A Message about Damascus and Israel 17 1This message came to me concerning Damascus: “Look, the city of Damascus will disappear! It will become a heap of ruins. 2The towns of Aroer will be deserted. Flocks will graze in the streets and lie down undisturbed, h no one to chase them away. 3The fortified towns of Israel[J] will also be destroyed, and the royal power of Damascus will end. All that remains of Syria[K] will share the fate of Israel’s departed glory,” declares the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 4“In that day Israel’s[L] glory will grow dim; its robust body will waste away. 5The whole land will look like a grainfield after the harvesters have gathered the grain. It will be desolate, like the fields in the valley of Rephaim after the harvest. 6Only a few of its people will be left, like stray olives left on a tree after the harvest. Only two or three remain in the highest branches, four or five scattered here and there on the limbs,” declares the Lord, the God of Israel. 7Then at last the people will look to their Creator and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel. 8They will no longer look to their idols for help or worship what their own hands have made. They will never again bow down to their Asherah poles or worship at the pagan shrines they have built. 9Their largest cities will be like a deserted forest, like the land the Hivites and Amorites abandoned[M] when the Israelites came here so long ago. It will be utterly desolate. 10Why? Because you have turned from the God who can save you. You have forgotten the Rock who can hide you. So you may plant the finest grapevines and import the most expensive seedlings. 11They may sprout on the day you set them out; yes, they may blossom on the very morning you plant them, but you will never pick any grapes from them. Your only harvest will be a load of grief and unrelieved pain. 12Listen! The armies of many nations roar like the roaring of the sea. Hear the thunder of the mighty forces as they rush forward like thundering waves. 13But though they thunder like breakers on a beach, God will silence them, and they will run away. They will flee like chaff scattered by the wind, like a tumbleweed whirling before a storm. 14In the evening Israel waits in terror, but by dawn its enemies are dead. This is the just reward of those who plunder us, a fitting end for those who destroy us.
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