21How terrible it will be for those who lie awake and plan evil! When morning comes, as soon as they have the chance, they do the evil they planned. 2When they want fields, they seize them; when they want houses, they take them. No one's family or property is safe.
3And so the LORD says, “I am planning to bring disaster on you, and you will not be able to escape it. You are going to find yourselves in trouble, and then you will not walk so proudly any more. 4When that time comes, people will use your story as an example of disaster, and they will sing this song of despair about your experience:
We are completely ruined!
The LORD has taken our land away
And given it to those who took us captive.”2.4 Probable text those who took us captive; Hebrew rebels.
5So then, when the time comes for the land to be given back to the LORD's people, there will be no share for any of you.
6The people preach at me and say, “Don't preach at us. Don't preach about all that. God is not going to disgrace us. 7Do you think the people of Israel are under a curse?2.7 Probable text under a curse; Hebrew unclear. Has the LORD lost his patience? Would he really do such things? Doesn't he2.7 One ancient translation Doesn't he; Hebrew Don't I. speak kindly to those who do right?”
8The LORD replies, “You attack my people2.8 Probable text You attack my people; Hebrew Recently my people have attacked. like enemies. Men return from battle, thinking they are safe at home, but there you are, waiting to steal the coats off their backs. 9You drive the women of my people out of the homes they love, and you have robbed their children of my blessings for ever. 10Get up and go; there is no safety here any more. Your sins have doomed this place to destruction.
11“These people want the kind of prophet who goes about full of lies and deceit and says, ‘I prophesy that wine and liquor will flow for you.’
12“But I will gather you together, all you people of Israel that are left. I will bring you together like sheep returning to the fold. Like a pasture full of sheep, your land will once again be filled with many people.”
13God will open the way for them and lead them out of exile. They will break out of the city gates and go free. Their king, the LORD himself, will lead them out.
31Listen, you rulers of Israel! You are supposed to be concerned about justice, 2yet you hate what is good and you love what is evil. You skin my people alive and tear the flesh off their bones. 3You eat my people up. You strip off their skin, break their bones, and chop them up like meat for the pot. 4The time is coming when you will cry out to the LORD, but he will not answer you. He will not listen to your prayers, for you have done evil.
5My people are deceived by prophets who promise peace to those who pay them, but threaten war for those who don't. To these prophets the LORD says, 6“Prophets, your day is almost over; the sun is going down on you. Because you mislead my people, you will have no more prophetic visions, and you will not be able to predict anything.” 7Those who predict the future will be disgraced by their failure. They will all be humiliated because God does not answer them.
8But as for me, the LORD fills me with his Spirit and power, and gives me a sense of justice and the courage to tell the people of Israel what their sins are. 9Listen to me, you rulers of Israel, you that hate justice and turn right into wrong. 10You are building God's city, Jerusalem, on a foundation of murder and injustice. 11The city's rulers govern for bribes, the priests interpret the Law for pay, the prophets give their revelations for money — and they all claim that the LORD is with them. “No harm will come to us,” they say. “The LORD is with us.”
And so, because of you, Zion will be ploughed like a field, Jerusalem will become a pile of ruins, and the Temple hill will become a forest.
41In days to come
the mountain where the Temple stands
will be the highest one of all,
towering above all the hills.
Many nations will come streaming to it,
2and their people will say,
“Let us go up the hill of the LORD,4.2 hill of the LORD: Mount Zion (see Zion in Word List).
to the Temple of Israel's God.
He will teach us what he wants us to do;
we will walk in the paths he has chosen.
For the LORD's teaching comes from Jerusalem;
from Zion he speaks to his people.”
He will settle disputes among the nations,
among the great powers near and far.
They will hammer their swords into ploughs
and their spears into pruning knives.
Nations will never again go to war,
never prepare for battle again.
Everyone will live in peace
among his own vineyards and fig trees,
and no one will make him afraid.
The LORD Almighty has promised this.
5Each nation worships and obeys its own god, but we will worship and obey the LORD our God for ever and ever.
6“The time is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will gather together the people I punished, those who have suffered in exile. 7They are crippled and far from home, but I will make a new beginning with those who are left, and they will become a great nation. I will rule over them on Mount Zion from that time on and for ever.”
8And you, Jerusalem, where God, like a shepherd, watches over his people, will once again be the capital of the kingdom that was yours. 9Why do you cry out so loudly? Why are you suffering like a woman in labour? Is it because you have no king, and your counsellors are dead? 10Twist and groan,4.10 Probable text groan; Hebrew bring forth. people of Jerusalem, like a woman giving birth, for now you will have to leave the city and live in the open country. You will have to go to Babylon, but there the LORD will save you from your enemies. 11Many nations have gathered to attack you. They say, “Jerusalem must be destroyed! We will see this city in ruins!” 12But these nations do not know what is in the LORD's mind. They do not realize that they have been gathered together to be punished in the same way that corn is brought in to be threshed.
13The LORD says, “People of Jerusalem, go and punish your enemies! I will make you as strong as a bull with iron horns and bronze hoofs. You will crush many nations, and the wealth they got by violence you will present to me, the Lord of the whole world.”