Then Nergal-Sharezer of Samgar, Nebo-Sarsekim, who was a chief officer, Nergal-Sharezer, who was a high official, 1 and all the other officers of the king of Babylon came and set up quarters 2 in the Middle Gate. 3
Now some of the officers of the Judean army and their troops had been hiding in the countryside. They heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam to govern 1 the country. They also heard that he had been put in charge over the men, women, and children from the poorer classes of the land who had not been carried off into exile in Babylon. 2
But in the seventh month 1 Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah and grandson of Elishama who was a member of the royal family and had been one of Zedekiah’s chief officers, came with ten of his men to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah. While they were eating a meal together with him there at Mizpah,
“So now the Lord, the God who rules over all, the God of Israel, 1 asks, ‘Why will you do such great harm to yourselves? Why should every man, woman, child, and baby of yours be destroyed from the midst of Judah? Why should you leave yourselves without a remnant?
They broke through the city walls, and all the soldiers tried to escape. They left the city during the night. They went through the gate between the two walls that is near the king’s garden. 1 (The Babylonians had the city surrounded.) Then they headed for the Jordan Valley. 2
ב (Bet) The Lord 1 destroyed 2 mercilessly 3 all the homes of Jacob’s descendants. 4 In his anger he tore down the fortified cities 5 of Daughter Judah. He knocked to the ground and humiliated the kingdom and its rulers. 6
ד (Dalet) He prepared his bow 1 like an enemy; his right hand was ready to shoot. 2 Like a foe he killed everyone, even our strong young men; 3 he has poured out his anger like fire on the tent 4 of Daughter Zion.
He said to me, “Do you see, son of man? Is it a trivial thing that the house of Judah commits these abominations they are practicing here? For they have filled the land with violence and provoked me to anger still further. Look, they are putting the branch to their nose! 1
“The prince 1 who is among them will raise his belongings 2 onto his shoulder in darkness, and will go out. He 3 will dig a hole in the wall to leave through. He will cover his face so that he cannot see the land with his eyes.
“‘Say to them: This is what the sovereign Lord says: “‘Will it prosper? Will he not rip out its roots and cause its fruit to rot 1 and wither? All its foliage 2 will wither. No strong arm or large army will be needed to pull it out by its roots. 3
“Therefore this is what the sovereign Lord says: ‘Because you have brought up 1 your own guilt by uncovering your transgressions and revealing your sins through all your actions, for this reason you will be taken by force. 2
you are guilty because of the blood you shed and defiled by the idols you made. You have hastened the day of your doom; 1 the end of your years has come. 2 Therefore I will make 3 you an object of scorn to the nations, an object to be mocked by all lands.
Your wealth, products, and merchandise, your sailors and captains, your ship’s carpenters, 1 your merchants, and all your fighting men within you, along with all your crew who are in you, will fall into the heart of the seas on the day of your downfall.
“Son of man, say to the prince 1 of Tyre, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: “‘Your heart is proud 2 and you said, “I am a god; 3 I sit in the seat of gods, in the heart of the seas” – yet you are a man and not a god, though you think you are godlike. 4
By the multitude of your iniquities, through the sinfulness of your trade, you desecrated your sanctuaries. So I drew fire out from within you; it consumed you, and I turned you to ashes on the earth before the eyes of all who saw you.
As surely as I live, declares the sovereign Lord, my sheep have become prey and have become food for all the wild beasts. There was no shepherd, and my shepherds did not search for my flock, but fed themselves and did not feed my sheep,
So prophesy and say: ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Surely because they have made you desolate and crushed you from all directions, so that you have become the property of the rest of the nations, and have become the subject of gossip 1 and slander among the people,
tell them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I am about to take the branch of Joseph which is in the hand of Ephraim and the tribes of Israel associated with him, and I will place them on the stick of Judah, 1 and make them into one stick – they will be one in my hand.’ 2
I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and bring you out with all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them fully armed, a great company with shields of different types, 1 all of them armed with swords.
The fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the wild beasts, all the things that creep on the ground, and all people who live on the face of the earth will shake 1 at my presence. The mountains will topple, the cliffs 2 will fall, and every wall will fall to the ground.