Get Out While You Can!
48 1-10 The Message on Moab from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel:
“Doom to Nebo! Leveled to the ground!
Kiriathaim demeaned and defeated,
The mighty fortress reduced to a molehill,
Moab’s glory—dust and ashes.
Conspirators plot Heshbon’s doom:
‘Come, let’s wipe Moab off the map.’
The city of Madmen will be struck mute,
as killing follows killing.
Listen! A cry out of Horonaim:
‘Disaster—doom and more doom!’
Moab will be shattered.
Her cries will be heard clear down in Zoar.
Up the ascent of Luhith
And down the descent from Horonaim,
cries of loss and devastation.
Oh, run for your lives! Get out while you can!
Survive by your wits in the wild!
You trusted in thick walls and big money, yes?
But it won’t help you now.
Your big god Chemosh will be hauled off,
his priests and managers with him.
A wrecker will wreck every city.
Not a city will survive.
The valley fields will be ruined,
the plateau pastures destroyed, just as I told you.
Cover the land of Moab with salt.
Make sure nothing ever grows here again.
Her towns will all be ghost towns.
Nobody will ever live here again.
Sloppy work in God’s name is cursed,
and cursed all halfhearted use of the sword.
11-17 “Moab has always taken it easy—
lazy as a dog in the sun,
Never had to work for a living,
never faced any trouble,
Never had to grow up,
never once worked up a sweat.
But those days are a thing of the past.
I’ll put him to work at hard labor.
That will wake him up to the world of hard knocks.
That will smash his illusions.
Moab will be as ashamed of god Chemosh
as Israel was ashamed of her Bethel calf-gods,
the calf-gods she thought were so great.
For how long do you think you’ll be saying, ‘We’re tough.
We can beat anyone anywhere’?
The destruction of Moab has already begun.
Her choice young soldiers are lying dead right now.”
The King’s Decree—
his full name, God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
“Yes. Moab’s doom is on countdown,
disaster targeted and launched.
Weep for Moab, friends and neighbors,
all who know how famous he’s been.
Lament, ‘His mighty scepter snapped in two like a toothpick,
that magnificent royal staff!’
18-20 “Come down from your high horse, pampered beauty of Dibon.
Sit in dog dung.
The destroyer of Moab will come against you.
He’ll wreck your safe, secure houses.
Stand on the roadside,
pampered women of Aroer.
Interview the refugees who are running away.
Ask them, ‘What’s happened? And why?’
Moab will be an embarrassing memory, nothing left of the place.
Wail and weep your eyes out!
Tell the bad news along the Arnon river.
Tell the world that Moab is no more.
21-24 “My judgment will come to the plateau cities: on Holon, Jahzah, and Mephaath; on Dibon, Nebo, and Beth-diblathaim; on Kiriathaim, Beth-gamul, and Beth-meon; on Kerioth, Bozrah, and all the cities of Moab, far and near.
25 “Moab’s link to power is severed.
Moab’s arm is broken.” God’s Decree.
The Sheer Nothingness of Moab
26-27 “Turn Moab into a drunken lush, drunk on the wine of my wrath, a dung-faced drunk, filling the country with vomit—Moab a falling-down drunk, a joke in bad taste. Wasn’t it you, Moab, who made crude jokes over Israel? And when they were caught in bad company, didn’t you cluck and gossip and snicker?
28 “Leave town! Leave! Look for a home in the cliffs,
you who grew up in Moab.
Try living like a dove
who nests high in the river gorge.
29-33 “We’ve all heard of Moab’s pride,
that legendary pride,
The strutting, bullying, puffed-up pride,
the insufferable arrogance.
I know”—God’s Decree—“his rooster-crowing pride,
the inflated claims, the sheer nothingness of Moab.
But I will weep for Moab,
yes, I will mourn for the people of Moab.
I will even mourn for the people of Kir-heres.
I’ll weep for the grapevines of Sibmah
and join Jazer in her weeping—
Grapevines that once reached the Dead Sea
with tendrils as far as Jazer.
Your summer fruit and your bursting grapes
will be looted by brutal plunderers,
Lush Moab stripped
of song and laughter.
