1 This is the word Yahweh spoke against Babylon and the land of the Chal deans, through the proph et Jere miah:
2 “Do not hide this, but announce among the nations that Babylon is taken, Bel confounded, Merodach dismayed; her images are put to shame, her idols de stroyed.
3 A people from the north mar ches against her, set to turn her into a wasteland abandoned by both people and beast.
4 In those days – declares Yahweh – the peo ple of Israel and Judah will come in tears to seek their God Yahweh.
5 Their faces turned toward Zion, they will ask the way to it. They will come and say, ‘Let us join ourselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant never to be forgotten.’
6 My people were lost sheep misled by their shepherds and left to roam on the mountains. They wandered from hill to hill and lost the way to their fold.
7 They were devoured by enemies who chanced upon them and said, ‘We have no guilt. This is their due for they sinned against Yahweh, their true shepherd and hope of their ancestors.’
8 Flee from Babylon, leave the land of the Chaldeans, be like the rams that lead the flock!
9 For I will stir up nations from the north to march against Babylon. Their arrows are like those of skilled warriors, that never return empty-handed; and Babylon will be captured.
10 Chaldea will be plundered, and the plunderers will be filled.
11 Rejoice as long as you can,
11 you plunderers of my inheritance!
11 Frolic like heifers threshing grain,
11 and neigh like stallions!
12 But your mother will be disgraced;
12 she will be the least of the nations,
12 laid waste and a desert.
13 Yahweh’s fury will leave her desolate,
13 an empty solitude, uninhabited.
13 Every passerby will be horrified
13 at the sight of the wounds of Babylon.
14 Take your posts around the city,
14 all you who bend the bow.
14 Shoot at her, spare no arrows,
14 for great is her iniquity.
15 Raise the war cry!
15 Now she surrenders!
15 Her walls are torn down, her towers fallen.
15 Since this is Yahweh’s vengeance,
15 take revenge on her;
15 do to her as she has done to others.
16 Cut off the sower from Babylon,
16 and the reaper with his sickle at harvest time.
16 Escape from the oppressor’s sword;
16 let everyone return to his own people,
16 let everyone flee to his own land.
17 Israel was a straying sheep which lions pursued. First to devour her was the Assyrian; and the last to crush her bones was Nebu chad nezzar of Babylon.
18 Therefore Yahweh, God of Israel, says: I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as once I punished the king of Assyria.
19 But I will return Israel to her fold, to feed on Bashan and Carmel and on Mount Ephraim and Gilead, till she has her fill.
20 In those days, Yahweh says, a search will be made for Israel’s guilt, but none will be found, and for the sins of Judah, and none will be found; for I will forgive the remnant whose lives I have spared.
21 Attack the land of Merathaim, and those who live in Pekod; pursue and kill them, says Yahweh; do all as I have commanded. 22 Battle alarm is in the land, the alarm of great de struction. 23 How broken and shattered is the hammer of the whole earth! How horrifying has Babylon become among the nations!
24 You ensnared yourself, O Ba by lon, and were caught before you knew it; you were found out and seized because you challenged Yahweh. 25 Yahweh has opened his armory, brought out the arms of his fury, for Yahweh Sabaoth has work to do in the land of Chaldea.
26 Come against her from every side; break open her granaries; pile her up like heaps of grain, destroy her, leaving no remnant. 27 Slay all her oxen, down to the slaughterhouse with them! Woe to them! Their day has come, the time for their chastisement.
28 Listen! Fugitives and refugees from the land of Babylon have come to announce in Zion Yahweh’s ven geance for his temple. 29 Surround Babylon with archers, and leave her no way of escape. Repay her as her deeds deserve; do to her as she has done to others. Give her the due for her defiance of Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel.
30 That day her warriors and young men as well will fall and lie in silence. 31 I am against you, arrogant one! It is Yah weh Sabaoth who speaks – the time to punish you has come.
32 The arrogant one will stumble; no one will help her up. In her towns I will kindle a fire that will consume everything around.
33 Thus says Yahweh Sabaoth: The people of Israel are oppressed, and the people of Judah as well, for their captors hold them fast and refuse to let them go. 34 But strong is their avenger, Yahweh Sabaoth is his name. He will fight for their cause and succeed; he will give them rest in their land, but unrest to those who live in Babylon.
35 A sword upon the Chaldeans, upon the people of Babylon, her princes and sages! 36 A sword upon her false pro phets: may they lose their wits! A sword upon her warriors: may they tremble in terror! 37 A sword upon her mercenaries: may they become women!
37 A sword upon her treasures: may they be plundered! 38 A sword upon her wa ters: may they dry up! For hers is a land of idols that go mad with terrors.
39 So, desert beasts will live there; there will the owl and ostrich dwell. From generation to generation, the land will never be inhabited again. 40 As when God overturned Sodom and Gomorrah with their neighbors, nobody will live there any more, no one will make his home there again.
41 A strong people is coming from the north, a mighty nation. Stirred up from the far ends of the earth 42 are men armed with bows and spears who are cruel and without mercy. They sound like the roaring sea as they ride on gal loping steeds. They come in battle formation against you, daughter of Babylon.
43 Your king has heard news of them, and his hands hang limp. Anguish has gripped him, and pain as that of a woman in travail.
44 As a lion comes from the thicket of Jordan to a rich feeding ground, so I, in an instant, will drive them off, and whom I choose I will establish there. For who is like me? And who can call me to account? What shepherd can stand against me?
45 Therefore hear Yahweh’s plans against Baby lon, against the land of the Chaldeans: they will be dragged away, even the smallest sheep, their pasture will be destroyed on account of them.
46 The earth quakes at the cry ‘Baby lon is captured!’ Among the nations the outcry is heard.”