7How miserable I am! I feel like the fruit picker after the harvest who can find nothing to eat. Not a cluster of grapes or a single early fig can be found to satisfy my hunger.2The godly people have all disappeared; not one honest person is left on the earth. They are all murderers, setting traps even for their own brothers.3Both their hands are equally skilled at doing evil! Officials and judges alike demand bribes. The people with influence get what they want, and together they scheme to twist justice.4Even the best of them is like a brier; the most honest is as dangerous as a hedge of thorns. But your judgment day is coming swiftly now. Your time of punishment is here, a time of confusion.5Don’t trust anyone - not your best friend or even your wife!6For the son despises his father. The daughter defies her mother. The daughter-in-law defies her mother-in-law. Your enemies are right in your own household!7As for me, I look to the Lord for help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me.8Do not gloat over me, my enemies! For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.9I will be patient as the Lord punishes me, for I have sinned against him. But after that, he will take up my case and give me justice for all I have suffered from my enemies. The Lord will bring me into the light, and I will see his righteousness.10Then my enemies will see that the Lord is on my side. They will be ashamed that they taunted me, saying, “So where is the Lord - that God of yours?” With my own eyes I will see their downfall; they will be trampled like mud in the streets.11In that day, Israel, your cities will be rebuilt, and your borders will be extended.12People from many lands will come and honor you - from Assyria all the way to the towns of Egypt, from Egypt all the way to the Euphrates River, and from distant seas and mountains.13But the land will become empty and desolate because of the wickedness of those who live there.
The Lord’s Compassion on Israel
14O Lord, protect your people with your shepherd’s staff; lead your flock, your special possession. Though they live alone in a thicket on the heights of Mount Carmel, let them graze in the fertile pastures of Bashan and Gilead as they did long ago.15“Yes,” says the Lord, “I will do mighty miracles for you, like those I did when I rescued you from slavery in Egypt.”16All the nations of the world will stand amazed at what the Lord will do for you. They will be embarrassed at their feeble power. They will cover their mouths in silent awe, deaf to everything around them.17Like snakes crawling from their holes, they will come out to meet the Lord our God. They will fear him greatly, trembling in terror at his presence.18Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people? You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love.19Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!20You will show us your faithfulness and unfailing love as you promised to our ancestors Abraham and Jacob long ago.