15 Thus says the Lord:
lamentation and bitter weeping.
lRachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,
mbecause they are no more.”
16 Thus says the Lord:
“Keep your voice from weeping,
and your eyes from tears,
for there is a reward for your work,
declares the Lord,
and nthey shall come back from the land of the enemy.
17 oThere is hope for your future,
declares the Lord,
and your children shall come back to their own country.
18 I have heard pEphraim grieving,
‘You have disciplined me, and I was disciplined,
like an untrained calf;
qbring me back that I may be restored,
for you are the Lord my God.
19 For after rI had turned away, I relented,
and after I was instructed, sI struck my thigh;
tI was ashamed, and I was confounded,
because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’
20 pIs Ephraim my dear son?
uIs he my darling child?
For as often as I speak against him,
I do remember him still.
I will surely have mercy on him,
declares the Lord.
21 w“Set up road markers for yourself;
make yourself guideposts;
xconsider well the highway,
wthe road by which you went.
Return, O virgin Israel,
return to these your cities.
22 yHow long will you waver,
zO faithless daughter?
For the Lord has created a new thing on the earth:
a woman encircles a man.”
23 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Once more they shall use these words in the land of Judah and in its cities, awhen I restore their fortunes:
dO holy hill!’
24 eAnd Judah and all its cities shall dwell there together, and ethe farmers and those who wander with their flocks. 25 For I will fsatisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.”
26 At this I awoke and looked, and my sleep was pleasant to me.
27 g“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when hI will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with ithe seed of man and the seed of beast. 28 And it shall come to pass that jas I have watched over them kto pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring harm, jso I will watch over them lto build and to plant, declares the Lord. 29 In those days they shall no longer say:
m“‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes,
and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’
30 nBut everyone shall die for his own iniquity. Each man who eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.
The New Covenant
31 o“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make pa new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when qI took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, rthough I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 sFor this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: sI will put my law within them, and I will write it ton their hearts. uAnd I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ vfor they shall all know me, wfrom the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For xI will forgive their iniquity, and yI will remember their sin no more.”
35 Thus says the Lord,
who zgives the sun for light by day
and athe fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
bthe Lord of hosts is his name:
36 c“If this fixed order departs
from before me, declares the Lord,
then shall the offspring of Israel cease
from being a nation before me forever.”
37 Thus says the Lord:
“If the heavens above can be measured,
and the foundations of the earth below can be explored,
dthen I will cast off all the offspring of Israel
for all that they have done,
declares the Lord.”
38 e“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when the city shall be rebuilt for the Lord ffrom the Tower of Hananel to gthe Corner Gate. 39 hAnd the measuring line shall go out farther, straight to the hill Gareb, and shall then turn to Goah. 40 iThe whole valley of the dead bodies and the ashes, and all the fields as far as the jbrook Kidron, to the corner of kthe Horse Gate toward the east, lshall be sacred to the Lord. mIt shall not be plucked up or overthrown anymore forever.”
Judgment on Elam
35 Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Behold, I will break xthe bow of vElam, the mainstay of their might. 36 And I will bring upon vElam 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 vElam shall not come. 37 I will yterrify vElam before their enemies and before those who seek their life. I will bring disaster upon them, zmy fierce anger, declares the Lord. aI will send the sword after them, until I have consumed them, 38 and I will set my throne in vElam and destroy their king and officials, declares the Lord.
Judgment on Babylon
2 “Declare among the nations and proclaim,
set up a banner and proclaim,
conceal it not, and say:
e‘Babylon is taken,
fBel is put to shame,
Merodach is dismayed.
eHer images are put to shame,
her idols are dismayed.’
4 j“In those days and in that time, declares the Lord, jthe people of Israel and the people of Judah shall come together, kweeping as they come, and they lshall seek the Lord their God. 5 mThey shall ask the way to Zion, with faces turned toward it, nsaying, ‘Come, let us join ourselves to the Lord in an oeverlasting covenant that will never be forgotten.’
6 p“My people have been lost sheep. qTheir shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains. From mountain to hill they have gone. They have forgotten their fold. 7 All who found them have devoured them, rand their enemies have said, ‘We are not guilty, for sthey have sinned against the Lord, ttheir habitation of righteousness, the Lord, uthe hope of their fathers.’
8 v“Flee from the midst of Babylon, vand go out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be as male goats before the flock. 9 For behold, I am stirring up and bringing against Babylon wa gathering of great nations, from the north country. And they shall array themselves against her. From there she shall be taken. Their arrows are like a skilled warrior who does not return empty-handed. 10 xChaldea shall be plundered; all who plunder her shall be sated, declares the Lord.
11 y“Though you rejoice, though you exult,
O plunderers of my heritage,
though you frolic like a heifer in the pasture,
and neigh like stallions,
12 your mother shall be utterly shamed,
and she who bore you shall be disgraced.
Behold, she shall be the last of the nations,
za wilderness, a dry land, and a desert.
13 aBecause of the wrath of the Lord she shall not be inhabited
but shall be an utter desolation;
beveryone who passes by Babylon shall be appalled,
band hiss because of all her wounds.
14 cSet yourselves in array against Babylon all around,
dall you who bend the bow;
shoot at her, spare no arrows,
efor she has sinned against the Lord.
15 fRaise a shout against her all around;
she has surrendered;
her bulwarks have fallen;
gher walls are thrown down.
For hthis is the vengeance of the Lord:
take vengeance on her;
ido to her as she has done.
