Concerning Damascus and Ephraim
1An oracle about Damascus.
Look! Damascus is finished as a city;
it will become a fallen ruin.
2The villages of Aroer are abandoned forever.#Cf LXX; MT The cities of Aroer are abandoned
They will be pastures for flocks,#Or For flocks they will be
which will lie down undisturbed.
3Ephraim’s security will cease,
as will Damascus’ rule.
What’s left of Aram will resemble the glory of the Israelites,
says the LORD of heavenly forces.
4On that day, Jacob’s glory will dwindle;
his sleek body will waste away.
5It will be as when harvesters gather grain.
God will harvest armfuls at a time,
like one who gathers grain
in the Rephaim Valley.
6Only remaining bits are left,
like an olive tree that has been shaken:
two or three olives on the highest branch;
four or five on a fruitful twig,
says the LORD God of Israel.
7On that day, people will have regard for their maker,
and their eyes will look to the holy one of Israel.
8They will have no regard for altars,
the work of their hands,
or look to what their fingers made:
sacred poles#Heb asherim, possibly objects devoted to the goddess Asherah and incense stands.
9On that day, their strong cities will be like those abandoned by the Hivites and the Amorites;#LXX; MT like the abandonment of the forest and the bough abandoned because of the Israelites. They will be a wasteland,
10because you forgot the God who saves you,
and didn’t remember the rock who shelters you.
Therefore, plant your pleasant plants,
and set out exotic sprouts;
11make them grow the day you plant them,
and make them bloom the morning you start them.
But the harvest will disappear on a day of sickness and incurable pain.
12Doom to the raging of many peoples;
like the thundering seas they thunder.
Doom to the roar of nations,
like the roaring of mighty waters.
13Nations roar like the roaring of rushing waters.
But God will rebuke them,
and they will flee far away,
pursued like chaff by wind in the mountains,
like tumbleweeds before a storm.
14In the evening, there is terror;
but before morning it is gone.
This is the fate of those who loot us,
the destiny of those who rob us.