NET Bible®

Isaiah 6 & 43 & 53 & 55 & 58 & 61

Jer 1 & 7 & 17 & 31

Lam 3

Ezek 2-3 & 34 & 36 & 37

Daniel 1 & 6 & 9

Hos 6

Joel 3

Am 5

Ob

Jon 2

Mic 6

Nahum 1

Hab 1:12-2:4

Zeph 1:14-2:3

Hagg 1

Zech 2

Malachi 3

(Isaiah 6)

Isaiah’s Commission

6:1 In the year of King Uzziah’s death, I saw the sovereign master seated on a high, elevated throne. The hem of his robe filled the temple. 6:2 Seraphs stood over him; each one had six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and they used the remaining two to fly. 6:3 They called out to one another, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord who commands armies! His majestic splendor fills the entire earth!” 6:4 The sound of their voices shook the door frames, and the temple was filled with smoke.

6:5 I said, “Too bad for me! I am destroyed, for my lips are contaminated by sin, and I live among people whose lips are contaminated by sin. My eyes have seen the king, the Lord who commands armies.” 6:6 But then one of the seraphs flew toward me. In his hand was a hot coal he had taken from the altar with tongs. 6:7 He touched my mouth with it and said, “Look, this coal has touched your lips. Your evil is removed; your sin is forgiven.” 6:8 I heard the voice of the sovereign master say, “Whom will I send? Who will go on our behalf?” I answered, “Here I am, send me!” 6:9 He said, “Go and tell these people:

‘Listen continually, but don’t understand!

Look continually, but don’t perceive!’

6:10 Make the hearts of these people calloused;

make their ears deaf and their eyes blind!

Otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears,

their hearts might understand and they might repent and be healed.”

6:11 I replied, “How long, sovereign master?” He said,

“Until cities are in ruins and unpopulated,

and houses are uninhabited,

and the land is ruined and devastated,

6:12 and the Lord has sent the people off to a distant place,

and the very heart of the land is completely abandoned.

6:13 Even if only a tenth of the people remain in the land, it will again be destroyed, like one of the large sacred trees or an Asherah pole, when a sacred pillar on a high place is thrown down. That sacred pillar symbolizes the special chosen family.”

(Isaiah 43)

The Lord Will Rescue His People

43:1 Now, this is what the Lord says,

the one who created you, O Jacob,

and formed you, O Israel:

“Don’t be afraid, for I will protect you.

I call you by name, you are mine.

43:2 When you pass through the waters, I am with you;

when you pass through the streams, they will not overwhelm you.

When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;

the flames will not harm you.

43:3 For I am the Lord your God,

the Holy One of Israel, your deliverer.

I have handed over Egypt as a ransom price,

Ethiopia and Seba in place of you.

43:4 Since you are precious and special in my sight,

and I love you,

I will hand over people in place of you,

nations in place of your life.

43:5 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.

From the east I will bring your descendants;

from the west I will gather you.

43:6 I will say to the north, ‘Hand them over!’

and to the south, ‘Don’t hold any back!’

Bring my sons from distant lands,

and my daughters from the remote regions of the earth,

43:7 everyone who belongs to me,

whom I created for my glory,

whom I formed – yes, whom I made!

The Lord Declares His Sovereignty

43:8 Bring out the people who are blind, even though they have eyes,

those who are deaf, even though they have ears!

43:9 All nations gather together,

the peoples assemble.

Who among them announced this?

Who predicted earlier events for us?

Let them produce their witnesses to testify they were right;

let them listen and affirm, ‘It is true.’

43:10 You are my witnesses,” says the Lord,

“my servant whom I have chosen,

so that you may consider and believe in me,

and understand that I am he.

No god was formed before me,

and none will outlive me.

43:11 I, I am the Lord,

and there is no deliverer besides me.

43:12 I decreed and delivered and proclaimed,

and there was no other god among you.

You are my witnesses,” says the Lord, “that I am God.

43:13 From this day forward I am he;

no one can deliver from my power;

I will act, and who can prevent it?”

The Lord Will Do Something New

43:14 This is what the Lord says,

your protector, the Holy One of Israel:

“For your sake I send to Babylon

and make them all fugitives,

turning the Babylonians’ joyful shouts into mourning songs.

43:15 I am the Lord, your Holy One,

the one who created Israel, your king.”

43:16 This is what the Lord says,

the one who made a road through the sea,

a pathway through the surging waters,

43:17 the one who led chariots and horses to destruction,

together with a mighty army.

They fell down, never to rise again;

they were extinguished, put out like a burning wick:

43:18 “Don’t remember these earlier events;

don’t recall these former events.

43:19 “Look, I am about to do something new.

Now it begins to happen! Do you not recognize it?

Yes, I will make a road in the desert

and paths in the wilderness.

43:20 The wild animals of the desert honor me,

the jackals and ostriches,

because I put water in the desert

and streams in the wilderness,

to quench the thirst of my chosen people,

43:21 the people whom I formed for myself,

so they might praise me.”

The Lord Rebukes His People

43:22 “But you did not call for me, O Jacob;

you did not long for me, O Israel.

43:23 You did not bring me lambs for your burnt offerings;

you did not honor me with your sacrifices.

I did not burden you with offerings;

I did not make you weary by demanding incense.

43:24 You did not buy me aromatic reeds;

you did not present to me the fat of your sacrifices.

Yet you burdened me with your sins;

you made me weary with your evil deeds.

43:25 I, I am the one who blots out your rebellious deeds for my sake;

your sins I do not remember.

43:26 Remind me of what happened! Let’s debate!

You, prove to me that you are right!

43:27 The father of your nation sinned;

your spokesmen rebelled against me.

43:28 So I defiled your holy princes,

and handed Jacob over to destruction,

and subjected Israel to humiliating abuse.”

(Isaiah 53)

53:1 Who would have believed what we just heard?

When was the Lord’s power revealed through him?

53:2 He sprouted up like a twig before God,

like a root out of parched soil;

he had no stately form or majesty that might catch our attention,

no special appearance that we should want to follow him.

53:3 He was despised and rejected by people,

one who experienced pain and was acquainted with illness;

people hid their faces from him;

he was despised, and we considered him insignificant.

53:4 But he lifted up our illnesses,

he carried our pain;

even though we thought he was being punished,

attacked by God, and afflicted for something he had done.

53:5 He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds,

crushed because of our sins;

he endured punishment that made us well;

because of his wounds we have been healed.

53:6 All of us had wandered off like sheep;

each of us had strayed off on his own path,

but the Lord caused the sin of all of us to attack him.

53:7 He was treated harshly and afflicted,

but he did not even open his mouth.

Like a lamb led to the slaughtering block,

like a sheep silent before her shearers,

he did not even open his mouth.

53:8 He was led away after an unjust trial –

but who even cared?

Indeed, he was cut off from the land of the living;

because of the rebellion of his own people he was wounded.

53:9 They intended to bury him with criminals,

but he ended up in a rich man’s tomb,

because he had committed no violent deeds,

nor had he spoken deceitfully.

53:10 Though the Lord desired to crush him and make him ill,

once restitution is made,

he will see descendants and enjoy long life,

and the Lord’s purpose will be accomplished through him.

53:11 Having suffered, he will reflect on his work,

he will be satisfied when he understands what he has done.

“My servant will acquit many,

for he carried their sins.

53:12 So I will assign him a portion with the multitudes,

he will divide the spoils of victory with the powerful,

because he willingly submitted to death

and was numbered with the rebels,

when he lifted up the sin of many

and intervened on behalf of the rebels.”

(Isaiah 55)

The Lord Gives an Invitation

55:1 “Hey, all who are thirsty, come to the water!

You who have no money, come!

Buy and eat!

Come! Buy wine and milk

without money and without cost!

55:2 Why pay money for something that will not nourish you?

Why spend your hard-earned money on something that will not satisfy?

Listen carefully to me and eat what is nourishing!

Enjoy fine food!

55:3 Pay attention and come to me!

Listen, so you can live!

Then I will make an unconditional covenantal promise to you,

just like the reliable covenantal promises I made to David.

55:4 Look, I made him a witness to nations,

a ruler and commander of nations.”

55:5 Look, you will summon nations you did not previously know;

nations that did not previously know you will run to you,

because of the Lord your God,

the Holy One of Israel,

for he bestows honor on you.

55:6 Seek the Lord while he makes himself available;

call to him while he is nearby!

55:7 The wicked need to abandon their lifestyle

and sinful people their plans.

They should return to the Lord, and he will show mercy to them,

and to their God, for he will freely forgive them.

55:8 “Indeed, my plans are not like your plans,

and my deeds are not like your deeds,

55:9 for just as the sky is higher than the earth,

so my deeds are superior to your deeds

and my plans superior to your plans.

55:10

The rain and snow fall from the sky

and do not return,

but instead water the earth

and make it produce and yield crops,

and provide seed for the planter and food for those who must eat.

55:11 In the same way, the promise that I make

does not return to me, having accomplished nothing.

No, it is realized as I desire

and is fulfilled as I intend.”

55:12 Indeed you will go out with joy;

you will be led along in peace;

the mountains and hills will give a joyful shout before you,

and all the trees in the field will clap their hands.

55:13 Evergreens will grow in place of thorn bushes,

firs will grow in place of nettles;

they will be a monument to the Lord,

a permanent reminder that will remain.

(Isaiah 58)

The Lord Desires Genuine Devotion

58:1 “Shout loudly! Don’t be quiet!

Yell as loud as a trumpet!

Confront my people with their rebellious deeds;

confront Jacob’s family with their sin!

58:2 They seek me day after day;

they want to know my requirements,

like a nation that does what is right

and does not reject the law of their God.

They ask me for just decrees;

they want to be near God.

58:3 They lament, ‘Why don’t you notice when we fast?

Why don’t you pay attention when we humble ourselves?’

Look, at the same time you fast, you satisfy your selfish desires,

you oppress your workers.

58:4 Look, your fasting is accompanied by arguments, brawls,

and fistfights.

Do not fast as you do today,

trying to make your voice heard in heaven.

58:5 Is this really the kind of fasting I want?

Do I want a day when people merely humble themselves,

bowing their heads like a reed

and stretching out on sackcloth and ashes?

Is this really what you call a fast,

a day that is pleasing to the Lord?

58:6 No, this is the kind of fast I want.

I want you to remove the sinful chains,

to tear away the ropes of the burdensome yoke,

to set free the oppressed,

and to break every burdensome yoke.

58:7 I want you to share your food with the hungry

and to provide shelter for homeless, oppressed people.

When you see someone naked, clothe him!

Don’t turn your back on your own flesh and blood!

58:8 Then your light will shine like the sunrise;

your restoration will quickly arrive;

your godly behavior will go before you,

and the Lord’s splendor will be your rear guard.

58:9 Then you will call out, and the Lord will respond;

you will cry out, and he will reply, ‘Here I am.’

