Jerusalem on Its Last Legs
3 1-7 The Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
is emptying Jerusalem and Judah
Of all the basic necessities,
plain bread and water to begin with.
He’s withdrawing police and protection,
judges and courts,
pastors and teachers,
captains and generals,
doctors and nurses,
and, yes, even the repairmen and jacks-of-all-trades.
He says, “I’ll put little kids in charge of the city.
Schoolboys and schoolgirls will order everyone around.
People will be at each other’s throats,
stabbing one another in the back:
Neighbor against neighbor, young against old,
the no-account against the well-respected.
One brother will grab another and say,
‘You look like you’ve got a head on your shoulders.
Get us out of this mess.’
And he’ll say, ‘Me? Not me! I don’t have a clue.
Don’t put me in charge of anything.’
8-9 “Jerusalem’s on its last legs.
Judah is soon down for the count.
Everything people say and do
is at cross-purposes with God,
a slap in my face.
Brazen in their depravity,
they flaunt their sins like degenerate Sodom.
Doom to their eternal souls! They’ve made their bed;
now they’ll sleep in it.
10-11 “Reassure the righteous
that their good living will pay off.
But doom to the wicked! Disaster!
Everything they did will be done to them.
12 “Skinny kids terrorize my people.
Silly girls bully them around.
My dear people! Your leaders are taking you down a blind alley.
They’re sending you off on a wild-goose chase.”
A City Brought to Her Knees by Her Sorrows
13-15 God enters the courtroom.
He takes his place at the bench to judge his people.
God calls for order in the court,
hauls the leaders of his people into the dock:
“You’ve played havoc with this country.
Your houses are stuffed with what you’ve stolen from the poor.
What is this anyway? Stomping on my people,
grinding the faces of the poor into the dirt?”
That’s what the Master,
16-17 God says, “Zion women are stuck-up,
prancing around in their high heels,
Making eyes at all the men in the street,
swinging their hips,
Tossing their hair,
gaudy and garish in cheap jewelry.”
The Master will fix it so those Zion women
will all turn bald—
Scabby, bald-headed women.
The Master will do it.
18-23 The time is coming when the Master will strip them of their fancy baubles—the dangling earrings, anklets and bracelets, combs and mirrors and silk scarves, diamond brooches and pearl necklaces, the rings on their fingers and the rings on their toes, the latest fashions in hats, exotic perfumes and aphrodisiacs, gowns and capes, all the world’s finest in fabrics and design.
24 Instead of wearing seductive scents,
these women are going to smell like rotting cabbages;
Instead of modeling flowing gowns,
they’ll be sporting rags;
Instead of their stylish hairdos,
Instead of beauty marks,
scabs and scars.
25-26 Your finest fighting men will be killed,
your soldiers left dead on the battlefield.
The entrance gate to Zion will be clotted
with people mourning their dead—
A city stooped under the weight of her loss,
brought to her knees by her sorrows.