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6
Jerusalem’s Last Warning
1“Run for your lives, you people of Benjamin!
Get out of Jerusalem!
Sound the alarm in Tekoa!
Send up a signal at Beth-hakkerem!
A powerful army is coming from the north,
coming with disaster and destruction.
2O Jerusalem,#6:2 Hebrew Daughter of Zion. you are my beautiful and delicate daughter—
but I will destroy you!
3Enemies will surround you, like shepherds camped around the city.
Each chooses a place for his troops to devour.
4They shout, ‘Prepare for battle!
Attack at noon!’
‘No, it’s too late; the day is fading,
and the evening shadows are falling.’
5‘Well then, let’s attack at night
and destroy her palaces!’”
6This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
“Cut down the trees for battering rams.
Build siege ramps against the walls of Jerusalem.
This is the city to be punished,
for she is wicked through and through.
7She spouts evil like a fountain.
Her streets echo with the sounds of violence and destruction.
I always see her sickness and sores.
8Listen to this warning, Jerusalem,
or I will turn from you in disgust.
Listen, or I will turn you into a heap of ruins,
a land where no one lives.”
9This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
“Even the few who remain in Israel
will be picked over again,
as when a harvester checks each vine a second time
to pick the grapes that were missed.”
Judah’s Constant Rebellion
10To whom can I give warning?
Who will listen when I speak?
Their ears are closed,
and they cannot hear.
They scorn the word of the Lord.
They don’t want to listen at all.
11So now I am filled with the Lord’s fury.
Yes, I am tired of holding it in!
“I will pour out my fury on children playing in the streets
and on gatherings of young men,
on husbands and wives
and on those who are old and gray.
12Their homes will be turned over to their enemies,
as will their fields and their wives.
For I will raise my powerful fist
against the people of this land,”
says the Lord.
13“From the least to the greatest,
their lives are ruled by greed.
From prophets to priests,
they are all frauds.
14They offer superficial treatments
for my people’s mortal wound.
They give assurances of peace
when there is no peace.
15Are they ashamed of their disgusting actions?
Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush!
Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered.
They will be brought down when I punish them,”
says the Lord.
Judah Rejects the Lord’s Way
16This is what the Lord says:
“Stop at the crossroads and look around.
Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it.
Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.
But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’
17I posted watchmen over you who said,
‘Listen for the sound of the alarm.’
But you replied,
‘No! We won’t pay attention!’
18“Therefore, listen to this, all you nations.
Take note of my people’s situation.
19Listen, all the earth!
I will bring disaster on my people.
It is the fruit of their own schemes,
because they refuse to listen to me.
They have rejected my word.
20There’s no use offering me sweet frankincense from Sheba.
Keep your fragrant calamus imported from distant lands!
I will not accept your burnt offerings.
Your sacrifices have no pleasing aroma for me.”
21Therefore, this is what the Lord says:
“I will put obstacles in my people’s path.
Fathers and sons will both fall over them.
Neighbors and friends will die together.”
An Invasion from the North
22This is what the Lord says:
“Look! A great army coming from the north!
A great nation is rising against you from far-off lands.
23They are armed with bows and spears.
They are cruel and show no mercy.
They sound like a roaring sea
as they ride forward on horses.
They are coming in battle formation,
planning to destroy you, beautiful Jerusalem.#6:23 Hebrew daughter of Zion.
24We have heard reports about the enemy,
and we wring our hands in fright.
Pangs of anguish have gripped us,
like those of a woman in labor.
25Don’t go out to the fields!
Don’t travel on the roads!
The enemy’s sword is everywhere
and terrorizes us at every turn!
26Oh, my people, dress yourselves in burlap
and sit among the ashes.
Mourn and weep bitterly, as for the loss of an only son.
For suddenly the destroying armies will be upon you!
27“Jeremiah, I have made you a tester of metals,#6:27 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads a tester of my people a fortress.
that you may determine the quality of my people.
28They are the worst kind of rebel,
full of slander.
They are as hard as bronze and iron,
and they lead others into corruption.
29The bellows fiercely fan the flames
to burn out the corruption.
But it does not purify them,
for the wickedness remains.
30I will label them ‘Rejected Silver,’
for I, the Lord, am discarding them.”
6
1Flee for safety, ye children of Benjamin, out of the midst of Jerusalem, and blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and raise up a signal on Beth-haccherem; for evil looketh forth from the north, and a great destruction. 2The comely and delicate one, the daughter of Zion, will I cut off. 3Shepherds with their flocks shall come unto her; they shall pitch their tents against her round about; they shall feed every one in his place. 4Prepare ye war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe unto us! for the day declineth, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out. 5Arise, and let us go up by night, and let us destroy her palaces. 6For thus hath Jehovah of hosts said, Hew ye down trees, and cast up a mound against Jerusalem: this is the city to be visited; she is wholly oppression in the midst of her. 7As a well casteth forth its waters, so she casteth forth her wickedness: violence and destruction is heard in her; before me continually is sickness and wounds. 8Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul be alienated from thee; lest I make thee a desolation, a land not inhabited.
9Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, They shall thoroughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine: turn again thy hand as a grape-gatherer into the baskets. 10To whom shall I speak and testify, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of Jehovah is become unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it. 11Therefore I am full of the wrath of Jehovah; I am weary with holding in: pour it out upon the children in the street, and upon the assembly of young men together; for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged with him that is full of days. 12And their houses shall be turned unto others, their fields and their wives together; for I will stretch out my hand upon the inhabitants of the land, saith Jehovah. 13For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. 14They have healed also the hurt of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. 15Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall; at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith Jehovah.
16Thus saith Jehovah, Stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way; and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls: but they said, We will not walk therein. 17And I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet; but they said, We will not hearken. 18Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them. 19Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words; and as for my law, they have rejected it. 20To what purpose cometh there to me frankincense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? your burnt-offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices pleasing unto me. 21Therefore thus saith Jehovah, Behold, I will lay stumbling-blocks before this people; and the fathers and the sons together shall stumble against them; the neighbor and his friend shall perish. 22Thus saith Jehovah, Behold, a people cometh from the north country; and a great nation shall be stirred up from the uttermost parts of the earth.
23They lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel, and have no mercy; their voice roareth like the sea, and they ride upon horses, every one set in array, as a man to the battle, against thee, O daughter of Zion. 24We have heard the report thereof; our hands wax feeble: anguish hath taken hold of us, and pangs as of a woman in travail. 25Go not forth into the field, nor walk by the way; for the sword of the enemy, and terror, are on every side. 26O daughter of my people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes: make thee mourning, as for an only son, most bitter lamentation; for the destroyer shall suddenly come upon us.
27I have made thee a trier and a fortress among my people; that thou mayest know and try their way. 28They are all grievous revolters, going about with slanders; they are brass and iron: they all of them deal corruptly. 29The bellows blow fiercely; the lead is consumed of the fire: in vain do they go on refining; for the wicked are not plucked away. 30Refuse silver shall men call them, because Jehovah hath rejected them.