This is the word the LORD spoke through Jeremiah the prophet concerning Babylon and the land of the Babylonians:
"Announce and proclaim among the nations, lift up a banner and proclaim it; keep nothing back, but say, 'Babylon will be captured; Bel will be put to shame, Marduk filled with terror. Her images will be put to shame and her idols filled with terror.'
A nation from the north will attack her and lay waste her land. No one will live in it; both men and animals will flee away.
"In those days, at that time," declares the LORD, "the people of Israel and the people of Judah together will go in tears to seek the LORD their God.
They will ask the way to Zion and turn their faces toward it. They will come and bind themselves to the LORD in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten.
"My people have been lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray and caused them to roam on the mountains. They wandered over mountain and hill and forgot their own resting place.
Whoever found them devoured them; their enemies said, 'We are not guilty, for they sinned against the LORD, their true pasture, the LORD, the hope of their fathers.'
"Flee out of Babylon; leave the land of the Babylonians, and be like the goats that lead the flock.
For I will stir up and bring against Babylon an alliance of great nations from the land of the north. They will take up their positions against her, and from the north she will be captured. Their arrows will be like skilled warriors who do not return empty-handed.
So Babylonia will be plundered; all who plunder her will have their fill," declares the LORD.
"Because you rejoice and are glad, you who pillage my inheritance, because you frolic like a heifer threshing grain and neigh like stallions,
your mother will be greatly ashamed; she who gave you birth will be disgraced. She will be the least of the nations-- a wilderness, a dry land, a desert.
Because of the LORD's anger she will not be inhabited but will be completely desolate. All who pass Babylon will be horrified and scoff because of all her wounds.
"Take up your positions around Babylon, all you who draw the bow. Shoot at her! Spare no arrows, for she has sinned against the LORD.
Shout against her on every side! She surrenders, her towers fall, her walls are torn down. Since this is the vengeance of the LORD, take vengeance on her; do to her as she has done to others.
Cut off from Babylon the sower, and the reaper with his sickle at harvest. Because of the sword of the oppressor let everyone return to his own people, let everyone flee to his own land.
"Israel is a scattered flock that lions have chased away. The first to devour him was the king of Assyria; the last to crush his bones was Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon."
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 of Assyria.
But I will bring Israel back to his own pasture and he will graze on Carmel and Bashan; his appetite will be satisfied on the hills of Ephraim and Gilead.
In those days, at that time," declares the LORD, "search will be made for Israel's guilt, but there will be none, and for the sins of Judah, but none will be found, for I will forgive the remnant I spare.
"Attack the land of Merathaim and those who live in Pekod. Pursue, kill and completely destroy them," declares the LORD. "Do everything I have commanded you.
The noise of battle is in the land, the noise of great destruction!
How broken and shattered is the hammer of the whole earth! How desolate is Babylon among the nations!
I set a trap for you, O Babylon, and you were caught before you knew it; you were found and captured because you opposed the LORD.
The LORD has opened his arsenal and brought out the weapons of his wrath, for the Sovereign LORD Almighty has work to do in the land of the Babylonians.
Come against her from afar. Break open her granaries; pile her up like heaps of grain. Completely destroy her and leave her no remnant.
Kill all her young bulls; let them go down to the slaughter! Woe to them! For their day has come, the time for them to be punished.
Listen to the fugitives and refugees from Babylon declaring in Zion how the LORD our God has taken vengeance, vengeance for his temple.
"Summon archers against Babylon, all those who draw the bow. Encamp all around her; let no one escape. Repay her for her deeds; do to her as she has done. For she has defied the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.
Therefore, her young men will fall in the streets; all her soldiers will be silenced in that day," declares the LORD.
"See, I am against you, O arrogant one," declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty, "for your day has come, the time for you to be punished.
The arrogant one will stumble and fall and no one will help her up; I will kindle a fire in her towns that will consume all who are around her."
This is what the LORD Almighty says: "The people of Israel are oppressed, and the people of Judah as well. All their captors hold them fast, refusing to let them go.
Yet their Redeemer is strong; the LORD Almighty is his name. He will vigorously defend their cause so that he may bring rest to their land, but unrest to those who live in Babylon.
"A sword against the Babylonians!" declares the LORD-- "against those who live in Babylon and against her officials and wise men!
