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The Utter Corruption of God’s People

1Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem,

look around and take note!

Search its squares and see

if you can find one person

who acts justly

and seeks truth—

so that I may pardon Jerusalem.

2Although they say, “As the Lord lives,”

yet they swear falsely.

3Lord, do your eyes not look for truth?

You have struck them,

but they felt no anguish;

you have consumed them,

but they refused to take correction.

They have made their faces harder than rock;

they have refused to turn back.

4Then I said, “These are only the poor,

they have no sense;

for they do not know the way of the Lord,

the law of their God.

5Let me go to the rich

and speak to them;

surely they know the way of the Lord,

the law of their God.”

But they all alike had broken the yoke,

they had burst the bonds.

6Therefore a lion from the forest shall kill them,

a wolf from the desert shall destroy them.

A leopard is watching against their cities;

everyone who goes out of them shall be torn in pieces—

because their transgressions are many,

their apostasies are great.

7How can I pardon you?

Your children have forsaken me,

and have sworn by those who are no gods.

When I fed them to the full,

they committed adultery

and trooped to the houses of prostitutes.

8They were well-fed lusty stallions,

each neighing for his neighbor’s wife.

9Shall I not punish them for these things?

says the Lord;

and shall I not bring retribution

on a nation such as this?

10Go up through her vine-rows and destroy,

but do not make a full end;

strip away her branches,

for they are not the Lord’s.

11For the house of Israel and the house of Judah

have been utterly faithless to me,

says the Lord.

12They have spoken falsely of the Lord,

and have said, “He will do nothing.

No evil will come upon us,

and we shall not see sword or famine.”

13The prophets are nothing but wind,

for the word is not in them.

Thus shall it be done to them!

14Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of hosts:

Because they have spoken this word,

I am now making my words in your mouth a fire,

and this people wood, and the fire shall devour them.

15I am going to bring upon you

a nation from far away, O house of Israel,

says the Lord.

It is an enduring nation,

it is an ancient nation,

a nation whose language you do not know,

nor can you understand what they say.

16Their quiver is like an open tomb;

all of them are mighty warriors.

17They shall eat up your harvest and your food;

they shall eat up your sons and your daughters;

they shall eat up your flocks and your herds;

they shall eat up your vines and your fig trees;

they shall destroy with the sword

your fortified cities in which you trust.

18But even in those days, says the Lord, I will not make a full end of you. 19And when your people say, “Why has the Lord our God done all these things to us?” you shall say to them, “As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your land, so you shall serve strangers in a land that is not yours.”

20Declare this in the house of Jacob,

proclaim it in Judah:

21Hear this, O foolish and senseless people,

who have eyes, but do not see,

who have ears, but do not hear.

22Do you not fear me? says the Lord;

Do you not tremble before me?

I placed the sand as a boundary for the sea,

a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass;

though the waves toss, they cannot prevail,

though they roar, they cannot pass over it.

23But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart;

they have turned aside and gone away.

24They do not say in their hearts,

“Let us fear the Lord our God,

who gives the rain in its season,

the autumn rain and the spring rain,

and keeps for us

the weeks appointed for the harvest.”

25Your iniquities have turned these away,

and your sins have deprived you of good.

26For scoundrels are found among my people;

they take over the goods of others.

Like fowlers they set a trap;

they catch human beings.

27Like a cage full of birds,

their houses are full of treachery;

therefore they have become great and rich,

28they have grown fat and sleek.

They know no limits in deeds of wickedness;

they do not judge with justice

the cause of the orphan, to make it prosper,

and they do not defend the rights of the needy.

29Shall I not punish them for these things?

says the Lord,

and shall I not bring retribution

on a nation such as this?

30An appalling and horrible thing

has happened in the land:

31the prophets prophesy falsely,

and the priests rule as the prophets direct;

my people love to have it so,

but what will you do when the end comes?

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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