Warnings to the Stubborn Nation
1The Lord said,
“How terrible it will be for these stubborn children.
They make plans, but they don’t ask me to help them.
They make agreements with other nations, without asking my Spirit.
They are adding more and more sins to themselves.
2They go down to Egypt for help
without asking me about it first.
They hope they will be saved by the king of Egypt;
they want Egypt to protect them.
3But hiding in Egypt will bring you only shame;
Egypt’s protection will only disappoint you.
4Your officers have gone to Zoan,
and your messengers have gone to Hanes,
5but they will be put to shame,
because Egypt is useless to them.
It will give no help and will be of no use;
it will cause them only shame and embarrassment.”
God’s Message to Judah
6This is a message about the animals in southern Judah:
Southern Judah is a dangerous place
full of lions and lionesses,
poisonous snakes and darting snakes.
The messengers travel through there with their wealth on the backs of donkeys
and their treasure on the backs of camels.
They carry them to a nation that cannot help them,
7to Egypt whose help is useless.
So I call that country Rahab the Do-Nothing.
8Now write this on a sign for the people,
write this on a scroll,
so that for the days to come
this will be a witness forever.
9These people are like children who lie and refuse to obey;
they refuse to listen to the Lord’s teachings.
10They tell the seers,
“Don’t see any more visions!”
They say to the prophets,
“Don’t tell us the truth!
Say things that will make us feel good;
see only good things for us.
11Stop blocking our path.
Get out of our way.
Stop telling us
about God, the Holy One of Israel.”
12So this is what the Holy One of Israel says:
“You people have refused to accept this message
and have depended on cruelty and lies to help you.
13You are guilty of these things.
So you will be like a high wall with cracks in it
that falls suddenly and breaks into small pieces.
14You will be like a clay jar that breaks,
smashed into many pieces.
Those pieces will be too small
to take coals from the fire
or to get water from a well.”
15This is what the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, says:
“If you come back to me and trust me, you will be saved.
If you will be calm and trust me, you will be strong.”
But you don’t want to do that.
16You say, “No, we need horses to run away on.”
So you will run away on horses.
You say, “We will ride away on fast horses.”
So those who chase you will be fast.
17One enemy will make threats,
and a thousand of your men will run away.
Five enemies will make threats,
and all of you will run from them.
You will be left alone like a flagpole on a hilltop,
like a banner on a hill.
18The Lord wants to show his mercy to you.
He wants to rise and comfort you.
The Lord is a fair God,
and everyone who waits for his help will be happy.
The Lord Will Help His People
19You people who live on Mount Zion in Jerusalem will not cry anymore. The Lord will hear your crying, and he will comfort you. When he hears you, he will help you. 20The Lord has given you sorrow and hurt like the bread and water you ate every day. He is your teacher; he will not continue to hide from you, but you will see your teacher with your own eyes. 21If you go the wrong way—to the right or to the left—you will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the right way. You should go this way.” 22You have statues covered with silver and gold, but you will ruin them for further use. You will throw them away like filthy rags and say, “Go away!”
23At that time the Lord will send rain for the seeds you plant in the ground, and the ground will grow food for you. The harvest will be rich and great, and you will have plenty of food in the fields for your animals. 24Your oxen and donkeys that work the soil will have all the food they need. You will have to use shovels and pitchforks to spread all their food. 25Every mountain and hill will have streams filled with water. These things will happen after many people are killed and the towers are pulled down. 26At that time the light from the moon will be bright like the sun, and the light from the sun will be seven times brighter than now, like the light of seven days. These things will happen when the Lord bandages his broken people and heals the hurts he gave them.
27Look! The Lord comes 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 rushing river,
which rises to the throat.
He will judge the nations as if he is sifting them through the strainer of destruction.
He will place in their mouths a bit that will lead them the wrong way.
29You will sing happy songs
as on the nights you begin a festival.
You will be happy like people listening to flutes
as they come to the mountain of the Lord,
to the Rock of Israel.
30The Lord will cause all people to hear his great voice
and to see his powerful arm come down with anger,
like a great fire that burns everything,
like a great storm with much rain and hail.
31Assyria will be afraid when it hears the voice of the Lord,
because he will strike Assyria with a rod.
32When the Lord punishes Assyria with a rod,
he will beat them to the music of tambourines and harps;
he will fight against them with his mighty weapons.
33Topheth has been made ready for a long time;
it is ready for the king.
It was made deep and wide
with much wood and fire.
And the Lord’s breath will come
like a stream of burning sulfur and set it on fire.