The books of the Old Testament prophets are packed with dense poetry and wild...
1The word that Yahweh spoke concerning Babylon, concerning the land of the Chaldeans, by Jeremiah the prophet.
2“Declare among the nations and publish,
and set up a standard;
publish, and don’t conceal;
say, ‘Babylon has been taken,
Bel is disappointed,
Merodach is dismayed!
Her images are disappointed.
Her idols are dismayed.’
3For a nation comes up out of the north against her,
which will make her land desolate,
and no one will dwell in it.
They have fled.
They are gone,
both man and animal.
4“In those days, and in that time,” says Yahweh,
“the children of Israel will come,
they and the children of Judah together;
they will go on their way weeping,
and will seek Yahweh their God.
5They will inquire concerning Zion with their faces turned toward it,
saying, ‘Come, and join yourselves to Yahweh in an everlasting covenant
that will not be forgotten.’
6My people have been lost sheep.
Their shepherds have caused them to go astray.
They have turned them away on the mountains.
They have gone from mountain to hill.
They have forgotten their resting place.
7All who found them have devoured them.
Their adversaries said, ‘We are not guilty,
because they have sinned against Yahweh,
the habitation of righteousness,
even Yahweh, the hope of their fathers.’
8“Flee out of the middle of Babylon!
Go out of the land of the Chaldeans,
and be as the male goats before the flocks.
9For, behold, I will stir up
and cause to come up against Babylon a company of great nations from the north country;
and they will set themselves in array against her.
She will be taken from there.
Their arrows will be as of an expert mighty man.
None of them will return in vain.
10Chaldea will be a prey.
All who prey on her will be satisfied,” says Yahweh.
11“Because you are glad,
because you rejoice,
O you who plunder my heritage,
because you are wanton as a heifer that treads out the grain,
and neigh as strong horses,
12your mother will be utterly disappointed.
She who bore you will be confounded.
Behold, she will be the least of the nations,
a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert.
13Because of Yahweh’s wrath she won’t be inhabited,
but she will be wholly desolate.
Everyone who goes by Babylon will be astonished,
and hiss at all her plagues.
14Set yourselves in array against Babylon all around,
all you who bend the bow;
shoot at her.
Spare no arrows,
for she has sinned against Yahweh.
15Shout against her all around.
She has submitted herself.
Her bulwarks have fallen.
Her walls have been thrown down,
for it is the vengeance of Yahweh.
Take vengeance on her.
As she has done, do to her.
16Cut off the sower from Babylon,
and him who handles the sickle in the time of harvest.
For fear of the oppressing sword,
they will each return to their own people,
and they will each flee to their own land.
17“Israel is a hunted sheep.
The lions have driven him away.
First, the king of Assyria devoured him,
and now at last Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has broken his bones.”
18Therefore Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, says:
“Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land,
as I have punished the king of Assyria.
19I will bring Israel again to his pasture,
and he will feed on Carmel and Bashan.
His soul will be satisfied on the hills of Ephraim and in Gilead.
20In those days, and in that time,” says Yahweh,
“the iniquity of Israel will be sought for,
and there will be none,
also the sins of Judah,
and they won’t be found;
for I will pardon them whom I leave as a remnant.
21“Go up against the land of Merathaim,
even against it, and against the inhabitants of Pekod.
Kill and utterly destroy after them,” says Yahweh,
“and do according to all that I have commanded you.
22A sound of battle is in the land,
and of great destruction.
23How the hammer of the whole earth is cut apart and broken!
How Babylon has become a desolation among the nations!
24I have laid a snare for you,
and you are also taken, Babylon,
and you weren’t aware.
You are found,
and also caught,
because you have fought against Yahweh.
25Yahweh has opened his armory,
and has brought out the weapons of his indignation;
for the Lord, Yahweh of Armies, has a work to do in the land of the Chaldeans.
26Come against her from the farthest border.
Open her storehouses.
Cast her up as heaps.
Destroy her utterly.
Let nothing of her be left.
27Kill all her bulls.
Let them go down to the slaughter.
Woe to them! For their day has come,
the time of their visitation.
28Listen to those who flee and escape out of the land of Babylon,
to declare in Zion the vengeance of Yahweh our God,
the vengeance of his temple.
29“Call together the archers against Babylon,
all those who bend the bow.
Encamp against her all around.
Let none of it escape.
Pay her back according to her work.
According to all that she has done, do to her;
for she has been proud against Yahweh,
against the Holy One of Israel.
30Therefore her young men will fall in her streets.
All her men of war will be brought to silence in that day,” says Yahweh.
31“Behold, I am against you, you proud one,” says the Lord, Yahweh of Armies;
“for your day has come,
the time that I will visit you.
32The proud one will stumble and fall,
and no one will raise him up.
I will kindle a fire in his cities,
and it will devour all who are around him.”
33Yahweh of Armies says: “The children of Israel and the children of Judah are oppressed together.
All who took them captive hold them fast.
They refuse to let them go.
34Their Redeemer is strong.
Yahweh of Armies is his name.
He will thoroughly plead their cause,
that he may give rest to the earth,
and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon.
35“A sword is on the Chaldeans,” says Yahweh,
“and on the inhabitants of Babylon,
on her princes,
and on her wise men.
36A sword is on the boasters,
and they will become fools.
A sword is on her mighty men,
and they will be dismayed.
37A sword is on their horses,
on their chariots,
and on all the mixed people who are in the middle of her;
and they will become as women.
A sword is on her treasures,
and they will be robbed.
38A drought is on her waters,
and they will be dried up;
for it is a land of engraved images,
and they are mad over idols.
39Therefore the wild animals of the desert
with the wolves will dwell there.
The ostriches will dwell therein.
It will be inhabited no more forever,
neither will it be lived in from generation to generation.
40As when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and its neighbor cities,” says Yahweh,
“so no man will dwell there,
neither will any son of man live therein.
41“Behold, a people comes from the north.
A great nation and many kings will be stirred up from the uttermost parts of the earth.
42They take up bow and spear.
They are cruel, and have no mercy.
Their voice roars like the sea.
They ride on horses,
everyone set in array,
as a man to the battle,
against you, daughter of Babylon.
43The king of Babylon has heard the news of them,
and his hands become feeble.
Anguish has taken hold of him,
pains as of a woman in labor.
44Behold, the enemy will come up like a lion
from the thickets of the Jordan against the strong habitation;
for I will suddenly make them run away from it.
Whoever is chosen,
I will appoint him over it,
for who is like me?
Who will appoint me a time?
Who is the shepherd who can stand before me?”
45Therefore hear the counsel of Yahweh
that he has taken against Babylon;
and his purposes
that he has purposed against the land of the Chaldeans:
Surely they will drag them away,
even the little ones of the flock.
Surely he will make their habitation desolate over them.
46The earth trembles at the noise of the taking of Babylon.
The cry is heard among the nations.
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