“Behold, a people comes from the north;
a mighty nation and many kings
are stirring from the farthest parts of the earth.
They 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 on horses,
arrayed as a man for battle against you,
O daughter of Babylon!
“The king of Babylon heard the report of them,
and his hands fell helpless;
anguish seized him,
pain as of a woman in labor.
“Behold, like a lion coming up
from the thicket of the Jordan
against a perennial pasture,
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?
Therefore hear the plan that the Lord
has made against Babylon,
and the purposes that he has formed
against the land of the Chaldeans:
Surely the little ones of their flock shall be dragged away;
surely their fold shall be appalled at their fate.
At the sound of the capture of Babylon
the earth shall tremble,
and her cry shall be heard among the nations.”
The Utter Destruction of Babylon
Thus says the Lord:
“Behold, I will stir up the spirit of a destroyer
against Babylon, against the inhabitants
and I will send to Babylon winnowers,
and they shall winnow her,
and they shall empty her land,
when they come against her from every side
on the day of trouble.
Let not the archer bend his bow,
and let him not stand up in his armor.
Spare not her young men;
devote to destruction all her army.
They shall fall down slain in the land
of the Chaldeans, and wounded in her streets.
For Israel and Judah have not been forsaken
by their God, the Lord of hosts,
but the land of the Chaldeans is full of guilt
against the Holy One of Israel.
“Flee from the midst of Babylon;
let every one save his life!
Be not cut off in her punishment,
for this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance,
the repayment he is rendering her.
Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord’s hand,
making all the earth drunken;
the nations drank of her wine;
therefore the nations went mad.
Suddenly Babylon has fallen and been broken;
wail for her!
Take balm for her pain;
perhaps she may be healed.
We would have healed Babylon,
but she was not healed.
Forsake her, and let us go each
to his own country,
for her judgment has reached up to heaven
and has been lifted up even to the skies.
The Lord has brought about our vindication;
come, let us declare in Zion
the work of the Lord our God.
The Medes Will Destroy Babylon
“Sharpen the arrows!
Take up the shields!
The Lord has stirred up the spirit of the kings
of the Medes,
because his purpose concerning Babylon
is to destroy it,
for that is the vengeance of the Lord,
the vengeance for his temple.
“Set up a standard against the walls of Babylon;
make the watch strong;
set up watchmen;
prepare the ambushes;
for the Lord has both planned and done
what he spoke concerning
the inhabitants of Babylon.
O you who dwell by many waters,
rich in treasures,
your end has come;
the thread of your life is cut.
The Lord of hosts has sworn by himself:
Surely I will fill you with men,
as many as locusts,
and they shall raise the shout of victory over you.
God Created by His Power
“It is he who made the earth by his power,
who established the world by his wisdom,
and by his understanding stretched
out the heavens.
When he utters his voice there is a tumult
of waters in the heavens,
and he makes the mist rise from
the ends of the earth.
He makes lightning for the rain,
and he brings forth the wind from
Idols are False
Every man is stupid and without knowledge;
every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols,
for his images are false,
and there is no breath in them.
They are worthless, a work of delusion;
at the time of their punishment
they shall perish.
Not like these is he who is the portion of Jacob,
for he is the one who formed all things,
and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance;
the Lord of hosts is his name.
Israel, God's Weapon of War
“You are my hammer
and weapon of war:
with you I break nations in pieces;
with you I destroy kingdoms;
with you I break in pieces the horse and his rider;
with you I break in pieces the chariot
and the charioteer;
with you I break in pieces man and woman;
with you I break in pieces the old man
and the youth;
with you I break in pieces the young man
and the young woman;
with you I break in pieces the shepherd and his flock;
with you I break in pieces the farmer and his team;
with you I break in pieces governors
“I will repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea before your very eyes for all the evil that they have done in Zion, declares the Lord.
“Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain,
declares the Lord,
which destroys the whole earth;
I will stretch out my hand against you,
and roll you down from the crags,
and make you a burnt mountain.
No stone shall be taken from you for a corner
and no stone for a foundation,
but you shall be a perpetual waste,
declares the Lord.
The Medes Strength
“Set up a standard on the earth;
blow the trumpet among the nations;
prepare the nations for war against her;
summon against her the kingdoms,
Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz;
appoint a marshal against her;
bring up horses like bristling locusts.
Prepare the nations for war against her,
the kings of the Medes,
with their governors and deputies,
and every land under their dominion.
The land trembles and writhes in pain,
for the Lord’s purposes against Babylon stand,
to make the land of Babylon a desolation,
The warriors of Babylon have ceased fighting;
they remain in their strongholds;
their strength has failed;
they have become women;
her dwellings are on fire;
her bars are broken.
One runner runs to meet another,
and one messenger to meet another,
to tell the king of Babylon
that his city is taken on every side;
the fords have been seized,
the marshes are burned with fire,
and the soldiers are in panic.
For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel:
The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor
at the time when it is trodden;
yet a little while and the time
of her harvest will come.”
“Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon
has devoured me; he has crushed me;
he has made me an empty vessel;
he has swallowed me like a monster;
he has filled his stomach with my delicacies;
he has rinsed me out.
The violence done to me and to my kinsmen
be upon Babylon,”
let the inhabitant of Zion say.
“My blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea,”
let Jerusalem say.
Great is the Fall of Babylon
Therefore thus says the Lord:
“Behold, I will plead your cause
and take vengeance for you.
I will dry up her sea
and make her fountain dry,
and Babylon shall become a heap of ruins,
the haunt of jackals,
a horror and a hissing,
“They shall roar together like lions;
they shall growl like lions’ cubs.
