2 I will climb my watchtower now and wait to see what answer God will give to my complaint.
2 And the Lord said to me, “Write my answer on a billboard,[a] large and clear, so that anyone can read it at a glance and rush to tell the others. 3 But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow,[b] do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!
4 “Note this: Wicked men trust themselves alone as these Chaldeans do,[c] and fail; but the righteous man trusts in me and lives!* 5 What’s more, these arrogant Chaldeans are betrayed by all their wine, for it is treacherous. In their greed they have collected many nations, but like death and hell, they are never satisfied. 6 The time is coming when all their captives will taunt them, saying: ‘You robbers! At last justice has caught up with you! Now you will get your just deserts for your oppression and extortion!’
7 “Suddenly your debtors will rise up in anger and turn on you and take all you have, while you stand trembling and helpless. 8 You have ruined many nations; now they will ruin you. You murderers! You have filled the countryside with lawlessness and all the cities too.
9 “Woe to you for getting rich by evil means, attempting to live beyond the reach of danger. 10 By the murders you commit, you have shamed your name and forfeited your lives. 11 The very stones in the walls of your homes cry out against you, and the beams in the ceilings echo what they say.
12 “Woe to you who build cities with money gained from murdering and robbery! 13 Has not the Lord decreed that godless nations’ gains will turn to ashes in their hands? They work so hard, but all in vain!
14 (“The time will come when all the earth is filled, as the waters fill the sea, with an awareness of the glory of the Lord.)
15 “Woe to you for making your neighboring lands reel and stagger like drunkards beneath your blows, and then gloating over their nakedness and shame. 16 Soon your own glory will be replaced by shame. Drink down God’s judgment on yourselves. Stagger and fall! 17 You cut down the forests of Lebanon—now you will be cut down! You terrified the wild animals you caught in your traps—now terror will strike you because of all your murdering and violence in cities everywhere.
18 “What profit was there in worshiping all your man-made idols? What a foolish lie that they could help! What fools you were to trust what you yourselves had made. 19 Woe to those who command their lifeless wooden idols to arise and save them, who call out to the speechless stone to tell them what to do. Can images speak for God? They are overlaid with gold and silver, but there is no breath at all inside!
20 “But the Lord is in his holy Temple; let all the earth be silent before him.”