The Egyptians Are Men, Not God
31 1 Doom to those who go off to Egypt thinking that horses can help them, Impressed by military mathematics, awed by sheer numbers of chariots and riders - And to The Holy of Israel, not even a glance, not so much as a prayer to God. 2 Still, he must be reckoned with, a most wise God who knows what he's doing. He can call down catastrophe. He's a God who does what he says. He intervenes in the work of those who do wrong, stands up against interfering evildoers. 3 Egyptians are mortal, not God, and their horses are flesh, not Spirit. When God gives the signal, helpers and helped alike will fall in a heap and share the same dirt grave. 4 This is what God told me: "Like a lion, king of the beasts, that gnaws and chews and worries its prey, Not fazed in the least by a bunch of shepherds who arrive to chase it off, So God-of-the-Angel-Armies comes down to fight on Mount Zion, to make war from its heights.
6 Repent, return, dear Israel, to the One you so cruelly abandoned. 7 On the day you return, you'll throw away - every last one of you - the no-gods your sinful hands made from metal and wood. 8 "Assyrians will fall dead, killed by a sword-thrust but not by a soldier, laid low by a sword not swung by a mortal. Assyrians will run from that sword, run for their lives, and their prize young men made slaves. 9 Terrorized, that rock-solid people will fall to pieces, their leaders scatter hysterically." God's Decree on Assyria. His fire blazes in Zion, his furnace burns hot in Jerusalem. 45 And like a huge eagle hovering in the sky, God-of-the-Angel-Armies protects Jerusalem. I'll protect and rescue it. Yes, I'll hover and deliver."
The Righteous King
32 1 But look! A king will rule in the right way, and his leaders will carry out justice. 2 Each one will stand as a shelter from high winds, provide safe cover in stormy weather. Each will be cool running water in parched land, a huge granite outcrop giving shade in the desert. 3 Anyone who looks will see, anyone who listens will hear. 4 The impulsive will make sound decisions, the tongue-tied will speak with eloquence. 5 No more will fools become celebrities, nor crooks be rewarded with fame. 6 For fools are fools and that's that, thinking up new ways to do mischief. They leave a wake of wrecked lives and lies about God, Turning their backs on the homeless hungry, ignoring those dying of thirst in the streets. 7 And the crooks? Underhanded sneaks they are, inventive in sin and scandal, Exploiting the poor with scams and lies, unmoved by the victimized poor. 8 But those who are noble make noble plans, and stand for what is noble.
Women of Jerusalem Warned
9 Take your stand, indolent women! Listen to me! Indulgent, indolent women, listen closely to what I have to say. 10 In just a little over a year from now, you'll be shaken out of your lazy lives. The grape harvest will fail, and there'll be no fruit on the trees. 11 Oh tremble, you indolent women. Get serious, you pampered dolls! Strip down and discard your silk fineries. Put on funeral clothes. 12 Shed honest tears for the lost harvest, the failed vintage. 13 Weep for my people's gardens and farms that grow nothing but thistles and thornbushes. Cry tears, real tears, for the happy homes no longer happy, the merry city no longer merry. 14 The royal palace is deserted, the bustling city quiet as a morgue, The emptied parks and playgrounds taken over by wild animals, delighted with their new home. 15 Yes, weep and grieve until the Spirit is poured down on us from above And the badlands desert grows crops and the fertile fields become forests. 16 Justice will move into the badlands desert. Right will build a home in the fertile field. 17 And where there's Right, there'll be Peace and the progeny of Right: quiet lives and endless trust. 18 My people will live in a peaceful neighborhood - in safe houses, in quiet gardens. 19 The forest of your pride will be clear-cut, the city showing off your power leveled. 20 But you will enjoy a blessed life, planting well-watered fields and gardens, with your farm animals grazing freely.
The LORD Will Bring Salvation
33 1 Doom to you, Destroyer, not yet destroyed; And doom to you, Betrayer, not yet betrayed. When you finish destroying, your turn will come - destroyed! When you quit betraying, your turn will come - betrayed! 2 God, treat us kindly. You're our only hope. First thing in the morning, be there for us! When things go bad, help us out! 3 You spoke in thunder and everyone ran. You showed up and nations scattered. 4 Your people, for a change, got in on the loot, picking the field clean of the enemy spoils. 5 God is supremely esteemed. His center holds. Zion brims over with all that is just and right. 6 God keeps your days stable and secure - salvation, wisdom, and knowledge in surplus, and best of all, Zion's treasure, Fear-of-God. 7 But look! Listen! Tough men weep openly. Peacemaking diplomats are in bitter tears. 8 The roads are empty - not a soul out on the streets. The peace treaty is broken, its conditions violated, its signers reviled. 9 The very ground under our feet mourns, the Lebanon mountains hang their heads, Flowering Sharon is a weed-choked gully, and the forests of Bashan and Carmel? Bare branches. 10 "Now I'm stepping in," God says. "From now on, I'm taking over. The gloves come off. Now see how mighty I am. 11 There's nothing to you. Pregnant with chaff, you produce straw babies; full of hot air, you self-destruct. 12 You're good for nothing but fertilizer and fuel. Earth to earth - and the sooner the better.
