“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 appalled;
they will 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 their own people,
let everyone flee to their own land.
“Israel is a scattered flock
that lions have chased away.
The first to devour them
was the king of Assyria;
the last to crush their 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 their own pasture,
and they will graze on Carmel and Bashan;
their 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 destroy50:21 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them; also in verse 26. 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, 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, you 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 weaklings.
A sword against her treasures!
They will be plundered.
A drought on50:38 Or A sword against 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 I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah
along with their neighboring towns,”
declares the Lord,
“so no one will live there;
no people 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, Daughter 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;
their pasture will be appalled at their fate.
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.51:1 Leb Kamai is a cryptogram for Chaldea, that is, Babylonia.
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 destroy51:3 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them. her army.
They will fall down slain in Babylon,51:4 Or Chaldea
fatally wounded in her streets.
For Israel and Judah have not been forsaken
by their God, the Lord Almighty,
though their land51:5 Or Almighty, / and the land of the Babylonians 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 repay 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 our own land,
for her judgment reaches to the skies,
it rises as high as the heavens.’
“ ‘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 destroyed.
The Lord Almighty has sworn by himself:
I will surely fill you with troops, as with a swarm of locusts,
and they will shout in triumph over you.