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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."
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Jerusalem Under Siege
1Flee for refuge, children of Benjamin, from the midst of Jerusalem! Blow the shofar in Tekoa and raise a signal in Beth-cherem! For disaster looms from the north, even terrible destruction.
2“The lovely, delicate Daughter of Zion I will cut off.”
3Shepherds with their flocks are coming against her. All around her they pitch their tents, each pasturing in his own place.
4“Prepare for war against her. Rise up! Let’s attack at noon.” “Oy for us! For day is fading— evening shadows are lengthening.”
5“Rise up! Let’s attack at night and destroy her palaces.”
6For thus says Adonai-Tzva’ot: “Chop down her trees! Raise a siege ramp at Jerusalem. This city must be punished— in her midst is only oppression.
7As a well gushes out its waters, so she pours out her wickedness. Violence and havoc are heard in her, sickness and wounds ever before Me.
8Be warned, O Jerusalem, lest I abandon you, lest I make you desolate— an uninhabited land.”
9Thus says Adonai-Tzva’ot: “Glean the remnant of Israel thoroughly as a vine. Pass your hand over the branches once more, like a grape-gatherer.”
10“To whom can I speak and warn so they would hear? See, their ears are uncircumcised, unable to hear! The word of Adonai has become scorn to them. They have no delight in it.
11So I am full of the wrath of Adonai. I am weary of holding it in! Pour it out on a child in the street, on young men gathered together. For husband will be taken with wife, the aged with the very old.
12Their homes will be turned over to others—together with their fields and their wives. For I will stretch out My hand on the inhabitants of the land.” It is a declaration of Adonai.
13“For from the least to the greatest, all of them are greedy for gain, and from prophet even to kohen, everyone practices deceit.
14They healed the wound of My people superficially, saying ‘Shalom, shalom!’ when there is no shalom.”
15""Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at al ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among thos who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,"" says Adonai.
16Thus says Adonai: “Stand in the roads and look. Ask for the ancient paths— where the good way is— and walk in it. Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We won’t walk in it.’
17So I set watchmen over you, saying ‘Listen to the sound of the shofar!’ But they said, ‘We won’t listen.’
18Therefore hear, O nations and observe, O congregation, what is against them.
19Hear, O earth! See, I will bring disaster on this people —fruit of their schemes— for they did not listen to My words and rejected My Torah.
20Of what use to Me is frankincense coming from Sheba or sweet cane from a distant country? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor are your sacrifices pleasing to Me.”
Destruction from the North
21Therefore thus says Adonai: “Look, I am laying before this people stumbling blocks— and against them they will stumble— fathers and the sons together, a neighbor and his friend, and they will perish.”
22Thus says Adonai: “Look, a people coming from a northern land, a great nation roused from the ends of the earth!
23They are armed with bow and spear, cruel and with no compassion. They sound like the roaring sea— as they ride on horses as men in battle formation, against you, Daughter of Zion!”
24“We have heard of their fame. Our hands hang limp; anguish has gripped us, pain like a woman in labor.
25Don’t go out into the field or walk on the road. Since the enemy has a sword, there’s terror on every side!”
26“Daughter of My people, put on sackcloth and roll in ashes. Mourn as for an only son with bitter lamentation.” “For suddenly the destroyer will come on us!”
27“I have made you a metal-tester among My people—so you may observe and test their way.
28They are all stubborn rebels spreading slander. They are bronze and iron, all of them are corrupt.
29The bellows blow fiercely, blasting away the lead with fire. The refining is completely in vain, for the wicked are not drawn off.
30They are called ‘cast off silver’— for Adonai has cast them off.”