Jerusalem on Its Last Legs 3 1The Master, God–of–the–Angel–Armies, is emptying Jerusalem and Judah Of all the basic necessities, plain bread and water to begin with. 2He’s withdrawing police and protection, judges and courts, pastors and teachers, 3captains and generals, doctors and nurses, and, yes, even the repairmen and jacks–of–all–trades. 4He says, “I’ll put little kids in charge of the city. Schoolboys and schoolgirls will order everyone around. 5People will be at each other’s throats, stabbing one another in the back: Neighbor against neighbor, young against old, the no–account against the well–respected. 6One brother will grab another and say, ‘You look like you’ve got a head on your shoulders. Do something! Get us out of this mess.’ 7And he’ll say, ‘Me? Not me! I don’t have a clue. Don’t put me in charge of anything.’ 8“Jerusalem’s on its last legs. Judah is soon down for the count. Everything people say and do is at cross–purposes with God, a slap in my face. 9Brazen in their depravity, they flaunt their sins like degenerate Sodom. Doom to their eternal souls! They’ve made their bed; now they’ll sleep in it. 10“Reassure the righteous that their good living will pay off. 11But doom to the wicked! Disaster! Everything they did will be done to them. 12“Skinny kids terrorize my people. Silly girls bully them around. My dear people! Your leaders are taking you down a blind alley. They’re sending you off on a wild—goose chase.” A City Brought to Her Knees by Her Sorrows 13God enters the courtroom. He takes his place at the bench to judge his people. 14God calls for order in the court, hauls the leaders of his people into the dock: “You’ve played havoc with this country. Your houses are stuffed with what you’ve stolen from the poor. 15What is this anyway? Stomping on my people, grinding the faces of the poor into the dirt?” That’s what the Master, God–of–the–Angel–Armies, says. 16God says, “Zion women are stuck–up, prancing around in their high heels, Making eyes at all the men in the street, swinging their hips, Tossing their hair, gaudy and garish in cheap jewelry.” 17The Master will fix it so those Zion women will all turn bald— Scabby, bald–headed women. The Master will do it. 18The time is coming when the Master will strip them of their fancy baubles—19the dangling earrings, anklets and bracelets, 20combs and mirrors and silk scarves, diamond brooches and pearl necklaces, 21the rings on their fingers and the rings on their toes, 22the latest fashions in hats, exotic perfumes and aphrodisiacs, gowns and capes, 23all the world’s finest in fabrics and design. 24Instead of wearing seductive scents, these women are going to smell like rotting cabbages; Instead of modeling flowing gowns, they’ll be sporting rags; Instead of their stylish hairdos, scruffy heads; Instead of beauty marks, scabs and scars. 25Your finest fighting men will be killed, your soldiers left dead on the battlefield. 26The entrance gate to Zion will be clotted with people mourning their dead— A city stooped under the weight of her loss, brought to her knees by her sorrows.
The Message® / © 2002 Eugene H. Peterson About