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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."
6
Destruction of Jerusalem Impending
1"Flee for safety, O sons of Benjamin,
From the midst of Jerusalem!
Now blow a trumpet in Tekoa
And raise a signal over #I.e. house of the vineyardBeth-haccerem;
For evil looks down from the north,
And a great destruction.
2"The comely and dainty one, the daughter of Zion, I will cut off.
3"Shepherds and their flocks will come to her,
They will pitch their tents around her,
They will pasture each in his place.
4"Prepare war against her;
Arise, and let us attack at noon.
Woe to us, for the day declines,
For the shadows of the evening lengthen!
5"Arise, and let us attack by night
And destroy her palaces!"
6For thus says the Lord of hosts,
"Cut down her trees
And cast up a siege against Jerusalem.
This is the city to be punished,
In whose midst there is only oppression.
7"As a well keeps its waters fresh,
So she keeps fresh her wickedness.
Violence and destruction are heard in her;
Sickness and wounds are ever before Me.
8"Be warned, O Jerusalem,
Or I shall be alienated from you,
And make you a desolation,
A land not inhabited."
9Thus says the Lord of hosts,
"They will thoroughly glean as the vine the remnant of Israel;
Pass your hand again like a grape gatherer
Over the branches."
10To whom shall I speak and give warning
That they may hear?
Behold, their ears are closed
And they cannot listen.
Behold, the word of the Lord has become a reproach to them;
They have no delight in it.
11But I am full of the wrath of the Lord;
I am weary with holding it in.
"Pour it out on the children in the street
And on the gathering of young men together;
For both husband and wife shall be taken,
The aged and the very old.
12"Their houses shall be turned over to others,
Their fields and their wives together;
For I will stretch out My hand
Against the inhabitants of the land," declares the Lord.
13"For from the least of them even to the greatest of them,
Everyone is greedy for gain,
And from the prophet even to the priest
Everyone deals falsely.
14"They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially,
Saying, 'Peace, peace,'
But there is no peace.
15"Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done?
They were not even ashamed at all;
They did not even know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
At the time that I punish them,
They shall be cast down," says the Lord.
16Thus says the Lord,
"Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths,
Where the good way is, and walk in it;
And you will find rest for your souls.
But they said, 'We will not walk in it.'
17"And I set watchmen over you, saying,
'Listen to the sound of the trumpet!'
But they said, 'We will not listen.'
18"Therefore hear, O nations,
And know, O congregation, what is among them.
19"Hear, O earth: behold, I am bringing disaster on this people,
The fruit of their plans,
Because they have not listened to My words,
And as for My law, they have rejected it also.
20"For what purpose does frankincense come to Me from Sheba
And the sweet cane from a distant land?
Your burnt offerings are not acceptable
And your sacrifices are not pleasing to Me."
21Therefore, thus says the Lord,
"Behold, I am laying stumbling blocks before this people.
And they will stumble against them,
Fathers and sons together;
Neighbor and friend will perish."
The Enemy from the North
22Thus says the Lord,
"Behold, a people is coming from the north land,
And a great nation will be aroused from the remote parts of the earth.
23"They seize bow and spear;
They are cruel and have no mercy;
Their voice roars like the sea,
And they ride on horses,
Arrayed as a man for the battle
Against you, O daughter of Zion!"
24We have heard the report of it;
Our hands are limp.
Anguish has seized us,
Pain as of a woman in childbirth.
25Do not go out into the field
And do not walk on the road,
For the enemy has a sword,
Terror is on every side.
26O daughter of my people, put on sackcloth
And roll in ashes;
Mourn as for an only son,
A lamentation most bitter.
For suddenly the destroyer
Will come upon us.
27"I have made you an assayer and a tester among My people,
That you may know and assay their way."
28All of them are stubbornly rebellious,
Going about as a talebearer.
They are bronze and iron;
They, all of them, are corrupt.
29The bellows blow fiercely,
The lead is consumed by the fire;
In vain the refining goes on,
But the wicked are not separated.
30They call them rejected silver,
Because the Lord has rejected them.