The LORD will show tender love toward Jacob's people. Once again he will choose Israel. He'll settle them in their own land. Outsiders will join them. They and the people of Jacob will become one people.
Nations will help Israel return to their own land. People from other nations will belong to Israel. They will serve them as male and female servants in the LORD's land. The Israelites will make prisoners of those who had held them as prisoners. They will rule over those who had crushed them.
The LORD will put an end to Israel's suffering and trouble. They won't be slaves anymore.
They will make fun of the king of Babylonia. They will say, "See how the one who crushed others has fallen! See how his anger has come to an end!
The LORD has taken away the authority of evil people. He has broken the power of rulers.
When they became angry, they struck nations down. Their blows never stopped. In their anger they brought nations under their control. They attacked them again and again.
All of the lands now enjoy peace and rest. They break out into singing.
Even the pine trees are glad. The cedar trees of Lebanon are happy too. They say, 'Babylon, you have fallen. Now no one comes and cuts us down.'
"King of Babylonia, many people in the grave are really excited about meeting you when you go down there. The spirits of the dead get up to welcome you. At one time all of them were leaders in the world. They were kings over the nations. They get up from their thrones.
All of them call out to you. They say, 'You have become weak, just as we are. You have become like us.'
Your grand show of power has been brought down to the grave. The noise of your harps has come down here along with your power. Maggots are spread out under you. Worms cover you.
"King of Babylonia, you thought you were the bright morning star. But now you have fallen from heaven! You once brought nations down. But now you have been thrown down to the earth!
You said in your heart, 'I will go up to heaven. I'll raise my throne above the stars of God. I'll sit as king on the mountain where the gods meet. I'll set up my throne on the highest slopes of the sacred mountain.
I will rise above the tops of the clouds. I'll make myself like the Most High God.'
But now you have been brought down to the grave. You have been thrown into the deepest part of the pit.
"Those who see you stare at you. They think about what has happened to you. They say to themselves, 'Is this the man who shook the earth? Is he the one who made kingdoms tremble with fear?
Did he turn the world into a desert? Did he destroy its cities? Did he refuse to let his prisoners go home?'
"All of the kings of the nations are buried with honor. Each of them lies in his own tomb.
But you have been thrown out of your tomb. You are like a branch that is cut off and thrown away. You are covered with the bodies of those who have been killed with swords. You have been tossed into a stony pit along with them. You are like a dead body that people have walked on.
You won't be buried like other kings. That's because you have destroyed your land. You have killed your people. "The children of that evil man will be killed. None of them will be left to carry on the family name.
So prepare a place to kill his children. Kill them because of the sins of the rulers who lived before them. They must not rise to power. They must not rule over the world. They must not cover the earth with their cities."
"I will rise up against them," announces the LORD who rules over all. "I will destroy Babylon. It will not be remembered anymore. No one will be left alive there. I will destroy its people and their children after them," announces the Lord.
"I will turn it into a place where nothing but owls can live. I will turn it into a swamp. I will sweep through it like a broom and destroy everything," announces the LORD who rules over all.
The LORD who rules over all has taken an oath. He has said, "You can be sure that what I have planned will happen. What I have decided will take place.
I will crush the Assyrians in my land. On my mountains I will walk all over them. The yokes they put on my people will be removed. The heavy load they put on their shoulders will be taken away."
That's how the LORD carries out his plan all over the world. That's how he reaches out his powerful hand to punish all of the nations.
The LORD who rules over all has planned it. Who can stop him? He has reached out his powerful hand. Who can keep him from using it?
A message came to me from the LORD in the year King Ahaz died. The LORD said,
"The rod of Assyria has struck all of you Philistines. But do not be glad that it is broken. That rod is like a snake that will produce an even more poisonous snake. It will produce a darting, poisonous serpent.
Even the poorest people in Israel will have plenty to eat. Those who are in need will lie down in safety. But I will destroy your families. They will die of hunger. I will kill any of them who are still left alive.
"Cities of Philistia, cry out for help! Scream in pain! All of you Philistines, melt away in fear! An army is coming from the north in a cloud of dust. No one in its ranks is falling behind.
What answer should be given to the messengers from that nation? Tell them, 'The LORD has made Zion secure. His suffering people will find safety there.' "