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Jeremiah 1:1-22:1

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1The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. 2The word of the LORD came to him in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah,

3and 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.

The Call of Jeremiah 4The word of the LORD came to me, saying,

5“Before I formed you in the womb I knew Or chose you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

6“Alas, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” 7But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.

8Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD . 9Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth.

10See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

11The word of the LORD came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?” “I see the branch of an almond tree,” I replied.

12The LORD said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching The Hebrew for watching sounds like the Hebrew for almond tree. to see that my word is fulfilled.”

13The word of the LORD came to me again: “What do you see?” “I see a pot that is boiling,” I answered. “It is tilting toward us from the north.” 14The LORD said to me, “From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land.

15I am about to summon all the peoples of the northern kingdoms,” declares the LORD . “Their kings will come and set up their thrones in the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem; they will come against all her surrounding walls and against all the towns of Judah.

16I will pronounce my judgments on my people because of their wickedness in forsaking me, in burning incense to other gods and in worshiping what their hands have made. 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. 18Today 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. 19They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD .

Israel Forsakes God 1The word of the LORD came to me:

2“Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem: “This is what the LORD says: “ ‘I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness, through a land not sown.

3Israel was holy to the LORD, the firstfruits of his harvest; all who devoured her were held guilty, and disaster overtook them,’ ” declares the LORD .

4Hear the word of the LORD, you descendants of Jacob, all you clans of Israel.

5This is what the LORD says: “What fault did your ancestors find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves.

6They did not ask, ‘Where is the LORD, who brought us up out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness, through a land of deserts and ravines, a land of drought and utter darkness, a land where no one travels and no one lives?’

7I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable.

8The priests did not ask, ‘Where is the LORD ?’ Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols.

9“Therefore I bring charges against you again,” declares the LORD . “And I will bring charges against your children’s children.

10Cross over to the coasts of Cyprus and look, send to Kedar In the Syro-Arabian desert and observe closely; see if there has ever been anything like this:

11Has a nation ever changed its gods? (Yet they are not gods at all.) But my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols.

12Be appalled at this, you heavens, and shudder with great horror,” declares the LORD .

13“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

14Is Israel a servant, a slave by birth? Why then has he become plunder?

15Lions have roared; they have growled at him. They have laid waste his land; his towns are burned and deserted.

16Also, the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes have cracked your skull.

17Have you not brought this on yourselves by forsaking the LORD your God when he led you in the way?

18Now why go to Egypt to drink water from the Nile Hebrew Shihor; that is, a branch of the Nile ? And why go to Assyria to drink water from the Euphrates?

19Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the LORD your God and have no awe of me,” declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.

20“Long ago you broke off your yoke and tore off your bonds; you said, ‘I will not serve you!’ Indeed, on every high hill and under every spreading tree you lay down as a prostitute.

21I had planted you like a choice vine of sound and reliable stock. How then did you turn against me into a corrupt, wild vine?

22Although you wash yourself with soap and use an abundance of cleansing powder, the stain of your guilt is still before me,” declares the Sovereign LORD .

23“How can you say, ‘I am not defiled; I have not run after the Baals’? See how you behaved in the valley; consider what you have done. You are a swift she-camel running here and there,

24a wild donkey accustomed to the desert, sniffing the wind in her craving— in her heat who can restrain her? Any males that pursue her need not tire themselves; at mating time they will find her.

25Do not run until your feet are bare and your throat is dry. But you said, ‘It’s no use! I love foreign gods, and I must go after them.’

26“As a thief is disgraced when he is caught, so the people of Israel are disgraced— they, their kings and their officials, their priests and their prophets.

27They say to wood, ‘You are my father,’ and to stone, ‘You gave me birth.’ They have turned their backs to me and not their faces; yet when they are in trouble, they say, ‘Come and save us!’

28Where then are the gods you made for yourselves? Let them come if they can save you when you are in trouble! For you, Judah, have as many gods as you have towns.

29“Why do you bring charges against me? You have all rebelled against me,” declares the LORD .

30“In vain I punished your people; they did not respond to correction. Your sword has devoured your prophets like a ravenous lion.

