1 “O Israel, if you would return, says the Lord, then be converted to me. If you remove your offense from before my face, then you will not be shaken.
2 And you will swear, ‘As the Lord lives,’ in truth and in judgment and in justice.” And the Gentiles will bless him, and they will praise him.
3 For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and of Jerusalem: “Break new ground, and do not choose to sow upon thorns.
4 Be circumcised to the Lord, and take away the foreskins from your hearts, O men of Judah, O inhabitants of Jerusalem. Otherwise my indignation may burst forth and flare up like a fire. And then there will be no one who can extinguish it, because of the wickedness of your thoughts.
5 Declare it in Judah, and make it known in Jerusalem! Speak out and sound the trumpet in the land! Cry out strongly and say: ‘Gather yourselves! And let us go forth to fortified cities!’
6 Lift up a standard in Zion. Be strengthened! Do not choose to stand still. For I am bringing an evil from the north, with great destruction.
7 The lion has ascended from his den, and the pillager of the nations has lifted himself up. He has gone forth from his place, so that he may set your land in desolation. Your cities will be laid waste, remaining without an inhabitant.
8 Concerning this, wrap yourselves in haircloth, mourn and wail: ‘For the wrath of the fury of the Lord has not been turned away from us.’
9 And this shall be in that day, says the Lord: The heart of the king will perish, with the heart of the princes. And the priests will be stupefied, and the prophets will be in consternation.”
10 And I said: “Alas, alas, alas, O Lord God! Could it be that you have deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying: ‘Peace shall be yours,’ while, behold, the sword reaches even to the soul?”
11 “In that time, it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem: ‘A burning wind is in the ways that are in the desert, along the way of the daughter of my people, but not to winnow and not to cleanse.’
12 A full spirit from these places will come to me. And now I will speak my judgments over them.
13 Behold, he will ascend like a cloud, and his chariot will ascend like a tempest. His horses are swifter than eagles. ‘Woe to us! For we are being devastated!’
14 Wash your heart from malice, O Jerusalem, so that you may be saved. How long will harmful thoughts abide in you?
15 For there is a voice, of someone announcing from Dan, and he is making known the idol from mount Ephraim.
16 Say to the nations: ‘Behold, it has been heard in Jerusalem! Guardians are coming from a far away land, to utter their voice against the cities of Judah.’
17 They have been stationed over her, like the guardians of fields, all around. For she has provoked me to wrath, says the Lord.
18 Your ways and your thoughts have brought these things upon you. This is your own wickedness. And it is bitter, because it has touched your heart.
19 I am afflicted in my heart, in my heart. The senses of my heart have been stirred up within me. I will not remain silent. For my soul has heard the voice of the trumpet, the clamor of the battle.
20 Destruction upon destruction has been called forth. And the entire earth has been devastated. My tabernacles have been destroyed suddenly, and my tents in an instant.
21 How long shall I watch those who are fleeing, and listen to the voice of the trumpet?
22 For my foolish people have not known me. They are foolish and mad sons. They are clever in doing evil, but they do not know how to do good.
23 I gazed upon the earth, and behold, it was empty and brought to nothing. And I gazed upon the heavens, but there was no light in them.
24 I watched the mountains, and behold, they trembled, and all the hills were shaken.
25 I looked, and there was no man. And all the flying things of the air had gone away.
26 I gazed, and behold, Carmel was a desert, and all its cities were destroyed before the face of the Lord, and before the face of the wrath of his fury.”
27 For thus says the Lord: “All the earth will be desolate, but I will not yet bring about its consummation.
28 The earth will mourn, and the heavens will lament from above. For I have spoken, I have decided, and I have not regretted. Neither will I be turned away from it.
29 Before the voice of the horsemen and of those who send forth arrows, the entire city has fled. They have entered steep places, and they have ascended the cliffs. All of the cities have been abandoned, and no man lives within them.
30 So then, when you have been devastated, what will you do? Though you will clothe yourself with scarlet, though you will adorn yourself with a gold necklace and tint your eyes with cosmetics, you will be dressing yourself up in vain. Your lovers have spurned you; they will be seeking your life.
31 For I have heard a voice, like that of a woman giving birth, during the difficulties of labor. It is the voice of the daughter of Zion, dying, extending her hands: ‘Woe to me! For my soul is failing because of those who have been slain!’ ”