Trouble for Judah and Jerusalem
1 Listen to this! I will show you what the Lord Almighty will do. He will remove from Jerusalem and Judah everything that people trust to help them. He will take away even their food and their water.
2 He will take awaythe brave men and the soldiers,the judges and the prophets,their leaders and the people who have visions of future things, 3 the army officers and the city officers,the wise advisors,and those who use magic to do clever things.
4 The Lord says, ‘I will cause boys to become their leaders who will rule them badly. 5 People will be cruel to each other. Men will argue against one another and neighbours will fight each other. Young people will insult older people. And useless people will speak against people that they should respect.
6 A man will go to his father's house and he will take hold of his brother. The man will say to him, “Look, you have a coat. So, you should be our leader! You can rule over the few buildings that remain in our city!”
7 But the brother will refuse. He will say, “I cannot make things any better! There is no food or clothes in my house. Do not choose me as a leader of people.” ’
8 Jerusalem is falling down! The towns of Judah are in trouble! The Lord hates the things that their people say and the things that they do. They have turned against the Lord and they insult him.
9 Their proud faces show that they are guilty. Their sins are as bad as the sins of Sodom's people. And they do not try to hide it! It will be very bad for them! They have caused great trouble for themselves.
10 Tell the righteous people that they are in a good place. They will enjoy the results of the good things that they have done. 11 But it will be very bad for the wicked people. They will receive the punishment that they deserve.
12 Now children are cruel to my people and women rule over them. My people, your leaders lead you in the wrong direction. They cannot show you what is right.
13 The Lord stands up to judge his people. He will decide how to punish them. 14 He comes to judge the leaders and rulers of his people. He says to them, ‘You have destroyed my vineyard. You have robbed the poor people and you have stored their things in your own houses.
15 What are you leaders doing? You should not hurt my people. You should not be cruel to the poor people, as if you are pushing their faces into the dirt.’
The Lord God Almighty has said this.
The Lord warns Jerusalem's women
16 The Lord says, ‘Zion's women are very proud. They walk with their heads up high. They turn their eyes towards the men and they have no shame. They like the men to look at them. They walk with small steps so that the rings on their ankles make a nice sound. 17 Because of that, the Lord God will give them sores on their heads. Those beautiful women will be bald!’
18-23 On that day, the Lord God will take away the beautiful rings that they wear on their ankles. He will remove all the valuable rings and bright stones that they wear on their heads, their necks, their ears, their arms, their fingers and their noses. He will take away their beautiful clothes, their belts, their perfumes and their magic rings.
24 Instead of a nice smell of perfume, there will be a smell of dead animals. Instead of a beautiful belt, they will tie a rope round themselves. Instead of lovely hair, they will be bald. They will wear rough sackcloth instead of beautiful dresses. They will have the mark of a prisoner on their skin, instead of beauty.
25 The men of your city will die in war. Yes, your strong brave men will die in battle.
26 The city's gates will see all this and they will weep! The city will be empty. Zion will be like a poor woman who sits on the ground, completely alone.