And this is the message[a] that I was given about Judah and Jerusalem when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were the kings of Judah:[b]
A Guilty Nation
2 The Lord has said, “Listen, heaven and earth! The children I raised have turned against me. 3 Oxen and donkeys know who owns and feeds them, but my people won’t ever learn.”
4 Israel, you are a sinful nation loaded down with guilt. You are wicked and corrupt and have turned from the Lord, the holy God of Israel. 5 Why be punished more? Why not give up your sin? Your head is badly bruised, and you are weak all over. 6 From your head to your toes there isn’t a healthy spot. Bruises, cuts, and open sores go without care or oil to ease the pain.
A Country in Ruins
7 Your country lies in ruins; your towns are in ashes. Foreigners and strangers take and destroy your land while you watch. 8 Enemies surround Jerusalem, alone like a hut in a vineyard[c] or in a cucumber field. 9 Zion would have disappeared like Sodom and Gomorrah,[d] if the Lord All-Powerful had not let a few of its people survive.
Justice, Not Sacrifices
10 You are no better than the leaders and people of Sodom and Gomorrah! So listen to the Lord God: 11 “Your sacrifices mean nothing to me. I am sick of your offerings of rams and choice cattle; I don’t like the blood of bulls or lambs or goats.
12 “Who asked you to bring all this when you come to worship me? Stay out of my temple! 13 Your sacrifices are worthless, and incense is disgusting. I can’t stand the evil you do on your New Moon Festivals or on your Sabbaths and other times of worship. 14 I hate your New Moon Festivals and all others as well. They are a heavy burden I am tired of carrying.
15 “No matter how much you pray, I won’t listen. You are too violent. 16 Wash yourselves clean! I am disgusted with your filthy deeds. Stop doing wrong 17 and learn to live right. See that justice is done. Defend widows and orphans and help those in need.”[e]
An Invitation from the Lord
18 I, the Lord, invite you to come and talk it over. Your sins are scarlet red, but they will be whiter than snow or wool. 19 If you willingly obey me, the best crops in the land will be yours. 20 But if you turn against me, your enemies will kill you. I, the Lord, have spoken.
The Lord Condemns Jerusalem
21 Jerusalem, you are like an unfaithful wife. Once your judges were honest and your people lived right; now you are a city full of murderers. 22 Your silver is fake, and your wine is watered down. 23 Your leaders have rejected me to become friends of crooks; your rulers are looking for gifts and bribes. Widows and orphans never get a fair trial.
24 I am the Lord All-Powerful, the mighty ruler of Israel, and I make you a promise: You are now my enemy, and I will show my anger by taking revenge on you. 25 I will punish you terribly and burn away everything that makes you unfit to worship me. 26 Jerusalem, I will choose judges and advisors like those you had before. Your new name will be “Justice and Faithfulness.”
The Lord Will Save Jerusalem
27 Jerusalem, you will be saved by showing justice;[f] Zion’s people who turn to me will be saved by doing right. 28 But those rebellious sinners who turn against me, the Lord, will all disappear.
29 You will be made ashamed of those groves of trees where you worshiped idols. 30 You will be like a grove of trees dying in a drought. 31 Your strongest leaders will be like dry wood set on fire by their idols.[g] No one will be able to help, as they all go up in flames.
Peace That Lasts Forever
2 This is the message[h] that I was given about Judah and Jerusalem:
2 In the future, the mountain with the Lord’s temple will be the highest of all. It will reach above the hills; every nation will rush to it. 3 Many people will come and say, “Let’s go to the mountain of the Lord God of Jacob and worship in his temple.”
The Lord will teach us his Law from Jerusalem, and we will obey him. 4 He will settle arguments between nations. They will pound their swords and their spears into rakes and shovels; they will never make war or attack one another. 5 People of Israel, let’s live by the light of the Lord.
Following Sinful Customs
6 Our Lord, you have deserted your people, Israel, because they follow customs of nations from the east. They worship Philistine gods and are close friends of foreigners.[i] 7 They have endless treasures of silver and gold; they have countless horses and war chariots. 8 Everywhere in the country they worship the idols they have made. 9 And so, all of them will be ashamed and disgraced. Don’t help them!
