A Warning for the People of Jerusalem The LORD said: 6   1Run for your lives, people of Benjamin. Get out of Jerusalem. Sound a trumpet in Tekoa and light a signal fire in Beth-Haccherem. Soon you will be struck by disaster from the north. 2Jerusalem is a lovely pasture, 3but shepherds will surround it and divided up, then let their flocks eat all the grass.[Z] 4Kings will tell their troops, “If we reach Jerusalem in the morning, we'll attack at noon. But if we arrive later, 5we'll attack after dark and destroy its fortresses.”   6I am the LORD All-Powerful, and I will command these armies to chop down trees and build a ramp up to the walls of Jerusalem.   People of Jerusalem, I must punish you for your injustice. 7Evil pours from your city like water from a spring. Sounds of injustice and violence echo within your walls; victims are everywhere, wounded and dying.   8Listen to me, you people of Jerusalem and Judah. I will abandon you, and your land will become an empty desert. 9I will tell your enemies to leave your nation bare like a vine stripped of grapes. I, the LORD All-Powerful, have spoken. Jeremiah's Anger 10I have told the people that you, LORD, will punish them, but they just laugh and refuse to listen. 11Your anger against Judah flames up inside me, and I can't hold it in much longer. The LORD's Anger Will Sweep Everyone Away The LORD answered:   Don't hold back my anger! Let it sweep away everyone— the children at play and all adults, young and old alike. 12 I'll punish the people of Judah and give to others their houses and fields, as well as their wives. I, the LORD, have spoken.   13Everyone is greedy and dishonest, whether poor or rich. Even the prophets and priests cannot be trusted. 14 All they ever offer to my deeply wounded people are empty hopes for peace. 15They should be ashamed of their disgusting sins, but they don't even blush. And so, when I punish Judah, they will end up on the ground, dead like everyone else. I, the LORD, have spoken. The People of Judah Rejected God's Way of Life 16The LORD said:   My people, when you stood at the crossroads, I told you, “Follow the road your ancestors took, and you will find peace.” But you refused. 17I also sent prophets to warn you of danger, but when they sounded the alarm, you paid no attention. 18So I tell all nations on earth, “Watch what I will do! 19My people ignored me and rejected my laws. They planned to do evil, and now the evil they planned will happen to them.”   20People of Judah, you bring me incense from Sheba and spices from distant lands. You offer sacrifices of all kinds. But why bother? I hate these gifts of yours! 21So I will put stumbling blocks in your path, and everyone will die, including parents and children, neighbors and friends. An Army from the North 22The LORD said,   “Look toward the north, where a powerful nation has prepared for war. 23Its well-armed troops are cruel and never show mercy. Their galloping horses sound like ocean waves pounding on the shore. This army will attack you, lovely Jerusalem.”   24Then the people said,   “Just hearing about them makes us tremble with fear, and we twist and turn in pain like a woman giving birth.”   25The LORD said,   “Don't work in your fields or walk along the roads. It's too dangerous. The enemy is well armed 26and attacks without warning. So mourn, my people, as though your only child had died. Wear clothes made of sackcloth[A] and roll in the ash pile.” The LORD's People Must Be Tested The LORD said:   27Jeremiah, test my people as though they were metal. 28And you'll find they are hard like bronze and iron. They are stubborn rebels, always spreading lies. 293029-30 Silver can be purifiedSilver can be purified in a fiery furnace, but my people are too wicked to be made pure, and so I have rejected them.
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