1 The Lord Will Judge Jerusalem
1 Jerusalem, how terrible it will be for you! Ariel, you are the city where David settled. The years will come and go. Keep on celebrating your regular feasts.
2 The Lord says, "Ariel, I will surround you. Jerusalem, I will get ready to attack you. Your people will sob. They will sing songs of sadness. I will make you like the front of an altar that is covered with blood.
3 I will be like an army that is camped against you on all sides. I will surround you with towers in order to attack you. I will build my ramps all around you and set up my ladders.
4 You will be brought down to the grave. You will speak from deep down inside the ground. Your words will be barely heard out of the dust. Your voice will sound like the voice of a ghost coming from under the ground. Your words will sound like a whisper out of the dust."
5 Jerusalem, all of your enemies will become like fine dust. Their terrifying armies will become like straw that the wind blows away. All of a sudden, in an instant, 6 the Lord who rules over all will come. He will come with thunder, earthquakes and a lot of noise. He'll bring windstorms and rainstorms with him. He'll send a blazing fire that will burn everything up.
7 Armies from all of the nations will fight against Ariel. They will attack it and its fort. They'll surround it completely. But suddenly those armies will disappear like a dream. They will vanish like a vision in the night.
8 They will be like hungry people who dream they are eating. But when they wake up, they are still hungry. They will be like thirsty people who dream they are drinking. But when they wake up, they are weak. Their thirst hasn't been satisfied. In the same way, the armies from all of the nations that fight against Mount Zion will disappear.
9 People of Jerusalem, be shocked and amazed. Make yourselves blind so you can't see anything. Get drunk, but not from wine. Be unsteady on your feet, but not because of beer.
10 The Lord has made you fall into a deep sleep. He has closed the eyes of your prophets. He has covered the heads of your seers so they can't see.
11 For you, this whole vision is like words that are sealed up in a scroll. Suppose you give it to people who can read. And suppose you say to them, "Please read this for us." Then they'll answer, "We can't. It's sealed up." 12 Or suppose you give the scroll to people who can't read. And suppose you say, "Please read this for us." Then they'll answer, "We don't know how to read."
13 The Lord says, "These people worship me only with their words. They honor me by what they say. But their hearts are far away from me. Their worship doesn't mean anything to me. They teach nothing but human rules.
14 So once more I will shock these people with many wonderful acts. I will destroy the wisdom of those who think they are so wise. I will do away with the cleverness of those who think they are so smart."
15 How terrible it will be for people who do everything they can to hide their plans from the Lord! They do their work in darkness. They think, "Who sees us? Who will know?"
16 They turn everything upside down. How silly they are to think that potters are like the clay they work with! Can what is made say to the one who made it, "You didn't make me"? Can the pot say to the potter, "You don't know anything"?
17 In a very short time, Lebanon will be turned into rich farm lands. The rich farm lands will seem like a forest.
18 At that time those who can't hear will hear what is read from the scroll. Those who are blind will come out of gloom and darkness. They will be able to see.
19 Those who aren't proud will once again find their joy in the Lord. And those who are in need will find their joy in the Holy One of Israel.
20 Those who don't show any pity will vanish. Those who make fun of others will disappear. All those who look for ways to do what is evil will be cut off.
21 Without any proof, they claim that a person is guilty. In court they try to trap the one who speaks up for others. By using dishonest witnesses they keep those who aren't guilty from being treated fairly.
22 Long ago the Lord saved Abraham from trouble. Now he says to Jacob's people, "You will not be ashamed anymore. Your faces will no longer grow pale with fear.
23 You will see your children living among you. I myself will give you those children. Then you will honor my name. You will recognize how holy I am. I am the Holy One of Jacob. You will have great respect for me. I am the God of Israel.
24 I will give understanding to you who find yourselves going down the wrong path. You who are always speaking against others will accept what I teach you."
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