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THE HURT OF THE DAUGHTER OF MY PEOPLE

A Rhapsodic Discourse of Jeremiah

Thus saith the LORD: Shall men fall, and not rise up again? shall one turn away, and not return? Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repenteth him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turneth to his course, as a horse that rusheth headlong in the battle. Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the swallow and the crane observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the ordinance of the LORD. How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? But, behold, the false pen of the scribes hath wrought falsely. The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what manner of wisdom is in them? Therefore will I give their wives unto others, and their fields to them that shall possess them: for every one from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. And they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people lightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD. I will utterly consume them, saith the LORD: there shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them.

THE PEOPLE

Why do we sit still? assemble yourselves, and let us enter into the defenced cities, and let us be silent there: for the LORD our God hath put us to silence, and given us water of gall to drink, because we have sinned against the LORD. We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of healing, and behold dismay! The snorting of his horses is heard from Dan: at the sound of the neighing of his strong ones the whole land trembleth; for they are come, and have devoured the land and all that is in it; the city and those that dwell therein.

THE LORD

For, behold, I will send serpents, basilisks, among you, which will not be charmed; and they shall bite you, saith the LORD.

THE PROPHET

Oh that I could comfort myself against sorrow! my heart is faint within me. Behold, the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people from a land that is very far off --

THE PEOPLE

Is not the LORD in Zion? is not her King in her?

THE LORD

Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities?

THE PEOPLE

The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!

THE PROPHET

For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt: I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me. Is there no balm in Gilead? is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered? Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men. And they bend their tongue as it were their bow for falsehood; and they are grown strong in the land, but not for truth.

THE LORD

For they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD. Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will go about with slanders. And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they weary themselves to commit iniquity. Thine habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, I will melt them, and try them; for how else should I do, because of the daughter of my people? Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in his heart he layeth wait for him. Shall I not visit them for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?

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