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The Lord Speaks about the Nations

46 The Lord often told me what to say about the different nations of the world.

What the Lord Says about Egypt

In the fourth year that Jehoiakim[a] was king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar[b] of Babylonia defeated King Neco of Egypt[c] in a battle at the city of Carchemish near the Euphrates River. And here is what the Lord told me to say about the Egyptian army:

It’s time to go into battle!
    So grab your shields,
    saddle your horses,
    and polish your spears.
Put on your helmets and armor,
    then take your positions.

I can see the battle now—
    you are defeated
and running away,
    never once looking back.
Terror is all around.
You are strong and run fast,
    but you can’t escape.
You fall in battle
    near the Euphrates River.

What nation is this,
that rises
like the Nile River
    overflowing its banks?
It is Egypt, rising with a roar
like a raging river
    and saying,
“I’ll flood the earth,
destroying cities,
and killing
    everyone in them.”

Go ahead, Egypt.
Tell your chariots and cavalry
    to attack and fight hard.
Order your troops to march out,
with Ethiopians[d] and Libyans
    carrying shields,
and the Lydians[e] armed with bows
    and arrows.

10 But the Lord All-Powerful
    will win this battle
and take revenge
    on his enemies.
His sword will eat them
and drink their blood
    until it is full.
They will be killed in the north
near the Euphrates River,
    as a sacrifice to the Lord.

11 Egypt, no medicine can heal you,
not even the soothing lotion
    from Gilead.
12 All nations have heard you weep;
you are disgraced,
    and they know it.
Your troops fall to the ground,
    stumbling over each other.

A Warning for Egypt

13-14 When King Nebuchadnezzar[f] of Babylonia was on his way to attack Egypt, the Lord sent me with a warning for every Egyptian town, but especially for Migdol, Memphis, and Tahpanhes. He said to tell them:

Prepare to defend yourselves!
Everywhere in your nation,
    people are dying in war.
15 I have struck down
your mighty god Apis[g]
    and chased him away.[h]
16 Your soldiers stumble
    over each other
and say, “Get up!
    The enemy will kill us,
unless we can escape
    to our own land.”

17 Give the king of Egypt
    this new name,
“Talks-Big-Does-Nothing.”

18 Egypt, I am the true king,
    the Lord All-Powerful,
and as surely as I live,
those enemies who attack
    will tower over you
like Mount Tabor among the hills
    or Mount Carmel by the sea.
19 You will be led away captive,
so pack a few things
    to bring with you.
Your capital, Memphis,
    will lie empty and in ruins.

20 An enemy from the north
will attack you, beautiful Egypt,
    like a fly biting a cow.
21 The foreign soldiers you hired
    will turn and run.
But they are doomed,
like well-fed calves
    being led to the butcher.

22 The enemy army will go forward
    like a swarm of locusts.[i]
Your troops will feel helpless,
    like a snake in a forest
23 when men with axes
    start chopping down trees.
It can only hiss
    and try to escape.
24 Your people will be disgraced
and captured by the enemy
    from the north.

25 I am the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel. Soon I will punish the god Amon of Thebes[j] and the other Egyptian gods, the Egyptian kings, the people of Egypt, and everyone who trusts in the Egyptian power. 26 I will hand them over to King Nebuchadnezzar and his army. But I also promise that Egypt will someday have people living here again, just as it had before. I, the Lord, have spoken.

The Lord Will Bring Israel Home

The Lord said:

27 Israel,[k] don’t be afraid.
Someday I will bring you home
    from foreign lands.
You and your descendants
will live in peace and safety,
    with nothing to fear.
28 So don’t be afraid,
even though now
    you deserve to be punished
and have been scattered
    among other nations.
But when I destroy them,
    I will protect you.
I, the Lord, have spoken.

What the Lord Says about the Philistines

47 Before the king of Egypt attacked the town of Gaza,[l] the Lord told me to say to the Philistines:

I, the Lord, tell you
that your land will be flooded
    with an army from the north.
It will destroy your towns
and sweep you away,
    moaning and screaming.
When you hear the thunder
of horses and chariots,
    your courage will vanish,
and parents will abandon
    their own children.

