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Judah’s Worthless Treaty with Egypt

30 “What sorrow awaits my rebellious children,”
    says the Lord.
“You make plans that are contrary to mine.
    You make alliances not directed by my Spirit,
    thus piling up your sins.
For without consulting me,
    you have gone down to Egypt for help.
You have put your trust in Pharaoh’s protection.
    You have tried to hide in his shade.
But by trusting Pharaoh, you will be humiliated,
    and by depending on him, you will be disgraced.
For though his power extends to Zoan
    and his officials have arrived in Hanes,
all who trust in him will be ashamed.
    He will not help you.
    Instead, he will disgrace you.”

This message came to me concerning the animals in the Negev:

The caravan moves slowly
    across the terrible desert to Egypt—
donkeys weighed down with riches
    and camels loaded with treasure—
    all to pay for Egypt’s protection.
They travel through the wilderness,
    a place of lionesses and lions,
    a place where vipers and poisonous snakes live.
All this, and Egypt will give you nothing in return.
    Egypt’s promises are worthless!
Therefore, I call her Rahab—
    the Harmless Dragon.[a]

A Warning for Rebellious Judah

Now go and write down these words.
    Write them in a book.
They will stand until the end of time
    as a witness
that these people are stubborn rebels
    who refuse to pay attention to the Lord’s instructions.
10 They tell the seers,
    “Stop seeing visions!”
They tell the prophets,
    “Don’t tell us what is right.
Tell us nice things.
    Tell us lies.
11 Forget all this gloom.
    Get off your narrow path.
Stop telling us about your
    ‘Holy One of Israel.’”

12 This is the reply of the Holy One of Israel:

“Because you despise what I tell you
    and trust instead in oppression and lies,
13 calamity will come upon you suddenly—
    like a bulging wall that bursts and falls.
In an instant it will collapse
    and come crashing down.
14 You will be smashed like a piece of pottery—
    shattered so completely that
there won’t be a piece big enough
    to carry coals from a fireplace
    or a little water from the well.”

15 This is what the Sovereign Lord,
    the Holy One of Israel, says:
“Only in returning to me
    and resting in me will you be saved.
In quietness and confidence is your strength.
    But you would have none of it.
16 You said, ‘No, we will get our help from Egypt.
    They will give us swift horses for riding into battle.’
But the only swiftness you are going to see
    is the swiftness of your enemies chasing you!
17 One of them will chase a thousand of you.
    Five of them will make all of you flee.
You will be left like a lonely flagpole on a hill
    or a tattered banner on a distant mountaintop.”

Blessings for the Lord’s People

18 So the Lord must wait for you to come to him
    so he can show you his love and compassion.
For the Lord is a faithful God.
    Blessed are those who wait for his help.

19 O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem,
    you will weep no more.
He will be gracious if you ask for help.
    He will surely respond to the sound of your cries.
20 Though the Lord gave you adversity for food
    and suffering for drink,
he will still be with you to teach you.
    You will see your teacher with your own eyes.
21 Your own ears will hear him.
    Right behind you a voice will say,
“This is the way you should go,”
    whether to the right or to the left.
22 Then you will destroy all your silver idols
    and your precious gold images.
You will throw them out like filthy rags,
    saying to them, “Good riddance!”

23 Then the Lord will bless you with rain at planting time. There will be wonderful harvests and plenty of pastureland for your livestock. 24 The oxen and donkeys that till the ground will eat good grain, its chaff blown away by the wind. 25 In that day, when your enemies are slaughtered and the towers fall, there will be streams of water flowing down every mountain and hill. 26 The moon will be as bright as the sun, and the sun will be seven times brighter—like the light of seven days in one! So it will be when the Lord begins to heal his people and cure the wounds he gave them.

27 Look! The Lord is coming from far away,
    burning with anger,
    surrounded by thick, rising smoke.
His lips are filled with fury;
    his words consume like fire.
28 His hot breath pours out like a flood
    up to the neck of his enemies.
He will sift out the proud nations for destruction.
    He will bridle them and lead them away to ruin.

