1 Go in flight out of Jerusalem, so that you may be safe, you children of Benjamin, and let the horn be sounded in Tekoa, and the flag be lifted up on Beth-haccherem: for evil is looking out from the north, and a great destruction. 2 The fair and delicate one, the daughter of Zion, will be cut off by my hand. 3 Keepers of sheep with their flocks will come to her; they will put up their tents round her; everyone will get food in his place. 4 Make war ready against her; up! let us go up when the sun is high. Sorrow is ours! for the day is turned and the shades of evening are stretched out. 5 Up! let us go up by night, and send destruction on her great houses.
6 For this is what the Lord of armies has said: Let trees be cut down and an earthwork be placed against Jerusalem: sorrow on the false town! inside her there is nothing but cruel ways. 7 As the spring keeps its waters cold, so she keeps her evil in her: the sound of cruel and violent behaviour is in her; before me at all times are disease and wounds. 8 Undergo teaching, O Jerusalem, or my soul will be turned away from you, and I will make you a waste, an unpeopled land.
9 This is what the Lord of armies has said: Everything will be taken from the rest of Israel as the last grapes are taken from the vine; let your hand be turned to the small branches, like one pulling off grapes.
10 To whom am I to give word, witnessing so that they may take note? see, their ears are stopped, and they are not able to give attention: see, the word of the Lord has been a cause of shame to them, they have no delight in it. 11 For this reason I am full of the wrath of the Lord, I am tired of keeping it in: may it be let loose on the children in the street, and on the band of the young men together: for even the husband with his wife will be taken, the old man with him who is full of days. 12 And their houses will be handed over to others, their fields and their wives together: for my hand will be stretched out against the people of the land, says the Lord.
13 For from the least of them even to the greatest, everyone is given up to getting money; from the prophet even to the priest, everyone is working deceit. 14 And they have made little of the wounds of my people, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. 15 Let them be put to shame because they have done disgusting things. They had no shame, they were not able to become red with shame: so they will come down with those who are falling: when my punishment comes on them, they will be made low, says the Lord.
16 This is what the Lord has said: Take your place looking out on the ways; make search for the old roads, saying, Where is the good way? and go in it that you may have rest for your souls. But they said, We will not go in it. 17 And I put watchmen over you, saying, Give attention to the sound of the horn; but they said, We will not give attention.
18 So then, give ear, you nations, and ... 19 Give ear, O earth: see, I will make evil come on this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not given attention to my words, and they would have nothing to do with my law. 20 To what purpose does sweet perfume come to me from Sheba, and spices from a far country? your burned offerings give me no pleasure, your offerings of beasts are not pleasing to me. 21 For this reason the Lord has said, See, I will put stones in the way of this people: and the fathers and the sons together will go falling over them; the neighbour and his friend will come to destruction.
22 The Lord has said, See, a people is coming from the north country, a great nation will be put in motion from the inmost parts of the earth. 23 Bows and spears are in their hands; they are cruel and have no mercy; their voice is like the thunder of the sea, and they go on horses; everyone in his place like men going to the fight, against you, O daughter of Zion.
24 The news of it has come to our ears; our hands have become feeble: trouble has come on us and pain, like the pain of a woman in childbirth. 25 Go not out into the field or by the way; for there is the sword of the attacker, and fear on every side. 26 O daughter of my people, put on haircloth, rolling yourself in the dust: give yourself to sorrow, as for an only son, with most bitter cries of grief; for he who makes waste will come on us suddenly.
27 I have made you a tester among my people, so that you may have knowledge of their way and put it to the test. 28 All of them are turned away, going about with false stories; they are brass and iron: they are all workers of deceit. 29 The blower is blowing strongly, the lead is burned away in the fire: they go on heating the metal to no purpose, for the evil-doers are not taken away. 30 They will be named waste silver, because the Lord has given them up.