1 If you return, O Israel,” declares#Literally “a declaration of” Yahweh,
“you return to me.
And if you remove your abominations from my presence,#Literally “faces”
and you do not wander,
2and you swear, ‘As Yahweh lives,’#Literally “life of Yahweh”
in truth, in justice, and in righteousness,
then nations will be blessed by him,
and in him they will boast.”
3For thus says Yahweh
to the men#Hebrew “man” of Judah and to Jerusalem,
“Break up for yourselves prepared virgin soil,
and you must not sow among thornbushes.
4Circumcise yourselves to Yahweh,
and remove the foreskins of your hearts,#Hebrew “heart”
men#Hebrew “man” of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,
lest my wrath goes forth like the fire and burns,
and there is no one who extinguishes it,#Here the direct object is supplied from context in the English translation
because of the evil of your deeds.”
An Invasion from the North
5Declare in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem and say,
“Blow a horn through the land,
call with a loud voice#Literally “call fill” and say,
‘Be gathered and let us go into the fortified cities.’
6Lift up a signal toward Zion,
bring yourselves to safety; you must not remain standing,
for I am bringing evil from the north,
and a great destruction.
7A lion has gone up from his thicket,
and a destroyer of nations has set out.
He has gone out from his place to make your land as a horror,
your cities will go to ruin without#Literally “from not” inhabitant.
8Because of this gird yourselves with sackcloth,#Hebrew “sackcloths” lament and wail,
for the burning anger#Literally “the blaze of the nose” of Yahweh has not turned back from us.
9And then on that day,” declares#Literally “a declaration of” Yahweh,
“the heart of the king and the heart of the officials will be destroyed,
and the priests will be appalled,
and the prophets will be astonished.”
10Then I said, “Ah, Lord Yahweh, surely you have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘It will be peace for you,’ while the sword reaches up to the throat.”
11At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem,
“A hot wind from the barren heights#Literally “a wind of shimmering of barren heights” in the desert,#Or “wilderness”
in the direction of#Literally “the way of” the daughter of my people,
not to winnow and not to cleanse,
12a wind too strong for#Literally “a wind strong more than” these will come for me,
now also I speak judgments against them.”
13Look, he comes up like the clouds,
and his chariots are like the whirlwind,
his horses are swifter than eagles,
woe to us, for we are devastated.
14Cleanse your heart from wickedness, O Jerusalem,
so that you may be saved.
How long#Literally “until when” will your thoughts of mischief
dwell in your inner part?
15For a voice is declaring from Dan,
and is proclaiming disaster from the mountain of Ephraim.
16“Report to the nations, ‘Here they are!’
Proclaim against Jerusalem,
‘Besiegers are coming from a distant land,#Literally “from a land the distance place”
and they raise their voice against the cities of Judah.’
17Like watchers of a field they were against her from all around,
because she has rebelled against me,” declares#Literally “a declaration of” Yahweh.
18“You obtained this for yourself
because of your way and your deeds.
This is your doom, for it is bitter,
yes, it has reached up to your heart.”
19My bowels, my bowels! I writhe!
The walls of my heart!
My heart is restless within me, I cannot keep silent,
for I hear in my inner self the sound of a horn, the alarm of war.
20Destruction on destruction is proclaimed,
for all of the land is devastated.
Suddenly my tents are devastated,
my tent curtains in a moment.
21How long must I see the banner,
and hear the sound of a horn?
22“For my people are foolish,
they have not known me.
They are foolish children,
and they do not have insight.
They are skillful at doing evil,
and they do not know how to do good.”
23I looked at the earth, and behold, it was wasteland and emptiness,
and to the heavens, and they were without their light.
24I looked at the mountains, and behold, they were quaking,
and all of the hills were jolted to and fro.
25I looked and behold, there was no person,
and all of the birds#Hebrew “bird” of the sky had fled.
26I looked and behold, the fruitful land was a desert,#Or “wilderness”
and all of its cities were ruined before Yahweh,
before the face of his burning anger.#Literally “the blaze of his nose”
27For thus says Yahweh, “All of the land will be a desolation,
yet I will not make a complete desolation.
28Because of this the earth will mourn,
and the heavens above will become dark.
Because I have spoken, I have planned,
and I have not relented, and I will not turn back from it.”
29From the sound of a horseman and an archer#Literally “one who shoots arrows of a bow” every town flees,
they enter in the thickets and among the rocks they climb.
Every town is forsaken,
and there is no person who lives in them.
30And you, O devastated one, what do you do,
that you put on crimson,
that you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold,
that you make your eyes look bigger with the eye make-up?
In vain you beautify yourself.
Your lovers reject you;
they seek your life.
31For I heard a voice like an ill woman,
anxiety like a woman who bears her first child,
the voice of the daughter of Zion.
She is gasping for breath,
she is spreading out her hands:
“Woe is me, for I am becoming tired#Or “fainting” before killers.”