The Bible – Old Testament
1 The word which the LORD spoke against Babylon, against the land of the Chaldeans, through the prophet Jeremiah:
2 Announce and publish it among the nations; publish it, hide it not, but say: Babylon is taken, Bel confounded, Merodach shattered; her images are put to shame, her idols shattered.
A people from the north advances against her to turn her land into a desert, So that no one shall live there, because man and beast have fled away.
In those days, at that time, says the LORD, the men of Israel and of Judah shall come, Weeping as they come, to seek the LORD, their God;
to their goal in Zion they shall ask the way. “Come, let us join ourselves to the LORD with covenant everlasting, never to be forgotten.”
Lost sheep were my people, their shepherds misled them, straggling on the mountains; From mountain to hill they wandered, losing the way to their fold.
Whoever came upon them devoured them, and their enemies said, “We incur no guilt, Because they sinned against the LORD, the hope of their fathers, their abode of justice.”
Flee from Babylon, leave the land of the Chaldeans, be like the rams at the head of the flock.
See, I am stirring up against Babylon a band of great nations from the north; from there they advance, and she shall be taken. Their arrows are arrows of the skilled warrior; none shall return without effect.
Chaldea shall be their plunder, and all her plunderers shall be enriched, says the LORD.
Yes, rejoice and exult, you that plunder my portion; Frisk like calves on the green, snort like stallions!
Your mother shall be sorely put to shame, she that bore you shall be abashed; See, the last of the nations, a desert, dry and waste.
Because of the LORD’S wrath she shall be empty, and become a total desert; Everyone who passes by Babylon will be appalled and catch his breath, at all her wounds.
Take your posts encircling Babylon, you who bend the bow; Shoot at her, spare not your arrows,
3 raise the war cry against her on all sides. She surrenders, her bastions fall, her walls are torn down: Vengeance of the LORD is this! Take revenge on her, as she has done, do to her; for she sinned against the LORD.
Cut off from Babylon the sower and him who wields the sickle in harvest time! Before the destroying sword, each of them turns to his own people, everyone flees to his own land.
A stray sheep was Israel that lions pursued; Formerly the king of Assyria devoured her, now Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon gnaws her bones.
Therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as once I punished the king of Assyria;
But I will bring back Israel to her fold, to feed on Carmel and Bashan, And on Mount Ephraim and Gilead, till she has her fill.
In those days, at that time, says the LORD: They shall seek Israel’s guilt, but it shall be no more, and Judah’s sins, but these shall no longer be found; for I will forgive the remnant I preserve.
4 Attack the land of Merathaim, and those who live in Pekod; Slaughter and doom them, says the LORD, do all I have commanded you.
Battle alarm in the land, dire destruction!
How has the hammer of the whole earth been broken and shattered! What an object of horror Babylon has become among the nations.
You ensnared yourself, and were caught, O Babylon, before you knew it! You were discovered and seized, because you challenged the LORD.
The LORD opens his armory and brings forth the weapons of his wrath; For the Lord GOD of hosts has work to do in the land of the Chaldeans.
Come upon her from every side, open her granaries, Pile up her goods in heaps and doom it, leave not a remnant.
Slay all her oxen, let them go down to the slaughter; Woe to them! their day has come, the time of their punishment.
Listen! the fugitives, the escaped from the land of Babylon: They announce in Zion the vengeance of the LORD, our God.
Call up against Babylon archers, all who bend the bow; Encamp around her, let no one escape. Repay her for her deeds; as she has done, do to her, For she insulted the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.
Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, all her warriors shall perish on that day, says the LORD.
I am against you, man of insolence, says the Lord GOD of hosts; For your day has come, the time for me to punish you.
Insolence stumbles and falls; there is no one to raise him up. I will kindle in his cities a fire that shall devour everything around him.
Thus says the LORD of hosts: Oppressed are the men of Israel, and with them the men of Judah; All their captors hold them fast and refuse to let them go.
Strong is their avenger, whose name is LORD of hosts; He will defend their cause with success, and give rest to the earth, but unrest to those who live in Babylon.
A sword upon the Chaldeans, says the LORD, upon Babylon’s people, her princes and wise men!
A sword upon the soothsayers, that they may become fools! A sword upon her warriors, that they may tremble;
A sword upon her motley throng, that they may become women! A sword upon her treasures, that they may be plundered;
A sword upon her waters, that they may dry up! For it is a land of idols, and they shall be made frantic by fearful things.
Hence, wildcats and desert beasts shall dwell there, and ostriches shall occupy it; Never again shall it be peopled, or lived in, from age to age.
As when God overturned Sodom and Gomorrah, with their neighbors, says the LORD, Not a man shall dwell there, no human being shall tarry there.
See! a people comes from the north, a great nation, and mighty kings roused from the ends of the earth.
Bow and javelin they wield, cruel and pitiless are they; They sound like the roaring sea, as they ride forth on steeds, Each in his place for battle against you, daughter Babylon.
The king of Babylon hears news of them, and helpless fall his hands; Anguish seizes him, throes like a mother’s in childbirth.
As when a lion comes up from the Jordan’s thicket to the permanent feeding grounds, So I, in one instant, will drive them off, and whom I choose I will establish there; For who is like me? who calls me to account? what shepherd can stand against me?
Therefore hear the counsel of the LORD which he has taken against Babylon; Hear the plans he has made against the land of the Chaldeans: They shall be dragged away, even the smallest sheep; their own pasture shall be aghast because of them.
At the cry “Babylon is captured!” the earth quakes; the outcry is heard among the nations.
1 [1-51, 58] a collection of miscellaneous prophecies against Babylon which now stands as the introduction to the story in ⇒ Jeremiah 51:59-64. The Greek text of ⇒ Jeremiah 50:1 omits through the prophet Jeremiah, and it is in fact likely that these oracles are not Jeremiah’s, but were composed by other inspired writers after the fall of Jerusalem, who may have used some of Jeremiah’s texts. Babylon fell to the Persians in 538 B.C.
2  Bel: originally the name of the god of Nippur in Mesopotamia, then identified with Merodach (Marduk), chief god of Babylon.
3  Her walls are torn down: the prophet is not predicting the details of Babylon’s downfall, but describing such a downfall in conventional language. Actually, Babylon was surrendered peaceably, without destruction.
4  Merathaim, “twice bitter,” and Pekod, “punishment,” are here symbolic terms for Babylonia, though probably they suggest also the names of regions in that country.