This is what the Lord says: "I will soon cause a destroying wind to blow against Babylon and the Babylonian people.
I will send foreign people to destroy Babylon like a wind that blows chaff away. They will destroy the land. Armies will surround the city when the day of disaster comes upon her.
Don't let the Babylonian soldiers prepare their bows to shoot. Don't even let them put on their armor. Don't feel sorry for the young men of Babylon, but completely destroy her army.
They will be killed in the land of the Babylonians and will die in her streets.
The Lord God All-Powerful did not leave Israel and Judah, even though they were completely guilty in the presence of the Holy One of Israel.
"Run away from Babylon and save your lives! Don't stay and be killed because of Babylon's sins. It is time for the Lord to punish Babylon; he will give Babylon the punishment she deserves.
Babylon was like a gold cup in the Lord's hand that made the whole earth drunk. The nations drank Babylon's wine, so they went crazy.
Babylon has suddenly fallen and been broken. Cry for her! Get balm for her pain, and maybe she can be healed.
"Foreigners in Babylon say, 'We tried to heal Babylon, but she cannot be healed. So let us leave her and each go to his own country. Babylon's punishment is as high as the sky; it reaches to the clouds.'
"The people of Judah say, 'The Lord has shown us to be right. Come, let us tell in Jerusalem what the Lord our God has done.'
"Sharpen the arrows! Pick up your shields! The Lord has stirred up the kings of the Medes, because he wants to destroy Babylon. for destroying his Temple.
Lift up a banner against the walls of Babylon! Bring more guards. Put the watchmen in their places, and get ready for a secret attack! and what he said he would do against the people of Babylon.
People of Babylon, you live near much water and are rich with many treasures, but your end as a nation has come. It is time to stop you from robbing other nations.
The Lord All-Powerful has promised in his own name: 'Babylon, I will surely fill you with so many enemy soldiers they will be like a swarm of locusts. They will stand over you and shout their victory.'
"The Lord made the earth by his power. He used his wisdom to build the world and his understanding to stretch out the skies.
When he thunders, the waters in the skies roar. He makes clouds rise in the sky all over the earth. He sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.
"People are so stupid and know so little. Goldsmiths are made ashamed by their idols, because those statues are only false gods. They have no breath in them.
They are worth nothing; people make fun of them. When they are judged, they will be destroyed.
But God, who is Jacob's Portion, is not like the idols. He made everything, and he chose Israel to be his special people. The Lord All-Powerful is his name.
"You are my war club, my battle weapon. I use you to smash nations. I use you to destroy kingdoms.
I use you to smash horses and riders. I use you to smash chariots and drivers.
I use you to smash men and women. I use you to smash old people and young people. I use you to smash young men and young women.
I use you to smash shepherds and flocks. I use you to smash farmers and oxen. I use you to smash governors and officers.
"But I will pay back Babylon and all the Babylonians for all the evil things they did to Jerusalem in your sight," says the Lord.
The Lord says, "Babylon, you are a destroying mountain, and I am against you. You have destroyed the whole land. I will put my hand out against you. I will roll you off the cliffs, and I will make you a burned-out mountain.
People will not find any rocks in Babylon big enough for cornerstones. People will not take any rocks from Babylon to use for the foundation of a building, because your city will be just a pile of ruins forever," says the Lord.
"Lift up a banner in the land! Blow the trumpet among the nations! Get the nations ready for battle against Babylon. Call these kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz to fight against her. Choose a commander to lead the army against Babylon. Send so many horses that they are like a swarm of locusts.
Get the nations ready for battle against Babylon -- the kings of the Medes, their governors and all their officers, and all the countries they rule.
The land shakes and moves in pain, because the Lord will do what he has planned to Babylon. He will make Babylon an empty desert, where no one will live.
Babylon's warriors have stopped fighting. They stay in their protected cities. Their strength is gone, and they have become like frightened women. Babylon's houses are burning. The bars of her gates are broken.
One messenger follows another; messenger follows messenger. that his whole city has been captured.
The river crossings have been captured, and the swamplands are burning. All of Babylon's soldiers are terribly afraid."
This is what the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: "The city of Babylon is like a threshing floor, where people crush the grain at harvest time. The time to harvest Babylon is coming soon."
"Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has defeated and destroyed us. In the past he took our people away, and we became like an empty jar. He was like a giant snake that swallowed us. He filled his stomach with our best things. Then he spit us out.
Babylon did terrible things to hurt us. Now let those things happen to Babylon," say the people of Jerusalem. "The people of Babylon killed our people. Now let them be punished for what they did," says Jerusalem.
So this is what the Lord says: "I will soon defend you, Judah, and make sure that Babylon is punished. and make her springs become dry.
Babylon will become a pile of ruins, a home for wild dogs. People will be shocked by what happened there. No one will live there anymore.
Babylon's people roar like young lions; they growl like baby lions.
While they are stirred up, I will give a feast for them and make them drunk. They will shout and laugh. And they will sleep forever and never wake up!" says the Lord.
"I will take the people of Babylon to be killed. They will be like lambs, like sheep and goats waiting to be killed.
"How Babylon has been defeated! The pride of the whole earth has been taken captive. People from other nations are shocked at what happened to Babylon, and the things they see make them afraid.
The sea has risen over Babylon; its roaring waves cover her.
Babylon's towns are ruined and empty. It has become a dry, desert land, a land where no one lives. People do not even travel through Babylon.
I will punish the god Bel in Babylon. I will make him spit out what he has swallowed. Nations will no longer come to Babylon; even the wall around the city will fall.
"Come out of Babylon, my people! Run for your lives! Run from the Lord's great anger.
Don't lose courage; rumors will spread through the land, but don't be afraid. One rumor comes this year, and another comes the next year. There will be rumors of terrible fighting in the country, of rulers fighting against rulers.
The time will surely come when I will punish the idols of Babylon, and the whole land will be disgraced. There will be many dead people lying all around.
Then heaven and earth and all that is in them will shout for joy about Babylon. They will shout because the army comes from the north to destroy Babylon," says the Lord.
"Babylon must fall, because she killed people from Israel. She killed people from everywhere on earth.
You who have escaped being killed with swords, leave Babylon! Don't wait! and think about Jerusalem."
"We people of Judah are disgraced, because we have been insulted. We have been shamed, because strangers have gone into the holy places of the Lord's Temple!"
So the Lord says, "The time is coming soon when I will punish the idols of Babylon. Wounded people will cry with pain all over that land.
Even if Babylon grows until she touches the sky, and even if she makes her highest cities strong, I will send people to destroy her," says the Lord.
"Sounds of people crying are heard in Babylon. Sounds of people destroying things are heard in the land of the Babylonians.
The Lord is destroying Babylon and making the loud sounds of the city become silent. Enemies come roaring in like ocean waves. The roar of their voices is heard all around.
The army has come to destroy Babylon. Her soldiers have been captured, and their bows are broken, because the Lord is a God who punishes people for the evil they do. He gives them the full punishment they deserve.
I will make Babylon's rulers and wise men drunk, and her governors, officers, and soldiers, too. Then they will sleep forever and never wake up," says the King, whose name is the Lord All-Powerful.
This is what the Lord All-Powerful says: "Babylon's thick wall will be completely pulled down and her high gates burned. The people will work hard, but it won't help; their work will only become fuel for the flames!"
This is the message that Jeremiah the prophet gave to the officer Seraiah son of Neriah, who was the son of Mahseiah. Seraiah went to Babylon with Zedekiah king of Judah in the fourth year Zedekiah was king of Judah. His duty was to arrange the king's food and housing on the trip.
Jeremiah had written on a scroll all the terrible things that would happen to Babylon, all these words about Babylon.
Jeremiah said to Seraiah, "As soon as you come to Babylon, be sure to read this message so all the people can hear you.
Then say, 'Lord, you have said that you will destroy this place so that no people or animals will live in it. It will be an empty ruin forever.'
After you finish reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and throw it into the Euphrates River.
Then say, 'In the same way Babylon will sink and will not rise again because of the terrible things I will make happen here. Her people will fall.'" The words of Jeremiah end here.
Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he was king in Jerusalem for eleven years. His mother's name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah, and she was from Libnah.
Zedekiah did what the Lord said was wrong, just as Jehoiakim had done.
