Seventy years of exile
1-2 # 2 King 24.1; 2 Chron 36.5–7; Dan 1.1,2. In the fourth year that Jehoiakim was king of Judah,#25.1,2 Jehoiakim … Judah: See the note at 1.3. which was the first year that Nebuchadnezzar#25.1,2 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2. was king of Babylonia, the LORD told me to speak to the people of Judah and Jerusalem. So I told them:
3For twenty-three years now, ever since the thirteenth year that Josiah#25.3 Josiah: Hebrew “Josiah son of Amon”; Josiah ruled 640–609 bc. was king, I have been telling you what the LORD has told me. But you have not listened.
4The LORD has sent prophets to you time after time, but you refused to listen. 5They told you that the LORD had said:
Change your ways! If you stop doing evil, I will let you stay for ever in this land that I gave your ancestors. 6I don't want to harm you. So don't make me angry by worshipping idols and other gods.
7But you refused to listen to my prophets. So I, the LORD, say that you have made me angry by worshipping idols, and you are the ones who were hurt by what you did. 8You refused to listen to me, 9and now I will let you be attacked by nations from the north, and especially by my servant, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia. You and other nearby nations will be destroyed and left in ruins for ever. Everyone who sees what has happened will be shocked, but they will still make fun of you. 10#Jer 7.34; 16.9; Rev 18.22,23.I will put an end to your parties and wedding celebrations; no one will grind grain or be here to light the lamps at night. 11#2 Chron 36.21; Jer 29.10; Dan 9.2.This country will be as empty as a desert, because I will make all of you the slaves of the king of Babylonia for seventy years.
12When that time is up, I will punish the king of Babylonia and his people for everything they have done wrong, and I will turn that country into a wasteland for ever. 13My servant Jeremiah has told you what I said I will do to Babylonia and to the other nations, and he wrote it all down in this book. I will do everything I threatened. 14I will pay back the Babylonians for every wrong they have done. Great kings from many other nations will conquer the Babylonians and force them to be slaves.
The cup full of God's anger
15The LORD God of Israel showed me a vision in which he said, “Jeremiah, here is a cup filled with the wine of my anger. Take it and make every nation drink some. 16They will vomit and act mad, because of the war this cup of anger will bring to them.”
17I took the cup from the LORD's hand, and I went to the kings of the nations and made each of them drink some. 18I started with Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, and the king and his officials were removed from power in disgrace. Everyone still makes insulting jokes about them and uses their names as curse words. 19The second place I went was Egypt, where everyone had to drink from the cup, including the king and his officials, the other government workers, the rest of the Egyptians, 20and all the foreigners who lived in the country.
Next I went to the king of Uz, and then to the four kings of Philistia, who ruled from Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and what was left of Ashdod.#25.20 what was left of Ashdod: It was defeated by the king of Egypt after being surrounded for twenty-nine years. 21Then I went to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, 22and to the kings of Tyre, Sidon, and their colonies across the sea. 23-24After this, I went to the kings of Dedan, Tema, Buz, the tribes of the Arabian Desert,#25.23,24 the tribes of the Arabian Desert: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. 25Zimri, Elam, Media, 26and the countries in the north, both near and far.
I went to all the countries on earth, one after another, and finally to Babylonia.#25.26 Babylonia: The Hebrew text has “Sheshach”, a secret way of writing “Babylonia”.
27The LORD had said I must tell each king, “The LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, commands you to drink from this cup that is full of the wine of his anger. It will make you so drunk that you will vomit. And when the LORD sends war against the nations, you will be completely defeated.”
28The LORD told me that if any of them refused to drink from the cup, I must tell them that he had said, “I, the LORD All-Powerful, command you to drink. 29Starting with my own city of Jerusalem, everyone on earth will suffer from war. So there is no way I will let you escape unharmed.”
30The LORD told me to say:
From my sacred temple
I will roar like thunder,
while I trample my people
and everyone else
as though they were grapes.
31My voice will be heard
everywhere on earth,
accusing nations of their crimes
and sentencing the guilty
Disaster is coming
32The LORD All-Powerful says:
You can see disaster spreading
from far across the earth,
from nation to nation
like a horrible storm.
33When it strikes, I will kill so many people that their bodies will cover the ground like manure. No one will be left to bury them or to mourn.
The leaders of Judah will be punished
34The LORD's people are his flock,
and you leaders
were the shepherds.
But now it's your turn
to be butchered like sheep.
You'll shatter like fine pottery
dropped on the floor.#25.34 You'll shatter … floor: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
So roll on the ground,
crying and mourning.
35You have nowhere to run,
nowhere to hide.
36-38Listen to the cries
of the shepherds,
as the LORD's burning anger
turns#25.36–38 anger turns: Or “anger and enemy armies turn”. peaceful meadows
into barren deserts.
The LORD has abandoned
his people#25.36–38 The LORD has … people: Or “And his people leave their homes”.
like a lion leaving its den.