You must remove the burdensome yoke from among you

and stop pointing fingers and speaking sinfully.

58:10 You must actively help the hungry

and feed the oppressed.

Then your light will dispel the darkness,

and your darkness will be transformed into noonday.

58:11 The Lord will continually lead you;

he will feed you even in parched regions.

He will give you renewed strength,

and you will be like a well-watered garden,

like a spring that continually produces water.

58:12 Your perpetual ruins will be rebuilt;

you will reestablish the ancient foundations.

You will be called, ‘The one who repairs broken walls,

the one who makes the streets inhabitable again.’

58:13 You must observe the Sabbath

rather than doing anything you please on my holy day.

You must look forward to the Sabbath

and treat the Lord’s holy day with respect.

You must treat it with respect by refraining from your normal activities,

and by refraining from your selfish pursuits and from making business deals.

58:14 Then you will find joy in your relationship to the Lord,

and I will give you great prosperity,

and cause crops to grow on the land I gave to your ancestor Jacob.”

Know for certain that the Lord has spoken.

(Isaiah 61)

The Lord Will Rejuvenate His People

61:1 The spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon me,

because the Lord has chosen me.

He has commissioned me to encourage the poor,

to help the brokenhearted,

to decree the release of captives,

and the freeing of prisoners,

61:2 to announce the year when the Lord will show his favor,

the day when our God will seek vengeance,

to console all who mourn,

61:3 to strengthen those who mourn in Zion,

by giving them a turban, instead of ashes,

oil symbolizing joy, instead of mourning,

a garment symbolizing praise, instead of discouragement.

They will be called oaks of righteousness,

trees planted by the Lord to reveal his splendor.

61:4 They will rebuild the perpetual ruins

and restore the places that were desolate;

they will reestablish the ruined cities,

the places that have been desolate since ancient times.

61:5

“Foreigners will take care of your sheep;

foreigners will work in your fields and vineyards.

61:6 You will be called, ‘the Lord’s priests,

servants of our God.’

You will enjoy the wealth of nations

and boast about the riches you receive from them.

61:7 Instead of shame, you will get a double portion;

instead of humiliation, they will rejoice over the land they receive.

Yes, they will possess a double portion in their land

and experience lasting joy.

61:8 For I, the Lord, love justice

and hate robbery and sin.

I will repay them because of my faithfulness;

I will make a permanent covenant with them.

61:9 Their descendants will be known among the nations,

their offspring among the peoples.

All who see them will recognize that

the Lord has blessed them.”

61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;

I will be overjoyed because of my God.

For he clothes me in garments of deliverance;

he puts on me a robe symbolizing vindication.

I look like a bridegroom when he wears a turban as a priest would;

I look like a bride when she puts on her jewelry.

61:11 For just as the ground produces its crops

and a garden yields its produce,

so the sovereign Lord will cause deliverance to grow,

and give his people reason to praise him in the sight of all the nations.

(Jeremiah 1)

The Superscription

1:1 The following is a record of what Jeremiah son of Hilkiah prophesied. He was one of the priests who lived at Anathoth in the territory of the tribe of Benjamin. 1:2 The Lord began to speak to him in the thirteenth year that Josiah son of Amon ruled over Judah. 1:3 The Lord also spoke to him when Jehoiakim son of Josiah ruled over Judah, and he continued to speak to him until the fifth month of the eleventh year that Zedekiah son of Josiah ruled over Judah. That was when the people of Jerusalem were taken into exile.

Jeremiah’s Call and Commission

1:4 The Lord said to me,

1:5 “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb I chose you.

Before you were born I set you apart.

I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations.”

1:6 I answered, “Oh, Lord God, I really do not know how to speak well enough for that, for I am too young.” 1:7 The Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ But go to whomever I send you and say whatever I tell you. 1:8 Do not be afraid of those to whom I send you, for I will be with you to protect you,” says the Lord. 1:9 Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I will most assuredly give you the words you are to speak for me. 1:10 Know for certain that I hereby give you the authority to announce to nations and kingdoms that they will be uprooted and torn down, destroyed and demolished, rebuilt and firmly planted.”

Visions Confirming Jeremiah’s Call and Commission

1:11 Later the Lord asked me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I answered, “I see a branch of an almond tree.” 1:12 Then the Lord said, “You have observed correctly. This means I am watching to make sure my threats are carried out.”

1:13 The Lord again asked me, “What do you see?” I answered, “I see a pot of boiling water; it is tipped toward us from the north.” 1:14 Then the Lord said, “This means destruction will break out from the north on all who live in the land. 1:15 For I will soon summon all the peoples of the kingdoms of the north,” says the Lord. “They will come and their kings will set up their thrones near the entrances of the gates of Jerusalem. They will attack all the walls surrounding it, and all the towns in Judah. 1:16 In this way I will pass sentence on the people of Jerusalem and Judah because of all their wickedness. For they rejected me and offered sacrifices to other gods, worshiping what they made with their own hands.”

1:17 “But you, Jeremiah, get yourself ready! Go and tell these people everything I instruct you to say. Do not be terrified of them, or I will give you good reason to be terrified of them. 1:18 I, the Lord, hereby promise to make you as strong as a fortified city, an iron pillar, and a bronze wall. You will be able to stand up against all who live in the land, including the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and all the people of the land. 1:19 They will attack you but they will not be able to overcome you, for I will be with you to rescue you,” says the Lord.

(Jeremiah 7)

Faulty Religion and Unethical Behavior Will Lead to Judgment

7:1 The Lord said to Jeremiah: 7:2 “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s temple and proclaim this message: ‘Listen, all you people of Judah who have passed through these gates to worship the Lord. Hear what the Lord has to say. 7:3 The Lord God of Israel who rules over all says: Change the way you have been living and do what is right. If you do, I will allow you to continue to live in this land. 7:4 Stop putting your confidence in the false belief that says, “We are safe! The temple of the Lord is here! The temple of the Lord is here! The temple of the Lord is here!” 7:5 You must change the way you have been living and do what is right. You must treat one another fairly. 7:6 Stop oppressing foreigners who live in your land, children who have lost their fathers, and women who have lost their husbands. Stop killing innocent people in this land. Stop paying allegiance to other gods. That will only bring about your ruin. 7:7 If you stop doing these things, I will allow you to continue to live in this land which I gave to your ancestors as a lasting possession.

7:8 “‘But just look at you! You are putting your confidence in a false belief that will not deliver you. 7:9 You steal. You murder. You commit adultery. You lie when you swear on oath. You sacrifice to the god Baal. You pay allegiance to other gods whom you have not previously known. 7:10 Then you come and stand in my presence in this temple I have claimed as my own and say, “We are safe!” You think you are so safe that you go on doing all those hateful sins! 7:11 Do you think this temple I have claimed as my own is to be a hideout for robbers? You had better take note! I have seen for myself what you have done! says the Lord. 7:12 So, go to the place in Shiloh where I allowed myself to be worshiped in the early days. See what I did to it because of the wicked things my people Israel did. 7:13 You also have done all these things, says the Lord, and I have spoken to you over and over again. But you have not listened! You have refused to respond when I called you to repent! 7:14 So I will destroy this temple which I have claimed as my own, this temple that you are trusting to protect you. I will destroy this place that I gave to you and your ancestors, just like I destroyed Shiloh. 7:15 And I will drive you out of my sight just like I drove out your relatives, the people of Israel.’”

7:16 Then the Lord said, “As for you, Jeremiah, do not pray for these people! Do not cry out to me or petition me on their behalf! Do not plead with me to save them, because I will not listen to you. 7:17 Do you see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 7:18 Children are gathering firewood, fathers are building fires with it, and women are mixing dough to bake cakes to offer to the goddess they call the Queen of Heaven. They are also pouring out drink offerings to other gods. They seem to do all this just to trouble me. 7:19 But I am not really the one being troubled!” says the Lord. “Rather they are bringing trouble on themselves to their own shame! 7:20 So,” the Lord God says, “my raging fury will be poured out on this land. It will be poured out on human beings and animals, on trees and crops. And it will burn like a fire which cannot be extinguished.”

7:21 The Lord said to the people of Judah, “The Lord God of Israel who rules over all says: ‘You might as well go ahead and add the meat of your burnt offerings to that of the other sacrifices and eat it, too! 7:22 Consider this: When I spoke to your ancestors after I brought them out of Egypt, I did not merely give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices. 7:23 I also explicitly commanded them: “Obey me. If you do, I will be your God and you will be my people. Live exactly the way I tell you and things will go well with you.” 7:24 But they did not listen to me or pay any attention to me. They followed the stubborn inclinations of their own wicked hearts. They acted worse and worse instead of better. 7:25 From the time your ancestors departed the land of Egypt until now, I sent my servants the prophets to you again and again, day after day. 7:26 But your ancestors did not listen to me nor pay attention to me. They became obstinate and were more wicked than even their own forefathers.’”

7:27 Then the Lord said to me, “When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you. When you call out to them, they will not respond to you. 7:28 So tell them: ‘This is a nation that has not obeyed the Lord their God and has not accepted correction. Faithfulness is nowhere to be found in it. These people do not even profess it anymore. 7:29 So, mourn, you people of this nation. Cut off your hair and throw it away. Sing a song of mourning on the hilltops. For the Lord has decided to reject and forsake this generation that has provoked his wrath!’”

7:30 The Lord says, “I have rejected them because the people of Judah have done what I consider evil. They have set up their disgusting idols in the temple which I have claimed for my own and have defiled it. 7:31 They have also built places of worship in a place called Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom so that they can sacrifice their sons and daughters by fire. That is something I never commanded them to do! Indeed, it never even entered my mind to command such a thing! 7:32 So, watch out!” says the Lord. “The time will soon come when people will no longer call those places Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom. But they will call that valley the Valley of Slaughter and they will bury so many people in Topheth they will run out of room. 7:33 Then the dead bodies of these people will be left on the ground for the birds and wild animals to eat. There will not be any survivors to scare them away. 7:34 I will put an end to the sounds of joy and gladness, or the glad celebration of brides and grooms throughout the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. For the whole land will become a desolate wasteland.”

(Jeremiah 17)

17:1

The sin of Judah is engraved with an iron chisel

on their stone-hard hearts.

It is inscribed with a diamond point

on the horns of their altars.

17:2 Their children are always thinking about their altars

and their sacred poles dedicated to the goddess Asherah,

set up beside the green trees on the high hills

17:3 and on the mountains and in the fields.

I will give your wealth and all your treasures away as plunder.

I will give it away as the price for the sins you have committed throughout your land.

17:4 You will lose your hold on the land

which I gave to you as a permanent possession.

I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you know nothing about.

For you have made my anger burn like a fire that will never be put out.”

Individuals Are Challenged to Put Their Trust in the Lord

17:5 The Lord says,

“I will put a curse on people

who trust in mere human beings,

who depend on mere flesh and blood for their strength,

and whose hearts have turned away from the Lord.

17:6 They will be like a shrub in the desert.

