27 In that day the Lord will take his terrible, swift sword and punish Leviathan,[a] the swiftly moving serpent, the coiling, writhing serpent. He will kill the dragon of the sea.
2 “In that day,
sing about the fruitful vineyard.
3 I, the Lord, will watch over it,
watering it carefully.
Day and night I will watch so no one can harm it.
4 My anger will be gone.
If I find briers and thorns growing,
I will attack them;
I will burn them up—
5 unless they turn to me for help.
Let them make peace with me;
yes, let them make peace with me.”
6 The time is coming when Jacob’s descendants will take root.
Israel will bud and blossom
and fill the whole earth with fruit!
7 Has the Lord struck Israel
as he struck her enemies?
Has he punished her
as he punished them?
8 No, but he exiled Israel to call her to account.
She was exiled from her land
as though blown away in a storm from the east.
9 The Lord did this to purge Israel’s[b] wickedness,
to take away all her sin.
As a result, all the pagan altars will be crushed to dust.
No Asherah pole or pagan shrine will be left standing.
10 The fortified towns will be silent and empty,
the houses abandoned, the streets overgrown with weeds.
Calves will graze there,
chewing on twigs and branches.
11 The people are like the dead branches of a tree,
broken off and used for kindling beneath the cooking pots.
Israel is a foolish and stupid nation,
for its people have turned away from God.
Therefore, the one who made them
will show them no pity or mercy.
12 Yet the time will come when the Lord will gather them together like handpicked grain. One by one he will gather them—from the Euphrates River[c] in the east to the Brook of Egypt in the west. 13 In that day the great trumpet will sound. Many who were dying in exile in Assyria and Egypt will return to Jerusalem to worship the Lord on his holy mountain.
A Message about Samaria
28 What sorrow awaits the proud city of Samaria—
the glorious crown of the drunks of Israel.[d]
It sits at the head of a fertile valley,
but its glorious beauty will fade like a flower.
It is the pride of a people
brought down by wine.
2 For the Lord will send a mighty army against it.
Like a mighty hailstorm and a torrential rain,
they will burst upon it like a surging flood
and smash it to the ground.
3 The proud city of Samaria—
the glorious crown of the drunks of Israel[e]—
will be trampled beneath its enemies’ feet.
4 It sits at the head of a fertile valley,
but its glorious beauty will fade like a flower.
Whoever sees it will snatch it up,
as an early fig is quickly picked and eaten.
5 Then at last the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
will himself be Israel’s glorious crown.
He will be the pride and joy
of the remnant of his people.
6 He will give a longing for justice
to their judges.
He will give great courage
to their warriors who stand at the gates.
7 Now, however, Israel is led by drunks
who reel with wine and stagger with alcohol.
The priests and prophets stagger with alcohol
and lose themselves in wine.
They reel when they see visions
and stagger as they render decisions.
8 Their tables are covered with vomit;
filth is everywhere.
9 “Who does the Lord think we are?” they ask.
“Why does he speak to us like this?
Are we little children,
just recently weaned?
10 He tells us everything over and over—
one line at a time,
one line at a time,
a little here,
and a little there!”
11 So now God will have to speak to his people
through foreign oppressors who speak a strange language!
12 God has told his people,
“Here is a place of rest;
let the weary rest here.
This is a place of quiet rest.”
But they would not listen.
13 So the Lord will spell out his message for them again,
one line at a time,
one line at a time,
a little here,
and a little there,
so that they will stumble and fall.
They will be injured, trapped, and captured.
14 Therefore, listen to this message from the Lord,
you scoffing rulers in Jerusalem.
15 You boast, “We have struck a bargain to cheat death
and have made a deal to dodge the grave.[f]
The coming destruction can never touch us,
for we have built a strong refuge made of lies and deception.”
16 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem,[g]
a firm and tested stone.
It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on.
Whoever believes need never be shaken.[h]
17 I will test you with the measuring line of justice
and the plumb line of righteousness.
Since your refuge is made of lies,
a hailstorm will knock it down.
Since it is made of deception,
a flood will sweep it away.
18 I will cancel the bargain you made to cheat death,
and I will overturn your deal to dodge the grave.
When the terrible enemy sweeps through,
you will be trampled into the ground.
