1 This message came to me concerning Jerusalem*: What is happening? Why is everyone running to the rooftops?1
2 The whole city is in a terrible uproar. What do I see in this reveling city? Bodies are lying everywhere, killed by famine and disease.*2
3 All your leaders flee. They surrender without resistance. The people try to slip away, but they are captured, too.
4 Leave me alone to weep; do not try to comfort me. Let me cry for my people as I watch them being destroyed.
5 Oh, what a day of crushing trouble! What a day of confusion and terror the Lord, the LORD Almighty, has brought upon the Valley of Vision! The walls of Jerusalem have been broken, and cries of death echo from the mountainsides.
6 Elamites are the archers; Arameans drive the chariots. The men of Kir hold up the shields.
7 They fill your beautiful valleys and crowd against your gates.
8 Judah's defenses have been stripped away. You run to the armory for your weapons.
9 You inspect the walls of Jerusalem* to see what needs to be repaired. You store up water in the lower pool.3
10 You check the houses and tear some down to get stone to fix the walls.
11 Between the city walls, you build a reservoir for water from the old pool. But all your feverish plans are to no avail because you never ask God for help. He is the one who planned this long ago.
12 The Lord, the LORD Almighty, called you to weep and mourn. He told you to shave your heads in sorrow for your sins and to wear clothes of sackcloth to show your remorse.
13 But instead, you dance and play; you slaughter sacrificial animals, feast on meat, and drink wine. "Let's eat, drink, and be merry," you say. "What's the difference, for tomorrow we die."
14 The LORD Almighty has revealed to me that this sin will never be forgiven you until the day you die. That is the judgment of the Lord, the LORD Almighty.
15 Furthermore, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, told me to confront Shebna, the palace administrator, and to give him this message:
16 "Who do you think you are, building a beautiful tomb for yourself in the rock?
17 For the LORD is about to seize you and hurl you away. He is going to send you into captivity, you strong man!
18 He will crumple you up into a ball and toss you away into a distant, barren land. There you will die, and there your glorious chariots will remain, broken and useless. You are a disgrace to your master.
19 "Yes, I will drive you out of office," says the LORD. "I will pull you down from your high position.
20 And then I will call my servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah to replace you.
21 He will have your royal robes, your title, and your authority. And he will be a father to the people of Jerusalem and Judah.
22 I will give him the key to the house of David--the highest position in the royal court. He will open doors, and no one will be able to shut them; he will close doors, and no one will be able to open them.
23 He will bring honor to his family name, for I will drive him firmly in place like a tent stake.
24 He will be loaded down with responsibility, and he will bring honor to even the lowliest members of his family."
25 The LORD Almighty says: "When that time comes, I will pull out the stake that seemed so firm. It will come out and fall to the ground. Everything it supports will fall with it. I, the LORD, have spoken!"
Read Isaiah 23