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A Coming Leadership Crisis

1Look, the sovereign Lord who commands armies

is about to remove from Jerusalem and Judah

every source of security, including

all the food and water,

2the mighty men and warriors,

judges and prophets,

omen readers and leaders,

3captains of groups of fifty,

the respected citizens,

advisers and those skilled in magical arts,

and those who know incantations.

4The Lord says, “I will make youths their officials;

malicious young men will rule over them.

5The people will treat each other harshly;

men will oppose each other;

neighbors will fight.

Youths will proudly defy the elderly

and riffraff will challenge those who were once respected.

6Indeed, a man will grab his brother

right in his father’s house and say,

‘You own a coat –

you be our leader!

This heap of ruins will be under your control.’

7At that time the brother will shout,

‘I am no doctor,

I have no food or coat in my house;

don’t make me a leader of the people!’”

8Jerusalem certainly stumbles,

Judah falls,

for their words and their actions offend the Lord;

they rebel against his royal authority.

9The look on their faces testifies to their guilt;

like the people of Sodom they openly boast of their sin.

Too bad for them!

For they bring disaster on themselves.

10Tell the innocent it will go well with them,

for they will be rewarded for what they have done.

11Too bad for the wicked sinners!

For they will get exactly what they deserve.

12Oppressors treat my people cruelly;

creditors rule over them.

My people’s leaders mislead them;

they give you confusing directions.

13The Lord takes his position to judge;

he stands up to pass sentence on his people.

14The Lord comes to pronounce judgment

on the leaders of his people and their officials.

He says, “It is you who have ruined the vineyard!

You have stashed in your houses what you have stolen from the poor.

15Why do you crush my people

and grind the faces of the poor?”

The sovereign Lord who commands armies has spoken.

Washing Away Impurity

16The Lord says,

“The women of Zion are proud.

They walk with their heads high

and flirt with their eyes.

They skip along

and the jewelry on their ankles jingles.

17So the sovereign master will afflict the foreheads of Zion’s women with skin diseases,

the Lord will make the front of their heads bald.”

18At that time the sovereign master will remove their beautiful ankle jewelry, neck ornaments, crescent shaped ornaments,

19earrings, bracelets, veils,

20headdresses, ankle ornaments, sashes, sachets, amulets,

21rings, nose rings,

22festive dresses, robes, shawls, purses,

23garments, vests, head coverings, and gowns.

24A putrid stench will replace the smell of spices,

a rope will replace a belt,

baldness will replace braided locks of hair,

a sackcloth garment will replace a fine robe,

and a prisoner’s brand will replace beauty.

25Your men will fall by the sword,

your strong men will die in battle.

26Her gates will mourn and lament;

deprived of her people, she will sit on the ground.


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