1Our 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 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.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.24No one who lives in our land will ever again complain of being ill, and all sins will be forgiven.
God will Punish his Enemies
1Come, people of all nations! Gather round and listen. Let the whole earth and everyone living on it come here and listen. 2The LORD is angry with all the nations and all their armies. He has condemned them to destruction. 3Their corpses will not be buried, but will lie there rotting and stinking; and the mountains will be red with blood. 4The sun, moon, and stars will crumble to dust. The sky will disappear like a scroll being rolled up, and the stars will fall like leaves dropping from a vine or a fig tree.
5The LORD has prepared his sword in heaven, and now it will strike Edom, those people whom he has condemned to destruction. 6His sword will be covered with their blood and fat, like the blood and fat of lambs and goats that are sacrificed. The LORD will offer this sacrifice in the city of Bozrah; he will make this a great slaughter in the land of Edom. 7The people will fall like wild oxen and young bulls, and the earth will be red with blood and covered with fat. 8This is the time when the LORD will rescue Zion and take vengeance on her enemies.
9The rivers of Edom will turn into tar, and the soil will turn into sulphur. The whole country will burn like tar. 10It will burn day and night, and smoke will rise from it for ever. The land will lie waste age after age, and no one will ever travel through it again. 11Owls and ravens will take over the land. The LORD will make it a barren waste again, as it was before the creation. 12There will be no king to rule the country, and the leaders will all be gone.13Thorns and thistles will grow up in all the palaces and walled towns, and jackals and owls will live in them. 14Wild animals will roam there, and demons will call to each other. The night monster will come there looking for a place to rest. 15Owls will build their nests, lay eggs, hatch their young, and care for them there. Vultures will gather there, one after another.
16Search in the LORD's book of living creatures and read what it says. Not one of these creatures will be missing, and not one will be without its mate. The LORD has commanded it to be so; he himself will bring them together. 17It is the LORD who will divide the land among them and give each of them a share. They will live in the land age after age, and it will belong to them for ever.
The Road of Holiness
1The desert will rejoice,
and flowers will bloom in the wilderness.
2The desert will sing and shout for joy;
it will be as beautiful as the Lebanon Mountains
and as fertile as the fields of Carmel and Sharon.
Everyone will see the LORD's splendour,
see his greatness and power.
3Give strength to hands that are tired
and to knees that tremble with weakness.
4Tell everyone who is discouraged,
“Be strong and don't be afraid!
God is coming to your rescue,
coming to punish your enemies.”
5The blind will be able to see,
and the deaf will hear.
6The lame will leap and dance,
and those who cannot speak will shout for joy.
Streams of water will flow through the desert;
7the burning sand will become a lake,
and dry land will be filled with springs.
Where jackals used to live,
marsh grass and reeds will grow.
8There will be a highway there,
called “The Road of Holiness”.
No sinner will ever travel that road;
no fools will mislead those who follow it.
9No lions will be there;
no fierce animals will pass that way.
Those whom the LORD has rescued
will travel home by that road.
10They will reach Jerusalem with gladness,
singing and shouting for joy.
They will be happy for ever,
for ever free from sorrow and grief.
1In the fourteenth year that Hezekiah was king of Judah, Sennacherib, the emperor of Assyria, attacked the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 2Then he ordered his chief official to go from Lachish to Jerusalem with a large military force to demand that King Hezekiah should surrender. The official occupied the road where the clothmakers work, by the ditch that brings water from the upper pond. 3Three Judeans came out to meet him: the official in charge of the palace, Eliakim son of Hilkiah; the court secretary, Shebna; and the official in charge of the records, Joah son of Asaph. 4The Assyrian official told them that the emperor wanted to know what made King Hezekiah so confident. 5He demanded, “Do you think that words can take the place of military skill and might? Who do you think will help you rebel against Assyria? 6You are expecting Egypt to help you, but that would be like using a reed as a walking stick — it would break and jab your hand. That is what the king of Egypt is like when anyone relies on him.”
7The Assyrian official went on, “Or will you tell me that you are relying on the LORD your God? It was the LORD's shrines and altars that Hezekiah destroyed when he told the people of Judah and Jerusalem to worship at one altar only. 8I will make a bargain with you in the name of the emperor. I will give you 2,000 horses if you can find that many riders. 9You are no match for even the lowest ranking Assyrian official, and yet you expect the Egyptians to send you chariots and cavalry. 10Do you think I have attacked your country and destroyed it without the LORD's help? The LORD himself told me to attack it and destroy it.”
11Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the official, “Speak Aramaic to us. We understand it. Don't speak Hebrew; all the people on the wall are listening.”
12He replied, “Do you think you and the king are the only ones the emperor sent me to say all these things to? No, I am also talking to the people who are sitting on the wall, who will have to eat their excrement and drink their urine, just as you will.”
13Then the official stood up and shouted in Hebrew, “Listen to what the emperor of Assyria is telling you. 14He warns you not to let Hezekiah deceive you. Hezekiah can't save you. 15And don't let him persuade you to rely on the LORD. Don't think that the LORD will save you and that he will stop our Assyrian army from capturing your city. 16Don't listen to Hezekiah! The emperor of Assyria commands you to come out of the city and surrender. You will all be allowed to eat grapes from your own vines and figs from your own trees, and to drink water from your own wells — 17until the emperor resettles you in a country much like your own, where there are vineyards to give wine and there is corn for making bread. 18Don't let Hezekiah fool you into thinking that the LORD will rescue you. Did the gods of any other nations save their countries from the emperor of Assyria? 19Where are they now, the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Did anyone save Samaria? 20When did any of the gods of all these countries ever save their country from our emperor? Then what makes you think the LORD can save Jerusalem?”
21The people kept quiet, just as King Hezekiah had told them to; they did not say a word. 22Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah tore their clothes in grief and went and reported to the king what the Assyrian official had said.