You refugees from Crete,[m]
your time has now come,
    and I will destroy you.
None of you will be left
to help the cities
    of Tyre and Sidon.
The Anakim who survive[n]
    in Gaza and Ashkelon
will mourn for you
by shaving their heads
    and sitting in silence.
You ask how long will I continue
    to attack you with my sword,
then you tell me to put it away
    and leave you alone.
But how can my sword rest,
when I have commanded it
    to attack Ashkelon
    and the seacoast?

What the Lord Says about Moab

48 The Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, told me to say to the nation of Moab:

The town of Nebo is doomed;
Kiriathaim will be captured
    and disgraced,
and even its fortress
    will be left in ruins.
No one honors you, Moab.
In Heshbon, enemies make plans
    to end your life.
My sword will leave only silence
    in your town named “Quiet.”[o]
The people of Horonaim
    will cry for help,
as their town is attacked
    and destroyed.

Moab will be shattered!
    Your children will sob
and cry on their way up
    to the town of Luhith;
on the road to Horonaim
    they will tell of disasters.

Run for your lives!
Head into the desert
    like a wild donkey.[p]
You thought you could be saved
    by your power and wealth,
but you will be captured
along with your god Chemosh,
    his priests, and officials.
Not one of your towns
    will escape destruction.

I have told your enemies,
“Wipe out the valley
    and the flatlands of Moab.
Spread salt on the ground
    to kill the crops.[q]
Leave its towns in ruins,
    with no one living there.
10 I want you to kill the Moabites,
and if you let them escape,
    I will put a curse on you.”

11 Moab, you are like wine
left to settle undisturbed,
    never poured from jar to jar.
And so, your nation continues
    to prosper and improve.[r]
12 But now, I will send enemies
to pour out the wine
    and smash the jars!
13 Then you will be ashamed,
because your god Chemosh
    cannot save you,
just as Bethel[s] could not help
    the Israelites.

14 You claim that your soldiers
    are strong and brave.
15 But I am the Lord,
    the all-powerful King,
and I promise that enemies
    will overpower your towns.
Even your best warriors
    will die in the battle.
16 It won’t be long now—
    disaster will hit Moab!

17 I will order the nearby nations
    to mourn for you and say,
“Isn’t it sad? Moab ruled others,
but now its glorious power
    has been shattered.”

18 People in the town of Dibon,[t]
you will be honored no more,
    so have a seat in the dust.
Your walls will be torn down
    when the enemies attack.

19 You people of Aroer,[u]
    go wait beside the road,
and when refugees run by,
    ask them, “What happened?”
20 They will answer,
“Moab has been defeated!
    Weep with us in shame.
Tell everyone at the Arnon River
    that Moab is destroyed.”

21 I will punish every town
that belongs to Moab,
    but especially Holon,
Jahzah, Mephaath,
22     Dibon, Nebo,
Beth-Diblathaim, 23 Kiriathaim,
    Beth-Gamul, Beth-Meon,
24     Kerioth, and Bozrah.[v]
25 My decision is final—
your army will be crushed,
    and your power broken.

26 People of Moab, you claim
    to be stronger than I am.
Now I will tell other nations
    to make you drunk
and to laugh while you collapse
    in your own vomit.
27 You made fun of my people
and treated them like criminals
    caught in the act.
28 Now you must leave your towns
    and live like doves
in the shelter of cliffs
    and canyons.

29 I know about your pride,
    and how you strut and boast.
30 But I also know bragging
    will never save you.
31 So I will cry and mourn
    for Moab
and its town of Kir-Heres.

32 People of Sibmah,
you were like a vineyard
    heavy with grapes,
and with branches reaching
north to the town of Jazer
    and west to the Dead Sea.[w]
But you have been destroyed,
    and so I will weep for you,
as the people of Jazer weep
    for the vineyards.

33 Harvest celebrations are gone
from the orchards and farms
    of Moab.
There are no happy shouts
    from people making wine.
34 Weeping from Heshbon
can be heard as far
    as Elealeh and Jahaz;
cries from Zoar are heard
in Horonaim
    and Eglath-Shelishiyah.
And Nimrim Creek has run dry.

