The Earth Will Be Punished 24 1The LORD is going to twist the earth out of shape and turn it into a desert. Everyone will be scattered, 2including ordinary people and priests, slaves and slave owners, buyers and sellers, lenders and borrowers, the rich and the poor. 3The earth will be stripped bare and left that way. This is what the LORD has promised.   4The earth wilts away; its mighty leaders melt to nothing.[K] 5The earth is polluted because its people disobeyed the laws of God, breaking their agreement that was to last forever.   6The earth is under a curse; its people are dying out because of their sins. 7Grapevines have dried up: wine is almost gone— mournful sounds are heard instead of joyful shouts.   8No one plays tambourines or stringed instruments; all noisy celebrating has come to an end. 9They no longer sing as they drink their wine, and it tastes sour.   10Towns are crushed and in chaos; houses are locked tight. 11Happy times have disappeared from the earth, and people shout in the streets, “We're out of wine!” 12Cities are destroyed; their gates are torn down. 13Nations will be stripped bare, like olive trees or vineyards after the harvest season. Praise the God of Justice 14People in the west shout; they joyfully praise the majesty of the LORD. 15And so, everyone in the east and those on the islands should praise the LORD, the God of Israel. 16From all over the world songs of praise are heard for the God of justice.[L] But I feel awful, terribly miserable. Can anyone be trusted? So many are treacherous! There's No Escape 17Terror, traps, and pits are waiting for everyone. 18If you are terrified and run, you will fall into a pit; if you crawl out of the pit, you will get caught in a trap.   The sky has split apart like a window thrown open. The foundations of the earth have been shaken; 19the earth is shattered, ripped to pieces. 20It staggers and shakes like a drunkard or a hut in a windstorm. It is burdened down with sin; the earth will fall, never again to get up.   21On that day the LORD will punish the powers in the heavens[M] and the kings of the earth. 22He will put them in a pit and keep them prisoner. Then later on, he will punish them. 23Both the moon and sun will be embarrassed and ashamed. The LORD All-Powerful will rule on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, where he will show its rulers his wonderful glory.
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