A Pronouncement against Damascus

17 A pronouncement(A) concerning Damascus:(B)

Look, Damascus is no longer a city.
It has become a ruined heap.
The cities of Aroer are abandoned;
they will be places for flocks.
They will lie down without fear.

The fortress disappears from Ephraim,(C)
and a kingdom from Damascus.
The remnant of Aram will be
like the splendor of the Israelites.

This is the declaration of the Lord of Armies.

Judgment against Israel

On that day
the splendor of Jacob will fade,
and his healthy body[a] will become emaciated.(D)
It will be as if a reaper had gathered standing grain—
his arm harvesting the heads of grain—
and as if one had gleaned heads of grain
in Rephaim Valley.(E)

Only gleanings will be left in Israel,(F)
as if an olive tree had been beaten—
two or three olives at the very top of the tree,
four or five on its fruitful branches.
This is the declaration of the Lord, the God of Israel.

On that day people will look to their Maker and will turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel.(G) They will not look to the altars(H) they made with their hands or to the Asherahs and shrines[b](I) they made with their fingers.

On that day their strong cities will be
like the abandoned woods and mountaintops
that were abandoned because of the Israelites;
there will be desolation.

10 For you have forgotten the God of your salvation,
and you have failed to remember
the rock of your strength;(J)
therefore you will plant beautiful plants
and set out cuttings from exotic vines.
11 On the day that you plant,
you will help them to grow,
and in the morning
you will help your seed to sprout,
but the harvest will vanish
on the day of disease and incurable pain.

Judgment against the Nations

12 Ah! The roar of many peoples—
they roar like the roaring of the seas.
The raging of the nations—
they rage like the rumble of rushing water.(K)
13 The nations rage like the rumble of a huge torrent.(L)
He rebukes them, and they flee far away,(M)
driven before the wind like chaff on the hills(N)
and like tumbleweeds before a gale.
14 In the evening—sudden terror!
Before morning—it is gone!
This is the fate of those who plunder us
and the lot of those who ravage us.

The Lord’s Message to Cush

18 Woe to the land of buzzing insect wings[c]
beyond the rivers of Cush,(O)
which sends envoys by sea,
in reed vessels over the water.
Go, swift messengers,
to a nation tall and smooth-skinned,
to a people feared far and near,
a powerful nation with a strange language,[d]
whose land is divided by rivers.
All you inhabitants of the world
and you who live on the earth,
when a banner is raised on the mountains, look!
When a ram’s horn sounds, listen!

For the Lord said to me:

I will quietly look out from my place,
like shimmering heat in sunshine,
like a rain cloud in harvest heat.
For before the harvest, when the blossoming is over
and the blossom becomes a ripening grape,
he will cut off the shoots with a pruning knife,
and tear away and remove the branches.
They will all be left for the birds of prey on the hills
and for the wild animals of the land.
The birds of prey will spend the summer feeding on them,
and all the wild animals the winter.

At that time a gift will be brought to the Lord of Armies from[e] a people tall and smooth-skinned,(P) a people feared far and near, a powerful nation with a strange language, whose land is divided by rivers—to Mount Zion, the place of the name of the Lord of Armies.


  1. 17:4 Lit and the fat of his flesh
  2. 17:8 Or incense altars
  3. 18:1 Or of sailing ships
  4. 18:2 Hb obscure
  5. 18:7 DSS, LXX, Vg; MT omits from

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