81“At that time the bones of the kings and of the officials of Judah, as well as the bones of the priests, of the prophets, and of the other people who lived in Jerusalem, will be taken out of their graves. 2Instead of being gathered and buried, their bones will be like manure lying on the ground. They will be spread out before the sun, the moon, and the stars, which these people have loved and served, and which they have consulted and worshipped. 3And the people of this evil nation who survive, who live in the places where I have scattered them, will prefer to die rather than to go on living. I, the LORD Almighty, have spoken.”
4The LORD told me to say to his people, “When someone falls down, doesn't he get back up? If someone misses the road, doesn't he turn back? 5Why then, my people, do you turn away from me without ever turning back? You cling to your idols and refuse to return to me. 6I listened carefully, but you did not speak the truth. Not one of you has been sorry for his wickedness; not one of you has asked, ‘What have I done wrong?’ Everyone keeps on going his own way, like a horse rushing into battle. 7Even storks know when it is time to return; doves, swallows, and thrushes know when it is time to migrate. But, my people, you do not know the laws by which I rule you. 8How can you say that you are wise, and that you know my laws? Look, the laws have been changed by dishonest scribes. 9Your wise men are put to shame; they are confused and trapped. They have rejected my words; what wisdom have they got now? 10
So I will give their fields to new owners and their wives to other men. Everyone, great and small, tries to make money dishonestly. Even prophets and priests cheat the people. 11
They act as if my people's wounds were only scratches. ‘All is well,’ they say, when all is not well. 12My people, were you ashamed because you did these disgusting things? No, you were not ashamed at all; you don't even know how to blush! And so you will fall as others have fallen; when I punish you, that will be the end of you. I, the LORD, have spoken.
13“I wanted to gather my people, as a farmer gathers a harvest; but they are like a vine with no grapes, like a fig tree with no figs; even the leaves have withered. Therefore, I have allowed outsiders to take over the land.”8.13 Therefore… land; Hebrew unclear.
14“Why are we sitting still?” God's people ask. “Come on, we will run to the fortified cities, and die there. The LORD our God has condemned us to die; he has given us poison to drink, because we have sinned against him. 15We hoped for peace and a time of healing, but it was no use; terror came instead. 16Our enemies are already in the city of Dan; we hear the snorting of their horses. The whole land trembles when their horses neigh. Our enemies have come to destroy our land and everything in it, our city and all its people.”
17“Watch out!” the LORD says, “I am sending snakes among you, poisonous snakes that cannot be charmed, and they will bite you.”
18My sorrow cannot be healed;8.18 Probable text My sorrow… healed; Hebrew unclear.
I am sick at heart.
19Listen! Throughout the land
I hear my people crying out,
“Is the LORD no longer in Zion?
Is Zion's king no longer there?”
The LORD, their king, replies,
“Why have you made me angry by worshipping your idols
and by bowing down to your useless foreign gods?”
20The people cry out,
“The summer is gone, the harvest is over,
but we have not been saved.”
21My heart has been crushed
because my people are crushed;
I mourn; I am completely dismayed.
22Is there no medicine in Gilead?8.22 Gilead: A region east of the Jordan, famous for plants that were used for medicinal purposes.
Are there no doctors there?
Why, then, have my people not been healed?
91I wish my head were a well of water,
and my eyes a fountain of tears,
so that I could cry day and night
for my people who have been killed.
2I wish I had a place to stay in the desert
where I could get away from my people.
They are all unfaithful,
a mob of traitors.
3They are always ready to tell lies;
dishonesty instead of truth rules the land.
The LORD says,
“My people do one evil thing after another,
and do not acknowledge me as their God.”
4Everyone must be on guard against his friend,
and no one can trust his brother;
for every brother is as deceitful as Jacob,
and everyone slanders his friends.
5-6They all mislead their friends,
and no one tells the truth;
they have taught their tongues to lie
and will not give up their sinning.
They do one violent thing after another,
and one deceitful act follows another.
The LORD says that his people reject him.
7Because of this the LORD Almighty says,
“I will refine my people like metal
and put them to the test.
My people have done evil —
what else can I do with them?
8Their tongues are like deadly arrows;
they always tell lies.
Everyone speaks friendly words to his neighbour,
but is really setting a trap for him.
9Will I not punish them for these things?
Will I not take revenge on a nation like this?
I, the LORD, have spoken.”
10I said, “I will mourn for the mountains
and weep for the pastures,
because they have dried up,
and no one travels through them.
The sound of livestock is no longer heard;
birds and wild animals have fled and gone.”
11The LORD says, “I will make Jerusalem a pile of ruins,
a place where jackals live;
the cities of Judah will become a desert,
a place where no one lives.”
12I asked, “LORD, why is the land devastated and dry as a desert, so that no one travels through it? Who is wise enough to understand this? To whom have you explained it so that he can tell others?”