And yes, I’ll shut down the winepresses,
stop all the shouts and hurrahs of harvest.
34 “Heshbon and Elealeh will cry out, and the people in Jahaz will hear the cries. They will hear them all the way from Zoar to Horonaim and Eglath-shelishiyah. Even the waters of Nimrim will be dried up.
35 “I will put a stop in Moab”—God’s Decree—“to all hiking to the high places to offer burnt sacrifices to the gods.
36 “My heart moans for Moab, for the men of Kir-heres, like soft flute sounds carried by the wind. They’ve lost it all. They’ve got nothing.
37 “Everywhere you look are signs of mourning:
heads shaved, beards cut,
Hands scratched and bleeding,
clothes ripped and torn.
38 “In every house in Moab there’ll be loud lamentation, on every street in Moab, loud lamentation. As with a pottery jug that no one wants, I’ll smash Moab to bits.” God’s Decree.
39 “Moab ruined!
Moab shamed and ashamed to be seen!
Moab a cruel joke!
The stark horror of Moab!”
* * *
40-42 God’s verdict on Moab. Indeed!
“Look! An eagle is about to swoop down
and spread its wings over Moab.
The towns will be captured,
the fortresses taken.
Brave warriors will double up in pain, helpless to fight,
like a woman giving birth to a baby.
There’ll be nothing left of Moab, nothing at all,
because of his defiant arrogance against me.
43-44 “Terror and pit and trap
are what you have facing you, Moab.” God’s Decree.
“A man running in terror
will fall into a trap.
A man climbing out of a pit
will be caught in a trap.
This is my agenda for Moab
on doomsday.” God’s Decree.
45-47 “On the outskirts of Heshbon,
refugees will pull up short, worn out.
Fire will flame high from Heshbon,
a firestorm raging from the capital of Sihon’s kingdom.
It will burn off Moab’s eyebrows,
will scorch the skull of the braggarts.
That’s all for you, Moab!
You worshipers of Chemosh will be finished off!
Your sons will be trucked off to prison camps;
your daughters will be herded into exile.
But yet there’s a day that’s coming
when I’ll put things right in Moab.
“For now, that’s the judgment on Moab.”
You’re a Broken-Down Has-Been
49 1-6 God’s Message on the Ammonites:
“Doesn’t Israel have any children,
no one to step into her inheritance?
So why is the god Milcom taking over Gad’s land,
his followers moving into its towns?
But not for long! The time’s coming”
“When I’ll fill the ears of Rabbah, Ammon’s big city,
with battle cries.
She’ll end up a pile of rubble,
all her towns burned to the ground.
Then Israel will kick out the invaders.
I, God, say so, and it will be so.
Wail Heshbon, Ai is in ruins.
Villages of Rabbah, wring your hands!
Dress in mourning, weep buckets of tears.
Go into hysterics, run around in circles!
Your god Milcom will be hauled off to exile,
and all his priests and managers right with him.
Why do you brag of your once-famous strength?
You’re a broken-down has-been, a castoff
Who fondles his trophies and dreams of glory days
and vainly thinks, ‘No one can lay a hand on me.’
Well, think again. I’ll face you with terror from all sides.”
Word of the Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
“You’ll be stampeded headlong,
with no one to round up the runaways.
Still, the time will come
when I will make things right with Ammon.” God’s Decree.
Strutting Across the Stage of History
7-11 The Message of God-of-the-Angel-Armies on Edom:
“Is there nobody wise left in famous Teman?
no one with a sense of reality?
Has their wisdom gone wormy and rotten?
Run for your lives! Get out while you can!
Find a good place to hide,
you who live in Dedan!
I’m bringing doom to Esau.
It’s time to settle accounts.
When harvesters work your fields,
don’t they leave gleanings?
When burglars break into your house,
don’t they take only what they want?
But I’ll strip Esau clean.
I’ll search out every nook and cranny.
I’ll destroy everything connected with him,
children and relatives and neighbors.
There’ll be no one left who will be able to say,
‘I’ll take care of your orphans.
Your widows can depend on me.’”