35 I will get rid of anyone
who burns incense
    to the gods of Moab
or offers sacrifices
    at their shrines.
I, the Lord, have spoken.

36 In my heart I moan for Moab,
like a funeral song
    played on a flute.
I mourn for the people
of the town of Kir-Heres,
    because their wealth is gone.

37 The people of Moab
mourn on the rooftops
    and in the streets.
Men cut off their beards,
    people shave their heads;
they make cuts on their hands
    and wear sackcloth.[x]
38 And it’s all because I, the Lord,
have shattered Moab
like a jar
    that no one wants.
39 Moab lies broken!
Listen to its people cry
    as they turn away in shame.
Other nations are horrified
at what happened,
    but still they laugh.

40 Moab, an enemy swoops down
like an eagle spreading its wings
    over your land.
41 Your cities[y] and fortresses
    will be captured,
and your warriors
    gripped by fear.[z]
42 You are finished as a nation,
because you dared oppose me,
    the Lord.
43 Terror, pits, and traps
    are waiting for you.
44 If you are terrified and run,
    you will fall into a pit;
and if you crawl out of the pit,
    you’ll get caught in a trap.
The time has come
    for you to be punished.

45 Near the city of Heshbon,
    where Sihon once ruled,
tired refugees stand in shadows
cast by the flames
    of their burning city.
Soon, the towns on other hilltops,
where those warlike people live,
    will also go up in smoke.

46 People of Moab, you worshiped
Chemosh, your god,
    but now you are done for,
and your children are prisoners
    in a foreign country.
47 Yet someday, I will bring
    your people back home.
I, the Lord, have spoken.

Footnotes

  1. 46.2 Jehoiakim: See the note at 1.3.
  2. 46.2 King Nebuchadnezzar: Ruled 605-562 B.C. At the time of the battle in 605 B.C., he was crown prince, but his father died a few months later, and he became king.
  3. 46.2 King Neco of Egypt: Neco II, ruled 609-594 B.C.
  4. 46.9 Ethiopians: See the note at 38.7,8.
  5. 46.9 Lydians: Probably hired soldiers from Lydia, an area in west-central Asia minor.
  6. 46.13,14 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2.
  7. 46.15 Apis: A sacred bull, kept in a temple at Memphis, Egypt, and worshiped as a god.
  8. 46.15 I have. . . him away: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  9. 46.22 locusts: A type of grasshopper that comes in swarms and causes great damage to plant life.
  10. 46.25 the god Amon of Thebes: Amon was the king of the Egyptian gods and was the special god of the Egyptian kings.
  11. 46.27 Israel: See the note at 30.10,11.
  12. 47.1 attacked the town of Gaza: One of the major Philistine towns; nothing is known about this attack.
  13. 47.4 Crete: Hebrew “Caphtor,” another name for Crete, the original homeland of the ancestor of the Philistines.
  14. 47.5 Anakim who survive: One ancient translation; Hebrew “people in the valley who survive.” The Anakim may have been a group of very large people that lived in Palestine before the Israelites (see Numbers 13.33; Deuteronomy 2.10,11,20,21; and Joshua 11.21,22).
  15. 48.2 silence. . . Quiet: In Hebrew the name of the town was “Madmen,” which sounds like the word for “silence.”
  16. 48.6 like a wild donkey: One ancient translation; Hebrew “like (the town of) Aroer” (see verse 19).
  17. 48.9 Spread salt. . . crops: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  18. 48.11 continues. . . improve: Or “remains as evil as ever.”
  19. 48.13 Bethel: It may refer to the Phoenician or Canaanite god of that name; or it may refer to the town where people of the northern kingdom worshiped at a local shrine (see 1 Kings 12.26-30).
  20. 48.18 Dibon: The capital city of Moab.
  21. 48.19 Aroer: A Moabite town located just north of the Arnon River.
  22. 48.24 Bozrah: Not the same Bozrah as in 49.13.
  23. 48.32 reaching north. . . Dead Sea: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  24. 48.37 sackcloth: See the note at 4.8.
  25. 48.41 Your cities: Or “Kerioth.”
  26. 48.41 gripped by fear: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

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