1I wish my head were a well of water,
and my eyes a fountain of tears,
so that I could cry day and night
for my people who have been killed.
2I wish I had a place to stay in the desert
where I could get away from my people.
They are all unfaithful,
a mob of traitors.
3They are always ready to tell lies;
dishonesty instead of truth rules the land.
The LORD says,
“My people do one evil thing after another,
and do not acknowledge me as their God.”
4Everyone must be on guard against his friend,
and no one can trust his brother;
for every brother is as deceitful as Jacob,
and everyone slanders his friends.
5-6They all mislead their friends,
and no one tells the truth;
they have taught their tongues to lie
and will not give up their sinning.
They do one violent thing after another,
and one deceitful act follows another.
The LORD says that his people reject him.
7Because of this the LORD Almighty says,
“I will refine my people like metal
and put them to the test.
My people have done evil —
what else can I do with them?
8Their tongues are like deadly arrows;
they always tell lies.
Everyone speaks friendly words to his neighbour,
but is really setting a trap for him.
9Will I not punish them for these things?
Will I not take revenge on a nation like this?
I, the LORD, have spoken.”
10I said, “I will mourn for the mountains
and weep for the pastures,
because they have dried up,
and no one travels through them.
The sound of livestock is no longer heard;
birds and wild animals have fled and gone.”
11The LORD says, “I will make Jerusalem a pile of ruins,
a place where jackals live;
the cities of Judah will become a desert,
a place where no one lives.”
12I asked, “LORD, why is the land devastated and dry as a desert, so that no one travels through it? Who is wise enough to understand this? To whom have you explained it so that he can tell others?”
13The LORD answered, “This has happened because my people have abandoned the teaching that I gave them. They have not obeyed me or done what I told them. 14Instead, they have been stubborn and have worshipped the idols of Baal as their ancestors taught them to do. 15So then, listen to what I, the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, will do: I will give my people bitter plants to eat and poison to drink. 16I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors have heard about, and I will send armies against them until I have completely destroyed them.”
The People of Jerusalem Cry Out for Help
17The LORD Almighty said,
“Think about what is happening!
Call for the mourners to come,
for the women who sing funeral songs.”
18The people said,
“Tell them to hurry and sing a funeral song for us,
until our eyes fill with tears,
and our eyelids are wet from crying.”
19Listen to the sound of crying in Zion,
“We are ruined!
We are completely disgraced!
We must leave our land;
our homes have been torn down.”
“Listen to the LORD, you women,
and pay attention to his words.
Teach your daughters how to mourn,
and your friends how to sing a funeral song.
21Death has come in through our windows
and entered our palaces;
it has cut down the children in the streets
and the young men in the market places.
22Dead bodies are scattered everywhere,
like piles of manure on the fields,
like corn cut and left behind by the reapers,
corn that no one gathers.
This is what the LORD has told me to say.”
23The LORD says,
“The wise should not boast of their wisdom,
nor the strong of their strength,
nor the rich of their wealth.
24 # 1 Cor 1.31; 2 Cor 10.17 If anyone wants to boast,
he should boast that he knows and understands me,
because my love is constant,
and I do what is just and right.
These are the things that please me.
I, the LORD, have spoken.”
25-26The LORD says, “The time is coming when I will punish the people of Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and the desert people, who have their hair cut short.#9.25–26 hair cut short: The desert people cut their hair short in honour of their god, a pagan practice forbidden to the Israelites (see Lev 19.27). All these people are circumcised, but have not kept the covenant it symbolizes. None of these people and none of the people of Israel have kept my covenant.”