50:9 For I will rouse into action and bring against Babylon
a host of mighty nations 1 from the land of the north.
They will set up their battle lines against her.
They will come from the north and capture her. 2
Their arrows will be like a skilled soldier 3
who does not return from the battle empty-handed. 4
Those who plunder it will take all they want,”
says the Lord. 6
That made you happy and glad.
You frolic about like calves in a pasture. 9
Your joyous sounds are like the neighs of a stallion. 10
50:12 But Babylonia will be put to great shame.
The land where you were born 11 will be disgraced.
Indeed, 12 Babylonia will become the least important of all nations.
It will become a dry and barren desert.
It will be totally desolate.
All who pass by will be filled with horror and will hiss out their scorn
because of all the disasters that have happened to it. 14
50:14 “Take up your battle positions all around Babylon,
all you soldiers who are armed with bows. 15
For she has sinned against the Lord.
50:15 Shout the battle cry from all around the city.
She will throw up her hands in surrender. 18
Her towers 19 will fall.
Her walls will be torn down.
Because I, the Lord, am wreaking revenge, 20
take out your vengeance on her!
Do to her as she has done!
50:16 Kill all the farmers who sow the seed in the land of Babylon.
Kill all those who wield the sickle at harvest time. 21
Let all the foreigners return to their own people.
Let them hurry back to their own lands
to escape destruction by that enemy army. 22
2 tn Heb “She will be captured from there (i.e., from the north).”
3 tc Read Heb ַָמשְׂכִּיל (moskil) with a number of Hebrew
4 tn Or more freely, “Their arrows will be as successful at hitting their mark // as a skilled soldier always returns from battle with plunder.”
sn I.e., none of the arrows misses its mark.
6 tn Heb “Oracle of the
7 tn The words “People of Babylonia” are not in the text but they are implicit in the reference in the next verse to “your mother” which refers to the city and the land as the mother of its people. These words have been supplied in the translation to identify the referent of “you” and have been added for clarity.
9 tc Reading כְּעֶגְלֵי דֶשֶׁא (kÿ’egle deshe’) or כְּעֵגֶל בַּדֶּשֶׁא (kÿ’egel baddeshe’) as presupposed by the Greek and Latin versions (cf. BHS note d-d) in place of the reading in the Hebrew text כְּעֶגְלָה דָשָׁה (kÿ’eglah dashah, “like a heifer treading out the grain”) which does not fit the verb (פּוּשׁ [push] = “spring about” [BDB 807 s.v. I פּוּשׁ] or “paw the ground” [KBL 756 s.v. פּוּשׁ] and compare Mal 3:20 for usage). This variant reading is also accepted by J. Bright, J. A. Thompson, F. B. Huey, and G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, T. G. Smothers.
10 tn Heb “Though you rejoice, though you exult, you who have plundered my heritage, though you frolic like calves in a pasture and neigh like stallions, your mother…” The particle כִּי (ki) introduces a concessive protasis according to BDB 473 s.v. כִּי 2.c(a). Many interpret the particle as introducing the grounds for the next verse, i.e., “because…” The translation here will reflect the concessive by beginning the next verse with “But.” The long protasis has been broken up and restructured to better conform with contemporary English style.
11 tn Heb “Your mother will be utterly shamed, the one who gave you birth…” The word “mother” and the parallel term “the one who gave you birth” are used metaphorically for the land of Babylonia. For the figure compare the usage in Isa 50:1 (Judah) and Hos 2:2, 5 (2:4, 7 HT) and see BDB 52 s.v. אֵם 2 and 408 s.v. יָלַד Qal.2.c.
13 tn Heb “From [or Because of] the wrath of the
15 tn Heb “all you who draw the bow.”
16 tc The verb here should probably be read as a Qal imperative יְרוּ (yÿru) from יָרָה (yarah) with a few Hebrew
17 tn Heb “Shoot at her! Don’t save any arrows!”
18 tn Heb “She has given her hand.” For the idiom here involving submission/surrender see BDB 680 s.v. נָתַן Qal.1.z and compare the usage in 1 Chr 29:24; 2 Chr 30:8. For a different interpretation, however, see the rather complete discussion in G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, and T. G. Smothers (Jeremiah 26-52 [WBC], 366) who see this as a reference to making a covenant. The verb in this line and the next two lines are all Hebrew perfects and most translators and commentaries see them as past. God’s Word, however, treats them as prophetic perfects and translates them as future. This is more likely in the light of the imperatives both before and after.
19 tn The meaning of this word is uncertain. The definition here follows that of HALOT 91 s.v. אָשְׁיָה, which defines it on the basis of an Akkadian word and treats it as a loanword.
20 tn Heb “Because it is the
21 tn Heb “Cut off the sower from Babylon, and the one who wields the sickle at harvest time.” For the meaning “kill” for the root “cut off” see BDB 503 s.v. כָּרַת Qal.1.b and compare usage in Jer 11:19. The verb is common in this nuance in the Hiphil, cf. BDB 504 s.v. כָּרַת Hiph, 2.b.
22 tn Heb “Because of [or out of fear of] the sword of the oppressor, let each of them turn toward his [own] people and each of them flee to his [own] country.” Compare a similar expression in 46:16 where the reference was to the flight of the mercenaries. Here it refers most likely to foreigners who are counseled to leave Babylon before they are caught up in the destruction. Many of the commentaries and English versions render the verbs as futures but they are more likely third person commands (jussives). Compare the clear commands in v. 8 followed by essentially the same motivation. The “sword of the oppressor,” of course, refers to death at the hands of soldiers wielding all kinds of weapons, chief of which has been a reference to the bow (v. 14).