1Here is a message the Lord gave me about Damascus. He said, “Damascus will not be a city anymore. Instead, all of its buildings will be knocked down.2The cities of Aroer will be deserted. They will be left to the flocks that lie down there. No one will make them afraid.3Ephraim's people will no longer have cities with high walls around them. Royal power will disappear from Damascus. Those who are left alive in Aram will be like the glory of the people of Israel,” announces the Lord who rules over all.4“In days to come, the glory of Jacob's people will fade. Their strength will get weaker and weaker.5It will be as when a worker cuts and gathers grain in the Valley of Rephaim. He gathers up stalks with his arms. Only a few heads of grain are left.6In the same way, only a few people will be left alive. It will be as when workers knock olives off the trees. Only two or three olives are left on the highest branches. Four or five at most are left on the limbs that produce fruit,” announces the Lord, the God of Israel.7In days to come, men will look to their Maker for help. They will turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel.8They won't trust in the altars they made with their own hands. They won't pay any attention to the poles they used to worship the goddess Asherah. And they won't depend on the incense altars they made with their own fingers.9At that time the strong cities in Israel will be deserted. They will be as they were when the Israelites drove the Canaanites out of them. They will be like places that are taken over by bushes and weeds. The whole land will become dry and empty.10Israel, you have forgotten God, who saves you. You have not remembered the Rock, who keeps you safe. You might set out the finest plants. You might plant vines from other lands.11The plants might start to grow on the day you set them out. The vines might begin to bud on the morning you plant them. But even if they do, there won't be any harvest. Instead, there will be sickness and pain that won't go away.12How terrible it looks for us! Many nations are marching against us. The noise of their armies is like the sound of the ocean. They are making a lot of noise. It sounds like huge waves crashing on the shore.13It sounds like the roar of rushing waters. But when the Lord speaks out against them, they run far away. The wind blows them away like straw on the hills. A strong wind drives them along like tumbleweeds.14In the evening, the nations terrify us. But before morning comes, they are gone. That's what happens to those who steal our goods. That's what happens to those who take what belongs to us.
English Standard Version
An Oracle Concerning Damascus
1An oracle concerning Damascus. Behold, Damascus will cease to be a city and will become a heap of ruins. (Isa 7:8; Isa 13:1; Jer 49:23; Am 1:3; Zec 9:1)2The cities of Aroer are deserted; they will be for flocks, which will lie down, and none will make them afraid. (De 2:36; Jos 13:25; Mic 4:4)3The fortress will disappear from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus; and the remnant of Syria will be like the glory of the children of Israel, declares the Lord of hosts. (1Sa 4:21; Isa 7:16; Isa 8:4)4And in that day the glory of Jacob will be brought low, and the fat of his flesh will grow lean. (Isa 10:16; Isa 17:3)5And it shall be as when the reaper gathers standing grain and his arm harvests the ears, and as when one gleans the ears of grain in the Valley of Rephaim. (2Sa 5:18; Isa 24:1)6Gleanings will be left in it, as when an olive tree is beaten— two or three berries in the top of the highest bough, four or five on the branches of a fruit tree, declares the Lord God of Israel. (Isa 24:13)7In that day man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will look on the Holy One of Israel. (Ho 8:14)8He will not look to the altars, the work of his hands, and he will not look on what his own fingers have made, either the Asherim or the altars of incense. (Ex 34:13; De 16:21; Isa 27:9; Mic 5:13)9In that day their strong cities will be like the deserted places of the wooded heights and the hilltops, which they deserted because of the children of Israel, and there will be desolation. (Isa 27:10)10For you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge; therefore, though you plant pleasant plants and sow the vine-branch of a stranger, (De 32:4; De 32:18; De 32:31; Ps 106:21; Isa 26:4)11though you make them grow on the day that you plant them, and make them blossom in the morning that you sow, yet the harvest will flee away in a day of grief and incurable pain.12Ah, the thunder of many peoples; they thunder like the thundering of the sea! Ah, the roar of nations; they roar like the roaring of mighty waters! (Isa 22:5)13The nations roar like the roaring of many waters, but he will rebuke them, and they will flee far away, chased like chaff on the mountains before the wind and whirling dust before the storm. (Ps 1:4; Ps 9:5; Ps 83:13; Isa 33:3; Joe 3:2)14At evening time, behold, terror! Before morning, they are no more! This is the portion of those who loot us, and the lot of those who plunder us. (Ps 30:5)