1 The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. 2 The word of the Lord came to him in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah, 3 and through the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, down to the fifth month of the eleventh year of Zedekiah son of Josiah king of Judah, when the people of Jerusalem went into exile.
4 The Call of Jeremiah
4 The word of the Lord came to me, saying,
6 "Ah, Sovereign Lord," I said, "I do not know how to speak; I am only a child."
7 But the Lord said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a child.' You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the Lord.
9 Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, "Now, I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant."
11 The word of the Lord came to me: "What do you see, Jeremiah?"
11 "I see the branch of an almond tree," I replied.
13 The word of the Lord came to me again: "What do you see?"
13 "I see a boiling pot, tilting away from the north," I answered.
14 The Lord said to me, "From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land. 15 I am about to summon all the peoples of the northern kingdoms," declares the Lord. 15 "Their kings will come and set up their thrones 15 in the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem; 15 they will come against all her surrounding walls 15 and against all the towns of Judah.
17 "Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them. 18 Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land—against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land. 19 They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the Lord.
1 Israel Forsakes God
1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 "Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem: 2 " 'I remember the devotion of your youth, 2 how as a bride you loved me 2 and followed me through the desert, 2 through a land not sown.
6 They did not ask, 'Where is the Lord, 6 who brought us up out of Egypt 6 and led us through the barren wilderness, 6 through a land of deserts and rifts, 6 a land of drought and darkness,[c] 6 a land where no one travels and no one lives?'
19 Your wickedness will punish you; 19 your backsliding will rebuke you. 19 Consider then and realize 19 how evil and bitter it is for you 19 when you forsake the Lord your God 19 and have no awe of me," 19 declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.
23 "How can you say, 'I am not defiled; 23 I have not run after the Baals'? 23 See how you behaved in the valley; 23 consider what you have done. 23 You are a swift she-camel 23 running here and there,
24 a wild donkey accustomed to the desert, 24 sniffing the wind in her craving— 24 in her heat who can restrain her? 24 Any males that pursue her need not tire themselves; 24 at mating time they will find her.
27 They say to wood, 'You are my father,' 27 and to stone, 'You gave me birth.' 27 They have turned their backs to me 27 and not their faces; 27 yet when they are in trouble, they say, 27 'Come and save us!'
31 "You of this generation, consider the word of the Lord: 31 "Have I been a desert to Israel 31 or a land of great darkness? 31 Why do my people say, 'We are free to roam; 31 we will come to you no more'?
34 On your clothes men find 34 the lifeblood of the innocent poor, 34 though you did not catch them breaking in. 34 Yet in spite of all this 35 you say, 'I am innocent; 35 he is not angry with me.' 35 But I will pass judgment on you 35 because you say, 'I have not sinned.'
1 "If a man divorces his wife 1 and she leaves him and marries another man, 1 should he return to her again? 1 Would not the land be completely defiled? 1 But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers— 1 would you now return to me?" 1 declares the Lord.
2 "Look up to the barren heights and see. 2 Is there any place where you have not been ravished? 2 By the roadside you sat waiting for lovers, 2 sat like a nomad[k] in the desert. 2 You have defiled the land 2 with your prostitution and wickedness.
6 Unfaithful Israel
6 During the reign of King Josiah, the Lord said to me, "Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there. 7 I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it. 8 I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery. 9 Because Israel's immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood. 10 In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense," declares the Lord.
11 The Lord said to me, "Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah. 12 Go, proclaim this message toward the north: 12 " 'Return, faithless Israel,' declares the Lord, 12 'I will frown on you no longer, 12 for I am merciful,' declares the Lord, 12 'I will not be angry forever.
13 Only acknowledge your guilt— 13 you have rebelled against the Lord your God, 13 you have scattered your favors to foreign gods 13 under every spreading tree, 13 and have not obeyed me,' " 13 declares the Lord.
14 "Return, faithless people," declares the Lord, "for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. 15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding. 16 In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land," declares the Lord, "men will no longer say, 'The ark of the covenant of the Lord.' It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made. 17 At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the Lord, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the Lord. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts. 18 In those days the house of Judah will join the house of Israel, and together they will come from a northern land to the land I gave your forefathers as an inheritance.
19 "I myself said, 19 " 'How gladly would I treat you like sons 19 and give you a desirable land, 19 the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.' 19 I thought you would call me 'Father' 19 and not turn away from following me.
25 Let us lie down in our shame, 25 and let our disgrace cover us. 25 We have sinned against the Lord our God, 25 both we and our fathers; 25 from our youth till this day 25 we have not obeyed the Lord our God."
4 Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, 4 circumcise your hearts, 4 you men of Judah and people of Jerusalem, 4 or my wrath will break out and burn like fire 4 because of the evil you have done— 4 burn with no one to quench it.
5 Disaster From the North
10 Then I said, "Ah, Sovereign Lord, how completely you have deceived this people and Jerusalem by saying, 'You will have peace,' when the sword is at our throats."
