God’s Message to Aram 17 1This is a message about Damascus:   “The city of Damascus will be destroyed; only ruins will remain. 2People will leave the cities of Aroer. Flocks will wander freely in those empty towns, and there will be no one to bother them. 3The strong, walled cities of Israel will be destroyed. The government in Damascus will end. Those left alive of Aram will be like the glory of Israel,” says the Lord All-Powerful.   4“At that time Israel’s wealth will all be gone. Israel will be like someone who has lost much weight from sickness. 5That time will be like the grain harvest in the Valley of Rephaim. The workers cut the wheat. Then they cut the heads of grain from the plants and collect the grain. 6That time will also be like the olive harvest, when a few olives are left. Two or three olives are left in the top branches. Four or five olives are left on full branches,” says the Lord, the God of Israel.   7At that time people will look to God, their Maker; their eyes will see the Holy One of Israel. 8They will not trust the altars they have made, nor will they trust what their hands have made, not even the Asherah idols and altars.   9In that day all their strong cities will be empty. They will be like the cities the Hivites and the Amorites left when the Israelites came to take the land. Everything will be ruined.   10You have forgotten the God who saves you; you have not remembered that God is your place of safety. You plant the finest grapevines and grapevines from faraway places. 11You plant your grapevines one day and try to make them grow, and the next day you make them blossom. But at harvest time everything will be dead; a sickness will kill all the plants.   12Listen to the many people! Their crying is like the noise from the sea. Listen to the nations! Their crying is like the crashing of great waves. 13The people roar like the waves, but when God speaks harshly to them, they will run away. They will be like chaff on the hills being blown by the wind, or like tumbleweeds blown away by a storm. 14At night the people will be very frightened. Before morning, no one will be left. So our enemies will come to our land, but they will become nothing.
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