1 This message came to me concerning Damascus: "Look, Damascus will disappear! It will become a heap of ruins.
2 The cities of Aroer will be deserted. Sheep will graze in the streets and lie down unafraid. There will be no one to chase them away.
3 The fortified cities of Israel* will also be destroyed, and the power of Damascus will end. The few left in Aram will share the fate of Israel's departed glory," says the LORD Almighty.1
4 "In that day the glory of Israel* will be very dim, for poverty will stalk the land.2
5 Israel will be abandoned like the grainfields in the valley of Rephaim after the harvest.
6 Only a few of its people will be left, like the stray olives left on the tree after the harvest. Only two or three remain in the highest branches, four or five out on the tips of the limbs. Yes, Israel will be stripped bare of people," says the LORD, the God of Israel.
7 Then at last the people will think of their Creator and have respect for the Holy One of Israel.
8 They will no longer ask their idols for help or worship what their own hands have made. They will never again bow down to their Asherah poles or burn incense on the altars they built.
9 Their largest cities will be as deserted as overgrown thickets. They will become like the cities the Amorites abandoned when the Israelites came here so long ago.
10 Why? Because you have turned from the God who can save you--the Rock who can hide you. You may plant the finest imported grapevines,
11 and they may grow so well that they blossom on the very morning you plant them, but you will never pick any grapes from them. Your only harvest will be a load of grief and incurable pain.
12 Look! The armies rush forward like waves thundering toward the shore.
13 But though they roar like breakers on a beach, God will silence them. They will flee like chaff scattered by the wind or like dust whirling before a storm.
14 In the evening Israel waits in terror, but by dawn its enemies are dead. This is the just reward of those who plunder and destroy the people of God.
Read Isaiah 18