31Now the Lord, the Almighty LORD, is about to take away from Jerusalem and Judah everything and everyone that the people depend on. He is going to take away their food and their water, 2their heroes and their soldiers, their judges and their prophets, their fortune tellers and their statesmen, 3their military and civilian leaders, their politicians and everyone who uses magic to control events. 4The LORD will let the people be governed by immature boys. 5Everyone will take advantage of everyone else. Young people will not respect their elders, and worthless people will not respect their superiors.
6A time will come when the members of a clan will choose one of their number and say to him, “You at least have something to wear, so be our leader in this time of trouble.”
7But he will answer, “Not me! I can't help you. I haven't any food or clothes either. Don't make me your leader!”
8Yes, Jerusalem is doomed! Judah is collapsing! Everything they say and do is against the LORD; they openly insult God himself. 9Their prejudices will be held against them. They sin as openly as the people of Sodom did. They are doomed, and they have brought it on themselves.
10The righteous will be happy,3.10 Probable text The righteous will be happy; Hebrew Say to the righteous. and things will go well for them. They will be able to enjoy what they have worked for. 11But evil people are doomed; what they have done to others will now be done to them.
12Moneylenders oppress my people, and their creditors cheat them.
My people, your leaders are misleading you, so that you do not know which way to turn.
13The LORD is ready to state his case; he is ready to judge his people.3.13 Some ancient translations his people; Hebrew the peoples. 14The LORD is bringing the elders and leaders of his people to judgement. He makes this accusation: “You have plundered vineyards, and your houses are full of what you have taken from the poor. 15You have no right to crush my people and take advantage of the poor. I, the Sovereign LORD Almighty, have spoken.”
16The LORD said, “Look how proud the women of Jerusalem are! They walk along with their noses in the air. They are always flirting. They take dainty little steps, and the bracelets on their ankles jingle. 17But I will punish them — I will shave their heads and leave them bald.”
18A day is coming when the Lord will take away from the women of Jerusalem everything they are so proud of — the ornaments they wear on their ankles, on their heads, on their necks, 19and on their wrists. He will take away their veils 20and their hats; the magic charms they wear on their arms and at their waists; 21the rings they wear on their fingers and in their noses; 22all their fine robes, gowns, cloaks, and purses; 23their revealing garments, their linen handkerchiefs, and the scarves and long veils they wear on their heads.
24Instead of using perfumes, they will stink; instead of fine belts, they will wear coarse ropes; instead of having beautiful hair, they will be bald; instead of fine clothes, they will be dressed in rags; their beauty will be turned to shame!
25The men of the city, yes, even the strongest men, will be killed in war. 26The city gates will mourn and cry, and the city itself will be like a woman sitting on the ground, stripped naked.
41When that time comes, seven women will grab hold of one man and say, “We can feed and clothe ourselves, but please let us say you are our husband, so that we won't have to endure the shame of being unmarried.”
2The time is coming when the LORD will make every plant and tree in the land grow large and beautiful. All the people of Israel who survive will take delight and pride in the crops that the land produces. 3Everyone who is left in Jerusalem, whom God has chosen for survival, will be called holy. 4By his power the Lord will judge and purify the nation and wash away the guilt of Jerusalem and the blood that has been shed there. 5
Then over Mount Zion and over all who are gathered there, the LORD will send a cloud in the daytime and smoke and a bright flame at night. God's glory will cover and protect the whole city. 6His glory will shade the city from the heat of the day and make it a place of safety, sheltered from the rain and storm.
Listen while I sing you this song,
a song of my friend and his vineyard:
My friend had a vineyard
on a very fertile hill.
2He dug the soil and cleared it of stones;
he planted the finest vines.
He built a tower to guard them,
dug a pit for treading the grapes.
He waited for the grapes to ripen,
but every grape was sour.
3So now my friend says, “You people who live in Jerusalem and Judah, judge between my vineyard and me. 4Is there anything I failed to do for it? Then why did it produce sour grapes and not the good grapes I expected?
5“This is what I am going to do to my vineyard; I will take away the hedge round it, break down the wall that protects it, and let wild animals eat it and trample it down. 6I will let it be overgrown with weeds. I will not prune the vines or hoe the ground; instead I will let briars and thorns cover it. I will even forbid the clouds to let rain fall on it.”
7Israel is the vineyard of the LORD Almighty;
the people of Judah are the vines he planted.
He expected them to do what was good,
but instead they committed murder.
He expected them to do what was right,
but their victims cried out for justice.
8You are doomed! You buy more houses and fields to add to those you already have. Soon there will be nowhere for anyone else to live, and you alone will live in the land. 9I have heard the LORD Almighty say, “All these big, fine houses will be empty ruins. 10The grapevines growing on ten hectares of land will yield only eight litres of wine. 180 litres of seed will produce only eighteen litres of corn.”
11You are doomed! You get up early in the morning to start drinking, and you spend long evenings getting drunk. 12At your feasts you have harps and tambourines and flutes — and wine. But you don't understand what the LORD is doing, 13and so you will be carried away as prisoners. Your leaders will starve to death, and the common people will die of thirst. 14The world of the dead is hungry for them, and it opens its mouth wide. It gulps down the nobles of Jerusalem along with the noisy crowd of common people.
15Everyone will be disgraced, and all who are proud will be humbled. 16But the LORD Almighty shows his greatness by doing what is right, and he reveals his holiness by judging his people. 17In the ruins of the cities lambs will eat grass and young goats will find pasture.5.17 Verse 17 in Hebrew is unclear.
18You are doomed! You are unable to break free from your sins. 19You say, “Let the LORD hurry up and do what he says he will, so that we can see it. Let Israel's holy God carry out his plans; let's see what he has in mind.”
20You are doomed! You call evil good and call good evil. You turn darkness into light and light into darkness. You make what is bitter sweet, and what is sweet you make bitter.
21You are doomed! You think you are wise, so very clever.
22You are doomed! Heroes of the wine bottle! Brave and fearless when it comes to mixing drinks! 23But for just a bribe you let the guilty go free, and you prevent the innocent from getting justice. 24So now, just as straw and dry grass shrivel and burn in the fire, your roots will rot and your blossoms will dry up and blow away, because you have rejected what the LORD Almighty, Israel's holy God, has taught us. 25The LORD is angry with his people and has stretched out his hand to punish them. The mountains will shake, and the bodies of those who die will be left in the streets like rubbish. Yet even then the LORD's anger will not be ended, but his hand will still be stretched out to punish.
26The LORD gives a signal to call for a distant nation.5.26 Probable text a distant nation; Hebrew distant nations. He whistles for them to come from the ends of the earth. And here they come, swiftly, quickly! 27None of them grows tired; none of them stumbles. They never doze or sleep. Not a belt is loose; not a sandal strap is broken. 28Their arrows are sharp, and their bows are ready to shoot. Their horses' hooves are as hard as flint, and their chariot-wheels turn like a whirlwind. 29The soldiers roar like lions that have killed an animal and are carrying it off where no one can take it away from them.
30When that day comes, they will roar over Israel as loudly as the sea. Look at this country! Darkness and distress! The light is swallowed by darkness.