4 “If you will return, O Israel,” declares the Lord, “Then you should return to Me. And if you will put away your detested things from My presence, And will not waver, 2 And you will swear, ‘As the Lord lives,’ In truth, in justice and in righteousness; Then the nations will bless themselves in Him, And in Him they will glory.”
3 For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem,
“[a]Break up your fallow ground, And do not sow among thorns. 4 “Circumcise yourselves to the Lord And remove the foreskins of your heart, Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Or else My wrath will go forth like fire And burn with none to quench it, Because of the evil of your deeds.”
5 Declare in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say, “Blow the trumpet in the land; Cry aloud and say, ‘Assemble yourselves, and let us go Into the fortified cities.’ 6 “Lift up a standard toward Zion! Seek refuge, do not stand still, For I am bringing evil from the north, And great destruction. 7 “A lion has gone up from his thicket, And a destroyer of nations has set out; He has gone out from his place To make your land a waste. Your cities will be ruins Without inhabitant. 8 “For this, put on sackcloth, Lament and wail; For the fierce anger of the Lord Has not turned back from us.”
9 “It shall come about in that day,” declares the Lord, “that the heart of the king and the heart of the princes will fail; and the priests will be appalled and the prophets will be astounded.”
10 Then I said, “Ah, Lord [b]God! Surely You have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘You will have peace’; whereas a sword touches the [c]throat.”
11 In that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, “A scorching wind from the bare heights in the wilderness in the direction of the daughter of My people—not to winnow and not to cleanse,12 a wind too strong for [d]this—will come [e]at My command; now I will also pronounce judgments against them.
13 “Behold, he goes up like clouds, And his chariots like the whirlwind; His horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us, for we are ruined!”
14 Wash your heart from evil, O Jerusalem, That you may be saved. How long will your wicked thoughts Lodge within you? 15 For a voice declares from Dan, And proclaims wickedness from Mount Ephraim. 16 “Report it to the nations, now! Proclaim over Jerusalem, ‘Besiegers come from a far country, And lift their voices against the cities of Judah. 17 ‘Like watchmen of a field they are against her round about, Because she has rebelled against Me,’ declares the Lord. 18 “Your ways and your deeds Have [f]brought these things to you. This is your evil. How bitter! How it has touched your heart!”
Lament over Judah’s Devastation
19 My [g]soul, my [h]soul! I am in anguish! [i]Oh, my heart! My heart is pounding in me; I cannot be silent, Because [j]you have heard, O my soul, The sound of the trumpet, The alarm of war. 20 Disaster on disaster is proclaimed, For the whole land is devastated; Suddenly my tents are devastated, My curtains in an instant. 21 How long must I see the standard And hear the sound of the trumpet? 22 “For My people are foolish, They know Me not; They are stupid children And have no understanding. They are shrewd to do evil, But to do good they do not know.”
23 I looked on the earth, and behold, it was[k] formless and void; And to the heavens, and they had no light. 24 I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking, And all the hills [l]moved to and fro. 25 I looked, and behold, there was no man, And all the birds of the heavens had fled. 26 I looked, and behold, [m]the fruitful land was a wilderness, And all its cities were pulled down Before the Lord, before His fierce anger.
27 For thus says the Lord, “The whole land shall be a desolation, Yet I will not execute a complete destruction. 28 “For this the earth shall mourn And the heavens above be dark, Because I have spoken, I have purposed, And I will not [n]change My mind, nor will I turn from it.” 29 At the sound of the horseman and bowman every city flees; They go into the thickets and climb among the rocks; Every city is forsaken, And no man dwells in them. 30 And you, O desolate one, what will you do? Although you dress in scarlet, Although you decorate yourself with ornaments of gold, Although you enlarge your eyes with paint, In vain you make yourself beautiful. Your[o]lovers despise you; They seek your life. 31 For I heard a [p]cry as of a woman in labor, The anguish as of one giving birth to her first child, The [q]cry of the daughter of Zion gasping for breath, Stretching out her [r]hands, saying, “Ah, woe is me, for [s]I faint before murderers.”
5 “Roam to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, And look now and take note. And seek in her open squares, If you can find a man, If there is one who does justice, who seeks [t]truth, Then I will pardon her. 2 “And although they say, ‘As the Lord lives,’ Surely they swear falsely.” 3 O Lord, do not Your eyes look for [u]truth? You have smitten them, But they did not [v]weaken; You have consumed them, But they refused to take correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; They have refused to repent.
4 Then I said, “They are only the poor, They are foolish; For they do not know the way of the Lord Or the ordinance of their God. 5 “I will go to the great And will speak to them, For they know the way of the Lord And the ordinance of their God.” But they too, with one accord, have broken the yoke And burst the bonds. 6 Therefore a lion from the forest will slay them, A wolf of the deserts will destroy them, A leopard is watching their cities. Everyone who goes out of them will be torn in pieces, Because their transgressions are many, Their apostasies are numerous.
7 “Why should I pardon you? Your sons have forsaken Me And sworn by those who are not gods. When I had fed them to the full, They committed adultery And trooped to the harlot’s house. 8 “They were well-fed lusty horses, Each one neighing after his neighbor’s wife. 9 “Shall I not punish [w]these people,” declares the Lord, “And on a nation such as this Shall I not avenge Myself?
10 “Go up through her vine rows and destroy, But do not execute a complete destruction; Strip 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,” declares the Lord. 12 They have lied about the Lord And said, “[x]Not He; Misfortune will not come on us, And we will not see sword or famine. 13 “The prophets are as wind, And the word is not in them. Thus it will be done to them!”
