1The LORD said, “I was ready to answer my people's prayers, but they did not pray. I was ready for them to find me, but they did not even try. The nation did not pray to me, even though I was always ready to answer, ‘Here I am; I will help you.’ 2I have always been ready to welcome my people, who stubbornly do what is wrong and go their own way. 3They shamelessly keep on making me angry. They offer pagan sacrifices in sacred gardens and burn incense on pagan altars. 4At night they go to caves and tombs to consult the spirits of the dead. They eat pork and drink broth made from meat offered in pagan sacrifices. 5And then they say to others, ‘Keep away from us; we are too holy for you to touch!’ I cannot stand people like that — my anger against them is like a fire that never goes out.
6“I have already decided on their punishment, and their sentence is written down. I will not overlook what they have done, but will repay them 7for their sins and the sins of their ancestors. They have burnt incense at pagan hill shrines and spoken evil of me. So I will punish them as their past deeds deserve.”
8The LORD says, “No one destroys good grapes; instead, they make wine with them. Neither will I destroy all my people — I will save those who serve me. 9I will bless the Israelites who belong to the tribe of Judah, and their descendants will possess my land of mountains. My chosen people, who serve me, will live there. 10They will worship me and will lead their sheep and cattle to pasture in the Plain of Sharon in the west and in the Valley of Trouble in the east.
11“But it will be different for you that forsake me, who ignore Zion, my sacred hill, and worship Gad and Meni, the gods of luck and fate. 12It will be your fate to die a violent death, because you did not answer when I called you or listen when I spoke. You chose to disobey me and do evil. 13And so I tell you that those who worship and obey me will have plenty to eat and drink, but you will be hungry and thirsty. They will be happy, but you will be disgraced. 14They will sing for joy, but you will cry with a broken heart. 15My chosen people will use your name as a curse. I, the Sovereign LORD, will put you to death. But I will give a new name to those who obey me. 16Anyone in the land who asks for a blessing will ask to be blessed by the Faithful God. Whoever takes an oath will swear by the name of the Faithful God. The troubles of the past will be gone and forgotten.”
The New Creation
17The LORD says, “I am making a new earth and new heavens. The events of the past will be completely forgotten. 18Be glad and rejoice for ever in what I create. The new Jerusalem I make will be full of joy, and her people will be happy. 19I myself will be filled with joy because of Jerusalem and her people. There will be no weeping there, no calling for help. 20Babies will no longer die in infancy, and all people will live out their life span. Those who live to be a hundred will be considered young. To die before that would be a sign that I had punished them. 23The work they do will be successful, and their children will not meet with disaster. I will bless them and their descendants for all time to come. 24Even before they finish praying to me, I will answer their prayers. 25Wolves and lambs will eat together; lions will eat straw, as cattle do, and snakes will no longer be dangerous. On Zion, my sacred hill, there will be nothing harmful or evil.”
The LORD Judges the Nations
1The LORD says, “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house, then, could you build for me, what kind of place for me to live in? 2I myself created the whole universe! I am pleased with those who are humble and repentant, who fear me and obey me.
3“The people do as they please. It's all the same to them whether they kill a bull as a sacrifice or sacrifice a human being; whether they sacrifice a lamb or break a dog's neck; whether they present a grain offering or offer pigs' blood; whether they offer incense or pray to an idol. They take pleasure in disgusting ways of worship. 4So I will bring disaster upon them — the very things they are afraid of — because no one answered when I called or listened when I spoke. They chose to disobey me and do evil.”
5Listen to what the LORD says, you that fear him and obey him: “Because you are faithful to me, some of your own people hate you and will have nothing to do with you. They mock you and say, ‘Let the LORD show his greatness and save you, so that we may see you rejoice.’ But they themselves will be disgraced! 6Listen! That loud noise in the city, that sound in the Temple, is the sound of the LORD punishing his enemies!
7“My holy city is like a woman who suddenly gives birth to a child, without ever going into labour. 8Has anyone ever seen or heard of such a thing? Has a nation ever been born in a day? Zion will not have to suffer long, before the nation is born. 9Do not think that I will bring my people to the point of birth and not let them be born.” The LORD has spoken.
10Rejoice with Jerusalem; be glad for her,
all you that love this city!
Rejoice with her now,
all you that have mourned for her!
11You will enjoy her prosperity,
like a child at its mother's breast.
12The LORD says, “I will bring you lasting prosperity; the wealth of the nations will flow to you like a river that never goes dry. You will be like a child that is nursed by its mother, carried in her arms, and treated with love. 13I will comfort you in Jerusalem, as a mother comforts her child. 14When you see this happen, you will be glad; it will make you strong and healthy. Then you will know that I, the LORD, help those who obey me, and I show my anger against my enemies.”
15The LORD will come with fire. He will ride on the wings of a storm to punish those he is angry with. 16By fire and sword he will punish all the people of the world whom he finds guilty — and many will be put to death.
17The LORD says, “The end is near for those who purify themselves for pagan worship, who go in procession to sacred gardens, and who eat pork and mice and other disgusting foods. 18I know their thoughts and their deeds. I am coming to gather the people of all the nations. When they come together, they will see what my power can do 19and will know that I am the one who punishes them.
“But I will spare some of them and send them to the nations and the distant lands that have not heard of my fame or seen my greatness and power: to Spain, Libya, and Lydia, with its skilled archers, and to Tubal and Greece. Among these nations they will proclaim my greatness. 20They will bring back all your fellow-Israelites from the nations as a gift to me. They will bring them to my sacred hill in Jerusalem on horses, mules, and camels, and in chariots and wagons, just as Israelites bring grain offerings to the Temple in ritually clean containers. 21I will make some of them priests and Levites.
22“Just as the new earth and the new heavens will endure by my power, so your descendants and your name will endure. 23On every New Moon Festival and every Sabbath, people of every nation will come to worship me here in Jerusalem,” says the LORD. 24“As they leave, they will see the dead bodies of those who have rebelled against me. The worms that eat them will never die, and the fire that burns them will never be put out. The sight of them will be disgusting to the whole human race.”