19 Again and again that flood will come,
morning after morning,
day and night,
until you are carried away.”
This message will bring terror to your people.
20 The bed you have made is too short to lie on.
The blankets are too narrow to cover you.
21 The Lord will come as he did against the Philistines at Mount Perazim
and against the Amorites at Gibeon.
He will come to do a strange thing;
he will come to do an unusual deed:
22 For the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
has plainly said that he is determined to crush the whole land.
So scoff no more,
or your punishment will be even greater.
23 Listen to me;
listen, and pay close attention.
24 Does a farmer always plow and never sow?
Is he forever cultivating the soil and never planting?
25 Does he not finally plant his seeds—
black cumin, cumin, wheat, barley, and emmer wheat—
each in its proper way,
and each in its proper place?
26 The farmer knows just what to do,
for God has given him understanding.
27 A heavy sledge is never used to thresh black cumin;
rather, it is beaten with a light stick.
A threshing wheel is never rolled on cumin;
instead, it is beaten lightly with a flail.
28 Grain for bread is easily crushed,
so he doesn’t keep on pounding it.
He threshes it under the wheels of a cart,
but he doesn’t pulverize it.
29 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is a wonderful teacher,
and he gives the farmer great wisdom.
A Message about Jerusalem
29 “What sorrow awaits Ariel,[i] the City of David.
Year after year you celebrate your feasts.
2 Yet I will bring disaster upon you,
and there will be much weeping and sorrow.
For Jerusalem will become what her name Ariel means—
an altar covered with blood.
3 I will be your enemy,
surrounding Jerusalem and attacking its walls.
I will build siege towers
and destroy it.
4 Then deep from the earth you will speak;
from low in the dust your words will come.
Your voice will whisper from the ground
like a ghost conjured up from the grave.
5 “But suddenly, your ruthless enemies will be crushed
like the finest of dust.
Your many attackers will be driven away
like chaff before the wind.
Suddenly, in an instant,
6 I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, will act for you
with thunder and earthquake and great noise,
with whirlwind and storm and consuming fire.
7 All the nations fighting against Jerusalem[j]
will vanish like a dream!
Those who are attacking her walls
will vanish like a vision in the night.
8 A hungry person dreams of eating
but wakes up still hungry.
A thirsty person dreams of drinking
but is still faint from thirst when morning comes.
So it will be with your enemies,
with those who attack Mount Zion.”
9 Are you amazed and incredulous?
Don’t you believe it?
Then go ahead and be blind.
You are stupid, but not from wine!
You stagger, but not from liquor!
10 For the Lord has poured out on you a spirit of deep sleep.
He has closed the eyes of your prophets and visionaries.
11 All the future events in this vision are like a sealed book to them. When you give it to those who can read, they will say, “We can’t read it because it is sealed.” 12 When you give it to those who cannot read, they will say, “We don’t know how to read.”
13 And so the Lord says,
“These people say they are mine.
They honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
And their worship of me
is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.[k]
14 Because of this, I will once again astound these hypocrites
with amazing wonders.
The wisdom of the wise will pass away,
and the intelligence of the intelligent will disappear.”
15 What sorrow awaits those who try to hide their plans from the Lord,
who do their evil deeds in the dark!
“The Lord can’t see us,” they say.
“He doesn’t know what’s going on!”
16 How foolish can you be?
He is the Potter, and he is certainly greater than you, the clay!
Should the created thing say of the one who made it,
“He didn’t make me”?
Does a jar ever say,
“The potter who made me is stupid”?
17 Soon—and it will not be very long—
the forests of Lebanon will become a fertile field,
and the fertile field will yield bountiful crops.
18 In that day the deaf will hear words read from a book,
and the blind will see through the gloom and darkness.
19 The humble will be filled with fresh joy from the Lord.
The poor will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
20 The scoffer will be gone,
the arrogant will disappear,
and those who plot evil will be killed.
21 Those who convict the innocent
by their false testimony will disappear.
A similar fate awaits those who use trickery to pervert justice
and who tell lies to destroy the innocent.
22 That is why the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, says to the people of Israel,[l]
“My people will no longer be ashamed
or turn pale with fear.
