1 This is what the LORD says: "I will stir up a destroyer against Babylon and the people of Babylonia.*1
2 Foreigners will come and winnow her, blowing her away as chaff. They will come from every side to rise against her in her day of trouble.
3 Don't let the archers put on their armor or draw their bows. No one will be spared! Young and old alike will be completely destroyed.*2
4 They will fall dead in the land of the Babylonians,* slashed to death in her streets.3
5 For the LORD Almighty has not forsaken Israel and Judah. He is still their God, even though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel."
6 Flee from Babylon! Save yourselves! Don't get trapped in her punishment! It is the LORD's time for vengeance; he will fully repay her.
7 Babylon has been like a golden cup in the LORD's hands, a cup from which he made the whole earth drink and go mad.
8 But now suddenly, Babylon, too, has fallen. Weep for her, and give her medicine. Perhaps she can yet be healed.
9 We would have helped her if we could, but nothing can save her now. Let her go; abandon her. Return now to your own land, for her judgment will be so great it cannot be measured.
10 The LORD has vindicated us. Come, let us announce in Jerusalem* everything the LORD our God has done.4
11 Sharpen the arrows! Lift up the shields! For the LORD has stirred up the spirit of the kings of the Medes to march against Babylon and destroy her. This is his vengeance against those who desecrated his Temple.
12 Raise the battle flag against Babylon! Reinforce the guard and station the watchmen. Prepare an ambush, for the LORD will fulfill all his plans against Babylon.
13 You are a city rich with water, a great center of commerce, but your end has come. The thread of your life is cut.
14 The LORD Almighty has taken this vow and has sworn to it by his own name: "Your cities will be filled with enemies, like fields filled with locusts, and they will lift their shouts of triumph over you."
15 He made the earth by his power, and he preserves it by his wisdom. He has stretched out the heavens by his understanding.
16 When he speaks, there is thunder in the heavens. He causes the clouds to rise over the earth. He sends the lightning with the rain and releases the wind from his storehouses.
17 Compared to him, all people are foolish and have no knowledge at all! They make idols, but the idols will disgrace their makers, for they are frauds. They have no life or power in them.
18 Idols are worthless; they are lies! The time is coming when they will all be destroyed.
19 But the God of Israel* is no idol! He is the Creator of everything that exists, including his people, his own special possession. The LORD Almighty is his name!5
20 "You* are my battle-ax and sword," says the LORD. "With you I will shatter nations and destroy many kingdoms.6
21 With you I will shatter armies, destroying the horse and rider, the chariot and charioteer.
22 With you I will shatter men and women, old people and children, young men and maidens.
23 With you I will shatter shepherds and flocks, farmers and oxen, captains and rulers.
24 "As you watch, I will repay Babylon and the people of Babylonia* for all the wrong they have done to my people in Jerusalem," says the LORD.7
25 "Look, O mighty mountain, destroyer of the earth! I am your enemy," says the LORD. "I will raise my fist against you, to roll you down from the heights. When I am finished, you will be nothing but a heap of rubble.
26 You will be desolate forever. Even your stones will never again be used for building. You will be completely wiped out," says the LORD.
27 Signal many nations to mobilize for war against Babylon. Sound the battle cry! Bring out the armies of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz. Appoint a leader, and bring a multitude of horses!
28 Bring against her the armies of the kings of the Medes and their generals, and the armies of all the countries they rule.