A sword against her false prophets! They will become fools. A sword against her warriors! They will be filled with terror.
A sword against her horses and chariots and all the foreigners in her ranks! They will become women. A sword against her treasures! They will be plundered.
A drought on her waters! They will dry up. For it is a land of idols, idols that will go mad with terror.
"So desert creatures and hyenas will live there, and there the owl will dwell. It will never again be inhabited or lived in from generation to generation.
As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah along with their neighboring towns," declares the LORD, "so no one will live there; no man will dwell in it.
"Look! An army is coming from the north; a great nation and many kings are being stirred up from the ends of the earth.
They are armed with bows and spears; they are cruel and without mercy. They sound like the roaring sea as they ride on their horses; they come like men in battle formation to attack you, O Daughter of Babylon.
The king of Babylon has heard reports about them, and his hands hang limp. Anguish has gripped him, pain like that of a woman in labor.
Like a lion coming up from Jordan's thickets to a rich pastureland, I will chase Babylon from its land in an instant. Who is the chosen one I will appoint for this? Who is like me and who can challenge me? And what shepherd can stand against me?"
Therefore, hear what the LORD has planned against Babylon, what he has purposed against the land of the Babylonians: The young of the flock will be dragged away; he will completely destroy their pasture because of them.
At the sound of Babylon's capture the earth will tremble; its cry will resound among the nations.
This is what the LORD says: "See, I will stir up the spirit of a destroyer against Babylon and the people of Leb Kamai.
I will send foreigners to Babylon to winnow her and to devastate her land; they will oppose her on every side in the day of her disaster.
Let not the archer string his bow, nor let him put on his armor. Do not spare her young men; completely destroy her army.
They will fall down slain in Babylon, fatally wounded in her streets.
For Israel and Judah have not been forsaken by their God, the LORD Almighty, though their land is full of guilt before the Holy One of Israel.
"Flee from Babylon! Run for your lives! Do not be destroyed because of her sins. It is time for the LORD's vengeance; he will pay her what she deserves.
Babylon was a gold cup in the LORD's hand; she made the whole earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; therefore they have now gone mad.
Babylon will suddenly fall and be broken. Wail over her! Get balm for her pain; perhaps she can be healed.
" 'We would have healed Babylon, but she cannot be healed; let us leave her and each go to his own land, for her judgment reaches to the skies, it rises as high as the clouds.'
" 'The LORD has vindicated us; come, let us tell in Zion what the LORD our God has done.'
"Sharpen the arrows, take up the shields! The LORD has stirred up the kings of the Medes, because his purpose is to destroy Babylon. The LORD will take vengeance, vengeance for his temple.
Lift up a banner against the walls of Babylon! Reinforce the guard, station the watchmen, prepare an ambush! The LORD will carry out his purpose, his decree against the people of Babylon.
You who live by many waters and are rich in treasures, your end has come, the time for you to be cut off.
The LORD Almighty has sworn by himself: I will surely fill you with men, as with a swarm of locusts, and they will shout in triumph over you.
"He made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.
When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar; he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth. He sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.
"Every man is senseless and without knowledge; every goldsmith is shamed by his idols. His images are a fraud; they have no breath in them.
They are worthless, the objects of mockery; when their judgment comes, they will perish.
He who is the Portion of Jacob is not like these, for he is the Maker of all things, including the tribe of his inheritance-- the LORD Almighty is his name.
"You are my war club, my weapon for battle-- with you I shatter nations, with you I destroy kingdoms,
with you I shatter horse and rider, with you I shatter chariot and driver,
with you I shatter man and woman, with you I shatter old man and youth, with you I shatter young man and maiden,
with you I shatter shepherd and flock, with you I shatter farmer and oxen, with you I shatter governors and officials.
"Before your eyes I will repay Babylon and all who live in Babylonia for all the wrong they have done in Zion," declares the LORD.
"I am against you, O destroying mountain, you who destroy the whole earth," declares the LORD. "I will stretch out my hand against you, roll you off the cliffs, and make you a burned-out mountain.
No rock will be taken from you for a cornerstone, nor any stone for a foundation, for you will be desolate forever," declares the LORD.
"Lift up a banner in the land! Blow the trumpet among the nations! Prepare the nations for battle against her; summon against her these kingdoms: Ararat, Minni and Ashkenaz. Appoint a commander against her; send up horses like a swarm of locusts.
