1“Flee for safety, O children of Benjamin, out of the midst of Jerusalem, and blow the shofar in Tekoa and raise a signal on Beth-haccherem; for evil looks down from the north, even a great destruction.
2The lovely and delicate one, Daughter Zion, I will cut off.
3Shepherds with their flocks will come to her; they will pitch their tents against her all around; they will pasture, everyone in his place.”
4“Prepare for war against her; arise, and let’s attack at noon. Woe to us! For the day declines, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out.
5Arise, and let’s go up by night, and let’s destroy her palaces.”
6For Yahweh of Armies said, “Cut down trees and cast up a siege mound against Jerusalem; this is the city to be punished; she has nothing but oppression within her.
7As a well keeps its water fresh, so she keeps her wickedness fresh. Violence and destruction are heard in her; Sickness and wounds are continually before me.
8Be warned, O Jerusalem, lest my soul be alienated from you, lest I make you a desolation, a land not inhabited.”
9This is what Yahweh of Armies says, “They will thoroughly glean the remnant of Israel like a vine. Pass your hand again over the branches, like a grape gatherer.”
10To whom can I speak and testify, that they will hear? Behold, their ear is uncircumcised and they cannot pay attention. Behold, the word of Yahweh has become a reproach to them. They have no delight in it.
11Therefore I am full of the wrath of Yahweh. I am weary of holding in. “Pour it out on the children in the street and on the assembly of young men as well, because even the husband with the wife will be taken, and also the aged and the one who is full of days.
12Their houses will be turned over to others, together with their fields and their wives, for I will stretch out my hand against the inhabitants of the land,” says Yahweh.
13“For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for gain, and from the prophet even to the priest, everyone deals falsely.
14And they have healed the hurt of my people superficially, saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ when there is no peace.
15Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed, nor could they blush. Therefore they will fall among those who fall; at the time that I visit them they will be cast down,” says Yahweh.
16This is what Yahweh says: “Stand at the crossroads and look. And ask for the old paths, ask, ‘Where is the good way?’ Then walk in it and you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
17I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Pay attention to the sound of the shofar!’ But they said, ‘We will not pay attention!’
18Therefore hear, you nations, and know, O assembly, what is going to happen to them.
19Hear, earth! Behold, I will bring evil on this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not listened to my words; and as for my law, they have rejected it.
20For what purpose does frankincense come to me from Sheba and the sweet cane from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, and your sacrifices are not pleasing to me.
21Therefore this is what Yahweh says: Behold, I will lay stumbling blocks before this people. The fathers and the sons together will stumble against them. The neighbor and his friend will perish.”
22This is what Yahweh says: “Behold, a people is coming from the north land. A great nation will be stirred up from the faraway parts of the earth.
23They take hold of bow and spear. They are cruel and have no mercy. Their voice roars like the sea, and they ride on horses, each one set in battle formation like a man for war against you, Daughter Zion.”
24We have heard the report about it; our hands hang helpless. Anguish has taken hold of us, and pains like those of a woman in labor.
25Do not go out into the field, nor walk on the road, for the enemy has a sword and terrors are on every side.
26O Daughter, my people, clothe yourself with sackcloth and wallow in ashes! Mourn, as for an only son, a most bitter lamentation; for the destroyer will suddenly come on us.
27“I have made you an assayer and a tester of metals among my people, that you may know and assay their ways.
28They are all rebels of rebels, going around spreading slander. They are bronze and iron, they—all of them—deal corruptly.
29The bellows blow fiercely; the lead is consumed by the fire. In vain the refining goes on for the wicked are not purged.
30They will be called ‘rejected silver,’ because Yahweh has rejected them.”