Chapter 3

  1. My bowels, my bowels — I am pained at my very heart, my heart makes a noise in me. I cannot hold my peace because you have heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. Destruction upon destruction is cried, for the whole land is spoiled; suddenly are my tents spoiled, and my curtains in a moment. How long shall I see the standard and hear the sound of the trumpet? For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are senseless children and they have no understanding; they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. I beheld the earth, and behold, it was empty and desolate; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and behold, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and behold, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and behold, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord and by his fierce anger.
  2. For thus has the Lord said: The whole land shall be desolate, yet will I not make a full end. For this shall the earth mourn and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it. The whole city shall flee for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen, they shall go into thickets and climb up upon the rocks; every city shall be forsaken and not a man dwell therein. And when you are spoiled, what will you do? Though you clothe yourself with crimson, though you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold, though you rend your face with painting, in vain shall you make yourself fair; your lovers will despise you, they will seek your life. For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, and the anguish as of her that brings forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion that bewails herself, that spreads her hands, saying, Woe is me now, for my soul is wearied because of murderers.
  3. Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if you can find a man, if there is any that executes judgment, that seeks the truth, and I will pardon it. And though they say, The Lord lives — surely they swear falsely.
  4. O Lord, are not your eyes upon the truth? You have stricken them, but they have not grieved; you have consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction; they have made their faces harder than a rock, they have refused to return. Therefore, I said, Surely these are poor; they are foolish, for they know not the way of the Lord, nor the judgment of their God. I will get myself unto the great men and will speak unto them, for they have known the way of the Lord and the judgment of their God; but these have altogether broken the yoke and burst the bonds. Wherefore, a lion out of the forest shall slay them and a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities; everyone that goes out from there shall be torn in pieces because their transgressions are many and their backslidings are increased. How shall I pardon you for this? Your children have forsaken me and sworn by them that are no gods. When I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses. They were as fed horses in the morning, everyone neighed after his neighbor’s wife. Shall I not visit for these things? — says the Lord. And shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?
  5. Go up upon her walls and destroy, but make not a full end; take away her battlements, for they are not the Lord’s. For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against me, says the Lord. They have lied about the Lord and said, It is not he, neither shall evil come upon us, neither shall we see sword nor famine. And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them; thus shall it be done unto them. Wherefore, the Lord God of Hosts declares: Because you speak this word, behold, I will make my words in your mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them. I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, says the Lord. It is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language you know not, neither understand what they say. Their quiver is as an open sepulcher, they are all mighty men. And they shall eat up your harvest and your bread which your sons and your daughters should eat; they shall eat up your flocks and your herds; they shall eat up your vines and your fig trees; they shall impoverish your fortified cities wherein you trusted with the sword. Nevertheless, in those days, says the Lord, I will not make a full end with you.
  6. And it shall come to pass, when you shall say, Why does the Lord our God do all these things unto us? — then shall you answer them, Like you have forsaken me and served strange gods in your land, so shall you serve strangers in a land that is not yours. Declare this in the house of Jacob and publish it in Judah, saying, Hear now this, O foolish people and without understanding, who have eyes and see not, who have ears and hear not. Do you not fear me? — says the Lord. Will you not tremble at my presence — who have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree that it cannot pass it? And though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it. But this people has a revolting and a rebellious heart, they are revolted and gone. Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the Lord our God that gives rain, both the autumn and the spring in his season; he reserves unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest. Your iniquities have turned away these things and your sins have withheld good things from you. For among my people are found wicked men; they lay wait as he that sets snares, they set a trap, they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit; therefore, they have become great and have grown rich. They have grown fat, they shine, yea, they surpass the deeds of the wicked. They judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper, and the right of the needy do they not judge. Shall I not visit for these things? — says the Lord. Shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?
  7. A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means, and my people love to have it so. And what will you do in the end thereof?
  8. O you 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 Bethhaccerem; for evil appears out of the north, and great destruction. I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman. 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. Prepare war against her, arise and let us go up at noon. Woe unto us, for the day goes away, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out. Arise and let us go by night, and let us destroy her palaces. For thus has the Lord of Hosts said: Hew down trees and cast a mount against Jerusalem. This is the city to be visited, she is full of oppression in her midst. As a fountain casts out her waters, so she casts out her wickedness. Violence and spoil is heard in her, before me continually is grief and wounds. Be instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from you, lest I make you desolate, a land not inhabited.
  9. Thus says the Lord of Hosts: They shall thoroughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine; turn back your hand as a grape-gatherer into the baskets. To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ear is uncircumcised and they cannot listen; behold, the word of the Lord is unto them a reproach, they have no delight in it. 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. 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, says the Lord. For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them, everyone is given to covetousness, and from the prophet even unto the priest, everyone deals falsely. They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace — when there is no peace. 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, says the Lord. Thus says the Lord: Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths where is the good way, and walk therein, and you shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Also, I set watchmen over you, saying, Listen to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not listen.
  10. Therefore, hear, you nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them. Hear, O earth, behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not listened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it. To what purpose comes 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. Therefore, thus says the Lord: Behold, I will lay stumbling blocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them, the neighbor and his friend shall perish. Thus says the Lord: Behold, a people comes from the north country, and a great nation shall be raised from the sides of the earth. They shall lay hold on bow and spear, they are cruel and have no mercy, their voice roars like the sea, and they ride upon horses set in array as men for war against you, O daughter of Zion. We have heard the fame thereof, our hands wax feeble, anguish has taken hold of us, and pain as of a woman in travail. Go not forth into the field nor walk by the way, for the sword of the enemy and fear is on every side. O daughter of my people, gird yourself with sackcloth and wallow yourself in ashes, make yourself mourn as for an only son, a most bitter lamentation, for the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us. I have set you for a tower and a fortress among my people, that you may know and try their way. They are all grievous revolters, walking with slanders. They are brass and iron, they are all corrupters. The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire; the founder melts in vain, for the wicked are not plucked away. Reprobate silver shall men call them because the Lord has rejected them.