The evils that threaten Jerusalem. She is invited to return, and walk in the good way, and not to rely on sacrifices without obedience.
TRENGTHEN yourselves, ye sons of Benjamin, in the midst of Jerusalem, and sound the trumpet in Thecua, and set up the standard over Bethacarem: for evil is seen out of the north, and a great destruction.
I have likened the daughter of Sion to a beautiful and delicate woman.
The shepherds shall come to her with their flocks: they have pitched their tents against her round about: every one shall feed them that are under his hand.
Prepare ye war against her: arise, and let us go up at midday: woe unto us, for the day is declined, for the shadows of the evening are grown longer.
Arise, and let us go up in the night, and destroy her houses.
For thus saith the Lord of hosts: Hew down her trees, cast up a trench about Jerusalem: this is the city to be visited, all oppression is in the midst of her.
As a cistern maketh its water cold, so hath she made her wickedness cold: violence and spoil shall be heard in her, infirmity and stripes are continually before me.
Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee, lest I make thee desolate, a land uninhabited.
Thus saith the Lord of hosts: They shall gather the remains of Israel, as in a vine, even to one cluster: turn back thy hand, as a grapegatherer into the basket.
To whom shall I speak? and to whom shall I testify, that he may hear? behold, their ears are uncircumcised, and they cannot hear: behold the word of the Lord is become unto them a reproach: and they will not receive it.
Therefore am I full of the fury of the Lord, I am weary with holding in: pour it out upon the child abroad, and upon the council of the young men together: for man and woman shall be taken, the ancient and he that is full of days.
And their houses shall be turned over to others, with their lands and their wives together: for I will stretch forth my hand upon the inhabitants of the land, saith the Lord.
For from the least of them even to the greatest, all are given to covetousness: and from the prophet even to the priest, all are guilty of deceit.
And they healed the breach of the daughter of my people disgracefully, saying: Peace, peace: and there was no peace.
They were confounded, because they committed abomination: yea, rather they were not confounded with confusion, and they knew not how to blush: wherefore they shall fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall fall down, saith the Lord.
Thus saith the Lord: Stand ye on the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, which is the good way, and walk ye in it: and you shall find refreshment for your souls. And they said: We will not walk.
And I appointed watchmen over you, saying: Hearken ye to the sound of the trumpet. And they said: We will not hearken.
Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what great things I will do to them.
Hear, O earth: Behold I will bring evils upon this people, the fruits of their own thoughts: because they have not heard my words, and they have cast away my law.
To what purpose do you bring me frankincense from Saba, and the sweet smelling cane from a far country? your holocausts are not acceptable, nor are your sacrifices pleasing to me.
Therefore thus saith the Lord: Behold I will bring destruction upon this people, by which fathers and sons together shall fall, neighbour and kinsman shall perish.
Thus saith the Lord: Behold a people cometh from the land of the north, and a great nation shall rise up from the ends of the earth.
They shall lay hold on arrow and shield: they are cruel, and will have no mercy. Their voice shall roar like the sea: and they shall mount upon horses, prepared as men for war, against thee, O daughter of Sion.
We have heard the fame thereof, our hands grow feeble: anguish hath taken hold of us, as a woman in labour.
Go not out into the fields, nor walk in the highway: for the sword of the enemy, and fear is on every side.
Gird thee with sackcloth, O daughter of my people, and sprinkle thee with ashes: make thee mourning as for an only son, a bitter lamentation, because the destroyer shall suddenly come upon us.
I have set thee for a strong trier among my people: and thou shalt know, and prove their way.
All these princes go out of the way, they walk deceitfully, they are brass and iron: they are all corrupted.
The bellows have failed, the lead is consumed in the fire, the founder hath melted in vain: for their wicked deeds are not consumed.
Call them reprobate silver, for the Lord hath rejected them.