Bible: Jeremiah 1-25

The Superscription

1:1 The following is a record of what Jeremiah son of Hilkiah prophesied. 1  He was one of the priests who lived at Anathoth in the territory of the tribe of Benjamin. 1:2 The Lord 2  began to speak to him 3  in the thirteenth year that Josiah son of Amon ruled over Judah. 1:3 The Lord also spoke to him when Jehoiakim son of Josiah ruled over Judah, and he continued to speak to him until the fifth month of the eleventh year 4  that Zedekiah son of Josiah ruled over Judah. That was when the people of Jerusalem 5  were taken into exile. 6 

Jeremiah’s Call and Commission

1:4 The Lord said to me,

1:5Before I formed you in your mother’s womb 7  I chose you. 8 

Before you were born I set you apart.

I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations.”

1:6 I answered, “Oh, Lord God, 9  I really 10  do not know how to speak well enough for that, 11  for I am too young.” 12  1:7 The Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ But go 13  to whomever I send you and say whatever I tell you. 1:8 Do not be afraid of those to whom I send you, 14  for I will be with you to protect 15  you,” says the Lord. 1:9 Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I will most assuredly give you the words you are to speak for me. 16  1:10 Know for certain that 17  I hereby give you the authority to announce to nations and kingdoms that they will be 18  uprooted and torn down, destroyed and demolished, rebuilt and firmly planted.” 19 

Visions Confirming Jeremiah’s Call and Commission

1:11 Later the Lord asked me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I answered, “I see a branch of an almond tree.” 1:12 Then the Lord said, “You have observed correctly. This means 20  I am watching to make sure my threats are carried out.” 21 

1:13 The Lord again asked me, “What do you see?” I answered, “I see a pot of boiling water; it is tipped toward us from the north.” 22  1:14 Then the Lord said, “This means 23  destruction will break out from the north on all who live in the land. 1:15 For I will soon summon all the peoples of the kingdoms of the north,” says the Lord. “They will come and their kings will set up their thrones 24  near the entrances of the gates of Jerusalem. 25  They will attack all the walls surrounding it, and all the towns in Judah. 26  1:16 In this way 27  I will pass sentence 28  on the people of Jerusalem and Judah 29  because of all their wickedness. For they rejected me and offered sacrifices to other gods, worshiping what they made with their own hands.” 30 

1:17But you, Jeremiah, 31  get yourself ready! 32  Go and tell these people everything I instruct you to say. Do not be terrified of them, or I will give you good reason to be terrified of them. 33  1:18 I, the Lord, 34  hereby promise to make you 35  as strong as a fortified city, an iron pillar, and a bronze wall. You will be able to stand up against all who live in 36  the land, including the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and all the people of the land. 1:19 They will attack you but they will not be able to overcome you, for I will be with you to rescue you,” says the Lord.

The Lord Recalls Israel’s Earlier Faithfulness

2:1 The Lord spoke to me. He said: 2:2 Go and declare in the hearing of the people of Jerusalem: 37  ‘This is what the Lord says: “I have fond memories of you, 38  how devoted you were to me in your early years. 39  I remember how you loved me like a new bride; you followed me through the wilderness, through a land that had never been planted. 2:3 Israel was set apart to the Lord; they were like the first fruits of a harvest to him. 40  All who tried to devour them were punished; disaster came upon them,” says the Lord.’

The Lord Reminds Them of the Unfaithfulness of Their Ancestors

2:4 Now listen to what the Lord has to say, you descendants 41  of Jacob,

all you family groups from the nation 42  of Israel.

2:5 This is what the Lord says:

“What fault could your ancestors 43  have possibly found in me

that they strayed so far from me? 44 

They paid allegiance to 45  worthless idols, and so became worthless to me. 46 

2:6 They did not ask:

‘Where is the Lord who delivered us out of Egypt,

who brought us through the wilderness,

through a land of desert sands and rift valleys,

through a land of drought and deep darkness, 47 

through a land in which no one travels,

and where no one lives?’ 48 

2:7 I brought you 49  into a fertile land

so you could enjoy 50  its fruits and its rich bounty.

But when you entered my land, you defiled it; 51 

you made the land I call my own 52  loathsome to me.

2:8 Your priests 53  did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord?’ 54 

Those responsible for teaching my law 55  did not really know me. 56 

Your rulers rebelled against me.

Your prophets prophesied in the name of the god Baal. 57 

They all worshiped idols that could not help them. 58 

The Lord Charges Contemporary Israel with Spiritual Adultery

2:9So, once more I will state my case 59  against you,” says the Lord.

“I will also state it against your children and grandchildren. 60 

2:10 Go west 61  across the sea to the coasts of Cyprus 62  and see.

Send someone east to Kedar 63  and have them look carefully.

See if such a thing as this has ever happened:

2:11 Has a nation ever changed its gods

(even though they are not really gods at all)?

But my people have exchanged me, their glorious God, 64 

for a god that cannot help them at all! 65 

2:12 Be amazed at this, O heavens! 66 

Be shocked and utterly dumbfounded,”

says the Lord.

2:13Do so because my people have committed a double wrong:

they have rejected me,

the fountain of life-giving water, 67 

and they have dug cisterns for themselves,

cracked cisterns which cannot even hold water.”

Israel’s Reliance on Foreign Alliances (not on God)

2:14Israel is not a slave, is he?

He was not born into slavery, was he? 68 

If not, why then is he being carried off?

2:15 Like lions his enemies roar victoriously over him;

they raise their voices in triumph. 69 

They have laid his land waste;

his cities have been burned down and deserted. 70 

2:16 Even the soldiers 71  from Memphis and Tahpanhes

have cracked your skulls, people of Israel. 72 

2:17 You have brought all this on yourself, Israel, 73 

by deserting the Lord your God when he was leading you along the right path. 74 

2:18 What good will it do you 75  then 76  to go down to Egypt

to seek help from the Egyptians? 77 

What good will it do you 78  to go over to Assyria

to seek help from the Assyrians? 79 

2:19 Your own wickedness will bring about your punishment.

Your unfaithful acts will bring down discipline on you. 80 

Know, then, and realize how utterly harmful 81 

it was for you to reject me, the Lord your God, 82 

to show no respect for me,” 83 

says the Lord God who rules over all. 84 

The Lord Expresses His Exasperation at Judah’s Persistent Idolat

2:20Indeed, 85  long ago you threw off my authority

and refused to be subject to me. 86 

You said, ‘I will not serve you.’ 87 

Instead, you gave yourself to other gods on every high hill

and under every green tree,

like a prostitute sprawls out before her lovers. 88 

2:21 I planted you in the land

like a special vine of the very best stock.

Why in the world have you turned into something like a wild vine

that produces rotten, foul-smelling grapes? 89 

2:22 You can try to wash away your guilt with a strong detergent.

You can use as much soap as you want.

But the stain of your guilt is still there for me to see,” 90 

says the Lord God. 91 

2:23How can you say, ‘I have not made myself unclean.

I have not paid allegiance to 92  the gods called Baal.’

Just look at the way you have behaved in the Valley of Hinnom! 93 

Think about the things you have done there!

You are like a flighty, young female camel

that rushes here and there, crisscrossing its path. 94 

2:24 You are like a wild female donkey brought up in the wilderness.

In her lust she sniffs the wind to get the scent of a male. 95 

No one can hold her back when she is in heat.

None of the males need wear themselves out chasing after her.

At mating time she is easy to find. 96 

2:25 Do not chase after other gods until your shoes wear out

and your throats become dry. 97 

But you say, ‘It is useless for you to try and stop me

because I love those foreign gods 98  and want to pursue them!’

2:26 Just as a thief has to suffer dishonor when he is caught,

so the people of Israel 99  will suffer dishonor for what they have done. 100 

So will their kings and officials,

their priests and their prophets.

2:27 They say to a wooden idol, 101  ‘You are my father.’

They say to a stone image, ‘You gave birth to me.’ 102 

Yes, they have turned away from me instead of turning to me. 103 

Yet when they are in trouble, they say, ‘Come and save us!’

2:28 But where are the gods you made for yourselves?

Let them save you when you are in trouble.

The sad fact is that 104  you have as many gods

as you have towns, Judah.

2:29Why do you try to refute me? 105 

All of you have rebelled against me,”

says the Lord.

2:30It did no good for me to punish your people.

They did not respond to such correction.

You slaughtered your prophets

like a voracious lion.” 106 

2:31 You people of this generation,

listen to what the Lord says.

“Have I been like a wilderness to you, Israel?

Have I been like a dark and dangerous land to you? 107 

Why then do you 108  say, ‘We are free to wander. 109 

We will not come to you any more?’

2:32 Does a young woman forget to put on her jewels?

Does a bride forget to put on her bridal attire?

But my people have forgotten me

for more days than can even be counted.

2:33My, how good you have become

at chasing after your lovers! 110 

Why, you could even teach prostitutes a thing or two! 111 

2:34 Even your clothes are stained with

the lifeblood of the poor who had not done anything wrong;

you did not catch them breaking into your homes. 112 

Yet, in spite of all these things you have done, 113 

2:35 you say, ‘I have not done anything wrong,

so the Lord cannot really be angry with me any more.’

But, watch out! 114  I will bring down judgment on you

because you say, ‘I have not committed any sin.’

2:36 Why do you constantly go about

changing your political allegiances? 115 

You will get no help from Egypt

just as you got no help from Assyria. 116 

2:37 Moreover, you will come away from Egypt

with your hands covering your faces in sorrow and shame 117 

because the Lord will not allow your reliance on them to be successful

and you will not gain any help from them. 118 

3:1If a man divorces his wife

and she leaves him and becomes another man’s wife,

he may not take her back again. 119 

Doing that would utterly defile the land. 120 

But you, Israel, have given yourself as a prostitute to many gods. 121 

So what makes you think you can return to me?” 122 

says the Lord.

3:2Look up at the hilltops and consider this. 123 

You have had sex with other gods on every one of them. 124 

You waited for those gods like a thief lying in wait in the desert. 125 

You defiled the land by your wicked prostitution to other gods. 126 

3:3 That is why the rains have been withheld,

and the spring rains have not come.

Yet in spite of this you are obstinate as a prostitute. 127 

You refuse to be ashamed of what you have done.

3:4 Even now you say to me, ‘You are my father! 128 

You have been my faithful companion ever since I was young.

3:5 You will not always be angry with me, will you?

You will not be mad at me forever, will you?’ 129 

That is what you say,

but you continually do all the evil that you can.” 130 

3:6 When Josiah was king of Judah, the Lord said to me, “Jeremiah, you have no doubt seen what wayward Israel has done. 131  You have seen how she went up to every high hill and under every green tree to give herself like a prostitute to other gods. 132  3:7 Yet even after she had done all that, I thought that she might come back to me. 133  But she did not. Her sister, unfaithful Judah, saw what she did. 134  3:8 She also saw 135  that I gave wayward Israel her divorce papers and sent her away because of her adulterous worship of other gods. 136  Even after her unfaithful sister Judah had seen this, 137  she still was not afraid, and she too went and gave herself like a prostitute to other gods. 138  3:9 Because she took her prostitution so lightly, she defiled the land 139  through her adulterous worship of gods made of wood and stone. 140  3:10 In spite of all this, 141  Israel’s sister, unfaithful Judah, has not turned back to me with any sincerity; she has only pretended to do so,” 142  says the Lord. 3:11 Then the Lord said to me, “Under the circumstances, wayward Israel could even be considered less guilty than unfaithful Judah. 143 

The Lord Calls on Israel and Judah to Repent

3:12Go and shout this message to my people in the countries in the north. 144  Tell them,

‘Come back to me, wayward Israel,’ says the Lord.

‘I will not continue to look on you with displeasure. 145 

For I am merciful,’ says the Lord.

‘I will not be angry with you forever.

3:13 However, you must confess that you have done wrong, 146 

and that you have rebelled against the Lord your God.

You must confess 147  that you have given yourself to 148  foreign gods under every green tree,

and have not obeyed my commands,’ says the Lord.

3:14Come back to me, my wayward sons,” says the Lord, “for I am your true master. 149  If you do, 150  I will take one of you from each town and two of you from each family group, and I will bring you back to Zion. 3:15 I will give you leaders 151  who will be faithful to me. 152  They will lead you with knowledge and insight. 3:16 In those days, your population will greatly increase 153  in the land. At that time,” says the Lord, “people will no longer talk about having the ark 154  that contains the Lord’s covenant with us. 155  They will not call it to mind, remember it, or miss it. No, that will not be done any more! 156  3:17 At that time the city of Jerusalem 157  will be called the Lord’s throne. All nations will gather there in Jerusalem to honor the Lord’s name. 158  They will no longer follow the stubborn inclinations of their own evil hearts. 159  3:18 At that time 160  the nation of Judah and the nation of Israel will be reunited. 161  Together they will come back from a land in the north to the land that I gave to your ancestors as a permanent possession. ” 162 

3:19I thought to myself, 163 

‘Oh what a joy it would be for me to treat you like a son! 164 

What a joy it would be for me to give 165  you a pleasant land,

the most beautiful piece of property there is in all the world!’ 166 

I thought you would call me, ‘Father 167 

and would never cease being loyal to me. 168 

3:20 But, you have been unfaithful to me, nation of Israel, 169 

like an unfaithful wife who has left her husband,” 170 

says the Lord.

3:21A noise is heard on the hilltops.

It is the sound of the people of Israel crying and pleading to their gods.

Indeed they have followed sinful ways; 171 

they have forgotten to be true to the Lord their God. 172 

3:22 Come back to me, you wayward people.

I want to cure your waywardness. 173 

Say, 174  ‘Here we are. We come to you

because you are the Lord our God.

3:23 We know our noisy worship of false gods

on the hills and mountains did not help us. 175 

We know that the Lord our God

is the only one who can deliver Israel. 176 

3:24 From earliest times our worship of that shameful god, Baal,

has taken away 177  all that our ancestors 178  worked for.

