The Message on Babylon. Isaiah son of Amoz saw it:
"Run up a flag on an open hill. Yell loud. Get their attention. Wave them into formation. Direct them to the nerve center of power.
I've taken charge of my special forces, called up my crack troops. They're bursting with pride and passion to carry out my angry judgment."
Thunder rolls off the mountains like a mob huge and noisy - Thunder of kingdoms in an uproar, nations assembling for war. God-of-the-Angel-Armies is calling his army into battle formation.
They come from far-off countries, they pour in across the horizon. It's God on the move with the weapons of his wrath, ready to destroy the whole country.
Wail! God's Day of Judgment is near - an avalanche crashing down from the Strong God!
Everyone paralyzed in the panic,
and unstrung, Doubled up in pain like a woman giving birth to a baby. Horrified - everyone they see is like a face out of a nightmare.
"Watch now. God's Judgment Day comes. Cruel it is, a day of wrath and anger, A day to waste the earth and clean out all the sinners.
The stars in the sky, the great parade of constellations, will be nothing but black holes. The sun will come up as a black disk, and the moon a blank nothing.
I'll put a full stop to the evil on earth, terminate the dark acts of the wicked. I'll gag all braggarts and boasters - not a peep anymore from them - and trip strutting tyrants, leave them flat on their faces.
Proud humanity will disappear from the earth. I'll make mortals rarer than hens' teeth.
And yes, I'll even make the sky shake, and the earth quake to its roots Under the wrath of God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the Judgment Day of his raging anger.
Like a hunted white-tailed deer, like lost sheep with no shepherd, People will huddle with a few of their own kind, run off to some makeshift shelter.
But tough luck to stragglers - they'll be killed on the spot, throats cut, bellies ripped open,
Babies smashed on the rocks while mothers and fathers watch, Houses looted, wives raped.
"And now watch this: Against Babylon, I'm inciting the Medes, A ruthless bunch indifferent to bribes, the kind of brutality that no one can blunt.
They massacre the young, wantonly kick and kill even babies.
And Babylon, most glorious of all kingdoms, the pride and joy of Chaldeans, Will end up smoking and stinking like Sodom, and, yes, like Gomorrah, when God had finished with them.
No one will live there anymore, generation after generation a ghost town. Not even Bedouins will pitch tents there. Shepherds will give it a wide berth.
But strange and wild animals will like it just fine, filling the vacant houses with eerie night sounds. Skunks will make it their home, and unspeakable night hags will haunt it.
Hyenas will curdle your blood with their laughing, and the howling of coyotes will give you the shivers. "Babylon is doomed. It won't be long now."
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)