11 At that time this people and Jerusalem will be told, "A scorching wind from the barren heights in the desert blows toward my people, but not to winnow or cleanse; 12 a wind too strong for that comes from me.[l] Now I pronounce my judgments against them."
19 Oh, my anguish, my anguish! 19 I writhe in pain. 19 Oh, the agony of my heart! 19 My heart pounds within me, 19 I cannot keep silent. 19 For I have heard the sound of the trumpet; 19 I have heard the battle cry.
30 What are you doing, O devastated one? 30 Why dress yourself in scarlet 30 and put on jewels of gold? 30 Why shade your eyes with paint? 30 You adorn yourself in vain. 30 Your lovers despise you; 30 they seek your life.
31 I hear a cry as of a woman in labor, 31 a groan as of one bearing her first child— 31 the cry of the Daughter of Zion gasping for breath, 31 stretching out her hands and saying, 31 "Alas! I am fainting; 31 my life is given over to murderers."
1 Not One Is Upright
1 "Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, 1 look around and consider, 1 search through her squares. 1 If you can find but one person 1 who deals honestly and seeks the truth, 1 I will forgive this city.
3 O Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? 3 You struck them, but they felt no pain; 3 you crushed them, but they refused correction. 3 They made their faces harder than stone 3 and refused to repent.
5 So I will go to the leaders 5 and speak to them; 5 surely they know the way of the Lord, 5 the requirements of their God." 5 But with one accord they too had broken off the yoke 5 and torn off the bonds.
6 Therefore a lion from the forest will attack them, 6 a wolf from the desert will ravage them, 6 a leopard will lie in wait near their towns 6 to tear to pieces any who venture out, 6 for their rebellion is great 6 and their backslidings many.
7 "Why should I forgive you? 7 Your children have forsaken me 7 and sworn by gods that are not gods. 7 I supplied all their needs, 7 yet they committed adultery 7 and thronged to the houses of prostitutes.
15 O house of Israel," declares the Lord, 15 "I am bringing a distant nation against you— 15 an ancient and enduring nation, 15 a people whose language you do not know, 15 whose speech you do not understand.
17 They will devour your harvests and food, 17 devour your sons and daughters; 17 they will devour your flocks and herds, 17 devour your vines and fig trees. 17 With the sword they will destroy 17 the fortified cities in which you trust.
18 "Yet even in those days," declares the Lord, "I will not destroy you completely. 19 And when the people ask, 'Why has the Lord our God done all this to us?' you will tell them, 'As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your own land, so now you will serve foreigners in a land not your own.'
22 Should you not fear me?" declares the Lord. 22 "Should you not tremble in my presence? 22 I made the sand a boundary for the sea, 22 an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. 22 The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; 22 they may roar, but they cannot cross it.
27 Like cages full of birds, 27 their houses are full of deceit; 27 they have become rich and powerful 28 and have grown fat and sleek. 28 Their evil deeds have no limit; 28 they do not plead the case of the fatherless to win it, 28 they do not defend the rights of the poor.
1 Jerusalem Under Siege
11 But I am full of the wrath of the Lord, 11 and I cannot hold it in. 11 "Pour it out on the children in the street 11 and on the young men gathered together; 11 both husband and wife will be caught in it, 11 and the old, those weighed down with years.
15 Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? 15 No, they have no shame at all; 15 they do not even know how to blush. 15 So they will fall among the fallen; 15 they will be brought down when I punish them," 15 says the Lord.
16 This is what the Lord says: 16 "Stand at the crossroads and look; 16 ask for the ancient paths, 16 ask where the good way is, and walk in it, 16 and you will find rest for your souls. 16 But you said, 'We will not walk in it.'
23 They are armed with bow and spear; 23 they are cruel and show no mercy. 23 They sound like the roaring sea 23 as they ride on their horses; 23 they come like men in battle formation 23 to attack you, O Daughter of Zion."
1 False Religion Worthless
2 " 'Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the Lord. 3 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. 4 Do not trust in deceptive words and say, "This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!" 5 If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, 6 if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, 7 then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever. 8 But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.
9 " 'Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury,[n] burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, "We are safe"—safe to do all these detestable things? 11 Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord.
12 " 'Go now to the place in Shiloh where I first made a dwelling for my Name, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel. 13 While you were doing all these things, declares the Lord, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you, but you did not answer. 14 Therefore, what I did to Shiloh I will now do to the house that bears my Name, the temple you trust in, the place I gave to you and your fathers. 15 I will thrust you from my presence, just as I did all your brothers, the people of Ephraim.'
16 "So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you. 17 Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes of bread for the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to provoke me to anger. 19 But am I the one they are provoking? declares the Lord. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame?
20 " 'Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: My anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place, on man and beast, on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground, and it will burn and not be quenched.
21 " 'This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices and eat the meat yourselves! 22 For when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, 23 but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you. 24 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.
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