“If you, Israel, will return,(A)
    then return to me,”
declares the Lord.
“If you put your detestable idols(B) out of my sight
    and no longer go astray,
and if in a truthful, just and righteous way
    you swear,(C) ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’(D)
then the nations will invoke blessings(E) by him
    and in him they will boast.(F)

This is what the Lord says to the people of Judah and to Jerusalem:

“Break up your unplowed ground(G)
    and do not sow among thorns.(H)
Circumcise yourselves to the Lord,
    circumcise your hearts,(I)
    you people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,
or my wrath(J) will flare up and burn like fire(K)
    because of the evil(L) you have done—
    burn with no one to quench(M) it.

Disaster From the North

“Announce in Judah and proclaim(N) in Jerusalem and say:
    ‘Sound the trumpet(O) throughout the land!’
Cry aloud and say:
    ‘Gather together!
    Let us flee to the fortified cities!’(P)
Raise the signal(Q) to go to Zion!
    Flee for safety without delay!
For I am bringing disaster(R) from the north,(S)
    even terrible destruction.”

A lion(T) has come out of his lair;(U)
    a destroyer(V) of nations has set out.
He has left his place
    to lay waste(W) your land.
Your towns will lie in ruins(X)
    without inhabitant.
So put on sackcloth,(Y)
    lament(Z) and wail,
for the fierce anger(AA) of the Lord
    has not turned away from us.

“In that day,” declares the Lord,
    “the king and the officials will lose heart,(AB)
the priests will be horrified,
    and the prophets will be appalled.”(AC)

10 Then I said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! How completely you have deceived(AD) this people and Jerusalem by saying, ‘You will have peace,’(AE) when the sword is at our throats!”

11 At that time this people and Jerusalem will be told, “A scorching wind(AF) from the barren heights in the desert blows toward my people, but not to winnow or cleanse; 12 a wind(AG) too strong for that comes from me. Now I pronounce my judgments(AH) against them.”

13 Look! He advances like the clouds,(AI)
    his chariots(AJ) come like a whirlwind,(AK)
his horses(AL) are swifter than eagles.(AM)
    Woe to us! We are ruined!(AN)
14 Jerusalem, wash(AO) the evil from your heart and be saved.(AP)
    How long(AQ) will you harbor wicked thoughts?
15 A voice is announcing from Dan,(AR)
    proclaiming disaster from the hills of Ephraim.(AS)
16 “Tell this to the nations,
    proclaim concerning Jerusalem:
‘A besieging army is coming from a distant land,(AT)
    raising a war cry(AU) against the cities of Judah.(AV)
17 They surround(AW) her like men guarding a field,
    because she has rebelled(AX) against me,’”
declares the Lord.
18 “Your own conduct and actions(AY)
    have brought this on you.(AZ)
This is your punishment.
    How bitter(BA) it is!
    How it pierces to the heart!”

19 Oh, my anguish, my anguish!(BB)
    I writhe in pain.(BC)
Oh, the agony of my heart!
    My heart pounds(BD) within me,
    I cannot keep silent.(BE)
For I have heard the sound of the trumpet;(BF)
    I have heard the battle cry.(BG)
20 Disaster follows disaster;(BH)
    the whole land lies in ruins.(BI)
In an instant my tents(BJ) are destroyed,
    my shelter in a moment.
21 How long must I see the battle standard(BK)
    and hear the sound of the trumpet?(BL)

22 “My people are fools;(BM)
    they do not know me.(BN)
They are senseless children;
    they have no understanding.(BO)
They are skilled in doing evil;(BP)
    they know not how to do good.”(BQ)

23 I looked at the earth,
    and it was formless and empty;(BR)
and at the heavens,
    and their light(BS) was gone.
24 I looked at the mountains,
    and they were quaking;(BT)
    all the hills were swaying.
25 I looked, and there were no people;
    every bird in the sky had flown away.(BU)
26 I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert;(BV)
    all its towns lay in ruins(BW)
    before the Lord, before his fierce anger.(BX)

27 This is what the Lord says:

“The whole land will be ruined,(BY)
    though I will not destroy(BZ) it completely.
28 Therefore the earth will mourn(CA)
    and the heavens above grow dark,(CB)
because I have spoken and will not relent,(CC)
    I have decided and will not turn back.(CD)

29 At the sound of horsemen and archers(CE)
    every town takes to flight.(CF)
Some go into the thickets;
    some climb up among the rocks.(CG)
All the towns are deserted;(CH)
    no one lives in them.

