Jeremiah 50

A message about Babylon

1 The Lord spoke about the people in Babylon and about their country. He spoke by the prophet Jeremiah. He said,

2 ‘Tell this to the nations. Shout it out to the countries.

Write it on a large piece of material and lift it up.

Do not hide anything but say,

“Enemies will get power over Babylon.

Bel will be ashamed and Marduk will be afraid.

50:2Bel and Marduk were gods of the people in Babylon.

All the gods that they have made with their hands will be ashamed.” ’

3 ‘A nation from the north will attack Babylon and they will destroy that country.

Nobody will live in it. Men and animals will run away.’

4 ‘When that happens,’ the Lord says,

‘The people from Judah and from Israel will be sorry.

They will cry while they go to find the Lord their God.

5 They will ask for the way to Zion. And they will go towards it.

They will return and they will promise to be the Lord's servants.

They will make a covenant that will be for all time.

Nobody will forget that covenant.

6 My people have been like sheep that are lost.

Those who should have led them to me have led them away.

They have been walking on the mountains and hills.

They have walked about and they have forgotten their place to rest.

7 Anyone who found them killed them.

Their enemies said, “They have caused this trouble to themselves.

They did many wrong things.

They did not obey the Lord who was really their leader.

He was the leader that their ancestors followed. They trusted him.”

8-9 I will wake up the people in many nations. I will bring many great nations together from the country in the north. They will get ready to fight against Babylon.

They will come against Babylon from the north. And they will take its people away to be prisoners.

Their arrows will kill many people.

So run away from Babylon. Leave the country called Babylon.

Be the first people to leave Babylon.

10 Enemies will take all the things that they want from Babylon.

Every enemy will have enough things,’ says the Lord.

11 ‘Listen, you people who take away my things.

You are so happy that you dance like young cows.

You shout aloud like a horse that wants sex.

12 Your country will be like a mother who is very ashamed.

Her child does not bring honour to the woman who gave life to him.

Your people will be less important than other nations.

Your country will be a desert, dry and empty.

13 Nobody will live there because the Lord is angry with you.

Your country will be completely empty.

All who pass Babylon will be very afraid.

And they will say all kinds of bad things about it when they see its troubles.

14 All you men who can shoot arrows with a bow,

stand round Babylon.

Shoot at it! Use all your arrows.

Shoot because its people have done bad things against the Lord.

15 Shoot at them from all sides.

Its people will let you get power over it. Its strong buildings will fall.

You will pull down its walls.

That is how the Lord will punish them. You will punish them.

You must do to them what they have done to other people.

16 Do not let anyone remain in Babylon to work on the land.

And do not let anyone remain to get food from the fields at the proper time.

All the foreign workers will return to their own nation because they are afraid of the attacking enemies.

All those workers will run away to their own country.

17 Israel is like a group of sheep that have all run to different places.

They ran away because lions ran after them.

The first to eat them was the king of Assyria.

The man who finished the meal was Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.’

18 So the great and powerful Lord, Israel's God says,

‘I will punish the king of Babylon and his country

as I punished the king of Assyria.

19 But I will bring Israel back to their own country.

And their cows will feed on Carmel and in Bashan.

They will eat and they will be full on the hills of Ephraim and Gilead.

20 At that time,’ says the Lord,

‘I will forgive the people in Israel and Judah that remain.

Nobody will find any sin in Israel.

There will not be any sin in Judah or in Israel.’

21 ‘Attack the place called Merathaim. And attack the people who live in Pekod.

50:21Merathaim and Pekod are names of other parts of Babylon.

Run after them and kill all those people,’ says the Lord.

‘Do everything that I have asked you to do.

22 There is a noise of fights in the country.

It is like the noise when enemies are destroying everything.

23 Babylon was like a hammer to the whole earth.

But now enemies have broken it into small pieces.

It is now alone among the nations.

24 I meant to catch you, Babylon, but you did not know.

And now I have caught you!

Your enemies found you and they got power over you. They got power over you because you did not obey the Lord.

25 The Lord is angry.

He has taken out the weapons from where he had stored them.

The great and powerful Lord has work to do in the country called Babylon.

26 He will send people against Babylon from far places.

They will break open the places where people had put their food.

They will break its buildings into pieces.

They will destroy it completely. Nothing will still be there.

27 They will kill all its young bulls.

50:27The young bulls mean all Babylon's young men.

They will be sorry. They will all die. It is time for me to punish them.’

28 ‘People have run away from Babylon to Zion.

They will tell how the Lord has punished Babylon.

The Lord has punished Babylon because Babylon destroyed the Lord's temple.

29 Bring the men with bows and arrows against Babylon.

They will stay all round it so that nobody will be able to run away.

You must punish it for all the bad things that its people have done.

Do to them as they did to you.

Do that because they proudly refused to obey the Lord, the holy God of Israel.

30 So, on that day, their young men will die in their streets.

Then none of their soldiers will be able to fight,’ says the Lord.

31 ‘You think that you are very important.

But you will see that I am against you,’ says the great and powerful Lord.

‘That is because the day for your punishment has come.

32 Your proud people will trip and they will fall.

And nobody will help them to get up.

I will make a fire in your towns to burn up all who are near to it.’

33 The great and powerful Lord says,

‘You have been cruel to the people from Israel and Judah.

You have taken them as prisoners,

and you will not let them go.

34 But the powerful Lord is great and strong.

He will come to redeem them.

He will fight hard to save them.

Then their country will have rest.

But Babylon's people will not have any rest.’

35 ‘I am sending an army against Babylon,’ says the Lord.

‘I am against those who live in Babylon.

And I am against its officers and its clever men.

36 I am against its false prophets.

I will cause them to become fools.

My sword will make its soldiers afraid.

37 My army will attack its horses and its chariots

and foreign men who fight for it.

They will be as weak as women.

I will cause them to give their valuable things to you.

You will take them away.

38 I will not send any rain and so its wet places will become completely dry.

Their country is full of idols.

Their false gods will be afraid.

39 Wild animals, like wild dogs, will live there.

Birds that fly at night will live there, too.

Men will never live there again.

Nobody's sons or grandsons will live there.

40 God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah

and the towns near to them,’ says the Lord.

‘Babylon will be like those towns,

so nobody will live there, not one man.

41 Look. You will see an army that is coming from the north.

A great nation and kings from all over the earth

are coming towards Babylon.

42 They have bows and knives that they throw.

They are cruel and they are not kind.

They make a noise like the moving sea while they ride on their horses.

They are an army that is ready to attack you, people in Babylon.

43 The king of Babylon has heard about them.

He is weak because he is afraid.

He feels pain like the pain of a woman who is having a baby.

44 I will be like a lion

that is coming out of the woods by the Jordan river.

I will come into your rich fields.

I will soon cause the people in Babylon to run from their country.

I will choose a man to do that, and nobody can stand against me.

Nobody can stop me.’

45 So now listen to the things that the Lord will do to Babylon.

Hear about the things that he will do to their country.

He will pull the young children away from their mothers.

And he will completely destroy their good country

because of the bad things that they have done.

46 All the people in the world will hear how your people got power over Babylon.

Then people will be afraid.

All the nations will hear when its people shout with pain.