13The LORD answered, “This has happened because my people have abandoned the teaching that I gave them. They have not obeyed me or done what I told them. 14Instead, they have been stubborn and have worshipped the idols of Baal as their ancestors taught them to do. 15So then, listen to what I, the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, will do: I will give my people bitter plants to eat and poison to drink. 16I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors have heard about, and I will send armies against them until I have completely destroyed them.”
17The LORD Almighty said,
“Think about what is happening!
Call for the mourners to come,
for the women who sing funeral songs.”
18The people said,
“Tell them to hurry and sing a funeral song for us,
until our eyes fill with tears,
and our eyelids are wet from crying.”
19Listen to the sound of crying in Zion,
“We are ruined!
We are completely disgraced!
We must leave our land;
our homes have been torn down.”
“Listen to the LORD, you women,
and pay attention to his words.
Teach your daughters how to mourn,
and your friends how to sing a funeral song.
21Death has come in through our windows
and entered our palaces;
it has cut down the children in the streets
and the young men in the market places.
22Dead bodies are scattered everywhere,
like piles of manure on the fields,
like corn cut and left behind by the reapers,
corn that no one gathers.
This is what the LORD has told me to say.”
23The LORD says,
“The wise should not boast of their wisdom,
nor the strong of their strength,
nor the rich of their wealth.
If anyone wants to boast,
he should boast that he knows and understands me,
because my love is constant,
and I do what is just and right.
These are the things that please me.
I, the LORD, have spoken.”
25-26The LORD says, “The time is coming when I will punish the people of Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and the desert people, who have their hair cut short.9.25–26 hair cut short: The desert people cut their hair short in honour of their god, a pagan practice forbidden to the Israelites (see Lev 19.27). All these people are circumcised, but have not kept the covenant it symbolizes. None of these people and none of the people of Israel have kept my covenant.”
101People of Israel, listen to the message that the LORD has for you. 2He says,
“Do not follow the ways of other nations;
do not be disturbed by unusual sights in the sky,
even though other nations are terrified.
3The religion of these people is worthless.
A tree is cut down in the forest;
it is carved by the tools of the woodcarver,
4and decorated with silver and gold.
It is fastened down with nails
to keep it from falling over.
5Such idols are like scarecrows in a field of melons;
they cannot speak;
they have to be carried
because they cannot walk.
Do not be afraid of them:
they can cause you no harm,
and they can do you no good.”
6LORD, there is no one like you;
you are mighty,
and your name is great and powerful.
Who would not honour you, the king of all nations?
You deserve to be honoured.
There is no one like you
among all the wise men of the nations
or among any of their kings.
8All of them are stupid and foolish.
What can they learn from wooden idols?10.8 What can… idols?; or What their idols teach is worthless.
9Their idols are covered with silver from Spain
and with gold from Uphaz,
all the work of artists;
they are dressed in violet and purple cloth
woven by skilled weavers.
10But you, LORD, are the true God,
you are the living God
and the eternal king.
When you are angry, the world trembles;
the nations cannot endure your anger.
11(You people must tell them that the gods who did not make the earth and the sky will be destroyed. They will no longer exist anywhere on earth.)
12The LORD made the earth by his power;
by his wisdom he created the world
and stretched out the heavens.
13At his command the waters above the sky10.13 waters above the sky: See Gen 1.6–8. roar;
he brings clouds from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightning flash in the rain
and sends the wind from his storeroom.
14At the sight of this, people feel stupid and senseless;
those who make idols are disillusioned,
because the gods they make are false and lifeless.
15They are worthless and should be despised;
they will be destroyed when the LORD comes to deal with them.
16The God of Jacob is not like them;
he is the one who made everything,
and he has chosen Israel to be his very own people.
The LORD Almighty is his name.
17People of Jerusalem, you are under siege! Gather up your belongings. 18The LORD is going to throw you out of this land; he is going to crush you until not one of you is left. The LORD has spoken.
19The people of Jerusalem cried out,
“How badly we are hurt!
Our wounds will not heal.
And we thought this was something we could endure!
20Our tents are ruined;
the ropes that held them have broken.
Our children have all gone away;
there is no one left to put up our tents again;
there is no one to hang their curtains.”
21I answered, “Our leaders are stupid;
they do not ask the LORD for guidance.
This is why they have failed,
and our people have been scattered.
22Listen! News has come!
There is a great commotion in a nation to the north;
its army will turn the cities of Judah into a desert,
a place where jackals live.”
23LORD, I know that no one is the master of his own destiny;
no person has control over his own life.
24Correct your people, LORD;
but do not be too hard on us
or punish us when you are angry;
that would be the end of us.
25Turn your anger on the nations that do not worship you
and on the people who reject you.
They have killed your people;
they have destroyed us completely
and left our country in ruins.