They will not experience good things even when they happen.

It will be as though they were growing in the desert,

in a salt land where no one can live.

17:7 My blessing is on those people who trust in me,

who put their confidence in me.

17:8 They will be like a tree planted near a stream

whose roots spread out toward the water.

It has nothing to fear when the heat comes.

Its leaves are always green.

It has no need to be concerned in a year of drought.

It does not stop bearing fruit.

17:9 The human mind is more deceitful than anything else.

It is incurably bad. Who can understand it?

17:10 I, the Lord, probe into people’s minds.

I examine people’s hearts.

I deal with each person according to how he has behaved.

I give them what they deserve based on what they have done.

17:11 The person who gathers wealth by unjust means

is like the partridge that broods over eggs but does not hatch them.

Before his life is half over he will lose his ill-gotten gains.

At the end of his life it will be clear he was a fool.”

Jeremiah Appeals to the Lord for Vindication

17:12 Then I said,

“Lord, from the very beginning

you have been seated on your glorious throne on high.

You are the place where we can find refuge.

17:13 You are the one in whom Israel may find hope.

All who leave you will suffer shame.

Those who turn away from you will be consigned to the nether world.

For they have rejected you, the Lord, the fountain of life.

17:14 Lord, grant me relief from my suffering

so that I may have some relief.

Rescue me from those who persecute me

so that I may be rescued.

17:15 Listen to what they are saying to me.

They are saying, “Where are the things the Lord threatens us with?

Come on! Let’s see them happen!”

17:16 But I have not pestered you to bring disaster.

I have not desired the time of irreparable devastation.

You know that.

You are fully aware of every word that I have spoken.

17:17 Do not cause me dismay!

You are my source of safety in times of trouble.

17:18 May those who persecute me be disgraced.

Do not let me be disgraced.

May they be dismayed.

Do not let me be dismayed.

Bring days of disaster on them.

Bring on them the destruction they deserve.”

Observance of the Sabbath Day Is a Key to the Future

17:19 The Lord told me, “Go and stand in the People’s Gate through which the kings of Judah enter and leave the city. Then go and stand in all the other gates of the city of Jerusalem. 17:20 As you stand in those places announce, ‘Listen, all you people who pass through these gates. Listen, all you kings of Judah, all you people of Judah and all you citizens of Jerusalem. Listen to what the Lord says. 17:21 The Lord says, ‘Be very careful if you value your lives! Do not carry any loads in through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. 17:22 Do not carry any loads out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath day. But observe the Sabbath day as a day set apart to the Lord, as I commanded your ancestors. 17:23 Your ancestors, however, did not listen to me or pay any attention to me. They stubbornly refused to pay attention or to respond to any discipline.’ 17:24 The Lord says, ‘You must make sure to obey me. You must not bring any loads through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day. You must set the Sabbath day apart to me. You must not do any work on that day. 17:25 If you do this, then the kings and princes who follow in David’s succession and ride in chariots or on horses will continue to enter through these gates, as well as their officials and the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem. This city will always be filled with people. 17:26 Then people will come here from the towns in Judah, from the villages surrounding Jerusalem, from the territory of Benjamin, from the western foothills, from the southern hill country, and from the southern part of Judah. They will come bringing offerings to the temple of the Lord: burnt offerings, sacrifices, grain offerings, and incense along with their thank offerings. 17:27 But you must obey me and set the Sabbath day apart to me. You must not carry any loads in through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. If you disobey, I will set the gates of Jerusalem on fire. It will burn down all the fortified dwellings in Jerusalem and no one will be able to put it out.’”

(Jeremiah 31)

31:1 At that time I will be the God of all the clans of Israel

and they will be my people.

I, the Lord, affirm it!”

Israel Will Be Restored and Join Judah in Worship

31:2 The Lord says,

“The people of Israel who survived

death at the hands of the enemy

will find favor in the wilderness

as they journey to find rest for themselves.

31:3 In a far-off land the Lord will manifest himself to them.

He will say to them, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love.

That is why I have continued to be faithful to you.

31:4 I will rebuild you, my dear children Israel,

so that you will once again be built up.

Once again you will take up the tambourine

and join in the happy throng of dancers.

31:5 Once again you will plant vineyards

on the hills of Samaria.

Those who plant them

will once again enjoy their fruit.

31:6 Yes, a time is coming

when watchmen will call out on the mountains of Ephraim,

“Come! Let us go to Zion

to worship the Lord our God!”’”

31:7 Moreover, the Lord says,

“Sing for joy for the descendants of Jacob.

Utter glad shouts for that foremost of the nations.

Make your praises heard.

Then say, ‘Lord, rescue your people.

Deliver those of Israel who remain alive.’

31:8 Then I will reply, ‘I will bring them back from the land of the north.

I will gather them in from the distant parts of the earth.

Blind and lame people will come with them,

so will pregnant women and women about to give birth.

A vast throng of people will come back here.

31:9 They will come back shedding tears of contrition.

I will bring them back praying prayers of repentance.

I will lead them besides streams of water,

along smooth paths where they will never stumble.

I will do this because I am Israel’s father;

Ephraim is my firstborn son.’”

31:10 Hear what the Lord has to say, O nations.

Proclaim it in the faraway lands along the sea.

Say, “The one who scattered Israel will regather them.

He will watch over his people like a shepherd watches over his flock.”

31:11 For the Lord will rescue the descendants of Jacob.

He will secure their release from those who had overpowered them.

31:12 They will come and shout for joy on Mount Zion.

They will be radiant with joy over the good things the Lord provides,

the grain, the fresh wine, the olive oil,

the young sheep and calves he has given to them.

They will be like a well-watered garden

and will not grow faint or weary any more.

31:13 The Lord says, “At that time young women will dance and be glad.

Young men and old men will rejoice.

I will turn their grief into gladness.

I will give them comfort and joy in place of their sorrow.

31:14 I will provide the priests with abundant provisions.

My people will be filled to the full with the good things I provide.”

31:15 The Lord says,

“A sound is heard in Ramah,

a sound of crying in bitter grief.

It is the sound of Rachel weeping for her children

and refusing to be comforted, because her children are gone.”

31:16 The Lord says to her,

“Stop crying! Do not shed any more tears!

For your heartfelt repentance will be rewarded.

Your children will return from the land of the enemy.

I, the Lord, affirm it!

31:17 Indeed, there is hope for your posterity.

Your children will return to their own territory.

I, the Lord, affirm it!

31:18 I have indeed heard the people of Israel say mournfully,

‘We were like a calf untrained to the yoke.

You disciplined us and we learned from it.

Let us come back to you and we will do so,

for you are the Lord our God.

31:19 For after we turned away from you we repented.

After we came to our senses we beat our breasts in sorrow.

We are ashamed and humiliated

because of the disgraceful things we did previously.’

31:20 Indeed, the people of Israel are my dear children.

They are the children I take delight in.

For even though I must often rebuke them,

I still remember them with fondness.

So I am deeply moved with pity for them

and will surely have compassion on them.

I, the Lord, affirm it!

31:21 I will say, ‘My dear children of Israel, keep in mind

the road you took when you were carried off.

Mark off in your minds the landmarks.

Make a mental note of telltale signs marking the way back.

Return, my dear children of Israel.

Return to these cities of yours.

31:22 How long will you vacillate,

you who were once like an unfaithful daughter?

For I, the Lord, promise to bring about something new on the earth,

something as unique as a woman protecting a man!’”

Judah Will Be Restored

31:23 The Lord God of Israel who rules over all says,

“I will restore the people of Judah to their land and to their towns.

When I do, they will again say of Jerusalem,

‘May the Lord bless you, you holy mountain,

the place where righteousness dwells.’

31:24 The land of Judah will be inhabited by people who live in its towns

as well as by farmers and shepherds with their flocks.

31:25 I will fully satisfy the needs of those who are weary

and fully refresh the souls of those who are faint.

31:26 Then they will say, ‘Under these conditions I can enjoy sweet sleep

when I wake up and look around.’”

Israel and Judah Will Be Repopulated

31:27 “Indeed, a time is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will cause people and animals to sprout up in the lands of Israel and Judah. 31:28 In the past I saw to it that they were uprooted and torn down, that they were destroyed and demolished. But now I will see to it that they are built up and firmly planted. I, the Lord, affirm it!”

The Lord Will Make a New Covenant with Israel and Judah

31:29 “When that time comes, people will no longer say, ‘The parents have eaten sour grapes, but the children’s teeth have grown numb.’ 31:30 Rather, each person will die for his own sins. The teeth of the person who eats the sour grapes will themselves grow numb.

31:31 “Indeed, a time is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. 31:32 It will not be like the old covenant that I made with their ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt. For they violated that covenant, even though I was like a faithful husband to them,” says the Lord. 31:33 “But I will make a new covenant with the whole nation of Israel after I plant them back in the land,” says the Lord. “I will put my law within them and write it on their hearts and minds. I will be their God and they will be my people.

31:34 “People will no longer need to teach their neighbors and relatives to know me. For all of them, from the least important to the most important, will know me,” says the Lord. “For I will forgive their sin and will no longer call to mind the wrong they have done.”

The Lord Guarantees Israel’s Continuance

31:35 The Lord has made a promise to Israel.

He promises it as the one who fixed the sun to give light by day

and the moon and stars to give light by night.

He promises it as the one who stirs up the sea so that its waves roll.

He promises it as the one who is known as the Lord who rules over all.

31:36 The Lord affirms, “The descendants of Israel will not

cease forever to be a nation in my sight.

That could only happen if the fixed ordering of the heavenly lights

were to cease to operate before me.”

31:37 The Lord says, “I will not reject all the descendants of Israel

because of all that they have done.

That could only happen if the heavens above could be measured

or the foundations of the earth below could all be explored,”

says the Lord.

Jerusalem Will Be Enlarged

31:38 “Indeed a time is coming,” says the Lord, “when the city of Jerusalem will be rebuilt as my special city. It will be built from the Tower of Hananel westward to the Corner Gate. 31:39 The boundary line will extend beyond that, straight west from there to the Hill of Gareb and then turn southward to Goah. 31:40 The whole valley where dead bodies and sacrificial ashes are thrown and all the terraced fields out to the Kidron Valley on the east as far north as the Horse Gate will be included within this city that is sacred to the Lord. The city will never again be torn down or destroyed.”

(Lamentations 3)

The Prophet Speaks:

3:1 א (Alef)

I am the man who has experienced affliction

from the rod of his wrath.

3:2 He drove me into captivity and made me walk

in darkness and not light.

3:3 He repeatedly attacks me,

he turns his hand against me all day long.

3:4 ב (Bet)

He has made my mortal skin waste away;

he has broken my bones.

3:5 He has besieged and surrounded me

with bitter hardship.

3:6 He has made me reside in deepest darkness

like those who died long ago.

3:7 ג (Gimel)

He has walled me in so that I cannot get out;

he has weighted me down with heavy prison chains.

