They all deceive their neighbors, and no one speaks the truth; they have taught their tongues to speak lies; they commit iniquity and are too weary to repent. a6
Oppression upon oppression, deceit b upon deceit! They refuse to know me, says the Lord.
Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: I will now refine and test them, for what else can I do with my sinful people? c8
Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks deceit through the mouth. They all speak friendly words to their neighbors, but inwardly are planning to lay an ambush.
Shall I not punish them for these things? says the Lord; and shall I not bring retribution on a nation such as this?
Take up d weeping and wailing for the mountains, and a lamentation for the pastures of the wilderness, because they are laid waste so that no one passes through, and the lowing of cattle is not heard; both the birds of the air and the animals have fled and are gone.
I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins, a lair of jackals; and I will make the towns of Judah a desolation, without inhabitant.
Who is wise enough to understand this? To whom has the mouth of the Lord spoken, so that they may declare it? Why is the land ruined and laid waste like a wilderness, so that no one passes through?
And the Lord says: Because they have forsaken my law that I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, or walked in accordance with it,
but have stubbornly followed their own hearts and have gone after the Baals, as their ancestors taught them.
Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I am feeding this people with wormwood, and giving them poisonous water to drink.
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)