A Day of Judgment
10 Every one of you, go hide among the rocks and in the ground, because the Lord is fearsome, marvelous, and glorious. 11 When the Lord comes, everyone who is proud will be made humble, and the Lord alone will be honored. 12 The Lord All-Powerful has chosen a day when those who are proud and conceited will be put down.
13 The tall and towering cedars of Lebanon will be destroyed. So will the oak trees of Bashan, 14 all high mountains and hills, 15 every strong fortress, 16 all the seagoing ships,[j] and every beautiful boat. 17 When that day comes, everyone who is proud will be put down. Only the Lord will be honored. 18 Idols will be gone for good.
19 You had better hide in caves and holes— the Lord will be fearsome, marvelous, and glorious when he comes to terrify people on earth.
20 On that day everyone will throw to the rats and bats their idols of silver and gold they made to worship. 21 The Lord will be fearsome, marvelous, and glorious when he comes to terrify people on earth— they will hide in caves and in the hills.
22 Stop trusting the power of humans. They are all going to die, so how can they help?
Judgment on Jerusalem and Judah
3 The mighty Lord All-Powerful is going to take away from Jerusalem and Judah everything you need— your bread and water, 2 soldiers and heroes, judges and prophets, leaders and army officers, 3 officials and advisors, fortunetellers and others who tell the future. 4 He will let children and babies[k] become your rulers. 5 You will each be cruel to friends and neighbors. Young people will insult their elders; no one will show respect to those who deserve it.
6 Some of you will grab hold of a relative and say, “You still have a coat. Be our leader and rule this pile of ruins.” 7 But the answer will be, “I can’t do you any good. Don’t make me your leader. There’s no food or clothing left in my house.”
8 Jerusalem and Judah, you rebelled against your glorious Lord— your words and your actions, made you stumble and fall. 9 The look on your faces shows that you are sinful as Sodom, and you don’t try to hide it. You are in for trouble, and you have brought it all on yourselves.
The Wrong Kind of Leaders
10 Tell those who obey God, “You’re very fortunate— you will be rewarded for what you have done.” 11 Tell those who disobey, “You’re in big trouble— what you did to others will come back to you.” 12 Though you are God’s people, you are ruled and abused by women and children. You are confused by leaders who guide you down the wrong path.
13 The Lord is ready to accuse and judge all nations. 14 He will even judge you rulers and leaders of his own nation. You destroyed his vineyard[l] and filled your houses by robbing the poor. 15 The Lord All-Powerful says, “You have crushed my people and rubbed in the dirt the faces of the poor.”
The Women of Jerusalem
16 The Lord says: The women of Jerusalem are proud and strut around, winking shamelessly. They wear anklets that jingle and call attention to the way they walk. 17 But I, the Lord, will cover their heads with sores, and I will uncover their private parts.
18-23 When that day comes, I will take away from those women all the fine jewelry they wear on their ankles, heads, necks, ears, arms, noses, fingers, and on their clothes. I will remove their veils, their belts, their perfume, their magic charms, their royal robes, and all their fancy dresses, hats, and purses.
24 In place of perfume, there will be a stink; in place of belts, there will be ropes; in place of fancy hairdos, they will have bald heads. Instead of expensive clothes, they will wear sackcloth; instead of beauty, they will have ugly scars. 25 The fighting men of Jerusalem will be killed in battle. 26 The city will mourn and sit in the dirt, emptied of its people.
4 When this happens, seven women will grab the same man, and each of them will say, “I’ll buy my own food and clothes! Just marry me and take away my disgrace.”[m]
The Lord Will Bless His People Who Survive
2 The time is coming when the Lord will make his land fruitful and glorious again, and the people of Israel who survive will take great pride in what the land produces. 3 Everyone who is left alive in Jerusalem will be called special, 4 after the Lord sends a fiery judgment to clean the city and its people of their violent deeds.
5 Then the Lord will cover the whole city and its meeting places with a thick cloud each day and with a flaming fire[n] each night. God’s own glory will be like a huge tent that covers everything. 6 It will provide shade from the heat of the sun and a place of shelter and protection from storms and rain.
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