1 How terrible it will be for Samaria, the pride of Israel's drunken people! That beautiful crown of flowers is just a dying plant set on a hill above a rich valley where drunkards live. 2 Look, the Lord has someone who is strong and powerful. Like a storm of hail and strong wind, like a sudden flood of water pouring over the country, he will throw Samaria down to the ground. 3 That city, the pride of Israel's drunken people, will be trampled underfoot. 4 That beautiful crown of flowers is just a dying plant set on a hill above a rich valley. That city will be like the first fig of summer. Anyone who sees it quickly picks it and eats it. 5 At that time the Lord All-Powerful will be like a beautiful crown, like a wonderful crown of flowers for his people who are left alive. 6 Then he will give wisdom to the judges who must decide cases and strength to those who battle at the city gate. 7 But now those leaders are drunk with wine; they stumble from drinking too much beer. The priests and prophets are drunk with beer and are filled with wine. They stumble from too much beer. The prophets are drunk when they see their visions; the judges stumble when they make their decisions. 8 Every table is covered with vomit, so there is not a clean place anywhere. 9 The Lord is trying to teach the people a lesson; he is trying to make them understand his teachings. But the people are like babies too old for breast milk, like those who no longer nurse at their mother's breast. 10 So they make fun of the Lord's prophet and say: "A command here, a command there. A rule here, a rule there. A little lesson here, a little lesson there." 11 So the Lord will use strange words and foreign languages to speak to these people. 12 God said to them, "Here is a place of rest; let the tired people come and rest. This is the place of peace." But the people would not listen. 13 So the words of the Lord will be, "A command here, a command there. A rule here, a rule there. A little lesson here, a little lesson there." They will fall back and be defeated; they will be trapped and captured. 14 So listen to the Lord's message, you who brag, you leaders in Jerusalem. 15 You say, "We have made an agreement with death; we have a contract with death. When terrible punishment passes by, it won't hurt us. Our lies will keep us safe, and our tricks will hide us." 16 Because of these things, this is what the Lord God says: "I will put a stone in the ground in Jerusalem, a tested stone. Everything will be built on this important and precious rock. Anyone who trusts in it will never be disappointed. 17 I will use justice as a measuring line and goodness as the standard. The lies you hide behind will be destroyed as if by hail. They will be washed away as if in a flood. 18 Your agreement with death will be erased; your contract with death will not help you. When terrible punishment comes, you will be crushed by it. 19 Whenever punishment comes, it will take you away. It will come morning after morning; it will defeat you by day and by night. Those who understand this punishment will be terrified." 20 You will be like the person who tried to sleep on a bed that was too short and with a blanket that was too narrow to wrap around himself. 21 The Lord will fight as he did at Mount Perazim. He will be angry as he was in the Valley of Gibeon. He will do his work, his strange work. He will finish his job, his strange job. 22 Now, you must not make fun of these things, or the ropes around you will become tighter. how the whole earth will be destroyed. 23 Listen closely to what I tell you; listen carefully to what I say. 24 A farmer does not plow his field all the time; he does not go on working the soil. 25 He makes the ground flat and smooth. Then he plants the dill and scatters the cumin. He plants the wheat in rows, the barley in its special place, and other wheat as a border around the field. 26 His God teaches him and shows him the right way. 27 A farmer doesn't use heavy boards to crush dill; he doesn't use a wagon wheel to crush cumin. He uses a small stick to break open the dill, and with a stick he opens the cumin. 28 The grain is ground to make bread. People do not ruin it by crushing it forever. The farmer separates the wheat from the chaff with his cart, but he does not let his horses grind it. 29 This lesson also comes from the Lord All-Powerful, who gives wonderful advice, who is very wise.
