- Flee, sons of Benjamin, out of Jerusalem! Blow the trumpet in Tekoa, raise a signal over Beth-haccherem; For evil threatens from the north, and mighty destruction.
- O lovely and delicate daughter Zion, you are ruined!
- 1 Against her, shepherds come with their flocks; all around, they pitch their tents, each one grazes his portion.
- "Prepare for war against her, Up! let us rush upon her at midday! Alas! the day is waning, evening shadows lengthen;
- Up! let us rush upon her by night, destroy her palaces!"
- For thus says the LORD of hosts: Hew down her trees, throw up a siege mound against Jerusalem. Woe to the city marked for punishment; nought but oppression within her!
- As the well gushes out its waters, so she gushes out her wickedness. Violence and destruction resound in her; ever before me are wounds and blows.
- Be warned, O Jerusalem, lest I be estranged from you; Lest I turn you into a desert, a land where no man dwells.
- Thus says the LORD of hosts: Glean, glean like a vine the remnant of Israel; Pass your hand, like a vintager, repeatedly over the tendrils.
- To whom shall I speak? whom shall I warn, and be heard? See! their ears are uncircumcised, they cannot give heed; See, the word of the LORD has become for them an object of scorn, which they will not have.
- Therefore my wrath brims up within me, I am weary of holding it in; I will pour it out upon the child in the street, upon the young men gathered together. Yes, all will be taken, husband and wife, graybeard with ancient.
- Their houses will fall to strangers, their fields and their wives as well; For I will stretch forth my hand against those who dwell in this land, says the LORD.
- Small and great alike, all are greedy for gain; prophet and priest, all practice fraud.
- 2 They would repair, as though it were nought, the injury to my people: "Peace, peace!" they say, though there is no peace.
- They are odious; they have done abominable things, yet they are not at all ashamed, they know not how to blush. Hence they shall be among those who fall; in their time of punishment they shall go down, says the LORD.
- 3 Thus says the LORD: Stand beside the earliest roads, ask the pathways of old Which is the way to good, and walk it; thus you will find rest for your souls. But they said, "We will not walk it."
- 4 When I raised up watchmen for them: "Hearken to the sound of the trumpet!" they said, "We will not hearken."
- Therefore hear, O nations, and know, O earth, what I will do with them:
- See, I bring evil upon this people, the fruit of their own schemes, Because they heeded not my words, because they despised my law.
- Of what use to me incense that comes from Sheba, or sweet cane from far-off lands? Your holocausts find no favor with me, your sacrifices please me not.
- Therefore, thus says the LORD: See, I will place before this people obstacles to bring them down; Fathers and sons alike, neighbors and friends shall perish.
- Thus says the LORD: See, a people comes from the land of the north, a great nation, roused from the ends of the earth.
- Bow and javelin they wield; cruel and pitiless are they. They sound like the roaring sea as they ride forth on steeds, Each in his place, for battle against you, daughter Zion.
- We hear the report of them; helpless fall our hands, Anguish takes hold of us, throes like a mother's in childbirth.
- Go not forth into the field, step not into the street, Beware of the enemy's sword; terror on every side!
- O daughter of my people, gird on sackcloth, roll in the ashes. Mourn as for an only child with bitter wailing, For sudden upon us comes the destroyer.
- A tester among my people I have appointed you, to search and test their way.
- Arch-rebels are they all, dealers in slander, all of them corrupt.
- The bellows roars, the lead is consumed by the fire; In vain has the smelter refined, the wicked are not drawn off.
- "Silver rejected" they shall be called, for the LORD has rejected them.
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Footnotes1 Shepherds . . . with their flocks: foreign invaders with their armies.
2As though it were nought: the false assurance of well-being given by priest and prophet cannot reduce the harm which universal materialism and corruption have done to the people.
3 Earliest roads . . . pathways of old: history and the lessons to be learned from it.
4 Watchmen: the prophets who, like Jeremiah, had upheld God's moral law.
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