1At that time—oracle of the LORD—the bones of the kings and princes of Judah, the bones of the priests and the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem will be brought out of their gravesa 2and spread out before the sun, the moon, and the whole host of heaven,* which they loved and served, which they followed, consulted, and worshiped. They will not be gathered up for burial, but will lie like dung upon the ground.b 3Death will be preferred to life by all the survivors of this wicked people who remain in any of the places to which I banish them—oracle of the LORD of hosts.
Israel’s Conduct Incomprehensible
4Tell them: Thus says the LORD:
When someone falls, do they not rise again?
if they turn away, do they not turn back?
5Why then do these people resist
with persistent rebellion?
Why do they cling to deception,
refuse to turn back?c
6I have listened closely:
they speak what is not true;
No one regrets wickedness,
saying, “What have I done?”
Everyone keeps on running their course,
like a horse dashing into battle.d
7Even the stork in the sky
knows its seasons;
Turtledove, swift, and thrush
observe the time of their return,
But my people do not know
the order of the LORD.e
8How can you say, “We are wise,f
we have the law of the LORD”?
See, that has been changed into falsehood
by the lying pen of the scribes!*
9The wise are put to shame,
terrified, and trapped;
Since they have rejected the word of the LORD,
what sort of wisdom do they have?g
Shameless in Their Crimes
10Therefore, I will give their wives to other men,
their fields to new owners.
Small and great alike, all are greedy for gain,
prophet and priest, all practice fraud.h
11They have treated lightly
the injury to the daughter of my people:*
“Peace, peace!” they say,
though there is no peace.i
12They have acted shamefully; they have done abominable things,
yet they are not at all ashamed,
they do not know how to blush.
Hence they shall be among those who fall;
in their time of punishment they shall stumble,
says the LORD.j
Threats of Punishment
13I will gather them all in—oracle of the LORD:
no grapes on the vine,
No figs on the fig trees,
Whatever I have given them is gone.
14Why do we remain here?
Let us assemble and flee to the fortified cities,
where we will meet our doom;
For the LORD our God has doomed us,
he has given us poisoned water to drink,
because we have sinned against the LORD.k
15We wait for peace to no avail;
for a time of healing, but terror comes instead.l
16From Dan is heard
the snorting of horses;
The neighing of stallions
shakes the whole land.
They come to devour the land and everything in it,
the city and its inhabitants.
17Yes, I will send against you
Against them no charm will work
when they bite you—oracle of the LORD.m
The Prophet’s Grief over the People’s Suffering
18My joy is gone,
grief is upon me,
my heart is sick.
19Listen! the cry of the daughter of my people,
far and wide in the land!
“Is the LORD no longer in Zion,
is her King no longer in her midst?”
Why do they provoke me with their idols,
with their foreign nonentities?n
20“The harvest is over, the summer ended,
but we have not yet been saved!”
21I am broken by the injury of the daughter of my people.
I am in mourning; horror has seized me.o
22Is there no balm in Gilead,*
no healer there?
Why does new flesh not grow
over the wound of the daughter of my people?p
23Oh, that my head were a spring of water,
my eyes a fountain of tears,
That I might weep day and night
over the slain from the daughter of my people!
* [8:2] Host of heaven: the stars, worshiped by other nations and even by the inhabitants of Jerusalem, particularly during the reigns of Manasseh and Amon.
* [8:8] Lying pen of the scribes: because the teachings and interpretations of the scribes ran counter to the word of the Lord.
* [8:22] Gilead: a region southeast of the Sea of Galilee noted for its healing balm.