1 Pray to the Lord for rain in the springtime. The Lord will send the lightning and the rain will fall. And God will make the plants grow in each person’s field. 2 People use their little statues and magic to learn the things that will happen in the future—but that is all useless. Those people see visions and tell about their dreams, but it is nothing but worthless lies. So the people are like sheep wandering here and there crying for help—but there is no shepherd to lead them. 3 The Lord says, “I am very angry at the shepherds ˻(leaders)˼. I made those leaders responsible for what happens to my sheep ˻(people)˼.” ˻(The people of Judah are God’s flock. And the Lord All-Powerful really does take care of his flock. He cares for them like a soldier cares for his beautiful war horse.)˼ 4 “The cornerstone, the tent peg, the war bow, and the advancing soldiers will all come ˻from Judah˼ together. 5 ˻They will defeat their enemy˼—it will be like soldiers marching through mud in the streets. They will fight, and since the Lord is with them, they will defeat even the enemy soldiers riding horses. 6 I will make Judah’s family strong. I will help Joseph’s family win the war. I will bring them back safe and sound. I will comfort them. It will be like I never left them. I am the Lord their God, and I will help them. 7 The people of Ephraim will be as happy as soldiers that have too much to drink. Their children will be rejoicing and they, too, will be happy. They will all have a happy time together with the Lord. 8 “I will whistle for them and call them all together. I really will save them. There will be many, many people. 9 Yes, I have been scattering my people throughout the nations. But in those faraway places they will remember me. They and their children will survive. And they will come back. 10 I will bring them back from Egypt and Assyria. I will bring them to the area of Gilead. And since there will not be enough room, I will also let them live in nearby Lebanon.” ( 11 ˻It will be like it was before, when God brought them out of Egypt.˼ He hit the sea waves, ˻the sea split,˼ and the people walked across that sea of troubles. The Lord will make the river streams become dry. He will destroy Assyria’s pride and Egypt’s power.) 12 The Lord will make his people strong. And they will live for him and his name. The Lord said these things.