Judgment on Corrupt Rulers, Priests, and Prophets
1Ah, the proud garland of the drunkards of Ephraim,
and the fading flower of its glorious beauty,
which is on the head of those bloated with rich food, of those overcome with wine!2See, the Lord has one who is mighty and strong;
like a storm of hail, a destroying tempest,
like a storm of mighty, overflowing waters;
with his hand he will hurl them down to the earth.3Trampled under foot will be
the proud garland of the drunkards of Ephraim.4And the fading flower of its glorious beauty,
which is on the head of those bloated with rich food,
will be like a first-ripe fig before the summer;
whoever sees it, eats it up
as soon as it comes to hand.
5In that day the Lord of hosts will be a garland of glory,
and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people;6and a spirit of justice to the one who sits in judgment,
and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.
7These also reel with wine
and stagger with strong drink;
the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink,
they are confused with wine,
they stagger with strong drink;
they err in vision,
they stumble in giving judgment.8All tables are covered with filthy vomit;
no place is clean.
9“Whom will he teach knowledge,
and to whom will he explain the message?
Those who are weaned from milk,
those taken from the breast?10For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
line upon line, line upon line,
here a little, there a little.”
11Truly, with stammering lip
and with alien tongue
he will speak to this people,12to whom he has said,
“This is rest;
give rest to the weary;
and this is repose”;
yet they would not hear.13Therefore the word of the Lord will be to them,
“Precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
line upon line, line upon line,
here a little, there a little;”
in order that they may go, and fall backward,
and be broken, and snared, and taken.
14Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers
who rule this people in Jerusalem.15Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death,
and with Sheol we have an agreement;
when the overwhelming scourge passes through
it will not come to us;
for we have made lies our refuge,
and in falsehood we have taken shelter”;16therefore thus says the Lord GOD,
See, I am laying in Zion a foundation stone,
a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation:
“One who trusts will not panic.”17And I will make justice the line,
and righteousness the plummet;
hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and waters will overwhelm the shelter.18Then your covenant with death will be annulled,
and your agreement with Sheol will not stand;
when the overwhelming scourge passes through
you will be beaten down by it.19As often as it passes through, it will take you;
for morning by morning it will pass through,
by day and by night;
and it will be sheer terror to understand the message.20For the bed is too short to stretch oneself on it,
and the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in it.21For the Lord will rise up as on Mount Perazim,
he will rage as in the valley of Gibeon;
to do his deed—strange is his deed!
and to work his work—alien is his work!22Now therefore do not scoff,
or your bonds will be made stronger;
for I have heard a decree of destruction
from the Lord GOD of hosts upon the whole land.
23Listen, and hear my voice;
Pay attention, and hear my speech.24Do those who plow for sowing plow continually?
Do they continually open and harrow their ground?25When they have leveled its surface,
do they not scatter dill, sow cummin,
and plant wheat in rows
and barley in its proper place,
and spelt as the border?26For they are well instructed;
their God teaches them.
27Dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge,
nor is a cart wheel rolled over cummin;
but dill is beaten out with a stick,
and cummin with a rod.28Grain is crushed for bread,
but one does not thresh it forever;
one drives the cart wheel and horses over it,
but does not pulverize it.29This also comes from the Lord of hosts;
he is wonderful in counsel,
and excellent in wisdom.
Chapter 29The Siege of Jerusalem
1Ah, Ariel, Ariel,
the city where David encamped!
Add year to year;
let the festivals run their round.2Yet I will distress Ariel,
and there shall be moaning and lamentation,
and Jerusalem shall be to me like an Ariel.3And like David I will encamp against you;
I will besiege you with towers
and raise siegeworks against you.4Then deep from the earth you shall speak,
from low in the dust your words shall come;
your voice shall come from the ground like the voice of a ghost,
and your speech shall whisper out of the dust.
5But the multitude of your foes shall be like small dust,
and the multitude of tyrants like flying chaff.
And in an instant, suddenly,6you will be visited by the Lord of hosts
with thunder and earthquake and great noise,
with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire.7And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel,
all that fight against her and her stronghold, and who distress her,
shall be like a dream, a vision of the night.8Just as when a hungry person dreams of eating
and wakes up still hungry,
or a thirsty person dreams of drinking
and wakes up faint, still thirsty,
so shall the multitude of all the nations be
that fight against Mount Zion.
9Stupefy yourselves and be in a stupor,
blind yourselves and be blind!
Be drunk, but not from wine;
stagger, but not from strong drink!10For the Lord has poured out upon you
a spirit of deep sleep;
he has closed your eyes, you prophets,
and covered your heads, you seers.11The vision of all this has become for you like the words of a sealed document. If it is given to those who can read, with the command, “Read this,” they say, “We cannot, for it is sealed.”12And if it is given to those who cannot read, saying, “Read this,” they say, “We cannot read.”
13The Lord said:
Because these people draw near with their mouths
and honor me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me,
and their worship of me is a human commandment learned by rote;14so I will again do
amazing things with this people,
shocking and amazing.
The wisdom of their wise shall perish,
and the discernment of the discerning shall be hidden.
