13 This is the message[a] that I was given about Babylon:
2 From high on a barren hill give a signal, shout the orders, and point the way to enter the gates of Babylon’s proud rulers. 3 The Lord has commanded his very best warriors and his proud heroes to show how angry he is.
4 Listen to the noisy crowds on the mountains! Kingdoms and nations are joining forces. The Lord All-Powerful is bringing together an army for battle. 5 From a distant land the Lord is coming fierce and furious— he brings his weapons to destroy the earth.
6 Cry and weep! The day is coming when the mighty Lord will bring destruction. 7 All people will be terrified. Hands will grow limp; courage will melt away. 8 Everyone will tremble with pain like a woman giving birth; they will stare at each other with horror on their faces.
There Will Be No Mercy
9 I, the Lord, will show no mercy or pity when that time comes. In my anger I will destroy the earth and every sinner who lives on it. 10 Light will disappear from the stars in the sky; the dawning sun will turn dark, and the moon will lose its glow.
11 I will punish this evil world and its people because of their sins. I will crush the horrible pride of those who are cruel. 12 Survivors will be harder to find than the purest gold. 13 I, the Lord All-Powerful, am terribly angry— I will make the sky tremble and the earth shake loose.
14 Everyone will run to their homelands, just as hunted deer run, and sheep scatter when they have no shepherd. 15 Those who are captured will be killed by a sword. 16 They will see their children beaten against rocks, their homes robbed, and their wives abused.
17 The Medes[b] can’t be bought off with silver or gold, and I’m sending them to attack Babylonia. 18 Their arrows will slaughter the young men; no pity will be shown to babies and children.
The Lord Will Destroy Babylon
19 The city of Babylon is glorious and powerful, the pride of the nation. But it will be like the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah after I, the Lord, destroyed them. 20 No one will live in Babylon. Even nomads won’t camp nearby, and shepherds won’t let their sheep rest there. 21 Only desert creatures, hoot owls, and ostriches will live in its ruins, and goats[c] will leap about. 22 Hyenas and wolves will howl from Babylon’s fortresses and beautiful palaces. Its time is almost up!
The Lord’s People Will Come Home
14 The Lord will have mercy on Israel and will let them be his chosen people once again. He will bring them back to their own land, and foreigners will join them as part of Israel. 2 Other nations will lead them home, and Israel will make slaves of them in the land that belongs to the Lord. Israel will rule over those who once governed and mistreated them.
Death to the King of Babylonia!
3 The Lord will set you free from your sorrow, suffering, and slavery. 4 Then you will make fun of the King of Babylonia by singing this song:
That cruel monster is done for! He won’t attack us again.[d] 5 The Lord has crushed the power of those evil kings, 6 who were furious and never stopped abusing the people of other nations.
7 Now all the world is at peace; its people are celebrating with joyful songs. 8 King of Babylonia, even the cypress trees and the cedars of Lebanon celebrate and say, “Since you were put down, no one comes along to chop us down.”
9 The world of the dead eagerly waits for you. With great excitement, the spirits of ancient rulers hear about your coming. 10 Each one of them will say, “Now you are just as weak as any of us! 11 Your pride and your music have ended here in the world of the dead. Worms are your blanket, maggots are your bed.”
12 You, the bright morning star, have fallen from the sky! You brought down other nations; now you are brought down. 13 You said to yourself, “I’ll climb to heaven and place my throne above the highest stars. I’ll sit there with the gods far away in the north. 14 I’ll be above the clouds, just like God Most High.”
15 But now you are deep in the world of the dead. 16 Those who see you will stare and wonder, “Is this the man who made the world tremble and shook up kingdoms? 17 Did he capture every city and make earth a desert? Is he the one who refused to let prisoners go home?”
18 When kings die, they are buried in glorious tombs. 19 But you will be left unburied, just another dead body lying underfoot like a broken branch. You will be one of many killed in battle and gone down to the deep rocky pit.[e] 20 You won’t be buried with kings; you ruined your country and murdered your people.
You evil monster! We hope that your family will be forgotten forever. 21 We will slaughter your sons to make them pay for the crimes of their ancestors. They won’t take over the world or build cities anywhere on this earth.
22 The Lord All-Powerful has promised to attack Babylonia and destroy everyone there, so that none of them will ever be remembered again. 23 The Lord will sweep out the people, and the land will become a swamp for wild animals.
Assyria Will Be Punished
24 The Lord All-Powerful has made this promise: Everything I have planned will happen just as I said. 25 I will wipe out every Assyrian in my country, and I will crush those on my mountains. I will free my people from slavery to the Assyrians. 26 I have planned this for the whole world, and my mighty arm controls every nation. 27 I, the Lord All-Powerful, have made these plans. No one can stop me now!
The Philistines Will Be Punished
28 This message came from the Lord in the year King Ahaz died:[f] 29 Philistines, don’t be happy just because the rod that punished you is broken. That rod will become a poisonous snake, and then a flying fiery dragon.