12-13 Indeed. God says, “I tell you, if there are people who have to drink the cup of God’s wrath even though they don’t deserve it, why would you think you’d get off? You won’t get off. You’ll drink it. Oh yes, you’ll drink every drop. And as for Bozrah, your capital, I swear by all that I am”—God’s Decree—“that that city will end up a pile of charred ruins, a stinking garbage dump, an obscenity—and all her daughter-cities with her.”
14 I’ve just heard the latest from God.
He’s sent an envoy to the nations:
“Muster your troops and attack Edom.
Present arms! Go to war!”
15-16 “Ah, Edom, I’m dropping you to last place among nations,
the bottom of the heap, kicked around.
You think you’re so great—
strutting across the stage of history,
Living high in the impregnable rocks,
acting like king of the mountain.
You think you’re above it all, don’t you,
like an eagle in its aerie?
Well, you’re headed for a fall.
I’ll bring you crashing to the ground.” God’s Decree.
17-18 “Edom will end up trash. Stinking, despicable trash. A wonder of the world in reverse. She’ll join Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighbors in the sewers of history.” God says so.
“No one will live there,
no mortal soul move in there.
19 “Watch this: Like a lion coming up
from the thick jungle of the Jordan
Looking for prey in the mountain pastures,
I will come upon Edom and pounce.
I’ll take my pick of the flock—and who’s to stop me?
The shepherds of Edom are helpless before me.”
20-22 So, listen to this plan that God has worked out against Edom, the blueprint of what he’s prepared for those who live in Teman:
“Believe it or not, the young, the vulnerable—
mere lambs and kids—will be dragged off.
Believe it or not, the flock
in shock, helpless to help, will watch it happen.
The very earth will shudder because of their cries,
cries of anguish heard at the distant Red Sea.
Look! An eagle soars, swoops down,
spreads its wings over Bozrah.
Brave warriors will double up in pain, helpless to fight,
like a woman giving birth to a baby.”
The Blood Will Drain from the Face of Damascus
23-27 The Message on Damascus:
“Hamath and Arpad will be in shock
when they hear the bad news.
Their hearts will melt in fear
as they pace back and forth in worry.
The blood will drain from the face of Damascus
as she turns to flee.
Hysterical, she’ll fall to pieces,
disabled, like a woman in childbirth.
And now how lonely—bereft, abandoned!
The once famous city, the once happy city.
Her bright young men dead in the streets,
her brave warriors silent as death.
On that day”—Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies—
“I’ll start a fire at the wall of Damascus
that will burn down all of Ben-hadad’s forts.”
Find a Safe Place to Hide
28-33 The Message on Kedar and the sheikdoms of Hazor who were attacked by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. This is God’s Message:
“On your feet! Attack Kedar!
Plunder the Bedouin nomads from the east.
Grab their blankets and pots and pans.
Steal their camels.
Traumatize them, shouting, ‘Terror! Death! Doom!
Oh, run for your lives,
You nomads from Hazor.” God’s Decree.
“Find a safe place to hide.
Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon
has plans to wipe you out,
to go after you with a vengeance:
‘After them,’ he says. ‘Go after these relaxed nomads
who live free and easy in the desert,
Who live in the open with no doors to lock,
who live off by themselves.’
Their camels are there for the taking,
their herds and flocks, easy picking.
I’ll scatter them to the four winds,
these defenseless nomads on the fringes of the desert.
I’ll bring terror from every direction.
They won’t know what hit them.” God’s Decree.
“Jackals will take over the camps of Hazor,
camps abandoned to wind and sand.
No one will live there,
no mortal soul move in there.”
The Winds Will Blow Away Elam
34-39 God’s Message to the prophet Jeremiah on Elam at the outset of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah. This is what God-of-the-Angel-Armies says:
“Watch this! I’ll break Elam’s bow,
her weapon of choice, across my knee.
Then I’ll let four winds loose on Elam,
winds from the four corners of earth.
I’ll blow them away in all directions,
landing homeless Elamites in every country on earth.
They’ll live in constant fear and terror
among enemies who want to kill them.
I’ll bring doom on them,
my anger-fueled doom.
I’ll set murderous hounds on their heels
until there’s nothing left of them.
And then I’ll set up my throne in Elam,
having thrown out the king and his henchmen.
But the time will come when I make
everything right for Elam again.” God’s Decree.