1 How I wish my head was a spring of water, and my eyes a fountain of tears! Then I would weep day and night over all my people who have been killed. 2 I wish I had a temporary shelter in the desert—I would give up on my people and leave them, because they're all adulterers, a bunch of traitors! 3 Their words are like arrows shot from a bow. Lies win out over the truth throughout the country. They go from one evil thing to the next, forgetting all about me, declares the Lord.
4 Everyone, watch out for your friends! Don't even trust your brother! Every brother is deceitful, and every friend slanders other people. 5 Everyone betrays their friends; no one tells the truth. They've made themselves into expert liars; they tire themselves out doing wrong. 6 Everyone exploits each other, and in all their lies they don't want to know me, declares the Lord.
7 So this is what the Lord Almighty says: Look, I'm going to test them and purify them like metal in a furnace. What else can I do because of what my people have done? 8 Their words are arrows that kill; they always tell lies. They're nice to their friends on the outside while plotting against them inside. 9 Shouldn't I punish them for all this? declares the Lord. Shouldn't I retaliate for what this nation has done?
10 I will weep and wail for the mountains, I will sing a funeral song over the pastures in the countryside, because they have been so badly burned that no one can pass through, and there are no cattle to make any noise. The birds have flown and the wild animals have run away.
11 I'm going to make Jerusalem into a heap of rubble, a place where jackals live. I will destroy the towns of Judah, leaving them empty. 12 Who is wise enough to understand this? Has the Lord told anyone so they can explain what's happened? Why has the land been destroyed and burned so it's like a desert, so no one can pass through it?
13 The Lord replied, It's because they have given up keeping my laws that I placed before them. They haven't followed them; they haven't done what I told them. 14 On the contrary, they have followed their own stubborn way of thinking, and went to worship the Baals, just as their forefathers taught them.
15 So this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Watch out! I will give these people wormwood to eat and poisoned water to drink. 16 I'm about to scatter them among nations unfamiliar to them and their forefathers, and I will send enemies with swords to chase after them until I have wiped them out.
17 This is what the Lord Almighty says: Be aware of what's happening! Call for the professional women mourners, ask for the best of them. 18 Have them come as quickly as possible, and sing a funeral song about us, so we can cry our eyes out, so our tears will flow like streams.
19 The sound of weeping comes from Zion, “We're completely devastated! We're totally ashamed, because we've had to abandon our country, because our houses have been demolished.”
20 Women, listen to the Lord's message, hear what he has to say. Teach your daughters to mourn and sing songs of sadness. 21 Death has slipped in through our windows; it has come into our fortresses. It has killed the children playing in the streets and the young people gathering in the town squares.
22 Tell everyone this is what the Lord says: Dead bodies will be left where they fall like manure in the fields, lying there like stalks of freshly-cut grain behind the reaper, with no one to collect them.
23 This is what the Lord says: The wise shouldn't boast about their wisdom. The strong shouldn't boast about their strength. The rich shouldn't boast about their riches. 24 Anyone who wants to boast should boast that they really know and understand me, recognizing that I am the Lord who acts with trustworthy love, who shows fairness, and who does what is right everywhere on earth, because these mean the most to me, declares the Lord.
25 Watch out, for the time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will punish all who are only physically circumcised. 26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and all the desert people who trim their hair on the sides of their heads—all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the Israelites are spiritually uncircumcised.