It has taken away our flocks and our herds,

and even our sons and daughters.

3:25 Let us acknowledge 179  our shame.

Let us bear the disgrace that we deserve. 180 

For we have sinned against the Lord our God,

both we and our ancestors.

From earliest times to this very day

we have not obeyed the Lord our God.’

4:1If you, Israel, want to come back,” says the Lord,

“if you want to come back to me 181 

you must get those disgusting idols 182  out of my sight

and must no longer go astray. 183 

4:2 You must be truthful, honest and upright

when you take an oath saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives!’ 184 

If you do, 185  the nations will pray to be as blessed by him as you are

and will make him the object of their boasting.” 186 

4:3 Yes, 187  the Lord has this to say

to the people of Judah and Jerusalem:

“Like a farmer breaking up hard unplowed ground,

you must break your rebellious will and make a new beginning;

just as a farmer must clear away thorns lest the seed is wasted,

you must get rid of the sin that is ruining your lives. 188 

4:4 Just as ritual circumcision cuts away the foreskin

as an external symbol of dedicated covenant commitment,

you must genuinely dedicate yourselves to the Lord

and get rid of everything that hinders your commitment to me, 189 

people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem.

If you do not, 190  my anger will blaze up like a flaming fire against you

that no one will be able to extinguish.

That will happen because of the evil you have done.”

Warning of Coming Judgment

4:5 The Lord said, 191 

“Announce 192  this in Judah and proclaim it in Jerusalem: 193 

‘Sound the trumpet 194  throughout the land!’

Shout out loudly,

Gather together! Let us flee into the fortified cities!’

4:6 Raise a signal flag that tells people to go to Zion. 195 

Run for safety! Do not delay!

For I am about to bring disaster out of the north.

It will bring great destruction. 196 

4:7 Like a lion that has come up from its lair 197 

the one who destroys nations has set out from his home base. 198 

He is coming out to lay your land waste.

Your cities will become ruins and lie uninhabited.

4:8 So put on sackcloth!

Mourn and wail, saying,

‘The fierce anger of the Lord

has not turned away from us!’ 199 

4:9When this happens,” 200  says the Lord,

“the king and his officials will lose their courage.

The priests will be struck with horror,

and the prophets will be speechless in astonishment.”

4:10 In response to all this 201  I said, “Ah, Lord God, 202  you have surely allowed 203  the people of Judah and Jerusalem 204  to be deceived by those who say, ‘You will be safe!’ 205  But in fact a sword is already at our throats.” 206 

4:11At that time the people of Judah and Jerusalem 207  will be told,

‘A scorching wind will sweep down

from the hilltops in the desert on 208  my dear people. 209 

It will not be a gentle breeze

for winnowing the grain and blowing away the chaff. 210 

4:12 No, 211  a wind too strong for that will come at my bidding.

Yes, even now I, myself, am calling down judgment on them.’ 212 

4:13 Look! The enemy is approaching like gathering clouds. 213 

The roar of his chariots is like that of a whirlwind. 214 

His horses move more swiftly than eagles.”

I cry out, 215  “We are doomed, 216  for we will be destroyed!

4:14Oh people of Jerusalem, purify your hearts from evil 217 

so that you may yet be delivered.

How long will you continue to harbor up

wicked schemes within you?

4:15 For messengers are coming, heralding disaster,

from the city of Dan and from the hills of Ephraim. 218 

4:16 They are saying, 219 

‘Announce to the surrounding nations, 220 

“The enemy is coming!” 221 

Proclaim this message 222  to Jerusalem:

“Those who besiege cities 223  are coming from a distant land.

They are ready to raise the battle cry against 224  the towns in Judah.”’

4:17 They will surround Jerusalem 225 

like men guarding a field 226 

because they have rebelled against me,”

says the Lord.

4:18The way you have lived and the things you have done 227 

will bring this on you.

This is the punishment you deserve, and it will be painful indeed. 228 

The pain will be so bad it will pierce your heart.” 229 

4:19 I said, 230 

“Oh, the feeling in the pit of my stomach! 231 

I writhe in anguish.

Oh, the pain in my heart! 232 

My heart pounds within me.

I cannot keep silent.

For I hear the sound of the trumpet; 233 

the sound of the battle cry pierces my soul! 234 

4:20 I see 235  one destruction after another taking place,

so that the whole land lies in ruins.

I see our 236  tents suddenly destroyed,

their 237  curtains torn down in a mere instant. 238 

4:21How long must I see the enemy’s battle flags

and hear the military signals of their bugles? 239 

4:22 The Lord answered, 240 

“This will happen 241  because my people are foolish.

They do not know me.

They are like children who have no sense. 242 

They have no understanding.

They are skilled at doing evil.

They do not know how to do good.”

4:23I looked at the land and saw 243  that it was an empty wasteland. 244 

I looked up at the sky, and its light had vanished.

4:24 I looked at the mountains and saw that they were shaking.

All the hills were swaying back and forth!

4:25 I looked and saw that there were no more people, 245 

and that all the birds in the sky had flown away.

4:26 I looked and saw that the fruitful land had become a desert

and that all of the cities had been laid in ruins.

The Lord had brought this all about

because of his blazing anger. 246 

4:27 All this will happen because the Lord said, 247 

“The whole land will be desolate;

however, I will not completely destroy it.

4:28 Because of this the land will mourn

and the sky above will grow black. 248 

For I have made my purpose known 249 

and I will not relent or turn back from carrying it out.” 250 

4:29 At the sound of the approaching horsemen and archers

the people of every town will flee.

Some of them will hide in the thickets.

Others will climb up among the rocks.

All the cities will be deserted.

No one will remain in them.

4:30 And you, Zion, city doomed to destruction, 251 

you accomplish nothing 252  by wearing a beautiful dress, 253 

decking yourself out in jewels of gold,

and putting on eye shadow! 254 

You are making yourself beautiful for nothing.

Your lovers spurn you.

They want to kill you. 255 

4:31 In fact, 256  I hear a cry like that of a woman in labor,

a cry of anguish like that of a woman giving birth to her first baby.

It is the cry of Daughter Zion 257  gasping for breath,

reaching out for help, 258  saying, “I am done in! 259 

My life is ebbing away before these murderers!

Judah is Justly Deserving of Coming Judgment

5:1 The Lord said, 260 

“Go up and down 261  through the streets of Jerusalem. 262 

Look around and see for yourselves.

Search through its public squares.

See if any of you can find a single person

who deals honestly and tries to be truthful. 263 

If you can, 264  then I will not punish this city. 265 

5:2 These people make promises in the name of the Lord. 266 

But the fact is, 267  what they swear to is really a lie.” 268 

5:3 Lord, I know you look for faithfulness. 269 

But even when you punish these people, they feel no remorse. 270 

Even when you nearly destroy them, they refuse to be corrected.

They have become as hardheaded as a rock. 271 

They refuse to change their ways. 272 

5:4 I thought, “Surely it is only the ignorant poor who act this way. 273 

They act like fools because they do not know what the Lord demands. 274 

They do not know what their God requires of them. 275 

5:5 I will go to the leaders 276 

and speak with them.

Surely they know what the Lord demands. 277 

Surely they know what their God requires of them.” 278 

Yet all of them, too, have rejected his authority

and refuse to submit to him. 279 

5:6 So like a lion from the thicket their enemies will kill them.

Like a wolf from the desert they will destroy them.

Like a leopard they will lie in wait outside their cities

and totally destroy anyone who ventures out. 280 

For they have rebelled so much

and done so many unfaithful things. 281 

5:7 The Lord asked, 282 

“How can I leave you unpunished, Jerusalem? 283 

Your people 284  have rejected me

and have worshiped gods that are not gods at all. 285 

Even though I supplied all their needs, 286  they were like an unfaithful wife to me. 287 

They went flocking 288  to the houses of prostitutes. 289 

5:8 They are like lusty, well-fed 290  stallions.

Each of them lusts after 291  his neighbor’s wife.

5:9 I will surely punish them for doing such things!” says the Lord.

“I will surely bring retribution on such a nation as this! 292 

5:10 The Lord commanded the enemy, 293 

“March through the vineyards of Israel and Judah and ruin them. 294 

But do not destroy them completely.

Strip off their branches

for these people do not belong to the Lord. 295 

5:11 For the nations of Israel and Judah 296 

have been very unfaithful to me,”

says the Lord.

5:12These people have denied what the Lord says. 297 

They have said, ‘That is not so! 298 

No harm will come to us.

We will not experience war and famine. 299 

5:13 The prophets will prove to be full of wind. 300 

The Lord has not spoken through them. 301 

So, let what they say happen to them.’

5:14 Because of that, 302  the Lord, the God who rules over all, 303  said to me, 304 

“Because these people have spoken 305  like this, 306 

I will make the words that I put in your mouth like fire.

And I will make this people like wood

which the fiery judgments you speak will burn up.” 307 

5:15 The Lord says, 308 Listen, 309  nation of Israel! 310 

I am about to bring a nation from far away to attack you.

It will be a nation that was founded long ago

and has lasted for a long time.

It will be a nation whose language you will not know.

Its people will speak words that you will not be able to understand.

5:16 All of its soldiers are strong and mighty. 311 

Their arrows will send you to your grave. 312 

5:17 They will eat up your crops and your food.

They will kill off 313  your sons and your daughters.

They will eat up your sheep and your cattle.

They will destroy your vines and your fig trees. 314 

Their weapons will batter down 315 

the fortified cities you trust in.

5:18 Yet even then 316  I will not completely destroy you,” says the Lord. 5:19 So then, Jeremiah, 317  when your people 318  ask, ‘Why has the Lord our God done all this to us?’ tell them, ‘It is because you rejected me and served foreign gods in your own land. So 319  you must serve foreigners 320  in a land that does not belong to you.’

5:20Proclaim 321  this message among the descendants of Jacob. 322 

Make it known throughout Judah.

5:21 Tell them: ‘Hear this,

you foolish people who have no understanding,

who have eyes but do not discern,

who have ears but do not perceive: 323 

5:22You should fear me!” says the Lord.

“You should tremble in awe before me! 324 

I made the sand to be a boundary for the sea,

a permanent barrier that it can never cross.

Its waves may roll, but they can never prevail.

They may roar, but they can never cross beyond that boundary.” 325 

5:23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts.

They have turned aside and gone their own way. 326 

5:24 They do not say to themselves, 327 

“Let us revere the Lord our God.

It is he who gives us the autumn rains and the spring rains at the proper time.

It is he who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.” 328 

5:25 Your misdeeds have stopped these things from coming. 329 

Your sins have deprived you of my bounty.’ 330 

5:26Indeed, there are wicked scoundrels among my people.

They lie in wait like bird catchers hiding in ambush. 331 

They set deadly traps 332  to catch people.

5:27 Like a cage filled with the birds that have been caught, 333 

their houses are filled with the gains of their fraud and deceit. 334 

That is how they have gotten so rich and powerful. 335 

5:28 That is how 336  they have grown fat and sleek. 337 

There is no limit to the evil things they do. 338 

They do not plead the cause of the fatherless in such a way as to win it.

They do not defend the rights of the poor.

5:29 I will certainly punish them for doing such things!” says the Lord.

“I will certainly bring retribution on such a nation as this! 339 

5:30Something horrible and shocking

is going on in the land of Judah:

5:31 The prophets prophesy lies.

The priests exercise power by their own authority. 340 

And my people love to have it this way.

But they will not be able to help you when the time of judgment comes! 341 

The Destruction of Jerusalem Depicted

6:1Run for safety, people of Benjamin!

Get out of Jerusalem! 342 

Sound the trumpet 343  in Tekoa!

Light the signal fires at Beth Hakkerem!

For disaster lurks 344  out of the north;

it will bring great destruction. 345 

6:2 I will destroy 346  Daughter Zion, 347 

who is as delicate and defenseless as a young maiden. 348 

6:3 Kings will come against it with their armies. 349 

They will encamp in siege all around it. 350 

Each of them will devastate the portion assigned to him. 351 

6:4 They will say, 352  ‘Prepare to do battle 353  against it!

Come on! Let’s attack it at noon!’

But later they will say, 354  ‘Oh, oh! Too bad! 355 

The day is almost over

and the shadows of evening are getting long.

6:5 So come on, let’s go ahead and attack it by night

and destroy all its fortified buildings.’

6:6 All of this is because 356  the Lord who rules over all 357  has said:

‘Cut down the trees around Jerusalem

and build up a siege ramp against its walls. 358 

This is the city which is to be punished. 359 

Nothing but oppression happens in it. 360 

6:7 As a well continually pours out fresh water

so it continually pours out wicked deeds. 361 

Sounds of violence and destruction echo throughout it. 362 

All I see are sick and wounded people.’ 363 

6:8 So 364  take warning, Jerusalem,

or I will abandon you in disgust 365 

and make you desolate,

a place where no one can live.”

6:9 This is what the Lord who rules over all 366  said to me: 367 

“Those who remain in Israel will be

like the grapes thoroughly gleaned 368  from a vine.

So go over them again, as though you were a grape harvester

passing your hand over the branches one last time.” 369 

6:10 I answered, 370 

“Who would listen

if I spoke to them and warned them? 371 

Their ears are so closed 372 

that they cannot hear!

Indeed, 373  what the Lord says is offensive to them.

They do not like it at all. 374 

6:11 I am as full of anger as you are, Lord, 375 

I am tired of trying to hold it in.”

The Lord answered, 376 

“Vent it, then, 377  on the children who play in the street

and on the young men who are gathered together.

Husbands and wives are to be included, 378 

as well as the old and those who are advanced in years.

6:12 Their houses will be turned over to others

as will their fields and their wives.

For I will unleash my power 379 

against those who live in this land,”

says the Lord.

6:13That is because, from the least important to the most important of them,

all of them are greedy for dishonest gain.

Prophets and priests alike,

all of them practice deceit.

