The Evil That People Do
1Poor me! I am like a hungry man,
and all the summer fruit has been picked—
there are no grapes left to eat,
none of the early figs I love.
2All of the faithful people are gone;
there is not one good person left in this country.
Everyone is waiting to kill someone;
everyone is trying to trap someone else.
3With both hands they are doing evil.
Rulers ask for money,
and judges’ decisions are bought for a price.
Rich people tell what they want,
and they get it.
4Even the best of them is like a thornbush;
the most honest of them is worse than a prickly plant.
The day that your watchmen warned you about has come.
Now they will be confused.
5Don’t believe your neighbor
or trust a friend.
Don’t say anything,
even to your wife.
6A son will not honor his father,
a daughter will turn against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law will be against her mother-in-law;
a person’s enemies will be members of his own family.
The Lord’s Kindness
7Israel says, “I will look to the Lord for help.
I will wait for God to save me;
my God will hear me.
8Enemy, don’t laugh at me.
I have fallen, but I will get up again.
I sit in the shadow of trouble now,
but the Lord will be a light for me.
9I sinned against the Lord,
so he was angry with me,
but he will defend my case in court.
He will bring about what is right for me.
Then he will bring me out into the light,
and I will see him set things right.
10Then my enemies will see this,
and they will be ashamed,
those who said to me,
‘Where is the Lord your God?’
I will look down on them.
They will get walked on, like mud in the street.”
Israel Will Return
11The time will come when your walls will be built again,
when your country will grow.
12At that time your people will come back to you
from Assyria and the cities of Egypt,
and from Egypt to the Euphrates River,
and from sea to sea and mountain to mountain.
13The earth will be ruined for the people who live in it
because of their deeds.
A Prayer to God
14So shepherd your people with your stick;
tend the flock of people who belong to you.
That flock now lives alone in the forest
in the middle of a garden land.
Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead
as in days long ago.
15“As in the days when I brought you out of Egypt,
I will show them miracles.”
16When the nations see those miracles,
they will no longer brag about their power.
They will put their hands over their mouths,
refusing to listen.
17They will crawl in the dust like a snake,
like insects crawling on the ground.
They will come trembling from their holes to the Lord our God
and will turn in fear before you.
18There is no God like you.
You forgive those who are guilty of sin;
you don’t look at the sins of your people
who are left alive.
You will not stay angry forever,
because you enjoy being kind.
19You will have mercy on us again;
you will conquer our sins.
You will throw away all our sins
into the deepest part of the sea.
20You will be true to the people of Jacob,
and you will be kind to the people of Abraham
as you promised to our ancestors long ago.