1 "Flee for safety, people of Benjamin! ¶ Flee from Jerusalem! ¶ Sound the trumpet in Tekoa! ¶ Raise the signal over Beth Hakkerem! ¶ For disaster looms out of the north, ¶ even terrible destruction.
2 I will destroy Daughter Zion, so beautiful and delicate.
3 Shepherds with their flocks will come against her; they will pitch their tents around her, ¶ each tending his own portion."
4 "Prepare for battle against her! ¶ Arise, let us attack at noon! ¶ But, alas, the daylight is fading, ¶ and the shadows of evening grow long.
5 So arise, let us attack at night and destroy her fortresses!"
6 This is what the LORD Almighty says: ¶ "Cut down the trees ¶ and build siege ramps against Jerusalem. ¶ This city must be punished; ¶ it is filled with oppression.
7 As a well pours out its water, so she pours out her wickedness. ¶ Violence and destruction resound in her; ¶ her sickness and wounds are ever before me.
8 Take warning, Jerusalem, or I will turn away from you ¶ and make your land desolate ¶ so no one can live in it."
9 This is what the LORD Almighty says: ¶ "Let them glean the remnant of Israel ¶ as thoroughly as a vine; ¶ pass your hand over the branches again, ¶ like one gathering grapes."
10 To whom can I speak and give warning? ¶ Who will listen to me? ¶ Their ears are closed [^1] so they cannot hear. ¶ The word of the LORD is offensive to them; ¶ they find no pleasure in it.
11 But I am full of the wrath of the LORD, and I cannot hold it in. ¶ "Pour it out on the children in the street ¶ and on the young men gathered together; ¶ both husband and wife will be caught in it, ¶ and the old, those weighed down with years.
12 Their houses will be turned over to others, together with their fields and their wives, ¶ when I stretch out my hand ¶ against those who live in the land," ¶ declares the LORD.
13 "From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; ¶ prophets and priests alike, ¶ all practice deceit.
14 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ¶ 'Peace, peace,' they say, ¶ when there is no peace.
15 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; ¶ they do not even know how to blush. ¶ So they will fall among the fallen; ¶ they will be brought down when I punish them," ¶ says the LORD.
16 This is what the LORD says: ¶ "Stand at the crossroads and look; ¶ ask for the ancient paths, ¶ ask where the good way is, and walk in it, ¶ and you will find rest for your souls. ¶ But you said, 'We will not walk in it.'
17 I appointed watchmen over you and said, 'Listen to the sound of the trumpet!' ¶ But you said, 'We will not listen.'
18 Therefore hear, you nations; you who are witnesses, ¶ observe what will happen to them.
19 Hear, you earth: I am bringing disaster on this people, ¶ the fruit of their schemes, ¶ because they have not listened to my words ¶ and have rejected my law.
20 What do I care about incense from Sheba or sweet calamus from a distant land? ¶ Your burnt offerings are not acceptable; ¶ your sacrifices do not please me."
21 Therefore this is what the LORD says: ¶ "I will put obstacles before this people. ¶ Parents and children alike will stumble over them; ¶ neighbors and friends will perish."
22 This is what the LORD says: ¶ "Look, an army is coming ¶ from the land of the north; ¶ a great nation is being stirred up ¶ from the ends of the earth.
23 They are armed with bow and spear; they are cruel and show no mercy. ¶ They sound like the roaring sea ¶ as they ride on their horses; ¶ they come like men in battle formation ¶ to attack you, Daughter Zion."
24 We have heard reports about them, ¶ and our hands hang limp. ¶ Anguish has gripped us, ¶ pain like that of a woman in labor.
25 Do not go out to the fields or walk on the roads, ¶ for the enemy has a sword, ¶ and there is terror on every side.
26 Put on sackcloth, my people, and roll in ashes; ¶ mourn with bitter wailing ¶ as for an only son, ¶ for suddenly the destroyer ¶ will come upon us.
27 "I have made you a tester of metals ¶ and my people the ore, ¶ that you may observe ¶ and test their ways.
28 They are all hardened rebels, going about to slander. ¶ They are bronze and iron; ¶ they all act corruptly.
29 The bellows blow fiercely to burn away the lead with fire, ¶ but the refining goes on in vain; ¶ the wicked are not purged out.
30 They are called rejected silver, because the LORD has rejected them."