6:14 They offer only superficial help

for the harm my people have suffered. 380 

They say, ‘Everything will be all right!’

But everything is not all right! 381 

6:15 Are they ashamed because they have done such shameful things?

No, they are not at all ashamed.

They do not even know how to blush!

So they will die, just like others have died. 382 

They will be brought to ruin when I punish them,”

says the Lord.

6:16 The Lord said to his people: 383 

“You are standing at the crossroads. So consider your path. 384 

Ask where the old, reliable paths 385  are.

Ask where the path is that leads to blessing 386  and follow it.

If you do, you will find rest for your souls.”

But they said, “We will not follow it!

6:17 The Lord said, 387 

“I appointed prophets as watchmen to warn you, 388  saying:

‘Pay attention to the warning sound of the trumpet!’” 389 

But they said, “We will not pay attention!

6:18 So the Lord said, 390 

“Hear, you nations!

Be witnesses and take note of what will happen to these people. 391 

6:19 Hear this, you peoples of the earth: 392 

‘Take note! 393  I am about to bring disaster on these people.

It will come as punishment for their scheming. 394 

For they have paid no attention to what I have said, 395 

and they have rejected my law.

6:20 I take no delight 396  when they offer up to me 397 

frankincense that comes from Sheba

or sweet-smelling cane imported from a faraway land.

I cannot accept the burnt offerings they bring me.

I get no pleasure from the sacrifices they offer to me.’ 398 

6:21 So, this is what the Lord says:

‘I will assuredly 399  make these people stumble to their doom. 400 

Parents and children will stumble and fall to their destruction. 401 

Friends and neighbors will die.’

6:22This is what the Lord says:

‘Beware! An army 402  is coming from a land in the north.

A mighty nation is stirring into action in faraway parts of the earth.

6:23 Its soldiers are armed with bows and spears.

They are cruel and show no mercy.

They sound like the roaring sea

as they ride forth on their horses.

Lined up in formation like men going into battle

to attack you, Daughter Zion.’ 403 

6:24 The people cry out, 404  “We have heard reports about them!

We have become helpless with fear! 405 

Anguish grips us,

agony like that of a woman giving birth to a baby!

6:25 Do not go out into the countryside.

Do not travel on the roads.

For the enemy is there with sword in hand. 406 

They are spreading terror everywhere.” 407 

6:26 So I said, 408  “Oh, my dear people, 409  put on sackcloth

and roll in ashes.

Mourn with painful sobs

as though you had lost your only child.

For any moment now 410  that destructive army 411 

will come against us.”

6:27 The Lord said to me, 412 

“I have made you like a metal assayer

to test my people like ore. 413 

You are to observe them

and evaluate how they behave.” 414 

6:28 I reported, 415 

“All of them are the most stubborn of rebels! 416 

They are as hard as bronze or iron.

They go about telling lies.

They all deal corruptly.

6:29 The fiery bellows of judgment burn fiercely.

But there is too much dross to be removed. 417 

The process of refining them has proved useless. 418 

The wicked have not been purged.

6:30 They are regarded as ‘rejected silver 419 

because the Lord rejects them.”

Faulty Religion and Unethical Behavior Will Lead to Judgment

7:1 The Lord said to Jeremiah: 420  7:2 Stand in the gate of the Lord’s temple and proclaim 421  this message: ‘Listen, all you people of Judah who have passed through these gates to worship the Lord. 422  Hear what the Lord has to say. 7:3 The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 423  says: Change the way you have been living and do what is right. 424  If you do, I will allow you to continue to live in this land. 425  7:4 Stop putting your confidence in the false belief that says, 426 We are safe! 427  The temple of the Lord is here! The temple of the Lord is here! The temple of the Lord is here! 428  7:5 You must change 429  the way you have been living and do what is right. You must treat one another fairly. 430  7:6 Stop oppressing foreigners who live in your land, children who have lost their fathers, and women who have lost their husbands. 431  Stop killing innocent people 432  in this land. Stop paying allegiance to 433  other gods. That will only bring about your ruin. 434  7:7 If you stop doing these things, 435  I will allow you to continue to live in this land 436  which I gave to your ancestors as a lasting possession. 437 

7:8‘But just look at you! 438  You are putting your confidence in a false belief 439  that will not deliver you. 440  7:9 You steal. 441  You murder. You commit adultery. You lie when you swear on oath. You sacrifice to the god Baal. You pay allegiance to 442  other gods whom you have not previously known. 7:10 Then you come and stand in my presence in this temple I have claimed as my own 443  and say, “We are safe!” You think you are so safe that you go on doing all those hateful sins! 444  7:11 Do you think this temple I have claimed as my own 445  is to be a hideout for robbers? 446  You had better take note! 447  I have seen for myself what you have done! says the Lord. 7:12 So, go to the place in Shiloh where I allowed myself to be worshiped 448  in the early days. See what I did to it 449  because of the wicked things my people Israel did. 7:13 You also have done all these things, says the Lord, and I have spoken to you over and over again. 450  But you have not listened! You have refused to respond when I called you to repent! 451  7:14 So I will destroy this temple which I have claimed as my own, 452  this temple that you are trusting to protect you. I will destroy this place that I gave to you and your ancestors, 453  just like I destroyed Shiloh. 454  7:15 And I will drive you out of my sight just like I drove out your relatives, the people of Israel.’ 455 

7:16 Then the Lord said, 456  “As for you, Jeremiah, 457  do not pray for these people! Do not cry out to me or petition me on their behalf! Do not plead with me to save them, 458  because I will not listen to you. 7:17 Do you see 459  what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 460  7:18 Children are gathering firewood, fathers are building fires with it, and women are mixing dough to bake cakes to offer to the goddess they call the Queen of Heaven. 461  They are also pouring out drink offerings to other gods. They seem to do all this just 462  to trouble me. 7:19 But I am not really the one being troubled!” 463  says the Lord. “Rather they are bringing trouble on themselves to their own shame! 464  7:20 So,” the Lord God 465  says, “my raging fury will be poured out on this land. 466  It will be poured out on human beings and animals, on trees and crops. 467  And it will burn like a fire which cannot be extinguished.”

7:21 The Lord said to the people of Judah, 468  “The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 469  says: ‘You might as well go ahead and add the meat of your burnt offerings to that of the other sacrifices and eat it, too! 470  7:22 Consider this: 471  When I spoke to your ancestors after I brought them out of Egypt, I did not merely give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices. 7:23 I also explicitly commanded them: 472  “Obey me. If you do, I 473  will be your God and you will be my people. Live exactly the way I tell you 474  and things will go well with you.” 7:24 But they did not listen to me or pay any attention to me. They followed the stubborn inclinations of their own wicked hearts. They acted worse and worse instead of better. 475  7:25 From the time your ancestors departed the land of Egypt until now, 476  I sent my servants the prophets to you again and again, 477  day after day. 478  7:26 But your ancestors 479  did not listen to me nor pay attention to me. They became obstinate 480  and were more wicked than even their own forefathers.’

7:27 Then the Lord said to me, 481  “When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you. When you call out to them, they will not respond to you. 7:28 So tell them: ‘This is a nation that has not obeyed the Lord their God and has not accepted correction. Faithfulness is nowhere to be found in it. These people do not even profess it anymore. 482  7:29 So, mourn, 483  you people of this nation. 484  Cut off your hair and throw it away. Sing a song of mourning on the hilltops. For the Lord has decided to reject 485  and forsake this generation that has provoked his wrath!’ 486 

7:30 The Lord says, “I have rejected them because 487  the people of Judah have done what I consider evil. 488  They have set up their disgusting idols in the temple 489  which I have claimed for my own 490  and have defiled it. 7:31 They have also built places of worship 491  in a place called Topheth 492  in the Valley of Ben Hinnom so that they can sacrifice their sons and daughters by fire. That is something I never commanded them to do! Indeed, it never even entered my mind to command such a thing! 493  7:32 So, watch out!” 494  says the Lord. “The time will soon come when people will no longer call those places Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom. But they will call that valley 495  the Valley of Slaughter and they will bury so many people in Topheth they will run out of room. 496  7:33 Then the dead bodies of these people will be left on the ground for the birds and wild animals to eat. 497  There will not be any survivors to scare them away. 7:34 I will put an end to the sounds of joy and gladness, or the glad celebration of brides and grooms throughout the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. For the whole land will become a desolate wasteland.”

8:1 The Lord says, “When that time comes, 498  the bones of the kings of Judah and its leaders, the bones of the priests and prophets and of all the other people who lived in Jerusalem will be dug up from their graves. 8:2 They will be spread out and exposed to the sun, the moon and the stars. 499  These are things they 500  adored and served, things to which they paid allegiance, 501  from which they sought guidance, and worshiped. The bones of these people 502  will never be regathered and reburied. They will be like manure used to fertilize the ground. 503  8:3 However, I will leave some of these wicked people alive and banish them to other places. But wherever these people who survive may go, they will wish they had died rather than lived,” 504  says the Lord who rules over all. 505 

Willful Disregard of God Will Lead to Destruction

8:4 The Lord said to me, 506 

“Tell them, ‘The Lord says,

Do people not get back up when they fall down?

Do they not turn around when they go the wrong way? 507 

8:5 Why, then, do these people of Jerusalem 508 

continually turn away from me in apostasy?

They hold fast to their deception. 509 

They refuse to turn back to me. 510 

8:6 I have listened to them very carefully, 511 

but they do not speak honestly.

None of them regrets the evil he has done.

None of them says, “I have done wrong!” 512 

All of them persist in their own wayward course 513 

like a horse charging recklessly into battle.

8:7 Even the stork knows

when it is time to move on. 514 

The turtledove, swallow, and crane 515 

recognize 516  the normal times for their migration.

But my people pay no attention

to 517  what I, the Lord, require of them. 518 

8:8 How can you say, “We are wise!

We have the law of the Lord?

The truth is, 519  those who teach it 520  have used their writings

to make it say what it does not really mean. 521 

8:9 Your wise men will be put to shame.

They will be dumbfounded and be brought to judgment. 522 

Since they have rejected the word of the Lord,

what wisdom do they really have?

8:10 523 

So I will give their wives to other men

and their fields to new owners.

For from the least important to the most important of them,

all of them are greedy for dishonest gain.

Prophets and priests alike,

all practice deceit.

8:11 They offer only superficial help

for the hurt my dear people 524  have suffered. 525 

They say, “Everything will be all right!”

But everything is not all right! 526 

8:12 Are they ashamed because they have done such disgusting things?

No, they are not at all ashamed!

They do not even know how to blush!

So they will die just like others have died. 527 

They will be brought to ruin when I punish them,

says the Lord.

8:13 I will take away their harvests, 528  says the Lord.

There will be no grapes on their vines.

There will be no figs on their fig trees.

Even the leaves on their trees will wither.

The crops that I gave them will be taken away.’ 529 

Jeremiah Laments over the Coming Destruction

8:14 The people say, 530 

“Why are we just sitting here?

Let us gather together inside the fortified cities. 531 

Let us at least die there fighting, 532 

since the Lord our God has condemned us to die.

He has condemned us to drink the poison waters of judgment 533 

because we have sinned against him. 534 

8:15 We hoped for good fortune, but nothing good has come of it.

We hoped for a time of relief, but instead we experience terror. 535 

8:16 The snorting of the enemy’s horses

is already being heard in the city of Dan.

The sound of the neighing of their stallions 536 

causes the whole land to tremble with fear.

They are coming to destroy the land and everything in it!

They are coming to destroy 537  the cities and everyone who lives in them!

8:17 The Lord says, 538 

“Yes indeed, 539  I am sending an enemy against you

that will be like poisonous snakes which cannot be charmed away. 540 

And they will inflict fatal wounds on you.” 541 

8:18 Then I said, 542 

“There is no cure 543  for my grief!

I am sick at heart!

8:19 I hear my dear people 544  crying out 545 

throughout the length and breadth of the land. 546 

They are crying, ‘Is the Lord no longer in Zion?

Is her divine King 547  no longer there?’”

The Lord answers, 548 

“Why then do they provoke me to anger with their images,

with their worthless foreign idols? 549 

8:20They cry, 550 Harvest time has come and gone, and the summer is over, 551 

and still we have not been delivered.’

8:21 My heart is crushed because my dear people 552  are being crushed. 553 

I go about crying and grieving. I am overwhelmed with dismay. 554 

8:22 There is still medicinal ointment 555  available in Gilead!

There is still a physician there! 556 

Why then have my dear people 557 

not been restored to health? 558 

9:1 559  I wish that my head were a well full of water 560 

and my eyes were a fountain full of tears!

If they were, I could cry day and night

for those of my dear people 561  who have been killed.

9:2 I wish I had a lodging place in the desert

where I could spend some time like a weary traveler. 562 

Then I would desert my people

and walk away from them

because they are all unfaithful to God,

a congregation 563  of people that has been disloyal to him. 564 

The Lord Laments That He Has No Choice But to Judge Them

9:3 The Lord says, 565 

“These people are like soldiers who have readied their bows.

Their tongues are always ready to shoot out lies. 566 

They have become powerful in the land,

but they have not done so by honest means. 567 

Indeed, they do one evil thing after another 568 

and do not pay attention to me. 569 

9:4 Everyone must be on his guard around his friends.

He must not even trust any of his relatives. 570 

For every one of them will find some way to cheat him. 571 

And all of his friends will tell lies about him.

9:5 One friend deceives another

and no one tells the truth.

These people have trained themselves 572  to tell lies.

They do wrong and are unable to repent.

9:6 They do one act of violence after another,

and one deceitful thing after another. 573 

They refuse to pay attention to me,” 574 

says the Lord.

9:7 Therefore the Lord who rules over all says, 575 

“I will now purify them in the fires of affliction 576  and test them.

The wickedness of my dear people 577  has left me no choice.

