4 1 If you will return, Israel, says Yahweh, if you will return to me, and if you will put away your abominations out of my sight; then you shall not be removed; 2 and you shall swear, As Yahweh lives, in truth, in justice, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.
3 For thus says Yahweh to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and don’t sow among thorns. 4 Circumcise yourselves to Yahweh, and take away the foreskins of your heart, you men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn so that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.
Judah Threatened with Invasion
5 Declare in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem; and say, Blow the trumpet in the land! Cry aloud and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the fortified cities. 6 Set up a standard toward Zion: flee for safety, don’t stay; for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction. 7 A lion is gone up from his thicket, and a destroyer of nations; he is on his way, he is gone forth from his place, to make your land desolate, that your cities be laid waste, without inhabitant. 8 For this gird yourself with sackcloth, lament and wail; for the fierce anger of Yahweh hasn’t turned back from us. 9 It shall happen at that day, says Yahweh, that the heart of the king shall perish, and the heart of the princes; and the priests shall be astonished, and the prophets shall wonder. 10 Then said I, Ah, Lord Yahweh! surely you have greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, You shall have peace; whereas the sword reaches to the life. 11 At that time shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem, A hot wind from the bare heights in the wilderness toward the daughter of my people, not to winnow, nor to cleanse; 12 a full wind from these shall come for me: now will I also utter judgments against them. 13 Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as the whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us! for we are ruined. 14 Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness, that you may be saved. How long shall your evil thoughts lodge within you? 15 For a voice declares from Dan, and publishes evil from the hills of Ephraim: 16 make mention to the nations; behold, publish against Jerusalem, that watchers come from a far country, and give out their voice against the cities of Judah. 17 As keepers of a field are they against her all around, because she has been rebellious against me, says Yahweh. 18 Your way and your doings have procured these things to you; this is your wickedness; for it is bitter, for it reaches to your heart.
19 My anguish, my anguish! I am pained at my very heart; my heart is disquieted in me; I can’t hold my peace; because you have heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. 20 Destruction on destruction is cried; for the whole land is laid waste: suddenly are my tents destroyed, and my curtains in a moment. 21 How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet? 22 For my people are foolish, they don’t know me; they are foolish children, and they have no understanding; they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. 23 I saw the earth, and, behold, it was waste and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. 24 I saw the mountains, and behold, they trembled, and all the hills moved back and forth. 25 I saw, and behold, there was no man, and all the birds of the sky had fled. 26 I saw, and behold, the fruitful field was a wilderness, and all its cities were broken down at the presence of Yahweh, and before his fierce anger. 27 For thus says Yahweh, The whole land shall be a desolation; yet will I not make a full end. 28 For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black; because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and I have not repented, neither will I turn back from it. 29 Every city flees for the noise of the horsemen and archers; they go into the thickets, and climb up on the rocks: every city is forsaken, and not a man dwells therein. 30 You, when you are made desolate, what will you do? Though you clothe yourself with scarlet, though you deck you with ornaments of gold, though you enlarge your eyes with paint, in vain do you make yourself beautiful; your lovers despise you, they seek your life. 31 For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, the anguish as of her who brings forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion, who gasps for breath, who spreads her hands, saying, Woe is me now! for my soul faints before the murderers.
The Sins of Jerusalem and Judah
5 1 Run back and forth through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places of it, if you can find a man, if there are any who does justly, who seeks truth; and I will pardon her. 2 Though they say, As Yahweh lives; surely they swear falsely. 3 O Yahweh, don’t your eyes look on truth? you have stricken them, but they were 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. 4 Then I said, Surely these are poor; they are foolish; for they don’t know the way of Yahweh, nor the law of their God: 5 I will get me to the great men, and will speak to them; for they know the way of Yahweh, and the law of their God. But these with one accord have broken the yoke, and burst the bonds. 6 Therefore a lion out of the forest shall kill them, a wolf of the evenings shall destroy them, a leopard shall watch against their cities; everyone who goes out there shall be torn in pieces; because their transgressions are many, and their backsliding is increased. 7 How can I pardon you? your children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they committed adultery, and assembled themselves in troops at the prostitutes’ houses. 8 They were as fed horses roaming at large; everyone neighed after his neighbor’s wife. 9 Shall I not visit for these things? says Yahweh; and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?
