No one thinks to himself, nor do they comprehend or understand and say to themselves: ‘I burned half of it in the fire – yes, I baked bread over the coals; I roasted meat and ate it. With the rest of it should I make a disgusting idol? Should I bow down to dry wood?’ 1
Look up at the sky! Look at the earth below! For the sky will dissipate 1 like smoke, and the earth will wear out like clothes; its residents will die like gnats. But the deliverance I give 2 is permanent; the vindication I provide 3 will not disappear. 4
They seek me day after day; they want to know my requirements, 1 like a nation that does what is right and does not reject the law of their God. They ask me for just decrees; they want to be near God.
The spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has chosen 1 me. 2 He has commissioned 3 me to encourage 4 the poor, to help 5 the brokenhearted, to decree the release of captives, and the freeing of prisoners,
They did not ask: ‘Where is the Lord who delivered us out of Egypt, who brought us through the wilderness, through a land of desert sands and rift valleys, through a land of drought and deep darkness, 1 through a land in which no one travels, and where no one lives?’ 2
You people of this generation, listen to what the Lord says. “Have I been like a wilderness to you, Israel? Have I been like a dark and dangerous land to you? 1 Why then do you 2 say, ‘We are free to wander. 3 We will not come to you any more?’
And you, Zion, city doomed to destruction, 1 you accomplish nothing 2 by wearing a beautiful dress, 3 decking yourself out in jewels of gold, and putting on eye shadow! 4 You are making yourself beautiful for nothing. Your lovers spurn you. They want to kill you. 5
They will eat up your crops and your food. They will kill off 1 your sons and your daughters. They will eat up your sheep and your cattle. They will destroy your vines and your fig trees. 2 Their weapons will batter down 3 the fortified cities you trust in.
“You should fear me!” says the Lord. “You should tremble in awe before me! 1 I made the sand to be a boundary for the sea, a permanent barrier that it can never cross. Its waves may roll, but they can never prevail. They may roar, but they can never cross beyond that boundary.” 2
So now, tell the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem 1 this: The Lord says, ‘I am preparing to bring disaster on you! I am making plans to punish you. 2 So, every one of you, stop the evil things you have been doing. 3 Correct the way you have been living and do what is right.’ 4
I will do so because these people 1 have rejected me and have defiled 2 this place. They have offered sacrifices in it to other gods which neither they nor their ancestors 3 nor the kings of Judah knew anything about. They have filled it with the blood of innocent children. 4
I 1 hear many whispering words of intrigue against me. Those who would cause me terror are everywhere! 2 They are saying, “Come on, let’s publicly denounce him!” 3 All my so-called friends 4 are just watching for something that would lead to my downfall. 5 They say, “Perhaps he can be enticed into slipping up, so we can prevail over 6 him and get our revenge on him.
“For the last twenty-three years, from the thirteenth year that Josiah son of Amon was ruling in Judah 1 until now, the Lord has been speaking to me. I told you over and over again 2 what he said. 3 But you would not listen.
Because he has done this,” 1 the Lord says, “I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his whole family. There will not be any of them left to experience the good things that I will do for my people. I, the Lord, affirm it! For he counseled rebellion against the Lord.”’” 2
Now some of the officers of the Judean army and their troops had been hiding in the countryside. They heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam to govern 1 the country. They also heard that he had been put in charge over the men, women, and children from the poorer classes of the land who had not been carried off into exile in Babylon. 2
But in the seventh month 1 Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah and grandson of Elishama who was a member of the royal family and had been one of Zedekiah’s chief officers, came with ten of his men to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah. While they were eating a meal together with him there at Mizpah,
Now the cistern where Ishmael threw all the dead bodies of those he had killed was a large one 1 that King Asa had constructed as part of his defenses against King Baasha of Israel. 2 Ishmael son of Nethaniah filled it with dead bodies. 3
But 1 listen to what the Lord has to say, all you people of Judah who are living in the land of Egypt. The Lord says, ‘I hereby swear by my own great name that none of the people of Judah who are living anywhere in Egypt will ever again invoke my name in their oaths! Never again will any of them use it in an oath saying, “As surely as the Lord God lives….” 2
I, the Lord, promise that 1 I will hand Pharaoh Hophra 2 king of Egypt over to his enemies who are seeking to kill him. I will do that just as surely as I handed King Zedekiah of Judah over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, his enemy who was seeking to kill him.’”