29 Babylon trembles and writhes in pain, for everything the LORD has planned against her stands unchanged. Babylon will be left desolate without a single inhabitant.
30 Her mightiest warriors no longer fight. They stay in their barracks. Their courage is gone. They have become as fearful as women. The invaders have burned the houses and broken down the city gates.
31 Messengers from every side come running to the king to tell him all is lost!
32 All the escape routes are blocked. The fortifications are burning, and the army is in panic.
33 For the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "Babylon is like wheat on a threshing floor, about to be trampled. In just a little while her harvest will begin."
34 "King Nebuchadnezzar* of Babylon has eaten and crushed us and emptied out our strength. He has swallowed us like a great monster and filled his belly with our riches. He has thrown us out of our own country.1
35 May Babylon be repaid for all the violence she did to us," say the people of Jerusalem. "May the people of Babylonia be paid in full for all the blood they spilled," says Jerusalem.
36 The LORD says to Jerusalem, "I will be your lawyer to plead your case, and I will avenge you. I will dry up her river, her water supply,
37 and Babylon will become a heap of rubble, haunted by jackals. It will be an object of horror and contempt, without a single person living there.
38 "In their drunken feasts, the people of Babylon roar like lions.
39 And while they lie inflamed with all their wine, I will prepare a different kind of feast for them. I will make them drink until they fall asleep, never again to waken," says the LORD.
40 "I will bring them like lambs to the slaughter, like rams and goats to be sacrificed.
41 "How Babylon* is fallen--great Babylon, praised throughout the earth! The world can scarcely believe its eyes at her fall!2
42 The sea has risen over Babylon; she is covered by its waves.
43 Her cities now lie in ruins; she is a dry wilderness where no one lives or even passes by.
44 And I will punish Bel, the god of Babylon, and pull from his mouth what he has taken. The nations will no longer come and worship him. The wall of Babylon has fallen.
45 "Listen, my people, flee from Babylon. Save yourselves! Run from the LORD's fierce anger.
46 But do not panic when you hear the first rumor of approaching forces. For rumors will keep coming year by year. Then there will be a time of violence as the leaders fight against each other.
47 For the time is surely coming when I will punish this great city and all her idols. Her whole land will be disgraced, and her dead will lie in the streets.
48 The heavens and earth will rejoice, for out of the north will come destroying armies against Babylon," says the LORD.
49 "Just as Babylon killed the people of Israel and others throughout the world, so must her people be killed.
50 Go, you who escaped the sword! Do not stand and watch--flee while you can! Remember the LORD, even though you are in a far-off land, and think about your home in Jerusalem."
51 "We are ashamed," the people say. "We are insulted and disgraced because the LORD's Temple has been defiled by foreigners."
52 "Yes," says the LORD, "but the time is coming when Babylon's idols will be destroyed. The groans of her wounded people will be heard throughout the land.
53 Though Babylon reaches as high as the heavens, and though she increases her strength immeasurably, I will send enemies to plunder her," says the LORD.
54 Listen! Hear the cry of Babylon, the sound of great destruction from the land of the Babylonians.
55 For the LORD is destroying Babylon. He will silence her. Waves of enemies pound against her; the noise of battle rings through the city.
56 Destroying armies come against Babylon. Her mighty men are captured, and their weapons break in their hands. For the LORD is a God who gives just punishment, and he is giving Babylon all she deserves.
57 "I will make drunk her officials, wise men, rulers, captains, and warriors," says the King, whose name is the LORD Almighty. "They will fall asleep and never wake up again!"