The Corruption of the People
1Oh, that I had in the wilderness
a travelers’ lodging!
That I might leave my people
and depart from them.
They are all adulterers,
a band of traitors.
2They ready their tongues like a drawn bow;
with lying, and not with truth,
they are powerful in the land.
They go from evil to evil,
and me they do not know—oracle of the LORD.
3Be on your guard, everyone against his neighbor;
put no trust in any brother.
Every brother imitates Jacob, the supplanter,*
every neighbor is guilty of slander.
4Each one deceives the other,
no one speaks the truth.
They have accustomed their tongues to lying,
they are perverse and cannot repent.a
5Violence upon violence,
deceit upon deceit:
They refuse to know me—
oracle of the LORD.
6Therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts:
I will refine them and test them;
how else should I deal with the daughter of my people?
7A murderous arrow is their tongue,
their mouths utter deceit;
They speak peaceably with their neighbors,
but in their hearts they lay an ambush!b
8Should I not punish them for these deeds—oracle of the LORD;
on a nation such as this should I not take vengeance?c
Dirge over the Ravaged Land
9Over the mountains I shall break out in cries of lamentation,
over the pastures in the wilderness, in a dirge:
They are scorched, and no one crosses them,
no sound of lowing cattle;
Birds of the air as well as beasts,
all have fled and are gone.d
10I will turn Jerusalem into a heap of ruins,
a haunt of jackals;
The cities of Judah I will make a waste,
where no one dwells.e
11Who is wise enough to understand this? To whom has the mouth of the LORD spoken? Let him declare it!
Why is the land ravaged,
scorched like a wilderness no one crosses?f
12The LORD said: Because they have abandoned my law, which I set before them, and did not listen to me or follow it, 13but followed instead their stubborn hearts and the Baals, as their ancestors had taught them,g 14therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: See now, I will give this people wormwood to eat and poisoned water to drink.h 15I will scatter them among nations whom neither they nor their ancestors have known; I will send the sword to pursue them until I have completely destroyed them.i
16Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Inquire, and call the wailing women to come;
summon the most skilled of them.
17Let them come quickly
and raise for us a dirge,
That our eyes may run with tears,
our pupils flow with water.j
18The sound of the dirge is heard from Zion:
We are ruined and greatly ashamed;
We have left the land,
given up our dwellings!
19Hear, you women, the word of the LORD,
let your ears receive the word of his mouth.
Teach your daughters a dirge,
and each other a lament:
20Death has come up through our windows,
has entered our citadels,
To cut down children in the street,
young people in the squares.k
21Corpses shall fall
like dung in the open field,
Like sheaves behind the harvester,
with no one to gather them.
22Thus says the LORD:
Let not the wise boast of his wisdom,
nor the strong boast of his strength,
nor the rich man boast of his riches;
23But rather, let those who boast, boast of this,
that in their prudence they know me,l
Know that I, the LORD, act with fidelity,
justice, and integrity on earth.
How I take delight in these—oracle of the LORD.
False Circumcision. 24See, days are coming—oracle of the LORD—when I will demand an account of all those circumcised in the foreskin:m 25Egypt and Judah, Edom and the Ammonites, Moab, and those who live in the wilderness and shave their temples.* For all the nations are uncircumcised, even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised at heart.
* [9:3] Jacob, the supplanter: in Hebrew, a play on words. In the popular etymology given in Gn 25:26, the name Jacob means “he supplants,” for he deprived his brother Esau of his birthright (cf. Gn 25:33).
* [9:25] Shave their temples: some Arabian tribes practiced this custom. None of the nations who practice circumcision understand the meaning of their action, not even Israel; no one conforms to life under the covenant.
f. [9:11] Ps 107:43; Hos 14:10.
i. [9:15] Lv 26:33; Dt 28:36, 64.