3:8 Also, when I cry out desperately for help,

he has shut out my prayer.

3:9 He has blocked every road I take with a wall of hewn stones;

he has made every path impassable.

3:10 ד (Dalet)

To me he is like a bear lying in ambush,

like a hidden lion stalking its prey.

3:11 He has obstructed my paths and torn me to pieces;

he has made me desolate.

3:12 He drew his bow and made me

the target for his arrow.

3:13 ה (He)

He shot his arrows

into my heart.

3:14 I have become the laughingstock of all people,

their mocking song all day long.

3:15 He has given me my fill of bitter herbs

and made me drunk with bitterness.

3:16 ו (Vav)

He ground my teeth in gravel;

he trampled me in the dust.

3:17 I am deprived of peace;

I have forgotten what happiness is.

3:18 So I said, “My endurance has expired;

I have lost all hope of deliverance from the Lord.”

3:19 ז (Zayin)

Remember my impoverished and homeless condition,

which is a bitter poison.

3:20 I continually think about this,

and I am depressed.

3:21 But this I call to mind;

therefore I have hope:

3:22 ח (Khet)

The Lord’s loyal kindness never ceases;

his compassions never end.

3:23 They are fresh every morning;

your faithfulness is abundant!

3:24 “My portion is the Lord,” I have said to myself,

so I will put my hope in him.

3:25 ט (Tet)

The Lord is good to those who trust in him,

to the one who seeks him.

3:26 It is good to wait patiently

for deliverance from the Lord.

3:27 It is good for a man

to bear the yoke while he is young.

3:28 י (Yod)

Let a person sit alone in silence,

when the Lord is disciplining him.

3:29 Let him bury his face in the dust;

perhaps there is hope.

3:30 Let him offer his cheek to the one who hits him;

let him have his fill of insults.

3:31 כ (Kaf)

For the Lord will not

reject us forever.

3:32 Though he causes us grief, he then has compassion on us

according to the abundance of his loyal kindness.

3:33 For he is not predisposed to afflict

or to grieve people.

3:34 ל (Lamed)

To crush underfoot

all the earth’s prisoners,

3:35 to deprive a person of his rights

in the presence of the Most High,

3:36 to defraud a person in a lawsuit –

the Lord does not approve of such things!

3:37 מ (Mem)

Whose command was ever fulfilled

unless the Lord decreed it?

3:38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that everything comes –

both calamity and blessing?

3:39 Why should any living person complain

when punished for his sins?

3:40 נ (Nun)

Let us carefully examine our ways,

and let us return to the Lord.

3:41 Let us lift up our hearts and our hands

to God in heaven:

3:42 “We have blatantly rebelled;

you have not forgiven.”

3:43 ס (Samek)

You shrouded yourself with anger and then pursued us;

you killed without mercy.

3:44 You shrouded yourself with a cloud

so that no prayer can get through.

3:45 You make us like filthy scum

in the estimation of the nations.

3:46 פ (Pe)

All our enemies have gloated over us;

3:47 Panic and pitfall have come upon us,

devastation and destruction.

3:48 Streams of tears flow from my eyes

because my people are destroyed.

3:49 ע (Ayin)

Tears flow from my eyes and will not stop;

there will be no break

3:50 until the Lord looks down from heaven

and sees what has happened.

3:51 What my eyes see grieves me –

all the suffering of the daughters in my city.

3:52 צ (Tsade)

For no good reason my enemies

hunted me down like a bird.

3:53 They shut me up in a pit

and threw stones at me.

3:54 The waters closed over my head;

I thought I was about to die.

3:55 ק (Qof)

I have called on your name, O Lord,

from the deepest pit.

3:56 You heard my plea:

“Do not close your ears to my cry for relief!”

3:57 You came near on the day I called to you;

you said, “Do not fear!”

3:58 ר (Resh)

O Lord, you championed my cause,

you redeemed my life.

3:59 You have seen the wrong done to me, O Lord;

pronounce judgment on my behalf!

3:60 You have seen all their vengeance,

all their plots against me.

3:61 ש (Sin/Shin)

You have heard their taunts, O Lord,

all their plots against me.

3:62 My assailants revile and conspire

against me all day long.

3:63 Watch them from morning to evening;

I am the object of their mocking songs.

3:64 ת (Tav)

Pay them back what they deserve, O Lord,

according to what they have done.

3:65 Give them a distraught heart;

may your curse be on them!

3:66 Pursue them in anger and eradicate them

from under the Lord’s heaven.

(Ezekiel 2)

Ezekiel’s Commission

2:1 He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet and I will speak with you.” 2:2 As he spoke to me, a wind came into me and stood me on my feet, and I heard the one speaking to me.

2:3 He said to me, “Son of man, I am sending you to the house of Israel, to rebellious nations who have rebelled against me; both they and their fathers have revolted against me to this very day. 2:4 The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and hard-hearted, and you must say to them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says.’ 2:5 And as for them, whether they listen or not – for they are a rebellious house – they will know that a prophet has been among them. 2:6 But you, son of man, do not fear them, and do not fear their words – even though briers and thorns surround you and you live among scorpions – do not fear their words and do not be terrified of the looks they give you, for they are a rebellious house! 2:7 You must speak my words to them whether they listen or not, for they are rebellious. 2:8 As for you, son of man, listen to what I am saying to you: Do not rebel like that rebellious house! Open your mouth and eat what I am giving you.”

2:9 Then I looked and realized a hand was stretched out to me, and in it was a written scroll. 2:10 He unrolled it before me, and it had writing on the front and back; written on it were laments, mourning, and woe.

(Ezekiel 3)

3:1 He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you see in front of you – eat this scroll – and then go and speak to the house of Israel.” 3:2 So I opened my mouth and he fed me the scroll.

3:3 He said to me, “Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your belly with this scroll I am giving to you.” So I ate it, and it was sweet like honey in my mouth.

3:4 He said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak my words to them. 3:5 For you are not being sent to a people of unintelligible speech and difficult language, but to the house of Israel – 3:6 not to many peoples of unintelligible speech and difficult language, whose words you cannot understand – surely if I had sent you to them, they would listen to you! 3:7 But the house of Israel is unwilling to listen to you, because they are not willing to listen to me, for the whole house of Israel is hard-headed and hard-hearted.

3:8 “I have made your face adamant to match their faces, and your forehead hard to match their foreheads. 3:9 I have made your forehead harder than flint – like diamond! Do not fear them or be terrified of the looks they give you, for they are a rebellious house.”

3:10 And he said to me, “Son of man, take all my words that I speak to you to heart and listen carefully. 3:11 Go to the exiles, to your fellow countrymen, and speak to them – say to them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says,’ whether they pay attention or not.”

Ezekiel Before the Exiles

3:12 Then a wind lifted me up and I heard a great rumbling sound behind me as the glory of the Lord rose from its place, 3:13 and the sound of the living beings’ wings brushing against each other, and the sound of the wheels alongside them, a great rumbling sound. 3:14 A wind lifted me up and carried me away. I went bitterly, my spirit full of fury, and the hand of the Lord rested powerfully on me. 3:15 I came to the exiles at Tel Abib, who lived by the Kebar River. I sat dumbfounded among them there, where they were living, for seven days.

3:16 At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me: 3:17 “Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you must give them a warning from me. 3:18 When I say to the wicked, “You will certainly die,” and you do not warn him – you do not speak out to warn the wicked to turn from his wicked deed and wicked lifestyle so that he may live – that wicked person will die for his iniquity, but I will hold you accountable for his death. 3:19 But as for you, if you warn the wicked and he does not turn from his wicked deed and from his wicked lifestyle, he will die for his iniquity but you will have saved your own life.

3:20 “When a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I set an obstacle before him, he will die. If you have not warned him, he will die for his sin. The righteous deeds he performed will not be considered, but I will hold you accountable for his death. 3:21 However, if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he will certainly live because he was warned, and you will have saved your own life.”

Isolated and Silenced

3:22 The hand of the Lord rested on me there, and he said to me, “Get up, go out to the valley, and I will speak with you there.” 3:23 So I got up and went out to the valley, and the glory of the Lord was standing there, just like the glory I had seen by the Kebar River, and I threw myself face down.

3:24 Then a wind came into me and stood me on my feet. The Lord spoke to me and said, “Go shut yourself in your house. 3:25 As for you, son of man, they will put ropes on you and tie you up with them, so you cannot go out among them. 3:26 I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you will be silent and unable to reprove them, for they are a rebellious house. 3:27 But when I speak with you, I will loosen your tongue and you must say to them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says.’ Those who listen will listen, but the indifferent will refuse, for they are a rebellious house.

(Ezekiel 34)

A Prophecy Against False Shepherds

34:1 The word of the Lord came to me: 34:2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them – to the shepherds: ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not shepherds feed the flock? 34:3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the choice animals, but you do not feed the sheep! 34:4 You have not strengthened the weak, healed the sick, bandaged the injured, brought back the strays, or sought the lost, but with force and harshness you have ruled over them. 34:5 They were scattered because they had no shepherd, and they became food for every wild beast. 34:6 My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over the entire face of the earth with no one looking or searching for them.

34:7 “‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 34:8 As surely as I live, declares the sovereign Lord, my sheep have become prey and have become food for all the wild beasts. There was no shepherd, and my shepherds did not search for my flock, but fed themselves and did not feed my sheep, 34:9 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 34:10 This is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand my sheep from their hand. I will no longer let them be shepherds; the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore. I will rescue my sheep from their mouth, so that they will no longer be food for them.

34:11 “‘For this is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I myself will search for my sheep and seek them out. 34:12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will seek out my flock. I will rescue them from all the places where they have been scattered on a cloudy, dark day. 34:13 I will bring them out from among the peoples and gather them from foreign countries; I will bring them to their own land. I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams and all the inhabited places of the land. 34:14 In a good pasture I will feed them; the mountain heights of Israel will be their pasture. There they will lie down in a lush pasture, and they will feed on rich grass on the mountains of Israel. 34:15 I myself will feed my sheep and I myself will make them lie down, declares the sovereign Lord. 34:16 I will seek the lost and bring back the strays; I will bandage the injured and strengthen the sick, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them – with judgment!

34:17 “‘As for you, my sheep, this is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I am about to judge between one sheep and another, between rams and goats. 34:18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must trample the rest of your pastures with your feet? When you drink clean water, must you muddy the rest of the water by trampling it with your feet? 34:19 As for my sheep, they must eat what you trampled with your feet, and drink what you have muddied with your feet!

34:20 “‘Therefore, this is what the sovereign Lord says to them: Look, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 34:21 Because you push with your side and your shoulder, and thrust your horns at all the weak sheep until you scatter them abroad, 34:22 I will save my sheep; they will no longer be prey. I will judge between one sheep and another.

34:23 I will set one shepherd over them, and he will feed them – namely, my servant David. He will feed them and will be their shepherd. 34:24 I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken!

