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Jerusalem’s Last Warning

“Run for your lives, you people of Benjamin!
    Get out of Jerusalem!
Sound the alarm in Tekoa!
    Send up a signal at Beth-hakkerem!
A powerful army is coming from the north,
    coming with disaster and destruction.
O Jerusalem,[a] you are my beautiful and delicate daughter—
    but I will destroy you!
Enemies will surround you, like shepherds camped around the city.
    Each chooses a place for his troops to devour.
They shout, ‘Prepare for battle!
    Attack at noon!’
‘No, it’s too late; the day is fading,
    and the evening shadows are falling.’
‘Well then, let’s attack at night
    and destroy her palaces!’”

This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
“Cut down the trees for battering rams.
    Build siege ramps against the walls of Jerusalem.
This is the city to be punished,
    for she is wicked through and through.
She spouts evil like a fountain.
    Her streets echo with the sounds of violence and destruction.
    I always see her sickness and sores.
Listen to this warning, Jerusalem,
    or I will turn from you in disgust.
Listen, or I will turn you into a heap of ruins,
    a land where no one lives.”

This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
“Even the few who remain in Israel
    will be picked over again,
as when a harvester checks each vine a second time
    to pick the grapes that were missed.”

Judah’s Constant Rebellion

10 To whom can I give warning?
    Who will listen when I speak?
Their ears are closed,
    and they cannot hear.
They scorn the word of the Lord.
    They don’t want to listen at all.
11 So now I am filled with the Lord’s fury.
    Yes, I am tired of holding it in!

“I will pour out my fury on children playing in the streets
    and on gatherings of young men,
on husbands and wives
    and on those who are old and gray.
12 Their homes will be turned over to their enemies,
    as will their fields and their wives.
For I will raise my powerful fist
    against the people of this land,”
    says the Lord.
13 “From the least to the greatest,
    their lives are ruled by greed.
From prophets to priests,
    they are all frauds.
14 They offer superficial treatments
    for my people’s mortal wound.
They give assurances of peace
    when there is no peace.
15 Are they ashamed of their disgusting actions?
    Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush!
Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered.
    They will be brought down when I punish them,”
    says the Lord.

Judah Rejects the Lord’s Way

16 This is what the Lord says:
“Stop at the crossroads and look around.
    Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it.
Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.
    But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’
17 I posted watchmen over you who said,
    ‘Listen for the sound of the alarm.’
But you replied,
    ‘No! We won’t pay attention!’

18 “Therefore, listen to this, all you nations.
    Take note of my people’s situation.
19 Listen, all the earth!
    I will bring disaster on my people.
It is the fruit of their own schemes,
    because they refuse to listen to me.
    They have rejected my word.
20 There’s no use offering me sweet frankincense from Sheba.
    Keep your fragrant calamus imported from distant lands!
I will not accept your burnt offerings.
    Your sacrifices have no pleasing aroma for me.”

21 Therefore, this is what the Lord says:
    “I will put obstacles in my people’s path.
Fathers and sons will both fall over them.
    Neighbors and friends will die together.”

An Invasion from the North

22 This is what the Lord says:
“Look! A great army coming from the north!
    A great nation is rising against you from far-off lands.
23 They are armed with bows and spears.
    They are cruel and show no mercy.
They sound like a roaring sea
    as they ride forward on horses.
They are coming in battle formation,
    planning to destroy you, beautiful Jerusalem.[b]

24 We have heard reports about the enemy,
    and we wring our hands in fright.
Pangs of anguish have gripped us,
    like those of a woman in labor.
25 Don’t go out to the fields!
    Don’t travel on the roads!
The enemy’s sword is everywhere
    and terrorizes us at every turn!
26 Oh, my people, dress yourselves in burlap
    and sit among the ashes.
Mourn and weep bitterly, as for the loss of an only son.
    For suddenly the destroying armies will be upon you!

27 “Jeremiah, I have made you a tester of metals,[c]
    that you may determine the quality of my people.
28 They are the worst kind of rebel,
    full of slander.
They are as hard as bronze and iron,
    and they lead others into corruption.
29 The bellows fiercely fan the flames
    to burn out the corruption.
But it does not purify them,
    for the wickedness remains.
30 I will label them ‘Rejected Silver,’
    for I, the Lord, am discarding them.”

Footnotes

  1. 6:2 Hebrew Daughter of Zion.
  2. 6:23 Hebrew daughter of Zion.
  3. 6:27 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads a tester of my people a fortress.

