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1 “O Israel,” says the Lord,
“if you wanted to return to me, you could.
You could throw away your detestable idols
and stray away no more.
2 Then when you swear by my name, saying,
‘As surely as the Lord lives,’
you could do so
with truth, justice, and righteousness.
Then you would be a blessing to the nations of the world,
and all people would come and praise my name.”
Coming Judgment against Judah
3 This is what the Lord says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem:
“Plow up the hard ground of your hearts!
Do not waste your good seed among thorns.
4 O people of Judah and Jerusalem,
surrender your pride and power.
Change your hearts before the Lord,[a]
or my anger will burn like an unquenchable fire
because of all your sins.
5 “Shout to Judah, and broadcast to Jerusalem!
Tell them to sound the alarm throughout the land:
‘Run for your lives!
Flee to the fortified cities!’
6 Raise a signal flag as a warning for Jerusalem[b]:
‘Flee now! Do not delay!’
For I am bringing terrible destruction upon you
from the north.”
7 A lion stalks from its den,
a destroyer of nations.
It has left its lair and is headed your way.
It’s going to devastate your land!
Your towns will lie in ruins,
with no one living in them anymore.
8 So put on clothes of mourning
and weep with broken hearts,
for the fierce anger of the Lord
is still upon us.
9 “In that day,” says the Lord,
“the king and the officials will tremble in fear.
The priests will be struck with horror,
and the prophets will be appalled.”