All this happened in Jerusalem and Judah because the Lord was angry with them. Finally, he threw them out of his presence. Zedekiah turned against the king of Babylon.
Then Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. They made a camp around the city and built devices all around the city walls to attack it. This happened on Zedekiah's ninth year, tenth month, and tenth day as king.
And the city was under attack until Zedekiah's eleventh year as king.
By the ninth day of the fourth month, the hunger was terrible in the city; there was no food for the people to eat.
Then the city wall was broken through, and the whole army of Judah ran away at night. They left the city through the gate between the two walls by the king's garden. Even though the Babylonians were surrounding the city, Zedekiah and his men headed toward the Jordan Valley.
But the Babylonian army chased King Zedekiah and caught him in the plains of Jericho. All of his army was scattered from him.
So the Babylonians captured Zedekiah and took him to the king of Babylon at the town of Riblah in the land of Hamath. There he passed sentence on Zedekiah.
At Riblah the king of Babylon killed Zedekiah's sons as he watched. The king also killed all the officers of Judah.
Then he put out Zedekiah's eyes, and put bronze chains on him, and took him to Babylon. And the king kept Zedekiah in prison there until the day he died.
Nebuzaradan, commander of the king's special guards and servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem on the tenth day of the fifth month. This was in Nebuchadnezzar's nineteenth year as king of Babylon.
Nebuzaradan set fire to the Temple of the Lord, the palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem; every important building was burned.
The whole Babylonian army, led by the commander of the king's special guards, broke down all the walls around Jerusalem.
Nebuzaradan, the commander of the king's special guards, took captive some of the poorest people, those who were left in Jerusalem, those who had surrendered to the king of Babylon, and the skilled craftsmen who were left in Jerusalem.
But Nebuzaradan left behind some of the poorest people of the land to take care of the vineyards and fields.
The Babylonians broke into pieces the bronze pillars, the bronze stands, and the large bronze bowl, called the Sea, which were in the Temple of the Lord. Then they carried all the bronze pieces to Babylon.
They also took the pots, shovels, wick trimmers, bowls, dishes, and all the bronze objects used to serve in the Temple.
The commander of the king's special guards took away bowls, pans for carrying hot coals, large bowls, pots, lampstands, pans, and bowls used for drink offerings. He took everything that was made of pure gold or silver.
There was so much bronze that it could not be weighed: two pillars, the large bronze bowl called the Sea with the twelve bronze bulls under it, and the movable stands, which King Solomon had made for the Temple of the Lord.
Each of the pillars was about twenty-seven feet high, eighteen feet around, and hollow inside. The wall of each pillar was three inches thick.
The bronze capital on top of the one pillar was about seven and one-half feet high. It was decorated with a net design and bronze pomegranates all around it. The other pillar also had pomegranates and was like the first pillar.
There were ninety-six pomegranates on the sides of the pillars. There was a total of a hundred pomegranates above the net design.
The commander of the king's special guards took as prisoners Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest next in rank, and the three doorkeepers.
He also took from the city the officer in charge of the soldiers, seven people who advised the king, the royal secretary who selected people for the army, and sixty other men from Judah who were in the city when it fell.
Nebuzaradan, the commander, took these people and brought them to the king of Babylon at the town of Riblah.
There at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king had them killed. So the people of Judah were led away from their country as captives.
This is the number of the people Nebuchadnezzar took away as catives: in the seventh year, 3,023 Jews;
in Nebuchadnezzar's eighteenth year, 832 people from Jerusalem;
in Nebuchadnezzar's twenty-third year, Nebuzaradan, commander of the king's special guards, took 745 Jews as captives. In all 4,600 people were taken captive.
Jehoiachin king of Judah was in prison in Babylon for thirty-seven years. The year Evil-Merodach became king of Babylon he let Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison. He set Jehoiachin free on the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month.
Evil-Merodach spoke kindly to Jehoiachin and gave him a seat of honor above the seats of the other kings who were with him in Babylon.
So Jehoiachin put away his prison clothes, and for the rest of his life, he ate at the king's table.
Every day the king of Babylon gave Jehoiachin an allowance. This lasted as long as he lived, until the day Jehoiachin died.