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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 6

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1People of Benjamin, save yourselves, flee from Jerusalem; sound the trumpet in Tekoa, light the beacon on Beth-hakkerem, for calamity looms from the north and great disaster. 2Zion, delightful and lovely, her end is near — 3she against whom the shepherds will come, they and their flocks with them. They will pitch their tents all around her, each grazing his own strip of pasture: 4‘Prepare for battle against her; come, let us attack her at noon.’ ‘Too late! The day declines and the shadows lengthen.’ 5‘Come then, let us attack by night and destroy her palaces.’

6These are the words of the LORD of Hosts: Cut down the trees of Jerusalem and cast up siege-ramps against her, a city ripe for punishment; oppression is rampant within her. 7As a well keeps its water fresh, so she keeps fresh her wickedness. Violence and outrage echo in her streets; sickness and wounds ever confront me. 8Learn your lesson, Jerusalem, or I shall be estranged from you, and leave you devastated, a land without inhabitants.

9These are the words of the LORD of Hosts: Glean a 6:9 Glean: prob. rdg, cp. Gk; Heb. Let them glean. like a vine the remnant of Israel; one last time, like a vintager, pass your hand over the branches. 10To whom shall I speak, to whom give warning? Who will hear me? Their ears are blocked b 6:10 blocked: lit. uncircumcised. : they are incapable of listening; they treat the LORD's word as a reproach; it has no appeal for them. 11But I am full of the anger of the LORD, I cannot hold it back. I must pour it out on the children in the street, on the young men in their gatherings. Man and wife alike will be caught in it, the ageing and the aged. 12Their houses will be turned over to others, fields and women together, because, says the LORD, I shall raise my hand against the inhabitants of the land. 13For all, high and low, are out for ill-gotten gain; prophets and priests are frauds, every one of them; 14they dress my people's wound, but on the surface only, with their saying, ‘All is well.’ All well? Nothing is well! 15They ought to be ashamed because they practised abominations; yet they have no sense of shame, they could never be put out of countenance. Therefore they will fall with a great crash c 6:15 with a great crash: or among the fallen. , and be brought to the ground on the day of my reckoning. The LORD has said it.

16These are the words of the LORD: Take your stand and watch at the crossroads; enquire about the ancient paths; ask which is the way that leads to what is good. Take that way, and you will find rest for yourselves. But they said, ‘We refuse.’ 17I appointed watchmen to direct them d 6:17 them: so some MSS; others you. . ‘Listen for the trumpet-call,’ I used to say. But they said, ‘We refuse.’ 18Therefore hear, you nations, and all who witness it take note of the plight of this people. 19Let the earth listen: I am about to bring ruin on them, the fruit of all their scheming; for they have given no heed to my words and have spurned my instruction. 20What good is it to me if frankincense is brought from Sheba and fragrant cane from a distant land? Your whole-offerings are not acceptable to me, your sacrifices do not please me. 21Therefore these are the words of the LORD:

I shall set obstacles before this people which will bring them to the ground; fathers and sons, friends and neighbours will all perish together.

22These are the words of the LORD:

See, an army is coming from a northern land, a great nation rouses itself from earth's farthest corners. 23Armed with bow and scimitar, they are cruel and pitiless; bestriding their horses, they sound like the thunder of the sea; they are like men arrayed for battle against you, Zion. 24News of them has reached us and our hands hang limp; agony grips us, pangs as of a woman in labour. 25Do not go out into the country, do not walk by the high road; for the foe, sword in hand, spreads terror all around. 26Daughter of my people, wrap yourself in sackcloth, sprinkle ashes over yourself, wail bitterly as one who mourns an only son; for in an instant the despoiler will be upon us.

27I have appointed you an assayer and tester of my people; you will know how to assay their conduct: 28arch-rebels all of them, mischief-makers, corrupt to a man. 29The bellows blow, the fire is ready; lead, copper, and iron e 6:29 copper, and iron: transposed from after mischief-makers in verse 28. — in vain the refiner refines; the impurities are not removed. 30Call them reject silver, for the LORD has rejected them.

Notes:

a 6:9 Glean: prob. rdg, cp. Gk; Heb. Let them glean.

b 6:10 blocked: lit. uncircumcised.

c 6:15 with a great crash: or among the fallen.

d 6:17 them: so some MSS; others you.

e 6:29 copper, and iron: transposed from after mischief-makers in verse 28.

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