Lamenting Jerusalem’s dire circumstances
1The Lord said to me: Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me, I wouldn’t change my mind about these people. Send them away from me. Let them go! 2And if they say, "Go where?" tell them, This is what the Lord proclaims:
Those marked for death—to death,
those marked for war—to war,
those marked for famine—to famine, and those marked for exile—to exile.
3I will appoint over them four agents#Or families of death, declares the Lord: soldiers to kill, dogs to drag off, and vultures and wild animals to devour and destroy. 4Because of what Judah’s King Manasseh, Hezekiah’s son, has done in Jerusalem, I will make them an object of horror to all nations on earth.
5Who will pity you, Jerusalem?
Who will shed tears over you?
Who will stop and ask how you’re doing?
6You have deserted me,
declares the Lord.
You have turned your back on me.
So I will turn my hand against you
and destroy you.
I’m tired of holding back.
7I will winnow them with a winnowing fork
at the gates of their country.
I will bereave and destroy my people
because they haven’t changed their ways.
8Their widows will outnumber
the sand on the shore.
I will bring a destroyer in broad daylight
against the mothers of young men.#Heb uncertain
Suddenly I will bring distress
and terror upon them.
9The mother of seven
will grow weak and gasp for air;
her sun will set while it is yet day;
she will be ashamed and disgraced.
I will deliver the survivors to the sword,
to the power of their enemies,
declares the Lord.
10I wish I had never been born! I have become a source of conflict and dissension in my own country. Even though I haven’t lent or borrowed, still everyone curses me.
11The Lord said:
Haven’t I taken care of you?
Haven’t I helped you with your enemies
in time of trouble and distress?#Heb uncertain
12Can a person shatter iron,
iron from the north, or bronze?
13Your wealth and belongings
I will deliver as plunder,
without a fee,
because of all your sins
throughout your territory.
14I will make you serve your enemies
in a land you don’t know,
for my anger blazes like a fire
that won’t go out.
15You understand, Lord!
Remember me and act on my behalf.
Bring judgment on those who torment me.
In your mercy, spare my life.#Heb uncertain
Consider how I’m insulted on your account.
16When your words turned up, I feasted on them;
and they became my joy, the delight of my heart,
because I belong to you,
Lord God of heavenly forces.
17I didn’t join the festive occasions;
I took no delight in them.
I sat alone
because your hand was upon me
and you had filled me with curses.
18Why am I always in pain?
Why is my wound incurable,
so far beyond healing?
You have become for me as unreliable
as a spring gone dry!
19Therefore, the Lord proclaims:
If you return to me, I will take you back
and let you stand before me.
If you utter what is worthwhile,
not what is worthless,
you will be my spokesman.
They will turn to you,
not you to them!
20I will make you a sturdy bronze wall
against these people.
They will attack you,
but they won’t triumph,
because I am with you
to protect and rescue you,
declares the Lord.
21I will rescue you from the hand of the wicked;
I will redeem you from the grasp of the violent.
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