3:1 Look, the Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies

is about to remove from Jerusalem and Judah

every source of security, including

all the food and water,

2 the mighty men and warriors,

judges and prophets,

omen readers and leaders,

3 captains of groups of 50,

the respected citizens,

advisers and those skilled in magical arts,

and those who know incantations.

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

malicious young men will rule over them.

5 The 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.

6 Indeed, 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.’

7 At 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!’”

8 Jerusalem certainly stumbles,

Judah falls,

for their words and their actions offend the Lord;

they rebel against his royal authority.

9 The look on their faces testifies to their guilt;

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

Woe to them!

For they bring disaster on themselves.

10 Tell the innocent it will go well with them,

for they will be rewarded for what they have done.

11 Woe to the wicked sinners!

For they will get exactly what they deserve.

12 Oppressors treat my people cruelly;

creditors rule over them.

My people, your leaders mislead you;

they give you confusing directions.

13 The Lord takes his position to judge;

he stands up to pass sentence on his people.

14 The 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.

15 Why do you crush my people

and grind the faces of the poor?”

The Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies has spoken.

16 The 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.

17 So the Lord will afflict the foreheads of Zion’s women with skin diseases;

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

18 At that time the Lord will remove their beautiful ankle jewelry, neck ornaments, crescent-shaped ornaments, 19 earrings, bracelets, veils, 20 headdresses, ankle ornaments, sashes, sachets, amulets, 21 rings, nose rings, 22 festive dresses, robes, shawls, purses, 23 garments, vests, head coverings, and gowns.

24 A 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.

25 Your men will fall by the sword,

your strong men will die in battle.

26 Her gates will mourn and lament;

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

4:1 Seven women will grab hold of

one man at that time.

They will say, “We will provide our own food,

we will provide our own clothes;

but let us belong to you—

take away our shame!”

2 At that time

the crops given by the Lord will bring admiration and honor;

the produce of the land will be a source of pride and delight

to those who remain in Israel.

3 Those remaining in Zion, those left in Jerusalem,

will be called “holy,”

all in Jerusalem who are destined to live.

4 At that time the Lord will wash the excrement from Zion’s women,

he will rinse the bloodstains from Jerusalem’s midst,

as he comes to judge

and to bring devastation.

5 Then the Lord will create

over all Mount Zion

and over its convocations

a cloud and smoke by day

and a bright flame of fire by night;

indeed a canopy will accompany the Lord’s glorious presence.

6 By day it will be a shelter to provide shade from the heat,

as well as safety and protection from the heavy downpour.