How terrible it will be for rebellious, polluted Jerusalem, the city of violence and crime.
It proudly refuses to listen even to the voice of the LORD. No one can tell it anything; it refuses all correction. It does not trust in the LORD or draw near to its God.
Its leaders are like roaring lions hunting for their victims -- out for everything they can get. Its judges are like ravenous wolves at evening time, who by dawn have left no trace of their prey.
Its prophets are arrogant liars seeking their own gain. Its priests defile the Temple by disobeying God's laws.
But the LORD is still there in the city, and he does no wrong. Day by day his justice is more evident, but no one takes notice -- the wicked know no shame.
"I have wiped out many nations, devastating their fortress walls and towers. Their cities are now deserted; their streets are in silent ruin. There are no survivors to even tell what happened.
I thought, 'Surely they will have reverence for me now! Surely they will listen to my warnings, so I won't need to strike again.' But no; however much I punish them, they continue their evil practices from dawn till dusk and dusk till dawn."
So now the LORD says: "Be patient; the time is coming soon when I will stand up and accuse these evil nations. For it is my decision to gather together the kingdoms of the earth and pour out my fiercest anger and fury on them. All the earth will be devoured by the fire of my jealousy.
"On that day I will purify the lips of all people, so that everyone will be able to worship the LORD together.
My scattered people who live beyond the rivers of Ethiopia a will come to present their offerings.
And then you will no longer need to be ashamed of yourselves, for you will no longer be rebels against me. I will remove all the proud and arrogant people from among you. There will be no pride on my holy mountain.
Those who are left will be the lowly and the humble, for it is they who trust in the name of the LORD.
The people of Israel who survive will do no wrong to each other, never telling lies or deceiving one another. They will live peaceful lives, lying down to sleep in safety; there will be no one to make them afraid."
Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!
For the LORD will remove his hand of judgment and will disperse the armies of your enemy. And the LORD himself, the King of Israel, will live among you! At last your troubles will be over, and you will fear disaster no more.
On that day the announcement to Jerusalem will be, "Cheer up, Zion! Don't be afraid!
For the LORD your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song."
"I will gather you who mourn for the appointed festivals; you will be disgraced no more. b19
And I will deal severely with all who have oppressed you. I will save the weak and helpless ones; I will bring together those who were chased away. I will give glory and renown to my former exiles, who have been mocked and shamed.
On that day I will gather you together and bring you home again. I will give you a good name, a name of distinction among all the nations of the earth. They will praise you as I restore your fortunes before their very eyes. I, the LORD, have spoken!"
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)