1 How terrible it will be for you, Jerusalem, the city where David camped. Your festivals have continued year after year. 2 I will attack Jerusalem, and that city will be filled with sadness and crying. It will be like an altar to me. 3 I will put armies all around you, Jerusalem; I will surround you with towers and with devices to attack you. 4 You will be pulled down and will speak from the ground; I will hear your voice rising from the ground. It will sound like the voice of a ghost; your words will come like a whisper from the dirt. 5 Your many enemies will become like fine dust; the many cruel people will be like chaff that is blown away. Everything will happen very quickly. 6 The Lord All-Powerful will come with thunder, earthquakes, and great noises, with storms, strong winds, and a fire that destroys. 7 Then all the nations that fight against Jerusalem will be like a dream; all the nations that attack her will be like a vision in the night. 8 They will be like a hungry man who dreams he is eating, but when he awakens, he is still hungry. They will be like a thirsty man who dreams he is drinking, but when he awakens, he is still weak and thirsty. It will be the same way with all the nations who fight against Mount Zion. 9 Be surprised and amazed. Blind yourselves so that you cannot see. Become drunk, but not from wine. Trip and fall, but not from beer. 10 The Lord has made you go into a deep sleep. He has closed your eyes. (The prophets are your eyes.) He has covered your heads. (The seers are your heads.) 11 This vision is like the words of a book that is closed and sealed. You may give the book to someone who can read and tell that person to read it. But he will say, "I can't read the book, because it is sealed." 12 Or you may give the book to someone who cannot read and tell him to read it. But he will say, "I don't know how to read." 13 The Lord says: "These people say they love me; they show honor to me with words, but their hearts are far from me. The honor they show me is nothing but human rules. 14 So I will continue to amaze these people by doing more and more miracles. Their wise men will lose their wisdom; their wise men will not be able to understand." 15 How terrible it will be for those who try to hide things from the Lord and who do their work in darkness. They think no one will see them or know what they do. 16 You are confused. You think the clay is equal to the potter. You think that an object can tell the one who made it, "You didn't make me." This is like a pot telling its maker, "You don't know anything." 17 In a very short time, Lebanon will become rich farmland, and the rich farmland will seem like a forest. 18 At that time the deaf will hear the words in a book. Instead of having darkness and gloom, the blind will see. 19 The Lord will make the poor people happy; they will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. 20 Then the people without mercy will come to an end; those who do not respect God will disappear. Those who enjoy doing evil will be gone: 21 those who lie about others in court, those who trap people in court, those who lie and take justice from innocent people in court. 22 This is what the Lord who set Abraham free says to the family of Jacob: "Now the people of Jacob will not be ashamed or disgraced any longer. 23 When they see all their children, the children I made with my hands, they will say my name is holy. They will agree that the Holy One of Jacob is holy, and they will respect the God of Israel. 24 People who do wrong will now understand. Those who complain will accept being taught."
1 The 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. 2 They 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. 3 But hiding in Egypt will bring you only shame; Egypt's protection will only disappoint you. 4 Your officers have gone to Zoan, and your messengers have gone to Hanes, 5 but 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." 6 This is a message about the animals in southern Judah: 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, 7 to Egypt whose help is useless. So I call that country Rahab the Do-Nothing. 8 Now 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. 9 These people are like children who lie and refuse to obey; they refuse to listen to the Lord's teachings. 10 They 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. 11 Stop blocking our path. Get out of our way. Stop telling us about God, the Holy One of Israel." 12 So 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. 13 You 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. 14 You 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." 15 This 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. 16 You 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. 17 One 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. 18 The 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. 19 You 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. 20 The 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. 21 If 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." 22 You 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!" 23 At 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. 24 Your 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. 25 Every mountain and hill will have streams filled with water. These things will happen after many people are killed and the towers are pulled down. 26 At 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. 27 Look! 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. 28 His 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. 29 You 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. 30 The 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. 31 Assyria will be afraid when it hears the voice of the Lord, because he will strike Assyria with a rod. 32 When 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. 33 Tophethn 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. like a stream of burning sulfur and set it on fire.