Good News Translation (GNB)
31

God will Protect Jerusalem

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.

32

A King with Integrity

321Some day there will be a king who rules with integrity, and national leaders who govern with justice. 2Each of them will be like a shelter from the wind and a place to hide from storms. They will be like streams flowing in a desert, like the shadow of a giant rock in a barren land. 3Their eyes and ears will be open to the needs of the people. 4They will not be impatient any longer, but they will act with understanding and will say what they mean. 5No one will think that a fool is honourable or say that a scoundrel is honest. 6A fool speaks foolishly and thinks up evil things to do. What he does and what he says are an insult to the LORD, and he never feeds the hungry or gives thirsty people anything to drink. 7A stupid person is evil and does evil things; he plots to ruin the poor with lies and to prevent them getting their rights. 8But an honourable person acts honestly and stands firm for what is right.

Judgement and Restoration

9You women who live an easy life, free from worries, listen to what I am saying. 10You may be satisfied now, but this time next year you will be in despair because there will be no grapes for you to gather. 11You have been living an easy life, free from worries; but now, tremble with fear! Strip off your clothes and tie rags round your waist. 12Beat your breasts in grief because the fertile fields and the vineyards have been destroyed, 13and thorn bushes and briars are growing on my people's land. Weep for all the houses where people were happy and for the city that was full of life. 14Even the palace will be abandoned and the capital city totally deserted. Homes and the forts that guarded them will be in ruins for ever. Wild donkeys will roam there, and sheep will find pasture there.

15But once more God will send us his Spirit. The waste land will become fertile, and fields will produce rich crops. 16Everywhere in the land righteousness and justice will be done. 17Because everyone will do what is right, there will be peace and security for ever. 18God's people will be free from worries, and their homes peaceful and safe. 19(But hail will fall on the forests, and the city will be torn down.) 20How happy everyone will be with plenty of water for the crops and safe pasture everywhere for the donkeys and cattle.

33

A Prayer for Help

331Our enemies are doomed! They have robbed and betrayed, although no one has robbed them or betrayed them. But their time to rob and betray will end, and they themselves will become victims of robbery and treachery.

2LORD, have mercy on us. We have put our hope in you. Protect us day by day and save us in times of trouble. 3When you fight for us, nations run away from the noise of battle. 4Their belongings are pounced upon and taken as loot.

5How great the LORD is! He rules over everything. He will fill Jerusalem with justice and integrity 6and give stability to the nation. He always protects his people and gives them wisdom and knowledge. Their greatest treasure is their reverence for the LORD.

7The brave are calling for help. The ambassadors who tried to bring about peace are crying bitterly. 8The highways are so dangerous that no one travels on them. Treaties are broken and agreements are violated. No one is respected any more. 9The land lies idle and deserted. The forests of Lebanon have withered, the fertile valley of Sharon is like a desert, and in Bashan and on Mount Carmel the leaves are falling from the trees.

The LORD Warns his Enemies

10The LORD says to the nations, “Now I will act. I will show how powerful I am. 11You make worthless plans and everything you do is useless. My spirit is like a fire that will destroy you.33.11 One ancient translation My spirityou; Hebrew You are destroying yourselves. 12You will crumble like rocks burnt to make lime, like thorns burnt to ashes. 13Let everyone near and far hear what I have done and acknowledge my power.”

14The sinful people of Zion are trembling with fright. They say, “God's judgement is like a fire that burns for ever. Can any of us survive a fire like that?” 15You can survive if you say and do what is right. Don't use your power to cheat the poor and don't accept bribes. Don't join with those who plan to commit murder or to do other evil things. 16Then you will be safe; you will be as secure as if you were in a strong fortress. You will have food to eat and water to drink.

The Glorious Future

17Once again you will see a king ruling in splendour over a land that stretches in all directions. 18Your old fears of foreign tax collectors and spies will be only a memory. 19You will no longer see any arrogant foreigners who speak a language that you can't understand. 20Look at Zion, the city where we celebrate our religious festivals. Look at Jerusalem! What a safe place it will be to live in! It will be like a tent that is never moved, whose pegs are never pulled up and whose ropes never break. 21The LORD will show us his glory. We will live beside broad rivers and streams, but hostile ships will not sail on them.33.21 Verse 21 in Hebrew is unclear. 22-23All the rigging on those ships is useless; the sails cannot be spread! We will seize all the wealth of enemy armies, and there will be so much that even the lame can have a share. The LORD himself will be our king; he will rule over us and protect us. 24No one who lives in our land will ever again complain of being ill, and all sins will be forgiven.