You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure.
We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition.
For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you.
On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.
You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed--God is our witness.
We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else. As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you,
but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children.
We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.
Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.
You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed.
For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children,
encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.
For you, brothers, became imitators of God's churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews,
who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to all men
in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.
The LORD will have compassion on Jacob; once again he will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land. Aliens will join them and unite with the house of Jacob.
Nations will take them and bring them to their own place. And the house of Israel will possess the nations as menservants and maidservants in the LORD's land. They will make captives of their captors and rule over their oppressors.
On the day the LORD gives you relief from suffering and turmoil and cruel bondage,
you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: How the oppressor has come to an end! How his fury has ended!
The LORD has broken the rod of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers,
which in anger struck down peoples with unceasing blows, and in fury subdued nations with relentless aggression.
All the lands are at rest and at peace; they break into singing.
Even the pine trees and the cedars of Lebanon exult over you and say, "Now that you have been laid low, no woodsman comes to cut us down."
The grave below is all astir to meet you at your coming; it rouses the spirits of the departed to greet you-- all those who were leaders in the world; it makes them rise from their thrones-- all those who were kings over the nations.
They will all respond, they will say to you, "You also have become weak, as we are; you have become like us."
All your pomp has been brought down to the grave, along with the noise of your harps; maggots are spread out beneath you and worms cover you.
How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!
You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.
I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High."
But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.
Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: "Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble,
the man who made the world a desert, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home?"
All the kings of the nations lie in state, each in his own tomb.
But you are cast out of your tomb like a rejected branch; you are covered with the slain, with those pierced by the sword, those who descend to the stones of the pit. Like a corpse trampled underfoot,
you will not join them in burial, for you have destroyed your land and killed your people. The offspring of the wicked will never be mentioned again.
Prepare a place to slaughter his sons for the sins of their forefathers; they are not to rise to inherit the land and cover the earth with their cities.
"I will rise up against them," declares the LORD Almighty. "I will cut off from Babylon her name and survivors, her offspring and descendants," declares the LORD.
"I will turn her into a place for owls and into swampland; I will sweep her with the broom of destruction," declares the LORD Almighty.
The LORD Almighty has sworn, "Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand.
I will crush the Assyrian in my land; on my mountains I will trample him down. His yoke will be taken from my people, and his burden removed from their shoulders."
This is the plan determined for the whole world; this is the hand stretched out over all nations.
For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?
This oracle came in the year King Ahaz died:
Do not rejoice, all you Philistines, that the rod that struck you is broken; from the root of that snake will spring up a viper, its fruit will be a darting, venomous serpent.
The poorest of the poor will find pasture, and the needy will lie down in safety. But your root I will destroy by famine; it will slay your survivors.
Wail, O gate! Howl, O city! Melt away, all you Philistines! A cloud of smoke comes from the north, and there is not a straggler in its ranks.
What answer shall be given to the envoys of that nation? "The LORD has established Zion, and in her his afflicted people will find refuge."
An oracle concerning Moab: Ar in Moab is ruined, destroyed in a night! Kir in Moab is ruined, destroyed in a night!
Dibon goes up to its temple, to its high places to weep; Moab wails over Nebo and Medeba. Every head is shaved and every beard cut off.
In the streets they wear sackcloth; on the roofs and in the public squares they all wail, prostrate with weeping.
Heshbon and Elealeh cry out, their voices are heard all the way to Jahaz. Therefore the armed men of Moab cry out, and their hearts are faint.
My heart cries out over Moab; her fugitives flee as far as Zoar, as far as Eglath Shelishiyah. They go up the way to Luhith, weeping as they go; on the road to Horonaim they lament their destruction.
The waters of Nimrim are dried up and the grass is withered; the vegetation is gone and nothing green is left.
So the wealth they have acquired and stored up they carry away over the Ravine of the Poplars.
Their outcry echoes along the border of Moab; their wailing reaches as far as Eglaim, their lamentation as far as Beer Elim.
Dimon's waters are full of blood, but I will bring still more upon Dimon-- a lion upon the fugitives of Moab and upon those who remain in the land.
Send lambs as tribute to the ruler of the land, from Sela, across the desert, to the mount of the Daughter of Zion.
Like fluttering birds pushed from the nest, so are the women of Moab at the fords of the Arnon.
"Give us counsel, render a decision. Make your shadow like night-- at high noon. Hide the fugitives, do not betray the refugees.
Let the Moabite fugitives stay with you; be their shelter from the destroyer." The oppressor will come to an end, and destruction will cease; the aggressor will vanish from the land.
In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it-- one from the house of David-- one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness.
We have heard of Moab's pride-- her overweening pride and conceit, her pride and her insolence-- but her boasts are empty.
Therefore the Moabites wail, they wail together for Moab. Lament and grieve for the men of Kir Hareseth.
The fields of Heshbon wither, the vines of Sibmah also. The rulers of the nations have trampled down the choicest vines, which once reached Jazer and spread toward the desert. Their shoots spread out and went as far as the sea.
So I weep, as Jazer weeps, for the vines of Sibmah. O Heshbon, O Elealeh, I drench you with tears! The shouts of joy over your ripened fruit and over your harvests have been stilled.
Joy and gladness are taken away from the orchards; no one sings or shouts in the vineyards; no one treads out wine at the presses, for I have put an end to the shouting.
My heart laments for Moab like a harp, my inmost being for Kir Hareseth.
When Moab appears at her high place, she only wears herself out; when she goes to her shrine to pray, it is to no avail.
This is the word the LORD has already spoken concerning Moab.
But now the LORD says: "Within three years, as a servant bound by contract would count them, Moab's splendor and all her many people will be despised, and her survivors will be very few and feeble."
Praise the LORD. Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD.
Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.
The LORD is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens.
Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high,
who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people.
He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD.