1 Ask the Lord for rain in the season of the late spring rains – the Lord who causes thunderstorms – and he will give everyone showers of rain and green growth in the field. 2 For the household gods have spoken wickedness, the soothsayers have seen a lie, and as for the dreamers, they have disclosed emptiness and give comfort in vain. Therefore the people set out like sheep and become scattered because they have no shepherd. 3 I am enraged at the shepherds and will punish the lead-goats. For the Lord who rules over all has brought blessing to his flock, the house of Judah, and will transform them into his majestic warhorse.
4 From him will come the cornerstone, the wall peg, the battle bow, and every ruler. 5 And they will be like warriors trampling the mud of the streets in battle. They will fight, for the Lord will be with them, and will defeat the enemy cavalry.
6 “I (says the Lord) will strengthen the kingdom of Judah and deliver the people of Joseph and will bring them back because of my compassion for them. They will be as though I had never rejected them, for I am the Lord their God and therefore I will hear them. 7 The Ephraimites will be like warriors and will rejoice as if they had drunk wine. Their children will see it and rejoice; they will celebrate in the things of the Lord. 8 I will signal for them and gather them, for I have already redeemed them; then they will become as numerous as they were before. 9 Though I scatter them among the nations, they will remember in far-off places – they and their children will sprout forth and return. 10 I will bring them back from Egypt and gather them from Assyria. I will bring them to the lands of Gilead and Lebanon, for there will not be enough room for them in their own land. 11 The Lord will cross the sea of storms and will calm its turbulence. The depths of the Nile will dry up, the pride of Assyria will be humbled, and the domination of Egypt will be no more. 12 Thus I will strengthen them by my power, and they will walk about in my name,” says the Lord.