1“Head for cover, people of Binyamin,
get out of Yerushalayim!
Blow the shofar in T’koa,
light the beacon on Beit-Hakerem.
For disaster threatens from the north,
with great destruction.
2Although she is beautiful and delicate,
I am cutting off the daughter of Tziyon.”
3Shepherds advance on her with their flocks;
all around her they pitch their tents,
each grazing his own plot of pasture.
4“Prepare for war against her!
Get up! Let’s attack at noon!”
“Woe to us! for the day is waning,
evening shadows are lengthening.”
5“Get up! Let’s attack at night!
Let’s destroy her palaces!”
6For Adonai-Tzva’ot says this:
“Cut down her trees, and raise a siege-ramp
This is the city to be punished;
in her there is nothing but oppression.
7Just as a cistern keeps its water fresh,
so she keeps her wickedness fresh!
Violence and destruction are heard within her,
always before me sickness and wounds.
8Accept correction, Yerushalayim,
or I will be estranged from you
and turn you into a desolate waste,
a land without inhabitants.”
9Thus says Adonai-Tzva’ot:
“They will glean the remnant of Isra’el
as thoroughly as in a vineyard —
one last time, like a grape-picker,
pass your hand over the vines.”
10To whom should I speak? Whom should I warn?
Who will listen to me?
Their ears are dull, they can’t pay attention.
For them the word of Adonai has become
unattractive, an object of scorn.
11This is why I am full of Adonai’s fury;
I am weary of holding it back.
“Pour it out on the children in the street
and on the groups of young men gathered;
for husbands and wives will be taken together,
seniors as well as the very old.
12Their homes will be turned over to others,
their fields together with their wives.
Yes, I will stretch out my hand against those
who are living in the land,” says Adonai.
13“For from the least to the greatest of them,
all are greedy for gains;
prophets and cohanim alike,
they all practice fraud —
14they dress the wound of my people,
but only superficially,
saying, ‘There is perfect shalom,’
when there is no shalom.
15“They should be ashamed
of their detestable deeds,
but they are not ashamed at all;
they don’t know how to blush.
Therefore when others fall,
they too will fall;
when I punish them,
they will stumble,” says Adonai.
16Here is what Adonai says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask about the ancient paths,
‘Which one is the good way?’
Take it, and you will find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not take it.’
17I appointed sentinels to direct them:
‘Listen for the sound of the shofar.’
But they said, ‘We will not listen.’
18So hear, you nations; know, you assembly,
what there is against them.
19Hear, oh earth! I am going
to bring disaster on this people;
it is the consequence
of their own way of thinking;
for they pay no attention to my words;
and as for my Torah, they reject it.
20What do I care about incense from Sh’va
or sweet cane from a distant land?
Your burnt offerings are unacceptable,
your sacrifices don’t please me.”
21Therefore thus says Adonai:
“I will put obstacles in the way of this people
that they will stumble over —
fathers and sons, neighbors and friends,
all will perish together.”
22Here is what Adonai says:
“A people is coming from the land of the north,
a great nation will be aroused from the ends of the earth.
23They will take hold of bow and spear;
they are cruel; they have no compassion:
their noise as they ride on horses
is like the roaring sea;
and they are equipped for battle
against you, daughter of Tziyon.
24‘We have heard the news,
and our hands fall limp;
anguish has seized us,
pain like a mother’s in childbirth.’”
25Don’t go into the countryside,
don’t walk out on the road;
for the sword of the enemy is spreading
terror in every direction.
26Daughter of my people,
put on sackcloth, roll in ashes,
mourn as if for an only son,
wail most bitterly;
for suddenly the destroyer
will come upon us.
27“I have made you a refiner and tester of my people,
to know and test how they behave.
28All of them are total rebels,
spreading slanderous gossip;
they are bronze and iron, [inferior metals,]
all of them corrupt.
29The bellows blast away;
and though the lead is consumed by the fire,
in vain has the smelter refined,
for the wicked have not been separated.
30They are called ‘rejected silver,’
because Adonai has rejected them.”