1 "Destruction is certain for my rebellious children," says the LORD. "You make plans that are contrary to my will. You weave a web of plans that are not from my Spirit, thus piling up your sins.
2 For without consulting me, you have gone down to Egypt to find help. You have put your trust in Pharaoh for his protection.
3 But in trusting Pharaoh, you will be humiliated and disgraced.
4 For though his power extends to Zoan and Hanes,
5 it will all turn out to your shame. He will not help you even one little bit."
6 Look at the animals moving slowly across the terrible desert to Egypt--donkeys and camels loaded with treasure to pay for Egypt's aid. On through the wilderness they go, where lions and poisonous snakes live. All this, and Egypt will give you nothing in return.
7 Egypt's promises are worthless! I call her the Harmless Dragon.*1
8 Now go and write down these words concerning Egypt. They will then stand until the end of time as a witness to Israel's unbelief.
9 For these people are stubborn rebels who refuse to pay any attention to the LORD's instructions.
10 They tell the prophets, "Shut up! We don't want any more of your reports." They say, "Don't tell us the truth. Tell us nice things. Tell us lies.
11 Forget all this gloom. We have heard more than enough about your `Holy One of Israel.' We are tired of listening to what he has to say."
12 This is the reply of the Holy One of Israel: "Because you despise what I tell you and trust instead in oppression and lies,
13 calamity will come upon you suddenly. It will be like a bulging wall that bursts and falls. In an instant it will collapse and come crashing down.
14 You will be smashed like a piece of pottery--shattered so completely that there won't be a piece left that is big enough to carry coals from a fireplace or a little water from the well."
15 The Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says, "Only in returning to me and waiting for me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it.
16 You said, `No, we will get our help from Egypt. They will give us swift horses for riding into battle.' But the only swiftness you are going to see is the swiftness of your enemies chasing you!
17 One of them will chase a thousand of you. Five of them will make all of you flee. You will be left like a lonely flagpole on a distant mountaintop."
18 But the LORD still waits for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the LORD is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for him to help them.
19 O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will respond instantly to the sound of your cries.
20 Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and affliction for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes,
21 and you will hear a voice say, "This is the way; turn around and walk here."
22 Then you will destroy all your silver idols and gold images. You will throw them out like filthy rags. "Ugh!" you will say to them. "Begone!"
23 Then the LORD will bless you with rain at planting time. There will be wonderful harvests and plenty of pastureland for your cattle.
24 The oxen and donkeys that till the ground will eat good grain, its chaff having been blown away by the wind.
25 In that day, when your enemies are slaughtered, there will be streams of water flowing down every mountain and hill.
26 The moon will be as bright as the sun, and the sun will be seven times brighter--like the light of seven days! So it will be when the LORD begins to heal his people and cure the wounds he gave them.
27 Look! The LORD is coming from far away, burning with anger, surrounded by a thick, rising smoke. His lips are filled with fury; his words consume like fire.