Warning of Jerusalem’s Fall
1 Thus says the Lord: Go down to the house of the king of Judah and speak there this word: 2 Hear the word of the Lord, O king of Judah, you who sit upon the throne of David -- "you and your servants and your people who enter by these gates. 3 Thus says the Lord: Execute justice and righteousness, and deliver out of the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong; do no violence to the stranger or temporary resident, the fatherless, or the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. 4 For if you will indeed obey this word, then will there enter in through the gates of this [the king's] house kings sitting [for David] upon David's throne, riding in chariots and on horses -- "they and their servants and their people. 5 But if you will not hear these words, I swear by Myself, says the Lord, that this house will become a desolation. 6 For thus says the Lord concerning the house of the king of Judah: [If you will not listen to Me, though] you are [as valuable] to Me as [the fat pastures of] Gilead [east of the Jordan] or as the [plentiful] summit of Lebanon [west of the Jordan], yet surely I will make you a wilderness and uninhabited cities. 7 And I will prepare, solemnly set apart, and appoint [to execute My judgments against you] destroyers, each with his weapons, and they will cut down your [palaces built of] choicest cedars and cast them into the fire.
8 And many nations will pass by this city, and every man will say to his neighbor, Why has the Lord done this to this great city? 9 Then they will answer, Because [the people] forsook the covenant or solemn pledge with the Lord their God and worshiped other gods and served them.
10 Weep not for him who is dead nor bemoan him; but weep bitterly for him who goes away [into captivity], for he shall return no more nor see his native country [again].
11 For thus says the Lord concerning Shallum son of Josiah king of Judah, who reigned instead of Josiah his father and who went forth out of this place: [Shallum] shall not return here any more; 12 But he shall die in the place where they have led him captive, and he shall see this land no more.
Messages about the Kings
13 Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness and his [upper] chambers by injustice, who uses his neighbor's service without wages and does not give him his pay [for his work], 14 Who says, I will build myself a wide house with large rooms, and he cuts himself out windows, and it is ceiled or paneled with cedar and painted with vermilion. 15 Do you think that being a king [merely] means [self-indulgent] vying [with Solomon] and striving to excel in cedar [palaces]? Did not your father [Josiah], as he ate and drank, do justice and righteousness [being upright and in right standing with God]? Then it was well with him. 16 He judged and defended the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Was not [all] this [what it means] to know and recognize Me? says the Lord. 17 But your eyes and your heart are only for your covetousness and dishonest gain, for shedding innocent blood, for oppression and doing violence.
18 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah: [Relatives] shall not lament for him, saying, Ah, my brother! or, Ah, sister, [how great our loss! Subjects] shall not lament for him saying, Ah, lord! or Ah, his majesty! or Ah, [how great was] his glory! 19 [No] he shall be buried with the burial of a donkey -- "dragged out and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem. 20 Go up [north] to Lebanon and cry out, and raise your voice in [the hills] of Bashan [across the Jordan], and cry out from Abarim [a range of mountains southeast of Palestine], for all your lovers (the king's chosen allies) are destroyed. 21 I spoke to you in your [times of] prosperity, but you said, I will not listen! This has been your attitude from your youth; you have not obeyed My voice. 22 The wind [of adversity] shall pasture upon and consume all your shepherds (your princes and statesmen), and your lovers (allies) shall go into captivity. Surely then shall you be ashamed and confounded and dismayed because of all your wickedness. 23 O inhabitant of Lebanon [Jerusalem, whose palaces are made of Lebanon's trees], you who make your nest among the cedars, how you will groan and how pitiable you will be when pangs come upon you, pain like that of a woman in childbirth!
24 As I live, says the Lord, though Coniah [also called Jeconiah and Jehoiachin] son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet [ring] upon My right hand, yet would I tear you off. 25 And I will give you into the hands of those who seek your life and into the hand of those of whom you are afraid, even into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon and into the hands of the Chaldeans. 26 And I will hurl you and the mother who bore you into another country, where you were not born, and there you will die. 27 But to the land to which they will yearn to return, there they will not return.
28 Is this man [King] Coniah a despised, broken pot? Is he a vessel in which no one takes pleasure? Why are they hurled out, he and his royal offspring, and cast into a land which they do not know, understand, or recognize? 29 O land, land, land, hear the word of the Lord!