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Jeremiah 6 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 6

The Enemy at the Gates

Seek refuge, Benjaminites,
    from the midst of Jerusalem!
Blow the trumpet in Tekoa,
    raise a signal over Beth-haccherem;
For disaster threatens from the north,
    and mighty destruction.
Lovely and delicate
    daughter Zion, you are ruined!
Against her, shepherds come with their flocks;[a]
    all around, they pitch their tents against her;
    each one grazes his portion.
“Prepare for war against her,
    Up! let us rush upon her at midday!”
“Woe to us! the day is waning,
    evening shadows lengthen!”
“Up! let us rush upon her by night,
    destroy her palaces!”
    For thus says the Lord of hosts:
Hew down her trees,
    throw up a siege mound against Jerusalem.
Woe to the city marked for punishment;
    there is nothing but oppression within her!
As a well keeps its waters fresh,
    so she keeps fresh her wickedness.
Violence and destruction resound in her;
    ever before me are wounds and blows.
Be warned, Jerusalem,
    or I will be estranged from you,
And I will turn you into a wilderness,
    a land where no one dwells.
    Thus says the Lord of hosts:
Glean, glean like a vine
    the remnant of Israel;
Pass your hand, like a vintager,
    repeatedly over the tendrils.
10 To whom shall I speak?
    whom shall I warn, and be heard?
See! their ears are uncircumcised,
    they cannot pay attention;
See, the word of the Lord has become for them
    an object of scorn, for which they have no taste.
11 But the wrath of the Lord brims up within me,
    I am weary of holding it in.
I will pour it out upon the child in the street,
    upon the young men gathered together.
Yes, husband and wife will be taken,
    elder with ancient.
12 Their houses will fall to others,
    their fields and their wives as well;
For I will stretch forth my hand
    against those who dwell in the land—oracle of the Lord.
13 Small and great alike, all are greedy for gain;
    prophet and priest, all practice fraud.
14 They have treated lightly
    the injury to my people:
“Peace, peace!” they say,
    though there is no peace.
15 They have acted shamefully, committing abominations,
    yet they are not at all ashamed,
    they do not know how to blush.
Therefore they will fall among the fallen;
    in the time of their punishment they shall stumble,
    says the Lord.
16     Thus says the Lord:
Stand by the earliest roads,
    ask the pathways of old,[b]
“Which is the way to good?” and walk it;
    thus you will find rest for yourselves.
    But they said, “We will not walk it.”
17 I raised up watchmen[c] for them:
    “Pay attention to the sound of the trumpet!”
    But they said, “We will not pay attention!”
18 Therefore hear, O nations,
    and know, O earth,
    what I will do with them:
19 See, I bring evil upon this people,
    the fruit of their own schemes,
Because they did not pay attention to my words,
    because they rejected my law.
20 Of what use to me is incense that comes from Sheba,
    or sweet cane from far-off lands?
Your burnt offerings find no favor with me,
    your sacrifices do not please me.
21     Therefore, thus says the Lord:
See, I will place before this people
    obstacles to trip them up;
Parents and children alike,
    neighbors and friends shall perish.
22     Thus says the Lord:
See, a people comes from the land of the north,
    a great nation, rising from the very ends of the earth.
23 Bow and javelin they wield;
    cruel and pitiless are they.
They sound like the roaring sea
    as they ride forth on horses,
Each in his place for battle
    against you, daughter Zion.
24 We hear news of them;
    our hands hang helpless,
Anguish takes hold of us,
    pangs like a woman in childbirth.
25 Do not go out into the field,
    do not step into the street,
For the enemy has a sword;
    terror on every side!
26 Daughter of my people, dress in sackcloth,
    roll in the ashes.
Mourn as for an only child
    with bitter wailing:
“How suddenly the destroyer
    comes upon us!”
27 [d]A tester for my people I have appointed you,
    to search and test their way.
28 Arch-rebels are they all,
    dealers in slander,
bronze and iron, all of them,
    destroyers they are.
29 The bellows are scorched,
    the lead is consumed by the fire;
In vain has the refiner refined,
    the wicked are not drawn off.
30 “Silver rejected” they shall be called,
    for the Lord has rejected them.


  1. 6:3 Shepherds come with their flocks: foreign invaders with their armies.
  2. 6:16 Pathways of old: history and the lessons to be learned from it.
  3. 6:17 Watchmen: the prophets who, like Jeremiah, had upheld God’s moral law.
  4. 6:27–30 God appoints Jeremiah to be a “tester” of his people. The passage uses the metaphor of the refining of silver: the silver was extracted from lead ore, but the process in ancient times was inexact, so that sometimes all that was left was a scummy mess, to be thrown out.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Jeremiah 6 New International Version (NIV)

Jerusalem Under Siege

“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.
I will destroy Daughter Zion,
    so beautiful and delicate.
Shepherds with their flocks will come against her;
    they will pitch their tents around her,
    each tending his own portion.”

“Prepare for battle against her!
    Arise, let us attack at noon!
But, alas, the daylight is fading,
    and the shadows of evening grow long.
So arise, let us attack at night
    and destroy her fortresses!”

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.
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.
Take warning, Jerusalem,
    or I will turn away from you
and make your land desolate
    so no one can live in it.”

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[a]
    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.”


  1. Jeremiah 6:10 Hebrew uncircumcised
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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