Israel's people will be prisoners for 70 years
1 The LORD spoke to Jeremiah in the 4th year of Jehoiakim. Jehoiakim was the son of Josiah king of Judah. The LORD spoke about the people in Judah. It was the first year when Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon. 2 So Jeremiah the prophet spoke to all the people in Judah and to those who were living in Jerusalem. He said, 3 ‘For 23 years the LORD has spoken to me. And I have told you the words that he has said. I have done that since the 13th year of Josiah. He was the son of Amon, king of Judah. I have spoken to you again and again, but you have never listened.
4 And you have not listened to the prophets, the LORD's servants, at all. Even when the LORD sent them again and again, you would not listen to their words. 5 “Turn away from all the wrong things that you are doing. You know that they are bad”, they said. “If you stop doing evil things, you can stay in the country. It is the country that the LORD gave to you and to your ancestors for all time. 6 Do not work for other gods and do not worship them. You must not do the things that their servants do. Stop making the LORD angry. You are making him angry because you are making false gods with your hands. If you stop making the LORD angry, he will not hurt you.” ’
7 ‘But you did not listen to me’, the LORD says. ‘And you have made me angry because of the things that you have made. So I will cause trouble for you. That is only because you refused to obey me.’
8 The great and powerful LORD says, ‘You have not listened to my words. 9 So I will call the nations in the north. And I will call my servant Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon’, he says. ‘And I will bring them to fight against this country and against the people who live here. They will also fight against all the countries round you. I will destroy all of those countries completely. They will be places that people are afraid of. They will say that people could not keep their countries safe. They will remain like a desert for all time. 10 I will stop any sounds of happy parties. Nobody will get married here. Nobody will make flour here. No lights will shine here. 11 The whole country will be empty and nobody will live here. The people from all these countries will work for 70 years for the king of Babylon. 12 But after the 70 years, I will punish the king of Babylon and his country. I will punish the people in Babylon for the bad things that they did’, says the LORD. ‘I will make Babylon empty for all time. Nobody will live there. 13 I will cause everything to happen to it that I have spoken about. You can read all those things in this book. They are the prophecies of Jeremiah against the countries. 14 Many countries and great kings will take the people from Babylon themselves as slaves. I will do to them all the bad things that they did to other nations.’
Jeremiah takes a cup from the LORD
15 The LORD, the God of Israel, said to me, ‘Here is a cup that is full of wine. The wine is a picture of my anger. In the countries that I send you to, you must cause the people there to drink this wine. 16 I will send armies against them. Then when they drink the wine of my anger they will become crazy.’
17 So I took the cup from the LORD's hand. As in a picture, I saw all the countries that he had sent me to. Their people were drinking from the cup. 18 The people in Jerusalem and in all the towns in Judah drank from it. And their kings and officers also drank. Then God would break up all their country. He would make it a thing that people would turn away from. People would think that they did not have any value. And they would curse them. That is what they do today. 19 Pharaoh, king of Egypt and all his officers, his slaves and all his people would drink from the cup. 20 And all the foreign people in Egypt would drink from it too. The kings that must drink from the cup include the kings of Uz and all the kings of Philistia. (The kings of Philistia include the kings of the people in Ashkelon, Gaza, and Ekron. And they include the king of all the people who are still at Ashdod.) 21 Edom, Moab and Ammon 22 and all the kings of Tyre and Sidon would drink, too. The kings of the countries across the sea, 23 Dedan, Tema, and Buz would drink from the cup. And everyone in far places would drink from the cup. 24 All the kings of Arabia and the kings of the foreign people who live in the desert would drink. 25 And all the kings of Zimri, Elam and Media would drink. 26 All the kings of the north would drink whether they live near or a long way away. The people in all the kingdoms on the earth will drink, one after another. The last to drink will be the king of Sheshach (Babylon).
27 Then tell them that the great and powerful LORD, the God of Israel, says, ‘Drink. Become ill with drink and be sick. Fall down and never get up again. I will send men with swords to hurt you.’
28 But they may refuse to take the cup and to drink from it. Then you must tell them that they must drink my wine. Say, ‘The great and powerful LORD says:
29 “See the things that I am beginning to do. I am beginning to destroy the city that has my name. And I will punish all you people. I will bring war against everyone who lives on the earth. And that is the time when I will punish you.” The great and powerful LORD is saying those things.’
30 Now prophesy all these words against them. Say to them,
‘The LORD will shout from his high place.
He will make a noise like a storm from his holy place.
His great voice will shout against this country.
He will shout like the men who jump on grapes to make wine.
He will shout against all people who live on the earth.
31 The noise will be so great that all the earth will hear it.
That is because the LORD will punish all the countries.
He will judge all the people on the earth.
Soldiers will kill those people who have done any wrong things.’
Those are the LORD's words.
32 The great and powerful LORD says,
‘Look! I am destroying one country after another.
A great storm is coming from the ends of the earth.’
33 At that time dead bodies will lie everywhere. They will cover the earth. Nobody will cry because they are dead. Nobody will take them to bury them in the ground. They will lie there like things that people have thrown away.
34 You shepherds of my people will cry aloud.
Roll on the ground, you who lead them.
The time for you to die has come.
You will fall and you will break in pieces, like a pot.
35 The shepherds will not find anywhere to run and to hide.
The leaders will not be able to run away.
36 You will hear the leaders shout out.
They will shout loudly
because the LORD is destroying their country.
37 The LORD will destroy the quiet fields
because he is very angry.
38 He will come out of his home like a lion.
And he will make their country a desert.
It will be empty because of the enemy's army.
It will be empty because the LORD is very angry.