Does an ax exalt itself over the one who wields it, or a saw magnify itself over the one who cuts with it? 1 As if a scepter should brandish the one who raises it, or a staff should lift up what is not made of wood!
So like a lion from the thicket their enemies will kill them. Like a wolf from the desert they will destroy them. Like a leopard they will lie in wait outside their cities and totally destroy anyone who ventures out. 1 For they have rebelled so much and done so many unfaithful things. 2
“I, the Lord, also have something to say concerning 1 the wicked nations who surround my land 2 and have attacked and plundered 3 the land that I gave to my people as a permanent possession. 4 I say: ‘I will uproot the people of those nations from their lands and I will free the people of Judah who have been taken there. 5
But you, Lord, know all their plots to kill me. Do not pardon their crimes! Do not ignore their sins as though you had erased them! 1 Let them be brought down in defeat before you! Deal with them while you are still angry! 2
For the Lord says, ‘I will make both you and your friends terrified of what will happen to you. 1 You will see all of them die by the swords of their enemies. 2 I will hand all the people of Judah over to the king of Babylon. He will carry some of them away into exile in Babylon and he will kill others of them with the sword.
“The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 1 also has something to say about Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah, who are prophesying lies to you and claiming my authority to do so. 2 ‘I will hand them over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and he will execute them before your very eyes.
Then Johanan son of Kareah spoke privately to Gedaliah there at Mizpah, “Let me go and kill Ishmael the son of Nethaniah before anyone knows about it. Otherwise he will kill you 1 and all the Judeans who have rallied around you will be scattered. Then what remains of Judah will disappear.”
I listened and my stomach churned; 1 the sound made my lips quiver. My frame went limp, as if my bones were decaying, 2 and I shook as I tried to walk. 3 I long 4 for the day of distress to come upon 5 the people who attack us.
I asked, “What are these going to do?” He answered, “These horns are the ones that have scattered Judah so that there is no one to be seen. 1 But the blacksmiths have come to terrify Judah’s enemies 2 and cut off the horns of the nations that have thrust themselves against the land of Judah in order to scatter its people.” 3
Indeed, I will no longer have compassion on the people of the land,” says the Lord, “but instead I will turn every last person over to his neighbor and his king. They will devastate the land, and I will not deliver it from them.”