1 The Lord spoke to me about the nations, 2 beginning with Egypt. This is what he said about the army of King Neco of Egypt, which King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia defeated at Carchemish near the Euphrates River in the fourth year that Jehoiakim was king of Judah: 3 "The Egyptian officers shout, "Get your shields ready and march into battle! 4 Harness your horses and mount them! Fall in line and put on your helmets! Sharpen your spears! Put on your armor!' 5 "But what do I see?" asks the Lord. "They are turning back in terror. Their soldiers are beaten back; overcome with fear, they run as fast as they can and do not look back. 6 Those who run fast cannot get away; the soldiers cannot escape. In the north, by the Euphrates, they stumble and fall. 7 Who is this that rises like the Nile, like a river flooding its banks? 8 It is Egypt, rising like the Nile, like a river flooding its banks. Egypt said, "I will rise and cover the world; I will destroy cities and the people who live there. 9 Command the horses to go and the chariots to roll! Send out the soldiers: men from Ethiopia and Libya, carrying shields, and skilled archers from Lydia.' " 10 This is the day of the Sovereign Lord Almighty: today he will take revenge; today he will punish his enemies. His sword will eat them until it is full, and drink their blood until it is satisfied. Today the Almighty sacrifices his victims in the north, by the Euphrates. 11 People of Egypt, go to Gilead and look for medicine! All your medicine has proved useless; nothing can heal you. 12 Nations have heard of your shame; everyone has heard you cry. One soldier trips over another, and both of them fall to the ground. 13 When King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia came to attack Egypt, the Lord spoke to me. He said, 14 "Proclaim it in the towns of Egypt, in Migdol, Memphis, and Tahpanhes: "Get ready to defend yourselves; all you have will be destroyed in war! 15 Why has your mighty god Apis fallen? The Lord has struck him down!' 16 Your soldiers have stumbled and fallen; each one says to the other, "Hurry! Let's go home to our people and escape the enemy's sword!' 17 "Give the king of Egypt a new name - "Noisy Braggart Who Missed His Chance.' 18 I, the Lord Almighty, am king. I am the living God. As Mount Tabor towers above the mountains and Mount Carmel stands high above the sea, so will be the strength of the one who attacks you. 19 Get ready to be taken prisoner, you people of Egypt! Memphis will be made a desert, a ruin where no one lives. 20 Egypt is like a splendid cow, attacked by a stinging fly from the north. 21 Even her hired soldiers are helpless as calves. They did not stand and fight; all of them turned and ran. The day of their doom had arrived, the time of their destruction. 22 Egypt runs away, hissing like a snake, as the enemy's army approaches. They attack her with axes, like people cutting down trees 23 and destroying a thick forest. Their soldiers are too many to count; they outnumber the locusts. 24 The people of Egypt are put to shame; they are conquered by the people of the north. I, the Lord, have spoken." 25 The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says, "I am going to punish Amon, the god of Thebes, together with Egypt and its gods and kings. I am going to take the king of Egypt and all who put their trust in him, 26 and hand them over to those who want to kill them, to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia and his army. But later on, people will live in Egypt again, as they did in times past. I, the Lord, have spoken. 27 "My people, do not be afraid, people of Israel, do not be terrified. I will rescue you from that faraway land, from the land where you are prisoners. You will come back home and live in peace; you will be secure, and no one will make you afraid. 28 I will come to you and save you. I will destroy all the nations where I have scattered you, but I will not destroy you. I will not let you go unpunished; but when I punish you, I will be fair. I, the Lord, have spoken."
1 Before the king of Egypt attacked Gaza, the Lord spoke to me about Philistia. 2 He said: "Look! Waters are rising in the north and will rush like a river in flood. They will cover the land and everything on it, cities and the people who live there. People will call out for help; everyone on earth will cry bitterly. 3 They will hear the hoofbeats of horses, the clatter of chariots, the rumble of wheels. Parents will not turn back for their children; their hands will hang limp at their sides. 4 The time has come to destroy Philistia, to cut off from Tyre and Sidon all the help that remains. I, the Lord, will destroy the Philistines, all who came from the shores of Crete. 5 Great sorrow has come to the people of Gaza, and Ashkelon's people are silent. How long will the rest of Philistia mourn? 6 You cry out, "Sword of the Lord! How long will you go on slashing? Go back to your scabbard, stay there and rest!' 7 But how can it rest, when I have given it work to do? I have commanded it to attack Ashkelon and the people who live on the coast."
1 Let us go forward, then, to mature teaching and leave behind us the first lessons of the Christian message. We should not lay again the foundation of turning away from useless works and believing in God; 2 of the teaching about baptisms and the laying on of hands; of the resurrection of the dead and the eternal judgment. 3 Let us go forward! And this is what we will do, if God allows. 4 For how can those who abandon their faith be brought back to repent again? They were once in God's light; they tasted heaven's gift and received their share of the Holy Spirit; 5 they knew from experience that God's word is good, and they had felt the powers of the coming age. 6 And then they abandoned their faith! It is impossible to bring them back to repent again, because they are again crucifying the Son of God and exposing him to public shame. 7 God blesses the soil which drinks in the rain that often falls on it and which grows plants that are useful to those for whom it is cultivated. 8 But if it grows thorns and weeds, it is worth nothing; it is in danger of being cursed by God and will be destroyed by fire. 9 But even if we speak like this, dear friends, we feel sure about you. We know that you have the better blessings that belong to your salvation. 10 God is not unfair. He will not forget the work you did or the love you showed for him in the help you gave and are still giving to other Christians. 11 Our great desire is that each of you keep up your eagerness to the end, so that the things you hope for will come true. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to be like those who believe and are patient, and so receive what God has promised. 13 When God made his promise to Abraham, he made a vow to do what he had promised. Since there was no one greater than himself, he used his own name when he made his vow. 14 He said, "I promise you that I will bless you and give you many descendants." 15 Abraham was patient, and so he received what God had promised. 16 When we make a vow, we use the name of someone greater than ourselves, and the vow settles all arguments. 17 To those who were to receive what he promised, God wanted to make it very clear that he would never change his purpose; so he added his vow to the promise. 18 There are these two things, then, that cannot change and about which God cannot lie. So we who have found safety with him are greatly encouraged to hold firmly to the hope placed before us. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for our lives. It is safe and sure, and goes through the curtain of the heavenly temple into the inner sanctuary. 20 On our behalf Jesus has gone in there before us and has become a high priest forever, in the priestly order of Melchizedek.