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1“At that time, says the Lord, the bones of the kings of Judah, the bones of its princes, the bones of the priests, the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be brought out of their tombs; 2and they shall be spread before the sun and the moon and all the host of heaven, which they have loved and served, which they have gone after, and which they have sought and worshiped; and they shall not be gathered or buried; they shall be as dung on the surface of the ground. 3Death shall be preferred to life by all the remnant that remains of this evil family in all the places where I have driven them, says the Lord of hosts.

4“You shall say to them, Thus says the Lord:

When men fall, do they not rise again?

If one turns away, does he not return?

5Why then has this people turned away

in perpetual backsliding?

They hold fast to deceit,

they refuse to return.

6I have given heed and listened,

but they have not spoken aright;

no man repents of his wickedness,

saying, ‘What have I done?’

Every one turns to his own course,

like a horse plunging headlong into battle.

7Even the stork in the heavens

knows her times;

and the turtledove, swallow, and crane

keep the time of their coming;

but my people know not

the ordinance of the Lord.

8“How can you say, ‘We are wise,

and the law of the Lord is with us’?

But behold, the false pen of the scribes

has made it into a lie.

9The wise men shall be put to shame,

they shall be dismayed and taken;

lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord,

and what wisdom is in them?

10Therefore I will give their wives to others

and their fields to conquerors,

because from the least to the greatest

every one is greedy for unjust gain;

from prophet to priest

every one deals falsely.

11They have healed the wound of my people lightly,

saying, ‘Peace, peace,’

when there is no peace.

12Were they ashamed when they committed abomination?

No, they were not at all ashamed;

they did not know how to blush.

Therefore they shall fall among the fallen;

when I punish them, they shall be overthrown,

says the Lord.

13When I would gather them, says the Lord,

there are no grapes on the vine,

nor figs on the fig tree;

even the leaves are withered,

and what I gave them has passed away from them.”

14Why do we sit still?

Gather together, let us go into the fortified cities

and perish there;

for the Lord our God has doomed us to perish,

and has given us poisoned water to drink,

because we have sinned against the Lord.

15We looked for peace, but no good came,

for a time of healing, but behold, terror.

16“The snorting of their horses is heard from Dan;

at the sound of the neighing of their stallions

the whole land quakes.

They come and devour the land and all that fills it,

the city and those who dwell in it.

17For behold, I am sending among you serpents,

adders which cannot be charmed,

and they shall bite you,”

says the Lord.

18My grief is beyond healing,

my heart is sick within me.

19Hark, the cry of the daughter of my people

from the length and breadth of the land:

“Is the Lord not in Zion?

Is her King not in her?”

“Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images,

and with their foreign idols?”

20“The harvest is past, the summer is ended,

and we are not saved.”

21For the wound of the daughter of my people is my heart wounded,

I mourn, and dismay has taken hold on me.

22Is there no balm in Gilead?

Is there no physician there?

Why then has the health of the daughter of my people

not been restored?

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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