Jeremiah 6 (Common English Bible)

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Prepare for war

1 Escape, people of Benjamin, get out of Jerusalem! Blow the trumpet in Tekoa, sound the alarm in Beth-haccherem; for disaster looms from the north, massive devastation. 2 You are like a lovely pasture, Daughter Zion.a 3 Shepherds 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. 5 Get ready, let's attack by night and destroy her fortresses!" 6 The LORD of heavenly forces proclaims: Cut down her trees, and build siege ramps against Jerusalem. This city must be held accountable,b for there's nothing but oppression in her midst. 7 As a well brings forth fresh water, she brings forth evil. Violence and destruction are heard within her; injury and wounds are ever before me. 8 Hear me out,c Jerusalem, or else I'll turn away from you and reduce you to ruins, a land unfit to live in.

Unresponsive people

9 This 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! 10 To whom can I speak and warn? How can I get someone's attention? Their ears are shut tight,d so they won't hear. They are ashamed of the LORD's word and take no pleasure in it. 11 But 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. 12 Their 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. 13 From the least to the greatest, each is eager to profit; from prophet to priest, each trades in dishonesty. 14 They 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. 15 They 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. 16 The 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 youe said, "We won't go!" 17 Still, I have appointed watchmen to warn you. But youf said, "We won't listen!" 18 Therefore, pay attention, nations; take notice, assembly, what is ahead of them.g 19 Pay 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. 20 What 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. 21 Therefore, 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.

Panic-stricken Zion

22 The LORD proclaims: An army is on the move from the northern regions; a great nation is roused from the ends of the earth. 23 Equipped 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. 24 We have heard reports of them and are panic-stricken; distress overwhelms us, pain like that of a woman in labor. 25 Don't go out into the field! Don't walk on the road! The enemies' sword terrorizes at every turn. 26 My people, 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

27 I have made you a tester of metals, to examine my peopleh to know and prove their ways. 28 They are tini and iron; they are headstrong and rebellious. They live to slander. They act corruptly—every last one! 29 The bellows roar; the lead is consumed.j Yet the refining fails; the impuritiesk remain. 30 They are called "rejected silver," for the LORD has rejected them.
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