Flee for safety, O children of Benjamin, from the midst of Jerusalem! Blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and raise a signal on Beth-haccherem; for evil looms out of the north, and great destruction.
I have likened daughter Zion to the loveliest pasture. a3
Shepherds with their flocks shall come against her. They shall pitch their tents around her; they shall pasture, all in their places.
"Prepare war against her; up, and let us attack at noon!" "Woe to us, for the day declines, the shadows of evening lengthen!"
"Up, and let us attack by night, and destroy her palaces!"
For thus says the Lord of hosts: Cut down her trees; cast up a siege ramp against Jerusalem. This is the city that must be punished; b there is nothing but oppression within her.
As a well keeps its water fresh, so she keeps fresh her wickedness; violence and destruction are heard within her; sickness and wounds are ever before me.
Take warning, O Jerusalem, or I shall turn from you in disgust, and make you a desolation, an uninhabited land.
Thus says the Lord of hosts: Glean c thoroughly as a vine the remnant of Israel; like a grape-gatherer, pass your hand again over its branches.
To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? See, their ears are closed, d they cannot listen. The word of the Lord is to them an object of scorn; they take no pleasure in it.
But I am full of the wrath of the Lord; I am weary of holding it in. Pour it out on the children in the street, and on the gatherings of young men as well; both husband and wife shall be taken, the old folk and the very aged.
Their houses shall be turned over to others, their fields and wives together; for I will stretch out my hand against the inhabitants of the land, says the Lord.
For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely.
They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying, "Peace, peace," when there is no peace.
They acted shamefully, they committed abomination; yet they were not ashamed, they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown, says the Lord.
Thus says the Lord: Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, "We will not walk in it."
Also I raised up sentinels for you: "Give heed to the sound of the trumpet!" But they said, "We will not give heed."
Therefore hear, O nations, and know, O congregation, what will happen to them.
Hear, O earth; I am going to bring disaster on this people, the fruit of their schemes, because they have not given heed to my words; and as for my teaching, they have rejected it.
Of what use to me is frankincense that comes from Sheba, or sweet cane from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor are your sacrifices pleasing to me.
Therefore thus says the Lord: See, I am laying before this people stumbling blocks against which they shall stumble; parents and children together, neighbor and friend shall perish.
Thus says the Lord: See, a people is coming from the land of the north, a great nation is stirring from the farthest parts of the earth.
They grasp the bow and the javelin, they are cruel and have no mercy, their sound is like the roaring sea; they ride on horses, equipped like a warrior for battle, against you, O daughter Zion!
"We have heard news of them, our hands fall helpless; anguish has taken hold of us, pain as of a woman in labor.
Do not go out into the field, or walk on the road; for the enemy has a sword, terror is on every side."
O my poor people, put on sackcloth, and roll in ashes; make mourning as for an only child, most bitter lamentation: for suddenly the destroyer will come upon us.
I have made you a tester and a refiner e among my people so that you may know and test their ways.
They are all stubbornly rebellious, going about with slanders; they are bronze and iron, all of them act corruptly.
The bellows blow fiercely, the lead is consumed by the fire; in vain the refining goes on, for the wicked are not removed.
They are called "rejected silver," for the Lord has rejected them.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (New Revised Standard Bible Version Online)