has heard reports about them,
    and his hands hang limp.(EC)
Anguish has gripped him,
    pain like that of a woman in labor.(ED)
44 Like a lion coming up from Jordan’s thickets(EE)
    to a rich pastureland,
I will chase Babylon from its land in an instant.
    Who is the chosen(EF) one I will appoint for this?
Who is like me and who can challenge me?(EG)
    And what shepherd can stand against me?”

45 Therefore, hear what the Lord has planned against Babylon,
    what he has purposed(EH) against the land of the Babylonians:(EI)
The young of the flock will be dragged away;
    their pasture will be appalled at their fate.
46 At the sound of Babylon’s capture the earth will tremble;(EJ)
    its cry(EK) will resound among the nations.

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 50:1 Or Chaldeans; also in verses 8, 25, 35 and 45
  2. Jeremiah 50:10 Or Chaldea
  3. Jeremiah 50:21 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them; also in verse 26.
  4. Jeremiah 50:38 Or A sword against

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