15Ha! You who hide a plan too deep for the Lord,
whose deeds are in the dark,
and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?”16You turn things upside down!
Shall the potter be regarded as the clay?
Shall the thing made say of its maker,
“He did not make me”;
or the thing formed say of the one who formed it,
“He has no understanding”?
Hope for the Future
17Shall not Lebanon in a very little while
become a fruitful field,
and the fruitful field be regarded as a forest?18On that day the deaf shall hear
the words of a scroll,
and out of their gloom and darkness
the eyes of the blind shall see.19The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord,
and the neediest people shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.20For the tyrant shall be no more,
and the scoffer shall cease to be;
all those alert to do evil shall be cut off—21those who cause a person to lose a lawsuit,
who set a trap for the arbiter in the gate,
and without grounds deny justice to the one in the right.
22Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob:
No longer shall Jacob be ashamed,
no longer shall his face grow pale.23For when he sees his children,
the work of my hands, in his midst,
they will sanctify my name;
they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob,
and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.24And those who err in spirit will come to understanding,
and those who grumble will accept instruction.
Chapter 30The Futility of Reliance on Egypt
1Oh, rebellious children, says the Lord,
who carry out a plan, but not mine;
who make an alliance, but against my will,
adding sin to sin;2who set out to go down to Egypt
without asking for my counsel,
to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh,
and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt;3Therefore the protection of Pharaoh shall become your shame,
and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt your humiliation.4For though his officials are at Zoan
and his envoys reach Hanes,5everyone comes to shame
through a people that cannot profit them,
that brings neither help nor profit,
but shame and disgrace.
6An oracle concerning the animals of the Negeb.
Through a land of trouble and distress,
of lioness and roaring lion,
of viper and flying serpent,
they carry their riches on the backs of donkeys,
and their treasures on the humps of camels,
to a people that cannot profit them.7For Egypt's help is worthless and empty,
therefore I have called her,
“Rahab who sits still.”
A Rebellious People
8Go now, write it before them on a tablet,
and inscribe it in a book,
so that it may be for the time to come
as a witness forever.9For they are a rebellious people,
children who will not hear
the instruction of the Lord;10who say to the seers, “Do not see”;
and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right;
speak to us smooth things,
prophesy illusions,11leave the way, turn aside from the path,
let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”12Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel:
Because you reject this word,
and put your trust in oppression and deceit,
and rely on them;13therefore this iniquity shall become for you
like a break in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse,
whose crash comes suddenly, in an instant;14its breaking is like that of a potter's vessel
that is smashed so ruthlessly
that among its fragments not a sherd is found
for taking fire from the hearth,
or dipping water out of the cistern.
15For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel:
In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.
But you refused16and said,
“No! We will flee upon horses”—
therefore you shall flee!
and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”—
therefore your pursuers shall be swift!17A thousand shall flee at the threat of one,
at the threat of five you shall flee,
until you are left
like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain,
like a signal on a hill.
God's Promise to Zion
18Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
blessed are all those who wait for him.19Truly, O people in Zion, inhabitants of Jerusalem, you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when he hears it, he will answer you.20Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.21And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”22Then you will defile your silver-covered idols and your gold-plated images. You will scatter them like filthy rags; you will say to them, “Away with you!”23He will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and grain, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. On that day your cattle will graze in broad pastures;24and the oxen and donkeys that till the ground will eat silage, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork.25On every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water—on a day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall.26Moreover the light of the moon will be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, like the light of seven days, on the day when the Lord binds up the injuries of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.
Judgment on Assyria
27See, the name of the Lord comes from far away,
burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke;
his lips are full of indignation,
and his tongue is like a devouring fire;28his breath is like an overflowing stream
that reaches up to the neck—
to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction,
and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads them astray.
29You shall have a song as in the night when a holy festival is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the Lord, to the Rock of Israel.30And the Lord will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and tempest and hailstones.31The Assyrian will be terror-stricken at the voice of the Lord, when he strikes with his rod.32And every stroke of the staff of punishment that the Lord lays upon him will be to the sound of timbrels and lyres; battling with brandished arm he will fight with him.33For his burning place has long been prepared; truly it is made ready for the king, its pyre made deep and wide, with fire and wood in abundance; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of sulfur, kindles it.
Chapter 31Alliance with Egypt Is Futile
1Alas for those who go down to Egypt for help
and who rely on horses,
who trust in chariots because they are many
and in horsemen because they are very strong,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel
or consult the Lord!2Yet he too is wise and brings disaster;
he does not call back his words,
but will rise against the house of the evildoers,
and against the helpers of those who work iniquity.3The Egyptians are human, and not God;
their horses are flesh, and not spirit.
When the Lord stretches out his hand,
the helper will stumble, and the one helped will fall,
and they will all perish together.
4For thus the Lord said to me,
As a lion or a young lion growls over its prey,
and—when a band of shepherds is called out against it—
is not terrified by their shouting
or daunted at their noise,
so the Lord of hosts will come down
to fight upon Mount Zion and upon its hill.5Like birds hovering overhead, so the Lord of hosts
will protect Jerusalem;
he will protect and deliver it,
he will spare and rescue it.
