1 “Run for your lives, you people of Benjamin!
Get out of Jerusalem!
Sound the alarm in Tekoa!
Send up a signal at Beth-hakkerem!
A powerful army is coming from the north,
coming with disaster and destruction.
2 O Jerusalem,* you are my beautiful and delicate daughter—
but I will destroy you!
Each chooses a place for his troops to devour.
Attack at noon!’
‘No, it’s too late; the day is fading,
and the evening shadows are falling.’
and destroy her palaces!’ ”
“Cut down the trees for battering rams.
Build siege ramps against the walls of Jerusalem.
This is the city to be punished,
for she is wicked through and through.
Her streets echo with the sounds of violence and destruction.
I always see her sickness and sores.
or I will turn from you in disgust.
Listen, or I will turn you into a heap of ruins,
a land where no one lives.”
“Even the few who remain in Israel
will be picked over again,
as when a harvester checks each vine a second time
to pick the grapes that were missed.”
10 To whom can I give warning?
Who will listen when I speak?
Their ears are closed,
and they cannot hear.
They scorn the word of the Lord.
They don’t want to listen at all.
Yes, I am tired of holding it in!
“I will pour out my fury on children playing in the streets
and on gatherings of young men,
on husbands and wives
and on those who are old and gray.
as will their fields and their wives.
For I will raise my powerful fist
against the people of this land,”
says the Lord.
their lives are ruled by greed.
From prophets to priests,
they are all frauds.
for my people’s mortal wound.
They give assurances of peace
when there is no peace.
Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush!
Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered.
They will be brought down when I punish them,”
says the Lord.
16 This is what the Lord says:
“Stop at the crossroads and look around.
Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it.
Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.
But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’
‘Listen for the sound of the alarm.’
But you replied,
‘No! We won’t pay attention!’
Take note of my people’s situation.
I will bring disaster on my people.
It is the fruit of their own schemes,
because they refuse to listen to me.
They have rejected my word.
Keep your fragrant calamus imported from distant lands!
I will not accept your burnt offerings.
Your sacrifices have no pleasing aroma for me.”
“I will put obstacles in my people’s path.
Fathers and sons will both fall over them.
Neighbors and friends will die together.”
22 This is what the Lord says:
“Look! A great army coming from the north!
A great nation is rising against you from far-off lands.
They are cruel and show no mercy.
They sound like a roaring sea
as they ride forward on horses.
They are coming in battle formation,
planning to destroy you, beautiful Jerusalem.* ”
and we wring our hands in fright.
Pangs of anguish have gripped us,
like those of a woman in labor.
Don’t travel on the roads!
The enemy’s sword is everywhere
and terrorizes us at every turn!
and sit among the ashes.
Mourn and weep bitterly, as for the loss of an only son.
For suddenly the destroying armies will be upon you!
27 “Jeremiah, I have made you a tester of metals,*
that you may determine the quality of my people.
full of slander.
They are as hard as bronze and iron,
and they lead others into corruption.
to burn out the corruption.
But it does not purify them,
for the wickedness remains.
for I, the Lord, am discarding them.”