Jeremiah 50:1-51:64

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.

Jeremiah 51

1 The Lord says:

‘I will wake up those people who want to destroy Babylon and the people in Leb-Kamai.

2 I will send foreign armies to Babylon.

They will break it and they will destroy its country.

They will be all round it at that time.

3 Its men will not have time to shoot

or to pick up their weapons.

You will kill all its young men.

You will completely destroy its army.

4 Babylon's soldiers will lie dead in the streets.

5 The great, powerful Lord is with Israel and Judah.

They have done many wrong things.

And they have not obeyed him.

But he has not left them.

6 Run away from Babylon!

Run to save your lives!

My armies are coming to punish Babylon.

Do not let them hurt you.

The time has come to punish Babylon.

The Lord will punish them for the bad things that they have done.

7 Babylon was like a great cup of wine.

The Lord saw that the wine made the whole earth drunk.

The nations drank the wine and they became angry.

8 Babylon will fall quickly. Cry about it!

If you get medicine, perhaps you may make it well.

9 The strangers in Babylon say,

“We would have made Babylon well if we could.

But nobody can make it well.

We will leave it and each person will go back to his own country.

Its punishment is very great.

It reaches up to the sky.”

10 The people from Judah say, “The Lord has saved us.

We must tell the people in Zion

about the things that our God has done.”

11 Get your arrows ready! Prepare your weapons!

The Lord has caused the kings of Media to prepare for war.

He wants them to destroy Babylon.

The Lord will punish its people because they destroyed his temple.

12 Get ready to attack the walls of Babylon!

Watch. And be ready to catch those who try to run away.

The Lord will do as he has promised against Babylon's people.

13 It is the time for the end of their lives.

I speak to those rich people who live by the rivers of Babylon.

14 The Lord has given a serious promise that he will not change. He used his own name to promise this:

“I will fill Babylon with men. They will come like a very big number of insects. And they will shout happily because they have beaten you.”

15 The Lord used his power to make the earth.

He was so wise that he made it and the sky over it.

16 When he shouts, the waters in the sky make a loud noise.

He causes the clouds to rise from the ends of the earth.

He sends arrows of light with the rain.

And he causes the wind to blow.

17 No man is really clever. Nobody knows anything.

Men who work with gold should be ashamed.

They make idols, but those are not gods. They are not alive.

18 Idols do not have any value. We do not give any honour to them.

The Lord will judge them and he will destroy them.

19 The God of Jacob is the God who made all things.

So he is not like the idols.

He chose Israel's people to be his own people.

His is called the great and powerful Lord.

20 You people are my weapons for war.

I use you to fight for me.

You will break the nations for me.

I will use you to destroy kingdoms.

21 With you I will break horses and those who ride on them.

With you I will break chariots and the men in them.

22 With you I will break men and women.

With you, I will break old men and young men.

With you, I will break young men and girls.

23 With you I will break sheep and the men with them.

With you, I will break farmers and their animals.

With you, I will break those in authority and their officers.

24 I will punish Babylon and all the people in it.

I will punish them for all the evil things that they did to Jerusalem.

You will see it with your own eyes,’ says the Lord.

25 ‘Babylon, you are like a mountain that destroys the whole earth,’

says the Lord.

‘I will put out my hands towards you and I will push you down.

I will burn you up.

26 Nobody will ever use any of your stones for a new building.

You will be like a desert for all time,’ the Lord says.

27 ‘Show to the people in the country that you are ready to fight.

You must make a noise with the trumpet so that all the nations can hear.

Cause the nations to prepare for war against Babylon.

Ask the armies of the kingdoms called Ararat, Minni and Ashkenaz to attack it.

They must choose their captain to lead them. They will have many horses.

Their horses will be like so many insects that they seem like a cloud.

28 Send messengers to the kings of Media

and to their officers and leaders.

Ask them to prepare for war against Babylon.

Cause them to bring armies from the places that they rule.

29 The Lord has decided to punish Babylon. He will not change.

The country is shaking because it is afraid.

The Lord will destroy Babylon and he will make it a desert.

Nobody will live there.

30 The strong men from Babylon have stopped fighting.

They are staying in their strong buildings.

They are very tired and they have become like women.

Soldiers are burning the city.

They have broken down its gates and they have burnt its houses.

31 One messenger follows another to the king of Babylon.

They all tell him that his enemies have got power over his city.

32 And they have got power over the places where men cross the rivers.

Enemies have made the country like a fire and the soldiers of Babylon are afraid.’

33 The great and powerful Lord, Israel's God says this:

‘Babylon is like the place where men walk on the grain to make the seeds separate from everything else.