What else can I do? 578 

9:8 Their tongues are like deadly arrows. 579 

They are always telling lies. 580 

Friendly words for their neighbors come from their mouths.

But their minds are thinking up ways to trap them. 581 

9:9 I will certainly punish them for doing such things!” says the Lord.

“I will certainly bring retribution on such a nation as this! 582 

The Coming Destruction Calls For Mourning

9:10 I said, 583 

“I will weep and mourn 584  for the grasslands on the mountains, 585 

I will sing a mournful song for the pastures in the wilderness

because they are so scorched no one travels through them.

The sound of livestock is no longer heard there.

Even the birds in the sky and the wild animals in the fields

have fled and are gone.”

9:11 The Lord said, 586 

“I will make Jerusalem 587  a heap of ruins.

Jackals will make their home there. 588 

I will destroy the towns of Judah

so that no one will be able to live in them.”

9:12 I said, 589 

“Who is wise enough to understand why this has happened? 590 

Who has a word from the Lord that can explain it? 591 

Why does the land lie in ruins?

Why is it as scorched as a desert through which no one travels?

9:13 The Lord answered, “This has happened because these people have rejected my laws which I gave them. They have not obeyed me or followed those laws. 592  9:14 Instead they have followed the stubborn inclinations of their own hearts. They have paid allegiance to 593  the gods called Baal, 594  as their fathers 595  taught them to do. 9:15 So then, listen to what I, the Lord God of Israel who rules over all, 596  say. 597  ‘I will make these people eat the bitter food of suffering and drink the poison water of judgment. 598  9:16 I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors 599  have known anything about. I will send people chasing after them with swords 600  until I have destroyed them.’ 601 

9:17 The Lord who rules over all 602  told me to say to this people, 603 

“Take note of what I say. 604 

Call for the women who mourn for the dead!

Summon those who are the most skilled at it! 605 

9:18 I said, “Indeed, 606  let them come quickly and sing a song of mourning for us.

Let them wail loudly until tears stream from our own eyes

and our eyelids overflow with water.

9:19 For the sound of wailing is soon to be heard in Zion.

They will wail, 607  ‘We are utterly ruined! 608  We are completely disgraced!

For our houses have been torn down

and we must leave our land.’ 609 

9:20 I said, 610 

“So now, 611  you wailing women, hear what the Lord says. 612 

Open your ears to the words from his mouth.

Teach your daughters this mournful song,

and each of you teach your neighbor 613  this lament.

9:21Death has climbed in 614  through our windows.

It has entered into our fortified houses.

It has taken away our children who play in the streets.

It has taken away our young men who gather in the city squares.’

9:22 Tell your daughters and neighbors, ‘The Lord says,

The dead bodies of people will lie scattered everywhere

like manure scattered on a field.

They will lie scattered on the ground

like grain that has been cut down but has not been gathered.”’ 615 

9:23 616 

The Lord says,

Wise people should not boast that they are wise.

Powerful people should not boast that they are powerful. 617 

Rich people should not boast that they are rich. 618 

9:24 If people want to boast, they should boast about this:

They should boast that they understand and know me.

They should boast that they know and understand

that I, the Lord, act out of faithfulness, fairness, and justice in the earth

and that I desire people to do these things,” 619 

says the Lord.

9:25 The Lord says, “Watch out! 620  The time is soon coming when I will punish all those who are circumcised only in the flesh. 621  9:26 That is, I will punish the Egyptians, the Judeans, the Edomites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, and all the desert people who cut their hair short at the temples. 622  I will do so because none of the people of those nations are really circumcised in the Lord’s sight. 623  Moreover, none of the people of Israel 624  are circumcised when it comes to their hearts.” 625 

The Lord, not Idols, is the Only Worthy Object of Worship

10:1 You people of Israel, 626  listen to what the Lord has to say to you.

10:2 The Lord says,

Do not start following pagan religious practices. 627 

Do not be in awe of signs that occur 628  in the sky

even though the nations hold them in awe.

10:3 For the religion 629  of these people is worthless.

They cut down a tree in the forest,

and a craftsman makes it into an idol with his tools. 630 

10:4 He decorates it with overlays of silver and gold.

He uses hammer and nails to fasten it 631  together

so that it will not fall over.

10:5 Such idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field.

They cannot talk.

They must be carried

because they cannot walk.

Do not be afraid of them

because they cannot hurt you.

And they do not have any power to help you.” 632 

10:6 I said, 633 

“There is no one like you, Lord. 634 

You are great.

And you are renowned for your power. 635 

10:7 Everyone should revere you, O King of all nations, 636 

because you deserve to be revered. 637 

For there is no one like you

among any of the wise people of the nations nor among any of their kings. 638 

10:8 The people of those nations 639  are both stupid and foolish.

Instruction from a wooden idol is worthless! 640 

10:9 Hammered-out silver is brought from Tarshish 641 

and gold is brought from Uphaz 642  to cover those idols. 643 

They are the handiwork of carpenters and goldsmiths. 644 

They are clothed in blue and purple clothes. 645 

They are all made by skillful workers. 646 

10:10 The Lord is the only true God.

He is the living God and the everlasting King.

When he shows his anger the earth shakes.

None of the nations can stand up to his fury.

10:11 You people of Israel should tell those nations this:

‘These gods did not make heaven and earth.

They will disappear 647  from the earth and from under the heavens.’ 648 

10:12 The Lord is the one who 649  by his power made the earth.

He is the one who by his wisdom established the world.

And by his understanding he spread out the skies.

10:13 When his voice thunders, 650  the heavenly ocean roars.

He makes the clouds rise from the far-off horizons. 651 

He makes the lightning flash out in the midst of the rain.

He unleashes the wind from the places where he stores it. 652 

10:14 All these idolaters 653  will prove to be stupid and ignorant.

Every goldsmith will be disgraced by the idol he made.

For the image he forges is merely a sham. 654 

There is no breath in any of those idols. 655 

10:15 They are worthless, mere objects to be mocked. 656 

When the time comes to punish them, they will be destroyed.

10:16 The Lord, who is the inheritance 657  of Jacob’s descendants, 658  is not like them.

He is the one who created everything.

And the people of Israel are those he claims as his own. 659 

He is known as the Lord who rules over all.” 660 

Jeremiah Laments for and Prays for the Soon-to-be-Judged People

10:17 Gather your belongings together and prepare to leave the land,

you people of Jerusalem 661  who are being besieged. 662 

10:18 For the Lord says, “I will now throw out

those who live in this land.

I will bring so much trouble on them

that they will actually feel it.” 663 

10:19 And I cried out, 664 We are doomed! 665 

Our wound is severe!

We once thought, ‘This is only an illness.

And we will be able to bear it!’ 666 

10:20 But our tents have been destroyed.

The ropes that held them in place have been ripped apart. 667 

Our children are gone and are not coming back. 668 

There is no survivor to put our tents back up,

no one left to hang their tent curtains in place.

10:21 For our leaders 669  are stupid.

They have not sought the Lord’s advice. 670 

So they do not act wisely,

and the people they are responsible for 671  have all been scattered.

10:22 Listen! News is coming even now. 672 

The rumble of a great army is heard approaching 673  from a land in the north. 674 

It is coming to turn the towns of Judah into rubble,

places where only jackals live.

10:23 Lord, we know that people do not control their own destiny. 675 

It is not in their power to determine what will happen to them. 676 

10:24 Correct us, Lord, but only in due measure. 677 

Do not punish us in anger or you will reduce us to nothing. 678 

10:25 Vent your anger on the nations that do not acknowledge you. 679 

Vent it on the peoples 680  who do not worship you. 681 

For they have destroyed the people of Jacob. 682 

They have completely destroyed them 683 

and left their homeland in utter ruin.

The People Have Violated Their Covenant with God

11:1 The Lord said to Jeremiah: 684  11:2 Hear 685  the terms of the covenant 686  I made with Israel 687  and pass them on 688  to the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem. 689  11:3 Tell them that the Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘Anyone who does not keep the terms of the covenant will be under a curse. 690  11:4 Those are the terms that I charged your ancestors 691  to keep 692  when I brought them out of Egypt, that place which was like an iron-smelting furnace. 693  I said at that time, 694  “Obey me and carry out the terms of the agreement 695  exactly as I commanded you. If you do, 696  you will be my people and I will be your God. 697  11:5 Then I will keep the promise I swore on oath to your ancestors to give them a land flowing with milk and honey.” 698  That is the very land that you still live in today.’” 699  And I responded, “Amen! Let it be so, 700  Lord!

11:6 The Lord said to me, “Announce all the following words in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: ‘Listen to the terms of my covenant with you 701  and carry them out! 11:7 For I solemnly warned your ancestors to obey me. 702  I warned them again and again, 703  ever since I delivered them out of Egypt until this very day. 11:8 But they did not listen to me or pay any attention to me! Each one of them followed the stubborn inclinations of his own wicked heart. So I brought on them all the punishments threatened in the covenant because they did not carry out its terms as I commanded them to do.’ 704 

11:9 The Lord said to me, “The people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem have plotted rebellion against me! 705  11:10 They have gone back to the evil ways 706  of their ancestors of old who refused to obey what I told them. They, too, have paid allegiance to 707  other gods and worshiped them. Both the nation of Israel and the nation of Judah 708  have violated the covenant I made with their ancestors. 11:11 So I, the Lord, say this: 709  ‘I will soon bring disaster on them which they will not be able to escape! When they cry out to me for help, I will not listen to them. 11:12 Then those living in the towns of Judah and in Jerusalem will 710  go and cry out for help to the gods to whom they have been sacrificing. However, those gods will by no means 711  be able to save them when disaster strikes them. 11:13 This is in spite of the fact that 712  the people of Judah have as many gods as they have towns 713  and the citizens of Jerusalem have set up as many altars to sacrifice to that disgusting god, Baal, as they have streets in the city!’ 714  11:14 So, Jeremiah, 715  do not pray for these people. Do not cry out to me or petition me on their behalf. Do not plead with me to save them. 716  For I will not listen to them when they call out to me for help when disaster strikes them.” 717 

11:15 The Lord says to the people of Judah, 718 

“What right do you have to be in my temple, my beloved people? 719 

Many of you have done wicked things. 720 

Can your acts of treachery be so easily canceled by sacred offerings 721 

that you take joy in doing evil even while you make them? 722 

11:16 I, the Lord, once called 723  you a thriving olive tree,

one that produced beautiful fruit.

But I will set you 724  on fire,

fire that will blaze with a mighty roar. 725 

Then all your branches will be good for nothing. 726 

11:17 For though I, the Lord who rules over all, 727  planted you in the land, 728 

I now decree that disaster will come on you 729 

because the nations of Israel and Judah have done evil

and have made me angry by offering sacrifices to the god Baal.” 730 

A Plot Against Jeremiah is Revealed and He Complains of Injustice

11:18 The Lord gave me knowledge, that I might have understanding. 731 

Then he showed me what the people were doing. 732 

11:19 Before this I had been like a docile lamb ready to be led to the slaughter.

I did not know they were making plans to kill me. 733 

I did not know they were saying, 734 

“Let’s destroy the tree along with its fruit! 735 

Let’s remove Jeremiah 736  from the world of the living

so people will not even be reminded of him any more.” 737 

11:20 So I said to the Lord, 738 

“O Lord who rules over all, 739  you are a just judge!

You examine people’s hearts and minds. 740 

I want to see you pay them back for what they have done

because I trust you to vindicate my cause.” 741 

11:21 Then the Lord told me about 742  some men from Anathoth 743  who were threatening to kill me. 744  They had threatened, 745  “Stop prophesying in the name of the Lord or we will kill you! 746  11:22 So the Lord who rules over all 747  said, “I will surely 748  punish them! Their young men will be killed in battle. 749  Their sons and daughters will die of starvation. 11:23 Not one of them will survive. 750  I will bring disaster on those men from Anathoth who threatened you. 751  A day of reckoning is coming for them.” 752 

12:1 Lord, you have always been fair

whenever I have complained to you. 753 

However, I would like to speak with you about the disposition of justice. 754 

Why are wicked people successful? 755 

Why do all dishonest people have such easy lives?

12:2 You plant them like trees and they put down their roots. 756 

They grow prosperous and are very fruitful. 757 

They always talk about you,

but they really care nothing about you. 758 

12:3 But you, Lord, know all about me.

You watch me and test my devotion to you. 759 

Drag these wicked men away like sheep to be slaughtered!

Appoint a time when they will be killed! 760 

12:4 How long must the land be parched 761 

and the grass in every field be withered?

How long 762  must the animals and the birds die

because of the wickedness of the people who live in this land? 763 

For these people boast,

God 764  will not see what happens to us.” 765 

12:5 The Lord answered, 766 

“If you have raced on foot against men and they have worn you out,

how will you be able to compete with horses?

And if you feel secure only 767  in safe and open country, 768 

how will you manage in the thick undergrowth along the Jordan River? 769 

12:6 As a matter of fact, 770  even your own brothers

and the members of your own family have betrayed you too.

Even they have plotted to do away with you. 771 

So do not trust them even when they say kind things 772  to you.

12:7I will abandon my nation. 773 

I will forsake the people I call my own. 774 

I will turn my beloved people 775 

over to the power 776  of their enemies.

12:8 The people I call my own 777  have turned on me

like a lion 778  in the forest.

They have roared defiantly 779  at me.

So I will treat them as though I hate them. 780 

12:9 The people I call my own attack me like birds of prey or like hyenas. 781 

But other birds of prey are all around them. 782 

Let all the nations gather together like wild beasts.

Let them come and destroy these people I call my own. 783 

12:10 Many foreign rulers 784  will ruin the land where I planted my people. 785 

They will trample all over my chosen land. 786 

They will turn my beautiful land

into a desolate wasteland.

12:11 They will lay it waste.

It will lie parched 787  and empty before me.

The whole land will be laid waste.

But no one living in it will pay any heed. 788 

12:12 A destructive army 789  will come marching

over the hilltops in the desert.

