4 “If you will return, Israel,” declares the Lord, “Then you should return to Me. And if you will put away your detestable things from My presence, And will not waver, 2 And if you will swear, ‘As the Lord lives,’ In truth, in justice, and in righteousness; Then the nations will bless themselves in Him, And in Him they will boast.”
3 For this is what the Lord says to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem:
“[a]Break up your uncultivated ground, And do not sow among thorns. 4 Circumcise yourselves to the Lord And remove the foreskins of your hearts, Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Or else My wrath will spread like fire And burn with no one to quench it, Because of the evil of your deeds.”
5 Declare in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say, “Blow the trumpet in the land; Cry aloud and say, ‘Assemble, and let’s go Into the fortified cities.’ 6 Raise a flag toward Zion! Take refuge, do not stand still, For I am bringing evil from the north, And great destruction. 7 A lion has gone up from his thicket, And a destroyer of nations has set out; He has gone out from his place To make your land a waste. Your cities will be ruins, Without an inhabitant. 8 For this, put on sackcloth, Mourn and wail; For the fierce anger of the Lord Has not turned away from us.”
9 “And it shall come about on that day,” declares the Lord, “that the heart of the king and the hearts of the leaders will fail; and the priests will tremble, and the prophets will be astonished.”
10 Then I said, “Oh, Lord [b]God! Surely You have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘You will have peace’; yet a sword touches the [c]throat.”
11 At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, “A scorching 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 [d]strong for [e]this—will come [f]at My command; now I will also pronounce judgments against them.”
13 “Behold, he goes up like clouds, And his chariots like the whirlwind; His horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us, for we are ruined!”
14 Wash your heart from evil, Jerusalem, So that you may be saved. How long will your wicked thoughts Lodge within you? 15 For a voice declares from Dan, And proclaims wickedness from Mount Ephraim. 16 “Report it to the nations, now! Proclaim to Jerusalem, ‘[g]Enemies are coming from a remote country, And they raise their voices against the cities of Judah. 17 Like watchmen of a field they are against her all around, Because she has rebelled against Me,’ declares the Lord. 18 Your ways and your deeds Have [h]brought these things upon you. This is your evil. How bitter! How it has touched your heart!”
Grief over Judah’s Devastation
19 My [i]soul, my [j]soul! I am in anguish! [k]Oh, my heart! My heart is pounding in me; I cannot keep silent, Because, [l]my soul, you have heard The sound of the trumpet, The alarm of war. 20 Disaster upon disaster is proclaimed, For the whole land is devastated; Suddenly my tents are devastated, And my curtains in an instant. 21 How long must I see the flag And hear the sound of the trumpet? 22 “For My people are foolish, They do not know Me; They are foolish children And have no understanding. They are skillful at doing evil, But they do not know how to do good.”
23 I looked at the earth, and behold, it was a [m]formless and desolate emptiness; And to the heavens, and they had no light. 24 I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking, And all the hills jolted back and forth. 25 I looked, and behold, there was no human, And all the birds of the sky had fled. 26 I looked, and behold, [n]the fruitful land was a wilderness, And all its cities were pulled down Before the Lord, before His fierce anger.
27 For this is what the Lord says: “The whole land shall be a desolation, Yet I will not execute a complete destruction. 28 For this the earth will mourn, And the heavens above will become dark, Because I have spoken, I have purposed, And I have not [o]changed My mind, nor will I turn from it.” 29 At the sound of the horseman and archer every city flees; They go into the thickets and climb among the rocks; Every city is abandoned, And no one lives in them. 30 And you, desolate one, what will you do? Although you dress in scarlet, Although you adorn yourself with jewelry of gold, Although you enlarge your eyes with makeup, In vain you make yourself beautiful. Your[p]lovers despise you; They seek your life. 31 For I heard a voice cry as of a woman in labor, The anguish as of one giving birth to her first child. The voice of the daughter of Zion gasping for breath, Stretching out her [q]hands, saying, “Ah, woe to me, for [r]I faint before murderers.”
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