Their wicked lives raged like an out-of-control fire, the kind that burns everything in its path— Trees and bushes, weeds and grasses— filling the skies with smoke. God-of-the-Angel-Armies answered fire with fire, set the whole country on fire, Turned the people into consuming fires, consuming one another in their lusts— Appetites insatiable, stuffing and gorging themselves left and right with people and things. But still they starved. Not even their children were safe from their rapacious hunger. Manasseh ate Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh, and then the two ganged up against Judah. And after that, he was still angry, his fist still raised, ready to hit them again.
Even now the Lord takes no joy in a single one, not even the young. Mercy has run out for even those without power—the widows and orphans. For every single person is at fault and behaves badly. No one thinks or acts as God would have them do. Every mouth utters foolishness like a wildfire, out of control; wickedness rages, leveling and clearing briars and thorns; Forests and thickets burn, leaving the whole a smoking heap. Still, God’s anger smolders. His hand is raised; there’s more to come.
For why wickedness is kindled as fire; it shall devour the briars and thorns, and it shall be kindled in the thickness of the forest, and it shall be wrapped (al)together in the pride of smoke. (For wickedness is kindled like a fire; it shall devour the briars and thorns, and it shall be kindled in the thickness of the forest, and it shall be wrapped up in a pall, or in a column, of smoke.)
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