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God’s Just Judgment

Roam the streets of Jerusalem,
    look around and consider,
    search through her squares!
    If you can find a person,
    if there is one who does justice,
        who seeks truth,
    then I will pardon the city.
Though they say, “As Adonai lives!”
    surely they swear falsely.
Adonai, do Your eyes not look for faithfulness?
    You struck them, but they did not grieve.
    You disciplined them, but they refused correction.
    They made their faces harder than stone.
    They refused to return.
Then I said:
    These are only the poor.
    They are foolish.
    For they do not know the way of Adonai,
        the ordinance of their God.
I will go to the distinguished
        and speak to them.
    Surely they know the way of Adonai,
        the ordinance of their God.
    But they too had broken the yoke
        and torn off the bonds.

Therefore a lion from the forest will kill them.
    A desert wolf will ravage them.
    A leopard watches over their cities.
    Everyone who ventures out will be torn to pieces,
    For their rebellion is great,
        their backslidings frequent.

“Why therefore should I forgive you?
    Your children have forsaken Me
    and sworn by those who are not gods.
    Even though I fed them well,
        they committed adultery
        and thronged to the prostitute houses.
They are well-fed, lustful stallions,
        each neighing for his neighbor’s wife.
For such, should I not punish them?”
It is a declaration of Adonai.
        “On such a nation as this
        should I not avenge Myself?
10 Go up into her vines and ravage them,
    but do not completely destroy them.
    Strip away her branches
        for they are not Adonai’s.
11 For the house of Israel and the house of Judah
    have been utterly unfaithful to Me.”
It is a declaration of Adonai.

12 They have lied about Adonai saying:
        “Not He! No harm will come to us.
        Nor will we see sword or famine.
13 The prophets are but wind
        and the word is not in them.
    Let what they say be done to them!”

14 Therefore thus says Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot:
    “Because you speak this word, behold,
    I will make My words in your mouth fire
        and this people wood—
        and it will devour them.
15 See, I am bringing a nation against you
        from afar, O house of Israel.”
It is a declaration of Adonai.
    “It is an enduring nation,
        an ancient nation,
    a nation whose language you neither know
        nor understand what they say.
16 Their quiver is an open grave.
    They are all mighty warriors.
17 They will devour your harvest and your food.
    They will devour your sons and your daughters.
    They will devour your flocks and your herds.
    They will devour your vines and your fig trees.
    They will demolish your fortified cities
    —the ones in which you trust—
        with the sword.

18 “Yet even in those days,” declares Adonai, “I will not completely destroy you. 19 So it will come to pass that when you ask, ‘Why has Adonai Eloheinu done all these things to us?’ you will tell them, ‘As you have forsaken Me and served foreign gods in your land, so will you serve strangers in a land that is not yours.’

20 “Declare this in the house of Jacob
    and proclaim it in Judah, saying:
21 ‘Hear this you foolish people
    who have no understanding,
    who have eyes but do not see,
    who have ears but do not hear.
22 Do you not fear Me?’ says Adonai.
    ‘Do you not tremble in My presence?’
    For I made the sand a boundary of the sea,
            an everlasting decree that cannot be broken.
    Though the waves roll, they cannot prevail.
    Though they roar, they cannot cross it.
23 But this people have a stubborn and rebellious heart.
    They have turned aside and gone away.
24 They do not say in their heart,
    ‘Let us now fear Adonai Eloheinu,
        who gives rain in its season
        —fall rain and spring rain—
        who reserves for us the appointed weeks of harvest.’
25 Your iniquities have turned these away,
    your sins have deprived you of bounty.
26 For among My people are wicked men,
        watching like bait-layers lying in wait.
    They set a trap—they catch men.
27 As a cage is full of birds,
    so are their houses full of deceit.
    That is why they grew great and rich.
28 They grew fat and sleek.
    They also overlooked evil deeds.
    They do not uphold a cause
    —the cause of an orphan to prosper—
    nor do they defend the right of the poor.
29 Should I not punish them?” says Adonai.
    “On such a nation
        should I not avenge Myself?
30 An appalling and horrible thing
        has happened in the land.
31 The prophets prophesy falsely,
    the kohanim rule by their own authority,
    and My people love it this way!
    But what will you do in the end?”