Damascus Will Be Punished
1 This is a message about Damascus:

Damascus is doomed!
It will end up in ruins.
2 The villages around Aroer
will be deserted,
with only sheep living there
and no one to bother them.
3 Israel will lose its fortresses.
The kingdom of Damascus
will be destroyed;
its survivors will suffer
the same fate as Israel.
The Lord All-Powerful
has promised this.
Sin and Suffering
4 When that time comes,
the glorious nation of Israel
will be brought down;
its prosperous people
will be skin and bones.
5 Israel will be like wheat fields
in Rephaim Valley
picked clean of grain.
6 It will be like an olive tree
beaten with a stick,
leaving two or three olives
or maybe four or five
on the highest
or most fruitful branches.
The Lord God of Israel
has promised this.

7 At that time the people will turn and trust their Creator, the holy God of Israel. 8 They have built altars and places for burning incense to their goddess Asherah, and they have set up sacred poles for her. But they will stop worshiping at these places.
9 Israel captured powerful cities and chased out the people who lived there. But these cities will lie in ruins, covered over with weeds and underbrush.

10 Israel, you have forgotten
the God who saves you,
the one who is the mighty rock
where you find protection.
You plant the finest flowers
to honor a foreign god.
11 The plants may sprout
and blossom
that very same morning,
but it will do you no good,
because you will suffer
endless agony.
God Defends His People
12 The nations are a noisy,
thunderous sea.
13 But even if they roar
like a fearsome flood,
God will give the command
to turn them back.
They will be like dust,
or like a tumbleweed
blowing across the hills
in a windstorm.
14 In the evening
their attack is fierce,
but by morning
they are destroyed.
This is what happens to those
who raid and rob us.