The Bible – Old Testament
Flee, sons of Benjamin, out of Jerusalem! Blow the trumpet in Tekoa, raise a signal over Beth-haccherem; For evil threatens from the north, and mighty destruction.
O lovely and delicate daughter Zion, you are ruined!
1 Against her, shepherds come with their flocks; all around, they pitch their tents, each one grazes his portion.
“Prepare for war against her, Up! let us rush upon her at midday! Alas! 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; nought but oppression within her!
As the well gushes out its waters, so she gushes out her wickedness. Violence and destruction resound in her; ever before me are wounds and blows.
Be warned, O Jerusalem, lest I be estranged from you; Lest I turn you into a desert, a land where no man 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.
To whom shall I speak? whom shall I warn, and be heard? See! their ears are uncircumcised, they cannot give heed; See, the word of the LORD has become for them an object of scorn, which they will not have.
Therefore my wrath 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, all will be taken, husband and wife, graybeard with ancient.
Their houses will fall to strangers, their fields and their wives as well; For I will stretch forth my hand against those who dwell in this land, says the LORD.
Small and great alike, all are greedy for gain; prophet and priest, all practice fraud.
2 They would repair, as though it were nought, the injury to my people: “Peace, peace!” they say, though there is no peace.
They are odious; they have done abominable things, yet they are not at all ashamed, they know not how to blush. Hence they shall be among those who fall; in their time of punishment they shall go down, says the LORD.
3 Thus says the LORD: Stand beside the earliest roads, ask the pathways of old Which is the way to good, and walk it; thus you will find rest for your souls. But they said, “We will not walk it.”
4 When I raised up watchmen for them: “Hearken to the sound of the trumpet!” they said, “We will not hearken.”
Therefore hear, O nations, and know, O earth, what I will do with them:
See, I bring evil upon this people, the fruit of their own schemes, Because they heeded not my words, because they despised my law.
Of what use to me incense that comes from Sheba, or sweet cane from far-off lands? Your holocausts find no favor with me, your sacrifices please me not.
Therefore, thus says the LORD: See, I will place before this people obstacles to bring them down; Fathers and sons alike, neighbors and friends shall perish.
Thus says the LORD: See, a people comes from the land of the north, a great nation, roused from the ends of the earth.
Bow and javelin they wield; cruel and pitiless are they. They sound like the roaring sea as they ride forth on steeds, Each in his place, for battle against you, daughter Zion.
We hear the report of them; helpless fall our hands, Anguish takes hold of us, throes like a mother’s in childbirth.
Go not forth into the field, step not into the street, Beware of the enemy’s sword; terror on every side!
O daughter of my people, gird on sackcloth, roll in the ashes. Mourn as for an only child with bitter wailing, For sudden upon us comes the destroyer.
A tester among my people I have appointed you, to search and test their way.
Arch-rebels are they all, dealers in slander, all of them corrupt.
The bellows roars, the lead is consumed by the fire; In vain has the smelter refined, the wicked are not drawn off.
“Silver rejected” they shall be called, for the LORD has rejected them.
1  Shepherds . . . with their flocks: foreign invaders with their armies.
2  As though it were nought: the false assurance of well-being given by priest and prophet cannot reduce the harm which universal materialism and corruption have done to the people.
3  Earliest roads . . . pathways of old: history and the lessons to be learned from it.
4  Watchmen: the prophets who, like Jeremiah, had upheld God’s moral law.