10 Go up on her walls, and destroy; but don’t make a full end: take away her branches; for they are not Yahweh’s. 11 For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against me, says Yahweh. 12 They have denied Yahweh, and said, It is not he; neither shall evil come on us; neither shall we see sword nor famine: 13 and the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them: thus shall it be done to them. 14 Therefore thus says Yahweh, the God of Armies, Because you speak this word, behold, I will make my words in your mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them. 15 Behold, I will bring a nation on you from far, house of Israel, says Yahweh: it is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language you don’t know, neither understand what they say. 16 Their quiver is an open tomb, they are all mighty men. 17 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 beat down your fortified cities, in which you trust, with the sword. 18 But even in those days, says Yahweh, I will not make a full end with you. 19 It shall happen, when you shall say, Why has Yahweh our God done all these things to us? then you shall say to them, Like as you have forsaken me, and served foreign gods in your land, so you shall serve strangers in a land that is not yours.
20 Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in Judah, saying, 21 Hear now this, foolish people, and without understanding; who have eyes, and don’t see; who have ears, and don’t hear: 22 Don’t you fear me? says Yahweh: won’t you tremble at my presence, who have placed the sand for the bound of the sea, by a perpetual decree, that it can’t pass it? and though its waves toss themselves, yet they can’t prevail; though they roar, yet they can’t pass over it. 23 But this people has a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. 24 Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear Yahweh our God, who gives rain, both the former and the latter, in its season; who preserves to us the appointed weeks of the harvest.
25 Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withheld good from you. 26 For among my people are found wicked men: they watch, as fowlers lie in wait; they set a trap, they catch men. 27 As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and grew rich. 28 They are grew fat, they shine: yes, they overpass in deeds of wickedness; they don’t plead the cause, the cause of the fatherless, that they may prosper; and the right of the needy they don’t judge. 29 Shall I not visit for these things? says Yahweh; shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? 30 A wonderful and horrible thing is happen in the land: 31 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 of it?
The Doom of Jerusalem and Judah
6 1 Flee for safety, you children of Benjamin, out of the midst of Jerusalem, and blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and raise up a signal on Beth Haccherem; for evil looks forth from the north, and a great destruction. 2 The comely and delicate one, the daughter of Zion, will I cut off. 3 Shepherds with their flocks shall come to her; they shall pitch their tents against her all around; they shall feed everyone in his place. 4 Prepare war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe to us! for the day declines, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out. 5 Arise, and let us go up by night, and let us destroy her palaces. 6 For thus has Yahweh of Armies said, Cut down trees, and cast up a mound against Jerusalem: this is the city to be visited; she is wholly oppression in the midst of her. 7 As a well casts forth its waters, so she casts forth her wickedness: violence and destruction is heard in her; before me continually is sickness and wounds. 8 Be instructed, Jerusalem, lest my soul be alienated from you; lest I make you a desolation, a land not inhabited.
9 Thus says Yahweh of Armies, They shall thoroughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine: turn again your hand as a grape gatherer into the baskets. 10 To whom shall I speak and testify, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they can’t listen: behold, the word of Yahweh is become to them a reproach; they have no delight in it. 11 Therefore I am full of the wrath of Yahweh; I am weary with holding in: pour it out on the children in the street, and on the assembly of young men together; for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged with him who is full of days. 12 Their houses shall be turned to others, their fields and their wives together; for I will stretch out my hand on the inhabitants of the land, says Yahweh. 13 For from the least of them even to the greatest of them everyone is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even to the priest everyone deals falsely. 14 They have healed also the hurt of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. 15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, says Yahweh. 16 Thus says Yahweh, 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. 17 I set watchmen over you, saying, Listen to the sound of the trumpet; but they said, We will not listen.
18 Therefore hear, you nations, and know, congregation, what is among them. 19 Hear, earth: behold, I will bring evil on this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not listened to my words; and as for my law, they have rejected it. 20 To what purpose comes there to me frankincense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices pleasing to me. 21 Therefore thus says Yahweh, Behold, I will lay stumbling blocks before this people; and the fathers and the sons together shall stumble against them; the neighbor and his friend shall perish. 22 Thus says Yahweh, Behold, a people comes from the north country; and a great nation shall be stirred up from the uttermost parts of the earth. 23 They lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel, and have no mercy; their voice roars like the sea, and they ride on horses, everyone set in array, as a man to the battle, against you, daughter of Zion. 24 We have heard its report; our hands wax feeble: anguish has taken hold of us, and pangs as of a woman in travail. 25 Don’t go forth into the field, nor walk by the way; for the sword of the enemy, and terror, are on every side. 26 Daughter of my people, gird yourself with sackcloth, and wallow in ashes! Mourn, as for an only son, most bitter lamentation; for the destroyer shall suddenly come on us. 27 I have made you a tester of metals and a fortress among my people; that you may know and try their way. 28 They are all grievous rebels, going about with slanders; they are brass and iron: they all of them deal corruptly. 29 The bellows blow fiercely; the lead is consumed of the fire: in vain do they go on refining; for the wicked are not plucked away. 30 Men will call them rejected silver, because Yahweh has rejected them.