For the Lord will use them as his destructive weapon 790 

against 791  everyone from one end of the land to the other.

No one will be safe. 792 

12:13 My people will sow wheat, but will harvest weeds. 793 

They will work until they are exhausted, but will get nothing from it.

They will be disappointed in their harvests 794 

because the Lord will take them away in his fierce anger. 795 

12:14I, the Lord, also have something to say concerning 796  the wicked nations who surround my land 797  and have attacked and plundered 798  the land that I gave to my people as a permanent possession. 799  I say: ‘I will uproot the people of those nations from their lands and I will free the people of Judah who have been taken there. 800  12:15 But after I have uprooted the people of those nations, I will relent 801  and have pity on them. I will restore the people of each of those nations to their own lands 802  and to their own country. 12:16 But they must make sure you learn to follow the religious practices of my people. 803  Once they taught my people to swear their oaths using the name of the god Baal. 804  But then, they must swear oaths using my name, saying, “As surely as the Lord lives, I swear.” 805  If they do these things, 806  then they will be included among the people I call my own. 807  12:17 But I will completely uproot and destroy any of those nations that will not pay heed,’” 808  says the Lord.

An Object Lesson from Ruined Linen Shorts

13:1 The Lord said to me, “Go and buy some linen shorts 809  and put them on. 810  Do not put them in water.” 811  13:2 So I bought the shorts as the Lord had told me to do 812  and put them on. 813  13:3 Then the Lord spoke to me again and said, 814  13:4 Take the shorts that you bought and are wearing 815  and go at once 816  to Perath. 817  Bury the shorts there 818  in a crack in the rocks.” 13:5 So I went and buried them at Perath 819  as the Lord had ordered me to do. 13:6 Many days later the Lord said to me, “Go at once to Perath and get 820  the shorts I ordered you to bury there.” 13:7 So I went to Perath and dug up 821  the shorts from the place where I had buried them. I found 822  that they were ruined; they were good for nothing.

13:8 Then the Lord said to me, 823  13:9 I, the Lord, say: 824  ‘This shows how 825  I will ruin the highly exalted position 826  in which Judah and Jerusalem 827  take pride. 13:10 These wicked people refuse to obey what I have said. 828  They follow the stubborn inclinations of their own hearts and pay allegiance 829  to other gods by worshiping and serving them. So 830  they will become just like these linen shorts which are good for nothing. 13:11 For,’ I say, 831 just as shorts cling tightly to a person’s body, so I bound the whole nation of Israel and the whole nation of Judah 832  tightly 833  to me.’ I intended for them to be my special people and to bring me fame, honor, and praise. 834  But they would not obey me.

13:12So tell them, 835 The Lord, the God of Israel, says, “Every wine jar is made to be filled with wine.”’ 836  And they will probably say to you, ‘Do you not think we know 837  that every wine jar is supposed to be filled with wine?’ 13:13 Then 838  tell them, ‘The Lord says, “I will soon fill all the people who live in this land with stupor. 839  I will also fill the kings from David’s dynasty, 840  the priests, the prophets, and the citizens of Jerusalem with stupor. 841  13:14 And I will smash them like wine bottles against one another, children and parents alike. 842  I will not show any pity, mercy, or compassion. Nothing will keep me from destroying them,’ 843  says the Lord.”

13:15 Then I said to the people of Judah, 844 

“Listen and pay attention! Do not be arrogant!

For the Lord has spoken.

13:16 Show the Lord your God the respect that is due him. 845 

Do it before he brings the darkness of disaster. 846 

Do it before you stumble 847  into distress

like a traveler on the mountains at twilight. 848 

Do it before he turns the light of deliverance you hope for

into the darkness and gloom of exile. 849 

13:17 But if you will not pay attention to this warning, 850 

I will weep alone because of your arrogant pride.

I will weep bitterly and my eyes will overflow with tears 851 

because you, the Lord’s flock, 852  will be carried 853  into exile.”

13:18 The Lord told me, 854 

“Tell the king and the queen mother,

Surrender your thrones, 855 

for your glorious crowns

will be removed 856  from your heads. 857 

13:19 The gates of the towns in southern Judah will be shut tight. 858 

No one will be able to go in or out of them. 859 

All Judah will be carried off into exile.

They will be completely carried off into exile.’ 860 

13:20 Then I said, 861 

“Look up, Jerusalem, 862  and see

the enemy 863  that is coming from the north.

Where now is the flock of people that were entrusted to your care? 864 

Where now are the ‘sheepthat you take such pride in? 865 

13:21 What will you say 866  when the Lord 867  appoints as rulers over you those allies

that you, yourself, had actually prepared as such? 868 

Then anguish and agony will grip you

like that of a woman giving birth to a baby. 869 

13:22 You will probably ask yourself, 870 

‘Why have these things happened to me?

Why have I been treated like a disgraced adulteress

whose skirt has been torn off and her limbs exposed?’ 871 

It is because you have sinned so much. 872 

13:23 But there is little hope for you ever doing good,

you who are so accustomed to doing evil.

Can an Ethiopian 873  change the color of his skin?

Can a leopard remove its spots? 874 

13:24The Lord says, 875 

‘That is why I will scatter your people 876  like chaff

that is blown away by a desert wind. 877 

13:25 This is your fate,

the destiny to which I have appointed you,

because you have forgotten me

and have trusted in false gods.

13:26 So I will pull your skirt up over your face

and expose you to shame like a disgraced adulteress! 878 

13:27 People of Jerusalem, 879  I have seen your adulterous worship,

your shameless prostitution to, and your lustful pursuit of, other gods. 880 

I have seen your disgusting acts of worship 881 

on the hills throughout the countryside.

You are doomed to destruction! 882 

How long will you continue to be unclean?’

A Lament over the Ravages of Drought 883 

14:1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah 884  about the drought. 885 

14:2The people of Judah are in mourning.

The people in her cities are pining away.

They lie on the ground expressing their sorrow. 886 

Cries of distress come up to me 887  from Jerusalem. 888 

14:3 The leading men of the cities send their servants for water.

They go to the cisterns, 889  but they do not find any water there.

They return with their containers 890  empty.

Disappointed and dismayed, they bury their faces in their hands. 891 

14:4 They are dismayed because the ground is cracked 892 

because there has been no rain in the land.

The farmers, too, are dismayed

and bury their faces in their hands.

14:5 Even the doe abandons her newborn fawn 893  in the field

because there is no grass.

14:6 Wild donkeys stand on the hilltops

and pant for breath like jackals.

Their eyes are strained looking for food,

because there is none to be found.” 894 

14:7 Then I said, 895 

“O Lord, intervene for the honor of your name 896 

even though our sins speak out against us. 897 

Indeed, 898  we have turned away from you many times.

We have sinned against you.

14:8 You have been the object of Israel’s hopes.

You have saved them when they were in trouble.

Why have you become like a resident foreigner 899  in the land?

Why have you become like a traveler who only stops in to spend the night?

14:9 Why should you be like someone who is helpless, 900 

like a champion 901  who cannot save anyone?

You are indeed with us, 902 

and we belong to you. 903 

Do not abandon us!

14:10 Then the Lord spoke about these people. 904 

“They truly 905  love to go astray.

They cannot keep from running away from me. 906 

So I am not pleased with them.

I will now call to mind 907  the wrongs they have done 908 

and punish them for their sins.”

Judgment for Believing the Misleading Lies of the False Prophets

14:11 Then the Lord said to me, “Do not pray for good to come to these people! 909  14:12 Even if they fast, I will not hear their cries for help. Even if they offer burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. 910  Instead, I will kill them through wars, famines, and plagues.” 911 

14:13 Then I said, “Oh, Lord God, 912  look! 913  The prophets are telling them that you said, 914 You will not experience war or suffer famine. 915  I will give you lasting peace and prosperity in this land.’ 916 

14:14 Then the Lord said to me, “Those prophets are prophesying lies while claiming my authority! 917  I did not send them. I did not commission them. 918  I did not speak to them. They are prophesying to these people false visions, worthless predictions, 919  and the delusions of their own mind. 14:15 I did not send those prophets, though they claim to be prophesying in my name. They may be saying, ‘No war or famine will happen in this land.’ But I, the Lord, say this about 920  them: ‘War and starvation will kill those prophets.’ 921  14:16 The people to whom they are prophesying will die through war and famine. Their bodies will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem 922  and there will be no one to bury them. This will happen to the men and their wives, their sons, and their daughters. 923  For I will pour out on them the destruction they deserve.” 924 

Lament over Present Destruction and Threat of More to Come

14:17Tell these people this, Jeremiah: 925 

‘My eyes overflow with tears

day and night without ceasing. 926 

For my people, my dear children, 927  have suffered a crushing blow.

They have suffered a serious wound. 928 

14:18 If I go out into the countryside,

I see those who have been killed in battle.

If I go into the city,

I see those who are sick because of starvation. 929 

For both prophet and priest go about their own business

in the land without having any real understanding.’ 930 

14:19 Then I said,

Lord, 931  have you completely rejected the nation of Judah?

Do you despise 932  the city of Zion?

Why have you struck us with such force

that we are beyond recovery? 933 

We hope for peace, but nothing good has come of it.

We hope for a time of relief from our troubles, but experience terror. 934 

14:20 Lord, we confess that we have been wicked.

We confess that our ancestors have done wrong. 935 

We have indeed 936  sinned against you.

14:21 For the honor of your name, 937  do not treat Jerusalem 938  with contempt.

Do not treat with disdain the place where your glorious throne sits. 939 

Be mindful of your covenant with us. Do not break it! 940 

14:22 Do any of the worthless idols 941  of the nations cause rain to fall?

Do the skies themselves send showers?

Is it not you, O Lord our God, who does this? 942 

So we put our hopes in you 943 

because you alone do all this.”

15:1 Then the Lord said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me pleading for 944  these people, I would not feel pity for them! 945  Get them away from me! Tell them to go away! 946  15:2 If they ask you, ‘Where should we go?’ tell them the Lord says this:

“Those who are destined to die of disease will go to death by disease.

Those who are destined to die in war will go to death in war.

Those who are destined to die of starvation will go to death by starvation.

Those who are destined to go into exile will go into exile.” 947 

15:3I will punish them in four different ways: I will have war kill them. I will have dogs drag off their dead bodies. I will have birds and wild beasts devour and destroy their corpses. 948  15:4 I will make all the people in all the kingdoms of the world horrified at what has happened to them because of what Hezekiah’s son Manasseh, king of Judah, did in Jerusalem.” 949 

15:5 The Lord cried out, 950 

“Who in the world 951  will have pity on you, Jerusalem?

Who will grieve over you?

Who will stop long enough 952 

to inquire about how you are doing? 953 

15:6 I, the Lord, say: 954  ‘You people have deserted me!

You keep turning your back on me.’ 955 

So I have unleashed my power against you 956  and have begun to destroy you. 957 

I have grown tired of feeling sorry for you! 958 

15:7 The Lord continued, 959 

“In every town in the land I will purge them

like straw blown away by the wind. 960 

I will destroy my people.

I will kill off their children.

I will do so because they did not change their behavior. 961 

15:8 Their widows will become in my sight more numerous 962 

than the grains of sand on the seashores.

At noontime I will bring a destroyer

against the mothers of their young men. 963 

I will cause anguish 964  and terror

to fall suddenly upon them. 965 

15:9 The mother who had seven children 966  will grow faint.

All the breath will go out of her. 967 

Her pride and joy will be taken from her in the prime of their life.

It will seem as if the sun had set while it was still day. 968 

She will suffer shame and humiliation. 969 

I will cause any of them who are still left alive

to be killed in war by the onslaughts of their enemies,” 970 

says the Lord.

Jeremiah Complains about His Lot and The Lord Responds

15:10 I said, 971 

“Oh, mother, how I regret 972  that you ever gave birth to me!

I am always starting arguments and quarrels with the people of this land. 973 

I have not lent money to anyone and I have not borrowed from anyone.

Yet all of these people are treating me with contempt.” 974 

15:11 The Lord said,

Jerusalem, 975  I will surely send you away for your own good.

I will surely 976  bring the enemy upon you in a time of trouble and distress.

15:12 Can you people who are like iron and bronze

break that iron fist from the north? 977 

15:13 I will give away your wealth and your treasures as plunder.

I will give it away free of charge for the sins you have committed throughout your land.

15:14 I will make you serve your enemies 978  in a land that you know nothing about.

For my anger is like a fire that will burn against you.”

15:15 I said, 979 

Lord, you know how I suffer. 980 

Take thought of me and care for me.

Pay back for me those who have been persecuting me.

Do not be so patient with them that you allow them to kill me.

Be mindful of how I have put up with their insults for your sake.

15:16 As your words came to me I drank them in, 981 

and they filled my heart with joy and happiness

because I belong to you. 982 

15:17 I did not spend my time in the company of other people,

laughing and having a good time.

I stayed to myself because I felt obligated to you 983 

and because I was filled with anger at what they had done.

15:18 Why must I continually suffer such painful anguish?

Why must I endure the sting of their insults like an incurable wound?

Will you let me down when I need you

like a brook one goes to for water, but that cannot be relied on? 984 

15:19 Because of this, the Lord said, 985 

“You must repent of such words and thoughts!

If you do, I will restore you to the privilege of serving me. 986 

If you say what is worthwhile instead of what is worthless,

I will again allow you to be my spokesman. 987 

They must become as you have been.

You must not become like them. 988 

15:20 I will make you as strong as a wall to these people,

a fortified wall of bronze.

They will attack you,

but they will not be able to overcome you.

For I will be with you to rescue you and deliver you,” 989 

says the Lord.

15:21I will deliver you from the power of the wicked.

I will free you from the clutches of violent people.”

