Seventy Years of Captivity.[b] 1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of King Jehoiakim of Judah, the son of Josiah, which was the first year of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. 2 The prophet Jeremiah thus spoke as follows to all the people of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem:
3 For twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of King Josiah of Judah, the son of Amon, until this very day—the word of the Lord has come to me, and I have spoken to you unceasingly, but you have not listened. 4 And though the Lord continued to send all his servants the prophets to you again and again, you refused to listen or to pay any heed to their message when they warned, 5 “If you turn back, each of you, from your evil ways and your wicked deeds, says the Lord, you can remain in the land that I have given to you and to your fathers forever. 6 If you do not follow other gods to serve and worship them, and you do not provoke me with what your hands have made, then I will not harm you. 7 But you have not listened to me, says the Lord, and thus you have provoked me to anger with your handiwork to your own harm.”
8 Therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Because you have not listened to my words, 9 I intend to summon all the tribes of the north, says the Lord, as well as my servant Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations. I will totally destroy them and make them an object of horror and scorn and everlasting disgrace. 10 No longer will there emerge from them the sounds of rejoicing and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp. 11 This entire country will become a wasteland of desolation, and these nations will be enslaved to the king of Babylon for seventy years.
12 However, at the end of those seventy years, says the Lord, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their guilt, and I will turn it into a desolate wasteland. 13 [c]I will inflict upon that land all the scourges that I threatened against it, everything written in this book and prophesied by Jeremiah against all the nations. 14 Mighty nations and powerful kings will reduce them to a life of slavery, and thus I will requite them as their deeds and their handiwork deserve.
15 The Cup of Wrath on the Nations. For these are the words that the Lord, the God of Israel, proclaimed to me, “Take this cup of the wine of wrath from my hand and command all the nations to whom I send you to drink from it. 16 After they drink, they will stagger and become mad because of the sword that I am inflicting upon them.”
17 Therefore, I took the cup from the hand of the Lord and ordered all the nations to whom the Lord had sent me to drink from it: 18 Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, its kings and officials, to transform them into a desolate ruin and a desert, an object of ridicule and cursing, as they are today; 19 Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, his servants, his officials, and all his people, 20 with the various groupings of people: all the kings of the land of Uz; all the kings of the land of the Philistines—Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod; 21 Edom, Moab, and the Ammonites; 22 all the kings of Tyre, all the kings of Sidon, and all the kings of the coastland across the sea; 23 Dedan, Tema, Buz, and all who have shaven temples; 24 all the kings of Arabia and all the kings of the mixed peoples that dwell in the desert; 25 all the kings of Zimri, all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of Media; 26 all the kings of the north, both close neighbors and those who are distant from each other—in other words, all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. And, last of all, the king of Sheshach[d] shall drink.
27 Then say to them: Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Drink! Get drunk and vomit! Fall down, never to rise again, because of the sword that I am sending against you. 28 Should they refuse to accept the cup from your hand and drink, then you are to say to them: Thus says the Lord of hosts: You must drink! 29 Behold, I am beginning to bring disaster on the city that is called by my name. Do you believe that you can possibly avoid punishment? You will not go unpunished, for I am summoning a sword against all the inhabitants of the earth, says the Lord of hosts.
30 Therefore, prophesy against them all these words and proclaim to them:
The Lord roars from on high;
he thunders from his holy dwelling place.
He will roar mightily against his fold;
like those who tread the grapes, she shouts aloud
against all the inhabitants of the earth.
31 The uproar will resound to the ends of the earth,
for the Lord has an indictment against the nations,
he will pass judgment upon all mankind
and put the wicked to the sword.
This the Lord has sworn.
32 Thus says the Lord of hosts:
Behold, disaster is spreading
from nation to nation,
and a mighty storm has been unleashed
from the farthest corners of the earth.
33 Those whom the Lord has slain on that day will be scattered from one end of the earth to the other. No one will mourn for them. Nor will they be gathered up for burial. Rather, they will become like dung spread over the surface of the ground.
34 Wail, you shepherds, and weep aloud;
roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock.
The time for you to be slaughtered has arrived;
you will fall and be shattered
like a valuable vase.
35 The shepherds have no place to seek refuge;
the leaders of the flock have no way of escape.
36 Listen to the cry of the shepherds
and the wails from the lords of the flock.
For the Lord has ravaged their pasture,
37 and their peaceful sheepfolds lie in ruins
because of the fierce anger of the Lord.
38 Like a lion he has abandoned his lair,
for their land has become a desolate waste
because of the sword of the oppressor
and the fierce anger of the Lord.
- Jeremiah 25:1 The end of the seventh century B.C. saw the clash of great empires. Assyria and Egypt made way for Babylon. The year 605 B.C. was one of the most important in the history of the ancient East: Nebuchadnezzar defeated Egypt at Carchemish.
- Jeremiah 25:1 An exile is announced that will last for seventy years. The number is not intended as strictly arithmetical but represents a period longer than the average duration of human life.
- Jeremiah 25:13 This passage probably served as a conclusion to the oracles against the nations, which have been removed from their proper place and put at the end of the Book (chs. 46–51).
- Jeremiah 25:26 Sheshach: a cabalistic transcription of the name “Babylon.”