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Locusts and an Enemy Army

Sound the trumpet on Zion,
    the Lord’s sacred hill.
Warn everyone to tremble!
The judgment day of the Lord
    is coming soon.
It will be dark and gloomy
    with storm clouds overhead.
Troops will cover the mountains
    like thunderclouds.
No army this powerful
has ever been gathered before
    or will ever be again.
Fiery flames surround them;
    no one escapes.
Before they invaded,
the land was like Eden;
    now only a desert remains.

They look like horses
    and charge like cavalry.
They roar over mountains
    like noisy chariots,
or a mighty army
    ready for battle.
They are a forest fire
    that feasts on straw.
The very sight of them
    is frightening.[a]
They climb over walls
    like warriors;
they march in columns
    and never turn aside.
They charge straight ahead,
    without pushing each other;
even arrows and spears
    cannot make them retreat.
They swarm over city walls
    and enter our homes;
they crawl in through windows,
    just like thieves.

10 They make the earth tremble
    and the heavens shake;
the sun and moon turn dark,
    and stars stop shining.
11 The Lord God leads this army
of countless troops,
    and they obey his commands.
The day of his judgment
is so terrible
    that no one can stand it.

The Lord’s Invitation

12 The Lord said:

It isn’t too late.
You can still return to me
    with all your heart.
Start crying and mourning!
    Go without eating.
13 Don’t rip your clothes
    to show your sorrow.
Instead, turn back to me
    with broken hearts.
I am merciful, kind, and caring.
I don’t easily lose my temper,
    and I don’t like to punish.

14 I am the Lord your God.
Perhaps I will change my mind
    and treat you with mercy.
Then you will be blessed
with enough grain and wine
    for offering sacrifices to me.

15 Sound the trumpet on Zion!
    Call the people together.
Show your sorrow
    by going without food.
16 Make sure that everyone
    is fit to worship me.[b]
Bring adults, children, babies,
and even bring newlyweds
    from their festivities.

17 Tell my servants, the priests,
    to cry inside the temple
and to offer this prayer
    near the altar:[c]
“Save your people, Lord God!
Don’t let foreign nations
    make jokes about us.
Don’t let them laugh and ask,
    ‘Where is your God?’”

The Lord Will Bless the Land

18 The Lord was deeply concerned
about his land
    and had pity on his people.
19 In answer to their prayers
    he said,
“I will give you enough grain,
wine, and olive oil
    to satisfy your needs.
No longer will I let you
    be insulted by the nations.
20 An army attacked from the north,
but I will chase it
    into a scorching desert.
There it will rot and stink
from the Dead Sea
    to the Mediterranean.”

The Lord works wonders
21     and does great things.
So tell the soil to celebrate
22 and wild animals
    to stop being afraid.
Grasslands are green again;
fruit trees and fig trees
    are loaded with fruit.
Grapevines are covered
    with grapes.

23 People of Zion,[d]
celebrate in honor
    of the Lord your God!
He is generous and has sent
the autumn and spring rains
    in the proper seasons.[e]
24 Grain will cover
    your threshing places;
jars will overflow
    with wine and olive oil.

The Lord Will Rescue His People

25 I, the Lord your God,
will make up for the losses
    caused by those swarms
and swarms of locusts[f]
    I sent to attack you.
26 My people, you will eat
    until you are satisfied.
Then you will praise me
for the wonderful things
    I have done.
Never again will you
    be put to shame.

27 Israel, you will know
    that I stand at your side.
I am the Lord your God—
    there are no other gods.
Never again will you
    be put to shame.

The Lord Will Work Wonders

The Lord said:

28 Later, I will give my Spirit
    to everyone.
Your sons and daughters
    will prophesy.
Your old men
    will have dreams,
and your young men
    will see visions.
29 In those days I will even give
my Spirit to my servants,
    both men and women.

30 I will work wonders
in the sky above
    and on the earth below.
There will be blood and fire
    and clouds of smoke.
31 The sun will turn dark,
and the moon
    will be as red as blood
before that great
and terrible day
    when I appear.

32 Then the Lord will save everyone who faithfully worships him. He has promised there will be survivors on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and among them will be his chosen ones.

Footnotes

  1. 2.6 The very. . . frightening: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 2.16 fit to worship me: This required going through certain kinds of ceremonies.
  3. 2.17 inside. . . altar: The Hebrew text has “between the porch and the altar,” which is the place where the priests usually prayed for the people.
  4. 2.23 Zion: Jerusalem.
  5. 2.23 in. . . seasons: Or “as he used to do.”
  6. 2.25 swarms. . . locusts: See the note at 1.4.