Judah Threatened with Invasion

1 "If you will 1return, O Israel," declares the LORD, "Then you should return to Me. And 2if you will put away your detested things from My presence, And will not waver,
2 And you will 3swear, 'As the LORD lives,' 4In truth, in justice and in righteousness; Then the 5nations will bless themselves in Him, And 6in Him they will glory."
3 For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, "7Break up your fallow ground, And 8do not sow among thorns.
4 "9Circumcise yourselves to the LORD And remove the foreskins of your heart, Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Or else My 10wrath will go forth like fire And burn with 11none to quench it, Because * of the evil of your deeds."
5 Declare in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say, "12Blow the trumpet in the land; Cry aloud and say, '13Assemble yourselves, and let us go Into the fortified cities.'
6 "Lift up a 14standard toward Zion! Seek refuge, do not stand still, For I am bringing 15evil from the north, And great destruction.
7 "A 16lion has gone up from his thicket, And a 17destroyer of nations has set out; He has gone out from his place To 18make your land a waste. Your cities will be ruins Without inhabitant.
8 "For this, 19put on sackcloth, Lament and wail; For the 20fierce anger of the LORD Has not turned back from us."
9 "It shall come about in that day," declares the LORD, "that the 21heart of the king and the heart of the princes will fail; and the priests will be appalled and the 22prophets will be astounded."
10 Then I said, "Ah, Lord GOD! Surely You have utterly 23deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, '24You will have peace '; whereas a sword touches the throat."
11 In that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, "A 25scorching wind from the bare heights in the wilderness in the direction of the daughter of My people -not to winnow and not to cleanse,
12 a wind too strong for this -will come at My command; now I will also pronounce judgments against them.
13 "Behold, he 26goes up like clouds, And his 27chariots like the whirlwind; His horses are 28swifter than eagles. Woe to us, for 29we are ruined!"
14 Wash your heart from evil, O Jerusalem, That you may be saved. How long * will your 30wicked thoughts Lodge within you?
15 For a voice declares from 31Dan, And proclaims wickedness from Mount Ephraim.
17 'Like watchmen of a field they are 34against her round about, Because she has 35rebelled against Me,' declares the LORD.
18 "Your 36ways and your deeds Have brought these things to you. This is your evil. How 37bitter! How it has touched your heart!"

Lament over Judah's Devastation

19 38My soul, my soul! I am in anguish! Oh, my heart! My 39heart is pounding in me; I cannot be silent, Because you have heard, O my soul, The 40sound of the trumpet, The alarm of war.
21 How long * must I see the standard And hear the sound of the trumpet?
22 "44For My people are foolish, They know Me not; They are stupid children And have no understanding. They are shrewd to 45do evil, But to do good they do not know."
23 I looked on the earth, and behold, it was 46formless and void; And to the heavens, and they had no light.
24 I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were 47quaking, And all the hills moved to and fro.
25 I looked, and behold, there was no man, And all the 48birds of the heavens had fled.
26 I looked, and behold, the 49fruitful land was a wilderness, And all its cities were pulled down Before * the LORD, before * His fierce anger.
27 For thus says the LORD, "The 50whole land shall be a desolation, Yet I will 51not execute a complete destruction.
28 "For this the 52earth shall mourn And the 53heavens above * be dark, Because * I have 54spoken, I have purposed, And I will not change My mind, nor will I turn from it."
29 At the sound of the horseman and bowman * 55every city flees; They 56go into the thickets and climb among the rocks; 57Every city is forsaken, And no man dwells in them.
30 And you, O desolate one, 58what will you do? Although you dress in scarlet, Although you decorate yourself with ornaments of gold, Although you 59enlarge your eyes with paint, In vain you make yourself beautiful. Your 60lovers despise you; They seek your life.
31 For I heard a cry as of a woman in labor, The anguish as of one giving birth to her first child, The cry of the daughter of Zion 61gasping for breath, 62Stretching out her hands, saying, "Ah, woe is me, for I faint before murderers."