Jerusalem’s Final Warning
1 “Run for cover, O sons of Benjamin;
flee from Jerusalem!
Sound the ram’s horn in Tekoa;
send up a signal over Beth-haccherem,
for disaster looms from the north,
even great destruction.
2 Though she is beautiful and delicate,
I will destroy the Daughter of Zion. a
3 Shepherds and their flocks
will come against her;
they will pitch their tents all around her,
each tending his own portion:
4 ‘Prepare for battle against her;
rise up, let us attack at noon.
Woe to us, for the daylight is fading;
the evening shadows grow long.
5 Rise up, let us attack by night
and destroy her fortresses!’ ”
6 For this is what the LORD of Hosts says:
“Cut down the trees
and raise a siege ramp against Jerusalem.
This city must be punished;
there is nothing but oppression in her midst.
7 As a well gushes its water,
so she pours out her evil.
Violence and destruction resound in her;
sickness and wounds are ever before Me.
8 Be forewarned, O Jerusalem,
or I will turn away from you;
I will make you a desolation,
a land without inhabitant.”
9 This is what the LORD of Hosts says:
“Glean the remnant of Israel
as thoroughly as a vine.
Pass your hand once more like a grape gatherer
over the branches.”
10 To whom can I give this warning?
Who will listen to me?
Look, their ears are closed, b
so they cannot hear.
See, the word of the LORD has become offensive to them;
they find no pleasure in it.
11 But I am full of the LORD’s wrath;
I am tired of holding it back.
“Pour it out on the children in the street,
and on the young men gathered together.
For both husband and wife will be captured,
the old and the very old alike.
12 Their houses will be turned over to others,
their fields and wives as well,
for I will stretch out My hand
against the inhabitants of the land,”
declares the LORD.
13 “For from the least of them to the greatest,
all are greedy for gain;
from prophet to priest,
all practice deceit.
14 They dress the wound of My people
with very little care,
saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
when there is no peace at all.
15 Are they ashamed of the abomination they have committed?
No, they have no shame at all;
they do not even know how to blush.
So they will fall among the fallen;
when I punish them, they will collapse,”
says the LORD.
16 This is what the LORD says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look.
Ask for the ancient paths: ‘Where is the good way?’
Then walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it!’
17 I appointed watchmen over you and said,
‘Listen for the sound of the ram’s horn.’
But they answered, ‘We will not listen!’
18 Therefore hear, O nations,
and learn, O congregations,
what will happen to them.
19 Hear, O earth! I am bringing disaster on this people,
the fruit of their own schemes,
because they have paid no attention to My word
and have rejected My instruction.
20 What use to Me is frankincense from Sheba
or sweet cane from a distant land?
Your burnt offerings are not acceptable;
your sacrifices do not please Me.”
21 Therefore this is what the LORD says:
“I will lay stumbling blocks before this people;
fathers and sons alike will be staggered;
friends and neighbors will perish.”
An Invasion from the North
22 This is what the LORD says:
“Behold, an army is coming
from the land of the north;
a great nation is stirred up
from the ends of the earth.
they are cruel and merciless.
Their voice roars like the sea,
and they ride upon horses,
lined up like men in formation
against you, O Daughter of Zion.”
24 We have heard the report;
our hands hang limp.
Anguish has gripped us,
pain like that of a woman in labor.
25 Do not go out to the fields;
do not walk the road.
For the enemy has a sword;
terror is on every side.
26 O daughter of my people,
dress yourselves in sackcloth and roll in ashes.
Mourn with bitter wailing,
as you would for an only son,
for suddenly the destroyer
will come upon us.
so you may know and try their ways.
28 All are hardened rebels,
walking around as slanderers.
They are bronze and iron;
all of them are corrupt.
29 The bellows blow fiercely,
blasting away the lead with fire.
The refining proceeds in vain,
for the wicked are not purged.
30 They are called rejected silver,
because the LORD has rejected them.”
2 a Or To a lovely and delicate woman I have likened the Daughter of Zion
10 b Hebrew uncircumcised
23 c Or javelin
27 d Or to examine My people, a fortress