They are like a worker who tried to make silver pure. The bellows blew strongly, and the fire became hotter, but only lead came from the fire. The worker wasted his time trying to make that silver pure. In the same way the evil was not removed from my people.
The ·fire is fanned to make it hotter [bellows blow], but the lead ·does not melt [is consumed by the fire]. ·The pure metal does not come out [L The refining is in vain]; the evil is not removed from my people.
The bellows blow fiercely; the refining fire grows hotter, but it can never cleanse them, for there is no pureness in them to bring out. Why continue the process longer? All is dross. No matter how hot the fire, they continue in their wicked ways.
God gave me this task: “I have made you the examiner of my people, to examine and weigh their lives. They’re a thickheaded, hard-nosed bunch, rotten to the core, the lot of them. Refining fires are cranked up to white heat, but the ore stays a lump, unchanged. It’s useless to keep trying any longer. Nothing can refine evil out of them. Men will give up and call them ‘slag,’ thrown on the slag heap by me, their God.”
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