While they are inflamed
I will prepare them a feast
and make them drunk,
that they may become merry,
then sleep a perpetual sleep and not wake,
declares the Lord.
I will bring them down
like lambs to the slaughter,
like rams and male goats.
“How Babylon is taken,
the praise of the whole earth seized!
How Babylon has become
a horror among the nations!
The sea has come up on Babylon;
she is covered with its tumultuous waves.
Her cities have become a horror,
a land of drought and a desert,
a land in which no one dwells,
and through which no son of man passes.
And I will punish Bel in Babylon,
and take out of his mouth what he has swallowed.
The nations shall no longer flow to him;
the wall of Babylon has fallen.
Prepare to Leave
“Go out of the midst of her, my people!
Let every one save his life
from the fierce anger of the Lord!
Let not your heart faint,
and be not fearful at the report heard
in the land,
when a report comes in one year
and afterward a report in another year,
and violence is in the land,
and ruler is against ruler.
“Therefore, behold, the days are coming
when I will punish the images of Babylon;
her whole land shall be put to shame,
and all her slain shall fall in the midst of her.
Then the heavens and the earth,
and all that is in them,
shall sing for joy over Babylon,
for the destroyers shall come against them
out of the north,
declares the Lord.
Babylon must fall for the slain of Israel,
just as for Babylon have fallen
the slain of all the earth.
“You who have escaped from the sword,
go, do not stand still!
Remember the Lord from far away,
and let Jerusalem come into your mind:
‘We are put to shame,
for we have heard reproach;
dishonor has covered our face,
for foreigners have come
into the holy places of the Lord’s house.’
“Therefore, behold, the days are coming,
declares the Lord,
when I will execute judgment upon her images,
and through all her land
the wounded shall groan.
Though Babylon should mount up to heaven,
and though she should fortify her strong height,
yet destroyers would come from me against her,
declares the Lord.
“A voice! A cry from Babylon!
The noise of great destruction
from the land of the Chaldeans!
For the Lord is laying Babylon waste
and stilling her mighty voice.
Their waves roar like many waters;
the noise of their voice is raised,
for a destroyer has come upon her, upon Babylon;
her warriors are taken;
their bows are broken in pieces,
for the Lord is a God of recompense;
he will surely repay.
I will make drunk her officials and her wise men,
her governors, her commanders,
and her warriors;
they shall sleep a perpetual sleep and not wake,
declares the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts.
“Thus says the Lord of hosts:
The broad wall of Babylon shall be leveled
to the ground,
and her high gates shall be burned with fire.
The peoples labor for nothing,
and the nations weary themselves only for fire.”
The word that Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah, son of Mahseiah, when he went with Zedekiah king of Judah to Babylon, in the fourth year of his reign. Seraiah was the quartermaster. Jeremiah wrote in a book all the disaster that should come upon Babylon, all these words that are written concerning Babylon. And Jeremiah said to Seraiah: “When you come to Babylon, see that you read all these words, and say, ‘O Lord, you have said concerning this place that you will cut it off, so that nothing shall dwell in it, neither man nor beast, and it shall be desolate forever.’ When you finish reading this book, tie a stone to it and cast it into the midst of the Euphrates, and say, ‘Thus shall Babylon sink, to rise no more, because of the disaster that I am bringing upon her.
Judgment on Elam
The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning Elam, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah.
Thus says the Lord of hosts:
“Behold, I will break the bow of Elam,
the mainstay of their might.
And I will bring upon Elam the four winds
from the four quarters of heaven.
And I will scatter them to all those winds,
and there shall be no nation
to which those driven out of Elam
shall not come.
I will terrify Elam before their enemies
and before those who seek their life.
I will bring disaster upon them,
my fierce anger,
declares the Lord.
I will send the sword after them,
until I have consumed them,
and I will set my throne in Elam
and destroy their king and officials,
declares the Lord.
“But in the latter days
I will restore the fortunes of Elam,
declares the Lord.”
Slaves Released, but Retaken
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem to make a proclamation of liberty to them, that everyone should set free his Hebrew slaves, male and female, so that no one should enslave a Jew, his brother. And they obeyed, all the officials and all the people who had entered into the covenant that everyone would set free his slave, male or female, so that they would not be enslaved again. They obeyed and set them free. But afterward they turned around and took back the male and female slaves they had set free, and brought them into subjection as slaves.
The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I myself made a covenant with your fathers when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, saying, ‘At the end of seven years each of you must set free the fellow Hebrew who has been sold to you and has served you six years; you must set him free from your service.’ But your fathers did not listen to me or incline their ears to me. You recently repented and did what was right in my eyes by proclaiming liberty, each to his neighbor, and you made a covenant before me in the house that is called by my name, but then you turned around and profaned my name when each of you took back his male and female slaves, whom you had set free according to their desire, and you brought them into subjection to be your slaves.
“Therefore, thus says the Lord: You have not obeyed me by proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother and to his neighbor; behold, I proclaim to you liberty to the sword, to pestilence, and to famine, declares the Lord. I will make you a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth. And the men who transgressed my covenant and did not keep the terms of the covenant that they made before me, I will make them like the calf that they cut in two and passed between its parts—the officials of Judah, the officials of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, the priests, and all the people of the land who passed between the parts of the calf. And I will give them into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their lives. Their dead bodies shall be food for the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth.
And Zedekiah king of Judah and his officials I will give into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their lives, into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon which has withdrawn from you. Behold, I will command, declares the Lord, and will bring them back to this city. And they will fight against it and take it and burn it with fire. I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without inhabitant.”
Holy Bible, English Standard Version,
as arranged in chronological order by F. Legard Smith