34:25 “‘I will make a covenant of peace with them and will rid the land of wild beasts, so that they can live securely in the wilderness and even sleep in the woods. 34:26 I will turn them and the regions around my hill into a blessing. I will make showers come down in their season; they will be showers that bring blessing. 34:27 The trees of the field will yield their fruit and the earth will yield its crops. They will live securely on their land; they will know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hand of those who enslaved them. 34:28 They will no longer be prey for the nations and the wild beasts will not devour them. They will live securely and no one will make them afraid. 34:29 I will prepare for them a healthy planting. They will no longer be victims of famine in the land and will no longer bear the insults of the nations. 34:30 Then they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them, and that they are my people, the house of Israel, declares the sovereign Lord. 34:31 And you, my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are my people, and I am your God, declares the sovereign Lord.’”

(Ezekiel 36)

Blessings on the Mountains of Israel

36:1 “As for you, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel, and say: ‘O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord! 36:2 This is what the sovereign Lord says: The enemy has spoken against you, saying “Aha!” and, “The ancient heights have become our property!”’ 36:3 So prophesy and say: ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Surely because they have made you desolate and crushed you from all directions, so that you have become the property of the rest of the nations, and have become the subject of gossip and slander among the people, 36:4 therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the sovereign Lord: This is what the sovereign Lord says to the mountains and hills, the ravines and valleys, and to the desolate ruins and the abandoned cities that have become prey and an object of derision to the rest of the nations round about – 36:5 therefore this is what the sovereign Lord says: Surely I have spoken in the fire of my zeal against the rest of the nations, and against all Edom, who with great joy and utter contempt have made my land their property and prey, because of its pasture.’

36:6 “Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains and hills, the ravines and valleys, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I have spoken in my zeal and in my anger, because you have endured the insults of the nations. 36:7 So this is what the sovereign Lord says: I vow that the nations around you will endure insults as well.

36:8 “‘But you, mountains of Israel, will grow your branches, and bear your fruit for my people Israel; for they will arrive soon. 36:9 For indeed, I am on your side; I will turn to you, and you will be plowed and planted. 36:10 I will multiply your people – the whole house of Israel, all of it. The cities will be populated and the ruins rebuilt. 36:11 I will increase the number of people and animals on you; they will increase and be fruitful. I will cause you to be inhabited as in ancient times, and will do more good for you than at the beginning of your history. Then you will know that I am the Lord. 36:12 I will lead people, my people Israel, across you; they will possess you and you will become their inheritance. No longer will you bereave them of their children.

36:13 “‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Because they are saying to you, “You are a devourer of men, and bereave your nation of children,” 36:14 therefore you will no longer devour people and no longer bereave your nation of children, declares the sovereign Lord. 36:15 I will no longer subject you to the nations’ insults; no longer will you bear the shame of the peoples, and no longer will you bereave your nation, declares the sovereign Lord.’”

36:16 The word of the Lord came to me: 36:17 “Son of man, when the house of Israel was living on their own land, they defiled it by their behavior and their deeds. In my sight their behavior was like the uncleanness of a woman having her monthly period. 36:18 So I poured my anger on them because of the blood they shed on the land and because of the idols with which they defiled it. 36:19 I scattered them among the nations; they were dispersed throughout foreign countries. In accordance with their behavior and their deeds I judged them. 36:20 But when they arrived in the nations where they went, they profaned my holy name. It was said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord, yet they have departed from his land.’ 36:21 I was concerned for my holy reputation which the house of Israel profaned among the nations where they went.

36:22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: It is not for your sake that I am about to act, O house of Israel, but for the sake of my holy reputation which you profaned among the nations where you went. 36:23 I will magnify my great name that has been profaned among the nations, that you have profaned among them. The nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the sovereign Lord, when I magnify myself among you in their sight.

36:24 “‘I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries; then I will bring you to your land. 36:25 I will sprinkle you with pure water and you will be clean from all your impurities. I will purify you from all your idols. 36:26 I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your body and give you a heart of flesh. 36:27 I will put my Spirit within you; I will take the initiative and you will obey my statutes and carefully observe my regulations. 36:28 Then you will live in the land I gave to your fathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God. 36:29 I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and multiply it; I will not bring a famine on you. 36:30 I will multiply the fruit of the trees and the produce of the fields, so that you will never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. 36:31 Then you will remember your evil behavior and your deeds which were not good; you will loathe yourselves on account of your sins and your abominable deeds. 36:32 Understand that it is not for your sake I am about to act, declares the sovereign Lord. Be ashamed and embarrassed by your behavior, O house of Israel.

36:33 “‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: In the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will populate the cities and the ruins will be rebuilt. 36:34 The desolate land will be plowed, instead of being desolate in the sight of everyone who passes by. 36:35 They will say, “This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; the ruined, desolate, and destroyed cities are now fortified and inhabited.” 36:36 Then the nations which remain around you will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruins and replanted what was desolate. I, the Lord, have spoken – and I will do it!’

36:37 “This is what the sovereign Lord says: I will allow the house of Israel to ask me to do this for them: I will multiply their people like sheep. 36:38 Like the sheep for offerings, like the sheep of Jerusalem during her appointed feasts, so will the ruined cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

(Ezekiel 37)

The Valley of Dry Bones

37:1 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and placed me in the midst of the valley, and it was full of bones. 37:2 He made me walk all around among them. I realized there were a great many bones in the valley and they were very dry. 37:3 He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said to him, “Sovereign Lord, you know.” 37:4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and tell them: ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 37:5 This is what the sovereign Lord says to these bones: Look, I am about to infuse breath into you and you will live. 37:6 I will put tendons on you and muscles over you and will cover you with skin; I will put breath in you and you will live. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

37:7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. There was a sound when I prophesied – I heard a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 37:8 As I watched, I saw tendons on them, then muscles appeared, and skin covered over them from above, but there was no breath in them.

37:9 He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, – prophesy, son of man – and say to the breath: ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these corpses so that they may live.’” 37:10 So I prophesied as I was commanded, and the breath came into them; they lived and stood on their feet, an extremely great army.

37:11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are all the house of Israel. Look, they are saying, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope has perished; we are cut off.’ 37:12 Therefore prophesy, and tell them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I am about to open your graves and will raise you from your graves, my people. I will bring you to the land of Israel. 37:13 Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and raise you from your graves, my people. 37:14 I will place my breath in you and you will live; I will give you rest in your own land. Then you will know that I am the Lord – I have spoken and I will act, declares the Lord.’”

37:15 The word of the Lord came to me: 37:16 “As for you, son of man, take one branch, and write on it, ‘For Judah, and for the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another branch and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the branch of Ephraim and all the house of Israel associated with him.’ 37:17 Join them as one stick; they will be as one in your hand. 37:18 When your people say to you, ‘Will you not tell us what these things mean?’ 37:19 tell them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I am about to take the branch of Joseph which is in the hand of Ephraim and the tribes of Israel associated with him, and I will place them on the stick of Judah, and make them into one stick – they will be one in my hand.’ 37:20 The sticks you write on will be in your hand in front of them. 37:21 Then tell them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I am about to take the Israelites from among the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from round about and bring them to their land. 37:22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel, and one king will rule over them all. They will never again be two nations and never again be divided into two kingdoms. 37:23 They will not defile themselves with their idols, their detestable things, and all their rebellious deeds. I will save them from all their unfaithfulness by which they sinned. I will purify them; they will become my people and I will become their God.

37:24 “‘My servant David will be king over them; there will be one shepherd for all of them. They will follow my regulations and carefully observe my statutes. 37:25 They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, in which your fathers lived; they will live in it – they and their children and their grandchildren forever. David my servant will be prince over them forever. 37:26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be a perpetual covenant with them. I will establish them, increase their numbers, and place my sanctuary among them forever. 37:27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 37:28 Then, when my sanctuary is among them forever, the nations will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel.’”

(Daniel 1)

Daniel Finds Favor in Babylon

1:1 In the third year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon advanced against Jerusalem and laid it under siege. 1:2 Now the Lord delivered King Jehoiakim of Judah into his power, along with some of the vessels of the temple of God. He brought them to the land of Babylonia to the temple of his god and put the vessels in the treasury of his god.

1:3 The king commanded Ashpenaz, who was in charge of his court officials, to choose some of the Israelites who were of royal and noble descent – 1:4 young men in whom there was no physical defect and who were handsome, well versed in all kinds of wisdom, well educated and having keen insight, and who were capable of entering the king’s royal service – and to teach them the literature and language of the Babylonians. 1:5 So the king assigned them a daily ration from his royal delicacies and from the wine he himself drank. They were to be trained for the next three years. At the end of that time they were to enter the king’s service. 1:6 As it turned out, among these young men were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 1:7 But the overseer of the court officials renamed them. He gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar, Hananiah he named Shadrach, Mishael he named Meshach, and Azariah he named Abednego.

1:8 But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the royal delicacies or the royal wine. He therefore asked the overseer of the court officials for permission not to defile himself. 1:9 Then God made the overseer of the court officials sympathetic to Daniel. 1:10 But he responded to Daniel, “I fear my master the king. He is the one who has decided your food and drink. What would happen if he saw that you looked malnourished in comparison to the other young men your age? If that happened, you would endanger my life with the king!” 1:11 Daniel then spoke to the warden whom the overseer of the court officials had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: 1:12 “Please test your servants for ten days by providing us with some vegetables to eat and water to drink. 1:13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who are eating the royal delicacies; deal with us in light of what you see.” 1:14 So the warden agreed to their proposal and tested them for ten days.

1:15 At the end of the ten days their appearance was better and their bodies were healthier than all the young men who had been eating the royal delicacies. 1:16 So the warden removed the delicacies and the wine from their diet and gave them a diet of vegetables instead. 1:17 Now as for these four young men, God endowed them with knowledge and skill in all sorts of literature and wisdom – and Daniel had insight into all kinds of visions and dreams.

1:18 When the time appointed by the king arrived, the overseer of the court officials brought them into Nebuchadnezzar’s presence. 1:19 When the king spoke with them, he did not find among the entire group anyone like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, or Azariah. So they entered the king’s service. 1:20 In every matter of wisdom and insight the king asked them about, he found them to be ten times better than any of the magicians and astrologers that were in his entire empire. 1:21 Now Daniel lived on until the first year of Cyrus the king.

(Daniel 6)

Daniel is Thrown into a Lions’ Den

6:1 It seemed like a good idea to Darius to appoint over the kingdom 120 satraps who would be in charge of the entire kingdom. 6:2 Over them would be three supervisors, one of whom was Daniel. These satraps were accountable to them, so that the king’s interests might not incur damage. 6:3 Now this Daniel was distinguishing himself above the other supervisors and the satraps, for he had an extraordinary spirit. In fact, the king intended to appoint him over the entire kingdom. 6:4 Consequently the supervisors and satraps were trying to find some pretext against Daniel in connection with administrative matters. But they were unable to find any such damaging evidence, because he was trustworthy and guilty of no negligence or corruption. 6:5 So these men concluded, “We won’t find any pretext against this man Daniel unless it is in connection with the law of his God.”

