Warnings to Jerusalem
1How terrible it will be for you, Jerusalem,
the city where David camped.
Your festivals have continued
year after year.
2I will attack Jerusalem,
and that city will be filled with sadness and crying.
It will be like an altar to me.
3I will put armies all around you, Jerusalem;
I will surround you with towers
and with devices to attack you.
4You will be pulled down and will speak from the ground;
I will hear your voice rising from the ground.
It will sound like the voice of a ghost;
your words will come like a whisper from the dirt.
5Your many enemies will become like fine dust;
the many cruel people will be like chaff that is blown away.
Everything will happen very quickly.
6The Lord All-Powerful will come
with thunder, earthquakes, and great noises,
with storms, strong winds, and a fire that destroys.
7Then all the nations that fight against Jerusalem
will be like a dream;
all the nations that attack her
will be like a vision in the night.
8They will be like a hungry man who dreams he is eating,
but when he awakens, he is still hungry.
They will be like a thirsty man who dreams he is drinking,
but when he awakens, he is still weak and thirsty.
It will be the same way with all the nations
who fight against Mount Zion.
9Be surprised and amazed.
Blind yourselves so that you cannot see.
Become drunk, but not from wine.
Trip and fall, but not from beer.
10The Lord has made you go into a deep sleep.
He has closed your eyes. (The prophets are your eyes.)
He has covered your heads. (The seers are your heads.)
11This vision is like the words of a book that is closed and sealed. You may give the book to someone who can read and tell that person to read it. But he will say, “I can’t read the book, because it is sealed.” 12Or you may give the book to someone who cannot read and tell him to read it. But he will say, “I don’t know how to read.”
13The Lord says:
“These people worship me with their mouths,
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship is based on
nothing but human rules.
14So I will continue to amaze these people
by doing more and more miracles.
Their wise men will lose their wisdom;
their wise men will not be able to understand.”
Warnings About Other Nations
15How terrible it will be for those who try
to hide things from the Lord
and who do their work in darkness.
They think no one will see them or know what they do.
16You are confused.
You think the clay is equal to the potter.
You think that an object can tell the one who made it,
“You didn’t make me.”
This is like a pot telling its maker,
“You don’t know anything.”
A Better Time Is Coming
17In a very short time, Lebanon will become rich farmland,
and the rich farmland will seem like a forest.
18At that time the deaf will hear the words in a book.
Instead of having darkness and gloom, the blind will see.
19The Lord will make the poor people happy;
they will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
20Then the people without mercy will come to an end;
those who do not respect God will disappear.
Those who enjoy doing evil will be gone:
21those who lie about others in court,
those who trap people in court,
those who lie and take justice from innocent people in court.
22This is what the Lord who set Abraham free says to the family of Jacob:
“Now the people of Jacob will not be ashamed
or disgraced any longer.
23When they see all their children,
the children I made with my hands,
they will say my name is holy.
They will agree that the Holy One of Jacob is holy,
and they will respect the God of Israel.
24People who do wrong will now understand.
Those who complain will accept being taught.”