The Corruption of the People
1Would that I had in the desert a travelers’ lodge! That I might leave my people and depart from them. They are all adulterers, a faithless band. 2They ready their tongues like a drawn bow; with lying, and not with truth, they hold forth in the land. They go from evil to evil, but me they know not, says the LORD. 3Be on your guard, everyone against his neighbor; put no trust in any brother. Every brother apes Jacob, the supplanter,* every friend is guilty of slander. 4Each one deceives the other, no one speaks the truth. They have accustomed their tongues to lying, and are perverse, and cannot repent. m Jer 12, 6 . 5Violence upon violence, deceit upon deceit: They refuse to recognize me, says the LORD.
6Therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: I will smelt them and test them; how else should I deal with their wickedness? 7A murderous arrow is his tongue, his mouth utters deceit; He speaks cordially with his friends, but in his heart he lays an ambush! n Pss 28, 3; 62, 4 . 8For these things, says the LORD, shall I not punish them? On a nation such as this shall I not take vengeance? o Jer 5, 9. 29 .
Dirge over the Ravaged Land
9Over the mountains, break out in cries of lamentation, over the pasture lands, intone a dirge: They are scorched, and no man crosses them, unheard is the bleat of the flock; Birds of the air as well as beasts, all have fled, and are gone. p Jer 4, 25; 12, 4 . 10I will turn Jerusalem into a heap of ruins, a haunt of jackals; The cities of Judah I will make into a waste, where no one dwells. q Is 13, 22 .
11Who is so wise that he can understand this? Let him to whom the mouth of the LORD has spoken make it known:
Why is the land ravaged, scorched like a wasteland untraversed? r Ps 107, 43; Hos 14, 10 .
12The LORD answered: Because they have abandoned my law, which I set before them, and have not followed it or listened to my voice, 13but followed rather the hardness of their hearts and the Baals, as their fathers had taught them; s Jer 7, 24; 19, 4f . 14therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: See now, I will give them wormwood to eat and poison to drink. t Jer 23, 15 . 15I will scatter them among nations whom neither they nor their fathers have known; I will send the sword to pursue them until I have completely destroyed them. u Lv 26, 33; Dt 28, 36. 64 .
16Thus says the LORD of hosts: 16Thus says the LORD of hosts: Attention! tell the wailing women to come, summon the best of them; 17Let them come quickly and intone a dirge for us, That our eyes may be wet with weeping, our cheeks run with tears. v Jer 14, 17 . 18The dirge is heard from Zion: Ruined we are, and greatly ashamed; We must leave the land, give up our homes! 19Hear, you women, the word of the LORD, let your ears receive his message. Teach your daughters this dirge, and each other this lament. 20Death has come up through our windows, has entered our palaces; It cuts down the children in the street, young people in the squares. w Jer 14, 16 . 21The corpses of the slain lie like dung on a field, Like sheaves behind the harvester, with no one to gather them.
22Thus says the LORD: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, nor the strong man glory in his strength, nor the rich man glory in his riches; x Prv 21, 30 . 23But rather, let him who glories, glory in this, that in his prudence he knows me, Knows that I, the LORD, bring about kindness, justice and uprightness on the earth; For with such am I pleased, says the LORD.
Circumcision Worthless. 24See, days are coming, says the LORD, when I will demand an account of all those circumcised in their flesh: y Jer 4, 4 . 25Egypt and Judah, Edom and the Ammonites, Moab and the desert dwellers who shave their temples.* For all these nations, like the whole house of Israel, are uncircumcised in heart.