Jeremiah 50

Punishment for Babylon

1 The Lord gave this message to the prophet Jeremiah about Babylon city and the people of Babylonia:

2 ‘Tell this news to the nations!

Wave a flag to make sure that people listen!

Do not try to hide anything. Say this:

“Enemies will take Babylon.

Bel will become ashamed.

Yes, Marduk will be afraid.

50:2Bel and Marduk were names for the god of the people in Babylon.

All Babylon's disgusting idols will be ashamed.” 

3 A nation from the north will attack Babylon.

They will destroy the whole land.

People and animals will all run away,

so that nobody lives there.’

4 The Lord says, ‘When that happens,

the people of Israel and Judah will return to their land.

They will weep because of their sins.

They will want to worship the Lord their God.

5 They will ask people to show them the way to Zion.

They will travel in that direction.

They will promise to serve the Lord.

They will make a covenant with him that will continue for ever.

Nobody will ever forget that covenant.

6 My people have been like sheep that are lost.

Their leaders should have taken care of them like shepherds.

Instead, they have let my people become lost,

like sheep that have gone into the mountains.

They go from one hill to another hill,

and they have forgotten where their home is.

7 Anyone who found them killed them.

Their enemies said, “We are not guilty for their death.

They deserved to die because they turned against the Lord.

He is their true home where they are safe.

But they turned against the Lord,

the God that their ancestors trusted.” ’

8 ‘People of Judah, escape quickly from Babylon!

Leave the land of Babylonia!

Be the first people to leave.

Lead the other people away,

like a male goat that leads the other goats.

9 I will call a group of strong nations from the north.

They will join together to fight against Babylon.

They will get ready to attack.

They will come from the north

and they will take power over Babylon.

Their arrows will be like brave soldiers.

They will kill everyone that they want to kill.

10 The people of Babylonia will lose all their things.

Enemy soldiers will take everything that they want for themselves.’

That is what the Lord says.

11 ‘You people of Babylon are very happy,

because you have robbed my people.

You dance like young cows that have fresh grass to eat.

You make a happy noise, like a strong male horse.

12 Babylon is like your mother who gave you life,

but she will become ashamed.

Yes, she will become the least important of all nations.

The country will be dry and empty, like a desert.

13 Nobody will live in Babylon,

because I, the Lord, am very angry with it.

It will be only a heap of stones.

Everyone who goes that way will see that it is a disgusting place.

They will insult Babylon,

because of the terrible troubles that have happened to it.’

14 ‘Get ready to fight, all you soldiers who have bows and arrows.

Stand in your places around Babylon.

Shoot your arrows into the city! Shoot all of them!

Punish Babylon, because its people have turned against the Lord.

15 Shout as you attack the city from all sides.

Its people are ready to stop fighting.

Its strong towers will fall down.

You will knock down its walls.

The Lord is punishing Babylon,

so punish the people for their sins!

Do the same thing to them that they have done to other people.

16 Remove from Babylon all the farmers who plant crops.

Remove all the people who cut the crops at harvest time.

The foreigners must return to their own homes.

They must run away to escape from the enemy army.’

17 ‘Israel's enemies have chased them away to many different places.

They are like sheep that hungry lions have chased away.

The first to catch them was the king of Assyria.

Then King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon destroyed them,

like a lion that broke their bones.’

50:17First, Assyria took away the people of the northern kingdom of Israel as their prisoners. Now King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon would take away the people of Judah, the southern kingdom.

18 So the Lord Almighty, Israel's God, says this:

‘I will punish the king of Babylon and his country,

as I punished the king of Assyria.

19 But I will bring Israel's people back to their own land.

They will grow their crops on Carmel and in Bashan.

They will have plenty of food to eat

on the hills of Ephraim and in Gilead.

20 At that time, I will forgive the sins of my people.

I have let a few people of Israel and Judah remain.

And they will no longer be guilty of any sins.’

That is what the Lord says.

21 The Lord says,

‘Attack the land of Merathaim.

Attack the people who live in Pekod.

50:21Merathaim and Pekod were names of other regions in Babylonia.

Run after them! Kill them! Completely destroy them!

Do everything that I have commanded you to do.

22 There is a noise of war in the land of Babylonia.

The enemy is destroying everything!

