Words about Damascus
1 This is a serious message about Damascus. Look! The enemy broke the city called Damascus into a lot of stones.
2 Nobody lives in the cities of Aroer. They have become places where groups of animals lie down. Nobody makes them afraid.
3 There are no strong cities in Ephraim and no kings in Damascus. The few people who remain in Aram are as great as Israel's people! That is what the Lord of Many Armies is saying.
4 On that day, the Lord removed the things that Jacob was proud of. It was like Jacob's fat body became thin!
5 And it was like when a farmer got all the grain. He did it while it was still in a field. With his arm he cut off the fruit from the plants. Then it was like when someone picks up some of the grain in the Valley of Rephaim.
6 There was not much (in Israel). It was like when someone has hit an olive-tree. And there are only two or three small olives on the highest branch. Or it was like when someone has hit a fruit-tree. And there are only 4 or 5 fruits on the branches of that fruit tree. That is what the Lord God of Israel, is saying.
7 On a day like that, people should obey their Maker. They should turn to the Holy God of Israel.
8 They should not think that the altars can help them. Their hands have made those altars. They should not turn to what their fingers have made. They made their images of the female god called Asherah. And they made the altars where they burn incense.
9 On that day, Israel's strong cities became like empty cities. They were like those other empty forests and woods. People had left them when Israel first attacked them. So the cities were empty groups of stones. 10 They were empty for these reasons:
You forgot the God who made you safe.
You did not remember the Rock that hid you from danger.
You planted gardens for a false god and you planted vines for a foreign god.
17:10In verse 10, ‘the Rock’ means God.
11 So, there were no fruits. On the day that you planted them, you caused them to grow well. They had flowers on the morning that you planted them! But all that finished in a day that was very sad. And there was pain that nothing could take away.
12 Oh, listen! The people in many countries are roaring. They are making a noise like the sea in a storm! And listen! The people in those countries are roaring. They are roaring like a lot of water!
13 The people in those countries are roaring. They are roaring like a lot of water! But when the Lord will shout at them, they will run a long way from here. The wind will blow them away like dead bits of plants on the hills. It will blow them away like dirt that blows about before a storm.
14 Look! In the evening everyone is very much afraid. And in the morning nobody is there! That will happen to anyone who takes things from us. It will happen to anyone who robs us.