1 Those who go to Egypt for help are doomed! They are relying on Egypt's vast military strength - horses, chariots, and soldiers. But they do not rely on the Lord, the holy God of Israel, or ask him for help. 2 He knows what he is doing! He sends disaster. He carries out his threats to punish evil people and those who protect them. 3 The Egyptians are not gods - they are only human. Their horses are not supernatural. When the Lord acts, the strong nation will crumble, and the weak nation it helped will fall. Both of them will be destroyed. 4 The Lord said to me, "No matter how shepherds yell and shout, they can't scare away a lion from an animal that it has killed; in the same way, there is nothing that can keep me, the Lord Almighty, from protecting Mount Zion. 5 Just as a bird hovers over its nest to protect its young, so I, the Lord Almighty, will protect Jerusalem and defend it." 6 God said, "People of Israel, you have sinned against me and opposed me. But now, come back to me! 7 A time is coming when all of you will throw away the sinful idols you made out of silver and gold. 8 Assyria will be destroyed in war, but not by human power. The Assyrians will run from battle, and their young men will be made slaves. 9 Their emperor will run away in terror, and the officers will be so frightened that they will abandon their battle flags." The Lord has spoken - the Lord who is worshiped in Jerusalem and whose fire burns there for sacrifices.
1 Some day there will be a king who rules with integrity, and national leaders who govern with justice. 2 Each of them will be like a shelter from the wind and a place to hide from storms. They will be like streams flowing in a desert, like the shadow of a giant rock in a barren land. 3 Their eyes and ears will be open to the needs of the people. 4 They will not be impatient any longer, but they will act with understanding and will say what they mean. 5 No one will think that a fool is honorable or say that a scoundrel is honest. 6 A fool speaks foolishly and thinks up evil things to do. What he does and what he says are an insult to the Lord, and he never feeds the hungry or gives thirsty people anything to drink. 7 A stupid person is evil and does evil things; he plots to ruin the poor with lies and to keep them from getting their rights. 8 But an honorable person acts honestly and stands firm for what is right. 9 You women who live an easy life, free from worries, listen to what I am saying. 10 You may be satisfied now, but this time next year you will be in despair because there will be no grapes for you to gather. 11 You have been living an easy life, free from worries; but now, tremble with fear! Strip off your clothes and tie rags around your waist. 12 Beat your breasts in grief because the fertile fields and the vineyards have been destroyed, 13 and thorn bushes and briers are growing on my people's land. Weep for all the houses where people were happy and for the city that was full of life. 14 Even the palace will be abandoned and the capital city totally deserted. Homes and the forts that guarded them will be in ruins forever. Wild donkeys will roam there, and sheep will find pasture there. 15 But once more God will send us his spirit. The wasteland will become fertile, and fields will produce rich crops. 16 Everywhere in the land righteousness and justice will be done. 17 Because everyone will do what is right, there will be peace and security forever. 18 God's people will be free from worries, and their homes peaceful and safe 19 (But hail will fall on the forests, and the city will be torn down.) 20 How happy everyone will be with plenty of water for the crops and safe pasture everywhere for the donkeys and cattle.
