This is what the LORD says to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem: "Break up your unplowed ground1 and do not sow among thorns.24
Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, circumcise your hearts,3 you men of Judah and people of Jerusalem, or my wrath4 will break out and burn like fire5 because of the evil6 you have done-- burn with no one to quench7 it.
"Announce in Judah and proclaim8 in Jerusalem and say: 'Sound the trumpet9 throughout the land!' Cry aloud and say: 'Gather together! Let us flee to the fortified cities!'106
Raise the signal11 to go to Zion! Flee for safety without delay! For I am bringing disaster12 from the north,13 even terrible destruction."
A lion14 has come out of his lair;15 a destroyer16 of nations has set out. He has left his place to lay waste17 your land. Your towns will lie in ruins18 without inhabitant.
So put on sackcloth,19 lament20 and wail, for the fierce anger21 of the LORD has not turned away from us.
"In that day," declares the LORD, "the king and the officials will lose heart,22 the priests will be horrified, and the prophets will be appalled."2310
Then I said, "Ah, Sovereign LORD, how completely you have deceived24 this people and Jerusalem by saying, 'You will have peace,'25 when the sword is at our throats."
At that time this people and Jerusalem will be told, "A scorching wind26 from the barren heights in the desert blows toward my people, but not to winnow or cleanse;
a wind27 too strong for that comes from me.a Now I pronounce my judgments28 against them."
Look! He advances like the clouds,29 his chariots30 come like a whirlwind,31 his horses32 are swifter than eagles.33 Woe to us! We are ruined!3414
O Jerusalem, wash35 the evil from your heart and be saved.36 How long37 will you harbor wicked thoughts?
A voice is announcing from Dan,38 proclaiming disaster from the hills of Ephraim.3916
"Tell this to the nations, proclaim it to Jerusalem: 'A besieging army is coming from a distant land,40 raising a war cry41 against the cities of Judah.4217
They surround43 her like men guarding a field, because she has rebelled44 against me,' " declares the LORD.
"Your own conduct and actions45 have brought this upon you.46 This is your punishment. How bitter47 it is! How it pierces to the heart!"
Oh, my anguish, my anguish!48 I writhe in pain.49 Oh, the agony of my heart! My heart pounds50 within me, I cannot keep silent.51 For I have heard the sound of the trumpet;52 I have heard the battle cry.5320
Disaster follows disaster;54 the whole land lies in ruins.55 In an instant my tents56 are destroyed, my shelter in a moment.
How long must I see the battle standard57 and hear the sound of the trumpet?5822
"My people are fools;59 they do not know me.60 They are senseless children; they have no understanding.61 They are skilled in doing evil;62 they know not how to do good."6323
I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty;64 and at the heavens, and their light65 was gone.
I looked at the mountains, and they were quaking;66 all the hills were swaying.
I looked, and there were no people; every bird in the sky had flown away.6726
I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert;68 all its towns lay in ruins69 before the LORD, before his fierce anger.7027
This is what the LORD says: "The whole land will be ruined,71 though I will not destroy72 it completely.
Therefore the earth will mourn73 and the heavens above grow dark,74 because I have spoken and will not relent,75 I have decided and will not turn back.76"
At the sound of horsemen and archers77 every town takes to flight.78 Some go into the thickets; some climb up among the rocks.79 All the towns are deserted;80 no one lives in them.
What are you doing,81 O devastated one? Why dress yourself in scarlet and put on jewels82 of gold? Why shade your eyes with paint?83 You adorn yourself in vain. Your lovers84 despise you; they seek your life.8531
I hear a cry as of a woman in labor,86 a groan as of one bearing her first child-- the cry of the Daughter of Zion87 gasping for breath,88 stretching out her hands89 and saying, "Alas! I am fainting; my life is given over to murderers."90