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A Message about Damascus

23 This message was given concerning Damascus. This is what the Lord says:

“The towns of Hamath and Arpad are struck with fear,
    for they have heard the news of their destruction.
Their hearts are troubled
    like a wild sea in a raging storm.
24 Damascus has become feeble,
    and all her people turn to flee.
Fear, anguish, and pain have gripped her
    as they grip a woman in labor.
25 That famous city, a city of joy,
    will be forsaken!
26 Her young men will fall in the streets and die.
    Her soldiers will all be killed,”
    says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
27 “And I will set fire to the walls of Damascus
    that will burn up the palaces of Ben-hadad.”

A Message about Kedar and Hazor

28 This message was given concerning Kedar and the kingdoms of Hazor, which were attacked by King Nebuchadnezzar[a] of Babylon. This is what the Lord says:

“Advance against Kedar!
    Destroy the warriors from the East!
29 Their flocks and tents will be captured,
    and their household goods and camels will be taken away.
Everywhere shouts of panic will be heard:
    ‘We are terrorized at every turn!’
30 Run for your lives,” says the Lord.
    “Hide yourselves in deep caves, you people of Hazor,
for King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has plotted against you
    and is preparing to destroy you.

31 “Go up and attack that complacent nation,”
    says the Lord.
“Its people live alone in the desert
    without walls or gates.
32 Their camels and other livestock will all be yours.
    I will scatter to the winds these people
    who live in remote places.[b]
I will bring calamity upon them
    from every direction,” says the Lord.
33 “Hazor will be inhabited by jackals,
    and it will be desolate forever.
No one will live there;
    no one will inhabit it.”

A Message about Elam

34 This message concerning Elam came to the prophet Jeremiah from the Lord at the beginning of the reign of King Zedekiah of Judah. 35 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:

“I will destroy the archers of Elam—
    the best of their forces.
36 I will bring enemies from all directions,
    and I will scatter the people of Elam to the four winds.
    They will be exiled to countries around the world.
37 I myself will go with Elam’s enemies to shatter it.
    In my fierce anger, I will bring great disaster
    upon the people of Elam,” says the Lord.
“Their enemies will chase them with the sword
    until I have destroyed them completely.
38 I will set my throne in Elam,” says the Lord,
    “and I will destroy its king and officials.
39 But I will restore the fortunes of Elam
    in days to come.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!”

A Message about Babylon

50 The Lord gave Jeremiah the prophet this message concerning Babylon and the land of the Babylonians.[c] This is what the Lord says:

“Tell the whole world,
    and keep nothing back.
Raise a signal flag
    to tell everyone that Babylon will fall!
Her images and idols[d] will be shattered.
    Her gods Bel and Marduk will be utterly disgraced.
For a nation will attack her from the north
    and bring such destruction that no one will live there again.
Everything will be gone;
    both people and animals will flee.

Hope for Israel and Judah

“In those coming days,”
    says the Lord,
“the people of Israel will return home
    together with the people of Judah.
They will come weeping
    and seeking the Lord their God.
They will ask the way to Jerusalem[e]
    and will start back home again.
They will bind themselves to the Lord
    with an eternal covenant that will never be forgotten.

“My people have been lost sheep.
    Their shepherds have led them astray
    and turned them loose in the mountains.
They have lost their way
    and can’t remember how to get back to the sheepfold.
All who found them devoured them.
    Their enemies said,
‘We did nothing wrong in attacking them,
    for they sinned against the Lord,
their true place of rest,
    and the hope of their ancestors.’

“But now, flee from Babylon!
    Leave the land of the Babylonians.
Like male goats at the head of the flock,
    lead my people home again.
For I am raising up an army
    of great nations from the north.
They will join forces to attack Babylon,
    and she will be captured.
The enemies’ arrows will go straight to the mark;
    they will not miss!
10 Babylonia[f] will be looted
    until the attackers are glutted with loot.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!

Babylon’s Sure Fall

11 “You rejoice and are glad,
    you who plundered my chosen people.
You frisk about like a calf in a meadow
    and neigh like a stallion.
12 But your homeland[g] will be overwhelmed
    with shame and disgrace.
You will become the least of nations—
    a wilderness, a dry and desolate land.
13 Because of the Lord’s anger,
    Babylon will become a deserted wasteland.
All who pass by will be horrified
    and will gasp at the destruction they see there.

