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6
Jerusalem Is Surrounded
1“Run for your lives, people of Benjamin!
Run away from Jerusalem!
Blow the war trumpet in the town of Tekoa!
Raise the warning flag over the town of Beth Hakkerem!
Disaster is coming from the north.
Terrible destruction is coming to you.
2Jerusalem, I will destroy you.
You are fragile and gentle.
3Shepherds with their flocks will come against Jerusalem.
They will set up their tents all around her.
Each shepherd will take care of his own section.”
4They say, “Get ready to fight against Jerusalem!
Get up! We will attack at noon!
But it is already getting late.
The evening shadows are growing long.
5So get up! We will attack at night.
We will destroy the strong towers of Jerusalem!”
6This is what the Lord of heaven’s armies says:
“Cut down the trees around Jerusalem.
Build an attack ramp to the top of Jerusalem’s walls.
This city must be punished!
Inside this city is nothing but slavery.
7Jerusalem pours out her evil
as a well pours out its water.
The sounds of violence and destruction are heard within her.
I can see the sickness and hurts of Jerusalem.
8Listen to this warning, Jerusalem.
If you don’t listen, I will turn my back on you.
I will make your land an empty desert.
No one will be able to live there!”
9This is what the Lord of heaven’s armies says:
“Gather the few people of Israel who are left alive.
Gather them as you would the last grapes on a grapevine.
Check each vine again,
like someone who gathers grapes.”
10To whom can I speak? Whom can I warn?
Who will listen to me?
The people of Israel have closed ears!
So they cannot hear my warnings.
They don’t like the word of the Lord.
They don’t want to listen to it!
11But I am full of the anger of the Lord.
I am tired of holding it in.
“Pour out the Lord’s anger on the children who play in the street.
Pour it out on the young men gathered together.
A husband and his wife will both be caught in his anger.
The very old people will be caught in it.
12Their houses will be turned over to others.
Their fields and wives will be given away.
I will raise my hand
and punish the people of Judah,” says the Lord.
13“Everyone, from the least important to the greatest,
is greedy for money.
Even the prophets and priests
all tell lies.
14They try to heal my people’s serious injuries
as if they were small wounds.
They say, ‘It’s all right, it’s all right!’
But really, it is not all right.
15They should be ashamed of the terrible way they act.
But they are not ashamed at all.
They don’t even know how to blush about their sins.
So they will fall, along with everyone else.
They will be thrown to the ground when I punish them,” says the Lord.
16This is what the Lord says:
“Stand where the roads cross and look.
Ask where the old way is.
Ask where the good way is, and walk on it.
If you do, you will find rest for yourselves.
But you have said, ‘We will not walk on the good way!’
17I chose watchmen to watch over you.
I told you, ‘Listen for the sound of the war trumpet!’
But you said, ‘We will not listen.’
18So listen, all you nations.
Pay attention, you witnesses.
Watch what I will do to the people of Judah.
19Hear this, people of the earth:
I am going to bring disaster to the people of Judah!
It will happen because of the evil they plan.
They have not listened to my messages.
They have rejected my teachings.
20Why do you bring me offerings of incense from the land of Sheba?
Why do you bring me sweet-smelling cane from a faraway land?
Your burnt offerings will not be accepted.
Your sacrifices do not please me.”
21So this is what the Lord says:
“I will put problems in front of Judah.
Fathers and sons will stumble over them.
Neighbors and friends will die.”
22This is what the Lord says:
“Look, an army is coming
from the land of the north.
A great nation is coming
from the far sides of the earth.
23The soldiers carry bows and spears.
They are cruel and show no mercy.
They sound like the roaring ocean
when they ride their horses.
That army is coming lined up for battle.
It is coming to attack you, Jerusalem.”
24We have heard the news about that army.
We are helpless from fear.
We feel trapped by our troubles.
We are in pain like a woman having a baby.
25Don’t go out into the fields.
Don’t walk down the roads!
This is because the enemy has swords.
There is terror on every side.
26My people, put on rough cloth
and roll in the ashes to show how sad you are.
Cry loudly for those who are dead.
Cry as if your only son had died.
Do it because the destroyer
will soon come against us.
27“Jeremiah, I have made you like a worker who tests metal.
And my people are like the ore for the metal.
You must observe their ways.
And you must test them.
28My people have turned against me and are stubborn.
They go around telling lies about people.
They are like bronze and iron,
that became covered with rust.
29The fire is fanned to make it hotter.
