1. Flee in a body, Benjaminites, right away from Jerusalem! Sound the trumpet in Tekoa! Light the beacon on Beth-ha-Cherem! For disaster lowers from the north, an immense calamity.

2. Beautiful, delicate as she is, I shall destroy the daughter of Zion!

3. Shepherds are advancing on her with their flocks. They have pitched their tents all round her, each grazes his part.

4. Prepare for holy war against her! To arms! We shall attack at noon! Disaster for us! The light is fading, the evening shadows lengthen.

5. To arms! We shall attack at night and destroy her palaces.

6. For Yahweh Sabaoth says this, 'Cut down trees, throw up an earthwork outside Jerusalem: this is the city to be punished, with nothing but oppression in her.

7. As a well keeps its water fresh so she keeps her wickedness fresh. Violence and ruin are what you hear in her, wounds and blows always forced on my attention.

8. Reform, Jerusalem, or I shall turn my attention away from you and reduce you to a desert, a land without people.'

9. Yahweh Sabaoth says this, 'They will glean, glean what is left of Israel like a vine. Like a grape-picker, pass your hand again over the branches!'

10. To whom should I speak, whom warn, for them to hear? Look, their ears are uncircumcised, they cannot listen. Look, for them Yahweh's word is something to sneer at, they have no taste for it.

11. So I am full of Yahweh's wrath, I am weary of holding it in. Then pour it on the children in the streets, and on the bands of youths as well, for husband and wife will both be taken, the greybeard and the man weighed down with years.

12. Their houses will pass to other men, so will their fields and wives. Yes, I shall stretch my hand over those living in this country, Yahweh declares.

13. For, from the least to greatest, they are all greedy for gain; prophet no less than priest, all of them practise fraud.

14. Without concern they dress my people's wound, saying, 'Peace! Peace!' whereas there is no peace.

15. They should be ashamed of their loathsome deeds. Not they! They feel no shame, they do not even know how to blush. And so as others fall, they too will fall, will be thrown down when I come and punish them, Yahweh says.

16. Yahweh says this, 'Stand at the crossroads and look, ask for the ancient paths: which was the good way? Take it and you will find rest for yourselves. But they have said, "We will not take it."

17. I posted look-outs on your behalf: Listen to the sound of the trumpet! But they said, "We will not listen."

18. Then hear, you nations, and know, assembly, what is going to happen to them!

19. Listen, earth! Watch, I shall bring disaster on this people: it is the fruit of the way they think, since they have not listened to my words nor to my law, but have rejected it.

20. What do I care about incense imported from Sheba, or fragrant cane from a distant country? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, your sacrifices do not please me.'

21. And so, Yahweh says this, 'In front of this people I shall now lay obstacles for them to stumble over; father and son alike, neighbour and friend will perish.'

22. Yahweh says this, 'Look, a people is coming from the land of the north, from the far ends of the earth a great nation is rising;

23. they are armed with bow and spear, they are cruel and pitiless; their noise is like the roaring of the sea; they are riding horses, they are ready to fight against you as one man, against you, daughter of Zion.

24. We have heard the news, our hands fall limp, anguish has gripped us, pain like that of a woman in labour.

25. Do not go out into the countryside, do not venture onto the roads, for the enemy's sword is there, terror on every side.

26. Put on sackcloth, daughter of my people, roll in ashes; mourn as for an only son, a very bitter dirge. For on us suddenly the destroyer is coming.

27. 'I have appointed you as tester of my people, to learn and to test how they behave.

28. All of them are total rebels peddlers of slander, hard as bronze and iron, all agents of corruption.

29. The bellows blast away to make the fire burn away the lead. In vain the smelter does his work, for the dross is not purged out.

30. "Silver-reject", men call them, and indeed Yahweh has rejected them!'



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