Now You Are Nothing 14 1But not so with Jacob. God will have compassion on Jacob. Once again he’ll choose Israel. He’ll establish them in their own country. Outsiders will be attracted and throw their lot in with Jacob. 2The nations among whom they lived will actually escort them back home, and then Israel will pay them back by making slaves of them, men and women alike, possessing them as slaves in God’s country, capturing those who had captured them, ruling over those who had abused them. 3When God has given you time to recover from the abuse and trouble and harsh servitude that you had to endure, 4you can amuse yourselves by taking up this satire, a taunt against the king of Babylon:   Can you believe it? The tyrant is gone! The tyranny is over! 5God has broken the rule of the wicked, the power of the bully–rulers 6That crushed many people. A relentless rain of cruel outrage Established a violent rule of anger rife with torture and persecution.   7And now it’s over, the whole earth quietly at rest. Burst into song! Make the rafters ring! 8Ponderosa pine trees are happy, giant Lebanon cedars are relieved, saying, “Since you’ve been cut down, there’s no one around to cut us down.” 9And the underworld dead are all excited, preparing to welcome you when you come. Getting ready to greet you are the ghostly dead, all the famous names of earth. All the buried kings of the nations will stand up on their thrones 10With well–prepared speeches, royal invitations to death: “Now you are as nothing as we are! Make yourselves at home with us dead folks!”   11This is where your pomp and fine music led you, Babylon, to your underworld private chambers, A king–size mattress of maggots for repose and a quilt of crawling worms for warmth.   12What a comedown this, O Babylon! Daystar! Son of Dawn! Flat on your face in the underworld mud, you, famous for flattening nations!   13You said to yourself, “I’ll climb to heaven. I’ll set my throne over the stars of God. I’ll run the assembly of angels that meets on sacred Mount Zaphon. 14I’ll climb to the top of the clouds. I’ll take over as King of the Universe!”   15But you didn’t make it, did you? Instead of climbing up, you came down— Down with the underground dead, down to the abyss of the Pit. 16People will stare and muse: “Can this be the one Who terrorized earth and its kingdoms, 17turned earth to a moonscape, Wasted its cities, shut up his prisoners to a living death?”   18Other kings get a decent burial, honored with eulogies and placed in a tomb. 19But you’re dumped in a ditch unburied, like a stray dog or cat, Covered with rotting bodies, murdered and indigent corpses. Your dead body desecrated, mutilated— 20no state funeral for you! You’ve left your land in ruins, left a legacy of massacre. The progeny of your evil life will never be named. Oblivion!   21Get a place ready to slaughter the sons of the wicked and wipe out their father’s line. Unthinkable that they should own a square foot of land or desecrate the face of the world with their cities!   22“I will confront them”—Decree of God–of–the–Angel–Armies— “and strip Babylon of name and survivors, children and grandchildren. 23God’s Decree. “I’ll make it a worthless swamp and give it as a prize to the hedgehog. And then I’ll bulldoze it out of existence.” Decree of God–of–the–Angel–Armies.   Who Could Ever Cancel Such Plans?   24God–of–the–Angel–Armies speaks:   “Exactly as I planned, it will happen. Following my blueprints, it will take shape. 25I will shatter the Assyrian who trespasses my land and stomp him into the dirt on my mountains. I will ban his taking and making of slaves and lift the weight of oppression from all shoulders.” 26This is the plan, planned for the whole earth, And this is the hand that will do it, reaching into every nation. 27God–of–the–Angel–Armies has planned it. Who could ever cancel such plans? His is the hand that’s reached out. Who could brush it aside?   28In the year King Ahaz died, this Message came:   29Hold it, Philistines! It’s too soon to celebrate the defeat of your cruel oppressor. From the death throes of that snake a worse snake will come, and from that, one even worse. 30The poor won’t have to worry. The needy will escape the terror. But you Philistines will be plunged into famine, and those who don’t starve, God will kill. 31Wail and howl, proud city! Fall prostrate in fear, Philistia! On the northern horizon, smoke from burned cities, the wake of a brutal, disciplined destroyer.   32What does one say to outsiders who ask questions? Tell them, “God has established Zion. Those in need and in trouble find refuge in her.”
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