1 RUN TO and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now and take notice! Seek in her broad squares to see if you can find a man [as Abraham sought in Sodom], one who does justice, who seeks truth, sincerity, and faithfulness; and I will pardon [Jerusalem–for one uncompromisingly righteous person]. [Gen. 18:22-32.]
2 And though they say, As the Lord lives, surely they swear falsely.
3 O Lord, do not your eyes look on the truth? [They have meant to please You outwardly, but You look on their hearts.] You have stricken them, but they have not grieved; You have consumed them, but they have refused to take correction or instruction. They have made their faces harder than a rock, they have refused to repent and return to You.
4 Then I said, Surely these are only the poor; they are [sinfully] foolish and have no understanding, for they know not the way of the Lord, the judgment (the just and righteous law) of their God.
5 I will go to the great men and will speak to them, for they must know the way of the Lord, the judgment (the just and righteous law) of their God. But [I found the very reverse to be true] these had all alike broken the yoke [of God's law] and had burst the bonds [of obedience to Him].
6 Therefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them, a wolf of the desert shall destroy them, a leopard or panther shall lie in wait against their cities. Everyone who goes out of them shall be torn in pieces, because their transgressions are many, their backslidings and total desertion of faith are increased and have become great and mighty.
7 Why should I and how can I pass over this and forgive you for it? Your children have forsaken Me and sworn by those that are no gods. When I had fed them to the full and bound them to Me by oath, they committed [spiritual] adultery, assembling themselves in troops at the houses of [idol] harlots.
8 They were like fed stallions roaming at large; each one neighed after his neighbor's wife.
9 Shall I not punish them for these things? says the Lord; and shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?
10 Go up within [Jerusalem's] walls and destroy [her vines], but do not make a full and complete end. Trim away the tendrils [of her vines], for they are not the Lord's.
11 For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very faithlessly and treacherously against Me, says the Lord.
12 They have lied about and denied the Lord by saying, It is not He [Who speaks through His prophets]! Evil shall not come upon us; nor shall we see war or famine.
13 And [say they] the prophets will become wind [what they prophesy will not come to pass], and the word [of God] is not in them. Thus shall it be done to them [as they threatened would be done to us].
14 Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts: Because you [the people] have spoken this word, behold, I will make My words fire in your mouth [Jeremiah] and this people wood, and it will devour them.
15 Behold, I am bringing a nation upon you from afar, O house of Israel, says the Lord. It is a mighty and enduring nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language you do not know, nor can you understand what they say.
16 Their quiver is [filled with deadly missiles] like an open sepulcher [filled with dead bodies; the foes] are all mighty men (heroes).
17 They shall consume your harvest and your food; they shall consume your sons and your daughters; they shall consume your flocks and your herds; they shall consume your vines and your fig trees. They shall break down and impoverish your fortified cities in which you trust, with the sword [they shall destroy them].
18 But even in those days, says the Lord, I will not make a full and complete end of you.
19 And when your people say, Why has the Lord our God done all these things to us? then you shall answer them, As you have forsaken Me, says the Lord, and have served strange gods in your land, so shall you serve strangers (gods) in a land that is not yours.
20 Declare this in the house of Jacob and publish it in Judah:
21 Hear now this, O foolish people without understanding or heart, who have eyes and see not, who have ears and hear not: [Isa. 6:9, 10; Matt. 13:10-15; Mark 8:17, 18.]
22 Do you not fear and reverence Me? says the Lord. Do you not tremble before Me? I placed the sand for the boundary of the sea, a perpetual barrier beyond which it cannot pass and by an everlasting ordinance beyond which it cannot go? And though the waves of the sea toss and shake themselves, yet they cannot prevail [against the feeble grains of sand which God has ordained by nature to be sufficient for His purpose]; though [the billows] roar, yet they cannot pass over that [barrier]. [Is not such a God to be reverently feared and worshiped?]
23 But these people have hearts that draw back from God and wills that rebel against Him; they have revolted and quit His service and have gone away [into idolatry].
24 Nor do they say in their hearts, Let us now reverently fear and worship the Lord our God, Who gives rain, both the autumn and the spring rain in its season, Who reserves and keeps for us the appointed weeks of the harvest.
25 Your iniquities have turned these blessings away, and your sins have kept good [harvests] from you.
26 For among My people are found wicked men; they watch like fowlers who lie in wait; they set a trap, they catch men.
27 As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit and treachery; therefore they have become great and grown rich,
28 They have grown fat and sleek. Yes, they surpass in deeds of wickedness; they do not judge and plead with justice the cause of the fatherless, that they may prosper, and they do not defend the rights of the needy.
29 Shall I not punish them for these things? says the Lord. Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?
30 An appalling and horrible thing [bringing desolation and destruction] has come to pass in the land:
31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests exercise rule at their own hands and by means of the prophets. And My people love to have it so! But what will you do when the end comes?