291God's altar, Jerusalem itself, is doomed! The city where David camped is doomed! Let another year or two come and go, with its feasts and festivals, 2and then God will bring disaster on the city that is called “God's altar”. There will be weeping and wailing, and the whole city will be like an altar covered with blood. 3God will attack the city, surround it, and besiege it. 4Jerusalem will be like a ghost struggling to speak from under the ground, a muffled voice coming from the dust.
5Jerusalem, all the foreigners who attack you will be blown away like dust, and their terrifying armies will fly away like straw. Suddenly and unexpectedly 6the LORD Almighty will rescue you with violent thunderstorms and earthquakes. He will send tempests and raging fire; 7then all the armies of the nations attacking the city of God's altar, all their weapons and equipment — everything — will vanish like a dream, like something imagined in the night. 8All the nations that assemble to attack Jerusalem will be like a starving person who dreams he is eating and wakes up hungry, or like someone dying of thirst who dreams he is drinking and wakes with a dry throat.
9Go ahead and be stupid! Go ahead and be blind! Get drunk without any wine! Stagger without drinking a drop! 10
The LORD has made you drowsy, ready to fall into a deep sleep. The prophets should be the eyes of the people, but God has blindfolded them. 11The meaning of every prophetic vision will be hidden from you; it will be like a sealed scroll. If you take it to someone who knows how to read and ask him to read it to you, he will say he can't because it is sealed. 12If you give it to someone who can't read and ask him to read it to you, he will answer that he doesn't know how.
The Lord said, “These people claim to worship me, but their words are meaningless, and their hearts are somewhere else. Their religion is nothing but human rules and traditions, which they have simply memorized. 14
So I will startle them with one unexpected blow after another. Those who are wise will turn out to be fools, and all their cleverness will be useless.”
15Those who try to hide their plans from the LORD are doomed! They carry out their schemes in secret and think no one will see them or know what they are doing. 16
They turn everything upside down. Which is more important, the potter or the clay? Can a thing which someone has made say to its maker, “You didn't make me”? Or “You don't know what you are doing”?
17As the saying goes, before long the dense forest will become farmland, and the farmland will go back to forest.
18When that day comes, the deaf will be able to hear a book being read aloud, and the blind, who have been living in darkness, will open their eyes and see. 19Poor and humble people will once again find the happiness which the LORD, the holy God of Israel, gives. 20It will be the end of those who oppress others and show contempt for God. Every sinner will be destroyed. 21God will destroy those who slander others, those who prevent the punishment of criminals, and those who tell lies to keep honest men from getting justice.
22So now the LORD, the God of Israel, who rescued Abraham from trouble, says, “My people, you will not be disgraced any longer, and your faces will no longer be pale with shame. 23When you see the children that I will give you, then you will acknowledge that I am the holy God of Israel. You will honour me and stand in awe of me. 24Foolish people will learn to understand, and those who are always grumbling will be glad to be taught.”
301The LORD has spoken: “Those who rule Judah are doomed because they rebel against me. They follow plans that I did not make, and sign treaties against my will, piling one sin on another. 2They go to Egypt for help without asking for my advice. They want Egypt to protect them, so they put their trust in Egypt's king. 3But the king will be powerless to help them, and Egypt's protection will end in disaster. 4Although their ambassadors have already arrived at the Egyptian cities of Zoan and Hanes, 5the people of Judah will regret that they ever trusted that unreliable nation, a nation that fails them when they expect help.”
6This is God's message about the animals of the southern desert: “The ambassadors travel through dangerous country, where lions live and where there are poisonous snakes and flying dragons. They load their donkeys and camels with expensive gifts for a nation that cannot give them any help. 7The help that Egypt gives is useless. So I have nicknamed Egypt, ‘The Harmless Dragon’ ”.
8God told me to write down in a book what the people are like, so that there would be a permanent record of how evil they are. 9They are always rebelling against God, always lying, always refusing to listen to the LORD's teachings. 10They tell the prophets to keep quiet. They say, “Don't talk to us about what's right. Tell us what we want to hear. Let us keep our illusions. 11Get out of our way and stop blocking our path. We don't want to hear about your holy God of Israel.”
