1Roam the streets of Jerusalem,
look about and observe,
Search through her squares,
to find even one
Who acts justly
and seeks honesty,
and I will pardon her!
2They say, “As the LORD lives,”
but in fact they swear falsely.
3LORD, do your eyes not search for honesty?
You struck them, but they did not flinch;
you laid them low, but they refused correction;
They set their faces harder than stone,
and refused to return.a
4I thought: These are only the lowly,
they behave foolishly;
For they do not know the way of the LORD,
the justice of their God.b
5Let me go to the leaders
and speak with them;
For they must know the way of the LORD,
the justice of their God.
But, one and all, they have broken the yoke,
torn off the harness.c
6Therefore, lions from the forest slay them,
wolves of the desert ravage them,
Leopards keep watch round their cities:
all who come out are torn to pieces,
For their crimes are many,
their rebellions numerous.
7Why should I pardon you?
Your children have forsaken me,
they swear by gods that are no gods.
I fed them, but they commit adultery;
to the prostitute’s house they throng.
8They are lustful stallions,
each neighs after the other’s wife.d
9Should I not punish them for this?—oracle of the LORD;
on a nation like this should I not take vengeance?
10Climb her terraces, and ravage them,
destroy them completely.
Tear away her tendrils,
they do not belong to the LORD.e
11For they have openly rebelled against me,
both the house of Israel and the house of Judah—
oracle of the LORD.f
12They denied the LORD,*
saying, “He is nothing,
No evil shall come to us,
neither sword nor famine shall we see.g
13The prophets are wind,
and the word is not with them.
Let it be done to them!”
14Therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of hosts,
because you have said this—
See! I make my words
a fire in your mouth,
And this people the wood
that it shall devour!—
15Beware! I will bring against you
a nation from far away,
O House of Israel—oracle of the LORD;
A long-lived nation, an ancient nation,
a people whose language you do not know,
whose speech you cannot understand.h
16Their quivers are like open graves;
all of them are warriors.
17They will devour your harvest and your bread,
devour your sons and your daughters,
Devour your sheep and cattle,
devour your vines and fig trees;
With their swords they will beat down
the fortified cities in which you trust.i
18Yet even in those days—oracle of the LORD—I will not completely destroy you.j 19And when they ask, “Why has the LORD our God done all these things to us?” say to them, “As you have abandoned me to serve foreign gods in your own land, so shall you serve foreigners in a land not your own.”
20Announce this to the house of Jacob,
proclaim it in Judah:
21Pay attention to this,
you foolish and senseless people,
Who have eyes and do not see,
who have ears and do not hear.k
22Should you not fear me—oracle of the LORD—
should you not tremble before me?
I made the sandy shore the sea’s limit,
which by eternal decree it may not overstep.
Toss though it may, it is to no avail;
though its billows roar, they cannot overstep.l
23But this people’s heart is stubborn and rebellious;
they turn and go away,
24And do not say in their hearts,
“Let us fear the LORD, our God,
Who gives us rain
early and late,* in its time;
Who watches for us
over the appointed weeks of harvest.”m
25Your crimes have prevented these things,
your sins have turned these blessings away from you.n
26For criminals lurk among my people;
like fowlers they set traps,
but it is human beings they catch.o
27Their houses are as full of treachery
as a bird-cage is of birds;
Therefore they grow powerful and rich,
28fat and sleek.
They pass over wicked deeds;
justice they do not defend
By advancing the claim of the orphan
or judging the cause of the poor.p
29Shall I not punish these things?—oracle of the LORD;
on a nation such as this shall I not take vengeance?
30Something shocking and horrible
has happened in the land:
31The prophets prophesy falsely,
and the priests teach on their own authority;
Yet my people like it this way;
what will you do when the end comes?q
* [5:12] They denied the LORD: the people act as though God does not matter and will not interfere.
* [5:24] Rain early and late: autumn and spring rains respectively. Appointed weeks of harvest: the seven weeks between the Passover (Dt 16:9–10) and the feast of Weeks (Pentecost), when it did not ordinarily rain.
g. [5:12] Jer 14:13; Is 28:15.