16 Cut off from Babylon the sower,
and the one who handles the sickle in time of harvest;
jbecause of the sword of the oppressor,
kevery one shall turn to his own people,
and every one shall flee to his own land.
17 l“Israel is a hunted sheep mdriven away by lions. nFirst the king of Assyria odevoured him, and now at last pNebuchadnezzar king of Babylon qhas gnawed his bones. 18 Therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, rI am bringing punishment on the king of Babylon and his land, sas I punished the king of Assyria. 19 tI will restore Israel to his pasture, and the shall feed on uCarmel and in uBashan, and his desire shall be satisfied on the hills of Ephraim and in uGilead. 20 In those days and in that time, declares the Lord, viniquity shall be sought in Israel, and there shall be none, and sin in Judah, and none shall be found, for wI will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant.
21 “Go up against the land of Merathaim,1
and against the inhabitants of Pekod.2
declares the Lord,
and do all that I have commanded you.
22 yThe noise of battle is in the land,
and great destruction!
23 zHow the hammer of the whole earth
is cut down and broken!
a horror among the nations!
24 cI set a snare for you and you were taken, O Babylon,
and dyou did not know it;
you were found and caught,
because you opposed the Lord.
25 The Lord has opened his armory
and brought out ethe weapons of his wrath,
for the Lord God of hosts has a work to do
in the land of the Chaldeans.
26 Come against her from every quarter;
open her granaries;
fpile her up like heaps of grain, and devote her to destruction;
let nothing be left of her.
27 Kill all gher bulls;
let them go down to the slaughter.
Woe to them, for their day has come,
hthe time of their punishment.
29 l“Summon archers against Babylon, all those who bend the bow. lEncamp around her; let no one escape. mRepay her according to her deeds; do to her according to all that she has done. For she has nproudly defied the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. 30 oTherefore her young men shall fall in her squares, and all her soldiers shall be destroyed on that day, declares the Lord.
31 “Behold, I am against you, O nproud one,
declares the Lord God of hosts,
pfor your day has come,
the time when I will punish you.
32 nThe proud one shall stumble and fall,
with none to raise him up,
qand I will kindle a fire in his cities,
and it will devour all that is around him.
33 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: rThe people of Israel are oppressed, and the people of Judah with them. All who took them captive have held them fast; sthey refuse to let them go. 34 tTheir Redeemer is strong; uthe Lord of hosts is his name. vHe will surely plead their cause, that he may give rest to the earth, but unrest to the inhabitants of Babylon.
35 “A sword against the Chaldeans, declares the Lord,
and against the inhabitants of Babylon,
36 A sword against the diviners,
that they may become fools!
A sword against her ywarriors,
that they may be destroyed!
37 A sword against her horses and against her chariots,
and against all zthe foreign troops in her midst,
that athey may become women!
bA sword against all her treasures,
that they may be plundered!
38 cA drought against her waters,
that they may be dried up!
dFor it is a land of images,
and they are mad over idols.
39 e“Therefore wild beasts shall dwell with hyenas in Babylon,4 and ostriches shall dwell in her. She shall never again have people, nor be inhabited for all generations. 40 fAs when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring cities, declares the Lord, gso no man shall dwell there, and no son of man shall sojourn in her.
41 h“Behold, a people comes from the north;
a mighty nation and many kings
are stirring from the farthest parts of the earth.
42 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!
43 “The king of Babylon heard the report of them,
and his hands fell helpless;
anguish seized him,
pain as of a woman in labor.
44 i“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 jcan stand before me? 45 Therefore hear kthe plan that the Lord has made against Babylon, kand the purposes that he has formed against the land of the Chaldeans: lSurely the little ones of their flock shall be dragged away; surely their fold shall be appalled at their fate. 46 mAt 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
51 Thus says the Lord:
“Behold, I will stir up nthe spirit of a destroyer
against the inhabitants of Leb-kamai,5
2 and I will send to Babylon winnowers,
and othey shall winnow her,
and they shall empty her land,
when they come against her from every side
pon the day of trouble.
3 qLet not the archer bend his bow,
and let him not stand up in his armor.
Spare not her young men;
4 They shall fall down slain in the land of the Chaldeans,
sand wounded in her streets.
5 tFor Israel and Judah have not been forsaken
by their God, the Lord of hosts,
but the land of the Chaldeans7 is full of guilt
against the Holy One of Israel.
6 u“Flee from the midst of Babylon;
let every one save his life!
vBe not cut off in her punishment,
wfor this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance,
the repayment he is rendering her.
7 Babylon was xa golden cup in the Lord’s hand,
ymaking all the earth drunken;
zthe nations drank of her wine;
therefore the nations went mad.
8 aSuddenly Babylon has fallen and been broken;
bwail for her!
cTake balm for her pain;
perhaps she may be healed.
9 We would have healed Babylon,
but she was not healed.
each to his own country,
for fher judgment has reached up to heaven
and has been lifted up even to the skies.
10 gThe Lord has brought about our vindication;
hcome, let us declare in Zion
the work of the Lord our God.
11 i“Sharpen the arrows!
Take up the shields!
12 n“Set up a standard against the walls of Babylon;
omake the watch strong;
set up watchmen;
prepare the ambushes;
lfor the Lord has both planned and done
what he spoke concerning the inhabitants of Babylon.
13 pO you who dwell by many waters,
rich in treasures,
your end has come;
the thread of your life is cut.
14 qThe Lord of hosts has sworn by himself:
Surely I will fill you with men, ras many as locusts,
sand they shall raise the shout of victory over you.