29 But the people of God will sing a song of joy,
    like the songs at the holy festivals.
You will be filled with joy,
    as when a flutist leads a group of pilgrims
to Jerusalem, the mountain of the Lord
    to the Rock of Israel.
30 And the Lord will make his majestic voice heard.
    He will display the strength of his mighty arm.
It will descend with devouring flames,
    with cloudbursts, thunderstorms, and huge hailstones.
31 At the Lord’s command, the Assyrians will be shattered.
    He will strike them down with his royal scepter.
32 And as the Lord strikes them with his rod of punishment,[b]
    his people will celebrate with tambourines and harps.
    Lifting his mighty arm, he will fight the Assyrians.
33 Topheth—the place of burning—
    has long been ready for the Assyrian king;
    the pyre is piled high with wood.
The breath of the Lord, like fire from a volcano,
    will set it ablaze.

The Futility of Relying on Egypt

31 What sorrow awaits those who look to Egypt for help,
    trusting their horses, chariots, and charioteers
and depending on the strength of human armies
    instead of looking to the Lord,
    the Holy One of Israel.
In his wisdom, the Lord will send great disaster;
    he will not change his mind.
He will rise against the wicked
    and against their helpers.
For these Egyptians are mere humans, not God!
    Their horses are puny flesh, not mighty spirits!
When the Lord raises his fist against them,
    those who help will stumble,
and those being helped will fall.
    They will all fall down and die together.

But this is what the Lord has told me:

“When a strong young lion
    stands growling over a sheep it has killed,
it is not frightened by the shouts and noise
    of a whole crowd of shepherds.
In the same way, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
    will come down and fight on Mount Zion.
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies will hover over Jerusalem
    and protect it like a bird protecting its nest.
He will defend and save the city;
    he will pass over it and rescue it.”

Though you are such wicked rebels, my people, come and return to the Lord. I know the glorious day will come when each of you will throw away the gold idols and silver images your sinful hands have made.

“The Assyrians will be destroyed,
    but not by the swords of men.
The sword of God will strike them,
    and they will panic and flee.
The strong young Assyrians
    will be taken away as captives.
Even the strongest will quake with terror,
    and princes will flee when they see your battle flags,”
says the Lord, whose fire burns in Zion,
    whose flame blazes from Jerusalem.

Israel’s Ultimate Deliverance

32 Look, a righteous king is coming!
    And honest princes will rule under him.
Each one will be like a shelter from the wind
    and a refuge from the storm,
like streams of water in the desert
    and the shadow of a great rock in a parched land.

Then everyone who has eyes will be able to see the truth,
    and everyone who has ears will be able to hear it.
Even the hotheads will be full of sense and understanding.
    Those who stammer will speak out plainly.
In that day ungodly fools will not be heroes.
    Scoundrels will not be respected.
For fools speak foolishness
    and make evil plans.
They practice ungodliness
    and spread false teachings about the Lord.
They deprive the hungry of food
    and give no water to the thirsty.
The smooth tricks of scoundrels are evil.
    They plot crooked schemes.
They lie to convict the poor,
    even when the cause of the poor is just.
But generous people plan to do what is generous,
    and they stand firm in their generosity.

Listen, you women who lie around in ease.
    Listen to me, you who are so smug.
10 In a short time—just a little more than a year—
    you careless ones will suddenly begin to care.
For your fruit crops will fail,
    and the harvest will never take place.
11 Tremble, you women of ease;
    throw off your complacency.
Strip off your pretty clothes,
    and put on burlap to show your grief.
12 Beat your breasts in sorrow for your bountiful farms
    and your fruitful grapevines.
13 For your land will be overgrown with thorns and briers.
    Your joyful homes and happy towns will be gone.
14 The palace and the city will be deserted,
    and busy towns will be empty.
Wild donkeys will frolic and flocks will graze
    in the empty forts[c] and watchtowers
15 until at last the Spirit is poured out
    on us from heaven.
Then the wilderness will become a fertile field,
    and the fertile field will yield bountiful crops.

16 Justice will rule in the wilderness
    and righteousness in the fertile field.
17 And this righteousness will bring peace.
    Yes, it will bring quietness and confidence forever.
18 My people will live in safety, quietly at home.
    They will be at rest.
19 Even if the forest should be destroyed
    and the city torn down,
20 the Lord will greatly bless his people.
    Wherever they plant seed, bountiful crops will spring up.
    Their cattle and donkeys will graze freely.