But the lead does not melt.
The pure silver does not come out.
And the evil is not removed from my people.
30My people will be called rejected silver.
They will be given that name because the Lord has rejected them.”
6
1 "O sons of Benjamin, be strengthened in the midst of Jerusalem, and sound the trumpet in Tekoa, and lift up a banner over the house of Haccherem. For an evil has been seen from the north, with great destruction.
2 I have compared the daughter of Zion to a beautiful and delicate woman.
3 The pastors will come to her with their flocks. They have pitched their tents against her all around. Each one will feed those who are under his hand.
4 'Sanctify a war against her! Rise up together, and let us ascend at midday.' 'Woe to us! For the day has declined; for the shadows of the evening have grown longer.'
5 'Rise up, and let us ascend in the night, and let us destroy her houses.' "
6 For thus says the Lord of hosts: "Cut down her trees, and build a rampart around Jerusalem. This is the city of visitation! Every kind of false claim is in her midst.
7 Just as a cistern makes its water cold, so has she made her wickedness cold. Iniquity and devastation will be heard in her; sickness and wounds will be ever before me.
8 O Jerusalem, accept instruction, lest perhaps my soul may withdraw from you; lest perhaps I may set you in a desert, in an uninhabitable land."
9 Thus says the Lord of hosts: "They will gather the remnant of Israel, even as a single cluster of grapes is gathered from a vine. Direct your hand, as a grape-gatherer directs his hand to the basket.
10 To whom should I speak, and to whom should I testify, so as to be heard? Behold, their ears are uncircumcised, and so they are unable to hear. Behold, for them, the word of the Lord has become a disgrace. And so they will not accept it.
11 For this reason, I have been filled with the fury of the Lord. I labor to bear it. Let it be poured out upon the child outside, or upon a group of young men meeting together. For a man will be taken captive with a woman, an elder will be taken captive with one who is full of days.
12 And their houses will be given over to others, with both their lands and their wives. For I will extend my hand over the inhabitants of the earth, says the Lord.
13 Certainly, from the least of them even to the greatest, all of them practice greed. And from the prophet even to the priest, all of them act with deceit.
14 And they healed the destruction of the daughter of my people with disgrace, by saying: 'Peace, peace.' And there was no peace.
15 They were confounded, because they committed an abomination. Or rather, they were not confounded with shame, because they did not know how to blush. For this reason, they will fall among those who are being destroyed. In the time of their visitation, they will fall, says the Lord."
16 Thus says the Lord: "Stand above the ways, and see and ask, about the ancient paths, as to which is the good way, and then walk in it. And you will find refreshment for your souls. But they said: 'We will not walk.'
17 And I appointed watchers over you, saying: 'Listen for the sound of the trumpet.' And they said: 'We will not listen.'
18 For this reason, hear, O Gentiles, and know, O congregation, how much I will do to them.
19 Hear, O earth! Behold, I will lead evils over this people, as the fruits of their own thoughts. For they have not listened to my words, and they have cast aside my law.
20 For what reason are you bringing me frankincense from Sheba, and sweet smelling reeds from a far away land? Your holocausts are not acceptable, and your sacrifices are not pleasing to me."
21 Therefore, thus says the Lord: "Behold I will bring this people to utter ruin, and they will fall, with their fathers and sons; neighbor and relative will perish together."
22 Thus says the Lord: "Behold, a people is coming from the land of the north, and a great nation will rise up from the ends of the earth.
23 They will take hold of arrow and shield. They are cruel, and they will not take pity. Their voice will roar like the ocean. And they will climb upon horses, for they have been prepared like men for battle, against you, O daughter of Zion.
24 'We have heard of their fame. Our hands have become weakened. Tribulation has overtaken us, like the pains of a woman giving birth.'
25 Do not choose to go out into the fields, and you should not walk along the roadway. For the sword and the terror of the enemy is on every side.
26 Wrap yourself in haircloth, O daughter of my people. And sprinkle yourself with ashes. Make a mourning for yourself, as for an only son, a bitter lamentation: 'for the destroyer will overwhelm us suddenly.'
27 I have presented you as a strong tester among my people. And you will test and know their way.
28 All these leaders who are turning away and walking deceitfully, they are brass and iron; they have all been corrupted.
29 The bellows has failed; the lead has been consumed by fire; the molten metal was melted to no purpose. For their wickedness has not been consumed.
30 Call them: 'Rejected silver.' For the Lord has cast them aside."