Afflictions Of The Wicked
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I will harden (make stubborn, strong) Pharaoh's heart, that he will pursue them, and I will gain honor and glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord. And they did so.
And with pestilence and with bloodshed will I enter into judgment with [Gog], and I will rain upon him and upon his hordes and upon the many peoples that are with him torrents of rain and great hailstones, fire and brimstone. Thus will I demonstrate My greatness and My holiness, and I will be recognized, understood, and known in the eyes of many nations; yes, they shall know that I am the Lord [the Sovereign Ruler, Who calls forth loyalty and obedient service].
I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when the thing comes that shall cause you terror and panic -- " When your panic comes as a storm and desolation and your calamity comes on as a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you.
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Then My anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide My face from them. And they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them, so that they will say in that day, Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?
Though wickedness is sweet in his mouth, though he hides it under his tongue, Though he is loath to let it go but keeps it still within his mouth, Yet his food turns [to poison] in his stomach; it is the venom of asps within him.read more.
He has swallowed down [his ill-gotten] riches, and he shall vomit them up again; God will cast them out of his belly. He shall suck the poison of asps [which ill-gotten wealth contains]; the viper's tongue shall slay him. He shall not look upon the rivers, the flowing streams of honey and butter [to enjoy his wealth]. That which he labored for shall he give back and shall not swallow it down [to enjoy it]; according to his wealth shall the restitution be, and he shall not rejoice in it.
Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but he who trusts in, relies on, and confidently leans on the Lord shall be compassed about with mercy and with loving-kindness.
Therefore this iniquity and guilt will be to you like a broken section of a high wall, bulging out and ready [at some distant day] to fall, whose crash will [then] come suddenly and swiftly, in an instant.
They will stand a long way off, in terror of her torment, and they will cry, Woe and alas, the great city, the mighty city, Babylon! In one single hour how your doom (judgment) has overtaken you!
But God will shoot an unexpected arrow at them; and suddenly shall they be wounded. And they will be made to stumble, their own tongues turning against them; all who gaze upon them will shake their heads and flee away. And all men shall [reverently] fear and be in awe; and they will declare the work of God, for they will wisely consider and acknowledge that it is His doing.
I [the Lord] have cut off nations; their battlements and corner towers are desolate and in ruins. I laid their streets waste so that none passes over them; their cities are destroyed so that there is no man, there is no inhabitant. I said, Only let her [reverently and worshipfully] fear Me, receive correction and instruction, and [Jerusalem's] dwelling shall not be cut off. However, I have punished her [according to all that I have appointed concerning her in the way of punishment], but all the more they are eager to make all their doings corrupt and infamous.
Nevertheless, God was not pleased with the great majority of them, for they were overthrown and strewn down along [the ground] in the wilderness. Now these things are examples (warnings and admonitions) for us not to desire or crave or covet or lust after evil and carnal things as they did. Do not be worshipers of false gods as some of them were, as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink [the sacrifices offered to the golden calf at Horeb] and rose to sport (to dance and give way to jesting and hilarity).read more.
We must not gratify evil desire and indulge in immorality as some of them did -- "and twenty-three thousand [suddenly] fell dead in a single day! We should not tempt the Lord [try His patience, become a trial to Him, critically appraise Him, and exploit His goodness] as some of them did -- "and were killed by poisonous serpents; Nor discontentedly complain as some of them did -- "and were put out of the way entirely by the destroyer (death). Now these things befell them by way of a figure [as an example and warning to us]; they were written to admonish and fit us for right action by good instruction, we in whose days the ages have reached their climax (their consummation and concluding period).
And He condemned to ruin and extinction the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, reducing them to ashes [and thus] set them forth as an example to those who would be ungodly;
God will hear and humble them, even He Who abides of old -- "Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! -- "because in them there has been no change [of heart], and they do not fear, revere, and worship God.
[It is a fair decision] since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with distress and affliction those who distress and afflict you,
Would accept none of my counsel, and despised all my reproof, Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way and be satiated with their own devices.
In your filthiness is abomination; [and therefore] because I would have cleansed you and you were not cleansed, you shall not be cleansed from your filthiness any more until I have satisfied My wrath against and upon you.
I also gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities and want of bread in all your places; yet you did not return to Me, says the Lord. And also I withheld the rain from you when there were yet three months to the harvest. I caused it to rain upon one city and caused it not to rain upon another city; one piece of ground was rained upon, and the piece upon which it did not rain withered. So [the people of] two or three cities wandered and staggered into one city to drink water, but they were not satisfied; yet you did not return to Me, says the Lord.read more.
I smote you with blight [from the poisonous east wind] and with mildew; I laid waste the multitude of your gardens and your vineyards; your fig trees and your olive trees the palmerworm [a form of locust] devoured; yet you did not return to Me, says the Lord. I have sent among you the pestilence [which I made] epidemic in Egypt; your young men I slew with the sword and I took into exile your horses, and I made the stench of your camp come up into your nostrils; yet you did not return to Me, says the Lord. I have overthrown some among you as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were as a brand plucked out of the burning; yet you did not return to Me, says the Lord. Therefore thus will I do to you, O Israel; and because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel!
But they refused to listen and turned a rebellious and stubborn shoulder and made heavy and dull their ears that they might not hear. Yes, they made their hearts as an adamant stone or diamond point, lest they should hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore there came great wrath from the Lord of hosts.
I gave her time to repent, but she has no desire to repent of her immorality [symbolic of idolatry] and refuses to do so. Take note: I will throw her on a bed [ of anguish], and those who commit adultery with her [her paramours] I will bring down to pressing distress and severe affliction, unless they turn away their minds from conduct [such as] hers and repent of their doings.
When Ahab heard those words of Elijah, he tore his clothes, put sackcloth on his flesh, fasted, lay in sackcloth, and went quietly.
But after they had rest, they did evil again before You; therefore You left them in the hand of their enemies, so that they had dominion over them. Yet when they turned and cried to You, You heard them from heaven, and many times You delivered them according to Your mercies, And reproved and warned them, that You might bring them again to Your law. Yet they acted presumptuously and did not heed Your commandments, but sinned against Your ordinances, which by keeping, a man shall live. And they turned a stubborn shoulder, stiffened their neck, and would not listen.
O Lord, do not your eyes look on the truth? [They have meant to please You outwardly, but You look on their hearts.] You have stricken them, but they have not grieved; You have consumed them, but they have refused to take correction or instruction. They have made their faces harder than a rock, they have refused to repent and return to You.
Wail, O Heshbon [in Moab, just south of Ammon], for Ai [in Ammon] is laid waste! Cry out, you daughter [villages] of Rabbah! Gird yourselves with sackcloth, lament, and run to and fro inside the [sheepfold] enclosures; for Milcom [the god-king] shall go into exile, together with his priests and his princes.
Be not afraid of sudden terror and panic, nor of the stormy blast or the storm and ruin of the wicked when it comes [for you will be guiltless], For the Lord shall be your confidence, firm and strong, and shall keep your foot from being caught [in a trap or some hidden danger].