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Jeremiah Chapters

1 The word that Yahweh spoke against Babylon, against the country of the Chaldaeans, through the prophet Jeremiah.

2 Announce it to the nations, proclaim it, hoist a signal and proclaim it, making no secret of it, say, 'Babylon is captured, Bel disgraced, Marduk shattered. (Her idols are disgraced, her Obscenities shattered.)'

3 For a nation is marching on her from the north, to turn her country into a desert: no one will live there any more; human and animal have fled and gone.

4 In those days and at that time the people of Israel will return (they and the people of Judah); they will come weeping in search of Yahweh their God.

5 They will ask the way to Zion and turn their faces towards her, 'Come, let us bind ourselves to Yahweh by an everlasting covenant never to be forgotten!'

6 Lost sheep, such were my people; their shepherds led them astray, the mountains misled them; from mountain to hill they went, forgetful of their fold.

7 Whoever came across them devoured them, their enemies said, 'We are not to blame, since they have sinned against Yahweh, the Home of Justice, against Yahweh, the Hope of their ancestors.'

8 Escape from Babylon, leave the country of the Chaldaeans. Be like he-goats, leading the sheep!

9 For look, I shall raise a league of mighty nations to attack Babylon, from the land of the north. They will take up position against her; by them she will be taken. Their arrows, like an experienced soldier's, never return in vain.

10 Chaldaea will be plundered, all her plunderers will be satisfied, Yahweh declares.

11 Rejoice! Have your triumph, you plunderers of my heritage! Be playful like a heifer let out to grass! Neigh like stallions!

12 But your mother is covered with shame, disgraced is the woman who bore you; she is the least of nations now; a desert, a parched land, a wasteland.

13 Because of Yahweh's anger, no one will live there any more, she will become a total solitude. All who pass by Babylon will be appalled and whistle at the sight of all her wounds.

14 Take position against Babylon, surround her, all you who bend the bow. Shoot at her! Do not spare your arrows, for she has sinned against Yahweh!

15 Raise the war cry against her from all sides. She surrenders! Her bastions fall! Her walls collapse! This is Yahweh's vengeance! Take revenge on her. Treat her as she has treated others.

16 Deprive Babylon of the man who sows, of the man who wields the sickle at harvest. Away from the devastating sword, let everyone return to his own people, let everyone flee to his own country!

17 Israel was a straying sheep pursued by lions. First, the king of Assyria devoured him, and latterly Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon crunched his bones.

18 So Yahweh Sabaoth, God of Israel, says this: Look, I shall punish the king of Babylon and his country as I punished the king of Assyria.

19 I will bring Israel back to his pastures to browse on Carmel and in Bashan, on the highlands of Ephraim and in Gilead, and he will be satisfied.

20 In those days and at that time, Yahweh declares, you may look for Israel's guilt, it will not be there, for Judah's sins, you will not find them, for I shall pardon the remnant that I leave.

21 March on the country of Merathaim, march on it and on the inhabitants of Pekod; slaughter and curse with destruction every last one of them, Yahweh declares, carry out my orders to the letter!

22 The din of battle fills the country, immense destruction.

23 How utterly shattered that hammer of the whole world! What a thing of horror Babylon has become throughout the nations!

24 I set a snare for you, Babylon; you were caught before you knew it. You have been found and overpowered for having defied Yahweh.

25 Yahweh has opened his armoury and taken out the weapons of his fury. For Lord Yahweh Sabaoth has work to do in the country of the Chaldaeans.

26 Fall on her from every side, open her granaries, pile her in heaps, curse her with destruction, until nothing is left of her.

27 Slaughter all her bulls, down to the slaughterhouse with them! Disaster on them, their day has come, their time for being punished.

28 Listen! Fugitives and runaways from the country of Babylon arrive in Zion and proclaim the revenge of Yahweh our God, revenge for his Temple!

29 Call up the archers against Babylon! All you who bend the bow, invest her on all sides, leave her no way of escape. Repay her as her deeds deserve; treat her as she has treated others, for she was arrogant to Yahweh, to the Holy One of Israel.

30 And so in her squares her young men will fall, and all her fighting men will perish, that day, Yahweh declares.

31 My quarrel is with you, 'Arrogance!' Lord Yahweh Sabaoth declares, your day has come, the time for me to punish you.

32 'Arrogance' will stumble, she will fall, no one will lift her up: I shall set fire to her towns and it will devour all around it.

33 Yahweh Sabaoth says this: The people of Israel are oppressed (and the people of Judah too), all their captors hold them fast, they will not let them go.

34 But their redeemer is strong: Yahweh Sabaoth is his name. He will take up their cause, to give our country rest but make the inhabitants of Babylon tremble.

35 A sword against the Chaldaeans, Yahweh declares, against the inhabitants of Babylon, against her princes and her sages!

36 A sword against her diviners: may they lose their wits! A sword against her warriors: may they panic!

37 A sword against her horses, her chariots and the conglomeration of people inside her: may they be like women! A sword against her treasures: may they be plundered!

38 Drought on her waters: may they dry up! For it is a country of idols, and they are mad about those bogeys of theirs!

39 Hence wild cats and jackals will live there, and ostriches make their home there. She will never again be inhabited, for ever, but remain uninhabited age after age.

40 As when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and their neighbouring towns, Yahweh declares, no one will live there any more, no human being settle there again.

41 Look, a people is coming from the north, a mighty nation; from the far ends of the earth many kings are stirring.

42 They are armed with bow and spear, they are cruel and pitiless; their noise is like the roaring of the sea; they ride horses, ready as one man to fight you, daughter of Babylon!

43 The king of Babylon has heard the news, his hands fall limp, anguish has seized him, pain like that of a woman in labour.

44 Look, like a lion he climbs the thickets of the Jordan to the perennial pasture! In a flash I shall make them run away and there appoint someone I shall choose. For who is there like me? Who can hale me into court? Name me the shepherd who can stand up to me.

45 So now hear the plan that Yahweh has laid against Babylon, the schemes he has in mind against the country of the Chaldaeans: they will certainly be dragged away like the smallest in the flock! Their pastures will certainly be sacked before their eyes!

46 The earth quakes at the sound of Babylon's capture, and the shouting echoes through the nations.

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Reading 1, Job 9:1-12, 14-16
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