In that day the LORD will take his terrible, swift sword and punish Leviathan, the swiftly moving serpent, the coiling, writhing serpent, the dragon of the sea.
"In that day we will sing of the pleasant vineyard.
I, the LORD, will watch over it and tend its fruitful vines. Each day I will water them; day and night I will watch to keep enemies away.
My anger against Israel will be gone. If I find briers and thorns bothering her, I will burn them up.
These enemies will be spared only if they surrender and beg for peace and protection."
The time is coming when my people will take root. Israel will bud and blossom and fill the whole earth with her fruit!
Has the LORD punished Israel in the same way he has punished her enemies? No, for he devastated her enemies,
but he has punished Israel only a little. He has exiled her from her land as though blown away in a storm from the east.
The LORD did this to purge away Israel's a sin. When he has finished, all the pagan altars will be crushed to dust. There won't be an Asherah pole or incense altar left standing.
Israel's fortified cities will be silent and empty, the houses abandoned, the streets covered with grass. Cattle will graze there, chewing on twigs and branches.
The people are like the dead branches of a tree, broken off and used for kindling beneath the cooking pots. Israel is a foolish and stupid nation, for its people have turned away from God. Therefore, the one who made them will show them no pity or mercy.
Yet the time will come when the LORD will gather them together one by one like handpicked grain. He will bring them to his great threshing floor -- from the Euphrates River b in the east to the brook of Egypt in the west.
In that day the great trumpet will sound. Many who were dying in exile in Assyria and Egypt will return to Jerusalem to worship the LORD on his holy mountain.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)