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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
Threatened Siege of Jerusalem
1“Run for cover, # Ex 9:19; Is 10:31; Jr 4:6 Benjaminites,
out of Jerusalem!
Sound the ram’s horn # Jr 4:5; 51:27; Am 3:6 in Tekoa; # 2Sm 14:2; 2Ch 11:6; 20:20
raise a smoke signal # Jdg 20:38,40; Neh 3:14 over Beth-haccherem, # = House of the Vineyard
for disaster threatens from the north, # Jr 1:13; 4:6,20; 6:22; 15:12; 47:2; 50:3,9,41; 51:48
even great destruction.
2Though she is beautiful and delicate,
I will destroy # Or silence Daughter Zion.
3Shepherds and their flocks will come against her;
they will pitch their tents all around her. # Jr 4:17
Each will pasture his own portion.
4Set them apart for war # Jr 51:27; Mc 3:5 against her;
rise up, let’s attack at noon.
Woe to us, for the day is passing;
the evening shadows grow long.
5Rise up, let’s attack by night.
Let us destroy her fortresses.”
6For this is what the Lord of Hosts says:
Cut down the trees; # Dt 20:19-20
raise a siege ramp against Jerusalem.
This city must be punished.
There is nothing but oppression within her. # Is 30:12; 59:9-15; Jr 22:17; Ezk 22:7,12,29; Am 3:9; Hab 1:3
7As a well gushes out its water,
so she pours out her evil. # Or well keeps its water fresh, so she keeps her evil fresh
Violence and destruction # Jr 20:8; Am 3:10; Hab 1:3 resound in her.
Sickness and wounds keep coming to My attention.
8Be warned, Jerusalem,
or I will turn away from you; # Ezk 23:18; Hs 9:12
I will make you a desolation,
a land without inhabitants. # Jr 9:11; 25:9; 29:18; 34:22; Ezk 30:12
Wrath on Israel
9This is what the Lord of Hosts says:
Glean the remnant of Israel # Is 10:20; Jr 31:7; Ezk 9:8; 11:13; Mc 2:12; Zph 3:13
as thoroughly as a vine.
Pass your hand once more like a grape gatherer
over the branches.
10Who can I speak to and give such a warning # Or and bear witness
that they will listen?
Look, their ear is uncircumcised, # They are unresponsive to God. # Lv 26:41; Jr 9:26; Ezk 44:7,9
so they cannot pay attention.
See, the word of the Lord has become contemptible to them —
they find no pleasure in it. # 1Sm 15:23; Jr 8:9
11But I am full of the Lord’s wrath;
I am tired of holding it back. # Jr 20:9; Hs 5:10
Pour it out on the children in the street, # Jr 9:21
on the gang of young men as well.
For both husband and wife will be captured,
the old with the very old. # Lit with fullness of days
12Their houses will be turned over to others, # Jr 8:10-12
their fields and wives as well,
for I will stretch out My hand # Ex 3:20; Jr 15:6; Ezk 6:14; 14:13; 25:7; Zph 1:4
against the inhabitants of the land.
This is the Lord’s declaration.
13For from the least to the greatest of them, # Est 1:20; Jr 8:10; 31:34; 42:1,8; 44:12
everyone is making profit dishonestly. # Pr 1:19; 15:27; Hab 2:9
From prophet to priest,
everyone deals falsely. # Jr 5:31; 8:10; 14:14; 20:6; 23:14,25,26,32; 27:10,14-16; 28:15; 29:9,21,31; Lm 2:14; Zch 13:3
14They have treated My people’s brokenness superficially,
claiming, “Peace, peace,” # 1Ch 12:18; Is 57:19
when there is no peace.
15Were they ashamed when they acted so abhorrently?
They weren’t at all ashamed.
They can no longer feel humiliation. # Jr 3:3; 8:12
Therefore, they will fall among the fallen.
When I punish them, they will collapse, # Jr 8:10-12
says the Lord.
Disaster because of Disobedience
16This is what the Lord says:
Stand by the roadways and look.
Ask about the ancient paths: # Is 59:8; Jr 18:15; Jb 24:13; Pr 8:20; 12:28
Which is the way to what is good?
Then take it
and find rest for yourselves. # Mt 11:29
But they protested, “We won’t!”
17I appointed watchmen over you # Is 21:11; 58:1; Hs 9:8
and said: Listen for the sound of the ram’s horn.
But they protested, “We won’t listen!”
18Therefore listen, you nations
and you witnesses,
learn what the charge is against them.
19Listen, earth!
I am about to bring disaster on these people,
the fruit of their own plotting, # Pr 1:31
for they have paid no attention to My word.
They have rejected My instruction. # Is 5:24; Jr 23:17
20What use to Me is frankincense from Sheba # 1Kg 10:1; Is 60:6
or sweet cane # Ex 30:23; Is 43:24; Ezk 27:19 from a distant land?
Your burnt offerings are not acceptable;
your sacrifices do not please Me. # Ps 40:6; Is 1:11; 43:23; 66:3; Hs 9:4; Am 5:21; Mc 6:6; Mal 1:10
21Therefore, this is what the Lord says:
I am going to place stumbling blocks before these people;
fathers and sons together will stumble over them; # Is 8:15; Jr 31:9; Ezk 7:19
friends and neighbors will also perish.
A Cruel Nation from the North
22This is what the Lord says:
Look, an army is coming from a northern land; # Is 13:4; Jr 1:13; 6:1; 38:3; Lm 1:15; Ezk 38:15; Jl 2:25
a great nation will be awakened
from the remote regions of the earth. # Jr 25:32; 31:8
23They grasp bow and javelin.
They are cruel and show no mercy. # Is 13:18; Jr 50:42; Hab 1:6-17
Their voice roars like the sea, # Is 5:30; 17:12
and they ride on horses,
lined up like men in battle formation
against you, Daughter Zion.
24We have heard about it,
and we are discouraged. # Lit and our hands fail
Distress has seized us —
pain like a woman in # Ps 48:6; Is 13:8; 21:3; 42:14; Jr 4:31; 13:21; 22:23; 30:6; 50:43; Mc 4:9-10; 1Th 5:3 labor. # Jr 50:41-43
25Don’t go out to the fields;
don’t walk on the road.
For the enemy has a sword;
terror is on every side. # Ps 31:13; Jr 20:3,10; 49:29
26My dear # Lit Daughter of My people, dress yourselves in sackcloth
and roll in the dust. # Jr 25:34; Ezk 27:30; Mc 1:10
Mourn as you would for an only son, # Am 8:10
a bitter lament,
for suddenly the destroyer # Ex 12:23; Is 21:2; 54:16; Jr 48:8,15,18,32; 1Co 10:10; Heb 11:28 will come on us. # Is 47:11; Jr 4:20; 15:8
Jeremiah Appointed as an Examiner
27I have appointed you to be an assayer among My people —
a refiner # Text emended; MT reads fortress
so you may know and assay their way of life. # 1Ch 29:17; Ps 7:9; Pr 17:3
28All are stubborn rebels
spreading slander. # Lv 19:16; Pr 11:13; 20:19; Is 1:23
They are bronze and iron;
all of them are corrupt. # 2Ch 27:2; Is 1:4
29The bellows blow,
blasting the lead with fire.
The refining is completely in vain;
the evil ones are not separated out.
30They are called rejected silver,
for the Lord has rejected them. # 1Sm 15:23,26; Jr 2:37; 7:29