19 O my soul, my soul! I am pained in my very heart! My heart makes a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, Because you have heard, O my soul, The sound of the trumpet, The alarm of war. 20 Destruction upon destruction is cried, For the whole land is plundered. Suddenly my tents are plundered, And my curtains in a moment. 21 How long will I see the [a]standard, And hear the sound of the trumpet?
22 “For My people are foolish, They have not known Me. They are[b]silly children, And they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, But to do good they have no knowledge.”
23 I beheld the earth, and indeed it waswithout form, and void; And the heavens, they had no light. 24 I beheld the mountains, and indeed they trembled, And all the hills moved back and forth. 25 I beheld, and indeed there was no man, And all the birds of the heavens had fled. 26 I beheld, and indeed the fruitful land was a wilderness, And all its cities were broken down At the presence of the Lord, By His fierce anger.
27 For thus says the Lord:
“The whole land shall be desolate; Yet I will not make a full end. 28 For this shall the earth mourn, And the heavens above be black, Because I have spoken. I have purposed and will not relent, Nor will I turn back from it. 29 The whole city shall flee from the noise of the horsemen and bowmen. They shall go into thickets and climb up on the rocks. Every city shall be forsaken, And not a man shall dwell in it.
30 “And when you are plundered, What will you do? Though you clothe yourself with crimson, Though you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold, Though you enlarge your eyes with paint, In vain you will make yourself fair; Your lovers will despise you; They will seek your life.
31 “For I have heard a voice as of a woman in [c]labor, The anguish as of her who brings forth her first child, The voice of the daughter of Zion bewailing herself; She spreads her hands, saying, ‘Woe is me now, for my soul is [d]weary Because of murderers!’
The Justice of God’s Judgment
5 “Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem; See now and know; And seek in her open places If you can find a man, If there is anyone who executes [e]judgment, Who seeks the truth, And I will pardon her. 2 Though they say, ‘Asthe Lord lives,’ Surely they swear falsely.”
3 O Lord, are not Your eyes on the truth? You have stricken them, But they have not grieved; You have consumed them, But they have refused to receive correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; They have refused to return.
4 Therefore I said, “Surely these are poor. They are foolish; For they do not know the way of the Lord, The judgment of their God. 5 I will go to the great men and speak to them, For they have known the way of the Lord, The judgment of their God.”
But these have altogether broken the yoke And burst the bonds. 6 Therefore a lion from the forest shall slay them, A wolf of the deserts shall destroy them; A leopard will watch over their cities. Everyone who goes out from there shall be torn in pieces, Because their transgressions are many; Their backslidings have increased.
7 “How shall I pardon you for this? Your children have forsaken Me And sworn by thosethat are not gods. When I had fed them to the full, Then they committed adultery And assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses. 8 They were like well-fed lusty stallions; Every one neighed after his neighbor’s wife. 9 Shall I not punish them for these things?” says the Lord. “And shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?
10 “Go up on her walls and destroy, But do not [f]make a complete end. Take away her branches, For they are not the Lord’s. 11 For the house of Israel and the house of Judah Have dealt very treacherously with Me,” says the Lord.
12 They have lied about the Lord, And said, “It is not He. Neither will [g]evil come upon us, Nor shall we see sword or famine. 13 And the prophets become wind, For the word is not in them. Thus shall it be done to them.”
14 Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts:
“Because you speak this word, Behold, I will make My words in your mouth fire, And this people wood, And it shall devour them. 15 Behold, I will bring a nation against you from afar, O house of Israel,” says the Lord. “It is a mighty nation, It is an ancient nation, A nation whose language you do not know, Nor can you understand what they say. 16 Their quiver is like an open tomb; They are all mighty men. 17 And they shall eat up your harvest and your bread, Which your sons and daughters should eat. They shall eat up your flocks and your herds; They shall eat up your vines and your fig trees; They shall destroy your fortified cities, In which you trust, with the sword.
18 “Nevertheless in those days,” says the Lord, “I will not [h]make a complete end of you. 19 And it will be when you say, ‘Why does the Lord our God do all these things to us?’ then you shall answer them, ‘Just as you have forsaken Me and served foreign gods in your land, so you shall serve aliens in a land that is not yours.’
20 “Declare this in the house of Jacob And proclaim it in Judah, saying, 21 ‘Hear this now, O foolish people, Without [i]understanding, Who have eyes and see not, And who have ears and hear not: 22 Do you not fear Me?’ says the Lord. ‘Will you not tremble at My presence, Who have placed the sand as the bound of the sea, By a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass beyond it? And though its waves toss to and fro, Yet they cannot prevail; Though they roar, yet they cannot pass over it. 23 But this people has a defiant and rebellious heart; They have revolted and departed. 24 They do not say in their heart, “Let us now fear the Lord our God, Who gives rain, both the former and the latter, in its season. He reserves for us the appointed weeks of the harvest.” 25 Your iniquities have turned these things away, And your sins have withheld good from you.
26 ‘For among My people are found wicked men; They lie in wait as one who sets snares; They set a trap; They catch men. 27 As a cage is full of birds, So their houses are full of deceit. Therefore they have become great and grown rich. 28 They have grown fat, they are sleek; Yes, they [j]surpass the deeds of the wicked; They do not plead the cause, The cause of the fatherless; Yet they prosper, And the right of the needy they do not defend. 29 Shall I not punish them for these things?’ says the Lord. ‘Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?’
30 “An astonishing and horrible thing Has been committed in the land: 31 The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule by their own power; And My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?
Impending Destruction from the North
6 “O you children of Benjamin, Gather yourselves to flee from the midst of Jerusalem! Blow the trumpet in Tekoa, And set up a signal-fire in Beth Haccerem; For disaster appears out of the north, And great destruction. 2 I have likened the daughter of Zion To a lovely and delicate woman. 3 The shepherds with their flocks shall come to her. They shall pitch their tents against her all around. Each one shall pasture in his own place.”
4 “Prepare war against her; Arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe to us, for the day goes away, For the shadows of the evening are lengthening. 5 Arise, and let us go by night, And let us destroy her palaces.”
6 For thus has the Lord of hosts said:
“Cut down trees, And build a mound against Jerusalem. This is the city to be punished. She is full of oppression in her midst. 7 As a fountain [k]wells up with water, So she wells up with her wickedness. Violence and plundering are heard in her. Before Me continually are[l]grief and wounds. 8 Be instructed, O Jerusalem, Lest My soul depart from you; Lest I make you desolate, A land not inhabited.”
9 Thus says the Lord of hosts:
“They shall thoroughly glean as a vine the remnant of Israel; As a grape-gatherer, put your hand back into the branches.”
10 To whom shall I speak and give warning, That they may hear? Indeed their ear is uncircumcised, And they cannot give heed. Behold, the word of the Lord is a reproach to them; They have no delight in it. 11 Therefore I am full of the fury of the Lord. I am weary of holding it in. “I will pour it out on the children outside, And on the assembly of young men together; For even the husband shall be taken with the wife, The aged with him who is full of days. 12 And their houses shall be turned over to others, Fields and wives together; For I will stretch out My hand Against the inhabitants of the land,” says the Lord. 13 “Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is given to covetousness; And from the prophet even to the priest, Everyone deals falsely. 14 They have also healed the [m]hurt of My people [n]slightly, Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace.
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