26 In that day, everyone in the land of Judah will sing this song:
Our city is strong! We are surrounded by the walls of God’s salvation. 2 Open the gates to all who are righteous; allow the faithful to enter. 3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! 4 Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock. 5 He humbles the proud and brings down the arrogant city. He brings it down to the dust. 6 The poor and oppressed trample it underfoot, and the needy walk all over it.
7 But for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them. 8 Lord, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws; our heart’s desire is to glorify your name. 9 In the night I search for you; in the morning[a] I earnestly seek you. For only when you come to judge the earth will people learn what is right. 10 Your kindness to the wicked does not make them do good. Although others do right, the wicked keep doing wrong and take no notice of the Lord’s majesty. 11 O Lord, they pay no attention to your upraised fist. Show them your eagerness to defend your people. Then they will be ashamed. Let your fire consume your enemies.
12 Lord, you will grant us peace; all we have accomplished is really from you. 13 O Lord our God, others have ruled us, but you alone are the one we worship. 14 Those we served before are dead and gone. Their departed spirits will never return! You attacked them and destroyed them, and they are long forgotten. 15 O Lord, you have made our nation great; yes, you have made us great. You have extended our borders, and we give you the glory!
16 Lord, in distress we searched for you. We prayed beneath the burden of your discipline. 17 Just as a pregnant woman writhes and cries out in pain as she gives birth, so were we in your presence, Lord. 18 We, too, writhe in agony, but nothing comes of our suffering. We have not given salvation to the earth, nor brought life into the world. 19 But those who die in the Lord will live; their bodies will rise again! Those who sleep in the earth will rise up and sing for joy! For your life-giving light will fall like dew on your people in the place of the dead!
Restoration for Israel
20 Go home, my people, and lock your doors! Hide yourselves for a little while until the Lord’s anger has passed. 21 Look! The Lord is coming from heaven to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will no longer hide those who have been killed. They will be brought out for all to see.
27 In that day the Lord will take his terrible, swift sword and punish Leviathan,[b] the swiftly moving serpent, the coiling, writhing serpent. He will kill the dragon of the sea.
2 “In that day, sing about the fruitful vineyard. 3 I, the Lord, will watch over it, watering it carefully. Day and night I will watch so no one can harm it. 4 My anger will be gone. If I find briers and thorns growing, I will attack them; I will burn them up— 5 unless they turn to me for help. Let them make peace with me; yes, let them make peace with me.” 6 The time is coming when Jacob’s descendants will take root. Israel will bud and blossom and fill the whole earth with fruit!
7 Has the Lord struck Israel as he struck her enemies? Has he punished her as he punished them? 8 No, but he exiled Israel to call her to account. She was exiled from her land as though blown away in a storm from the east. 9 The Lord did this to purge Israel’s[c] wickedness, to take away all her sin. As a result, all the pagan altars will be crushed to dust. No Asherah pole or pagan shrine will be left standing. 10 The fortified towns will be silent and empty, the houses abandoned, the streets overgrown with weeds. Calves will graze there, chewing on twigs and branches. 11 The people are like the dead branches of a tree, broken off and used for kindling beneath the cooking pots. Israel is a foolish and stupid nation, for its people have turned away from God. Therefore, the one who made them will show them no pity or mercy.
12 Yet the time will come when the Lord will gather them together like handpicked grain. One by one he will gather them—from the Euphrates River[d] in the east to the Brook of Egypt in the west.13 In that day the great trumpet will sound. Many who were dying in exile in Assyria and Egypt will return to Jerusalem to worship the Lord on his holy mountain.
A Message about Samaria
28 What sorrow awaits the proud city of Samaria— the glorious crown of the drunks of Israel.[e] It sits at the head of a fertile valley, but its glorious beauty will fade like a flower. It is the pride of a people brought down by wine. 2 For the Lord will send a mighty army against it. Like a mighty hailstorm and a torrential rain, they will burst upon it like a surging flood and smash it to the ground. 3 The proud city of Samaria— the glorious crown of the drunks of Israel[f]— will be trampled beneath its enemies’ feet. 4 It sits at the head of a fertile valley, but its glorious beauty will fade like a flower. Whoever sees it will snatch it up, as an early fig is quickly picked and eaten.