12But this is what the holy God of Israel says: “You ignore what I tell you and rely on violence and deceit. 13You are guilty. You are like a high wall with a crack running down it; suddenly you will collapse. 14You will be shattered like a clay pot, so badly broken that there is no piece big enough to pick up hot coals with, or to scoop water from a cistern.”
15The Sovereign LORD, the holy God of Israel, says to the people, “Come back and quietly trust in me. Then you will be strong and secure.” But you refuse to do it! 16Instead, you plan to escape from your enemies by riding fast horses. And you are right — escape is what you will have to do! You think your horses are fast enough, but those who pursue you will be faster! 17A thousand of you will run away when you see one enemy soldier, and five soldiers will be enough to make you all run away. Nothing will be left of your army except a lonely flagstaff on the top of a hill! 18And yet the LORD is waiting to be merciful to you. He is ready to take pity on you because he always does what is right. Happy are those who put their trust in the LORD.
19You people who live in Jerusalem will not weep any more. The LORD is compassionate, and when you cry to him for help, he will answer you. 20The Lord will make you go through hard times, but he himself will be there to teach you, and you will not have to search for him any more. 21If you wander off the road to the right or the left, you will hear his voice behind you saying, “Here is the road. Follow it.” 22You will take your idols plated with silver and your idols covered with gold, and will throw them away like filth, shouting, “Out of my sight!” 23Whenever you sow your seeds, the LORD will send rain to make them grow and will give you a rich harvest, and your livestock will have plenty of pasture. 24The oxen and donkeys that plough your fields will eat the finest and best fodder. 25On the day when the forts of your enemies are captured and their people are killed, streams of water will flow from every mountain and every hill. 26The moon will be as bright as the sun, and the sun will be seven times brighter than usual, like the light of seven days in one. This will all happen when the LORD bandages and heals the wounds he has given his people.
27The LORD's power and glory can be seen in the distance. Fire and smoke show his anger. He speaks, and his words burn like fire. 28He sends the wind in front of him like a flood that carries everything away. It sweeps nations to destruction and puts an end to their evil plans. 29But you, God's people, will be happy and sing as you do on the night of a sacred festival. You will be as happy as those who walk to the music of flutes on their way to the Temple of the LORD, the defender of Israel.
30The LORD will let everyone hear his majestic voice and feel the force of his anger. There will be flames, cloudbursts, hailstones, and torrents of rain. 31The Assyrians will be terrified when they hear the LORD's voice and feel the force of his punishment. 32As the LORD strikes them again and again, his people will keep time with the music of drums and harps. God himself will fight against the Assyrians. 33Long ago a place was prepared where a huge fire will burn the emperor of Assyria. It is deep and wide, and piled high with wood. The LORD will breathe out a stream of flame to set it on fire.
311Those who go to Egypt for help are doomed! They are relying on Egypt's vast military strength — horses, chariots, and soldiers. But they do not rely on the LORD, the holy God of Israel, or ask him for help. 2He knows what he is doing! He sends disaster. He carries out his threats to punish evil men and those who protect them. 3The Egyptians are not gods — they are only human. Their horses are not supernatural. When the LORD acts, the strong nation will crumble, and the weak nation it helped will fall. Both of them will be destroyed.
4The LORD said to me, “No matter how shepherds yell and shout, they can't scare away a lion from an animal that it has killed; in the same way, there is nothing that can keep me, the LORD Almighty, from protecting Mount Zion. 5Just as a bird hovers over its nest to protect its young, so I, the LORD Almighty, will protect Jerusalem and defend it.”
6The LORD said, “People of Israel, you have sinned against me and opposed me. But now, come back to me! 7A time is coming when all of you will throw away the sinful idols you made out of silver and gold. 8Assyria will be destroyed in war, but not by human power. The Assyrians will run from battle, and their young men will be made slaves. 9Their emperor will run away in terror, and the officers will be so frightened that they will abandon their battle flags.” The LORD has spoken — the LORD who is worshipped in Jerusalem and whose fire burns there for sacrifices.