The People Took the Wrong Road
4 The Lord said:
People of Jerusalem, when you stumble and fall, you get back up, and if you take a wrong road, you turn around and go back.
5 So why do you refuse to come back to me? Why do you hold so tightly to your false gods?
6 I listen carefully, but none of you admit that you've done wrong. Without a second thought, you run down the wrong road like horses running blindly into battle. 7 Storks, doves, swallows, and thrushes all know when it's time to fly away for the winter and when to come back. But you, my people, don't know what I demand.
8 You say, “We are wise because we have the teachings and laws of the Lord.”
But I say that your teachers have turned my words into lies!
9 Your wise men have rejected what I say, and so they have no wisdom.
Now they will be trapped and put to shame; they won't know what to do.
10 I'll give their wives and fields to strangers.
Everyone is greedy and dishonest, whether poor or rich.
Even the prophets and priests cannot be trusted.
11 All they ever offer to my deeply wounded people are empty hopes for peace.
12 They should be ashamed of the way they live, but they don't even blush.
And so, when I punish Judah, they will end up on the ground, dead like everyone else.
13 I will wipe them out. They are vines without grapes; fig trees without figs or leaves. They have not done a thing that I told them!
I, the Lord, have spoken.
The People and Their Punishment
14 The people of Judah say to each other, “What are we waiting for?
Let's run to a town with walls and die there.
We rebelled against the Lord, and we were sentenced to die by drinking poison.
15 We had hoped for peace and a time of healing, but all we got was terror.
16 Our enemies have reached the town of Dan in the north, and the snorting of their horses
makes us tremble with fear.
The enemy will destroy Jerusalem and our entire nation. No one will survive.”
17 “Watch out!” the Lord says.
“I'm sending poisonous snakes to attack you, and no one can stop them.”