The books of the Old Testament prophets are packed with dense poetry and wild...
1The word which the Lord spoke concerning Babylon, concerning the land of the Chaldeʹans, by Jeremiah the prophet:
2“Declare among the nations and proclaim,
set up a banner and proclaim,
conceal it not, and say:
‘Babylon is taken,
Bel is put to shame,
Merʹodach is dismayed.
Her images are put to shame,
her idols are dismayed.’
3“For out of the north a nation has come up against her, which shall make her land a desolation, and none shall dwell in it; both man and beast shall flee away.
4“In those days and in that time, says the Lord, the people of Israel and the people of Judah shall come together, weeping as they come; and they shall seek the Lord their God. 5They shall ask the way to Zion, with faces turned toward it, saying, ‘Come, let us join ourselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant which will never be forgotten.’
6“My people have been lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains; from mountain to hill they have gone, they have forgotten their fold. 7All who found them have devoured them, and their enemies have said, ‘We are not guilty, for they have sinned against the Lord, their true habitation, the Lord, the hope of their fathers.’
8“Flee from the midst of Babylon, and go out of the land of the Chaldeʹans, and be as he-goats before the flock. 9For behold, I am stirring up and bringing against Babylon a company of great nations, from the north country; and they shall array themselves against her; from there she shall be taken. Their arrows are like a skilled warrior who does not return empty-handed. 10Chaldeʹa shall be plundered; all who plunder her shall be sated, says the Lord.
11“Though you rejoice, though you exult,
O plunderers of my heritage,
though you are wanton as a heifer at grass,
and neigh like stallions,
12your mother shall be utterly shamed,
and she who bore you shall be disgraced.
Lo, she shall be the last of the nations,
a wilderness dry and desert.
13Because of the wrath of the Lord she shall not be inhabited,
but shall be an utter desolation;
every one who passes by Babylon shall be appalled,
and hiss because of all her wounds.
14Set yourselves in array against Babylon round about,
all you that bend the bow;
shoot at her, spare no arrows,
for she has sinned against the Lord.
15Raise a shout against her round about,
she has surrendered;
her bulwarks have fallen,
her walls are thrown down.
For this is the vengeance of the Lord:
take vengeance on her,
do to her as she has done.
16Cut off from Babylon the sower,
and the one who handles the sickle in time of harvest;
because of the sword of the oppressor,
every one shall turn to his own people,
and every one shall flee to his own land.
17“Israel is a hunted sheep driven away by lions. First the king of Assyria devoured him, and now at last Nebuchadrezʹzar king of Babylon has gnawed his bones. 18Therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing punishment on the king of Babylon and his land, as I punished the king of Assyria. 19I will restore Israel to his pasture, and he shall feed on Carmel and in Bashan, and his desire shall be satisfied on the hills of Eʹphraim and in Gilead. 20In those days and in that time, says the Lord, iniquity shall be sought in Israel, and there shall be none; and sin in Judah, and none shall be found; for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant.
21“Go up against the land of Merathaʹim,
and against the inhabitants of Pekod.
Slay, and utterly destroy after them,
says the Lord,
and do all that I have commanded you.
22The noise of battle is in the land,
and great destruction!
23How the hammer of the whole earth
is cut down and broken!
How Babylon has become
a horror among the nations!
24I set a snare for you and you were taken, O Babylon,
and you did not know it;
you were found and caught,
because you strove against the Lord.
25The Lord has opened his armory,
and brought out the weapons of his wrath,
for the Lord God of hosts has a work to do
in the land of the Chaldeʹans.
26Come against her from every quarter;
open her granaries;
pile her up like heaps of grain, and destroy her utterly;
let nothing be left of her.
27Slay all her bulls,
let them go down to the slaughter.
Woe to them, for their day has come,
the time of their punishment.
28“Hark! they flee and escape from the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the Lord our God, vengeance for his temple.
29“Summon archers against Babylon, all those who bend the bow. Encamp round about her; let no one escape. Requite her according to her deeds, do to her according to all that she has done; for she has proudly defied the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. 30Therefore her young men shall fall in her squares, and all her soldiers shall be destroyed on that day, says the Lord.
31“Behold, I am against you, O proud one,
says the Lord God of hosts;
for your day has come,
the time when I will punish you.
32The proud one shall stumble and fall,
with none to raise him up,
and I will kindle a fire in his cities,
and it will devour all that is round about him.
33“Thus says the Lord of hosts: The people of Israel are oppressed, and the people of Judah with them; all who took them captive have held them fast, they refuse to let them go. 34Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is his name. He will surely plead their cause, that he may give rest to the earth, but unrest to the inhabitants of Babylon.
35“A sword upon the Chaldeʹans, says the Lord,
and upon the inhabitants of Babylon,
and upon her princes and her wise men!
36A sword upon the diviners,
that they may become fools!
A sword upon her warriors,
that they may be destroyed!
37A sword upon her horses and upon her chariots,
and upon all the foreign troops in her midst,
that they may become women!
A sword upon all her treasures,
that they may be plundered!
38A drought upon her waters,
that they may be dried up!
For it is a land of images,
and they are mad over idols.
39“Therefore wild beasts shall dwell with hyenas in Babylon, and ostriches shall dwell in her; she shall be peopled no more for ever, nor inhabited for all generations. 40As when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorʹrah and their neighbor cities, says the Lord, so no man shall dwell there, and no son of man shall sojourn in her.
41“Behold, a people comes from the north;
a mighty nation and many kings
are stirring from the farthest parts of the earth.
42They lay hold of bow and spear;
they are cruel, and have no mercy.
The sound of them is like the roaring of the sea;
they ride upon horses,
arrayed as a man for battle
against you, O daughter of Babylon!
43“The king of Babylon heard the report of them,
and his hands fell helpless;
anguish seized him,
pain as of a woman in travail.
44“Behold, like a lion coming up from the jungle of the Jordan against a strong sheepfold, I will suddenly make them run away from her; and I will appoint over her whomever I choose. For who is like me? Who will summon me? What shepherd can stand before me? 45Therefore hear the plan which the Lord has made against Babylon, and the purposes which he has formed against the land of the Chaldeʹans: Surely the little ones of their flock shall be dragged away; surely their fold shall be appalled at their fate. 46At the sound of the capture of Babylon the earth shall tremble, and her cry shall be heard among the nations.”
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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