1 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 signal of fire in Beth-haccherem: for evil appears out of the north, and great destruction. 2 I have likened the daughter of Zion to a lovely and delicate woman. 3 The shepherds with their flocks shall come unto her; they shall pitch their tents against her round about; they shall feed everyone in his own place. 4 Prepare you 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 lengthening. 5 Arise, and let us go by night, and let us destroy her palaces.
6 For thus has the LORD of hosts said, Hew you down trees, and cast a mound against Jerusalem: this is the city to be punished; she is full of oppression in the midst of her. 7 As a fountain casts out her waters, so she casts out her wickedness: violence and plundering are heard in her; before me continually are grief and wounds. 8 Be you 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.
10 To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it. 11 Therefore I am full of the fury of the LORD; I am weary with holding in: I will pour it out upon the children in the street, 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. 12 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.
13 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. 14 They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people lightly, 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 them that fall: at the time that I punish them they shall be cast down, says the LORD.
16 Thus says the LORD, Stand you in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it, and you shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk in it. 17 Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.
18 Therefore hear, you nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them. 19 Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it. 20 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. 21 Therefore thus says the LORD, Behold, I will lay stumblingblocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them; the neighbor and his friend shall perish.
22 Thus says the LORD, Behold, a people comes from the north country, and a great nation shall be raised from the ends of the earth. 23 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.
24 We have heard the report of it: our hands grow feeble: anguish has taken hold of us, and pain, as of a woman in travail. 25 Go not forth into the field, nor walk by the way; for the sword of the enemy and fear is on every side. 26 O daughter of my people, gird yourself with sackcloth, and roll yourself about in ashes: make yourself mourn, as for an only son, most bitter lamentation: for the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us.
27 I have set you for a tester and a fortress among my people, that you may know and test their way. 28 They are all grievous revolters, walking with slanders: they are bronze and iron; they are all corrupters. 29 The bellows blow fiercely, the lead is consumed by the fire; the smelter refines in vain: for the wicked are not removed. 30 Rejected silver shall men call them, because the LORD has rejected them.