1 The LORD gave Jeremiah the prophet this message concerning Babylon and the land of the Babylonians.*1
2 This is what the LORD says: "Tell the whole world, and keep nothing back! Raise a signal flag so everyone will know that Babylon will fall! Her images and idols will be shattered. Her gods Bel and Marduk will be utterly disgraced.
3 For a nation will attack her from the north and bring such destruction that no one will live in her again. Everything will be gone; both people and animals will flee.
4 "Then the people of Israel and Judah will join together," says the LORD, "weeping and seeking the LORD their God.
5 They will ask the way to Jerusalem* and will start back home again. They will bind themselves to the LORD with an eternal covenant that will never again be broken.2
6 "My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray and turned them loose in the mountains. They have lost their way and cannot remember how to get back to the fold.
7 All who found them devoured them. Their enemies said, `We are allowed to attack them freely, for they have sinned against the LORD, their place of rest, the hope of their ancestors.'
8 "But now, flee from Babylon! Leave the land of the Babylonians. Lead my people home again.
9 For look, I am raising up an army of great nations from the north. I will bring them against Babylon to attack her, and she will be captured. The enemies' arrows will go straight to the mark; they will not miss!
10 Babylonia* will be plundered until the attackers are glutted with plunder," says the LORD.3
11 "You rejoice and are glad, you plunderers of my chosen people. You frisk about like a calf in a meadow and neigh like a stallion.
12 But your homeland* will be overwhelmed with shame and disgrace. You will become the least of nations--a wilderness, a dry and desolate land.4
13 Because of the LORD's anger, Babylon will become a deserted wasteland. All who pass by will be horrified and will gasp at the destruction they see there.
14 "Yes, prepare to attack Babylon, all you nations round about. Let your archers shoot at her. Spare no arrows, for she has sinned against the LORD.
15 Shout against her from every side. Look! She surrenders! Her walls have fallen. The LORD has taken vengeance, so do not spare her. Do to her as she has done to others!
16 Lead from Babylon all those who plant crops; send all the harvesters away. Let the captives escape the sword of the enemy and rush back to their own lands.
17 "The Israelites are like sheep that have been scattered by lions. First the king of Assyria ate them up. Then King Nebuchadnezzar* of Babylon cracked their bones."5
18 Therefore, the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "Now I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, just as I punished the king of Assyria.
19 And I will bring Israel home again to her own land, to feed in the fields of Carmel and Bashan, and to be satisfied once more on the hill country of Ephraim and Gilead.
20 In those days," says the LORD, "no sin will be found in Israel or in Judah, for I will forgive the remnant I preserve.
21 "Go up, my warriors, against the land of Merathaim and against the people of Pekod. Yes, march against Babylon, the land of rebels, a land that I will judge! Pursue, kill, and completely destroy* them, as I have commanded you," says the LORD.6
22 "Let the battle cry be heard in the land, a shout of great destruction.
23 Babylon, the mightiest hammer in all the earth, lies broken and shattered. Babylon is desolate among the nations!
24 Listen, Babylon, for I have set a trap for you. You are caught, for you have fought against the LORD.
25 "The LORD has opened his armory and brought out weapons to vent his fury against his enemies. The terror that falls upon the Babylonians will be the work of the Sovereign LORD Almighty.
26 Yes, come against her from distant lands. Break open her granaries. Crush her walls and houses into heaps of rubble. Destroy her completely, and leave nothing!