In one night the town of Ar will be leveled, and the city of Kir will be destroyed. 2 Your people will go to their temple in Dibon to mourn. They will go to their sacred shrines to weep. They will wail for the fate of Nebo and Medeba, shaving their heads in sorrow and cutting off their beards. 3 They will wear burlap as they wander the streets. From every home and public square will come the sound of wailing. 4 The people of Heshbon and Elealeh will cry out; their voices will be heard as far away as Jahaz! The bravest warriors of Moab will cry out in utter terror. They will be helpless with fear.
5 My heart weeps for Moab. Its people flee to Zoar and Eglath-shelishiyah. Weeping, they climb the road to Luhith. Their cries of distress can be heard all along the road to Horonaim. 6 Even the waters of Nimrim are dried up! The grassy banks are scorched. The tender plants are gone; nothing green remains. 7 The people grab their possessions and carry them across the Ravine of Willows. 8 A cry of distress echoes through the land of Moab from one end to the other— from Eglaim to Beer-elim. 9 The stream near Dibon[a] runs red with blood, but I am still not finished with Dibon! Lions will hunt down the survivors— both those who try to escape and those who remain behind.
16 Send lambs from Sela as tribute to the ruler of the land. Send them through the desert to the mountain of beautiful Zion. 2 The women of Moab are left like homeless birds at the shallow crossings of the Arnon River. 3 “Help us,” they cry. “Defend us against our enemies. Protect us from their relentless attack. Do not betray us now that we have escaped. 4 Let our refugees stay among you. Hide them from our enemies until the terror is past.”
When oppression and destruction have ended and enemy raiders have disappeared, 5 then God will establish one of David’s descendants as king. He will rule with mercy and truth. He will always do what is just and be eager to do what is right.
6 We have heard about proud Moab— about its pride and arrogance and rage. But all that boasting has disappeared. 7 The entire land of Moab weeps. Yes, everyone in Moab mourns for the cakes of raisins from Kir-hareseth. They are all gone now. 8 The farms of Heshbon are abandoned; the vineyards at Sibmah are deserted. The rulers of the nations have broken down Moab— that beautiful grapevine. Its tendrils spread north as far as the town of Jazer and trailed eastward into the wilderness. Its shoots reached so far west that they crossed over the Dead Sea.[b]
9 So now I weep for Jazer and the vineyards of Sibmah; my tears will flow for Heshbon and Elealeh. There are no more shouts of joy over your summer fruits and harvest. 10 Gone now is the gladness, gone the joy of harvest. There will be no singing in the vineyards, no more happy shouts, no treading of grapes in the winepresses. I have ended all their harvest joys. 11 My heart’s cry for Moab is like a lament on a harp. I am filled with anguish for Kir-hareseth.[c] 12 The people of Moab will worship at their pagan shrines, but it will do them no good. They will cry to the gods in their temples, but no one will be able to save them.
13 The Lord has already said these things about Moab in the past.14 But now the Lord says, “Within three years, counting each day,[d] the glory of Moab will be ended. From its great population, only a feeble few will be left alive.”
A Message about Damascus and Israel
17 This message came to me concerning Damascus:
“Look, the city of Damascus will disappear! It will become a heap of ruins. 2 The towns of Aroer will be deserted. Flocks will graze in the streets and lie down undisturbed, with no one to chase them away. 3 The fortified towns of Israel[e] will also be destroyed, and the royal power of Damascus will end. All that remains of Syria[f] will share the fate of Israel’s departed glory,” declares the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
4 “In that day Israel’s[g] glory will grow dim; its robust body will waste away. 5 The whole land will look like a grainfield after the harvesters have gathered the grain. It will be desolate, like the fields in the valley of Rephaim after the harvest. 6 Only a few of its people will be left, like stray olives left on a tree after the harvest. Only two or three remain in the highest branches, four or five scattered here and there on the limbs,” declares the Lord, the God of Israel.
7 Then at last the people will look to their Creator and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel. 8 They will no longer look to their idols for help or worship what their own hands have made. They will never again bow down to their Asherah poles or worship at the pagan shrines they have built. 9 Their largest cities will be like a deserted forest, like the land the Hivites and Amorites abandoned[h] when the Israelites came here so long ago. It will be utterly desolate. 10 Why? Because you have turned from the God who can save you. You have forgotten the Rock who can hide you. So you may plant the finest grapevines and import the most expensive seedlings. 11 They may sprout on the day you set them out; yes, they may blossom on the very morning you plant them, but you will never pick any grapes from them. Your only harvest will be a load of grief and unrelieved pain.
12 Listen! The armies of many nations roar like the roaring of the sea. Hear the thunder of the mighty forces as they rush forward like thundering waves. 13 But though they thunder like breakers on a beach, God will silence them, and they will run away. They will flee like chaff scattered by the wind, like a tumbleweed whirling before a storm. 14 In the evening Israel waits in terror, but by dawn its enemies are dead. This is the just reward of those who plunder us, a fitting end for those who destroy us.
A Message about Ethiopia
18 Listen, Ethiopia[i]—land of fluttering sails[j] that lies at the headwaters of the Nile, 2 that sends ambassadors in swift boats down the river.
Go, swift messengers! Take a message to a tall, smooth-skinned people, who are feared far and wide for their conquests and destruction, and whose land is divided by rivers.
3 All you people of the world, everyone who lives on the earth— when I raise my battle flag on the mountain, look! When I blow the ram’s horn, listen! 4 For the Lord has told me this: “I will watch quietly from my dwelling place— as quietly as the heat rises on a summer day, or as the morning dew forms during the harvest.” 5 Even before you begin your attack, while your plans are ripening like grapes, the Lord will cut off your new growth with pruning shears. He will snip off and discard your spreading branches. 6 Your mighty army will be left dead in the fields for the mountain vultures and wild animals. The vultures will tear at the corpses all summer. The wild animals will gnaw at the bones all winter.
7 At that time the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will receive gifts from this land divided by rivers, from this tall, smooth-skinned people, who are feared far and wide for their conquests and destruction. They will bring the gifts to Jerusalem,[k] where the Lord of Heaven’s Armies dwells.
15:9As in Dead Sea Scrolls, some Greek manuscripts, and Latin Vulgate; Masoretic Text reads Dimon; also in 15:9b.
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