New English Translation
The Destruction of Jerusalem Depicted
1 "Run for safety, people of Benjamin! Get out of Jerusalem! Sound the trumpet in Tekoa! Light the signal fires at Beth Hakkerem! For disaster lurks out of the north; it will bring great destruction.
2 I will destroy Daughter Zion, who is as delicate and defenseless as a young maiden.
3 Kings will come against it with their armies. They will encamp in siege all around it. Each of them will devastate the portion assigned to him.
4 They will say, 'Prepare to do battle against it! Come on! Let's attack it at noon!' But later they will say, 'Oh, oh! Too bad! The day is almost over and the shadows of evening are getting long.
5 So come on, let's go ahead and attack it by night and destroy all its fortified buildings.'
6 All of this is because the LORD who rules over all has said: 'Cut down the trees around Jerusalem and build up a siege ramp against its walls. This is the city which is to be punished. Nothing but oppression happens in it.
7 As a well continually pours out fresh water so it continually pours out wicked deeds. Sounds of violence and destruction echo throughout it. All I see are sick and wounded people.'
8 So take warning, Jerusalem, or I will abandon you in disgust and make you desolate, a place where no one can live."
9 This is what the LORD who rules over all said to me: "Those who remain in Israel will be like the grapes thoroughly gleaned from a vine. So go over them again, as though you were a grape harvester passing your hand over the branches one last time."
10 I answered, "Who would listen if I spoke to them and warned them? Their ears are so closed that they cannot hear! Indeed, what the LORD says is offensive to them. They do not like it at all.
11 I am as full of anger as you are, LORD, I am tired of trying to hold it in." The LORD answered, "Vent it, then, on the children who play in the street and on the young men who are gathered together. Husbands and wives are to be included, as well as the old and those who are advanced in years.
12 Their houses will be turned over to others as will their fields and their wives. For I will unleash my power against those who live in this land," says the LORD.
13 "That is because, from the least important to the most important of them, all of them are greedy for dishonest gain. Prophets and priests alike, all of them practice deceit.
14 They offer only superficial help for the harm my people have suffered. They say, 'Everything will be all right!' But everything is not all right!
15 Are they ashamed because they have done such shameful things? No, they are not at all ashamed. They do not even know how to blush! So they will die, just like others have died. They will be brought to ruin when I punish them," says the LORD.
16 The LORD said to his people: "You are standing at the crossroads. So consider your path. Ask where the old, reliable paths are. Ask where the path is that leads to blessing and follow it. If you do, you will find rest for your souls." But they said, "We will not follow it!"
17 The LORD said, "I appointed prophets as watchmen to warn you, saying: 'Pay attention to the warning sound of the trumpet!'" But they said, "We will not pay attention!"
18 So the LORD said, "Hear, you nations! Be witnesses and take note of what will happen to these people.
19 Hear this, you peoples of the earth: 'Take note! I am about to bring disaster on these people. It will come as punishment for their scheming. For they have paid no attention to what I have said, and they have rejected my law.
20 I take no delight when they offer up to me frankincense that comes from Sheba or sweet-smelling cane imported from a faraway land. I cannot accept the burnt offerings they bring me. I get no pleasure from the sacrifices they offer to me.'
21 So, this is what the LORD says: 'I will assuredly make these people stumble to their doom. Parents and children will stumble and fall to their destruction. Friends and neighbors will die.'
22 "This is what the LORD says: 'Beware! An army is coming from a land in the north. A mighty nation is stirring into action in faraway parts of the earth.
23 Its soldiers are armed with bows and spears. They are cruel and show no mercy. They sound like the roaring sea as they ride forth on their horses. Lined up in formation like men going into battle to attack you, Daughter Zion.'"
24 The people cry out, "We have heard reports about them! We have become helpless with fear! Anguish grips us, agony like that of a woman giving birth to a baby!
25 Do not go out into the countryside. Do not travel on the roads. For the enemy is there with sword in hand. They are spreading terror everywhere."
26 So I said, "Oh, my dear people, put on sackcloth and roll in ashes. Mourn with painful sobs as though you had lost your only child. For any moment now that destructive army will come against us."
27 The LORD said to me, "I have made you like a metal assayer to test my people like ore. You are to observe them and evaluate how they behave."
28 I reported, "All of them are the most stubborn of rebels! They are as hard as bronze or iron. They go about telling lies. They all deal corruptly.
29 The fiery bellows of judgment burn fiercely. But there is too much dross to be removed. The process of refining them has proved useless. The wicked have not been purged.
30 They are regarded as 'rejected silver' because the LORD rejects them."
King James Version
1 O ye children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee out of the midst of Jerusalem, and blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and set up a sign of fire in Beth-haccerem: for evil appeareth out of the north, and great destruction.
2 I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman.
3 The shepherds with their flocks shall come unto her; they shall pitch their tents against her round about; they shall feed every one in his place.
4 Prepare ye war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe unto us! for the day goeth away, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out.
5 Arise, and let us go by night, and let us destroy her palaces.
6 ¶ For thus hath the LORD of hosts said, Hew ye down trees, and cast a mount against Jerusalem: this is the city to be visited; she is wholly oppression in the midst of her.
7 As a fountain casteth out her waters, so she casteth out her wickedness: violence and spoil is heard in her; before me continually is grief and wounds.
8 Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited.
9 ¶ Thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall throughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine: turn back thine hand as a grapegatherer into the baskets.
10 To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.
11 Therefore I am full of the fury of the LORD; I am weary with holding in: I will pour it out upon the children abroad, and upon the assembly of young men together: for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged with him that is full of days.
12 And their houses shall be turned unto others, with their fields and wives together: for I will stretch out my hand upon the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD.
13 For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.
14 They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.
15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.
16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.
17 Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.
18 ¶ Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them.
19 Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.
20 To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me.
21 Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will lay stumblingblocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them; the neighbour and his friend shall perish.
22 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, a people cometh from the north country, and a great nation shall be raised from the sides of the earth.
23 They shall lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel, and have no mercy; their voice roareth like the sea; and they ride upon horses, set in array as men for war against thee, O daughter of Zion.
24 We have heard the fame thereof: our hands wax feeble: anguish hath taken hold of us, and pain, as of a woman in travail.
25 Go not forth into the field, nor walk by the way; for the sword of the enemy and fear is on every side.
26 ¶ O daughter of my people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes: make thee mourning, as for an only son, most bitter lamentation: for the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us.
27 I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among my people, that thou mayest know and try their way.
28 They are all grievous revolters, walking with slanders: they are brass and iron; they are all corrupters.
29 The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire; the founder melteth in vain: for the wicked are not plucked away.
30 Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the LORD hath rejected them.