24 The Lord is going to twist the earth out of shape and turn it into a desert. Everyone will be scattered, 2 including ordinary people and priests, slaves and slave owners, buyers and sellers, lenders and borrowers, the rich and the poor. 3 The earth will be stripped bare and left that way. This is what the Lord has promised.
4 The earth wilts away; its mighty leaders melt to nothing.[a] 5 The earth is polluted because its people disobeyed the laws of God, breaking their agreement that was to last forever.
6 The earth is under a curse; its people are dying out because of their sins. 7 Grapevines have dried up: wine is almost gone— mournful sounds are heard instead of joyful shouts.
8 No one plays tambourines or stringed instruments; all noisy celebrating has come to an end. 9 They no longer sing as they drink their wine, and it tastes sour.
10 Towns are crushed and in chaos; houses are locked tight. 11 Happy times have disappeared from the earth, and people shout in the streets, “We’re out of wine!” 12 Cities are destroyed; their gates are torn down. 13 Nations will be stripped bare, like olive trees or vineyards after the harvest season.
Praise the God of Justice
14 People in the west shout; they joyfully praise the majesty of the Lord. 15 And so, everyone in the east and those on the islands should praise the Lord, the God of Israel. 16 From all over the world songs of praise are heard for the God of justice.[b] But I feel awful, terribly miserable. Can anyone be trusted? So many are treacherous!
There’s No Escape
17 Terror, traps, and pits are waiting for everyone. 18 If you are terrified and run, you will fall into a pit; if you crawl out of the pit, you will get caught in a trap.
The sky has split apart like a window thrown open. The foundations of the earth have been shaken; 19 the earth is shattered, ripped to pieces. 20 It staggers and shakes like a drunkard or a hut in a windstorm. It is burdened down with sin; the earth will fall, never again to get up.
21 On that day the Lord will punish the powers in the heavens[c] and the kings of the earth. 22 He will put them in a pit and keep them prisoner. Then later on, he will punish them. 23 The moon and sun will both be embarrassed and ashamed. The Lord All-Powerful will rule on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, where he will show its rulers his wonderful glory.
24.4its. . . to nothing: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
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