6:6 So these supervisors and satraps came by collusion to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever! 6:7 To all the supervisors of the kingdom, the prefects, satraps, counselors, and governors it seemed like a good idea for a royal edict to be issued and an interdict to be enforced. For the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human other than you, O king, should be thrown into a den of lions. 6:8 Now let the king issue a written interdict so that it cannot be altered, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be changed. 6:9 So King Darius issued the written interdict.

6:10 When Daniel realized that a written decree had been issued, he entered his home, where the windows in his upper room opened toward Jerusalem. Three times daily he was kneeling and offering prayers and thanks to his God just as he had been accustomed to do previously. 6:11 Then those officials who had gone to the king came by collusion and found Daniel praying and asking for help before his God. 6:12 So they approached the king and said to him, “Did you not issue an edict to the effect that for the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human other than to you, O king, would be thrown into a den of lions?” The king replied, “That is correct, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be changed.” 6:13 Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the captives from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the edict that you issued. Three times daily he offers his prayer.”

6:14 When the king heard this, he was very upset and began thinking about how he might rescue Daniel. Until late afternoon he was struggling to find a way to rescue him. 6:15 Then those men came by collusion to the king and said to him, “Recall, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no edict or decree that the king issues can be changed.” 6:16 So the king gave the order, and Daniel was brought and thrown into a den of lions. The king consoled Daniel by saying, “Your God whom you continually serve will rescue you!” 6:17 Then a stone was brought and placed over the opening to the den. The king sealed it with his signet ring and with those of his nobles so that nothing could be changed with regard to Daniel. 6:18 Then the king departed to his palace. But he spent the night without eating, and no diversions were brought to him. He was unable to sleep.

God Rescues Daniel from the Lions

6:19 In the morning, at the earliest sign of daylight, the king got up and rushed to the lions’ den. 6:20 As he approached the den, he called out to Daniel in a worried voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, was your God whom you continually serve able to rescue you from the lions?”

6:21 Then Daniel spoke to the king, “O king, live forever! 6:22 My God sent his angel and closed the lions’ mouths so that they have not harmed me, because I was found to be innocent before him. Nor have I done any harm to you, O king.”

6:23 Then the king was delighted and gave an order to haul Daniel up from the den. So Daniel was hauled up out of the den. He had no injury of any kind, because he had trusted in his God. 6:24 The king gave another order, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and thrown into the lions’ den – they, their children, and their wives. They did not even reach the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

6:25 Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and language groups who were living in all the land: “Peace and prosperity! 6:26 I have issued an edict that throughout all the dominion of my kingdom people are to revere and fear the God of Daniel.

“For he is the living God;

he endures forever.

His kingdom will not be destroyed;

his authority is forever.

6:27 He rescues and delivers

and performs signs and wonders

in the heavens and on the earth.

He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions!”

6:28 So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

(Daniel 9)

Daniel Prays for His People

9:1 In the first year of Darius son of Ahasuerus, who was of Median descent and who had been appointed king over the Babylonian empire – 9:2 in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, came to understand from the sacred books that, according to the word of the LORD disclosed to the prophet Jeremiah, the years for the fulfilling of the desolation of Jerusalem were seventy in number. 9:3 So I turned my attention to the Lord God to implore him by prayer and requests, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. 9:4 I prayed to the LORD my God, confessing in this way:

“O Lord, great and awesome God who is faithful to his covenant with those who love him and keep his commandments, 9:5 we have sinned! We have done what is wrong and wicked; we have rebelled by turning away from your commandments and standards. 9:6 We have not paid attention to your servants the prophets, who spoke by your authority to our kings, our leaders, and our ancestors, and to all the inhabitants of the land as well.

9:7 “You are righteous, O Lord, but we are humiliated this day – the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far away in all the countries in which you have scattered them, because they have behaved unfaithfully toward you. 9:8 O LORD, we have been humiliated – our kings, our leaders, and our ancestors – because we have sinned against you. 9:9 Yet the Lord our God is compassionate and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him. 9:10 We have not obeyed the LORD our God by living according to his laws that he set before us through his servants the prophets.

9:11 “All Israel has broken your law and turned away by not obeying you. Therefore you have poured out on us the judgment solemnly threatened in the law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against you. 9:12 He has carried out his threats against us and our rulers who were over us by bringing great calamity on us – what has happened to Jerusalem has never been equaled under all heaven! 9:13 Just as it is written in the law of Moses, so all this calamity has come on us. Still we have not tried to pacify the LORD our God by turning back from our sin and by seeking wisdom from your reliable moral standards. 9:14 The LORD was mindful of the calamity, and he brought it on us. For the LORD our God is just in all he has done, and we have not obeyed him.

9:15 “Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with great power and made a name for yourself that is remembered to this day – we have sinned and behaved wickedly. 9:16 O Lord, according to all your justice, please turn your raging anger away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain. For due to our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors, Jerusalem and your people are mocked by all our neighbors.

9:17 “So now, our God, accept the prayer and requests of your servant, and show favor to your devastated sanctuary for your own sake. 9:18 Listen attentively, my God, and hear! Open your eyes and look on our desolated ruins and the city called by your name. For it is not because of our own righteous deeds that we are praying to you, but because your compassion is abundant. 9:19 O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, pay attention, and act! Don’t delay, for your own sake, O my God! For your city and your people are called by your name.”

Gabriel Gives to Daniel a Prophecy of Seventy Weeks

9:20 While I was still speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and presenting my request before the LORD my God concerning his holy mountain – 9:21 yes, while I was still praying, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen previously in a vision, was approaching me in my state of extreme weariness, around the time of the evening offering. 9:22 He spoke with me, instructing me as follows: “Daniel, I have now come to impart understanding to you. 9:23 At the beginning of your requests a message went out, and I have come to convey it to you, for you are of great value in God’s sight. Therefore consider the message and understand the vision:

9:24 “Seventy weeks have been determined

concerning your people and your holy city

to put an end to rebellion,

to bring sin to completion,

to atone for iniquity,

to bring in perpetual righteousness,

to seal up the prophetic vision,

and to anoint a most holy place.

9:25 So know and understand:

From the issuing of the command to restore and rebuild

Jerusalem until an anointed one, a prince arrives,

there will be a period of seven weeks and sixty-two weeks.

It will again be built, with plaza and moat,

but in distressful times.

9:26 Now after the sixty-two weeks,

an anointed one will be cut off and have nothing.

As for the city and the sanctuary,

the people of the coming prince will destroy them.

But his end will come speedily like a flood.

Until the end of the war that has been decreed

there will be destruction.

9:27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one week.

But in the middle of that week

he will bring sacrifices and offerings to a halt.

On the wing of abominations will come one who destroys,

until the decreed end is poured out on the one who destroys.”

(Hosea 6)

Superficial Repentance Breeds False Assurance of God’s Forgivene

6:1 “Come on! Let’s return to the Lord!

He himself has torn us to pieces,

but he will heal us!

He has injured us,

but he will bandage our wounds!

6:2 He will restore us in a very short time;

he will heal us in a little while,

so that we may live in his presence.

6:3 So let us acknowledge him!

Let us seek to acknowledge the Lord!

He will come to our rescue as certainly as the appearance of the dawn,

as certainly as the winter rain comes,

as certainly as the spring rain that waters the land.”

Transitory Faithfulness and Imminent Judgment

6:4 What am I going to do with you, O Ephraim?

What am I going to do with you, O Judah?

For your faithfulness is as fleeting as the morning mist;

it disappears as quickly as dawn’s dew!

6:5 Therefore, I will certainly cut you into pieces at the hands of the prophets;

I will certainly kill you in fulfillment of my oracles of judgment;

for my judgment will come forth like the light of the dawn.

6:6 For I delight in faithfulness, not simply in sacrifice;

I delight in acknowledging God, not simply in whole burnt offerings.

Indictments Against the Cities of Israel and Judah

6:7 At Adam they broke the covenant;

Oh how they were unfaithful to me!

6:8 Gilead is a city full of evildoers;

its streets are stained with bloody footprints!

6:9 The company of priests is like a gang of robbers,

lying in ambush to pounce on a victim.

They commit murder on the road to Shechem;

they have done heinous crimes!

6:10 I have seen a disgusting thing in the temple of Israel:

there Ephraim practices temple prostitution

and Judah defiles itself.

6:11 I have appointed a time to reap judgment for you also, O Judah!

If Israel Would Repent of Sin, God Would Relent of Judgment

Whenever I want to restore the fortunes of my people,

(Joel 3)

The Lord Plans to Judge the Nations

3:1 For look! In those days and at that time

I will return the exiles to Judah and Jerusalem.

3:2 Then I will gather all the nations,

and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat.

I will enter into judgment against them there

concerning my people Israel who are my inheritance,

whom they scattered among the nations.

They partitioned my land,

3:3 and they cast lots for my people.

They traded a boy for a prostitute;

they sold a little girl for wine so they could drink.

3:4 Why are you doing these things to me, Tyre and Sidon?

Are you trying to get even with me, land of Philistia?

I will very quickly repay you for what you have done!

3:5 For you took my silver and my gold

and brought my precious valuables to your own palaces.

3:6 You sold Judeans and Jerusalemites to the Greeks,

removing them far from their own country.

3:7 Look! I am rousing them from that place to which you sold them.

I will repay you for what you have done!

3:8 I will sell your sons and daughters to the people of Judah.

They will sell them to the Sabeans, a nation far away.

Indeed, the Lord has spoken!

Judgment in the Valley of Jehoshaphat

3:9 Proclaim this among the nations:

“Prepare for a holy war!

Call out the warriors!

Let all these fighting men approach and attack!

3:10 Beat your plowshares into swords,

and your pruning hooks into spears!

Let the weak say, ‘I too am a warrior!’

3:11 Lend your aid and come,

all you surrounding nations,

and gather yourselves to that place.”

Bring down, O Lord, your warriors!

3:12 Let the nations be roused and let them go up

to the valley of Jehoshaphat,

for there I will sit in judgment on all the surrounding nations.

3:13 Rush forth with the sickle, for the harvest is ripe!

Come, stomp the grapes, for the winepress is full!

The vats overflow.

Indeed, their evil is great!

3:14 Crowds, great crowds are in the valley of decision,

for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision!

3:15 The sun and moon are darkened;

the stars withhold their brightness.

3:16 The Lord roars from Zion;

from Jerusalem his voice bellows out.

The heavens and the earth shake.

But the Lord is a refuge for his people;

he is a stronghold for the citizens of Israel.

The Lord’s Presence in Zion

3:17 You will be convinced that I the Lord am your God,

dwelling on Zion, my holy mountain.

Jerusalem will be holy –

conquering armies will no longer pass through it.

3:18 On that day the mountains will drip with sweet wine,

and the hills will flow with milk.