14 “Yes, prepare to attack Babylon,
    all you surrounding nations.
Let your archers shoot at her; spare no arrows.
    For she has sinned against the Lord.
15 Shout war cries against her from every side.
    Look! She surrenders!
    Her walls have fallen.
It is the Lord’s vengeance,
    so take vengeance on her.
    Do to her as she has done to others!
16 Take from Babylon all those who plant crops;
    send all the harvesters away.
Because of the sword of the enemy,
    everyone will run away and rush back to their own lands.

Hope for God’s People

17 “The Israelites are like sheep
    that have been scattered by lions.
First the king of Assyria ate them up.
    Then King Nebuchadnezzar[h] of Babylon cracked their bones.”
18 Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
    the God of Israel, says:
“Now I will punish the king of Babylon and his land,
    just as I punished the king of Assyria.
19 And I will bring Israel home again to its own land,
    to feed in the fields of Carmel and Bashan,
and to be satisfied once more
    in the hill country of Ephraim and Gilead.
20 In those days,” says the Lord,
    “no sin will be found in Israel or in Judah,
    for I will forgive the remnant I preserve.

The Lord’s Judgment on Babylon

21 “Go up, my warriors, against the land of Merathaim
    and against the people of Pekod.
Pursue, kill, and completely destroy[i] them,
    as I have commanded you,” says the Lord.
22 “Let the battle cry be heard in the land,
    a shout of great destruction.
23 Babylon, the mightiest hammer in all the earth,
    lies broken and shattered.
    Babylon is desolate among the nations!
24 Listen, Babylon, for I have set a trap for you.
    You are caught, for you have fought against the Lord.
25 The Lord has opened his armory
    and brought out weapons to vent his fury.
The terror that falls upon the Babylonians
    will be the work of the Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
26 Yes, come against her from distant lands.
    Break open her granaries.
Crush her walls and houses into heaps of rubble.
    Destroy her completely, and leave nothing!
27 Destroy even her young bulls—
    it will be terrible for them, too!
Slaughter them all!
    For Babylon’s day of reckoning has come.
28 Listen to the people who have escaped from Babylon,
    as they tell in Jerusalem
how the Lord our God has taken vengeance
    against those who destroyed his Temple.

29 “Send out a call for archers to come to Babylon.
    Surround the city so none can escape.
Do to her as she has done to others,
    for she has defied the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.
30 Her young men will fall in the streets and die.
    Her soldiers will all be killed,”
    says the Lord.

31 “See, I am your enemy, you arrogant people,”
    says the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
“Your day of reckoning has arrived—
    the day when I will punish you.
32 O land of arrogance, you will stumble and fall,
    and no one will raise you up.
For I will light a fire in the cities of Babylon
    that will burn up everything around them.”

33 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
“The people of Israel and Judah have been wronged.
    Their captors hold them and refuse to let them go.
34 But the one who redeems them is strong.
    His name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
He will defend them
    and give them rest again in Israel.
But for the people of Babylon
    there will be no rest!

35 “The sword of destruction will strike the Babylonians,”
    says the Lord.
“It will strike the people of Babylon—
    her officials and wise men, too.
36 The sword will strike her wise counselors,
    and they will become fools.
The sword will strike her mightiest warriors,
    and panic will seize them.
37 The sword will strike her horses and chariots
    and her allies from other lands,
    and they will all become like women.
The sword will strike her treasures,
    and they all will be plundered.
38 A drought[j] will strike her water supply,
    causing it to dry up.
And why? Because the whole land is filled with idols,
    and the people are madly in love with them.

39 “Soon Babylon will be inhabited by desert animals and hyenas.
    It will be a home for owls.
Never again will people live there;
    it will lie desolate forever.
40 I will destroy it as I[k] destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah
    and their neighboring towns,” says the Lord.
“No one will live there;
    no one will inhabit it.

41 “Look! A great army is coming from the north.
    A great nation and many kings
    are rising against you from far-off lands.
42 They are armed with bows and spears.
    They are cruel and show no mercy.
As they ride forward on horses,
    they sound like a roaring sea.
They are coming in battle formation,
    planning to destroy you, Babylon.
43 The king of Babylon has heard reports about the enemy,
    and he is weak with fright.
Pangs of anguish have gripped him,
    like those of a woman in labor.

44 “I will come like a lion from the thickets of the Jordan,
    leaping on the sheep in the pasture.
I will chase Babylon from its land,
    and I will appoint the leader of my choice.
For who is like me, and who can challenge me?
    What ruler can oppose my will?”

45 Listen to the Lord’s plans against Babylon
    and the land of the Babylonians.
Even the little children will be dragged off like sheep,
    and their homes will be destroyed.
46 The earth will shake with the shout, “Babylon has been taken!”
    and its cry of despair will be heard around the world.

