Prophecy against Babylon
“Declare among the nations.
Lift up a signal [to spread the news]—publish and proclaim it,
Do not conceal it; say,
‘Babylon has been taken,
Bel [the patron god] has been shamed, [c]Marduk (Bel) has been shattered.
Babylon’s images have been shamed, her [worthless] idols have been thrown down.’
3 For out of the north a nation (Media) has come against her which will make her land desolate, and no one will live there. They have fled, they have gone away—both man and animal.
4 “In those days and at that time,” says the Lord, “the children of Israel will come, they and the children of Judah together; they will come up weeping [in repentance] as they come and seek the Lord their God [inquiring for and of Him]. 5 They will ask the way to Zion, with their faces in that direction, saying, ‘Come, let us join ourselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten.’
“My people have become lost sheep;
Their shepherds have led them astray.
They have made them turn aside [to the seductive places of idolatry] on the mountains.
They have gone along [from one sin to another] from mountain to hill;
They have forgotten their [own] resting place.
“All who found them have devoured them;
And their adversaries have said, ‘We are not guilty,
Because they have sinned against the Lord [and are no longer holy to Him], their [true] habitation of righteousness and justice,
Even the Lord, the [confident] hope of their fathers.’
“Wander away from the midst of Babylon
And go out of the land of the Chaldeans;
Be like the male goats [who serve as leaders] at the head of the flocks.
“For behold, I will stir up and bring up against Babylon
An assembly of great nations from the north country.
They will equip themselves and set up the battle lines against her;
From there she will be taken captive.
Their arrows will be like an expert warrior
Who will not return empty-handed.
“Chaldea will become plunder;
All who plunder her will be satisfied,” says the Lord.
“Though you are glad, though you rejoice,
O you who plunder My heritage,
Though you are wanton and skip about like a heifer in the grass
And neigh like stallions,
Your mother [Babylon] shall be greatly shamed;
She who gave you birth will be ashamed.
Behold, she will be the least of the nations,
A wilderness, a parched land and a desert.
“Because of the wrath of the Lord she will not be inhabited
But she will be completely desolate;
Everyone who goes by Babylon will be appalled
And will hiss (mock) at all her wounds and plagues.
“Set yourselves in battle formation against Babylon on every side,
All you archers.
Shoot at her! Do not spare the arrows,
For she has sinned against the Lord.
“Raise the battle cry against her on every side!
She has given her hand [in agreement] and has surrendered; her pillars have fallen,
Her walls have been torn down.
For this is the vengeance of the Lord:
Take vengeance on her;
As she has done [to others], do to her.
“Cut off the sower from Babylon
And the one who handles the sickle at the time of harvest.
For fear of the sword of the oppressor
Everyone will return to his own people
And everyone will flee to his own land.
17 Israel is a hunted and scattered flock [driven here and there as prey]; the lions have chased them away. First the king of Assyria devoured him, and now at last Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has broken (gnawed) his bones. 18 Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I will visit (inspect, examine) and punish the king of Babylon and his land, just as I visited and punished the king of Assyria. 19 And I will bring Israel [home] again to his pasture and he will graze on [the most fertile lands of] Carmel [in the west] and Bashan [in the east], and his soul will be satisfied on the hills of Ephraim and Gilead. 20 In those days and at that time,’ says the Lord, ‘a search will be made for the wickedness of Israel, but there will be none and for the sins of Judah, but none will be found, for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant.’
“Go against [Babylon] the land of Merathaim (Double Rebellion),
Go up against it and against the people of Pekod (Punishment).
Kill and utterly destroy them,” says the Lord,
“And do everything that I have commanded you.”
“The noise of battle is in the land,
And [the noise of] great destruction.
“How the hammer of the whole earth
Is crushed and broken!
How Babylon has become
A horror [of desolation] among the nations!
“I set a trap for you and you also were caught, O Babylon,
And you did not know it;
You have been found and also seized
Because you have struggled against the Lord.”