It is time for men to walk over the city.

It will soon be time for men to take away the city's valuable things.’

34 ‘Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has destroyed us.

He has confused us. He has made us like an empty jar.

Like a snake, he has eaten us and he has filled himself with our good things.

Then he threw us away.’

35 That is what Zion's people will say. They will also say, ‘We are asking the Lord to punish Nebuchadnezzar.

We are asking him to do to Nebuchadnezzar all the bad things that he did to our people.’

‘We ask him to punish Babylon's people because they killed our people,’ say Jerusalem's people.

36 So the Lord says,

‘Watch. And see that I will fight for you. I will punish them.

I will cause its sea and its rivers to become dry.

37 I will make Babylon a hill of stones.

Wild animals will live there.

Men will hate the place and nobody will live there.

38 Its people may make a loud noise

like angry lions or like their young ones.

39 But even when they are shouting, I will prepare a feast for them.

I will cause them to get drunk. And so they will laugh.

They will sleep and they will never wake again,’ says the Lord.

40 ‘I will bring them down. They will be like sheep that people will soon kill.

They will be like sheep and goats and their young animals.

41 Enemies will get power over Sheshach (Babylon), the city that was the greatest city on the earth.

None of the nations will want to look at Babylon.

42 The sea will rise over it. Its water will cover it.

43 Its towns will be empty. Its land will be a dry desert.

Nobody will live there. Nobody will walk on its land.

44 I will punish Bel.

I will cause him to give back everything that he has taken.

Nations will never run to him again.

And the walls of Babylon will fall.

45 Come out of it, my people! Run away and save your lives!

Run away because the Lord is very angry with it.

46 You must not be afraid

when people say things to make you afraid.

They will tell stories this year and they will tell more stories next year.

They will tell stories about men who hurt each other badly.

They will say that rulers will fight each other.

47 Certainly the time will come

when I will punish the idols of Babylon.

Men will be ashamed of its whole country.

And its dead people will lie in its streets.

48 Then the earth and the sky and all the people in them will shout.

They will be so happy that they will shout. And they will dance.

They will be happy because people will come to destroy Babylon.

They will come from the north to attack it,’ says the Lord.

49 ‘Enemies must destroy Babylon because its people have killed many people in Israel.

People killed the people in Babylon as they caused many to die in all the earth.

50 You Jews who have not died must run away.

Do not wait for anything, but go quickly.

Remember the Lord. Think about Jerusalem, you who are far away.’

51 We are ashamed. They have taken away our honour.

We cannot look at people's faces.

We are ashamed because foreigners have gone into the holy places of the Lord's house.

52 ‘But the time will come,’ says the Lord,

‘when I will punish Babylon's idols.

And I will hurt many people all over that country.

They will cry with pain.

53 Babylon's people may build their city very high.

They may make its walls very strong.

But I will send men to destroy it,’ says the Lord.

54 ‘The sound of people who are shouting will come from Babylon.

It will be the noise of the country of Babylon as men destroy it.

55 The Lord will destroy Babylon. It will not continue to make any noise.

Enemies will come against it like a hill of waters.

Their voices will sound like the sea when it is moving like an angry person.

56 They will come against Babylon to destroy it.

They will take its soldiers and they will break their bows.

The Lord will be paying back those who have hurt his people.

He will give full punishment to them.

57 I will make its officers and its wise men drunk.

I will do that also to its rulers and to its soldiers.

They will sleep and they will never wake up,’ says the King.

He is the great and powerful Lord.

58 The great and powerful Lord says,

‘They will knock down the thick walls of Babylon.

They will burn its high gates.

The nations run about and are tired. But they cannot do anything.

All the things that the nations do only make the fire worse.’

59 This is the message that Jeremiah gave to the officer Seraiah. He was the son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah. Seraiah gave it when he went to Babylon with Zedekiah, Judah's king. It was in the fourth year of his rule. 60 Jeremiah had written his message on a piece of clean dry skin. He had written down all the punishment that the Lord would cause to happen to Babylon. 61 Jeremiah spoke to Seraiah. He said, ‘When you reach Babylon, certainly read all these words aloud. 62 Then say, “Lord you have said that you will destroy this place. Then no man or animal will live in it. It will be empty for all time.” 63 When you have finished reading all the words, tie a big stone to the skin. And throw the stone and the skin into the River Euphrates. 64 Then say, “Babylon will go down like that stone and it will never rise again. I will cause all these bad things. Its people will be too tired and too weak to do anything about it.” ’

That is the end of Jeremiah's words.