The LORD gave Jeremiah the prophet this message concerning Babylon and the land of the Babylonians. a2
This is what the LORD says: "Tell the whole world, and keep nothing back! Raise a signal flag so everyone will know that Babylon will fall! Her images and idols will be shattered. Her gods Bel and Marduk will be utterly disgraced.
For a nation will attack her from the north and bring such destruction that no one will live in her again. Everything will be gone; both people and animals will flee.
"Then the people of Israel and Judah will join together," says the LORD, "weeping and seeking the LORD their God.
They will ask the way to Jerusalem b and will start back home again. They will bind themselves to the LORD with an eternal covenant that will never again be broken.
"My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray and turned them loose in the mountains. They have lost their way and cannot remember how to get back to the fold.
All who found them devoured them. Their enemies said, 'We are allowed to attack them freely, for they have sinned against the LORD, their place of rest, the hope of their ancestors.'
"But now, flee from Babylon! Leave the land of the Babylonians. Lead my people home again.
For look, I am raising up an army of great nations from the north. I will bring them against Babylon to attack her, and she will be captured. The enemies' arrows will go straight to the mark; they will not miss!
Babylonia c will be plundered until the attackers are glutted with plunder," says the LORD.
"You rejoice and are glad, you plunderers of my chosen people. You frisk about like a calf in a meadow and neigh like a stallion.
But your homeland d will be overwhelmed with shame and disgrace. You will become the least of nations -- a wilderness, a dry and desolate land.
Because of the LORD's anger, Babylon will become a deserted wasteland. All who pass by will be horrified and will gasp at the destruction they see there.
"Yes, prepare to attack Babylon, all you nations round about. Let your archers shoot at her. Spare no arrows, for she has sinned against the LORD.
Shout against her from every side. Look! She surrenders! Her walls have fallen. The LORD has taken vengeance, so do not spare her. Do to her as she has done to others!
Lead from Babylon all those who plant crops; send all the harvesters away. Let the captives escape the sword of the enemy and rush back to their own lands.
"The Israelites are like sheep that have been scattered by lions. First the king of Assyria ate them up. Then King Nebuchadnezzar e of Babylon cracked their bones."
Therefore, the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "Now I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, just as I punished the king of Assyria.
And I will bring Israel home again to her own land, to feed in the fields of Carmel and Bashan, and to be satisfied once more on the hill country of Ephraim and Gilead.
In those days," says the LORD, "no sin will be found in Israel or in Judah, for I will forgive the remnant I preserve.
"Go up, my warriors, against the land of Merathaim and against the people of Pekod. Yes, march against Babylon, the land of rebels, a land that I will judge! Pursue, kill, and completely destroy f them, as I have commanded you," says the LORD.
"Let the battle cry be heard in the land, a shout of great destruction.
Babylon, the mightiest hammer in all the earth, lies broken and shattered. Babylon is desolate among the nations!
Listen, Babylon, for I have set a trap for you. You are caught, for you have fought against the LORD.
"The LORD has opened his armory and brought out weapons to vent his fury against his enemies. The terror that falls upon the Babylonians will be the work of the Sovereign LORD Almighty.
Yes, come against her from distant lands. Break open her granaries. Crush her walls and houses into heaps of rubble. Destroy her completely, and leave nothing!
Even destroy her cattle -- it will be terrible for them, too! Slaughter them all! For the time has come for Babylon to be devastated.
Listen to the people who have escaped from Babylon, as they declare in Jerusalem how the LORD our God has taken vengeance against those who destroyed his Temple.
"Send out a call for archers to come to Babylon. Surround the city so none can escape. Do to her as she has done to others, for she has defied the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.
Her young men will fall in the streets and die. Her warriors will all be killed," says the LORD.
"See, I am your enemy, O proud people," says the Lord, the LORD Almighty. "Your day of reckoning has arrived.
O land of pride, you will stumble and fall, and no one will raise you up. For I will light a fire in the cities of Babylon that will burn everything around them."
And now the LORD Almighty says this: "The people of Israel and Judah have been wronged. Their captors hold them and refuse to let them go.
But the one who redeems them is strong. His name is the LORD Almighty. He will defend them and give them rest again in Israel. But the people of Babylon -- there will be no rest for them!
"The sword of destruction will strike the Babylonians," says the LORD. "It will strike the people of Babylon -- her princes and wise men, too.
And when it strikes her wise counselors, they will become fools! When it strikes her mightiest warriors, panic will seize them!
When it strikes her horses and chariots, her allies from other lands will become as weak as women. When it strikes her treasures, they all will be plundered.
It will even strike her water supply, causing it to dry up. And why? Because the whole land is filled with idols, and the people are madly in love with them.
"Soon this city of Babylon will be inhabited by ostriches and jackals. It will be a home for the wild animals of the desert. Never again will people live there; it will lie desolate forever.
I will destroy it just as I g destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns," says the LORD. "No one will live there anymore.
"Look! A great army is marching from the north! A great nation and many kings are rising against you from far-off lands.
They are fully armed for slaughter. They are cruel and show no mercy. As they ride forward, the noise of their army is like a roaring sea. They are marching in battle formation to destroy you, Babylon.
The king of Babylon has received reports about the enemy, and he is weak with fright. Fear and pain have gripped him, like that of a woman about to give birth.
"I will come like a lion from the thickets of the Jordan, leaping on the sheep in the pasture. I will chase Babylon from its land, and I will appoint the leader of my choice. For who is like me, and who can challenge me? What ruler can oppose my will?"
Listen to the LORD's plans against Babylon and the land of the Babylonians. Even little children will be dragged off, and their homes will be empty.
The earth will shake with the noise of Babylon's fall, and her cry of despair will be heard around the world.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)