1 Our enemies are doomed! They have robbed and betrayed, although no one has robbed them or betrayed them. But their time to rob and betray will end, and they themselves will become victims of robbery and treachery. 2 Lord, have mercy on us. We have put our hope in you. Protect us day by day and save us in times of trouble. 3 When you fight for us, nations run away from the noise of battle. 4 Their belongings are pounced upon and taken as loot. 5 How great the Lord is! He rules over everything. He will fill Jerusalem with justice and integrity 6 and give stability to the nation. He always protects his people and gives them wisdom and knowledge. Their greatest treasure is their reverence for the Lord. 7 The brave are calling for help. The ambassadors who tried to bring about peace are crying bitterly. 8 The highways are so dangerous that no one travels on them. Treaties are broken and agreements are violated. No one is respected any more. 9 The land lies idle and deserted. The forests of Lebanon have withered, the fertile valley of Sharon is like a desert, and in Bashan and on Mount Carmel the leaves are falling from the trees. 10 The Lord says to the nations, "Now I will act. I will show how powerful I am. 11 You make worthless plans and everything you do is useless. My spirit is like a fire that will destroy you. 12 You will crumble like rocks burned to make lime, like thorns burned to ashes. 13 Let everyone near and far hear what I have done and acknowledge my power." 14 The sinful people of Zion are trembling with fright. They say, "God's judgment is like a fire that burns forever. Can any of us survive a fire like that?" 15 You can survive if you say and do what is right. Don't use your power to cheat the poor and don't accept bribes. Don't join with those who plan to commit murder or to do other evil things. 16 Then you will be safe; you will be as secure as if in a strong fortress. You will have food to eat and water to drink. 17 Once again you will see a king ruling in splendor over a land that stretches in all directions. 18 Your old fears of foreign tax collectors and spies will be only a memory. 19 You will no longer see any arrogant foreigners who speak a language that you can't understand. 20 Look at Zion, the city where we celebrate our religious festivals. Look at Jerusalem! What a safe place it will be to live in! It will be like a tent that is never moved, whose pegs are never pulled up and whose ropes never break. 21 The Lord will show us his glory. We will live beside broad rivers and streams, but hostile ships will not sail on them. 22 All the rigging on those ships is useless; the sails cannot be spread! We will seize all the wealth of enemy armies, and there will be so much that even the lame can get a share. The Lord himself will be our king; he will rule over us and protect us. 24 No one who lives in our land will ever again complain of being sick, and all sins will be forgiven.
1 Come, people of all nations! Gather around and listen. Let the whole earth and everyone living on it come here and listen. 2 The Lord is angry with all the nations and all their armies. He has condemned them to destruction. 3 Their corpses will not be buried, but will lie there rotting and stinking; and the mountains will be red with blood. 4 The sun, moon, and stars will crumble to dust. The sky will disappear like a scroll being rolled up, and the stars will fall like leaves dropping from a vine or a fig tree. 5 The Lord has prepared his sword in heaven, and now it will strike Edom, those people whom he has condemned to destruction. 6 His sword will be covered with their blood and fat, like the blood and fat of lambs and goats that are sacrificed. The Lord will offer this sacrifice in the city of Bozrah; he will make this a great slaughter in the land of Edom. 7 The people will fall like wild oxen and young bulls, and the earth will be red with blood and covered with fat. 8 This is the time when the Lord will rescue Zion and take vengeance on her enemies. 9 The rivers of Edom will turn into tar, and the soil will turn into sulfur. The whole country will burn like tar. 10 It will burn day and night, and smoke will rise from it forever. The land will lie waste age after age, and no one will ever travel through it again. 11 Owls and ravens will take over the land. The Lord will make it a barren waste again, as it was before the creation. 12 There will be no king to rule the country, and the leaders will all be gone. 13 Thorns and thistles will grow up in all the palaces and walled towns, and jackals and owls will live in them. 14 Wild animals will roam there, and demons will call to each other. The night monster will come there looking for a place to rest. 15 Owls will build their nests, lay eggs, hatch their young, and care for them there. Vultures will gather there, one after another. 16 Search in the Lord's book of living creatures and read what it says. Not one of these creatures will be missing, and not one will be without its mate. The Lord has commanded it to be so; he himself will bring them together. 17 It is the Lord who will divide the land among them and give each of them a share. They will live in the land age after age, and it will belong to them forever.
1 The desert will rejoice, and flowers will bloom in the wastelands. 2 The desert will sing and shout for joy; it will be as beautiful as the Lebanon Mountains and as fertile as the fields of Carmel and Sharon. Everyone will see the Lord's splendor, see his greatness and power. 3 Give strength to hands that are tired and to knees that tremble with weakness. 4 Tell everyone who is discouraged, "Be strong and don't be afraid! God is coming to your rescue, coming to punish your enemies." 5 The blind will be able to see, and the deaf will hear. 6 The lame will leap and dance, and those who cannot speak will shout for joy. Streams of water will flow through the desert; 7 the burning sand will become a lake, and dry land will be filled with springs. Where jackals used to live, marsh grass and reeds will grow. 8 There will be a highway there, called "The Road of Holiness." No sinner will ever travel that road; no fools will mislead those who follow it. 9 No lions will be there; no fierce animals will pass that way. Those whom the Lord has rescued will travel home by that road. 10 They will reach Jerusalem with gladness, singing and shouting for joy. They will be happy forever, forever free from sorrow and grief.