God’s Message to Aram
1This is a message#17:1 message Or “burden.” about Damascus#17:1 Damascus A city in the country of Aram (Syria).:
“Damascus is now a city, but it will be destroyed.
Only ruined buildings will be left there.
2People will leave the cities of Aroer.#17:2 Aroer A place in the country of Aram (Syria).
Flocks of sheep will wander freely in those empty towns;
there will be no one to bother them.
3The fort cities of Ephraim will be destroyed.
The government in Damascus will be finished.
Those left in Aram will lose everything,
just like the people of Israel,” says the Lord All-Powerful.
4“At that time Jacob’s wealth will all be gone.
Yes, Israel will be like a sick man who has become weak and thin.
5“That time will be like the grain harvest in Rephaim Valley.#17:5 Rephaim Valley A valley southwest of Jerusalem. The workers gather the plants that grow in the field. Then they cut the heads of grain from the plants and collect the grain.
6“That time will also be like the olive harvest. People knock olives from the trees, but a few olives are usually left at the top of each tree. Four or five olives are left on some of the top branches. It will be the same for those cities,” says the Lord All-Powerful.
7Then the people will look up to the one who made them. Their eyes will see the Holy One of Israel. 8They will not trust the great things they have made. They will not go to the special gardens#17:8 special gardens Gardens where people worshiped false gods. and altars#17:8 altars These might be altars for burning incense, or they might be altars for worshiping a special false god. they made for false gods. 9At that time all the walled cities will be empty. They will be like the mountains and the forests#17:9 mountains and the forests With a minor change in the Hebrew, this could be “the Horites and Amorites.” in the land before the Israelites came. In the past, all the people ran away because the Israelites were coming. In the future, the country will be empty again. 10This will happen because you have forgotten the God who saves you. You have not remembered that God is your place of safety.
You brought some very good grapevines from faraway places. You might plant those grapevines, but they will not grow. 11You will plant your grapevines one day and try to make them grow, and the next day they will blossom. But at harvest time, you will go to gather the fruit from the plants, and you will see that everything is dead. A sickness will kill all the plants.
12Listen to all these people!
Their loud crying sounds like the noise from the sea.
Listen, it is like the crashing of waves in the sea.
13And like the waves,
they will rush away when God speaks harshly to them.
They will be like chaff blown away by the wind.
They will be like weeds chased by a storm.
14That night, the people will be frightened.
By morning, nothing will be left.
So our enemies will get nothing.
They will come to our land, but nothing will be there.