Jeremiah Forbidden to Marry, to Mourn, or to Feast

16:1 The Lord said to me, 16:2 Do not get married and do not have children here in this land. 16:3 For I, the Lord, tell you what will happen to 990  the children who are born here in this land and to the men and women who are their mothers and fathers. 991  16:4 They will die of deadly diseases. No one will mourn for them. They will not be buried. Their dead bodies will lie like manure spread on the ground. They will be killed in war or die of starvation. Their corpses will be food for the birds and wild animals.

16:5Moreover I, the Lord, tell you: 992  ‘Do not go into a house where they are having a funeral meal. Do not go there to mourn and express your sorrow for them. For I have stopped showing them my good favor, 993  my love, and my compassion. I, the Lord, so affirm it! 994  16:6 Rich and poor alike will die in this land. They will not be buried or mourned. People will not cut their bodies or shave off their hair to show their grief for them. 995  16:7 No one will take any food to those who mourn for the dead to comfort them. No one will give them any wine to drink to console them for the loss of their father or mother.

16:8‘Do not go to a house where people are feasting and sit down to eat and drink with them either. 16:9 For I, the Lord God of Israel who rules over all, tell you what will happen. 996  I will put an end to the sounds of joy and gladness, to the glad celebration of brides and grooms in this land. You and the rest of the people will live to see this happen.’ 997 

The Lord Promises Exile (But Also Restoration)

16:10When you tell these people about all this, 998  they will undoubtedly ask you, ‘Why has the Lord threatened us with such great disaster? What wrong have we done? What sin have we done to offend the Lord our God?’ 16:11 Then tell them that the Lord says, 999 It is because your ancestors 1000  rejected me and paid allegiance to 1001  other gods. They have served them and worshiped them. But they have rejected me and not obeyed my law. 1002  16:12 And you have acted even more wickedly than your ancestors! Each one of you has followed the stubborn inclinations of your own wicked heart and not obeyed me. 1003  16:13 So I will throw you out of this land into a land that neither you nor your ancestors have ever known. There you must worship other gods day and night, for I will show you no mercy.’

16:14 Yet 1004  I, the Lord, say: 1005  “A new time will certainly come. 1006  People now affirm their oaths with ‘I swear as surely as the Lord lives who delivered the people of Israel out of Egypt.’ 16:15 But in that time they will affirm them with ‘I swear as surely as the Lord lives who delivered the people of Israel from the land of the north and from all the other lands where he had banished them.’ At that time I will bring them back to the land I gave their ancestors.” 1007 

16:16 But for now I, the Lord, say: 1008  “I will send many enemies who will catch these people like fishermen. After that I will send others who will hunt them out like hunters from all the mountains, all the hills, and the crevices in the rocks. 1009  16:17 For I see everything they do. Their wicked ways are not hidden from me. Their sin is not hidden away where I cannot see it. 1010  16:18 Before I restore them 1011  I will punish them in full 1012  for their sins and the wrongs they have done. For they have polluted my land with the lifeless statues of their disgusting idols. They have filled the land I have claimed as my own 1013  with their detestable idols.” 1014 

16:19 Then I said, 1015 

Lord, you give me strength and protect me.

You are the one I can run to for safety when I am in trouble. 1016 

Nations from all over the earth

will come to you and say,

‘Our ancestors had nothing but false gods –

worthless idols that could not help them at all. 1017 

16:20 Can people make their own gods?

No, what they make are not gods at all.” 1018 

16:21 The Lord said, 1019 

“So I will now let this wicked people know

I will let them know my mighty power in judgment.

Then they will know that my name is the Lord.” 1020 

17:1 1021 

The sin of Judah is engraved with an iron chisel

on their stone-hard 1022  hearts.

It is inscribed with a diamond 1023  point

on the horns of their altars. 1024 

17:2 Their children are always thinking about 1025  their 1026  altars

and their sacred poles dedicated to the goddess Asherah, 1027 

set up beside the green trees on the high hills

17:3 and on the mountains and in the fields. 1028 

I will give your wealth and all your treasures away as plunder.

I will give it away as the price 1029  for the sins you have committed throughout your land.

17:4 You will lose your hold on the land 1030 

which I gave to you as a permanent possession.

I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you know nothing about.

For you have made my anger burn like a fire that will never be put out.” 1031 

Individuals Are Challenged to Put Their Trust in the Lord 1032 

17:5 The Lord says,

I will put a curse on people

who trust in mere human beings,

who depend on mere flesh and blood for their strength, 1033 

and whose hearts 1034  have turned away from the Lord.

17:6 They will be like a shrub 1035  in the desert.

They will not experience good things even when they happen.

It will be as though they were growing in the desert,

in a salt land where no one can live.

17:7 My blessing is on those people who trust in me,

who put their confidence in me. 1036 

17:8 They will be like a tree planted near a stream

whose roots spread out toward the water.

It has nothing to fear when the heat comes.

Its leaves are always green.

It has no need to be concerned in a year of drought.

It does not stop bearing fruit.

17:9 The human mind is more deceitful than anything else.

It is incurably bad. 1037  Who can understand it?

17:10 I, the Lord, probe into people’s minds.

I examine people’s hearts. 1038 

I deal with each person according to how he has behaved.

I give them what they deserve based on what they have done.

17:11 The person who gathers wealth by unjust means

is like the partridge that broods over eggs but does not hatch them. 1039 

Before his life is half over he will lose his ill-gotten gains. 1040 

At the end of his life it will be clear he was a fool.” 1041 

Jeremiah Appeals to the Lord for Vindication

17:12 Then I said, 1042 

Lord, from the very beginning

you have been seated on your glorious throne on high.

You are the place where we can find refuge.

17:13 You are the one in whom Israel may find hope. 1043 

All who leave you will suffer shame.

Those who turn away from you 1044  will be consigned to the nether world. 1045 

For they have rejected you, the Lord, the fountain of life. 1046 

17:14 Lord, grant me relief from my suffering

so that I may have some relief.

Rescue me from those who persecute me

so that I may be rescued. 1047 

17:15 Listen to what they are saying to me. 1048 

They are saying, “Where are the things the Lord threatens us with?

Come on! Let’s see them happen! 1049 

17:16 But I have not pestered you to bring disaster. 1050 

I have not desired the time of irreparable devastation. 1051 

You know that.

You are fully aware of every word that I have spoken. 1052 

17:17 Do not cause me dismay! 1053 

You are my source of safety in times of trouble.

17:18 May those who persecute me be disgraced.

Do not let me be disgraced.

May they be dismayed.

Do not let me be dismayed.

Bring days of disaster on them.

Bring on them the destruction they deserve.” 1054 

Observance of the Sabbath Day Is a Key to the Future 1055 

17:19 The Lord told me, “Go and stand in the People’s Gate 1056  through which the kings of Judah enter and leave the city. Then go and stand in all the other gates of the city of Jerusalem. 1057  17:20 As you stand in those places 1058  announce, ‘Listen, all you people who pass through these gates. Listen, all you kings of Judah, all you people of Judah and all you citizens of Jerusalem. Listen to what the Lord says. 1059  17:21 The Lord says, ‘Be very careful if you value your lives! 1060  Do not carry any loads 1061  in through 1062  the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. 17:22 Do not carry any loads out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath day. 1063  But observe the Sabbath day as a day set apart to the Lord, 1064  as I commanded your ancestors. 1065  17:23 Your ancestors, 1066  however, did not listen to me or pay any attention to me. They stubbornly refused 1067  to pay attention or to respond to any discipline.’ 17:24 The Lord says, 1068 You must make sure to obey me. You must not bring any loads through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day. You must set the Sabbath day apart to me. You must not do any work on that day. 17:25 If you do this, 1069  then the kings and princes who follow in David’s succession 1070  and ride in chariots or on horses will continue to enter through these gates, as well as their officials and the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem. 1071  This city will always be filled with people. 1072  17:26 Then people will come here from the towns in Judah, from the villages surrounding Jerusalem, from the territory of Benjamin, from the western foothills, from the southern hill country, and from the southern part of Judah. They will come bringing offerings to the temple of the Lord: burnt offerings, sacrifices, grain offerings, and incense along with their thank offerings. 1073  17:27 But you must obey me and set the Sabbath day apart to me. You must not carry any loads in through 1074  the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. If you disobey, I will set the gates of Jerusalem on fire. It will burn down all the fortified dwellings in Jerusalem and no one will be able to put it out.’

An Object Lesson from the Making of Pottery

18:1 The Lord said to Jeremiah: 1075  18:2 Go down at once 1076  to the potter’s house. I will speak to you further there.” 1077  18:3 So I went down to the potter’s house and found him working 1078  at his wheel. 1079  18:4 Now and then 1080  there would be something wrong 1081  with the pot he was molding from the clay 1082  with his hands. So he would rework 1083  the clay into another kind of pot as he saw fit. 1084 

18:5 Then the Lord said to me, 1085  18:6 I, the Lord, say: 1086  ‘O nation of Israel, can I not deal with you as this potter deals with the clay? 1087  In my hands, you, O nation of Israel, are just like the clay in this potter’s hand.’ 18:7 There are times, Jeremiah, 1088  when I threaten to uproot, tear down, and destroy a nation or kingdom. 1089  18:8 But if that nation I threatened stops doing wrong, 1090  I will cancel the destruction 1091  I intended to do to it. 18:9 And there are times when I promise to build up and establish 1092  a nation or kingdom. 18:10 But if that nation does what displeases me and does not obey me, then I will cancel the good I promised to do to it. 18:11 So now, tell the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem 1093  this: The Lord says, ‘I am preparing to bring disaster on you! I am making plans to punish you. 1094  So, every one of you, stop the evil things you have been doing. 1095  Correct the way you have been living and do what is right.’ 1096  18:12 But they just keep saying, ‘We do not care what you say! 1097  We will do whatever we want to do! We will continue to behave wickedly and stubbornly!’ 1098 

18:13 Therefore, the Lord says,

Ask the people of other nations

whether they have heard of anything like this.

Israel should have been like a virgin.

But she has done something utterly revolting!

18:14 Does the snow ever completely vanish from the rocky slopes of Lebanon?

Do the cool waters from those distant mountains ever cease to flow? 1099 

18:15 Yet my people have forgotten me

and offered sacrifices to worthless idols!

This makes them stumble along in the way they live

and leave the old reliable path of their fathers. 1100 

They have left them to walk in bypaths,

in roads that are not smooth and level. 1101 

18:16 So their land will become an object of horror. 1102 

People will forever hiss out their scorn over it.

All who pass that way will be filled with horror

and will shake their heads in derision. 1103 

18:17 I will scatter them before their enemies

like dust blowing in front of a burning east wind.

I will turn my back on them and not look favorably on them 1104 

when disaster strikes them.”

Jeremiah Petitions the Lord to Punish Those Who Attack Him

18:18 Then some people 1105  said, “Come on! Let us consider how to deal with Jeremiah! 1106  There will still be priests to instruct us, wise men to give us advice, and prophets to declare God’s word. 1107  Come on! Let’s bring charges against him and get rid of him! 1108  Then we will not need to pay attention to anything he says.”

18:19 Then I said, 1109 

Lord, pay attention to me.

Listen to what my enemies are saying. 1110 

18:20 Should good be paid back with evil?

Yet they are virtually digging a pit to kill me. 1111 

Just remember how I stood before you

pleading on their behalf 1112 

to keep you from venting your anger on them. 1113 

18:21 So let their children die of starvation.

Let them be cut down by the sword. 1114 

Let their wives lose their husbands and children.

Let the older men die of disease 1115 

and the younger men die by the sword in battle.

18:22 Let cries of terror be heard in their houses

when you send bands of raiders unexpectedly to plunder them. 1116 

For they have virtually dug a pit to capture me

and have hidden traps for me to step into.

18:23 But you, Lord, know

all their plots to kill me.

Do not pardon their crimes!

Do not ignore their sins as though you had erased them! 1117 

Let them be brought down in defeat before you!

Deal with them while you are still angry! 1118 

An Object Lesson from a Broken Clay Jar

19:1 The Lord told Jeremiah, 1119  “Go and buy a clay jar from a potter. 1120  Take with you 1121  some of the leaders of the people and some of the leaders 1122  of the priests. 19:2 Go out to the part of the Hinnom Valley which is near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. 1123  Announce there what I tell you. 1124  19:3 Say, ‘Listen to what the Lord says, you kings of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem! 1125  The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 1126  says, “I will bring a disaster on this place 1127  that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it ring! 1128  19:4 I will do so because these people 1129  have rejected me and have defiled 1130  this place. They have offered sacrifices in it to other gods which neither they nor their ancestors 1131  nor the kings of Judah knew anything about. They have filled it with the blood of innocent children. 1132  19:5 They have built places here 1133  for worship of the god Baal so that they could sacrifice their children as burnt offerings to him in the fire. Such sacrifices 1134  are something I never commanded them to make! They are something I never told them to do! Indeed, such a thing never even entered my mind! 19:6 So I, the Lord, say: 1135  “The time will soon come that people will no longer call this place Topheth or the Hinnom Valley. But they will call this valley 1136  the Valley of Slaughter! 19:7 In this place I will thwart 1137  the plans of the people of Judah and Jerusalem. I will deliver them over to the power of their enemies who are seeking to kill them. They will die by the sword 1138  at the hands of their enemies. 1139  I will make their dead bodies food for the birds and wild beasts to eat. 19:8 I will make this city an object of horror, a thing to be hissed at. All who pass by it will be filled with horror and will hiss out their scorn 1140  because of all the disasters that have happened to it. 1141  19:9 I will reduce the people of this city to desperate straits during the siege imposed on it by their enemies who are seeking to kill them. I will make them so desperate that they will eat the flesh of their own sons and daughters and the flesh of one another.”’ 1142 

19:10 The Lord continued, 1143  “Now break the jar in front of those who have come here with you. 19:11 Tell them the Lord who rules over all says, 1144  ‘I will do just as Jeremiah has done. 1145  I will smash this nation and this city as though it were a potter’s vessel which is broken beyond repair. 1146  The dead will be buried here in Topheth until there is no more room to bury them.’ 1147  19:12 I, the Lord, say: 1148  ‘That is how I will deal with this city and its citizens. I will make it like Topheth. 19:13 The houses in Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah will be defiled by dead bodies 1149  just like this place, Topheth. For they offered sacrifice to the stars 1150  and poured out drink offerings to other gods on the roofs of those houses.’

