Judah’s Worthless Treaty with Egypt
1“What sorrow awaits my rebellious children,”
says the Lord.
“You make plans that are contrary to mine.
You make alliances not directed by my Spirit,
thus piling up your sins.
2For without consulting me,
you have gone down to Egypt for help.
You have put your trust in Pharaoh’s protection.
You have tried to hide in his shade.
3But by trusting Pharaoh, you will be humiliated,
and by depending on him, you will be disgraced.
4For though his power extends to Zoan
and his officials have arrived in Hanes,
5all who trust in him will be ashamed.
He will not help you.
Instead, he will disgrace you.”
6This message came to me concerning the animals in the Negev:
The caravan moves slowly
across the terrible desert to Egypt—
donkeys weighed down with riches
and camels loaded with treasure—
all to pay for Egypt’s protection.
They travel through the wilderness,
a place of lionesses and lions,
a place where vipers and poisonous snakes live.
All this, and Egypt will give you nothing in return.
7Egypt’s promises are worthless!
Therefore, I call her Rahab—
the Harmless Dragon.# Hebrew Rahab who sits still. Rahab is the name of a mythical sea monster that represents chaos in ancient literature. The name is used here as a poetic name for Egypt.
A Warning for Rebellious Judah
8Now go and write down these words.
Write them in a book.
They will stand until the end of time
as a witness
9that these people are stubborn rebels
who refuse to pay attention to the Lord’s instructions.
10They tell the seers,
“Stop seeing visions!”
They tell the prophets,
“Don’t tell us what is right.
Tell us nice things.
Tell us lies.
11Forget all this gloom.
Get off your narrow path.
Stop telling us about your
‘Holy One of Israel.’”
12This is the reply of the Holy One of Israel:
“Because you despise what I tell you
and trust instead in oppression and lies,
13calamity will come upon you suddenly—
like a bulging wall that bursts and falls.
In an instant it will collapse
and come crashing down.
14You will be smashed like a piece of pottery—
shattered so completely that
there won’t be a piece big enough
to carry coals from a fireplace
or a little water from the well.”
15This is what the Sovereign Lord,
the Holy One of Israel, says:
“Only in returning to me
and resting in me will you be saved.
In quietness and confidence is your strength.
But you would have none of it.
16You said, ‘No, we will get our help from Egypt.
They will give us swift horses for riding into battle.’
But the only swiftness you are going to see
is the swiftness of your enemies chasing you!
17One of them will chase a thousand of you.
Five of them will make all of you flee.
You will be left like a lonely flagpole on a hill
or a tattered banner on a distant mountaintop.”
Blessings for the Lord’s People
18So the Lord must wait for you to come to him
so he can show you his love and compassion.
For the Lord is a faithful God.
Blessed are those who wait for his help.
19O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem,
you will weep no more.
He will be gracious if you ask for help.
He will surely respond to the sound of your cries.
20Though the Lord gave you adversity for food
and suffering for drink,
he will still be with you to teach you.
You will see your teacher with your own eyes.
21Your own ears will hear him.
Right behind you a voice will say,
“This is the way you should go,”
whether to the right or to the left.
22Then you will destroy all your silver idols
and your precious gold images.
You will throw them out like filthy rags,
saying to them, “Good riddance!”
23Then the Lord will bless you with rain at planting time. There will be wonderful harvests and plenty of pastureland for your livestock. 24The oxen and donkeys that till the ground will eat good grain, its chaff blown away by the wind. 25In that day, when your enemies are slaughtered and the towers fall, there will be streams of water flowing down every mountain and hill. 26The moon will be as bright as the sun, and the sun will be seven times brighter—like the light of seven days in one! So it will be when the Lord begins to heal his people and cure the wounds he gave them.
27Look! The Lord is coming from far away,
burning with anger,
surrounded by thick, rising smoke.
His lips are filled with fury;
his words consume like fire.
28His hot breath pours out like a flood
up to the neck of his enemies.
He will sift out the proud nations for destruction.
He will bridle them and lead them away to ruin.
29But the people of God will sing a song of joy,
like the songs at the holy festivals.
You will be filled with joy,
as when a flutist leads a group of pilgrims
to Jerusalem, the mountain of the Lord—
to the Rock of Israel.
30And the Lord will make his majestic voice heard.
He will display the strength of his mighty arm.
It will descend with devouring flames,
with cloudbursts, thunderstorms, and huge hailstones.
31At the Lord’s command, the Assyrians will be shattered.
He will strike them down with his royal scepter.
32And as the Lord strikes them with his rod of punishment,
his people will celebrate with tambourines and harps.
Lifting his mighty arm, he will fight the Assyrians.
33Topheth—the place of burning—
has long been ready for the Assyrian king;
the pyre is piled high with wood.
The breath of the Lord, like fire from a volcano,
will set it ablaze.