Futile search for a good person
1Search every street in Jerusalem,
comb the squares,
look far and wide
for one person,
even one who acts justly
and seeks truth that I may pardon her!
2Even when making a pledge—"As the Lord lives"—
they swear falsely.
3Lord, don’t you look for integrity?
You have struck them down,
but they didn’t even cringe.
You have crushed them,
but they have ignored your discipline.
They make their faces harder than rock
and refuse to return.
4Then I thought to myself,
These are the poor who don’t know better!
They don’t understand the Lord’s way
or the justice of their God.
5Let me go and speak to the powerful people,
for they will surely know the Lord’s way
and the justice of their God.
But they too have broken their yoke
and shattered the chains.
6Therefore, a lion from the forest will attack them;
a wolf from the desert will destroy them;
a leopard prowling around their towns
will tear to pieces anyone venturing out—
because of their many crimes
and countless acts of unfaithfulness.
7How can I pardon you?
Your children have forsaken me
and swear by gods that are not gods.
Although I could have satisfied them,
they committed adultery,
dashing off to the prostitution house.
8They are lusty stallions roving about,
snorting for another’s wife.
9The Lord declares:
Shouldn’t I confront these acts?
Shouldn’t I take revenge on such a nation?
Contempt for God
10Climb through her vineyards and ravage them,
although not completely.
Prune back her branches,
because they aren’t the Lord’s.
11The people of Israel and Judah
have been utterly faithless to me,
declares the Lord.
12They have lied about the Lord
and said, "He’ll do nothing!#Or not he
Disaster won’t come upon us;
we won’t see war or famine."
13The prophets are so much wind;
the word isn’t in them.
Thus and so may it be done to them.
14Therefore, the Lord God of heavenly forces proclaims:
Because you have spoken this way,
I will put my words
in your mouth as a fire;
it will consume the people,
who are but kindling.
15I am about to bring a distant nation against you,
people of Israel,
declares the Lord.
It is an established nation,
an ancient nation,
a nation whose language you don’t know,
whose speech you won’t understand.
16Its weapons are deadly;#Or Its quiver is like an open grave
its warriors are many.
17It will devour your harvest and food;
it will devour your sons and daughters;
it will devour your flocks and herds;
it will devour your vines and fig trees;
it will shatter your fortified towns in which you trust—
with the sword!
18Yet even in those days, declares the Lord, I won’t completely destroy you. 19And when they ask, "Why has the Lord our God done all these things to us?" you must reply, "Just as you have abandoned me and served foreign gods in your land, so you will serve strangers in a land not your own."
Shouldn’t you fear me?
20Declare this to the people of Jacob,
announce it in Judah:
21Listen, you foolish and senseless people,
who have eyes but don’t see
and ears but don’t hear.
22Shouldn’t you fear me,
declares the Lord,
and tremble before me,
the one who set the shoreline for the sea,
an ancient boundary that it can’t pass?
Though its waves may rise and roar,
they can’t pass the limits I have set.
23And yet the people have stubborn and rebellious hearts;
they turn and go their own way.
24They don’t say in their hearts,
Let’s fear the Lord our God,
who provides rain in autumn and spring
and who assures us of a harvest in its season.
25Your wrongdoing has turned these blessings#Heb lacks blessings. away.
Your sin has robbed you of good.
26Criminals are found among my people;
they set traps to catch people,
like hunters lying in wait.#Heb uncertain
27Like a cage full of birds,
so their houses are full of loot.
No wonder they are rich and powerful
28and have grown fat and sleek!
To be sure, their evil deeds exceed all limits,
and yet they prosper.
They are indifferent to the plight of the orphan,
reluctant to defend the rights of the poor.
29Shouldn’t I punish such acts?
declares the Lord.
Shouldn’t I repay that nation for its deeds?
30An awful, a terrible thing
has happened in the land:
31The prophets prophesy falsely,
the priests rule at their sides,#Or by their hands
and my people love it this way!
But what will you do when the end comes?
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