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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
1“O children of Binyamin, gather yourselves to flee out of the midst of Yerushalayim! Blow a shophar in Teqowa, and set up a signal-fire in Bĕyth Hakkerem, for evil has been seen from the north, and great destruction.
2“I shall cut off the lovely and delicate one, the daughter of Tsiyon.
3“The shepherds with their flocks shall come to her, they shall pitch their tents against her all around. They shall pasture, each one in his own place.”
4“Set apart battle against her. Arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe to us, for the day goes away, for the shadows of the evening are lengthening.
5“Arise, and let us go by night, and let us destroy her palaces.”
6For thus said יהוה of hosts, “Cut down her trees, and cast up a siege mound against Yerushalayim. She is the city to be punished, in whose midst there is only oppression.
7“As a well flows with water, so she flows with her evil. Violence and destruction are heard in her. Before Me continually are suffering and smiting.
8“Be instructed, O Yerushalayim, lest My being be torn from you, lest I make you a waste, a land not inhabited.”
9Thus said יהוה of hosts, “Let them thoroughly glean as a vine the remnant of Yisra’ĕl; pass your hand again over the branches like a grape-gatherer.”
10To whom shall I speak and give warning, so that they hear? See, their ear is uncircumcised, and they are unable to listen. See, the word of יהוה is a reproach to them, they do not delight in it.
11Therefore I am filled with the wrath of יהוה. I have become weary of containing it. “Pour it out on the children outside, and on the company of young men together, for even husband and wife shall be taken, the aged and the very old.
12“And their houses shall be turned over to others, fields and wives together. For I shall stretch out My hand against the inhabitants of the land,” declares יהוה.
13“For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, they are all greedy for gain. And from the prophet even to the priest, all act falsely.
14“And they heal the breach of My people slightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.
15Were they ashamed when they had done abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed, nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall. They shall stumble at the time I visit them,” said יהוה.
16Thus said יהוה, “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and find rest for yourselves. But they said, ‘We do not walk in it.’
17“And I raised up watchmen over you, and said, ‘Listen to a voice of a shophar!’ But they said, ‘We do not listen.’
18“Therefore hear, you nations, and know, O congregation, what is upon them!
19“Hear, O earth! See, I am bringing evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not listened to My words, nor My Torah – and they rejected it.
20“What need have I of frankincense from Sheḇa, and sweet cane from a distant land? Your ascending offerings are not acceptable, and your slaughterings have not been sweet to Me.”
21Therefore thus said יהוה, “See, I am laying stumbling-blocks before this people. And the fathers and the sons together shall stumble on them, the neighbour and his friend shall perish.”
22Thus said יהוה, “See, a people shall come from the land of the north, and a great nation is stirred up from the farthest parts of the earth,
23they strengthen their bow and spear, they are cruel and have no compassion, their voice roars like the sea. And they ride on horses, set in array as a man for battle against you, O daughter of Tsiyon.”
24We have heard the report of it, our hands grow weak. Distress has taken hold of us, pain as of a woman in labour.
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, gird on sackcloth, and roll about in ashes! Make mourning as for an only son, most bitter lamentation because suddenly the ravager shall come upon us.
27“I have made you a trier and a stronghold among My people, so that you know, and shall try their way.
28“All of them are rebels of rebels, walking as slanderers. They are bronze and iron, all of them are corrupters.
29“The bellows have burned, the lead has been consumed by fire. The refiner has refined in vain, for those who are evil have not been separated.
30“They shall call them rejected silver, because יהוה has rejected them.”