13 "If you're far away, get the reports on what I've done, And if you're in the neighborhood, pay attention to my record. 14 The sinners in Zion are rightly terrified; the godless are at their wit's end: 'Who among us can survive this firestorm? Who of us can get out of this purge with our lives?'" 15 The answer's simple: Live right, speak the truth, despise exploitation, refuse bribes, reject violence, avoid evil amusements. 16 This is how you raise your standard of living! A safe and stable way to live. A nourishing, satisfying way to live. God Makes All the Decisions Here 17 Oh, you'll see the king - a beautiful sight! And you'll take in the wide vistas of land. 18 In your mind you'll go over the old terrors: "What happened to that Assyrian inspector who condemned and confiscated? And the one who gouged us of taxes? And that cheating moneychanger?" 19 Gone! Out of sight forever! Their insolence nothing now but a fading stain on the carpet! No more putting up with a language you can't understand, no more sounds of gibberish in your ears. 20 Just take a look at Zion, will you? Centering our worship in festival feasts! Feast your eyes on Jerusalem, a quiet and permanent place to live. No more pulling up stakes and moving on, no more patched-together lean-tos. 21 Instead, God! God majestic, God himself the place in a country of broad rivers and streams, But rivers blocked to invading ships, off-limits to predatory pirates. 22 For God makes all the decisions here. God is our king. God runs this place and he'll keep us safe. 23 Ha! Your sails are in shreds, your mast wobbling, your hold leaking. The plunder is free for the taking, free for all - for weak and strong, insiders and outsiders. 24 No one in Zion will say, "I'm sick." Best of all, they'll all live guilt-free.
The LORD's Wrath upon the Nations
34 1 Draw in close now, nations. Listen carefully, you people. Pay attention! Earth, you too, and everything in you. World, and all that comes from you. 2 And here's why: God is angry, good and angry with all the nations, So blazingly angry at their arms and armies that he's going to rid earth of them, wipe them out. 3 The corpses, thrown in a heap, will stink like the town dump in midsummer, Their blood flowing off the mountains like creeks in spring runoff. 4 Stars will fall out of the sky like overripe, rotting fruit in the orchard, And the sky itself will be folded up like a blanket and put away in a closet. All that army of stars, shriveled to nothing, like leaves and fruit in autumn, dropping and rotting! 5 "Once I've finished with earth and sky, I'll start in on Edom. I'll come down hard on Edom, a people I've slated for total termination." 6 God has a sword, thirsty for blood and more blood, a sword hungry for well-fed flesh, Lamb and goat blood, the suet-rich kidneys of rams. Yes, God has scheduled a sacrifice in Bozrah, the capital, the whole country of Edom a slaughterhouse. 7 A wholesale slaughter, wild animals and farm animals alike slaughtered. The whole country soaked with blood, all the ground greasy with fat. 8 It's God's scheduled time for vengeance, the year all Zion's accounts are settled.
9 Edom's streams will flow sluggish, thick with pollution, the soil sterile, poisoned with waste, The whole country a smoking, stinking garbage dump - 10 The fires burning day and night, the skies black with endless smoke. Generation after generation of wasteland - no more travelers through this country! 11 Vultures and skunks will police the streets; owls and crows will feel at home there. God will reverse creation. Chaos! He will cancel fertility. Emptiness! 12 Leaders will have no one to lead. They'll name it No Kingdom There, A country where all kings and princes are unemployed. 13 Thistles will take over, covering the castles, fortresses conquered by weeds and thornbushes. Wild dogs will prowl the ruins, ostriches have the run of the place. 14 Wildcats and hyenas will hunt together, demons and devils dance through the night. The night-demon Lilith, evil and rapacious, will establish permanent quarters. 15 Scavenging carrion birds will breed and brood, infestations of ominous evil. 16 Get and read God's book: None of this is going away, this breeding, brooding evil. God has personally commanded it all. His Spirit set it in motion. 17 God has assigned them their place, decreed their fate in detail. This is permanent - generation after generation, the same old thing.
The Glorious Future of Zion
35 1 Wilderness and desert will sing joyously, the badlands will celebrate and flower - 2 bursting into blossom, a symphony of song and color. Mountain glories of Lebanon - a gift. Awesome Carmel, stunning Sharon - gifts. God's resplendent glory, fully on display. God awesome, God majestic. 3 Energize the limp hands, strengthen the rubbery knees. 4 Tell fearful souls, "Courage! Take heart! God is here, right here, on his way to put things right And redress all wrongs. He's on his way! He'll save you!"
5 Blind eyes will be opened, deaf ears unstopped, 6 Lame men and women will leap like deer, the voiceless break into song. Springs of water will burst out in the wilderness, streams flow in the desert. 7 Hot sands will become a cool oasis, thirsty ground a splashing fountain. Even lowly jackals will have water to drink, and barren grasslands flourish richly. 8 There will be a highway called the Holy Road. No one rude or rebellious is permitted on this road. It's for God's people exclusively - impossible to get lost on this road. Not even fools can get lost on it. 9 No lions on this road, no dangerous wild animals - Nothing and no one dangerous or threatening. Only the redeemed will walk on it. 10 The people God has ransomed will come back on this road. They'll sing as they make their way home to Zion, unfading halos of joy encircling their heads, Welcomed home with gifts of joy and gladness as all sorrows and sighs scurry into the night.