The kingdom of righteousness
1See, a king will reign in righteousness
and rulers will rule with justice.
2Each one will be like a shelter from the wind
and a refuge from the storm,
like streams of water in the desert
and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.
3Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed,
and the ears of those who hear will listen.
4The fearful heart will know and understand,
and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear.
5No longer will the fool be called noble
nor the scoundrel be highly respected.
6For fools speak folly,
their hearts are bent on evil:
they practise ungodliness
and spread error concerning the Lord;
the hungry they leave empty
and from the thirsty they withhold water.
7Scoundrels use wicked methods,
they make up evil schemes
to destroy the poor with lies,
even when the plea of the needy is just.
8But the noble make noble plans,
and by noble deeds they stand.
The women of Jerusalem
9You women who are so complacent,
rise up and listen to me;
you daughters who feel secure,
hear what I have to say!
10In little more than a year
you who feel secure will tremble;
the grape harvest will fail,
and the harvest of fruit will not come.
11Tremble, you complacent women;
shudder, you daughters who feel secure!
Strip off your fine clothes
and wrap yourselves in rags.
12Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields,
for the fruitful vines
13and for the land of my people,
a land overgrown with thorns and briers –
yes, mourn for all houses of merriment
and for this city of revelry.
14The fortress will be abandoned,
the noisy city deserted;
citadel and watchtower will become a wasteland for ever,
the delight of donkeys, a pasture for flocks,
15till the Spirit is poured on us from on high,
and the desert becomes a fertile field,
and the fertile field seems like a forest.
16The Lord’s justice will dwell in the desert,
his righteousness live in the fertile field.
17The fruit of that righteousness will be peace;
its effect will be quietness and confidence for ever.
18My people will live in peaceful dwelling-places,
in secure homes,
in undisturbed places of rest.
19Though hail flattens the forest
and the city is levelled completely,
20how blessed you will be,
sowing your seed by every stream,
and letting your cattle and donkeys range free.