Jerusalem Under Siege

“Flee for safety, people of Benjamin!
    Flee from Jerusalem!
Sound the trumpet(A) in Tekoa!(B)
    Raise the signal over Beth Hakkerem!(C)
For disaster looms out of the north,(D)
    even terrible destruction.
I will destroy Daughter Zion,(E)
    so beautiful and delicate.(F)
Shepherds(G) with their flocks will come against her;
    they will pitch their tents around(H) her,
    each tending his own portion.”

“Prepare for battle against her!
    Arise, let us attack at noon!(I)
But, alas, the daylight is fading,
    and the shadows of evening grow long.
So arise, let us attack at night
    and destroy her fortresses!”

This is what the Lord Almighty says:

“Cut down the trees(J)
    and build siege ramps(K) against Jerusalem.
This city must be punished;
    it is filled with oppression.(L)
As a well pours out its water,
    so she pours out her wickedness.
Violence(M) and destruction(N) resound in her;
    her sickness and wounds are ever before me.
Take warning, Jerusalem,
    or I will turn away(O) from you
and make your land desolate
    so no one can live in it.”

This is what the Lord Almighty says:

“Let them glean the remnant(P) of Israel
    as thoroughly as a vine;
pass your hand over the branches again,
    like one gathering grapes.”

10 To whom can I speak and give warning?
    Who will listen(Q) to me?
Their ears are closed[a](R)
    so they cannot hear.(S)
The word(T) of the Lord is offensive to them;
    they find no pleasure in it.
11 But I am full of the wrath(U) of the Lord,
    and I cannot hold it in.(V)

“Pour it out on the children in the street
    and on the young men(W) gathered together;
both husband and wife will be caught in it,
    and the old, those weighed down with years.(X)
12 Their houses will be turned over to others,(Y)
    together with their fields and their wives,(Z)
when I stretch out my hand(AA)
    against those who live in the land,”
declares the Lord.
13 “From the least to the greatest,
    all(AB) are greedy for gain;(AC)
prophets and priests alike,
    all practice deceit.(AD)
14 They dress the wound of my people
    as though it were not serious.
‘Peace, peace,’ they say,
    when there is no peace.(AE)
15 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?
    No, they have no shame at all;
    they do not even know how to blush.(AF)
So they will fall among the fallen;
    they will be brought down when I punish(AG) them,”
says the Lord.

16 This is what the Lord says:

“Stand at the crossroads and look;
    ask for the ancient paths,(AH)
ask where the good way(AI) is, and walk in it,
    and you will find rest(AJ) for your souls.
    But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
17 I appointed watchmen(AK) over you and said,
    ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’(AL)
    But you said, ‘We will not listen.’(AM)
18 Therefore hear, you nations;
    you who are witnesses,
    observe what will happen to them.
19 Hear, you earth:(AN)
    I am bringing disaster(AO) on this people,
    the fruit of their schemes,(AP)
because they have not listened to my words(AQ)
    and have rejected my law.(AR)
20 What do I care about incense from Sheba(AS)
    or sweet calamus(AT) from a distant land?
Your burnt offerings are not acceptable;(AU)
    your sacrifices(AV) do not please me.”(AW)

21 Therefore this is what the Lord says:

“I will put obstacles before this people.
    Parents and children alike will stumble(AX) over them;
    neighbors and friends will perish.”

22 This is what the Lord says:

“Look, an army is coming
    from the land of the north;(AY)
a great nation is being stirred up
    from the ends of the earth.(AZ)
23 They are armed with bow and spear;
    they are cruel and show no mercy.(BA)
They sound like the roaring sea(BB)
    as they ride on their horses;(BC)
they come like men in battle formation
    to attack you, Daughter Zion.(BD)

24 We have heard reports about them,
    and our hands hang limp.(BE)
Anguish(BF) has gripped us,
    pain like that of a woman in labor.(BG)
25 Do not go out to the fields
    or walk on the roads,
for the enemy has a sword,
    and there is terror on every side.(BH)
26 Put on sackcloth,(BI) my people,
    and roll in ashes;(BJ)
mourn with bitter wailing(BK)
    as for an only son,(BL)
for suddenly the destroyer(BM)
    will come upon us.

27 “I have made you a tester(BN) of metals
    and my people the ore,
that you may observe
    and test their ways.
28 They are all hardened rebels,(BO)
    going about to slander.(BP)
They are bronze and iron;(BQ)
    they all act corruptly.
29 The bellows blow fiercely
    to burn away the lead with fire,
but the refining(BR) goes on in vain;
    the wicked are not purged out.
30 They are called rejected silver,(BS)
    because the Lord has rejected them.”(BT)

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 6:10 Hebrew uncircumcised

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