18 Therefore hear, you nations;
    you who are witnesses,
    observe what will happen to them.
19 Hear, you earth:(A)
    I am bringing disaster(B) on this people,
    the fruit of their schemes,(C)
because they have not listened to my words(D)
    and have rejected my law.(E)
20 What do I care about incense from Sheba(F)
    or sweet calamus(G) from a distant land?
Your burnt offerings are not acceptable;(H)
    your sacrifices(I) do not please me.”(J)

21 Therefore this is what the Lord says:

“I will put obstacles before this people.
    Parents and children alike will stumble(K) 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;(L)
a great nation is being stirred up
    from the ends of the earth.(M)
23 They are armed with bow and spear;
    they are cruel and show no mercy.(N)
They sound like the roaring sea(O)
    as they ride on their horses;(P)
they come like men in battle formation
    to attack you, Daughter Zion.(Q)

24 We have heard reports about them,
    and our hands hang limp.(R)
Anguish(S) has gripped us,
    pain like that of a woman in labor.(T)
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.(U)
26 Put on sackcloth,(V) my people,
    and roll in ashes;(W)
mourn with bitter wailing(X)
    as for an only son,(Y)
for suddenly the destroyer(Z)
    will come upon us.

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

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