The problems of the people in Judah and in Israel
1 I will show you what the Lord, the Lord of Many Armies will do. He will remove from Jerusalem and Judah everything that helps them. He will take away everything that supplies their food and their water.
2-3 He will take away these people:
· the strong man and the soldier
· the judge and the prophet
· the person who uses magic to find out about future events and the older leader
· the captain of 50 soldiers and the very important man
· the person who tells people the best thing to do and the good worker
· the person who uses magic.
4 ‘And I, the Lord, will cause boys to become their leaders. And children will rule over them.’
5 The people will be cruel to each other. Each man will be cruel to another man. And each man will be cruel to the person who lives near him. Young people will say bad things to older people. And bad people will say bad things to good people.
6 Then a man will hold his brother strongly in the house of his father. The man will say, ‘You have a coat. So, you can be our leader! Then you can rule over these buildings that the enemy destroyed!’
7 On that day, the brother will refuse. He will say, ‘I cannot help! There is no food and no coat in my house. Do not choose me as a leader of people.’
8 That will happen because the leaders of Jerusalem and Judah have started to fall. Then they have fallen down. Their words and the things that they do are against the Lord. They have said bad things about his great glory.
9 Their faces show what they are really like. It is clear that they have sinned, like the people in Sodom. They do not hide it. It is very sad! They have caused great trouble for themselves.
10 Tell the very good people that good things will happen to them. They will enjoy the results of the good things that they have done.
11 The very bad person will be very sad. He will have great trouble. Here is the reason. What he has done to other people will happen to him.
12 Children are cruel to my people and women rule over them. My people, your leaders have not ruled you well. They have led you away from the right paths.
13 The Lord stands up to speak to people. He will tell them that they have done wrong things. He stands as a judge of the people in many countries.
14 The Lord comes as judge of those people who are in the government. He comes as judge of the leaders. He says that they burned the vineyard. Also, they kept what they took away from the poor people.
15 The Lord God of Many Armies says to them,
· ‘Do not hit my people, so that they break into pieces.
· You are like someone who walks on the faces of the poor people.
You must stop being cruel to them.’
16 The Lord says, ‘The Daughters of Zion are very proud. They lift up their necks when they walk. They glance at the men. They hope that the men are looking at them. They walk so that men do look at them. The little bells on their ankles make a sound when they walk.
17 So the Lord will make places that hurt them on their heads. He will make their heads bald.’
18-23 In that day, the Lord will take away the valuable stones that they wear. They wear them on their ankles, heads, necks, ears, arms, fingers and noses. He will take away their beautiful clothes and belts, their perfumes and charms.
24 There will not be perfume. There will be a bad smell instead. There will not be a belt. There will be a rope instead. They will not have lovely hair. They will be bald instead. They will not wear good clothes. They will wear cheap hairy cloth instead. They will not be beautiful. Instead, there will be only shame.
25 Swords will kill your men. Your strong men will die in wars.
26 And the gates of Zion will seem like sad people. And they will be like people who cry. Zion's people will be like people who sit on the ground. And the city will be empty.