The Future of Jerusalem
3 Jerusalem, your people fought against God. They hurt other people, and you have been stained with sin. 2 They didn’t listen to me or accept my teachings. Jerusalem didn’t trust the Lord. Jerusalem didn’t go to her God. 3 Jerusalem’s leaders are like roaring lions. Her judges are like hungry wolves that come in the evening to attack the sheep—and in the morning nothing is left. 4 Her prophets are always making secret plans to get more and more. Her priests have treated holy things as if they were not holy. They have done bad things to God’s teachings. 5 But the Lord is still in that city, and he continues to be good. He does not do anything wrong. He continues to help his people. Morning after morning he makes good decisions for them. Not a day passes without his justice. He never gives a decision that is crooked or is something to be ashamed of.
6 The Lord says, “I have destroyed whole nations and their defense towers. I destroyed their streets and now no one goes there anymore. Their cities are empty—no one lives there anymore. 7 I tell you this so that you will learn a lesson. I want you to fear and respect me. If you do this, your home will not be destroyed, and I will not have to punish you the way I planned.” But those evil people only wanted to do more of the same evil things they had already done!
8 The Lord said, “So just wait! Wait for me to stand and judge you. I have the right to bring people from many nations and use them to punish you. I will use them to show my anger against you. I will use them to show how upset I am—and the whole country will be destroyed. 9 Then I will change people from other nations so that they can speak the language clearly and call out the name of the Lord. They will all worship me together, shoulder to shoulder, as one people. 10 People will come all the way from the other side of the river in Ethiopia. My scattered people will come to me. My worshipers will come and bring their gifts to me.
11 “Then, Jerusalem, you will no longer be ashamed of the wrong things your people do against me. That is because I will remove all the bad people from Jerusalem. I will take away all the proud people. There will not be any of them on my holy mountain.[a] 12 I will let only meek and humble people stay in my city, and they will trust the Lord’s name. 13 The survivors of Israel will not do bad things or tell lies. They will not try to trick people with lies. They will be like sheep that eat and lie down in peace—and no one will bother them.”
A Happy Song
14 Jerusalem, sing and be happy!
Israel, shout for joy!
Jerusalem, be happy and have fun!
15 The Lord stopped your punishment.
He destroyed your enemies’ strong towers.
King of Israel, the Lord is with you.
You don’t need to worry about anything bad happening.
16 At that time Jerusalem will be told,
“Be strong, don’t be afraid!
17 The Lord your God is with you.
He is like a powerful soldier.
He will save you.
He will show how much he loves you
and how happy he is with you.
He will laugh and be happy about you,
18 like people at a party.
I will take away your shame.
I will make them stop hurting you.[b]
19 At that time I will punish those who hurt you.
I will save my hurt people
and bring back those who were forced to leave.
I will give them praise and honor everywhere,
even in places where they suffered shame.
20 At that time I will lead you back home.
I will bring your people back together.
I will cause people everywhere to honor and praise you.
You will see me bring back all the blessings you once had.”
This is what the Lord said.