People Mighty and Merciless

18 1-2 Doom to the land of flies and mosquitoes
    beyond the Ethiopian rivers,
Shipping emissaries all over the world,
    down rivers and across seas.

Go, swift messengers,
    go to this people tall and handsome,
This people held in respect everywhere,
    this people mighty and merciless,
    from the land crisscrossed with rivers.

Everybody everywhere,
    all earth-dwellers:
When you see a flag flying on the mountain, look!
    When you hear the trumpet blown, listen!

4-6 For here’s what God told me:

“I’m not going to say anything,
    but simply look on from where I live,
Quiet as warmth that comes from the sun,
    silent as dew during harvest.”
And then, just before harvest, after the blossom
    has turned into a maturing grape,
He’ll step in and prune back the new shoots,
    ruthlessly hack off all the growing branches.
He’ll leave them piled on the ground
    for birds and animals to feed on—
Fodder for the summering birds,
    fodder for the wintering animals.

Then tribute will be brought to God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
    brought from this people tall and handsome,
This people once held in respect everywhere,
    this people once mighty and merciless,
From the land crisscrossed with rivers,
    to Mount Zion, God’s place.

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