God's punishment of the rebellious Israelis
1 This is what Yahweh said:
“I was ready to reply to my people,
but no one requested me to help them.
I was ready to help even those who did not call out to me.
I continued to say, ‘I am here to help you!’
2 It is as though I have continually held out my arms to show that I am ready to help my people who rebel against me,
and who continually do the evil things that they want to do.
3 They boldly continue to do things that cause me to be angry:
They offer sacrifices to their idols in their gardens,
and they burn incense to them on altars made of bricks.
4 They secretly remain awake at night in burial caves,
talking with the spirits of ◄ dead people/their ancestors►.
They eat the meat of pigs,
and their pots are full of other meat that is also unacceptable to me.
5 Then they say to others,
‘Stay away from me; do not come near me,
because I am very holy,
with the result that you should not touch me.’
People like that are like [MET] smoke in my nose
from a fire that burns continually.
6 I have written a record of all the evil things that they have done.
And I will not do nothing about all those things;
I will certainly punish them
7 for the sins that they and their ancestors have committed.
They have mocked/insulted me by burning incense to their idols on the hilltops.
So I will punish them like they deserve for doing those things.”
8 This is also what Yahweh said:
“When there is a cluster of nice grapes on a vine,
people do not throw them away,
because they know that there is good juice in those grapes.
Similarly, because there are some people in Judah who faithfully serve/worship me,
I will not get rid of all of them.
9 I will spare some of the descendants of Jacob
who are living on the hills of Judah.
I have chosen them, and they will possess that land;
they will worship/serve me, and they will live there.
10 Then all the land from the Sharon Plain near the Mediterranean Sea and as far east as Achor Valley near Jericho will become pastureland
where their cattle and sheep will rest.
11 But it will be different for you who have abandoned me,
you who do not worship me on Zion my sacred hill,
you who worship Gad and Meni, the gods who you think will bring you good luck and good fortune.
12 It is I, not Meni, who will decide/say what will happen to you;
you will all be slaughtered by swords.
That will happen because you did not answer
when I called out to you.
I spoke to you,
but you did not pay attention.
Instead, you did things that I said are evil;
you chose to do things that do not please me.
13 I, Yahweh the Lord, will give to those who worship and obey me things to eat and drink,
and they will be happy;
but all you evil people will be hungry and thirsty,
and you will be sad and disgraced.
14 Those who worship and obey me will sing joyfully,
but you evil people will wail loudly
because you will be suffering in your inner beings.
15 Those whom I have chosen will use your names when they curse people;
I, Yahweh the Lord, will get rid of you.
But I will give to those who worship and obey me a new name that they will use when they bless people.
16 The people in this land have had many troubles,
but I will cause those troubles to occur no more.
Therefore those who ask me to bless them and those who solemnly promise to do something
should never forget that I am God, who faithfully do what I promise to do.”
Yahweh's new creation
17 “Note this: Some day I will create a new heaven and a new earth.
They will be very wonderful, with the result that you will no longer think about all the troubles you had previously.
18 Be glad and always rejoice because of what I will do:
Jerusalem will be a place where people rejoice;
the people who live there will always be happy.
19 I will rejoice about Jerusalem,
and I will be delighted with my people.
People will no longer weep or cry because of being distressed.
20 No child will die when it is still an infant;
all people will live until they are very old.
People will consider that anyone who is a hundred years old is still young;
they will consider that anyone who dies who is younger than that has been cursed.
21 My people will build houses and then live in them.
They will plant vineyards and then eat grapes from those vineyards.
22 As for the houses that they build, no one will take those houses away from them and live in them.
No one will take a vineyard away from its owner.
My chosen people will live a long time, like trees do,
and they will enjoy what they have accomplished—
the houses that they have built and the crops that they have planted.
23 They will not work hard in vain,
and their children will not die from some ◄calamity/terrible thing happening to them►.
I will certainly bless their children and their grandchildren.
24 Before they call to me to help them, I will answer;
I will answer their prayers while they are still praying for me to do something for them.
25 No one will be harmed or injured anywhere on Zion, my sacred hill:
Wolves and lambs will eat grass together peacefully;
lions will eat hay like oxen do, and they will not attack people.
Snakes will not hurt anyone; they will lie on the ground and eat only dirt.
That is surely what it will be like because I, Yahweh, have said it.”