Israel Should Trust in God, Not Egypt
1The Lord said, “Look at these children. They don’t obey me. They make plans, but they don’t ask me to help them. They make agreements with other nations, but my Spirit does not want those agreements. These people are adding more and more sins to the ones they have already done. 2They are going down to Egypt for help, but they did not ask me if that was the right thing to do. They hope they will be saved by the Pharaoh. They want Egypt to protect them.
3“But I tell you, hiding in Egypt will not help you. Pharaoh will not be able to protect you. 4Your leaders have gone to Zoan, and your representatives have gone to Hanes.#30:4 Zoan, Hanes Cities in Egypt. 5But they will be disappointed. They are depending on a nation that cannot help them. Egypt is useless—it will not help. Egypt will bring nothing but shame and embarrassment.”
God’s Message to Judah
6This is a message#30:6 message Or “burden.” about the Negev animals#30:6 Negev animals Or “Creatures of the South,” a phrase that can refer to Egypt.:
There is a dangerous place full of lions, adders,#30:6 adders Very poisonous snakes. deadly snakes,#30:6 deadly snakes Literally, “flying snakes.” and useless people. And there are people who load their wealth onto donkeys and their treasures on the backs of camels. They carry them to a people who cannot help. 7That useless nation is Egypt. Egypt’s help is worth nothing, so I call Egypt the “Do-Nothing Dragon.”#30:7 Do-Nothing Dragon Or “Resting Rahab,” the great sea monster. Some ancient stories tell about Rahab fighting with God.
8Now write this on a sign so that all people can see it, and write this in a book. Write these things for a future time. This will be far, far in the future:#30:8 Write … future Or “Write this for the future as a witness forever.”
9These people are like children who refuse to obey. They lie and refuse to listen to the Lord’s teachings. 10They tell the prophets, “Don’t see dreams#30:10 dreams Or “visions.” Special kinds of dreams God used to speak to his prophets. about things we should do. Don’t tell us the truth. Say nice things to us and make us feel good. See only good things for us. 11Stop seeing things that will really happen. Get out of our way. Stop telling us about the Holy One of Israel.”
Judah’s Help Comes Only From God
12The Holy One of Israel says, “You people have refused to accept this message from me. You depend on fighting and lies to help you. 13You are guilty of these things. So you are like a tall wall with cracks in it. That wall will fall and break into small pieces. 14You will be like a large clay jar that breaks into many small, useless pieces. You cannot use them to get a hot coal from the fire or to get water from a pool in the ground.”
15The Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, says, “If you come back to me you will be saved. Only by remaining calm and trusting in me can you be strong.”
But you don’t want to do that. 16You say, “No, we need fast horses for battle.” That is true—you will need fast horses, but only to run away because your enemy will be faster than your horses. 17One enemy soldier will make threats, and a thousand of your men will run away. And when five of them make threats, all of you will run away. The only thing that will be left of your army will be a flagpole on a hill.
God Will Help His People
18So the Lord is waiting to show his mercy to you. He wants to rise and comfort you. The Lord is the God who does the right thing, so he will bless everyone who waits for his help.
19You people who live in Jerusalem on Mount Zion will not continue crying. The Lord will hear your crying, and he will comfort you. When he hears you, he will help you.
20The Lord might give you sorrow and pain like the bread and water you eat every day. But God is your teacher, and he will not continue to hide from you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes. 21If you wander from the right path, either to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice behind you saying, “You should go this way. Here is the right way.”
22Then you will take your idols covered with gold and silver and make them unfit to be used again. You will throw them away like filthy rags#30:22 You … rags Or “You will throw those gods away like menstrual clothes.” and say, “Go away!”
23At that time the Lord will send you rain. You will plant seeds, and the ground will grow food for you. You will have a very large harvest. You will have plenty of food in the fields for your animals. There will be large fields for your sheep. 24Your cattle and donkeys will have all the food they need. There will be much food. You will have to use shovels and pitchforks to spread all the food#30:24 food This was special food that had been allowed to ferment. This made the meat of the animal tender and good. for your animals to eat. 25Every mountain and hill will have streams filled with water. These things will happen after many people are killed and the enemy’s towers are pulled down.
26At that time the light from the moon will be as bright as the sun, and the light from the sun will be seven times brighter than it is now. One day of sunlight will be like a whole week’s worth. This will happen when the Lord bandages his broken people and heals the hurts from their beatings.
27Look! The Lord is coming from far away. His anger is like a fire with thick clouds of smoke. His mouth is filled with anger, and his tongue is like a burning fire. 28His breath is like a great river that rises until it reaches the throat. He will judge the nations as if putting them through a strainer that separates the ones fit for destruction. He will put a bit in their mouths to lead them to the place they don’t want to go.
29You will sing happy songs, like the nights when you begin a festival. You will be very happy walking to the Lord’s mountain and listening to the flute on the way to worship the Rock of Israel.
30The Lord will cause all people to hear his great voice and to see his powerful arm come down in anger. That arm will be like a great fire that burns everything. His power will be like a great storm with much rain and hail. 31Assyria will be frightened by the Lord’s voice and the stick that will beat him. 32And as the Lord beats Assyria, his people will keep the rhythm with their drums and harps.
33Topheth#30:33 Topheth Gehenna, the Valley of Hinnom. In this valley people killed their children to honor the false god, “Molech.” has been made ready for a long time. It is ready for the king.#30:33 king This is like the name of the false god, “Molech.” It was made very deep and wide. There is a very big pile of wood and fire there, and the Lord’s breath will come like a stream of burning sulfur to start the fire.