All the dry stream beds of Judah will flow with water.

A spring will flow out from the temple of the Lord,

watering the Valley of Acacia Trees.

3:19 Egypt will be desolate

and Edom will be a desolate wilderness,

because of the violence they did to the people of Judah,

in whose land they shed innocent blood.

3:20 But Judah will reside securely forever,

and Jerusalem will be secure from one generation to the next.

3:21 I will avenge their blood which I had not previously acquitted.

It is the Lord who dwells in Zion!

(Amos 5)

Death is Imminent

5:1 Listen to this funeral song I am ready to sing about you, family of Israel:

5:2 “The virgin Israel has fallen down and will not get up again.

She is abandoned on her own land

with no one to help her get up.”

5:3 The sovereign Lord says this:

“The city that marches out with a thousand soldiers will have only a hundred left;

the town that marches out with a hundred soldiers will have only ten left for the family of Israel.”

5:4 The Lord says this to the family of Israel:

“Seek me so you can live!

5:5 Do not seek Bethel!

Do not visit Gilgal!

Do not journey down to Beer Sheba!

For the people of Gilgal will certainly be carried into exile;

and Bethel will become a place where disaster abounds.”

5:6 Seek the Lord so you can live!

Otherwise he will break out like fire against Joseph’s family;

the fire will consume

and no one will be able to quench it and save Bethel.

5:7 The Israelites turn justice into bitterness;

they throw what is fair and right to the ground.

5:8 (But there is one who made the constellations Pleiades and Orion;

he can turn the darkness into morning

and daylight into night.

He summons the water of the seas

and pours it out on the earth’s surface.

The Lord is his name!

5:9 He flashes destruction down upon the strong

so that destruction overwhelms the fortified places.)

5:10 The Israelites hate anyone who arbitrates at the city gate;

they despise anyone who speaks honestly.

5:11 Therefore, because you make the poor pay taxes on their crops

and exact a grain tax from them,

you will not live in the houses you built with chiseled stone,

nor will you drink the wine from the fine vineyards you planted.

5:12 Certainly I am aware of your many rebellious acts

and your numerous sins.

You torment the innocent, you take bribes,

and you deny justice to the needy at the city gate.

5:13 For this reason whoever is smart keeps quiet in such a time,

for it is an evil time.

5:14 Seek good and not evil so you can live!

Then the Lord, the God who commands armies, just might be with you,

as you claim he is.

5:15 Hate what is wrong, love what is right!

Promote justice at the city gate!

Maybe the Lord, the God who commands armies, will have mercy on those who are left from Joseph.

5:16 Because of Israel’s sins this is what the Lord, the God who commands armies, the sovereign One, says:

“In all the squares there will be wailing,

in all the streets they will mourn the dead.

They will tell the field workers to lament

and the professional mourners to wail.

5:17 In all the vineyards there will be wailing,

for I will pass through your midst,” says the Lord.

The Lord Demands Justice

5:18 Woe to those who wish for the day of the Lord!

Why do you want the Lord’s day of judgment to come?

It will bring darkness, not light.

5:19 Disaster will be inescapable,

as if a man ran from a lion only to meet a bear,

then escaped into a house,

leaned his hand against the wall,

and was bitten by a poisonous snake.

5:20 Don’t you realize the Lord’s day of judgment will bring darkness, not light –

gloomy blackness, not bright light?

5:21 “I absolutely despise your festivals!

I get no pleasure from your religious assemblies!

5:22 Even if you offer me burnt and grain offerings, I will not be satisfied;

I will not look with favor on your peace offerings of fattened calves.

5:23 Take away from me your noisy songs;

I don’t want to hear the music of your stringed instruments.

5:24 Justice must flow like torrents of water,

righteous actions like a stream that never dries up.

5:25 You did not bring me sacrifices and grain offerings during the forty years you spent in the wilderness, family of Israel.

5:26 You will pick up your images of Sikkuth, your king,

and Kiyyun, your star god, which you made for yourselves,

5:27 and I will drive you into exile beyond Damascus,” says the Lord.

He is called the God who commands armies!

(Obadiah 1)

God’s Judgment on Edom|Edom’s Approaching Destruction

1:1 The vision that Obadiah saw.

The Lord God says this concerning Edom:

God’s Judgment on Edom|Edom’s Approaching Destruction

We have heard a report from the Lord.

An envoy was sent among the nations, saying,

“Arise! Let us make war against Edom!”

1:2 The Lord says, “Look! I will make you a weak nation;

you will be greatly despised!

1:3 Your presumptuous heart has deceived you –

you who reside in the safety of the rocky cliffs,

whose home is high in the mountains.

You think to yourself,

‘No one can bring me down to the ground!’

1:4 Even if you were to soar high like an eagle,

even if you were to make your nest among the stars,

I can bring you down even from there!” says the Lord.

1:5 “If thieves came to rob you during the night,

they would steal only as much as they wanted!

If grape pickers came to harvest your vineyards,

they would leave some behind for the poor!

But you will be totally destroyed!

1:6 How the people of Esau will be thoroughly plundered!

Their hidden valuables will be ransacked!

1:7 All your allies will force you from your homeland!

Your treaty partners will deceive you and overpower you.

Your trusted friends will set an ambush for you

that will take you by surprise!

1:8 At that time,” the Lord says,

“I will destroy the wise sages of Edom!

the advisers from Esau’s mountain!

1:9 Your warriors will be shattered, O Teman,

so that everyone will be destroyed from Esau’s mountain!

Edom’s Treachery Against Judah

1:10 “Because you violently slaughtered your relatives, the people of Jacob,

shame will cover you, and you will be destroyed forever.

1:11 You stood aloof while strangers took his army captive,

and foreigners advanced to his gates.

When they cast lots over Jerusalem,

you behaved as though you were in league with them.

1:12 You should not have gloated when your relatives suffered calamity.

You should not have rejoiced over the people of Judah when they were destroyed.

You should not have boasted when they suffered adversity.

1:13 You should not have entered the city of my people when they experienced distress.

You should not have joined in gloating over their misfortune when they suffered distress.

You should not have looted their wealth when they endured distress.

1:14 You should not have stood at the fork in the road to slaughter those trying to escape.

You should not have captured their refugees when they suffered adversity.

The Coming Day of the Lord

1:15 “For the day of the Lord is approaching for all the nations!

Just as you have done, so it will be done to you.

You will get exactly what your deeds deserve.

1:16 For just as you have drunk on my holy mountain,

so all the nations will drink continually.

They will drink, and they will gulp down;

they will be as though they had never been.

1:17 But on Mount Zion there will be a remnant of those who escape,

and it will be a holy place once again.

The descendants of Jacob will conquer

those who had conquered them.

1:18 The descendants of Jacob will be a fire,

and the descendants of Joseph a flame.

The descendants of Esau will be like stubble.

They will burn them up and devour them.

There will not be a single survivor of the descendants of Esau!”

Indeed, the Lord has spoken it.

1:19 The people of the Negev will take possession of Esau’s mountain,

and the people of the Shephelah will take

possession of the land of the Philistines.

They will also take possession of the territory of Ephraim and the territory of Samaria,

and the people of Benjamin will take possession of Gilead.

1:20 The exiles of this fortress of the people of Israel

will take possession of what belongs to

the people of Canaan, as far as Zarephath,

and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad

will take possession of the towns of the Negev.

1:21 Those who have been delivered will go up on Mount Zion

in order to rule over Esau’s mountain.

Then the Lord will reign as King!

(Jonah 2)

2:1 Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the fish 2:2 and said,

“I called out to the Lord from my distress,

and he answered me;

from the belly of Sheol I cried out for help,

and you heard my prayer.

2:3 You threw me into the deep waters,

into the middle of the sea;

the ocean current engulfed me;

all the mighty waves you sent swept over me.

2:4 I thought I had been banished from your sight,

that I would never again see your holy temple!

2:5 Water engulfed me up to my neck;

the deep ocean surrounded me;

seaweed was wrapped around my head.

2:6 I went down to the very bottoms of the mountains;

the gates of the netherworld barred me in forever;

but you brought me up from the Pit, O Lord, my God.

2:7 When my life was ebbing away, I called out to the Lord,

and my prayer came to your holy temple.

2:8 Those who worship worthless idols forfeit the mercy that could be theirs.

2:9 But as for me, I promise to offer a sacrifice to you with a public declaration of praise;

I will surely do what I have promised.

Salvation belongs to the Lord!”

2:10 Then the Lord commanded the fish and it disgorged Jonah on dry land.

(Micah 6)

The Lord Demands Justice, not Ritual

6:1 Listen to what the Lord says:

“Get up! Defend yourself before the mountains!

Present your case before the hills!”

6:2 Hear the Lord’s accusation, you mountains,

you enduring foundations of the earth!

For the Lord has a case against his people;

he has a dispute with Israel!

6:3 “My people, how have I wronged you?

How have I wearied you? Answer me!

6:4 In fact, I brought you up from the land of Egypt,

I delivered you from that place of slavery.

I sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to lead you.

6:5 My people, recall how King Balak of Moab planned to harm you,

how Balaam son of Beor responded to him.

Recall how you journeyed from Shittim to Gilgal,

so you might acknowledge that the Lord has treated you fairly.”

6:6 With what should I enter the Lord’s presence?

With what should I bow before the sovereign God?

Should I enter his presence with burnt offerings,

with year-old calves?

6:7 Will the Lord accept a thousand rams,

or ten thousand streams of olive oil?

Should I give him my firstborn child as payment for my rebellion,

my offspring – my own flesh and blood – for my sin?

6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good,

and what the Lord really wants from you:

He wants you to promote justice, to be faithful,

and to live obediently before your God.

6:9 Listen! The Lord is calling to the city!

It is wise to respect your authority, O Lord!

Listen, O nation, and those assembled in the city!

6:10 “I will not overlook, O sinful house, the dishonest gain you have hoarded away,

or the smaller-than-standard measure I hate so much.

6:11 I do not condone the use of rigged scales,

or a bag of deceptive weights.

6:12 The city’s rich men think nothing of resorting to violence;

her inhabitants lie,

their tongues speak deceptive words.

6:13 I will strike you brutally

and destroy you because of your sin.

6:14 You will eat, but not be satisfied.

Even if you have the strength to overtake some prey,

you will not be able to carry it away;

if you do happen to carry away something,

I will deliver it over to the sword.

6:15 You will plant crops, but will not harvest them;

you will squeeze oil from the olives, but you will have no oil to rub on your bodies;

you will squeeze juice from the grapes, but you will have no wine to drink.

6:16 You implement the regulations of Omri,

and all the practices of Ahab’s dynasty;

you follow their policies.

Therefore I will make you an appalling sight,

the city’s inhabitants will be taunted derisively,

and nations will mock all of you.”

(Nahum 1)

Introduction

1:1 The oracle against Nineveh;

the book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite:

God Takes Vengeance against His Enemies

1:2 The Lord is a zealous and avenging God;

the Lord is avenging and very angry.