Footnotes

  1. 30:7 Hebrew Rahab who sits still. Rahab is the name of a mythical sea monster that represents chaos in ancient literature. The name is used here as a poetic name for Egypt.
  2. 30:32 As in some Hebrew manuscripts and Syriac version; Masoretic Text reads with the founded rod.
  3. 32:14 Hebrew the Ophel.

A Message for the Nations

34 Come here and listen, O nations of the earth.
    Let the world and everything in it hear my words.
For the Lord is enraged against the nations.
    His fury is against all their armies.
He will completely destroy[a] them,
    dooming them to slaughter.
Their dead will be left unburied,
    and the stench of rotting bodies will fill the land.
    The mountains will flow with their blood.
The heavens above will melt away
    and disappear like a rolled-up scroll.
The stars will fall from the sky
    like withered leaves from a grapevine,
    or shriveled figs from a fig tree.

And when my sword has finished its work in the heavens,
    it will fall upon Edom,
    the nation I have marked for destruction.
The sword of the Lord is drenched with blood
    and covered with fat—
with the blood of lambs and goats,
    with the fat of rams prepared for sacrifice.
Yes, the Lord will offer a sacrifice in the city of Bozrah.
    He will make a mighty slaughter in Edom.
Even men as strong as wild oxen will die—
    the young men alongside the veterans.
The land will be soaked with blood
    and the soil enriched with fat.

For it is the day of the Lord’s revenge,
    the year when Edom will be paid back for all it did to Israel.[b]
The streams of Edom will be filled with burning pitch,
    and the ground will be covered with fire.
10 This judgment on Edom will never end;
    the smoke of its burning will rise forever.
The land will lie deserted from generation to generation.
    No one will live there anymore.
11 It will be haunted by the desert owl and the screech owl,
    the great owl and the raven.[c]
For God will measure that land carefully;
    he will measure it for chaos and destruction.
12 It will be called the Land of Nothing,
    and all its nobles will soon be gone.[d]
13 Thorns will overrun its palaces;
    nettles and thistles will grow in its forts.
The ruins will become a haunt for jackals
    and a home for owls.
14 Desert animals will mingle there with hyenas,
    their howls filling the night.
Wild goats will bleat at one another among the ruins,
    and night creatures[e] will come there to rest.
15 There the owl will make her nest and lay her eggs.
    She will hatch her young and cover them with her wings.
And the buzzards will come,
    each one with its mate.

16 Search the book of the Lord,
    and see what he will do.
Not one of these birds and animals will be missing,
    and none will lack a mate,
for the Lord has promised this.
    His Spirit will make it all come true.
17 He has surveyed and divided the land
    and deeded it over to those creatures.
They will possess it forever,
    from generation to generation.

Hope for Restoration

35 Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days.
    The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses.
Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers
    and singing and joy!
The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon,
    as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon.
There the Lord will display his glory,
    the splendor of our God.
With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands,
    and encourage those who have weak knees.
Say to those with fearful hearts,
    “Be strong, and do not fear,
for your God is coming to destroy your enemies.
    He is coming to save you.”

And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind
    and unplug the ears of the deaf.
The lame will leap like a deer,
    and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!
Springs will gush forth in the wilderness,
    and streams will water the wasteland.
The parched ground will become a pool,
    and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land.
Marsh grass and reeds and rushes will flourish
    where desert jackals once lived.

And a great road will go through that once deserted land.
    It will be named the Highway of Holiness.
Evil-minded people will never travel on it.
    It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways;
    fools will never walk there.
Lions will not lurk along its course,
    nor any other ferocious beasts.
There will be no other dangers.
    Only the redeemed will walk on it.
10 Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return.
    They will enter Jerusalem[f] singing,
    crowned with everlasting joy.
Sorrow and mourning will disappear,
    and they will be filled with joy and gladness.

Footnotes

  1. 34:2 The Hebrew term used here refers to the complete consecration of things or people to the Lord, either by destroying them or by giving them as an offering; similarly in 34:5.
  2. 34:8 Hebrew to Zion.
  3. 34:11 The identification of some of these birds is uncertain.
  4. 34:12 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  5. 34:14 Hebrew Lilith, possibly a reference to a mythical demon of the night.
  6. 35:10 Hebrew Zion.

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