1At that time, says the Lord, the bones of the kings of Judah, the bones of its officials, the bones of the priests, the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be brought out of their tombs; 2and they shall be spread before the sun and the moon and all the host of heaven, which they have loved and served, which they have followed, and which they have inquired of and worshiped; and they shall not be gathered or buried; they shall be like dung on the surface of the ground. 3Death shall be preferred to life by all the remnant that remains of this evil family in all the places where I have driven them, says the Lord of hosts.
The Blind Perversity of the Whole Nation
4You shall say to them, Thus says the Lord:
When people fall, do they not get up again?
If they go astray, do they not turn back?
5Why then has this people#8.5 One Ms Gk: MT this people, Jerusalem, turned away
in perpetual backsliding?
They have held fast to deceit,
they have refused to return.
6I have given heed and listened,
but they do not speak honestly;
no one repents of wickedness,
saying, “What have I done!”
All of them turn to their own course,
like a horse plunging headlong into battle.
7Even the stork in the heavens
knows its times;
and the turtledove, swallow, and crane#8.7 Meaning of Heb uncertain
observe the time of their coming;
but my people do not know
the ordinance of the Lord.
8How can you say, “We are wise,
and the law of the Lord is with us,”
when, in fact, the false pen of the scribes
has made it into a lie?
9The wise shall be put to shame,
they shall be dismayed and taken;
since they have rejected the word of the Lord,
what wisdom is in them?
10Therefore I will give their wives to others
and their fields to conquerors,
because from the least to the greatest
everyone is greedy for unjust gain;
from prophet to priest
everyone deals falsely.
11They have treated the wound of my people carelessly,
saying, “Peace, peace,”
when there is no peace.
12They acted shamefully, they committed abomination;
yet they were not at all ashamed,
they did not know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
at the time when I punish them, they shall be overthrown,
says the Lord.
13When I wanted to gather them, says the Lord,
there are#8.13 Or I will make an end of them, says the Lord. There are no grapes on the vine,
nor figs on the fig tree;
even the leaves are withered,
and what I gave them has passed away from them.#8.13 Meaning of Heb uncertain
14Why do we sit still?
Gather together, let us go into the fortified cities
and perish there;
for the Lord our God has doomed us to perish,
and has given us poisoned water to drink,
because we have sinned against the Lord.
15We look for peace, but find no good,
for a time of healing, but there is terror instead.
16The snorting of their horses is heard from Dan;
at the sound of the neighing of their stallions
the whole land quakes.
They come and devour the land and all that fills it,
the city and those who live in it.
17See, I am letting snakes loose among you,
adders that cannot be charmed,
and they shall bite you,
says the Lord.
The Prophet Mourns for the People
18My joy is gone, grief is upon me,
my heart is sick.
19Hark, the cry of my poor people
from far and wide in the land:
“Is the Lord not in Zion?
Is her King not in her?”
(“Why have they provoked me to anger with their images,
with their foreign idols?”)
20“The harvest is past, the summer is ended,
and we are not saved.”
21For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt,
I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me.
22Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why then has the health of my poor people
not been restored?