Zephaniah 2

1Shameless people, change your lives 2before you become like a dry and dying flower. In the heat of day, a flower will wilt and die. You will be like that when the Lord shows his terrible anger. So change your lives before the Lord shows his anger against you! 3All you humble people, come to the Lord! Obey his laws. Learn to do good things. Learn to be humble. Maybe then you will be safe when the Lord shows his anger. 4No one will be left in Gaza. Ashkelonwill be destroyed. By noon, the people will be forced to leave Ashdod. Ekron will be empty! 5You Philistine people, you people living by the sea, this message from the Lord is about you. Land of Canaan, land of Palestine, you will be destroyed—no one will live there! 6Your land by the sea will become empty fields for shepherds and their sheep. 7Then that land will belong to the survivors from Judah. The Lord will remember those people from Judah. Those people are prisoners in a foreign country. But the Lord will bring them back. Then the people from Judah will let their sheep eat the grass in those fields. In the evenings, they will lie down in the empty houses of Ashkelon. 8The Lord says, “I know what the people of Moab and Ammon did! Those people embarrassed my people. Those people took their land to make their own countries bigger. 9So, as sure as I am alive, Moab and the people of Ammon will be destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah. I am the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel. And I promise those countries will be completely destroyed forever. Their land will be overgrown with weeds. Their land will be like the land covered with salt by the Dead Sea. The survivors of my people will take that land and all the things left in it.” 10Those things will happen to the people of Moab and Ammon because they were so proud and because they were cruel to the people of the Lord All-Powerful and they humiliated them. 11Those people will be afraid of the Lord! Why? Because the Lord will destroy their gods. Then all the people in all the faraway lands will worship the Lord. 12People of Ethiopia, this means even you! The Lord’s sword will kill your people. 13And the Lord will turn north and punish Assyria. He will destroy Nineveh—that city will be like an empty, dry desert. 14Then only sheep and wild animals will live in that ruined city. Owls and crows will sit on the columns that are left standing. Their calls will be heard coming through the windows. Crows will sit on the doorsteps. Black birds will sit in those empty houses. 15Nineveh is so proud now. It is such a happy city. The people think they are safe. They think Nineveh is the greatest place in the world. But that city will be destroyed! It will be an empty place where only wild animals go to rest. People that pass that place will whistle and shake their heads ˻when they see how badly the city was destroyed˼.

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