30 What are you doing,(CI) you devastated one?
    Why dress yourself in scarlet
    and put on jewels(CJ) of gold?
Why highlight your eyes with makeup?(CK)
    You adorn yourself in vain.
Your lovers(CL) despise you;
    they want to kill you.(CM)

31 I hear a cry as of a woman in labor,(CN)
    a groan as of one bearing her first child—
the cry of Daughter Zion(CO) gasping for breath,(CP)
    stretching out her hands(CQ) and saying,
“Alas! I am fainting;
    my life is given over to murderers.”(CR)

Not One Is Upright

“Go up and down(CS) the streets of Jerusalem,
    look around and consider,(CT)
    search through her squares.
If you can find but one person(CU)
    who deals honestly(CV) and seeks the truth,
    I will forgive(CW) this city.
Although they say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’(CX)
    still they are swearing falsely.(CY)

Lord, do not your eyes(CZ) look for truth?
    You struck(DA) them, but they felt no pain;
    you crushed them, but they refused correction.(DB)
They made their faces harder than stone(DC)
    and refused to repent.(DD)
I thought, “These are only the poor;
    they are foolish,(DE)
for they do not know(DF) the way of the Lord,
    the requirements of their God.
So I will go to the leaders(DG)
    and speak to them;
surely they know the way of the Lord,
    the requirements of their God.”
But with one accord they too had broken off the yoke
    and torn off the bonds.(DH)
Therefore a lion from the forest(DI) will attack them,
    a wolf from the desert will ravage(DJ) them,
a leopard(DK) will lie in wait near their towns
    to tear to pieces any who venture out,
for their rebellion is great
    and their backslidings many.(DL)

“Why should I forgive you?
    Your children have forsaken me
    and sworn(DM) by gods that are not gods.(DN)
I supplied all their needs,
    yet they committed adultery(DO)
    and thronged to the houses of prostitutes.(DP)
They are well-fed, lusty stallions,
    each neighing for another man’s wife.(DQ)
Should I not punish them for this?”(DR)
    declares the Lord.
“Should I not avenge(DS) myself
    on such a nation as this?

10 “Go through her vineyards and ravage them,
    but do not destroy them completely.(DT)
Strip off her branches,
    for these people do not belong to the Lord.
11 The people of Israel and the people of Judah
    have been utterly unfaithful(DU) to me,”
declares the Lord.

12 They have lied(DV) about the Lord;
    they said, “He will do nothing!
No harm will come to us;(DW)
    we will never see sword or famine.(DX)
13 The prophets(DY) are but wind(DZ)
    and the word is not in them;
    so let what they say be done to them.”

14 Therefore this is what the Lord God Almighty says:

“Because the people have spoken these words,
    I will make my words in your mouth(EA) a fire(EB)
    and these people the wood it consumes.(EC)
15 People of Israel,” declares the Lord,
    “I am bringing a distant nation(ED) against you—
an ancient and enduring nation,
    a people whose language(EE) you do not know,
    whose speech you do not understand.
16 Their quivers(EF) are like an open grave;
    all of them are mighty warriors.
17 They will devour(EG) your harvests and food,
    devour(EH) your sons and daughters;
they will devour(EI) your flocks and herds,
    devour your vines and fig trees.(EJ)
With the sword(EK) they will destroy
    the fortified cities(EL) in which you trust.(EM)

18 “Yet even in those days,” declares the Lord, “I will not destroy(EN) you completely. 19 And when the people ask,(EO) ‘Why has the Lord our God done all this to us?’ you will tell them, ‘As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods(EP) in your own land, so now you will serve foreigners(EQ) in a land not your own.’

20 “Announce this to the descendants of Jacob
    and proclaim(ER) it in Judah:
21 Hear this, you foolish and senseless people,(ES)
    who have eyes(ET) but do not see,
    who have ears but do not hear:(EU)
22 Should you not fear(EV) me?” declares the Lord.
    “Should you not tremble(EW) in my presence?
I made the sand a boundary for the sea,(EX)
    an everlasting barrier it cannot cross.
The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail;
    they may roar,(EY) but they cannot cross it.
23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious(EZ) hearts;
    they have turned aside(FA) and gone away.
24 They do not say to themselves,
    ‘Let us fear(FB) the Lord our God,
who gives autumn and spring rains(FC) in season,
    who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.’(FD)
25 Your wrongdoings have kept these away;
    your sins have deprived you of good.(FE)

26 “Among my people are the wicked(FF)
    who lie in wait(FG) like men who snare birds
    and like those who set traps(FH) to catch people.
27 Like cages full of birds,
    their houses are full of deceit;(FI)
they have become rich(FJ) and powerful
28     and have grown fat(FK) and sleek.
Their evil deeds have no limit;
    they do not seek justice.
They do not promote the case of the fatherless;(FL)
    they do not defend the just cause of the poor.(FM)
29 Should I not punish them for this?”
    declares the Lord.
“Should I not avenge(FN) myself
    on such a nation as this?