19:14 Then Jeremiah left Topheth where the Lord had sent him to give that prophecy. He went to the Lord’s temple and stood 1151  in its courtyard and called out to all the people. 19:15 The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 1152  says, ‘I will soon bring on this city and all the towns surrounding it 1153  all the disaster I threatened to do to it. I will do so because they have stubbornly refused 1154  to pay any attention to what I have said!’

Jeremiah is Flogged and Put in A Cell

20:1 Now Pashhur son of Immer heard Jeremiah prophesy these things. He was the priest who was chief of security 1155  in the Lord’s temple. 20:2 When he heard Jeremiah’s prophecy, he had the prophet flogged. 1156  Then he put him in the stocks 1157  which were at the Upper Gate of Benjamin in the Lord’s temple. 1158  20:3 But the next day Pashhur released Jeremiah from the stocks. When he did, Jeremiah said to him, “The Lord’s name for you is not ‘Pashhurbut ‘Terror is Everywhere.’ 1159  20:4 For the Lord says, ‘I will make both you and your friends terrified of what will happen to you. 1160  You will see all of them die by the swords of their enemies. 1161  I will hand all the people of Judah over to the king of Babylon. He will carry some of them away into exile in Babylon and he will kill others of them with the sword. 20:5 I will hand over all the wealth of this city to their enemies. I will hand over to them all the fruits of the labor of the people of this city and all their prized possessions, as well as all the treasures of the kings of Judah. Their enemies will seize it all as plunder 1162  and carry it off to Babylon. 20:6 You, Pashhur, and all your household 1163  will go into exile in Babylon. You will die there and you will be buried there. The same thing will happen to all your friends to whom you have prophesied lies.’ 1164 

Jeremiah Complains about the Reaction to His Ministry

20:7 Lord, you coerced me into being a prophet,

and I allowed you to do it.

You overcame my resistance and prevailed over me. 1165 

Now I have become a constant laughingstock.

Everyone ridicules me.

20:8 For whenever I prophesy, 1166  I must cry out, 1167 

“Violence and destruction are coming!” 1168 

This message from the Lord 1169  has made me

an object of continual insults and derision.

20:9 Sometimes I think, “I will make no mention of his message.

I will not speak as his messenger 1170  any more.”

But then 1171  his message becomes like a fire

locked up inside of me, burning in my heart and soul. 1172 

I grow weary of trying to hold it in;

I cannot contain it.

20:10 I 1173  hear many whispering words of intrigue against me.

Those who would cause me terror are everywhere! 1174 

They are saying, “Come on, let’s publicly denounce him!” 1175 

All my so-called friends 1176  are just watching for

something that would lead to my downfall. 1177 

They say, “Perhaps he can be enticed into slipping up,

so we can prevail over 1178  him and get our revenge on him.

20:11 But the Lord is with me to help me like an awe-inspiring warrior. 1179 

Therefore those who persecute me will fail and will not prevail over me.

They will be thoroughly disgraced because they did not succeed.

Their disgrace will never be forgotten.

20:12 O Lord who rules over all, 1180  you test and prove the righteous.

You see into people’s hearts and minds. 1181 

Pay them back for what they have done

because I trust you to vindicate my cause.

20:13 Sing to the Lord! Praise the Lord!

For he rescues the oppressed from the clutches of evildoers. 1182 

20:14 Cursed be the day I was born!

May that day not be blessed when my mother gave birth to me. 1183 

20:15 Cursed be the man

who made my father very glad

when he brought him the news

that a baby boy had been born to him! 1184 

20:16 May that man be like the cities 1185 

that the Lord destroyed without showing any mercy.

May he hear a cry of distress in the morning

and a battle cry at noon.

20:17 For he did not kill me before I came from the womb,

making my pregnant mother’s womb my grave forever. 1186 

20:18 Why did I ever come forth from my mother’s womb?

All I experience is trouble and grief,

and I spend my days in shame. 1187 

The Lord Will Hand Jerusalem over to Enemies

21:1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah 1188  when King Zedekiah 1189  sent to him Pashhur son of Malkijah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah. 1190  Zedekiah sent them to Jeremiah to ask, 1191  21:2 Please ask the Lord to come and help us, 1192  because King Nebuchadnezzar 1193  of Babylon is attacking us. Maybe the Lord will perform one of his miracles as in times past and make him stop attacking us and leave.” 1194  21:3 Jeremiah answered them, “Tell Zedekiah 21:4 that the Lord, the God of Israel, says, 1195 The forces at your disposal 1196  are now outside the walls fighting against King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and the Babylonians 1197  who have you under siege. I will gather those forces back inside the city. 1198  21:5 In anger, in fury, and in wrath I myself will fight against you with my mighty power and great strength! 1199  21:6 I will kill everything living in Jerusalem, 1200  people and animals alike! They will die from terrible diseases. 21:7 Then 1201  I, the Lord, promise that 1202  I will hand over King Zedekiah of Judah, his officials, and any of the people who survive the war, starvation, and disease. I will hand them over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and to their enemies who want to kill them. He will slaughter them with the sword. He will not show them any mercy, compassion, or pity.’

21:8But 1203  tell the people of Jerusalem 1204  that the Lord says, ‘I will give you a choice between two courses of action. One will result in life; the other will result in death. 1205  21:9 Those who stay in this city will die in battle or of starvation or disease. Those who leave the city and surrender to the Babylonians who are besieging it will live. They will escape with their lives. 1206  21:10 For I, the Lord, say that 1207  I am determined not to deliver this city but to bring disaster on it. 1208  It will be handed over to the king of Babylon and he will destroy it with fire.’” 1209 

Warnings to the Royal Court

21:11 The Lord told me to say 1210  to the royal court 1211  of Judah,

Listen to what the Lord says,

21:12 O royal family descended from David. 1212 

The Lord says:

‘See to it that people each day 1213  are judged fairly. 1214 

Deliver those who have been robbed from those 1215  who oppress them.

Otherwise, my wrath will blaze out against you.

It will burn like a fire that cannot be put out

because of the evil that you have done. 1216 

21:13 Listen, you 1217  who sit enthroned above the valley on a rocky plateau.

I am opposed to you,’ 1218  says the Lord. 1219 

‘You boast, “No one can swoop down on us.

No one can penetrate into our places of refuge.” 1220 

21:14 But I will punish you as your deeds deserve,’

says the Lord. 1221 

‘I will set fire to your palace;

it will burn up everything around it.’ 1222 

22:1 The Lord told me, 1223  “Go down 1224  to the palace of the king of Judah. Give him a message from me there. 1225  22:2 Say: ‘Listen, O king of Judah who follows in David’s succession. 1226  You, your officials, and your subjects who pass through the gates of this palace must listen to what the Lord says. 1227  22:3 The Lord says, “Do what is just and right. Deliver those who have been robbed from those 1228  who oppress them. Do not exploit or mistreat foreigners who live in your land, children who have no fathers, or widows. 1229  Do not kill innocent people 1230  in this land. 22:4 If you are careful to 1231  obey these commands, then the kings who follow in David’s succession and ride in chariots or on horses will continue to come through the gates of this palace, as will their officials and their subjects. 1232  22:5 But, if you do not obey these commands, I solemnly swear 1233  that this palace will become a pile of rubble. I, the Lord, affirm it! 1234 

22:6‘For the Lord says concerning the palace of the king of Judah,

This place looks like a veritable forest of Gilead to me.

It is like the wooded heights of Lebanon in my eyes.

But I swear that I will make it like a wilderness

whose towns have all been deserted. 1235 

22:7 I will send men against it to destroy it 1236 

with their axes and hatchets.

They will hack up its fine cedar panels and columns

and throw them into the fire.

22:8‘People from other nations will pass by this city. They will ask one another, “Why has the Lord done such a thing to this great city? 22:9 The answer will come back, “It is because they broke their covenant with the Lord their God and worshiped and served other gods.”

Judgment on Jehoahaz

22:10‘Do not weep for the king who was killed.

Do not grieve for him.

But weep mournfully for the king who has gone into exile.

For he will never return to see his native land again. 1237 

22:11‘For the Lord has spoken about Shallum son of Josiah, who succeeded his father as king of Judah but was carried off into exile. He has said, “He will never return to this land. 1238  22:12 For he will die in the country where they took him as a captive. He will never see this land again.” 1239 

Judgment on Jehoiakim

22:13‘Sure to be judged 1240  is the king who builds his palace using injustice

and treats people unfairly while adding its upper rooms. 1241 

He makes his countrymen work for him for nothing.

He does not pay them for their labor.

22:14 He says, “I will build myself a large palace

with spacious upper rooms.”

He cuts windows in its walls,

panels it 1242  with cedar, and paints its rooms red. 1243 

22:15 Does it make you any more of a king

that you outstrip everyone else in 1244  building with cedar?

Just think about your father.

He was content that he had food and drink. 1245 

He did what was just and right. 1246 

So things went well with him.

22:16 He upheld the cause of the poor and needy.

So things went well for Judah.’ 1247 

The Lord says,

That is a good example of what it means to know me.’ 1248 

22:17 But you are always thinking and looking

for ways to increase your wealth by dishonest means.

Your eyes and your heart are set

on killing some innocent person

and committing fraud and oppression. 1249 

22:18 So 1250  the Lord has this to say about Josiah’s son, King Jehoiakim of Judah:

People will not mourn for him, saying,

“This makes me sad, my brother!

This makes me sad, my sister!”

They will not mourn for him, saying,

“Poor, poor lord! Poor, poor majesty! 1251 

22:19 He will be left unburied just like a dead donkey.

His body will be dragged off and thrown outside the gates of Jerusalem.’ 1252 

Warning to Jerusalem

22:20 People of Jerusalem, 1253  go up to Lebanon and cry out in mourning.

Go to the land of Bashan and cry out loudly.

Cry out in mourning from the mountains of Moab. 1254 

For your allies 1255  have all been defeated.

22:21 While you were feeling secure I gave you warning. 1256 

But you said, “I refuse to listen to you.”

That is the way you have acted from your earliest history onward. 1257 

Indeed, you have never paid attention to me.

22:22 My judgment will carry off all your leaders like a storm wind! 1258 

Your allies will go into captivity.

Then you will certainly 1259  be disgraced and put to shame

because of all the wickedness you have done.

22:23 You may feel as secure as a bird

nesting in the cedars of Lebanon.

But oh how you 1260  will groan 1261  when the pains of judgment come on you.

They will be like those of a woman giving birth to a baby. 1262 

Jeconiah Will Be Permanently Exiled

22:24 The Lord says, 1263 

“As surely as I am the living God, you, Jeconiah, 1264  king of Judah, son of Jehoiakim, will not be the earthly representative of my authority. Indeed, I will take that right away from you. 1265  22:25 I will hand you over to those who want to take your life and of whom you are afraid. I will hand you over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and his Babylonian 1266  soldiers. 22:26 I will force you and your mother who gave you birth into exile. You will be exiled to 1267  a country where neither of you were born, and you will both die there. 22:27 You will never come back to this land to which you will long to return! 1268 

22:28 This man, Jeconiah, will be like a broken pot someone threw away.

He will be like a clay vessel 1269  that no one wants. 1270 

Why will he and his children be forced into exile?

Why will they be thrown out into a country they know nothing about? 1271 

22:29 O land of Judah, land of Judah, land of Judah! 1272 

Listen to what the Lord has to say!

22:30 The Lord says,

Enroll this man in the register as though he were childless. 1273 

Enroll him as a man who will not enjoy success during his lifetime.

For none of his sons will succeed in occupying the throne of David

or ever succeed in ruling over Judah.”

New Leaders over a Regathered Remnant

23:1 The Lord says, 1274 The leaders of my people are sure to be judged. 1275  They were supposed to watch over my people like shepherds watch over their sheep. But they are causing my people to be destroyed and scattered. 1276  23:2 So the Lord God of Israel has this to say about the leaders who are ruling over his people: “You have caused my people 1277  to be dispersed and driven into exile. You have not taken care of them. So I will punish you for the evil that you have done. 1278  I, the Lord, affirm it! 1279  23:3 Then I myself will regather those of my people 1280  who are still alive from all the countries where I have driven them. I will bring them back to their homeland. 1281  They will greatly increase in number. 23:4 I will install rulers 1282  over them who will care for them. Then they will no longer need to fear or be terrified. None of them will turn up missing. 1283  I, the Lord, promise it! 1284 

23:5I, the Lord, promise 1285  that a new time will certainly come 1286 

when I will raise up for them a righteous branch, 1287  a descendant of David.

He will rule over them with wisdom and understanding 1288 

and will do what is just and right in the land. 1289 

23:6 Under his rule 1290  Judah will enjoy safety 1291 

and Israel will live in security. 1292 

This is the name he will go by:

‘The Lord has provided us with justice.’ 1293 

23:7So I, the Lord, say: 1294  ‘A new time will certainly come. 1295  People now affirm their oaths with “I swear as surely as the Lord lives who delivered the people of Israel out of Egypt.” 23:8 But at that time they will affirm them with “I swear as surely as the Lord lives who delivered the descendants of the former nation of Israel 1296  from the land of the north and from all the other lands where he had banished 1297  them.” 1298  At that time they will live in their own land.’

Oracles Against the False Prophets 1299 

23:9 Here is what the Lord says concerning the false prophets: 1300 

My heart and my mind are deeply disturbed.

I tremble all over. 1301 

I am like a drunk person,

like a person who has had too much wine, 1302 

because of the way the Lord

and his holy word are being mistreated. 1303 

23:10 For the land is full of people unfaithful to him. 1304 

They live wicked lives and they misuse their power. 1305 

So the land is dried up 1306  because it is under his curse. 1307 

The pastures in the wilderness are withered.

