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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.”
1O ye Bnei Binyamin, gather yourselves to flee out of the midst of Yerushalayim, and blow the shofar in Tekoa, and kindle the fire signal on Beit HaKerem; for ra'ah (evil, disaster) appeareth out of the tzafon (north), and shever gadol (great destruction). 2Bat Tziyon, so beautiful and delicate, I will destroy. 3The ro'im (shepherds) with their flocks shall come unto her; they shall pitch their ohalim against her all around; they shall pasture each his portion. 4Prepare ye milchamah against her; arise, and let us go up to attack at noon. Oy unto us! For the yom fadeth away, for the shadows of erev are lengthening. 5Arise, and let us attack ba'lailah, and let us destroy her fortresses. 6For thus hath Hashem Tzva'os said, Cut ye down trees, and throw up a solelah (siege ramp) against Yerushalayim; this is the Ir that must be visited [for punishment]; oshek (oppression) is rampant within her. 7As a well casteth afresh her waters, so she [Jerusalem] casteth afresh her rah (wickedness); chamas and shod (destruction) is heard in her; before Me tamid (continually) is sickness and wounds. 8Be thou warned, O Yerushalayim, lest My nefesh depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, an eretz not inhabited. 9Thus saith Hashem Tzva'os, They shall thoroughly glean the She'erit Yisroel (the Remnant of Israel) as a gefen (vine); turn back thine yad once again like a grape gatherer over the vine tendrils. 10To whom can I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? Hinei, their ear is arelah (uncircumcised), and to pay heed is beyond them; hinei, the Devar Hashem is unto them a reproach; they find no pleasure in it. 11Therefore I am full of the chamat Hashem; I am weary with holding in; I will pour it out upon the olal in the street, and upon the assembly of bocherim together; for even the ish with the isha shall be caught, the zaken, those weighed down with yamim (days). 12And their batim (houses) shall be turned over unto others, with their sadot and nashim together; for I will stretch out My yad upon the Yoshvei HaAretz (Inhabitants of the Land), saith Hashem. 13For from the katan of them even unto the gadol of them, every one is given to greediness for unjust gain; and from the navi even unto the kohen, every one doeth sheker (deceit, falsehood). 14They have provided superficial treatment for Ami, saying, Shalom, shalom; v'ein shalom. 15Were they ashamed when they had committed to'evah (abomination)? 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 [in punishment] they shall be brought down, saith Hashem. 16Thus saith Hashem, Stand ye in the derakhim (crossroads), and look, and ask for the netivot olam (old paths), where is the derech hatov (good road, way), and walk therein, and ye shall find margo'a (rest) for your nefashot. But they said, We will not walk therein. 17Also I set tzofim (watchmen) over you, saying, Pay heed to the kol shofar (sound of the shofar). But they said, We will not pay heed. 18Therefore hear, ye Goyim, and know, O Edah (Congregation), what will happen to them. 19Hear, HaAretz (O Earth); hinei, I will bring ra'ah (evil, disaster) upon HaAm Hazeh, even the p'ri (fruit) of their machsh'vot (schemes), because they have not paid heed unto My devarim, nor to My torah, but rejected it. 20To what purpose cometh there to Me frankincense from Sheva [i.e., southwest Arabia], and the sweet cane from a far country? Your olot (burnt offerings) are not acceptable, nor your zevakhim pleasing unto Me. 21Therefore thus saith Hashem, Hineni, I will lay michsholim (stumblingblocks) before HaAm HaZeh, and the Avot and the Banim together shall stumble upon them; the shakhen (neighbor) and his re'a (neighbor, friend) shall perish. 22Thus saith Hashem, Hinei, Am (an Army, a people) cometh from the eretz tzafon, and a Goy Gadol is aroused from the ends of the earth. 23They shall lay hold of keshet (bow) and kidon (spear); they are cruel, and have no mercy; their kol (voice) roareth like the yam; and they ride upon susim, set in array as ish for milchamah against thee, O Bat Tziyon. 24We have heard the fame thereof; our hands hang limp; tzarah (anguish) hath taken hold of us, and pain, as of a woman in labor. 25Go not forth into the sadeh, nor walk by the derech; for the cherev of the oyev (enemy) and magur (fear, terror) is on every side. 26O Bat Ami, gird thee with sackcloth, and roll thyself in ashes; make thee evel (mourning), as for a yachid (only son), most bitter lamentation; for the shoded (destroyer) shall suddenly come upon us. 27I have set thee for a bachon (tester, assayer) of Ami (My People); that thou mayest know and test their derech (way, conduct). 28They are all maximum rebels, going about as rachil (talebearers, slanderers); they are nechoshet and barzel; they are all corrupt. 29The bellows blow, the oferet (lead) is consumed by the eish; the smelter's refining is in vain; for the ra'im are not drawn off. 30Nimas kesef (reprobate silver, rejected silver) shall men call them, because Hashem hath rejected them.