A Green Shoot from Jesse’s Stump

11 1-5 A green Shoot will sprout from Jesse’s stump,
    from his roots a budding Branch.
The life-giving Spirit of God will hover over him,
    the Spirit that brings wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit that gives direction and builds strength,
    the Spirit that instills knowledge and Fear-of-God.
Fear-of-God
    will be all his joy and delight.
He won’t judge by appearances,
    won’t decide on the basis of hearsay.
He’ll judge the needy by what is right,
    render decisions on earth’s poor with justice.
His words will bring everyone to awed attention.
    A mere breath from his lips will topple the wicked.
Each morning he’ll pull on sturdy work clothes and boots,
    and build righteousness and faithfulness in the land.

A Living Knowledge of God

6-9 The wolf will romp with the lamb,
    the leopard sleep with the kid.
Calf and lion will eat from the same trough,
    and a little child will tend them.
Cow and bear will graze the same pasture,
    their calves and cubs grow up together,
    and the lion eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child will crawl over rattlesnake dens,
    the toddler stick his hand down the hole of a serpent.
Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill
    on my holy mountain.
The whole earth will be brimming with knowing God-Alive,
    a living knowledge of God ocean-deep, ocean-wide.

* * *

10 On that day, Jesse’s Root will be raised high, posted as a rallying banner for the peoples. The nations will all come to him. His headquarters will be glorious.

11 Also on that day, the Master for the second time will reach out to bring back what’s left of his scattered people. He’ll bring them back from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Ethiopia, Elam, Sinar, Hamath, and the ocean islands.

12-16 And he’ll raise that rallying banner high, visible to all nations,
    gather in all the scattered exiles of Israel,
Pull in all the dispersed refugees of Judah
    from the four winds and the seven seas.
The jealousy of Ephraim will dissolve,
    the hostility of Judah will vanish—
Ephraim no longer the jealous rival of Judah,
    Judah no longer the hostile rival of Ephraim!
Blood brothers united, they’ll pounce on the Philistines in the west,
    join forces to plunder the people in the east.
They’ll attack Edom and Moab.
    The Ammonites will fall into line.
God will once again dry up Egypt’s Red Sea,
    making for an easy crossing.
He’ll send a blistering wind
    down on the great River Euphrates,
Reduce it to seven mere trickles.
    None even need get their feet wet!
In the end there’ll be a highway all the way from Assyria,
    easy traveling for what’s left of God’s people—
A highway just like the one Israel had
    when he marched up out of Egypt.

My Strength and Song

12 And you will say in that day,
    “I thank you, God.
You were angry
    but your anger wasn’t forever.
You withdrew your anger
    and moved in and comforted me.

“Yes, indeed—God is my salvation.
    I trust, I won’t be afraid.
God—yes God!—is my strength and song,
    best of all, my salvation!”

3-4 Joyfully you’ll pull up buckets of water
    from the wells of salvation.
And as you do it, you’ll say,
    “Give thanks to God.
Call out his name.
    Ask him anything!
Shout to the nations, tell them what he’s done,
    spread the news of his great reputation!

5-6 “Sing praise-songs to God. He’s done it all!
    Let the whole earth know what he’s done!
Raise the roof! Sing your hearts out, O Zion!
    The Greatest lives among you: The Holy of Israel.”

Babylon Is Doomed!

13 The Message on Babylon. Isaiah son of Amoz saw it:

2-3 “Run up a flag on an open hill.
    Yell loud. Get their attention.
Wave them into formation.
    Direct them to the nerve center of power.
I’ve taken charge of my special forces,
    called up my crack troops.
They’re bursting with pride and passion
    to carry out my angry judgment.”

4-5 Thunder rolls off the mountains
    like a mob huge and noisy—
Thunder of kingdoms in an uproar,
    nations assembling for war.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies is calling
    his army into battle formation.
They come from far-off countries,
    they pour in across the horizon.
It’s God on the move with the weapons of his wrath,
    ready to destroy the whole country.

6-8 Wail! God’s Day of Judgment is near—
    an avalanche crashing down from the Strong God!
Everyone paralyzed in the panic,
    hysterical and unstrung,
Doubled up in pain
    like a woman giving birth to a baby.
Horrified—everyone they see
    is like a face out of a nightmare.

* * *

9-16 “Watch now. God’s Judgment Day comes.
    Cruel it is, a day of wrath and anger,
A day to waste the earth
    and clean out all the sinners.
The stars in the sky, the great parade of constellations,
    will be nothing but black holes.
The sun will come up as a black disk,
    and the moon a blank nothing.
I’ll put a full stop to the evil on earth,
    terminate the dark acts of the wicked.
I’ll gag all braggarts and boasters—not a peep anymore from them—
    and trip strutting tyrants, leave them flat on their faces.
Proud humanity will disappear from the earth.
    I’ll make mortals rarer than hens’ teeth.
And yes, I’ll even make the sky shake,
    and the earth quake to its roots
Under the wrath of God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
    the Judgment Day of his raging anger.
Like a hunted white-tailed deer,
    like lost sheep with no shepherd,
People will huddle with a few of their own kind,
    run off to some makeshift shelter.
But tough luck to stragglers—they’ll be killed on the spot,
    throats cut, bellies ripped open,
Babies smashed on the rocks
    while mothers and fathers watch,
Houses looted,
    wives raped.

17-22 “And now watch this:
    Against Babylon, I’m inciting the Medes,
A ruthless bunch indifferent to bribes,
    the kind of brutality that no one can blunt.
They massacre the young,
    wantonly kick and kill even babies.
And Babylon, most glorious of all kingdoms,
    the pride and joy of Chaldeans,
Will end up smoking and stinking like Sodom,
    and, yes, like Gomorrah, when God had finished with them.
No one will live there anymore,
    generation after generation a ghost town.
Not even Bedouins will pitch tents there.
    Shepherds will give it a wide berth.
But strange and wild animals will like it just fine,
    filling the vacant houses with eerie night sounds.
Skunks will make it their home,
    and unspeakable night hags will haunt it.
Hyenas will curdle your blood with their laughing,
    and the howling of coyotes will give you the shivers.

“Babylon is doomed.
    It won’t be long now.”

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