The prophet laments the miseries of his people: and their sins, which are the cause of them. He exhorts them to repentance.
1 Who will give water to my head, and a fountain of tears to my eyes? and I will weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people.
2 Who will give me in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men, and I will leave my people, and depart from them? because they are all adulterers, an assembly of transgressors.
3 And they have bent their tongue, as a bow, for lies, and not for truth: they have strengthened themselves upon the earth, for they have proceeded from evil to evil, and me they have not known, saith the Lord.
4 Let every man take heed of his neighbour, and let him not trust in any brother of his: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every friend will walk deceitfully.
5 And a man shall mock his brother, and they will not speak the truth: for they have taught their tongue to speak lies: they have laboured to commit iniquity.
6 Thy habitation is in the midst of deceit: Through deceit they have refused to know me, saith the Lord.
7 Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts: Behold I will melt, and try them: for what else shall I do before the daughter of my people?
8 Their tongue is a piercing arrow, it hath spoken deceit: with his mouth one speaketh peace with his friend, and secretly he lieth in wait for him.
9 Shall I not visit them for these things, saith the Lord? or shall not my soul be revenged on such a nation?
10 For the mountains I will take up weeping and lamentation, and for the beautiful places of the desert, mourning: because they are burnt up, for that there is not a man that passeth through them: and they have not heard the voice of the owner: from the fowl of the air to the beasts they are gone away and departed.
11 And I will make Jerusalem to be heaps of sand, and dens of dragons: and I will make the cities of Juda desolate, for want of an inhabitant.
12 Who is the wise man, that may understand this, and to whom the word of the mouth of the Lord may come that he may declare this, why the land hath perished, and is burnt up like a wilderness, which none passeth through?
13 And the Lord said: Because they have forsaken my law, which I gave them, and have not heard my voice, and have not walked in it.
14 But they have gone after the perverseness of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them.
15 Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts the God of Israel: Behold I will feed this people with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.
16 And I will scatter them among the nations, which they and their fathers have not known: and I will send the sword after them till they be consumed.
17 Thus saith the Lord of hosts the God of Israel: Consider ye, and call for the mourning women, and let them come: and send to them that are wise women, and let them make haste:
18 Let them hasten and take up a lamentation for us: let our eyes shed tears, and our eyelids run down with waters.
19 For a voice of wailing is heard out of Sion: How are we wasted and greatly confounded? because we have left the land, because our dwellings are cast down.
20 Hear therefore, ye women, the word of the Lord: and let your ears receive the word of his mouth: and teach your daughters wailing: and every one her neighbour mourning.
21 For death is come up through our windows, it is entered into our houses to destroy the children from without, the young men from the streets.
22 Speak: Thus saith the Lord: Even the carcass of man shall fall as dung upon the face of the country, and as grass behind the back of the mower, and there is none to gather it.
23 Thus saith the Lord: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, and let not the strong man glory in his strength, and let not the rich man glory in his riches:
24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, for I am the Lord that exercise mercy, and judgment, and justice in the earth: for these things please me, saith the Lord.
25 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, and I will visit upon every one that hath the foreskin circumcised.
26 Upon Egypt, and upon Juda, and upon Edom, and upon the children of Ammon, and upon Moab, and upon all that have their hair polled round, that dwell in the desert: for all the nations are uncircumcised in the flesh, but all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.