Prepare the nations for battle against her-- the kings of the Medes, their governors and all their officials, and all the countries they rule.
The land trembles and writhes, for the LORD's purposes against Babylon stand-- to lay waste the land of Babylon so that no one will live there.
Babylon's warriors have stopped fighting; they remain in their strongholds. Their strength is exhausted; they have become like women. Her dwellings are set on fire; the bars of her gates are broken.
One courier follows another and messenger follows messenger to announce to the king of Babylon that his entire city is captured,
the river crossings seized, the marshes set on fire, and the soldiers terrified."
This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "The Daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor at the time it is trampled; the time to harvest her will soon come."
"Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has devoured us, he has thrown us into confusion, he has made us an empty jar. Like a serpent he has swallowed us and filled his stomach with our delicacies, and then has spewed us out.
May the violence done to our flesh be upon Babylon," say the inhabitants of Zion. "May our blood be on those who live in Babylonia," says Jerusalem.
Therefore, this is what the LORD says: "See, I will defend your cause and avenge you; I will dry up her sea and make her springs dry.
Babylon will be a heap of ruins, a haunt of jackals, an object of horror and scorn, a place where no one lives.
Her people all roar like young lions, they growl like lion cubs.
But while they are aroused, I will set out a feast for them and make them drunk, so that they shout with laughter-- then sleep forever and not awake," declares the LORD.
"I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams and goats.
"How Sheshach will be captured, the boast of the whole earth seized! What a horror Babylon will be among the nations!
The sea will rise over Babylon; its roaring waves will cover her.
Her towns will be desolate, a dry and desert land, a land where no one lives, through which no man travels.
I will punish Bel in Babylon and make him spew out what he has swallowed. The nations will no longer stream to him. And the wall of Babylon will fall.
"Come out of her, my people! Run for your lives! Run from the fierce anger of the LORD.
Do not lose heart or be afraid when rumors are heard in the land; one rumor comes this year, another the next, rumors of violence in the land and of ruler against ruler.
For the time will surely come when I will punish the idols of Babylon; her whole land will be disgraced and her slain will all lie fallen within her.
Then heaven and earth and all that is in them will shout for joy over Babylon, for out of the north destroyers will attack her," declares the LORD.
"Babylon must fall because of Israel's slain, just as the slain in all the earth have fallen because of Babylon.
You who have escaped the sword, leave and do not linger! Remember the LORD in a distant land, and think on Jerusalem."
"We are disgraced, for we have been insulted and shame covers our faces, because foreigners have entered the holy places of the LORD's house."
"But days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will punish her idols, and throughout her land the wounded will groan.
Even if Babylon reaches the sky and fortifies her lofty stronghold, I will send destroyers against her," declares the LORD.
"The sound of a cry comes from Babylon, the sound of great destruction from the land of the Babylonians.
The LORD will destroy Babylon; he will silence her noisy din. Waves [of enemies] will rage like great waters; the roar of their voices will resound.
A destroyer will come against Babylon; her warriors will be captured, and their bows will be broken. For the LORD is a God of retribution; he will repay in full.
I will make her officials and wise men drunk, her governors, officers and warriors as well; they will sleep forever and not awake," declares the King, whose name is the LORD Almighty.
This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Babylon's thick wall will be leveled and her high gates set on fire; the peoples exhaust themselves for nothing, the nations' labor is only fuel for the flames."
This is the message Jeremiah gave to the staff officer Seraiah son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, when he went to Babylon with Zedekiah king of Judah in the fourth year of his reign.
Jeremiah had written on a scroll about all the disasters that would come upon Babylon--all that had been recorded concerning Babylon.
He said to Seraiah, "When you get to Babylon, see that you read all these words aloud.
Then say, 'O LORD, you have said you will destroy this place, so that neither man nor animal will live in it; it will be desolate forever.'
When you finish reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and throw it into the Euphrates.
Then say, 'So will Babylon sink to rise no more because of the disaster I will bring upon her. And her people will fall.' " The words of Jeremiah end here.
By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion.
There on the poplars we hung our harps,
for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"
How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget [its skill].
May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy.
Remember, O LORD, what the Edomites did on the day Jerusalem fell. "Tear it down," they cried, "tear it down to its foundations!"
O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us--
he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.