Justice: Wait for it
A good king is coming1
A good king is coming.
He’s bringing good officials
To rule honestly and fairly.
Shelters in a windstorm,
Protection from rain and thunder,
Streams in the desert,
And cool shadows of a rock
In a hot and thirsty land.
3 People will seek the truth.
They’ll no longer close their eyes
To what they can see.
They’ll no longer cover their ears
To what they can hear.
4 People who make rash decisions
Will learn the art of good judgment.
People who beat around the bush
Will speak clearly and confidently.
5 Ignorant people won’t lead the kingdom.
Crooks will get no respect.
6 Ignorant people say ridiculous things
And make plans that hurt others. They talk about God
But live like the devil.
They let hungry people starve
And thirsty people thirst.
7 Crooked people live crooked lives.
Wicked is who they are and what they do.
They ruin poor people with lies.
They rob the needy of justice.
8 But noble people make noble plans
And stand firmly for what they believe.
Start trembling, carefree ladies9
Listen to me, you carefree ladies,
Worried about nothing at all.
Your carefree days will end
And you’ll shudder from the shock.
Your wine harvest will fail.
Orchards won’t produce its fruit.
11 So, practice trembling, carefree ladies.
Shake and shudder, while you relax.
Take off your clothes, why don’t you,
And dress in scratchy feed sacks.
12 Hit yourselves in anger and grief
Over the harvest dead in the field,
13 Farmland buried in briars,
And happy houses in a happy town
Now sad and silent and empty.
14 The palace will be empty,
The people will be gone.
Hilltop lookouts and broken towers
Become the den of animals.
Donkeys and roaming sheep
Will love this deserted pasture.
God’s Spirit comes, everything changes15
But when God sends his Spirit
All of this will change.
Woods growing wild become fertile farms.
And what people once called fertile farms
Will seem like woods in the wild.
Justice and goodness will rule.
17 Goodness will lead to peace in the land.
Good leaders will rule with peace and quiet,
And will earn the people’s trust.
18 And so, my people will live in peace
Safe in their homes
Secure and calm wherever they are.
19 When the forest is axed
And the city torn down
20 You’ll be content to plant where you can,
By this stream or that,
And to graze your cattle and donkeys
On the open range.
The Hebrew word is nabal, which can mean a fool, a lawbreaker, someone who disobeys God, and someone who makes terrible decisions at just the wrong time.
Many people in ancient times expressed grief and mourning by cutting their beards and head hair, dressing in what many Bible translations call “sackcloth,” and throwing ashes on themselves. Today, we’ll dress in black, wear armbands, or get memorial tattoos. By the way, tattoos aren’t kosher: “Don’t do anything to commemorate the dead if it involves cutting your body or permanently painting yourself with tattoos. I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:28).
This seems to imply that people who don’t own land and have little to lose will adjust better to life after Assyrians level cities in Judah or after Babylonians in 586 BC destroy even Jerusalem. Many survivors were deported to what is now Iraq, where the two empires were headquartered. But some Jews were left behind. They were able to get by as nomadic herders who could graze their livestock just about anywhere they wanted and plant wherever they camped for a season.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.