23 For when they see their many children
and all the blessings I have given them,
they will recognize the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob.
They will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
24 Then the wayward will gain understanding,
and complainers will accept instruction.
27:1 The identification of Leviathan is disputed, ranging from an earthly creature to a mythical sea monster in ancient literature.
27:9 Hebrew Jacob’s. See note on 14:1.
27:12 Hebrew the river.
28:1 Hebrew What sorrow awaits the crowning glory of the drunks of Ephraim, referring to Samaria, capital of the northern kingdom of Israel.
28:3 Hebrew The crowning glory of the drunks of Ephraim; see note on 28:1.
28:15 Hebrew Sheol; also in 28:18.
28:16a Hebrew in Zion.
28:16b Greek version reads Look! I am placing a stone in the foundation of Jerusalem [literally Zion], / a precious cornerstone for its foundation, chosen for great honor. / Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced. Compare Rom 9:33; 1 Pet 2:6.
29:1 Ariel sounds like a Hebrew term that means “hearth” or “altar.”
29:7 Hebrew Ariel.
29:13 Greek version reads Their worship is a farce, / for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God. Compare Mark 7:7.
29:22 Hebrew of Jacob. See note on 14:1.
The Benefits of Wisdom
2 My child,[a] listen to what I say,
and treasure my commands.
2 Tune your ears to wisdom,
and concentrate on understanding.
3 Cry out for insight,
and ask for understanding.
4 Search for them as you would for silver;
seek them like hidden treasures.
5 Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,
and you will gain knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord grants wisdom!
From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.
He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.
8 He guards the paths of the just
and protects those who are faithful to him.
9 Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair,
and you will find the right way to go.
2:1 Hebrew My son.
2 I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally. 2 I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. 3 In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
4 I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments. 5 For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong.
Freedom from Rules and New Life in Christ
6 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. 7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
8 Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers[a] of this world, rather than from Christ. 9 For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.[b] 10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
11 When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature.[c] 12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.
13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 In this way, he disarmed[d] the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.
16 So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. 17 For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality. 18 Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels,[e] saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, 19 and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it.
20 You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, 21 “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? 22 Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. 23 These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.
2:8 Or the spiritual principles; also in 2:20.
2:9 Or in him dwells all the completeness of the Godhead bodily.
2:11 Greek the cutting away of the body of the flesh.
2:15 Or he stripped off.
2:18 Or or worshiping with angels.
For the choir director: A psalm of the descendants of Korah. A song to be sung to the tune “The Suffering of Affliction.” A psalm[a] of Heman the Ezrahite.
1 O Lord, God of my salvation,
I cry out to you by day.
I come to you at night.
2 Now hear my prayer;
listen to my cry.
3 For my life is full of troubles,
and death[b] draws near.
4 I am as good as dead,
like a strong man with no strength left.
5 They have left me among the dead,
and I lie like a corpse in a grave.
I am forgotten,
cut off from your care.
6 You have thrown me into the lowest pit,
into the darkest depths.
7 Your anger weighs me down;
with wave after wave you have engulfed me. Interlude
8 You have driven my friends away
by making me repulsive to them.
I am in a trap with no way of escape.
9 My eyes are blinded by my tears.
Each day I beg for your help, O Lord;
I lift my hands to you for mercy.
10 Are your wonderful deeds of any use to the dead?
Do the dead rise up and praise you? Interlude
11 Can those in the grave declare your unfailing love?
Can they proclaim your faithfulness in the place of destruction?[c]
12 Can the darkness speak of your wonderful deeds?
Can anyone in the land of forgetfulness talk about your righteousness?
13 O Lord, I cry out to you.
I will keep on pleading day by day.
14 O Lord, why do you reject me?
Why do you turn your face from me?
15 I have been sick and close to death since my youth.
I stand helpless and desperate before your terrors.
16 Your fierce anger has overwhelmed me.
Your terrors have paralyzed me.
17 They swirl around me like floodwaters all day long.
They have engulfed me completely.
18 You have taken away my companions and loved ones.
Darkness is my closest friend.
88:Title Hebrew maskil. This may be a literary or musical term.
88:3 Hebrew Sheol.
88:11 Hebrew in Abaddon?