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The evils that threaten Jerusalem. She is invited to return, and walk in the good way, and not to rely on sacrifices without obedience.

[1] Strengthen yourselves, ye sons of Benjamin, in the midst of Jerusalem, and sound the trumpet in Thecua, and set up the standard over Bethacarem: for evil is seen out of the north, and a great destruction. [2] I have likened the daughter of Sion to a beautiful and delicate woman. [3] The shepherds shall come to her with their flocks: they have pitched their tents against her round about: every one shall feed them that are under his hand. [4] Prepare ye war against her: arise, and let us go up at midday: woe unto us, for the day is declined, for the shadows of the evening are grown longer. [5] Arise, and let us go up in the night, and destroy her houses.

[6] For thus saith the Lord of hosts: Hew down her trees, cast up a trench about Jerusalem: this is the city to be visited, all oppression is in the midst of her. [7] As a cistern maketh its water cold, so hath she made her wickedness cold: violence and spoil shall be heard in her, infirmity and stripes are continually before me. [8] Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee, lest I make thee desolate, a land uninhabited. [9] Thus saith the Lord of hosts: They shall gather the remains of Israel, as in a vine, even to one cluster: turn back thy hand, as a grape gatherer into the basket. [10] To whom shall I speak? and to whom shall I testify, that he may hear? behold, their ears are uncircumcised, and they cannot hear: behold the word of the Lord is become unto them a reproach: and and they will not receive it.

[11] Therefore am I full of the fury of the Lord, I am weary with holding in: pour it out upon the child abroad, and upon the council of the young men together: for man and woman shall be taken, the ancient and he that is full of days. [12] And their houses shall be turned over to others, with their lands and their wives together: for I will stretch for my hand upon the inhabitants of the land, saith the Lord. [13] For from the least of them even to the greatest, all are given to covetousness: and from the prophet even to the priest, all are guilty of deceit. [14] And they healed the breach of the daughter of my people disgracefully, saying: Peace, peace: and there was no peace. [15] They were confounded, because they committed abomination: yea, rather they were not confounded with confusion, and they knew not how to blush: wherefore they shall fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall fall down, saith the Lord.

[16] Thus saith the Lord: Stand ye on the ways, and see and ask for the old paths which is the good way, and walk ye in it: and you shall find refreshment for your souls. And they said: we will not walk. [17] And I appointed watchmen over you, saying: Hearken ye to the sound of the trumpet. And they said: We will not hearken. [18] Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what great things I will do to them. [19] Hear, O earth: Behold I will bring evils upon this people, the fruits of their own thoughts: because they have not heard my words, and they have cast away my law. [20] To what purpose do you bring me frankincense from Saba, and the sweet smelling cane from a far country? your holocausts are not acceptable, nor are your sacrifices pleasing to me.

[21] Therefore thus saith the Lord: Behold, I will bring destruction upon this people, by which fathers and sons together shall fall, neighbour and kinsman shall perish. [22] Thus saith the Lord: Behold a people cometh from the land of the north, and a great nation shall rise up from the ends of the earth. [23] They shall lay hold on arrow and shield: they are cruel, and will have no mercy. Their voice shall roar like the sea: and they shall mount upon horses, prepared as men for war, against thee, O daughter of Sion. [24] We have heard the fame thereof, our hands grow feeble: anguish hath taken hold of us, as a woman in labor. [25] Go not out into the fields, nor walk in the highway: for the sword of the enemy, and fear is on every side.

[26] Gird thee with sackcloth, O daughter of my people, and sprinkle thee with ashes: make thee mourning as for an only son, a bitter lamentation, because the destroyer shall suddenly come upon us. [27] I have set thee for a strong trier among my people: and thou shalt know and prove their way. [28] All of these princes go out of the way, they walk deceitfully, they are brass and iron: they are all corrupted. [29] The bellows have failed, the lead is consumed in the fire, the founder hath melted in vain: for their wicked deeds are not consumed. [30] Call them reprobate silver, for the Lord hath rejected them.

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