Oh, that my eyes were a fountain of tears; I would weep forever! I would sob day and night for all my people who have been slaughtered.
Oh, that I could go away and forget them and live in a shack in the desert, for they are all adulterous and treacherous.
"My people bend their tongues like bows to shoot lies. They refuse to stand up for the truth. And they only go from bad to worse! They care nothing for me," says the LORD.
"Beware of your neighbor! Beware of your brother! They all take advantage of one another and spread their slanderous lies.
They all fool and defraud each other; no one tells the truth. With practiced tongues they tell lies; they wear themselves out with all their sinning.
They pile lie upon lie and utterly refuse to come to me," says the LORD.
Therefore, the LORD Almighty says, "See, I will melt them in a crucible and test them like metal. What else can I do with them?
For their tongues aim lies like poisoned arrows. They promise peace to their neighbors while planning to kill them.
Should I not punish them for this?" asks the LORD. "Should I not avenge myself against a nation such as this?"
I will weep for the mountains and wail for the desert pastures. For they are desolate and empty of life; the lowing of cattle is heard no more; the birds and wild animals all have fled.
"I will make Jerusalem into a heap of ruins," says the LORD. "It will be a place haunted by jackals. The towns of Judah will be ghost towns, with no one living in them."
Who is wise enough to understand all this? Who has been instructed by the LORD and can explain it to others? Why has the land been ruined so completely that no one even dares to travel through it?
The LORD replies, "This has happened because my people have abandoned the instructions I gave them; they have refused to obey my law.
Instead, they have stubbornly followed their own desires and worshiped the images of Baal, as their ancestors taught them.
So now, listen to what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Look! I will feed them with bitterness and give them poison to drink.
I will scatter them around the world, and they will be strangers in distant lands. Their enemies will chase them with the sword until I have destroyed them completely."
This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Think about what is going on! Call for the mourners to come.
Quick! Begin your weeping! Let the tears flow from your eyes.
Hear the people of Jerusalem a crying in despair, 'We are ruined! Disaster has come upon us! We must leave our land, because our homes have been torn down.'"
Listen, you women, to the words of the LORD; open your ears to what he has to say. Teach your daughters to wail; teach one another how to lament.
For death has crept in through our windows and has entered our mansions. It has killed off the flower of our youth: Children no longer play in the streets, and young men no longer gather in the squares.
And the LORD says, "Bodies will be scattered across the fields like dung, or like bundles of grain after the harvest. No one will be left to bury them."
This is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise man gloat in his wisdom, or the mighty man in his might, or the rich man in his riches.
Let them boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the LORD who is just and righteous, whose love is unfailing, and that I delight in these things. I, the LORD, have spoken!
"A time is coming," says the LORD, "when I will punish all those who are circumcised in body but not in spirit --
the Egyptians, Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites, the people who live in distant places, b and yes, even the people of Judah. Like all these pagan nations, the people of Israel also have uncircumcised hearts."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)