Prepare for war
1Escape, people of Benjamin,
get out of Jerusalem!
Blow the trumpet in Tekoa,
sound the alarm in Beth-haccherem;
for disaster looms from the north,
2You are like a lovely pasture, Daughter Zion.#Heb uncertain
3Shepherds come to her with their flocks.
They pitch their tents around her
and graze in their place.
4"Prepare for battle against her;
get ready; let’s attack by noon!
Oh, no! Daylight is fading,
and the evening shadows lengthen.
5Get ready, let’s attack by night
and destroy her fortresses!"
6The Lord of heavenly forces proclaims:
Cut down her trees,
and build siege ramps against Jerusalem.
This city must be held accountable,#Heb uncertain
for there’s nothing but oppression in her midst.
7As a well brings forth fresh water,
she brings forth evil.
Violence and destruction are heard within her;
injury and wounds are ever before me.
8Hear me out,#Or Accept correction Jerusalem,
or else I’ll turn away from you
and reduce you to ruins,
a land unfit to live in.
9This is what the Lord of heavenly forces says:
From top to bottom, let them harvest
the remaining few in Israel.
Pick clean every
last grape on the vine!
10To whom can I speak and warn?
How can I get someone’s attention?
Their ears are shut tight,#Or uncircumcised
so they won’t hear.
They are ashamed of the Lord’s word
and take no pleasure in it.
11But I’m filled with the Lord’s rage
and am tired of holding it in.
Pour it out on the children in the streets
and on the youths gathered together;
husband with wife will be trapped,
as will those old and gray.
12Their homes will be turned over to others,
their fields and wives as well.
I will stretch out my hand
against the people of this land,
declares the Lord.
13From the least to the greatest,
each is eager to profit;
from prophet to priest,
each trades in dishonesty.
14They treat the wound of my people
as if it were nothing:
"All is well, all is well," they insist,
when in fact nothing is well.
15They should be ashamed
of their detestable practices,
but they have no shame;
they don’t even blush!
Therefore, they will fall among the fallen
and stumble when I bring disaster,
declares the Lord.
16The Lord proclaims:
Stop at the crossroads and look around;
ask for the ancient paths.
Where is the good way?
Then walk in it
and find a resting place for yourselves.
But you#Or they said, "We won’t go!"
17Still, I have appointed watchmen to warn you.
But you#Or they said, "We won’t listen!"
18Therefore, pay attention, nations;
take notice, assembly,
what is ahead of them.#Heb uncertain
19Pay attention, earth:
I’m bringing disaster upon my people,
the fruit of their own devices,
because they have ignored my words
and they have rejected my teaching.
20What use to me is incense from Sheba
or sweet cane from a faraway land?
Your entirely burned offerings won’t buy your pardon;
your sacrifices won’t appease me.
21Therefore, the Lord proclaims:
I’m putting obstacles before this people,
and both parents and children will stumble over them;
neighbor and friend alike will perish.
22The Lord proclaims:
An army is on the move
from the northern regions;
a great nation is roused
from the ends of the earth.
23Equipped with bow and spear,
they are cruel;
they show no mercy.
Their horsemen sound
like the roaring sea,
arrayed in battle formation
against you, Daughter Zion.
24We have heard reports of them
and are panic-stricken;
distress overwhelms us,
pain like that of a woman in labor.
25Don’t go out into the field!
Don’t walk on the road!
The enemies’ sword
terrorizes at every turn.
put on funeral clothes and roll in ashes;
weep and wail as for an only child,
because the destroyer will suddenly descend upon us.
Prophet as tester
27I have made you a tester of metals,
to examine my people#Heb uncertain
to know and prove their ways.
28They are tin#Or bronze and iron;
they are headstrong and rebellious.
They live to slander.
They act corruptly—every last one!
29The bellows roar;
the lead is consumed.#Heb uncertain
Yet the refining fails;
the impurities#Or wicked remain.
30They are called "rejected silver,"
for the Lord has rejected them.