23:11 Moreover, 1308  the Lord says, 1309 

“Both the prophets and priests are godless.

I have even found them doing evil in my temple!

23:12 So the paths they follow will be dark and slippery.

They will stumble and fall headlong.

For I will bring disaster on them.

A day of reckoning is coming for them.” 1310 

The Lord affirms it! 1311 

23:13 The Lord says, 1312  “I saw the prophets of Samaria 1313 

doing something that was disgusting. 1314 

They prophesied in the name of the god Baal

and led my people Israel astray. 1315 

23:14 But I see the prophets of Jerusalem 1316 

doing something just as shocking.

They are unfaithful to me

and continually prophesy lies. 1317 

So they give encouragement to people who are doing evil,

with the result that they do not stop their evildoing. 1318 

I consider all of them as bad as the people of Sodom,

and the citizens of Jerusalem as bad as the people of Gomorrah. 1319 

23:15 So then I, the Lord who rules over all, 1320 

have something to say concerning the prophets of Jerusalem: 1321 

‘I will make these prophets eat the bitter food of suffering

and drink the poison water of judgment. 1322 

For the prophets of Jerusalem are the reason 1323 

that ungodliness 1324  has spread throughout the land.’

23:16 The Lord who rules over all 1325  says to the people of Jerusalem: 1326 

“Do not listen to what

those prophets are saying to you.

They are filling you with false hopes.

They are reporting visions of their own imaginations,

not something the Lord has given them to say. 1327 

23:17 They continually say 1328  to those who reject what the Lord has said, 1329 

‘Things will go well for you!’ 1330 

They say to all those who follow the stubborn inclinations of their own hearts,

Nothing bad will happen to you!’

23:18 Yet which of them has ever stood in the Lord’s inner circle 1331 

so they 1332  could see and hear what he has to say? 1333 

Which of them have ever paid attention or listened to what he has said?

23:19 But just watch! 1334  The wrath of the Lord

will come like a storm! 1335 

Like a raging storm it will rage down 1336 

on the heads of those who are wicked.

23:20 The anger of the Lord will not turn back

until he has fully carried out his intended purposes. 1337 

In days to come 1338 

you people will come to understand this clearly. 1339 

23:21 I did not send those prophets.

Yet they were in a hurry to give their message. 1340 

I did not tell them anything.

Yet they prophesied anyway.

23:22 But if they had stood in my inner circle, 1341 

they would have proclaimed my message to my people.

They would have caused my people to turn from their wicked ways

and stop doing the evil things they are doing.

23:23 Do you people think 1342  that I am some local deity

and not the transcendent God?” 1343  the Lord asks. 1344 

23:24Do you really think anyone can hide himself

where I cannot see him?” the Lord asks. 1345 

“Do you not know that I am everywhere?” 1346 

the Lord asks. 1347 

23:25 The Lord says, 1348  “I have heard what those prophets who are prophesying lies in my name are saying. They are saying, ‘I have had a dream! I have had a dream!’ 1349  23:26 Those prophets are just prophesying lies. They are prophesying the delusions of their own minds. 1350  23:27 How long will they go on plotting 1351  to make my people forget who I am 1352  through the dreams they tell one another? That is just as bad as what their ancestors 1353  did when they forgot who I am by worshiping the god Baal. 1354  23:28 Let the prophet who has had a dream go ahead and tell his dream. Let the person who has received my message report that message faithfully. What is like straw cannot compare to what is like grain! 1355  I, the Lord, affirm it! 1356  23:29 My message is like a fire that purges dross! 1357  It is like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces! 1358  I, the Lord, so affirm it! 1359  23:30 So I, the Lord, affirm 1360  that I am opposed to those prophets who steal messages from one another that they claim are from me. 1361  23:31 I, the Lord, affirm 1362  that I am opposed to those prophets who are using their own tongues to declare, ‘The Lord declares.’ 1363  23:32 I, the Lord, affirm 1364  that I am opposed to those prophets who dream up lies and report them. They are misleading my people with their reckless lies. 1365  I did not send them. I did not commission them. They are not helping these people at all. 1366  I, the Lord, affirm it! 1367 

23:33 The Lord said to me, “Jeremiah, 1368  when one of these people, or a prophet, or a priest asks you, ‘What burdensome message 1369  do you have from the Lord?’ Tell them, ‘You are the burden, 1370  and I will cast you away. 1371  I, the Lord, affirm it! 1372  23:34 I will punish any prophet, priest, or other person who says “The Lord’s message is burdensome.” 1373  I will punish both that person and his whole family.’ 1374 

23:35 So I, Jeremiah, tell you, 1375  “Each of you people should say to his friend or his relative, ‘How did the Lord answer? Or what did the Lord say?’ 1376  23:36 You must no longer say that the Lord’s message is burdensome. 1377  For what is ‘burdensome 1378  really pertains to what a person himself says. 1379  You are misrepresenting 1380  the words of our God, the living God, the Lord who rules over all. 1381  23:37 Each of you should merely ask the prophet, ‘What answer did the Lord give you? Or what did the Lord say?’ 1382  23:38 But just suppose you continue to say, ‘The message of the Lord is burdensome.’ Here is what the Lord says will happen: ‘I sent word to you that you must not say, “The Lord’s message is burdensome.” But you used the words “The Lord’s message is burdensomeanyway. 23:39 So 1383  I will carry you far off 1384  and throw you away. I will send both you and the city I gave to you and to your ancestors out of my sight. 1385  23:40 I will bring on you lasting shame and lasting disgrace which will never be forgotten!’

Good Figs and Bad Figs

24:1 The Lord showed me two baskets of figs sitting before his temple. This happened after King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon deported Jehoiakim’s son, King Jeconiah of Judah. He deported him and the leaders of Judah, along with the craftsmen and metal workers, and took them to Babylon. 1386  24:2 One basket had very good-looking figs in it. They looked like those that had ripened early. 1387  The other basket had very bad-looking figs in it, so bad they could not be eaten. 24:3 The Lord said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I answered, “I see figs. The good ones look very good. But the bad ones look very bad, so bad that they cannot be eaten.”

24:4 The Lord said to me, 1388  24:5 I, the Lord, the God of Israel, say: ‘The exiles whom I sent away from here to the land of Babylon 1389  are like those good figs. I consider them to be good. 24:6 I will look after their welfare 1390  and will restore them to this land. There I will build them up and will not tear them down. I will plant them firmly in the land 1391  and will not uproot them. 1392  24:7 I will give them the desire to acknowledge that I 1393  am the Lord. I will be their God and they will be my people. For they will wholeheartedly 1394  return to me.’

24:8I, the Lord, also solemnly assert: ‘King Zedekiah of Judah, his officials, and the people who remain in Jerusalem 1395  or who have gone to live in Egypt are like those bad figs. I consider them to be just like those bad figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten. 1396  24:9 I will bring such disaster on them that all the kingdoms of the earth will be horrified. I will make them an object of reproach, a proverbial example of disaster. I will make them an object of ridicule, an example to be used in curses. 1397  That is how they will be remembered wherever I banish them. 1398  24:10 I will bring war, starvation, and disease 1399  on them until they are completely destroyed from the land I gave them and their ancestors.’ 1400 

Seventy Years of Servitude for Failure to Give Heed

25:1 In the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king of Judah, the Lord spoke to Jeremiah 1401  concerning all the people of Judah. (That was the same as the first year that Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylon.) 1402  25:2 So the prophet Jeremiah spoke to all the people of Judah and to all the people who were living in Jerusalem. 1403  25:3 For the last twenty-three years, from the thirteenth year that Josiah son of Amon was ruling in Judah 1404  until now, the Lord has been speaking to me. I told you over and over again 1405  what he said. 1406  But you would not listen. 25:4 Over and over again 1407  the Lord has sent 1408  his servants the prophets to you. But you have not listened or paid attention. 1409  25:5 He said through them, 1410  ‘Each of you must turn from your wicked ways and stop doing the evil things you are doing. 1411  If you do, I will allow you to continue to live here in the land that I gave to you and your ancestors as a lasting possession. 1412  25:6 Do not pay allegiance to 1413  other gods and worship and serve them. Do not make me angry by the things that you do. 1414  Then I will not cause you any harm.’ 25:7 So, now the Lord says, 1415 You have not listened to me. But 1416  you have made me angry by the things that you have done. 1417  Thus you have brought harm on yourselves.’

25:8Therefore, the Lord who rules over all 1418  says, ‘You have not listened to what I said. 1419  25:9 So I, the Lord, affirm that 1420  I will send for all the peoples of the north 1421  and my servant, 1422  King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and all the nations that surround it. I will utterly destroy 1423  this land, its inhabitants, and all the nations that surround it 1424  and make them everlasting ruins. 1425  I will make them objects of horror and hissing scorn. 1426  25:10 I will put an end to the sounds of joy and gladness, to the glad celebration of brides and grooms in these lands. 1427  I will put an end to the sound of people grinding meal. I will put an end to lamps shining in their houses. 1428  25:11 This whole area 1429  will become a desolate wasteland. These nations will be subject to the king of Babylon for seventy years.’ 1430 

25:12‘But when the seventy years are over, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation 1431  for their sins. I will make the land of Babylon 1432  an everlasting ruin. 1433  I, the Lord, affirm it! 1434  25:13 I will bring on that land everything that I said I would. I will bring on it everything that is written in this book. I will bring on it everything that Jeremiah has prophesied against all the nations. 1435  25:14 For many nations and great kings will make slaves of the king of Babylon and his nation 1436  too. I will repay them for all they have done!’ 1437 

Judah and the Nations Will Experience God’s Wrath

25:15 So 1438  the Lord, the God of Israel, spoke to me in a vision. 1439  “Take this cup from my hand. It is filled with the wine of my wrath. 1440  Take it and make the nations to whom I send you drink it. 25:16 When they have drunk it, they will stagger to and fro 1441  and act insane. For I will send wars sweeping through them.” 1442 

25:17 So I took the cup from the Lord’s hand. I made all the nations to whom he sent me drink the wine of his wrath. 1443  25:18 I made Jerusalem 1444  and the cities of Judah, its kings and its officials drink it. 1445  I did it so Judah would become a ruin. I did it so Judah, its kings, and its officials would become an object 1446  of horror and of hissing scorn, an example used in curses. 1447  Such is already becoming the case! 1448  25:19 I made all of these other people drink it: Pharaoh, king of Egypt; 1449  his attendants, his officials, his people, 25:20 the foreigners living in Egypt; 1450  all the kings of the land of Uz; 1451  all the kings of the land of the Philistines, 1452  the people of Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, the people who had been left alive from Ashdod; 1453  25:21 all the people of Edom, 1454  Moab, 1455  Ammon; 1456  25:22 all the kings of Tyre, 1457  all the kings of Sidon; 1458  all the kings of the coastlands along the sea; 1459  25:23 the people of Dedan, Tema, Buz, 1460  all the desert people who cut their hair short at the temples; 1461  25:24 all the kings of Arabia who 1462  live in the desert; 25:25 all the kings of Zimri; 1463  all the kings of Elam; 1464  all the kings of Media; 1465  25:26 all the kings of the north, whether near or far from one another; and all the other kingdoms which are on the face of the earth. After all of them have drunk the wine of the Lord’s wrath, 1466  the king of Babylon 1467  must drink it.

25:27 Then the Lord said to me, 1468 Tell them that the Lord God of Israel who rules over all 1469  says, 1470  ‘Drink this cup 1471  until you get drunk and vomit. Drink until you fall down and can’t get up. 1472  For I will send wars sweeping through you.’ 1473  25:28 If they refuse to take the cup from your hand and drink it, tell them that the Lord who rules over all says 1474  ‘You most certainly must drink it! 1475  25:29 For take note, I am already beginning to bring disaster on the city that I call my own. 1476  So how can you possibly avoid being punished? 1477  You will not go unpunished! For I am proclaiming war against all who live on the earth. I, the Lord who rules over all, 1478  affirm it!’ 1479 

25:30Then, Jeremiah, 1480  make the following prophecy 1481  against them:

‘Like a lion about to attack, 1482  the Lord will roar from the heights of heaven;

from his holy dwelling on high he will roar loudly.

He will roar mightily against his land. 1483 

He will shout in triumph like those stomping juice from the grapes 1484 

against all those who live on the earth.

25:31 The sounds of battle 1485  will resound to the ends of the earth.

For the Lord will bring charges against the nations. 1486 

He will pass judgment on all humankind

and will hand the wicked over to be killed in war.’ 1487 

The Lord so affirms it! 1488 

25:32 The Lord who rules over all 1489  says,

‘Disaster will soon come on one nation after another. 1490 

A mighty storm of military destruction 1491  is rising up

from the distant parts of the earth.’

25:33 Those who have been killed by the Lord at that time

will be scattered from one end of the earth to the other.

They will not be mourned over, gathered up, or buried. 1492 

Their dead bodies will lie scattered over the ground like manure.

25:34 Wail and cry out in anguish, you rulers!

Roll in the dust, you who shepherd flocks of people! 1493 

The time for you to be slaughtered has come.

You will lie scattered and fallen like broken pieces of fine pottery. 1494 

25:35 The leaders will not be able to run away and hide. 1495 

The shepherds of the flocks will not be able to escape.

25:36 Listen to the cries of anguish of the leaders.

Listen to the wails of the shepherds of the flocks.

They are wailing because the Lord

is about to destroy their lands. 1496 

25:37 Their peaceful dwelling places will be laid waste 1497 

by the fierce anger of the Lord. 1498 

25:38 The Lord is like a lion who has left his lair. 1499 

So their lands will certainly 1500  be laid waste

by the warfare of the oppressive nation 1501 

and by the fierce anger of the Lord.”

NET Bible Study Environment