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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
Impending Destruction from the North
1“O you children of Benjamin,
Gather yourselves to flee from the midst of Jerusalem!
Blow the trumpet in Tekoa,
And set up a signal-fire in #Neh. 3:14Beth Haccerem;
#Jer. 4:6For disaster appears out of the north,
And great destruction.
2I have likened the daughter of Zion
To a lovely and delicate woman.
3The #2 Kin. 25:1–4; Jer. 4:17; 12:10shepherds with their flocks shall come to her.
They shall pitch their tents against her all around.
Each one shall pasture in his own place.”
4“Prepare#Jer. 51:27; Joel 3:9 war against her;
Arise, and let us go up #Jer. 15:8; Zeph. 2:4at noon.
Woe to us, for the day goes away,
For the shadows of the evening are lengthening.
5Arise, and let us go by night,
And let us destroy her palaces.”
6For thus has the Lord of hosts said:
“Cut down trees,
And build a mound against Jerusalem.
This is the city to be punished.
She is full of oppression in her midst.
7#Is. 57:20As a fountain wells up with water,
So she wells up with her wickedness.
#Ps. 55:9Violence and plundering are heard in her.
Before Me continually are grief and wounds.
8Be instructed, O Jerusalem,
Lest #Ezek. 23:18; Hos. 9:12My soul depart from you;
Lest I make you desolate,
A land not inhabited.”
9Thus says the Lord of hosts:
“They shall thoroughly glean as a vine the remnant of Israel;
As a grape-gatherer, put your hand back into the branches.”
10To whom shall I speak and give warning,
That they may hear?
Indeed their #Ex. 6:12; Jer. 5:21; 7:26; (Acts 7:51)ear is uncircumcised,
And they cannot give heed.
Behold, #Jer. 8:9; 20:8the word of the Lord is a reproach to them;
They have no delight in it.
11Therefore I am full of the fury of the Lord.
#Jer. 20:9I am weary of holding it in.
“I will pour it out #Jer. 9:21on the children outside,
And on the assembly of young men together;
For even the husband shall be taken with the wife,
The aged with him who is full of days.
12And #Deut. 28:30; Jer. 8:10; 38:22their houses shall be turned over to others,
Fields and wives together;
For I will stretch out My hand
Against the inhabitants of the land,” says the Lord.
13“Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them,
Everyone is given to #Is. 56:11; Jer. 8:10; 22:17covetousness;
And from the prophet even to the #Jer. 5:31; 23:11; Mic. 3:5, 11priest,
Everyone deals falsely.
14They have also #Jer. 8:11–15; Ezek. 13:10healed the hurt of My people slightly,
#Jer. 4:10; 23:17Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’
When there is no peace.
15Were they #Jer. 3:3; 8:12ashamed when they had committed abomination?
No! They were not at all ashamed;
Nor did they know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
At the time I punish them,
They shall be cast down,” says the Lord.
16Thus says the Lord:
“Stand in the ways and see,
And ask for the #Is. 8:20; Jer. 18:15; Mal. 4:4; Luke 16:29old paths, where the good way is,
And walk in it;
Then you will find #Matt. 11:29rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.
17Also, I set #Is. 21:11; 58:1; Jer. 25:4; Ezek. 3:17; Hab. 2:1watchmen over you, saying,
#Deut. 4:1‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’
But they said, ‘We will not listen.’
18Therefore hear, you nations,
And know, O congregation, what is among them.
19#Is. 1:2Hear, O earth!
Behold, I will certainly bring #Jer. 19:3, 15calamity on this people—
#Prov. 1:31The fruit of their thoughts,
Because they have not heeded My words
Nor My law, but rejected it.
20#Ps. 40:6; 50:7–9; Is. 1:11; 66:3; Amos 5:21; Mic. 6:6, 7For what purpose to Me
Comes frankincense #Is. 60:6from Sheba,
And #Is. 43:24sweet cane from a far country?
#Jer. 7:21–23Your burnt offerings are not acceptable,
Nor your sacrifices sweet to Me.”
21Therefore thus says the Lord:
“Behold, I will lay stumbling blocks before this people,
And the fathers and the sons together shall fall on them.
The neighbor and his friend shall perish.”
22Thus says the Lord:
“Behold, a people comes from the #Jer. 1:15; 10:22; 50:41–43north country,
And a great nation will be raised from the farthest parts of the earth.
23They will lay hold on bow and spear;
They are cruel and have no mercy;
Their voice #Is. 5:30roars like the sea;
And they ride on horses,
As men of war set in array against you, O daughter of Zion.”
24We have heard the report of it;
Our hands grow feeble.
#Jer. 4:31; 13:21; 49:24Anguish has taken hold of us,
Pain as of a woman in labor.
25Do not go out into the field,
Nor walk by the way.
Because of the sword of the enemy,
Fear is on every side.
26O daughter of my people,
#Jer. 4:8Dress in sackcloth
#Jer. 25:34; Mic. 1:10And roll about in ashes!
#Amos 8:10; (Zech. 12:10)Make mourning as for an only son, most bitter lamentation;
For the plunderer will suddenly come upon us.
27“I have set you as an assayer and #Jer. 1:18a fortress among My people,
That you may know and test their way.
28#Jer. 5:23They are all stubborn rebels, #Jer. 9:4walking as slanderers.
They are #Ezek. 22:18bronze and iron,
They are all corrupters;
29The bellows blow fiercely,
The lead is consumed by the fire;
The smelter refines in vain,
For the wicked are not drawn off.
30People will call them #Is. 1:22; Jer. 7:29rejected silver,
Because the Lord has rejected them.”