1 THE MOURNFUL, inspired prediction (a burden to be lifted up) concerning Damascus [capital of Syria, and Israel's bulwark against Assyria]. Behold, Damascus will cease to be a city and will become a heap of ruins.
2 The cities of Aroer [east of the Jordan] are forsaken; they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid.
3 His bulwark [Syria] and the fortress shall disappear from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus; and the remnant of Syria will be like the [departed] glory of the children of Israel [her ally], says the Lord of hosts.
4 And in that day the former glory of Jacob [Israel–his might, his population, his prosperity] shall be enfeebled, and the fat of his flesh shall become lean.
5 And it shall be as when the reaper gathers the standing grain and his arm harvests the ears; yes, it shall be as when one gathers the ears of grain in the fertile Valley of Rephaim.
6 Yet gleanings [of grapes] shall be left in it [the land of Israel], as after the beating of an olive tree [with a stick], two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outermost branches of the fruitful tree, says the Lord, the God of Israel.
7 In that day will men look to their Maker, and their eyes shall regard the Holy One of Israel.
8 And they will not look to the [idolatrous] altars, the work of their hands, neither will they have respect for what their fingers have made–either the Asherim [symbols of the goddess Asherah] or the sun-images.
9 In that day will their [Syria's and Israel's] strong cities be like the forsaken places in the wood and on the mountaintop, as they [the Amorites and the Hivites] forsook their [cities] because of the children of Israel; and there will be desolation.
10 Because you have forgotten the God of your salvation [O Judah] and have not been mindful of the Rock of your strength, your Stronghold–therefore, you have planted pleasant nursery grounds and plantings [to Adonis, pots of quickly withered flowers used to set by their doors or in the courts of temples], and have set [the grounds] with vine slips of a strange [God],
11 And in the day of your planting you hedge it in, and in the morning you make your seed to blossom, yet [promising as it is] the harvest shall be a heap of ruins and flee away in the day of expected possession and of desperate sorrow and sickening, incurable pain.
12 Hark, the uproar of a multitude of peoples! They roar and thunder like the noise of the seas! Ah, the roar of nations! They roar like the roaring of rushing and mighty waters!
13 The nations will rush and roar like the rushing and roaring of many waters–but [God] will rebuke them, and they will flee far off and will be chased like chaff on the mountains before the wind, and like rolling thistledown or whirling dust of the stubble before the storm.
14 At evening time, behold, terror! And before the morning, they [the terrorizing Assyrians] are not. This is the portion of those who strip us [the Jews] of what belongs to us, and the lot of those who rob us. [Fulfilled in Isa. 37:36.]