30 “A horrible(FO) and shocking thing
    has happened in the land:
31 The prophets prophesy lies,(FP)
    the priests(FQ) rule by their own authority,
and my people love it this way.
    But what will you do in the end?(FR)

Jerusalem Under Siege

“Flee for safety, people of Benjamin!
    Flee from Jerusalem!
Sound the trumpet(FS) in Tekoa!(FT)
    Raise the signal over Beth Hakkerem!(FU)
For disaster looms out of the north,(FV)
    even terrible destruction.
I will destroy Daughter Zion,(FW)
    so beautiful and delicate.(FX)
Shepherds(FY) with their flocks will come against her;
    they will pitch their tents around(FZ) her,
    each tending his own portion.”

“Prepare for battle against her!
    Arise, let us attack at noon!(GA)
But, alas, the daylight is fading,
    and the shadows of evening grow long.
So arise, let us attack at night
    and destroy her fortresses!”

This is what the Lord Almighty says:

“Cut down the trees(GB)
    and build siege ramps(GC) against Jerusalem.
This city must be punished;
    it is filled with oppression.(GD)
As a well pours out its water,
    so she pours out her wickedness.
Violence(GE) and destruction(GF) resound in her;
    her sickness and wounds are ever before me.
Take warning, Jerusalem,
    or I will turn away(GG) from you
and make your land desolate
    so no one can live in it.”

This is what the Lord Almighty says:

“Let them glean the remnant(GH) of Israel
    as thoroughly as a vine;
pass your hand over the branches again,
    like one gathering grapes.”

10 To whom can I speak and give warning?
    Who will listen(GI) to me?
Their ears are closed[a](GJ)
    so they cannot hear.(GK)
The word(GL) of the Lord is offensive to them;
    they find no pleasure in it.
11 But I am full of the wrath(GM) of the Lord,
    and I cannot hold it in.(GN)

“Pour it out on the children in the street
    and on the young men(GO) gathered together;
both husband and wife will be caught in it,
    and the old, those weighed down with years.(GP)
12 Their houses will be turned over to others,(GQ)
    together with their fields and their wives,(GR)
when I stretch out my hand(GS)
    against those who live in the land,”
declares the Lord.
13 “From the least to the greatest,
    all(GT) are greedy for gain;(GU)
prophets and priests alike,
    all practice deceit.(GV)
14 They dress the wound of my people
    as though it were not serious.
‘Peace, peace,’ they say,
    when there is no peace.(GW)
15 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?
    No, they have no shame at all;
    they do not even know how to blush.(GX)
So they will fall among the fallen;
    they will be brought down when I punish(GY) them,”
says the Lord.

16 This is what the Lord says:

“Stand at the crossroads and look;
    ask for the ancient paths,(GZ)
ask where the good way(HA) is, and walk in it,
    and you will find rest(HB) for your souls.
    But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
17 I appointed watchmen(HC) over you and said,
    ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’(HD)
    But you said, ‘We will not listen.’(HE)
18 Therefore hear, you nations;
    you who are witnesses,
    observe what will happen to them.
19 Hear, you earth:(HF)
    I am bringing disaster(HG) on this people,
    the fruit of their schemes,(HH)
because they have not listened to my words(HI)
    and have rejected my law.(HJ)
20 What do I care about incense from Sheba(HK)
    or sweet calamus(HL) from a distant land?
Your burnt offerings are not acceptable;(HM)
    your sacrifices(HN) do not please me.”(HO)

21 Therefore this is what the Lord says:

“I will put obstacles before this people.
    Parents and children alike will stumble(HP) over them;
    neighbors and friends will perish.”

22 This is what the Lord says:

“Look, an army is coming
    from the land of the north;(HQ)
a great nation is being stirred up
    from the ends of the earth.(HR)
23 They are armed with bow and spear;
    they are cruel and show no mercy.(HS)
They sound like the roaring sea(HT)
    as they ride on their horses;(HU)
they come like men in battle formation
    to attack you, Daughter Zion.(HV)

24 We have heard reports about them,
    and our hands hang limp.(HW)
Anguish(HX) has gripped us,
    pain like that of a woman in labor.(HY)
25 Do not go out to the fields
    or walk on the roads,
for the enemy has a sword,
    and there is terror on every side.(HZ)
26 Put on sackcloth,(IA) my people,
    and roll in ashes;(IB)
mourn with bitter wailing(IC)
    as for an only son,(ID)
for suddenly the destroyer(IE)
    will come upon us.

27 “I have made you a tester(IF) of metals
    and my people the ore,
that you may observe
    and test their ways.
28 They are all hardened rebels,(IG)
    going about to slander.(IH)
They are bronze and iron;(II)
    they all act corruptly.
29 The bellows blow fiercely
    to burn away the lead with fire,
but the refining(IJ) goes on in vain;
    the wicked are not purged out.
30 They are called rejected silver,(IK)
    because the Lord has rejected them.”(IL)

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 6:10 Hebrew uncircumcised