14 Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, “Because you have spoken this word, Behold, I am making My words in your mouth fire And this people wood, and it will consume them. 15 “Behold, I am bringing a nation against you from afar, O house of Israel,” declares the Lord. “It is an enduring 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 grave, All of them are mighty men. 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 with the sword your fortified cities in which you trust.
18 “Yet even in those days,” declares the Lord, “I will not make you a complete destruction.19 It shall come about when [y]they say, ‘Why has the Lord our God done all these things to us?’ then you shall say to them, ‘As you have forsaken Me and served foreign gods in your land, so you will serve strangers in a land that is not yours.’
20 “Declare this in the house of Jacob And proclaim it in Judah, saying, 21 ‘Now hear this, O foolish and [z]senseless people, Who have eyes but do not see; Who have ears but do not hear. 22 ‘Do you not fear Me?’ declares the Lord. ‘Do you not tremble in My presence? For I have placed the sand as a boundary for the sea, An eternal decree, so it cannot cross over it. Though the waves toss, yet they cannot prevail; Though they roar, yet they cannot cross over it. 23 ‘But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; They have turned aside and departed. 24 ‘They do not say in their heart, “Let us now fear the Lord our God, Who gives rain in its season, Both the autumn rain and the spring rain, Who keeps for us The appointed weeks of the harvest.” 25 ‘Your iniquities have turned these away, And your sins have withheld good from you. 26 ‘For wicked men are found among My people, They watch like fowlers [aa]lying in wait; They set a trap, They catch men. 27 ‘Like a cage full of birds, So their houses are full of deceit; Therefore they have become great and rich. 28 ‘They are fat, they are sleek, They also [ab]excel in deeds of wickedness; They do not plead the cause, The cause of the [ac]orphan, that they may prosper; And they do not [ad]defend the rights of the poor. 29 ‘Shall I not punish [ae]these people?’ declares the Lord, ‘On a nation such as this Shall I not avenge Myself?’
30 “An appalling and horrible thing Has happened in the land: 31 The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule [af]on their own authority; And My people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?
Destruction of Jerusalem Impending
6 “Flee for safety, O sons of Benjamin, From the midst of Jerusalem! Now blow a trumpet in Tekoa And raise a signal over [ag]Beth-haccerem; For evil looks down from the north, And a great destruction. 2 “The comely and dainty one, the daughter of Zion, I will cut off. 3 “Shepherds and their flocks will come to her, They will pitch their tents [ah]around her, They will pasture each in his [ai]place. 4 “[aj]Prepare war against her; Arise, and let us [ak]attack at noon. Woe to us, for the day declines, For the shadows of the evening lengthen! 5 “Arise, and let us [al]attack by night And destroy her [am]palaces!”
6 For thus says the Lord of hosts,
“Cut down her trees And cast up a siege against Jerusalem. This is the city to be punished, In whose midst there is only oppression. 7 “As a well [an]keeps its waters fresh, So she [ao]keeps fresh her wickedness. Violence and destruction are heard in her; Sickness and wounds are ever before Me. 8 “Be warned, O Jerusalem, Or [ap]I shall be alienated from you, And make you a desolation, A land not inhabited.”
9 Thus says the Lord of hosts, “They will thoroughly glean as the vine the remnant of Israel; Pass your hand again like a grape gatherer Over the branches.” 10 To whom shall I speak and give warning That they may hear? Behold, their ears are [aq]closed And they cannot listen. Behold, the word of the Lord has become a reproach to them; They have no delight in it. 11 But I am full of the wrath of the Lord; I am weary with holding it in. “Pour it out on the children in the street And on the [ar]gathering of young men together; For both husband and wife shall be taken, The aged [as]and the very old. 12 “Their houses shall be turned over to others, Their fields and their wives together; For I will stretch out My hand Against the inhabitants of the land,” declares the Lord. 13 “For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is greedy for gain, And from the prophet even to the priest Everyone [at]deals falsely. 14 “They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace. 15 “Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; They did not even know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time that I punish them, They shall be cast down,” says the Lord.
16 Thus says the Lord, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ 17 “And I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not listen.’ 18 “Therefore hear, O nations, And know, O congregation, what is among them. 19 “Hear, O earth: behold, I am bringing disaster on this people, The fruit of their [au]plans, Because they have not listened to My words, And as for My law, they have rejected it also. 20 “For what purpose does frankincense come to Me from Sheba And the [av]sweet cane from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable And your sacrifices are not pleasing to Me.”
21 Therefore, thus says the Lord,
“Behold, I am [aw]laying stumbling blocks before this people. And they will stumble against them, Fathers and sons together; Neighbor and [ax]friend will perish.”
The Enemy from the North
22 Thus says the Lord, “Behold, a people is coming from the north land, And a great nation will be aroused from the remote parts of the earth. 23 “They seize bow and spear; They are cruel and have no mercy; Their voice roars like the sea, And they ride on horses, Arrayed as a man for the battle Against you, O daughter of Zion!” 24 We have heard the report of it; Our hands are limp. Anguish has seized us, Pain as of a woman in childbirth. 25 Do not go out into the field And do not walk on the road, For the enemy has a sword, Terror is on every side. 26 O daughter of my people, put on sackcloth And roll in ashes; [ay]Mourn as for an only son, A lamentation most bitter. For suddenly the destroyer Will come upon us.
27 “I have made you an assayer and a tester among My people, That you may know and assay their way.” 28 All of them are stubbornly rebellious, Going about as a talebearer. They arebronze and iron; They, all of them, are corrupt. 29 The bellows blow fiercely, The lead is consumed by the fire; In vain the refining goes on, But the wicked are not [az]separated. 30 They call them rejected silver, Because the Lord has rejected them.
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