23 Babylon attacked other nations of the world,

like a hammer that breaks things into pieces.

But now that hammer has broken into pieces.

Now the other nations see that Babylon is a disgusting place.

24 Babylon, I put a trap to catch you,

and you did not know about it.

Now I have caught you in my trap,

because you fought against me.

25 I have taken out my weapons from the place where I had stored them.

I will use those weapons to punish the people of Babylonia,

because I am very angry with them.

50:25The weapons that the Lord uses are the nations that will attack Babylonia.

I am the Lord God Almighty.

I have work to do in the land of Babylonia.

26 Now come from far away to attack Babylonia!

Break open the store rooms and take out the grain.

Knock down their buildings and break them into pieces.

Completely destroy everything.

Do not let anything remain!

27 Kill all their strong soldiers.

Let them go to their place of death!

Terrible trouble has come to the people of Babylon.

The time of their punishment has arrived!’

28 Listen! People have run away from the war in Babylon. Now they are arriving in Jerusalem. They will tell the news in Zion about how the Lord is punishing Babylon. He is punishing the people of Babylon because they destroyed his temple.

29 ‘Bring all the soldiers with bows and arrows to attack Babylon.

They must make their camp all around the city.

Do not let anyone escape.

Punish the people for the things that they have done.

Do the same thing to them that they have done to others.

Those people have insulted me, Israel's holy God.

30 So Babylon's young men will die in its streets.

All its soldiers will die in battle on that day.’

That is what the Lord says.

31 The Lord God Almighty says this:

‘You people of Babylon are very proud,

so I will fight against you.

Now the day has come

when I will punish you for your sins.

32 You are proud but you will fall to the ground.

Nobody will help you to get up.

I will burn Babylonia's towns with fire,

and it will destroy everything that is around them.’

33 The Lord Almighty says,

‘People have been cruel to the people of Israel and Judah.

Enemies have taken them away as prisoners.

They have refused to let my people go free.

34 But my name is the Lord Almighty.

I am strong and I will rescue my people.

I will fight hard to save them.

I will bring peace to their land.

But the people of Babylonia will only have trouble.’

35 The Lord says,

‘I am sending an army to fight against Babylon.

They will attack the people of Babylonia,

its leaders and its wise men.

36 They will attack its false prophets,

and people will see that the prophets are fools.

They will attack the soldiers of Babylonia,

and those soldiers will be very afraid.

37 They will attack Babylonia's horses and chariots,

and the foreign soldiers who belong to its army.

They will become as weak as women.

The enemy soldiers will take Babylon's valuable things.

They will take them away for themselves.

38 There will be no rain on the land

so that the rivers and streams become dry.

I will send all this trouble because

their whole land is full of idols.

The people become crazy

because they are afraid of their idols.

39 Hyenas and other wild animals will live there.

Ostriches will live there, too.

But people will never live there again.

It will remain as empty as a desert.

40 Babylonia will become a heap of stones where nobody lives.

The same thing happened to Sodom and Gomorrah

and the towns near to them.

Nobody will live there any more.’

That is what the Lord says.

41 ‘Look! An army is coming from the north.

A great nation and many kings are preparing to attack.

They are coming from a place that is far away.

42 Its soldiers carry bows and spears as their weapons.

They are always cruel and they are never kind.

They ride into the battle on their horses,

and it sounds like the noise of the sea.

They are ready to attack you, people of Babylon!

43 The king of Babylon has heard news about them,

and he is very afraid.

He feels too weak to fight.

He feels pain like a woman who is giving birth.

44 I will attack the people of Babylonia,

and I will chase them out of their land.

I will do that like a lion that has been hiding in the forest.

It attacks the sheep in the fields beside the Jordan River.

Like that lion, I will suddenly chase Babylonia's people out of their country.

Then I will choose a leader to rule that nation.

There is nobody who is like me.

Nobody can accuse me of anything.

No ruler can stand against me.

45 So listen to me, the Lord!

This is what I have decided to do to Babylon.

Yes, this is the trouble that I will bring to the people of Babylonia.

Soldiers will catch their children and take them away,

like little lambs that they take from their mothers.

I will completely destroy their homes.

46 When the enemy takes power over Babylon,

the noise will cause the whole earth to shake.

The other nations will hear Babylon's people shout with pain.’