6Turn back to him whom you have deeply betrayed, O people of Israel.7For on that day all of you shall throw away your idols of silver and idols of gold, which your hands have sinfully made for you.8“Then the Assyrian shall fall by a sword, not of mortals;
and a sword, not of humans, shall devour him;
he shall flee from the sword,
and his young men shall be put to forced labor.9His rock shall pass away in terror,
and his officers desert the standard in panic,”
says the Lord, whose fire is in Zion,
and whose furnace is in Jerusalem.
Chapter 32Government with Justice Predicted
1See, a king will reign in righteousness,
and princes will rule with justice.2Each will be like a hiding place from the wind,
a covert from the tempest,
like streams of water in a dry place,
like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.3Then the eyes of those who have sight will not be closed,
and the ears of those who have hearing will listen.4The minds of the rash will have good judgment,
and the tongues of stammerers will speak readily and distinctly.5A fool will no longer be called noble,
nor a villain said to be honorable.6For fools speak folly,
and their minds plot iniquity:
to practice ungodliness,
to utter error concerning the Lord,
to leave the craving of the hungry unsatisfied,
and to deprive the thirsty of drink.7The villainies of villains are evil;
they devise wicked devices
to ruin the poor with lying words,
even when the plea of the needy is right.8But those who are noble plan noble things,
and by noble things they stand.
Complacent Women Warned of Disaster
9Rise up, you women who are at ease, hear my voice;
you complacent daughters, listen to my speech.10In little more than a year
you will shudder, you complacent ones;
for the vintage will fail,
the fruit harvest will not come.11Tremble, you women who are at ease,
shudder, you complacent ones;
strip, and make yourselves bare,
and put sackcloth on your loins.12Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields,
for the fruitful vine,13for the soil of my people
growing up in thorns and briers;
yes, for all the joyous houses
in the jubilant city.14For the palace will be forsaken,
the populous city deserted;
the hill and the watchtower
will become dens forever,
the joy of wild asses,
a pasture for flocks;15until a spirit from on high is poured out on us,
and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,
and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.The Peace of God's Reign
16Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.17The effect of righteousness will be peace,
and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.18My people will abide in a peaceful habitation,
in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.19The forest will disappear completely,
and the city will be utterly laid low.20Happy will you be who sow beside every stream,
who let the ox and the donkey range freely.
Chapter 33A Prophecy of Deliverance from Foes
1Ah, you destroyer,
who yourself have not been destroyed;
you treacherous one,
with whom no one has dealt treacherously!
When you have ceased to destroy,
you will be destroyed;
and when you have stopped dealing treacherously,
you will be dealt with treacherously.
2O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you.
Be our arm every morning,
our salvation in the time of trouble.3At the sound of tumult, peoples fled;
before your majesty, nations scattered.4Spoil was gathered as the caterpillar gathers;
as locusts leap, they leaped upon it.5The Lord is exalted, he dwells on high;
he filled Zion with justice and righteousness;6he will be the stability of your times,
abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge;
the fear of the Lord is Zion's treasure.
7Listen! the valiant cry in the streets;
the envoys of peace weep bitterly.8The highways are deserted,
travelers have quit the road.
The treaty is broken,
its oaths are despised,
its obligation is disregarded.9The land mourns and languishes;
Lebanon is confounded and withers away;
Sharon is like a desert;
and Bashan and Carmel shake off their leaves.
10“Now I will arise,” says the Lord,
“now I will lift myself up;
now I will be exalted.11You conceive chaff, you bring forth stubble;
your breath is a fire that will consume you.12And the peoples will be as if burned to lime,
like thorns cut down, that are burned in the fire.”
13Hear, you who are far away, what I have done;
and you who are near, acknowledge my might.14The sinners in Zion are afraid;
trembling has seized the godless:
“Who among us can live with the devouring fire?
Who among us can live with everlasting flames?”15Those who walk righteously and speak uprightly,
who despise the gain of oppression,
who wave away a bribe instead of accepting it,
who stop their ears from hearing of bloodshed
and shut their eyes from looking on evil,16they will live on the heights;
their refuge will be the fortresses of rocks;
their food will be supplied, their water assured.
The Land of the Majestic King
17Your eyes will see the king in his beauty;
they will behold a land that stretches far away.18Your mind will muse on the terror:
“Where is the one who counted?
Where is the one who weighed the tribute?
Where is the one who counted the towers?”19No longer will you see the insolent people,
the people of an obscure speech that you cannot comprehend,
stammering in a language that you cannot understand.20Look on Zion, the city of our appointed festivals!
Your eyes will see Jerusalem,
a quiet habitation, an immovable tent,
whose stakes will never be pulled up,
and none of whose ropes will be broken.21But there the Lord in majesty will be for us
a place of broad rivers and streams,
where no galley with oars can go,
nor stately ship can pass.22For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our ruler,
the Lord is our king; he will save us.
23Your rigging hangs loose;
it cannot hold the mast firm in its place,
or keep the sail spread out.
Then prey and spoil in abundance will be divided;
even the lame will fall to plundering.24And no inhabitant will say, “I am sick”;
the people who live there will be forgiven their iniquity.