Footnotes

  1. 49:28 Hebrew Nebuchadrezzar, a variant spelling of Nebuchadnezzar; also in 49:30.
  2. 49:32 Or who clip the corners of their hair.
  3. 50:1 Or Chaldeans; also in 50:8, 25, 35, 45.
  4. 50:2 The Hebrew term (literally round things) probably alludes to dung.
  5. 50:5 Hebrew Zion; also in 50:28.
  6. 50:10 Or Chaldea.
  7. 50:12 Hebrew your mother.
  8. 50:17 Hebrew Nebuchadrezzar, a variant spelling of Nebuchadnezzar.
  9. 50:21 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.
  10. 50:38 Or sword; the Hebrew words for drought and sword are very similar.
  11. 50:40 Hebrew as God.

Greetings from Paul

This letter is from Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I have been sent to proclaim faith to[a] those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began. And now at just the right time he has revealed this message, which we announce to everyone. It is by the command of God our Savior that I have been entrusted with this work for him.

I am writing to Titus, my true son in the faith that we share.

May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior give you grace and peace.

Titus’s Work in Crete

I left you on the island of Crete so you could complete our work there and appoint elders in each town as I instructed you. An elder must live a blameless life. He must be faithful to his wife,[b] and his children must be believers who don’t have a reputation for being wild or rebellious. A church leader[c] is a manager of God’s household, so he must live a blameless life. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered; he must not be a heavy drinker,[d] violent, or dishonest with money.

Rather, he must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must love what is good. He must live wisely and be just. He must live a devout and disciplined life. He must have a strong belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with wholesome teaching and show those who oppose it where they are wrong.

10 For there are many rebellious people who engage in useless talk and deceive others. This is especially true of those who insist on circumcision for salvation. 11 They must be silenced, because they are turning whole families away from the truth by their false teaching. And they do it only for money. 12 Even one of their own men, a prophet from Crete, has said about them, “The people of Crete are all liars, cruel animals, and lazy gluttons.”[e] 13 This is true. So reprimand them sternly to make them strong in the faith. 14 They must stop listening to Jewish myths and the commands of people who have turned away from the truth.

15 Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good.

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Footnotes

  1. 1:1 Or to strengthen the faith of.
  2. 1:6 Or must have only one wife, or must be married only once; Greek reads must be the husband of one wife.
  3. 1:7a Or An overseer, or A bishop.
  4. 1:7b Greek must not drink too much wine.
  5. 1:12 This quotation is from Epimenides of Knossos.

Psalm 97

The Lord is king!
    Let the earth rejoice!
    Let the farthest coastlands be glad.
Dark clouds surround him.
    Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire spreads ahead of him
    and burns up all his foes.
His lightning flashes out across the world.
    The earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
    before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his righteousness;
    every nation sees his glory.
Those who worship idols are disgraced—
    all who brag about their worthless gods—
    for every god must bow to him.
Jerusalem[a] has heard and rejoiced,
    and all the towns of Judah are glad
    because of your justice, O Lord!
For you, O Lord, are supreme over all the earth;
    you are exalted far above all gods.

10 You who love the Lord, hate evil!
    He protects the lives of his godly people
    and rescues them from the power of the wicked.
11 Light shines on the godly,
    and joy on those whose hearts are right.
12 May all who are godly rejoice in the Lord
    and praise his holy name!

Psalm 98

A psalm.

Sing a new song to the Lord,
    for he has done wonderful deeds.
His right hand has won a mighty victory;
    his holy arm has shown his saving power!
The Lord has announced his victory
    and has revealed his righteousness to every nation!
He has remembered his promise to love and be faithful to Israel.
    The ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.

Shout to the Lord, all the earth;
    break out in praise and sing for joy!
Sing your praise to the Lord with the harp,
    with the harp and melodious song,
with trumpets and the sound of the ram’s horn.
    Make a joyful symphony before the Lord, the King!

Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
    Let the earth and all living things join in.
Let the rivers clap their hands in glee!
    Let the hills sing out their songs of joy
before the Lord,
    for he is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with justice,
    and the nations with fairness.

Footnotes

  1. 97:8 Hebrew Zion.

13 The lazy person claims, “There’s a lion on the road!
    Yes, I’m sure there’s a lion out there!”

14 As a door swings back and forth on its hinges,
    so the lazy person turns over in bed.

15 Lazy people take food in their hand
    but don’t even lift it to their mouth.

16 Lazy people consider themselves smarter
    than seven wise counselors.

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