Waking Up with Nothing
1Oh, oh, oh . . .
How gold is treated like dirt,
the finest gold thrown out with the garbage,
Priceless jewels scattered all over,
jewels loose in the gutters.
2And the people of Zion, once prized,
far surpassing their weight in gold,
Are now treated like cheap pottery,
like everyday pots and bowls mass-produced by a potter.
3Even wild jackals nurture their babies,
give them their breasts to suckle.
But my people have turned cruel to their babies,
like an ostrich in the wilderness.
4Babies have nothing to drink.
Their tongues stick to the roofs of their mouths.
Little children ask for bread
but no one gives them so much as a crust.
5People used to the finest cuisine
forage for food in the streets.
People used to the latest in fashions
pick through the trash for something to wear.
6The evil guilt of my dear people
was worse than the sin of Sodom—
The city was destroyed in a flash,
and no one around to help.
7The splendid and sacred nobles
once glowed with health.
Their bodies were robust and ruddy,
their beards like carved stone.
8But now they are smeared with soot,
unrecognizable in the street,
Their bones sticking out,
their skin dried out like old leather.
9Better to have been killed in battle
than killed by starvation.
Better to have died of battle wounds
than to slowly starve to death.
10Nice and kindly women
boiled their own children for supper.
This was the only food in town
when my dear people were broken.
11God let all his anger loose, held nothing back.
He poured out his raging wrath.
He set a fire in Zion
that burned it to the ground.
12The kings of the earth couldn’t believe it.
World rulers were in shock,
Watching old enemies march in big as you please,
right through Jerusalem’s gates.
13Because of the sins of her prophets
and the evil of her priests,
Who exploited good and trusting people,
robbing them of their lives,
14These prophets and priests blindly grope their way through the streets,
grimy and stained from their dirty lives,
Wasted by their wasted lives,
shuffling from fatigue, dressed in rags.
15People yell at them, “Get out of here, dirty old men!
Get lost, don’t touch us, don’t infect us!”
They have to leave town. They wander off.
Nobody wants them to stay here.
Everyone knows, wherever they wander,
that they’ve been kicked out of their own hometown.
16God himself scattered them.
No longer does he look out for them.
He has nothing to do with the priests;
he cares nothing for the elders.
17We watched and watched,
wore our eyes out looking for help. And nothing.
We mounted our lookouts and looked
for the help that never showed up.
18They tracked us down, those hunters.
It wasn’t safe to go out in the street.
Our end was near, our days numbered.
We were doomed.
19They came after us faster than eagles in flight,
pressed us hard in the mountains, ambushed us in the desert.
20Our king, our life’s breath, the anointed of God,
was caught in their traps—
Our king under whose protection
we always said we’d live.
21Celebrate while you can, O Edom!
Live it up in Uz!
For it won’t be long before you drink this cup, too.
You’ll find out what it’s like to drink God’s wrath,
Get drunk on God’s wrath
and wake up with nothing, stripped naked.
22And that’s it for you, Zion. The punishment’s complete.
You won’t have to go through this exile again.
But Edom, your time is coming:
He’ll punish your evil life, put all your sins on display.
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1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 Eugene H. Peterson by NavPress Publishing