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6
The Enemy Surrounds Jerusalem
1“Run for your lives, people of Benjamin!
Run away from the city of Jerusalem!
Blow the war trumpet in the city of Tekoa!
Put up the warning flag in the city of Beth Hakkerem!
Do these things because disaster is coming from the north.#6:1 north The Babylonian army came from this direction to attack Judah. Armies from countries north and east of Israel often came this way to attack Judah and Israel.
Terrible destruction is coming to you.
2Jerusalem,#6:2 Jerusalem Literally, “daughter Zion.” See “Zion” in the Word List. you are like a beautiful meadow.#6:2 you are like a beautiful meadow The Hebrew text here is hard to understand.
But I will destroy you!
3Enemy shepherds will surround you
with all their flocks.
They will set up their tents all around you,
and each one will let his sheep eat the grass.
4“Get ready to fight against Jerusalem.
Get up! We will attack the city at noon.
But it is already getting late.
The evening shadows are growing long.
5So get up! We will attack the city at night!
Let’s destroy the strong walls that are around Jerusalem.”
6This is what the Lord All-Powerful says:
“Cut down the trees around Jerusalem,
and build a siege mound#6:6 siege mound A large pile of dirt and rock that an army put against the wall of a city they were attacking. This made it easier for the enemy soldiers to climb over the wall into the city. against it.
This city should be punished
because inside there is no justice—only slavery.
7As a well keeps its water fresh,
so Jerusalem keeps its wickedness fresh.
I hear about the robbing and violence in this city all the time.
I see nothing but pain and sickness there all the time.
8Listen to this warning, Jerusalem,
or 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 All-Powerful says:
“Gather#6:9 Gather Or “glean.” There was a law that a farmer must leave some grain in his field during harvest, so that poor people and travelers could find something to eat. See Lev. 19:9; 23:22. the people of Israel who were left on their land.
Gather them the way you would gather the last grapes on a grapevine.
Check each vine,
like the workers check each vine when they pick the grapes.”
10Who can I speak to?
Who can I warn?
Who will listen to me?
The people of Israel have closed their ears,
so they cannot hear my warnings.
They don’t like the Lord’S teachings.
They don’t want to hear his message.
11But I am full of the Lord’S anger,
and I am tired of holding it in!
“Pour out my anger on the children playing in the streets
and on the young soldiers gathered there as well.
A man and his wife will both be captured
as well as all the old people.
12Their houses will be given to others.
Their fields and their wives will be given to other people.
I will raise my hand and punish the people of Judah.”
This message is from the Lord.
13“All the people of Israel want more and more money.
All of them, from the least important to the most important, are like that.
Even the prophets and priests tell lies.
14They should bandage the wounds my people have suffered,
but they treat their wounds like small scratches.
They say, ‘It’s all right, everything is all right.’
But it is not all right!
15They should be ashamed of the evil things they do,
but they are not ashamed at all.
They don’t know enough to be embarrassed by their sins.
So they will be punished with everyone else.
They will be thrown to the ground when I punish the people.”
This is what the Lord said.
16This is what the Lord says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look.
Ask where the old road is.
Ask where the good road is,
and walk on that road.
If you do, you will find rest for yourselves.
But you people have said, ‘We will not walk on the good road.’
17I chose watchmen to watch over you.
I told them, ‘Listen for the sound of the war trumpet.’
But they said, ‘We will not listen!’
18So listen, all you nations,
and pay attention, you people in those countries.#6:18 pay … countries The Hebrew text here is hard to understand.
19Hear this, people of the earth:
I am going to bring disaster to the people of Judah
because of all the evil they planned,
and because they ignored my messages.
They refused to obey my law.
20“Why do you bring me incense from the country of Sheba#6:20 Sheba A land south of Israel, located where part of Saudi Arabia is today. Sheba controlled the spice trade in the time of Jeremiah.?
Why do you bring me sweet-smelling cane from a faraway country?
Your burnt offerings don’t make me happy.
Your sacrifices don’t please me.”
21So this is what the Lord says:
“I will give the people of Judah problems.
They will be like stones that make people fall.
Fathers and sons will stumble over them.
Friends and neighbors will die.”
22This is what the Lord says:
“An army is coming from the north.#6:22 north The Babylonian army came from this direction to attack Judah. Armies from countries north and east of Israel often came this way to attack Judah and Israel.
A great nation is coming from faraway places on earth.
23The soldiers carry bows and spears.
They are cruel; they have no mercy.
They are so powerful.
They sound like the roaring ocean as they ride their horses.
That army is coming, ready for battle.
It is coming to attack you, Jerusalem.#6:23 Jerusalem Literally, “daughter Zion.” See “Zion” in the Word List.
24We have heard the news about that army,
and we are paralyzed with fear.
We feel trapped by our troubles,
in pain like a woman giving birth.
25Don’t go out into the fields.
Don’t go on the roads
because the enemy has swords,
and there is danger everywhere.
26My people, put on sackcloth
and roll in the ashes.#6:26 roll in the ashes This is one way people showed that they were sad or crying for a dead person.
Cry loudly for the dead.
Cry as if you lost an only son.
Do this because the destroyer
will come against us very quickly.
27“Jeremiah, I want you to be
like a worker who tests metals.
You will test my people
and watch how they live.
28My people have turned against me,
and they are very stubborn.
They say bad things about people.
They are like bronze and iron
that are covered with rust and tarnish.
29 They are like a worker who tried to make silver pure.
The bellows#6:29 bellows A tool for blowing air on a fire to make the fire hotter. blew strongly, and the fire became hotter,
but only lead came from the fire.#6:29 lead came from the fire Workers melted metals like silver to make the metals pure. Lead was the first metal to melt, so the workers poured the lead out, leaving the other metal pure. Here, Jeremiah is saying the people are all bad—they are all lead and no silver!
The worker wasted his time
trying to make that silver pure.
In the same way the evil was not removed from my people.
30My people will be called ‘Rejected Silver.’
They will be given that name because the Lord did not accept 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."