The Lord Will Restore His People
1Ask the Lord for rain in the spring,
for he makes the storm clouds.
And he will send showers of rain
so every field becomes a lush pasture.
2Household gods give worthless advice,
fortune-tellers predict only lies,
and interpreters of dreams pronounce
falsehoods that give no comfort.
So my people are wandering like lost sheep;
they are attacked because they have no shepherd.
3“My anger burns against your shepherds,
and I will punish these leaders.# Or these male goats.
For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has arrived
to look after Judah, his flock.
He will make them strong and glorious,
like a proud warhorse in battle.
4From Judah will come the cornerstone,
the tent peg,
the bow for battle,
and all the rulers.
5They will be like mighty warriors in battle,
trampling their enemies in the mud under their feet.
Since the Lord is with them as they fight,
they will overthrow even the enemy’s horsemen.
6“I will strengthen Judah and save Israel# Hebrew save the house of Joseph.;
I will restore them because of my compassion.
It will be as though I had never rejected them,
for I am the Lord their God, who will hear their cries.
7The people of Israel# Hebrew of Ephraim. will become like mighty warriors,
and their hearts will be made happy as if by wine.
Their children, too, will see it and be glad;
their hearts will rejoice in the Lord.
8When I whistle to them, they will come running,
for I have redeemed them.
From the few who are left,
they will grow as numerous as they were before.
9Though I have scattered them like seeds among the nations,
they will still remember me in distant lands.
They and their children will survive
and return again to Israel.
10I will bring them back from Egypt
and gather them from Assyria.
I will resettle them in Gilead and Lebanon
until there is no more room for them all.
11They will pass safely through the sea of distress,# Or the sea of Egypt, referring to the Red Sea.
for the waves of the sea will be held back,
and the waters of the Nile will dry up.
The pride of Assyria will be crushed,
and the rule of Egypt will end.
12By my power# Hebrew In the Lord. I will make my people strong,
and by my authority they will go wherever they wish.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”