December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Would that I had in the desert a travelers' lodge! That I might leave my people and depart from them. They are all adulterers, a faithless band.
- They ready their tongues like a drawn bow; with lying, and not with truth, they hold forth in the land. They go from evil to evil, but me they know not, says the LORD.
- 1 Be on your guard, everyone against his neighbor; put no trust in any brother. Every brother apes Jacob, the supplanter, every friend is guilty of slander.
- Each one deceives the other, no one speaks the truth. They have accustomed their tongues to lying, and are perverse, and cannot repent.
- Violence upon violence, deceit upon deceit: They refuse to recognize me, says the LORD.
- Therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: I will smelt them and test them; how else should I deal with their wickedness?
- A murderous arrow is his tongue, his mouth utters deceit; He speaks cordially with his friends, but in his heart he lays an ambush!
- For these things, says the LORD, shall I not punish them? On a nation such as this shall I not take vengeance?
- Over the mountains, break out in cries of lamentation, over the pasture lands, intone a dirge: They are scorched, and no man crosses them, unheard is the bleat of the flock; Birds of the air as well as beasts, all have fled, and are gone.
- I will turn Jerusalem into a heap of ruins, a haunt of jackals; The cities of Judah I will make into a waste, where no one dwells.
- Who is so wise that he can understand this? Let him to whom the mouth of the LORD has spoken make it known: Why is the land ravaged, scorched like a wasteland untraversed?
- The LORD answered: Because they have abandoned my law, which I set before them, and have not followed it or listened to my voice,
- but followed rather the hardness of their hearts and the Baals, as their fathers had taught them;
- therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: See now, I will give them wormwood to eat and poison to drink.
- I will scatter them among nations whom neither they nor their fathers have known; I will send the sword to pursue them until I have completely destroyed them.
- Thus says the LORD of hosts: Attention! tell the wailing women to come, summon the best of them;
- Let them come quickly and intone a dirge for us, That our eyes may be wet with weeping, our cheeks run with tears.
- The dirge is heard from Zion: Ruined we are, and greatly ashamed; We must leave the land, give up our homes!
- Hear, you women, the word of the LORD, let your ears receive his message. Teach your daughters this dirge, and each other this lament.
- Death has come up through our windows, has entered our palaces; It cuts down the children in the street, young people in the squares.
- The corpses of the slain lie like dung on a field, Like sheaves behind the harvester, with no one to gather them.
- Thus says the LORD: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, nor the strong man glory in his strength, nor the rich man glory in his riches;
- But rather, let him who glories, glory in this, that in his prudence he knows me, Knows that I, the LORD, bring about kindness, justice and uprightness on the earth; For with such am I pleased, says the LORD.
- See, days are coming, says the LORD, when I will demand an account of all those circumcised in their flesh:
- 2 Egypt and Judah, Edom and the Ammonites, Moab and the desert dwellers who shave their temples. For all these nations, like the whole house of Israel, are uncircumcised in heart.
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1  Jacob, the supplanter: in Hebrew, a play on words. Jacob, as his name indicates ("he supplants"), deprived his brother Esau of his birthright; cf Genesis 25:26, 33.
2  Desert dwellers . . . temples: Arab tribesmen who cut off their hair and shaved their temples in honor of the pagan god Dushara. This was forbidden the Israelites (Lev 19:27).
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