5 Then at last the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will himself be Israel’s glorious crown. He will be the pride and joy of the remnant of his people. 6 He will give a longing for justice to their judges. He will give great courage to their warriors who stand at the gates.
7 Now, however, Israel is led by drunks who reel with wine and stagger with alcohol. The priests and prophets stagger with alcohol and lose themselves in wine. They reel when they see visions and stagger as they render decisions. 8 Their tables are covered with vomit; filth is everywhere. 9 “Who does the Lord think we are?” they ask. “Why does he speak to us like this? Are we little children, just recently weaned? 10 He tells us everything over and over— one line at a time, one line at a time, a little here, and a little there!”
11 So now God will have to speak to his people through foreign oppressors who speak a strange language! 12 God has told his people, “Here is a place of rest; let the weary rest here. This is a place of quiet rest.” But they would not listen. 13 So the Lord will spell out his message for them again, one line at a time, one line at a time, a little here, and a little there, so that they will stumble and fall. They will be injured, trapped, and captured.
14 Therefore, listen to this message from the Lord, you scoffing rulers in Jerusalem. 15 You boast, “We have struck a bargain to cheat death and have made a deal to dodge the grave.[g] The coming destruction can never touch us, for we have built a strong refuge made of lies and deception.”
16 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem,[h] a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken.[i] 17 I will test you with the measuring line of justice and the plumb line of righteousness. Since your refuge is made of lies, a hailstorm will knock it down. Since it is made of deception, a flood will sweep it away. 18 I will cancel the bargain you made to cheat death, and I will overturn your deal to dodge the grave. When the terrible enemy sweeps through, you will be trampled into the ground. 19 Again and again that flood will come, morning after morning, day and night, until you are carried away.”
This message will bring terror to your people. 20 The bed you have made is too short to lie on. The blankets are too narrow to cover you. 21 The Lord will come as he did against the Philistines at Mount Perazim and against the Amorites at Gibeon. He will come to do a strange thing; he will come to do an unusual deed: 22 For the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, has plainly said that he is determined to crush the whole land. So scoff no more, or your punishment will be even greater.
23 Listen to me; listen, and pay close attention. 24 Does a farmer always plow and never sow? Is he forever cultivating the soil and never planting? 25 Does he not finally plant his seeds— black cumin, cumin, wheat, barley, and emmer wheat— each in its proper way, and each in its proper place? 26 The farmer knows just what to do, for God has given him understanding. 27 A heavy sledge is never used to thresh black cumin; rather, it is beaten with a light stick. A threshing wheel is never rolled on cumin; instead, it is beaten lightly with a flail. 28 Grain for bread is easily crushed, so he doesn’t keep on pounding it. He threshes it under the wheels of a cart, but he doesn’t pulverize it. 29 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is a wonderful teacher, and he gives the farmer great wisdom.
A Message about Jerusalem
29 “What sorrow awaits Ariel,[j] the City of David. Year after year you celebrate your feasts. 2 Yet I will bring disaster upon you, and there will be much weeping and sorrow. For Jerusalem will become what her name Ariel means— an altar covered with blood. 3 I will be your enemy, surrounding Jerusalem and attacking its walls. I will build siege towers and destroy it. 4 Then deep from the earth you will speak; from low in the dust your words will come. Your voice will whisper from the ground like a ghost conjured up from the grave.
5 “But suddenly, your ruthless enemies will be crushed like the finest of dust. Your many attackers will be driven away like chaff before the wind. Suddenly, in an instant, 6 I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, will act for you with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and storm and consuming fire. 7 All the nations fighting against Jerusalem[k] will vanish like a dream! Those who are attacking her walls will vanish like a vision in the night. 8 A hungry person dreams of eating but wakes up still hungry. A thirsty person dreams of drinking but is still faint from thirst when morning comes. So it will be with your enemies, with those who attack Mount Zion.”
9 Are you amazed and incredulous? Don’t you believe it? Then go ahead and be blind. You are stupid, but not from wine! You stagger, but not from liquor! 10 For the Lord has poured out on you a spirit of deep sleep. He has closed the eyes of your prophets and visionaries.
28:16bGreek version reads Look! I am placing a stone in the foundation of Jerusalem [literally Zion], / a precious cornerstone for its foundation, chosen for great honor. / Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced. Compare Rom 9:33; 1 Pet 2:6.
29:1Ariel sounds like a Hebrew term that means “hearth” or “altar.”
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