For the people and the Church

“Publish it among the nations, proclaim it; make no secret of it, say: ‘Babylon is captured, Bel disgraced, Merodach shattered. For a nation is marching on her from the North, to turn her country into a desert: no one will live there any more; man and beast have fled and gone.

“In those days and at that time, the sons of Israel will return: they will come weeping in search of Yahweh their God. They will ask the way to Zion, their faces will turn in that direction: ‘Come,’ they say ‘let us bind ourselves to Yahweh by an everlasting covenant never to be forgotten!’

“Lost sheep, such were my people; their shepherds led them astray, left them wandering in the mountains; from mountain to hill they went, forgetful of their fold. Whoever came across them devoured them, their enemies said, ‘No blame to us; it is because they have sinned against Yahweh their true fold and the hope of their fathers’.

“Escape out of Babylon, from the country of the Chaldaeans. Go! Act like the he-goats, be leaders of the flock. See, I am raising a league of mighty nations against Babylon. They will come from the land of the North, will draw up the battle line against her: there she will be captured; their arrows are like a victorious warrior, never returning empty-handed. Chaldaea will be plundered, all who plunder her will have their fill.

“Rejoice, if you like! Have your triumph, you plunderers of my heritage! Be playful like calves let out to grass! Neigh like stallions! But your mother is covered with shame, disgraced is the woman who bore you; she is the least of nations now; a wilderness, a parched land, a desert. The fury of Yahweh will leave her uninhabited, she will become an empty solitude. All who pass by Babylon will be appalled at it, and whistle in amazement at such calamity.

“Draw yourself up against Babylon, surround her, all you who bend the bow. Shoot! Do not spare your arrows. Raise the war cry against her from all sides. She surrenders! Her bastions fall! Her walls collapse! This is the vengeance of Yahweh. Take revenge on her. Treat her as she has treated others. Deprive Babylon of the man who sows, of the man who wields the sickle at harvest. Escape from the destroying sword, let everyone return to his own people, let everyone escape to his own country!

“Israel was a straying sheep hunted by lions. First, the king of Assyria devoured him; next, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon crunched his bones. Therefore – Yahweh, the God of Israel, says this: ‘Now I will punish the king of Babylon and his country as I punished the king of Assyria.’

“I will bring Israel back to his pastures to browse on Carmel and in Bashan, and on the highlands of Ephraim and in Gilead to eat his fill. In those days and at that time you may look for Israel’s iniquity, it will not be there, for Judah’s sins, you will not find them. For I will pardon the remnant that I leave” (Jer 50:2-20).