The Lord has opened His armory
And has brought out [the nations who unknowingly are] the weapons of His indignation (wrath),
For it is a work of the Lord God of hosts
In the land of the Chaldeans.
Come against her from the farthest border.
Open her storehouses;
Pile it up like heaps of rubbish.
Burn and destroy her completely;
Let nothing be left of her.
Kill all her young bulls [her strength—her young men];
Let them go down to the slaughter!
Woe (judgment is coming) to the Chaldeans, for their day has come,
The time of their punishment.
Listen to the voice of the refugees who flee and escape from the land of Babylon,
Proclaiming in Zion the vengeance of the Lord our God,
The vengeance [of the Lord against the Chaldeans] for [plundering and destroying] His temple.
“Call together many [archers] against Babylon,
All those who bend the bow.
Encamp against her on every side;
Let no one from there escape.
Repay her according to her actions;
Just as she has done, do to her.
For she has been proudly defiant and presumptuous against the Lord,
Against the Holy One of Israel.
“Therefore her young men will fall in her streets,
And all her soldiers will be destroyed on that day,” says the Lord.
“Behold, I am against you, [O Babylon, you] arrogant one, [you who are pride and presumption personified],”
Says the Lord God of hosts,
“For your day has come,
The time when I will punish you.
“The arrogant (proud) one will stumble and fall
With no one to raise him up;
And I will set fire to his cities
And it will devour all who are around him.”
Thus says the Lord of hosts,
“The children of Israel are oppressed,
And the children of Judah as well;
And all who took them captive have held them tightly,
They have refused to let them go.
“Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is His name.
He will most certainly plead their case and defend their cause
So that He may bring rest to their land,
But turmoil to the inhabitants of Babylon.
“A sword against the Chaldeans,” says the Lord,
“And against the inhabitants of Babylon
And against her princes (officials, civic rulers) and against her wise men (astrologers, religious rulers)!
“A sword against the oracle priests (the babbling liars), and they will become fools!
A sword against her mighty warriors, and they will be shattered and destroyed!
“A sword against their horses and against their chariots
And against all the foreign troops that are in her midst,
And they will become [as weak and defenseless as] women!
A sword against her treasures, and they will be plundered!
“A drought on her waters, and they will dry up!
For it is a land of [worthless] idols,
And they are mad over fearsome idols [those objects of terror in which they foolishly trust].
“Therefore [d]wild beasts of the desert will live there [in Babylon] with the jackals;
The ostriches also will live there,
And it will never again be inhabited [with people]
Or lived in from generation to generation.
“As when God overthrew Sodom
And Gomorrah and their neighboring cities,” says the Lord,
“So no man will live there;
Nor shall any son of man live there.”
“Behold, a people is coming from the north,
And a great nation and many kings
Will be stirring from the remote parts of the earth.
“They seize their bow and spear;
They are cruel and have no compassion.
They sound like the roaring of the sea;
They ride on horses,
Every man equipped like a man [ready] for the battle
Against you, O Daughter of Babylon.
“The king of Babylon has heard the report about them,
And his hands fall limp and helpless;
Anguish has seized him,
And agony like that of a woman in childbirth.
44 “See, one will come up like a lion from the thicket of the Jordan against the enduring habitation [of Babylon] and its watered pastures; for in an instant I will make Babylon run from his land. I will appoint over Babylon the one whom I choose. For who is like Me, and who will summon Me [into court] and prosecute Me [for this]? Who is the [earthly] shepherd who can stand [defiantly] before Me?” 45 Therefore hear the plan of the Lord which He has devised against Babylon, and hear what He has purposed against [the inhabitants of the land of] the Chaldeans: surely they will be dragged away, [even] the little ones of the flock; surely He will make their habitation desolate because of them. 46 At the shout, “Babylon has been seized!” the earth quakes, and an outcry is heard among the nations.