New English Translation
The Prophet Warns the People
1 Bunch yourselves together like straw, you undesirable nation,
2 before God's decree becomes reality and the day of opportunity disappears like windblown chaff, before the LORD's raging anger overtakes you - before the day of the LORD's angry judgment overtakes you!
3 Seek the LORD's favor, all you humble people of the land who have obeyed his commands! Strive to do what is right! Strive to be humble! Maybe you will be protected on the day of the LORD's angry judgment.
Judgment on Surrounding Nations
4 Indeed, Gaza will be deserted and Ashkelon will become a heap of ruins. Invaders will drive away the people of Ashdod by noon, and Ekron will be overthrown.
5 Those who live by the sea, the people who came from Crete, are as good as dead. The LORD has decreed your downfall, Canaan, land of the Philistines: "I will destroy everyone who lives there!"
6 The seacoast will be used as pasture lands by the shepherds and as pens for their flocks.
7 Those who are left from the kingdom of Judah will take possession of it. By the sea they will graze, in the houses of Ashkelon they will lie down in the evening, for the LORD their God will intervene for them and restore their prosperity.
8 "I have heard Moab's taunts and the Ammonites' insults. They taunted my people and verbally harassed those living in Judah.
9 Therefore, as surely as I live," says the LORD who commands armies, the God of Israel, "be certain that Moab will become like Sodom and the Ammonites like Gomorrah. They will be overrun by weeds, filled with salt pits, and permanently desolate. Those of my people who are left will plunder their belongings; those who are left in Judah will take possession of their land."
10 This is how they will be repaid for their arrogance, for they taunted and verbally harassed the people of the LORD who commands armies.
11 The LORD will terrify them, for he will weaken all the gods of the earth. All the distant nations will worship the LORD in their own lands.
12 "You Ethiopians will also die by my sword!"
13 The LORD will attack the north and destroy Assyria. He will make Nineveh a heap of ruins; it will be as barren as the desert.
14 Flocks and herds will lie down in the middle of it, as well as every kind of wild animal. Owls will sleep in the tops of its support pillars; they will hoot through the windows. Rubble will cover the thresholds; even the cedar work will be exposed to the elements.
15 This is how the once-proud city will end up - the city that was so secure. She thought to herself, "I am unique! No one can compare to me!" What a heap of ruins she has become, a place where wild animals live! Everyone who passes by her taunts her and shakes his fist.
King James Version
1 Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired;
2 Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD'S anger come upon you.
3 Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD'S anger.
4 ¶ For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up.
5 Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! the word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant.
6 And the sea coast shall be dwellings and cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks.
7 And the coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed thereupon: in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening: for the LORD their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity.
8 ¶ I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached my people, and magnified themselves against their border.
9 Therefore as I live, saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, even the breeding of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation: the residue of my people shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people shall possess them.
10 This shall they have for their pride, because they have reproached and magnified themselves against the people of the LORD of hosts.
11 The LORD will be terrible unto them: for he will famish all the gods of the earth; and men shall worship him, every one from his place, even all the isles of the heathen.
12 ¶ Ye Ethiopians also, ye shall be slain by my sword.
13 And he will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria; and will make Nineveh a desolation, and dry like a wilderness.
14 And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations: both the cormorant and the bittern shall lodge in the upper lintels of it; their voice shall sing in the windows; desolation shall be in the thresholds: for he shall uncover the cedar work.
15 This is the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me: how is she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down in! every one that passeth by her shall hiss, and wag his hand.