30 The poor and needy will find pastures for their sheep and will live in safety. But I will starve some of you, and others will be killed.
31 Cry and weep in the gates of your towns, you Philistines! Smoke blows in from the north,[g] and every soldier is ready. 32 If a messenger comes from a distant nation, you must say: “The Lord built Zion. Even the poorest of his people will find safety there.”
Moab Will Be Punished
15 This is a message about Moab:
The towns of Ar and Kir were destroyed in a night. Moab is left in ruins! 2 Everyone in Dibon has gone up to the temple[h] and the shrines to cry and weep. All of Moab is crying. Heads and beards are shaved[i] because of what happened at Nebo and Medeba. 3 In the towns and at home, everyone wears sackcloth and cries loud and long. 4 From Heshbon and Elealeh, weeping is heard in Jahaz; Moab’s warriors scream while trembling with fear.
5 I pity Moab! Its people are running to Zoar and to Eglath-Shelishiyah. They cry on their way up to the town of Luhith; on the road to Horonaim they tell of disasters. 6 The streams of Nimrim and the grasslands have dried up. Every plant is parched.
7 The people of Moab are leaving, crossing over Willow Creek, taking everything they own and have worked for. 8 In the towns of Eglaim and of Beerelim and everywhere else in Moab mournful cries are heard. 9 The streams near Dimon are flowing with blood. But the Lord will bring even worse trouble to Dimon,[j] because all in Moab who escape will be attacked by lions.
More Troubles for Moab
16 Send lambs[k] as gifts to the ruler of the land. Send them across the desert from Sela[l] to Mount Zion. 2 The women of Moab crossing the Arnon River are like a flock of birds scattered from their nests. 3 Moab’s messengers say to the people of Judah, “Be kind and help us! Shade us from the heat of the noonday sun. Hide our refugees! Don’t turn them away. 4 Let our people live in your country and find safety here.”
Moab, your cruel enemies will disappear; they will no longer attack and destroy your land. 5 Then a kingdom of love will be set up, and someone from David’s family will rule with fairness. He will do what is right and quickly bring justice.
Moab’s Pride Is Destroyed
6 We have heard of Moab’s pride. Its people strut and boast, but without reason. 7 Tell everyone in Moab to mourn for their nation. Tell them to cry and weep for those fancy raisins[m] of Kir-Hareseth.
8 Vineyards near Heshbon and Sibmah have turned brown. The rulers of nations used to get drunk on wine from those vineyards[n] that spread to Jazer, then across the desert and beyond the sea.
9 Now I mourn like Jazer for the vineyards of Sibmah. I shed tears for Heshbon and for Elealeh. There will be no more harvest celebrations 10 or joyful and happy times, while bringing in the crops. Singing and shouting are gone from the vineyards. There are no joyful shouts where grapes were pressed. God has silenced them all.
11 Deep in my heart I hurt for Moab and Kir-Heres. 12 It’s useless for Moab’s people to wear themselves out by going to their altars to worship and pray.
13 The Lord has already said all of this about Moab. 14 Now he says, “The contract of a hired worker is good for three years, but Moab’s glory and greatness won’t last any longer than that. Only a few of its people will survive, and they will be left helpless.”
Damascus Will Be Punished
17 This is a message about Damascus:
Damascus is doomed! It will end up in ruins. 2 The villages around Aroer[o] will be deserted, with only sheep living there and no one to bother them. 3 Israel[p] will lose its fortresses. The kingdom of Damascus will be destroyed; its survivors will suffer the same fate as Israel. The Lord All-Powerful has promised this.
Sin and Suffering
4 When that time comes, the glorious nation of Israel will be brought down; its prosperous people will be skin and bones. 5 Israel will be like wheat fields in Rephaim Valley picked clean of grain. 6 It will be like an olive tree beaten with a stick, leaving two or three olives or maybe four or five on the highest or most fruitful branches. The Lord God of Israel has promised this.
7 At that time the people will turn and trust their Creator, the holy God of Israel. 8 They have built altars and places for burning incense to their goddess Asherah, and they have set up sacred poles[q] for her. But they will stop worshiping at these places.
9 Israel captured powerful cities and chased out the people who lived there. But these cities will lie in ruins, covered over with weeds and underbrush.[r]
10 Israel, you have forgotten the God who saves you, the one who is the mighty rock[s] where you find protection. You plant the finest flowers to honor a foreign god. 11 The plants may sprout and blossom that very same morning, but it will do you no good, because you will suffer endless agony.
God Defends His People
12 The nations are a noisy, thunderous sea. 13 But even if they roar like a fearsome flood, God will give the command to turn them back. They will be like dust, or like a tumbleweed blowing across the hills in a windstorm. 14 In the evening their attack is fierce, but by morning they are destroyed. This is what happens to those who raid and rob us.
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