The Lord takes vengeance against his foes;

he sustains his rage against his enemies.

1:3 The Lord is slow to anger but great in power;

the Lord will certainly not allow the wicked to go unpunished.

The Divine Warrior Destroys His Enemies but Protects His People

He marches out in the whirlwind and the raging storm;

dark storm clouds billow like dust under his feet.

1:4 He shouts a battle cry against the sea and makes it dry up;

he makes all the rivers run dry.

Bashan and Carmel wither;

the blossom of Lebanon withers.

1:5 The mountains tremble before him,

the hills convulse;

the earth is laid waste before him,

the world and all its inhabitants are laid waste.

1:6 No one can withstand his indignation!

No one can resist his fierce anger!

His wrath is poured out like volcanic fire,

boulders are broken up as he approaches.

1:7 The Lord is good –

indeed, he is a fortress in time of distress,

and he protects those who seek refuge in him.

1:8 But with an overwhelming flood

he will make a complete end of Nineveh;

he will drive his enemies into darkness.

Denunciation and Destruction of Nineveh

1:9 Whatever you plot against the Lord, he will completely destroy!

Distress will not arise a second time.

1:10 Surely they will be totally consumed

like entangled thorn bushes,

like the drink of drunkards,

like very dry stubble.

1:11 From you, O Nineveh, one has marched forth who plots evil against the Lord,

a wicked military strategist.

Oracle of Deliverance to Judah

1:12 This is what the Lord says:

“Even though they are powerful –

and what is more, even though their army is numerous –

nevertheless, they will be destroyed and trickle away!

Although I afflicted you,

I will afflict you no more.

1:13 And now, I will break Assyria’s yoke bar from your neck;

I will tear apart the shackles that are on you.”

Oracle of Judgment against the King of Nineveh

1:14 The Lord has issued a decree against you:

“Your dynasty will come to an end.

I will destroy the idols and images in the temples of your gods.

I will desecrate your grave – because you are accursed!”

Proclamation of the Deliverance of Judah

1:15 Look! A herald is running on the mountains!

A messenger is proclaiming deliverance:

“Celebrate your sacred festivals, O Judah!

Fulfill your sacred vows to praise God!

For never again will the wicked Assyrians invade you,

they have been completely destroyed.”

(Habakkuk 1)

 1:12 Lord, you have been active from ancient times;

my sovereign God, you are immortal.

Lord, you have made them your instrument of judgment.

Protector, you have appointed them as your instrument of punishment.

1:13 You are too just to tolerate evil;

you are unable to condone wrongdoing.

So why do you put up with such treacherous people?

Why do you say nothing when the wicked devour those more righteous than they are?

1:14 You made people like fish in the sea,

like animals in the sea that have no ruler.

1:15 The Babylonian tyrant pulls them all up with a fishhook;

he hauls them in with his throw net.

When he catches them in his dragnet,

he is very happy.

1:16 Because of his success he offers sacrifices to his throw net

and burns incense to his dragnet;

for because of them he has plenty of food,

and more than enough to eat.

1:17 Will he then continue to fill and empty his throw net?

Will he always destroy nations and spare none?

(Habakkuk 2)

2:1 I will stand at my watch post;

I will remain stationed on the city wall.

I will keep watching, so I can see what he says to me

and can know how I should answer

when he counters my argument.

The Lord Assures Habakkuk

2:2 The Lord responded:

“Write down this message! Record it legibly on tablets,

so the one who announces it may read it easily.

2:3 For the message is a witness to what is decreed;

it gives reliable testimony about how matters will turn out.

Even if the message is not fulfilled right away, wait patiently;

for it will certainly come to pass – it will not arrive late.

2:4 Look, the one whose desires are not upright will faint from exhaustion,

but the person of integrity will live because of his faithfulness.

(Zephaniah 1)

 1:14 The Lord’s great day of judgment is almost here;

it is approaching very rapidly!

There will be a bitter sound on the Lord’s day of judgment;

at that time warriors will cry out in battle.

1:15 That day will be a day of God’s anger,

a day of distress and hardship,

a day of devastation and ruin,

a day of darkness and gloom,

a day of clouds and dark skies,

1:16 a day of trumpet blasts and battle cries.

Judgment will fall on the fortified cities and the high corner towers.

1:17 I will bring distress on the people

and they will stumble like blind men,

for they have sinned against the Lord.

Their blood will be poured out like dirt;

their flesh will be scattered like manure.

1:18 Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to deliver them

in the day of the Lord’s angry judgment.

The whole earth will be consumed by his fiery wrath.

Indeed, he will bring terrifying destruction on all who live on the earth.”

(Zephaniah 2)

The Prophet Warns the People

2:1 Bunch yourselves together like straw, you undesirable nation,

2:2 before God’s decree becomes reality and the day of opportunity disappears like windblown chaff,

before the Lord’s raging anger overtakes you –

before the day of the Lord’s angry judgment overtakes you!

2:3 Seek the Lord’s favor, all you humble people of the land who have obeyed his commands!

Strive to do what is right! Strive to be humble!

Maybe you will be protected on the day of the Lord’s angry judgment.

(Haggai 1)

Introduction

1:1 On the first day of the sixth month of King Darius’ second year, the Lord spoke this message through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak:

The Indifference of the People

1:2 The Lord who rules over all says this: “These people have said, ‘The time for rebuilding the Lord’s temple has not yet come.’” 1:3 So the Lord spoke through the prophet Haggai as follows: 1:4 “Is it right for you to live in richly paneled houses while my temple is in ruins? 1:5 Here then is what the Lord who rules over all says: ‘Think carefully about what you are doing. 1:6 You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but are never filled. You drink, but are still thirsty. You put on clothes, but are not warm. Those who earn wages end up with holes in their money bags.’”

The Instruction of the People

1:7 “Moreover, the Lord who rules over all says: ‘Pay close attention to these things also. 1:8 Go up to the hill country and bring back timber to build the temple. Then I will be pleased and honored,’ says the Lord. 1:9 ‘You expected a large harvest, but instead there was little, and when you brought it home it disappeared right away. Why?’ asks the Lord who rules over all. ‘Because my temple remains in ruins, thanks to each of you favoring his own house! 1:10 This is why the sky has held back its dew and the earth its produce. 1:11 Moreover, I have called for a drought that will affect the fields, the hill country, the grain, new wine, fresh olive oil, and everything that grows from the ground; it also will harm people, animals, and everything they produce.’”

The Response of the People

1:12 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak, along with the whole remnant of the people, obeyed the Lord their God. They responded favorably to the message of the prophet Haggai, who spoke just as the Lord their God had instructed him, and the people began to respect the Lord. 1:13 Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, spoke the Lord’s word to the people: “I am with you!” says the Lord. 1:14 So the Lord energized and encouraged Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak, and the whole remnant of the people. They came and worked on the temple of their God, the Lord who rules over all. 1:15 This took place on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month of King Darius’ second year.

(Zechariah 2)

Vision Three: The Surveyor

2:1 I looked again, and there was a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2:2 I asked, “Where are you going?” He replied, “To measure Jerusalem in order to determine its width and its length.” 2:3 At this point the angelic messenger who spoke to me went out, and another messenger came to meet him 2:4 and said to him, “Hurry, speak to this young man as follows: ‘Jerusalem will no longer be enclosed by walls because of the multitude of people and animals there. 2:5 But I (the Lord says) will be a wall of fire surrounding Jerusalem and the source of glory in her midst.’”

2:6 “You there! Flee from the northland!” says the Lord, “for like the four winds of heaven I have scattered you,” says the Lord. 2:7 “Escape, Zion, you who live among the Babylonians!” 2:8 For the Lord who rules over all says to me that for his own glory he has sent me to the nations that plundered you – for anyone who touches you touches the pupil of his eye. 2:9 “I am about to punish them in such a way,” he says, “that they will be looted by their own slaves.” Then you will know that the Lord who rules over all has sent me.

2:10 “Sing out and be happy, Zion my daughter! For look, I have come; I will settle in your midst,” says the Lord. 2:11 “Many nations will join themselves to the Lord on the day of salvation, and they will also be my people. Indeed, I will settle in the midst of you all.” Then you will know that the Lord who rules over all has sent me to you. 2:12 The Lord will take possession of Judah as his portion in the holy land and he will choose Jerusalem once again. 2:13 Be silent in the Lord’s presence, all people everywhere, for he is being moved to action in his holy dwelling place.

(Malachi 3)

3:1 “I am about to send my messenger, who will clear the way before me. Indeed, the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his temple, and the messenger of the covenant, whom you long for, is certainly coming,” says the Lord who rules over all.

3:2 Who can endure the day of his coming? Who can keep standing when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire, like a launderer’s soap. 3:3 He will act like a refiner and purifier of silver and will cleanse the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then they will offer the Lord a proper offering. 3:4 The offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in former times and years past.

3:5 “I will come to you in judgment. I will be quick to testify against those who practice divination, those who commit adultery, those who break promises, and those who exploit workers, widows, and orphans, who refuse to help the immigrant and in this way show they do not fear me,” says the Lord who rules over all.

Resistance to the Lord through Selfishness

3:6 “Since, I, the Lord, do not go back on my promises, you, sons of Jacob, have not perished. 3:7 From the days of your ancestors you have ignored my commandments and have not kept them! Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord who rules over all. “But you say, ‘How should we return?’ 3:8 Can a person rob God? You indeed are robbing me, but you say, ‘How are we robbing you?’ In tithes and contributions! 3:9 You are bound for judgment because you are robbing me – this whole nation is guilty.

3:10 “Bring the entire tithe into the storehouse so that there may be food in my temple. Test me in this matter,” says the Lord who rules over all, “to see if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until there is no room for it all. 3:11 Then I will stop the plague from ruining your crops, and the vine will not lose its fruit before harvest,” says the Lord who rules over all. 3:12 “All nations will call you happy, for you indeed will live in a delightful land,” says the Lord who rules over all.

Resistance to the Lord through Self-sufficiency

3:13 “You have criticized me sharply,” says the Lord, “but you ask, ‘How have we criticized you?’ 3:14 You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God. How have we been helped by keeping his requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord who rules over all? 3:15 So now we consider the arrogant to be happy; indeed, those who practice evil are successful. In fact, those who challenge God escape!’”

3:16 Then those who respected the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord took notice. A scroll was prepared before him in which were recorded the names of those who respected the Lord and honored his name. 3:17 “They will belong to me,” says the Lord who rules over all, “in the day when I prepare my own special property. I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. 3:18 Then once more you will see that I make a distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between the one who serves God and the one who does not.

NET Bible®

The Peace Prayer

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, the truth;
Where there is doubt, the faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

The Little Bible

For God so loved the world,

that he gave his only begotten Son,

that whosoever believeth in him

should not perish,

but have everlasting life.

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Jn 3:16 KJV