1 Here is a message about Damascus: "Look, Damascus is no longer a city, it is a heap of ruins! 2 The cities of Aroer are abandoned. They will be used for herds, which will lie down there in peace. 3 Fortified cities will disappear from Ephraim, and Damascus will lose its kingdom. The survivors in Syria will end up like the splendor of the Israelites," says the Lord who commands armies.
4 "At that time Jacob's splendor will be greatly diminished, and he will become skin and bones. 5 It will be as when one gathers the grain harvest, and his hand gleans the ear of grain. It will be like one gathering the ears of grain in the Valley of Rephaim. 6 There will be some left behind, like when an olive tree is beaten -- two or three ripe olives remain toward the very top, four or five on its fruitful branches," says the Lord God of Israel.
7 At that time men will trust in their creator; they will depend on the Holy One of Israel. 8 They will no longer trust in the altars their hands made, or depend on the Asherah poles and incense altars their fingers made.
9 At that time their fortified cities will be like the abandoned summits of the Amorites, which they abandoned because of the Israelites; there will be desolation. 10 For you ignore the God who rescues you; you pay no attention to your strong protector. So this is what happens: You cultivate beautiful plants and plant exotic vines. 11 The day you begin cultivating, you do what you can to make it grow; the morning you begin planting, you do what you can to make it sprout. Yet the harvest will disappear in the day of disease and incurable pain.
12 The many nations massing together are as good as dead, those who make a commotion as loud as the roaring of the sea's waves. The people making such an uproar are as good as dead, those who make an uproar as loud as the roaring of powerful waves. 13 Though these people make an uproar as loud as the roaring of powerful waves, when he shouts at them, they will flee to a distant land, driven before the wind like dead weeds on the hills, or like dead thistles before a strong gale. 14 In the evening there is sudden terror; by morning they vanish. This is the fate of those who try to plunder us, the destiny of those who try to loot us!