1 People of Jerusalem, run through your streets! Look around and see for yourselves! Search the marketplaces! Can you find one person who does what is right and tries to be faithful to God? If you can, Jehovah will forgive Jerusalem.
2 Even though you claim to worship Jehovah, you do not mean what you say.
3 Jehovah looks for faithfulness. He struck you, but you paid no attention. He crushed you, but you refused to learn. You were stubborn and would not turn from your sins.
4 I thought: »These are only the poor and ignorant. They a foolish. They do not know what their God requires, what Jehovah wants them to do.
5 »I will go to the great men leaders and talk with them. Surely they know what their God requires, what Jehovah wants them to do. But all of them have rejected Jehovahs authority and refuse to obey him.«
6 That is why lions from the forest will kill them. Wolves from the desert will tear them to pieces, and leopards will prowl through their towns. If those people go out, they will be torn apart because their sins are numerous and time after time they have turned from God.
7 Jehovah asked: Why should I forgive the sins of my people? They have abandoned me and have worshiped gods that are not real. I fed my people until they were full, but they committed adultery and spent their time with prostitutes.
8 They were like well-fed stallions wild with desire, each lusting for his neighbor's wife.
9 »Why should I not punish the people of Judah?« Says Jehovah, »Should I take retribution vengeance?«
10 »Go up through her vineyards and destroy them. But do not execute a complete destruction. Strip away her branches, for they are not Jehovahs.
11 »The house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously with me,« says Jehovah.
12 They lied about Jehovah. They said: »It is not he, bad things will not happen to us. We will not see sword or famine.«
13 »The prophets are as wind! The word is not in them. Thus it will be done to them!«
14 Jehovah, the God of hosts says: »Because you have spoken this word and I am making my words fire in your mouth. This people are wood and will be consumed.
15 »I am bringing a nation against you from afar, O house of Israel, declares Jehovah. It is an enduring nation. It is an ancient nation, a nation whose language you do not know. You cannot understand comprehendmake sense of what they say.
16 »Their quiver is like an open grave. All of them are mighty men.
17 »They will devour your harvest and your food. They will devour your sons and your daughters. They will devour your flocks and your herds. They will devour your vines and your fig trees. They will demolish with the sword your fortified cities in which you trust.
18 »Yet even in those days, says Jehovah, I will not make you a complete destruction.
19 »They will ask: Why has Jehovah our God done all this to us? Answer them: »You have abandoned me and served foreign gods in your land. So you will serve foreigners in a land that is not yours.« «
20 »Declare this to the house of Jacob, and make this heard in Judah:
21 »Hear this, you stupid and senseless people! You have eyes, but you cannot see. You have ears, but you cannot hear.«
22 »Do you not reverence respect me?« Asks Jehovah. »Do you not tremble with awe in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, a permanent barrier it cannot cross. Although the waves toss continuously, they cannot break through. Although they roar, they cannot cross it.
23 »These people are stubborn and rebellious. They have turned aside and departed from me.
24 »They do not say in their hearts, to themselves: We should respect Jehovah our God. He sends rain at the right time, the autumn rain and the spring rain. He makes sure that we have harvest seasons.«
25 »Your wickedness has turned these things away. Your sins have kept good things away from you.
26 »Wicked men are found among my people. They lie in ambush like bird catchers. They set traps and catch men.
27 »Like cages filled with birds, their houses are filled with deceit. That is why they become powerful and rich.
28 »They grow big and fat. Their evil deeds have no limits. They have no respect for the rights of others. They have no respect for the rights of orphans. But they still prosper. They do not defend the rights of the poor.
29 »I will punish them for these things,« declares Jehovah. »I will punish these people!
30 »Something horrible and disgusting is happening in the land.
31 Prophets prophesy falsehoods. Priests rule under the prophets' directions, and my people love this. But what will you do when the end comes?«