1 This is the word the LORD spoke through Jeremiah the prophet concerning Babylon and the land of the Babylonians [^1] :
2 "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.'
3 A nation from the north will attack her and lay waste her land. ¶ No one will live in it; ¶ both people and animals will flee away.
4 "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.
5 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.
6 "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.
7 Whoever found them devoured them; their enemies said, 'We are not guilty, ¶ for they sinned against the LORD, their verdant pasture, ¶ the LORD, the hope of their ancestors.'
8 "Flee out of Babylon; ¶ leave the land of the Babylonians, ¶ and be like the goats that lead the flock.
9 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.
10 So Babylonia [^2] will be plundered; all who plunder her will have their fill," ¶ declares the LORD.
11 "Because you rejoice and are glad, ¶ you who pillage my inheritance, ¶ because you frolic like a heifer threshing grain ¶ and neigh like stallions,
12 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.
13 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.
14 "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.
15 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.
16 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.
17 "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."
18 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.
19 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.
20 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.
21 "Attack the land of Merathaim ¶ and those who live in Pekod. ¶ Pursue, kill and completely destroy [^3] them," ¶ declares the LORD. ¶ "Do everything I have commanded you.
22 The noise of battle is in the land, the noise of great destruction!
23 How broken and shattered is the hammer of the whole earth! ¶ How desolate is Babylon ¶ among the nations!
24 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.
25 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.
26 Come against her from afar. Break open her granaries; ¶ pile her up like heaps of grain. ¶ Completely destroy her ¶ and leave her no remnant.
27 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.
28 Listen to the fugitives and refugees from Babylon declaring in Zion ¶ how the LORD our God has taken vengeance, ¶ vengeance for his temple.
29 "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.
30 Therefore, her young men will fall in the streets; all her soldiers will be silenced in that day," ¶ declares the LORD.
31 "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.
32 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."
33 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.
34 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.
35 "A sword against the Babylonians!" ¶ declares the LORD — ¶ "against those who live in Babylon ¶ and against her officials and wise men!
36 A sword against her false prophets! They will become fools. ¶ A sword against her warriors! ¶ They will be filled with terror.
37 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.
38 A drought on [^4] her waters! They will dry up. ¶ For it is a land of idols, ¶ idols that will go mad with terror.
39 "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.
40 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.
41 "Look! An army is coming from the north; ¶ a great nation and many kings ¶ are being stirred up from the ends of the earth.
42 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.
43 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.
44 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?"
45 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.
46 At the sound of Babylon's capture the earth will tremble; its cry will resound among the nations.