31“You of this generation, consider the word of the LORD : “Have I been a desert to Israel or a land of great darkness? Why do my people say, ‘We are free to roam; we will come to you no more’?

32Does a young woman forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number.

33How skilled you are at pursuing love! Even the worst of women can learn from your ways.

34On your clothes is found the lifeblood of the innocent poor, though you did not catch them breaking in. Yet in spite of all this

35you say, ‘I am innocent; he is not angry with me.’ But I will pass judgment on you because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’

36Why do you go about so much, changing your ways? You will be disappointed by Egypt as you were by Assyria. 37You will also leave that place with your hands on your head, for the LORD has rejected those you trust; you will not be helped by them.

1“If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and marries another man, should he return to her again? Would not the land be completely defiled? But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers— would you now return to me?” declares the LORD .

2“Look up to the barren heights and see. Is there any place where you have not been ravished? By the roadside you sat waiting for lovers, sat like a nomad in the desert. You have defiled the land with your prostitution and wickedness.

3Therefore the showers have been withheld, and no spring rains have fallen. Yet you have the brazen look of a prostitute; you refuse to blush with shame.

4Have you not just called to me: ‘My Father, my friend from my youth,

5will you always be angry? Will your wrath continue forever?’ This is how you talk, but you do all the evil you can.”

Unfaithful Israel 6During 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. 7I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it. 8I 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. 9Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood.

10In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense,” declares the LORD . 11The LORD said to me, “Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah.

12Go, proclaim this message toward the north: “ ‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the LORD, ‘I will frown on you no longer, for I am faithful,’ declares the LORD, ‘I will not be angry forever.

13Only acknowledge your guilt— you have rebelled against the LORD your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,’ ” 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. 15Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding. 16In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land,” declares the LORD, “people 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. 17At 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.

18In those days the people of Judah will join the people of Israel, and together they will come from a northern land to the land I gave your ancestors as an inheritance.

19“I myself said, “ ‘How gladly would I treat you like my children and give you a pleasant land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.’ I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me.

20But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you, Israel, have been unfaithful to me,” declares the LORD .

21A cry is heard on the barren heights, the weeping and pleading of the people of Israel, because they have perverted their ways and have forgotten the LORD their God.

22“Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding.” “Yes, we will come to you, for you are the LORD our God.

23Surely the idolatrous commotion on the hills and mountains is a deception; surely in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel.

24From our youth shameful gods have consumed the fruits of our ancestors’ labor— their flocks and herds, their sons and daughters. 25Let us lie down in our shame, and let our disgrace cover us. We have sinned against the LORD our God, both we and our ancestors; from our youth till this day we have not obeyed the LORD our God.”

1“If you, Israel, will return, then return to me,” declares the LORD . “If you put your detestable idols out of my sight and no longer go astray,

2and if in a truthful, just and righteous way you swear, ‘As surely as the LORD lives,’ then the nations will invoke blessings by him and in him they will boast.”

3This is what the LORD says to the people of Judah and to Jerusalem: “Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns.

4Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, circumcise your hearts, you people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, or my wrath will flare up and burn like fire because of the evil you have done— burn with no one to quench it.

Disaster From the North 5“Announce in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem and say: ‘Sound the trumpet throughout the land!’ Cry aloud and say: ‘Gather together! Let us flee to the fortified cities!’

6Raise the signal to go to Zion! Flee for safety without delay! For I am bringing disaster from the north, even terrible destruction.”

7A lion has come out of his lair; a destroyer of nations has set out. He has left his place to lay waste your land. Your towns will lie in ruins without inhabitant.

8So put on sackcloth, lament and wail, for the fierce anger of the LORD has not turned away from us.

9“In that day,” declares the LORD, “the king and the officials will lose heart, the priests will be horrified, and the prophets will be appalled.”

10Then I said, “Alas, Sovereign LORD ! How completely you have deceived this people and Jerusalem by saying, ‘You will have peace,’ when the sword is at our throats!” 11At 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;

12a wind too strong for that comes from me. Now I pronounce my judgments against them.”

13Look! He advances like the clouds, his chariots come like a whirlwind, his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us! We are ruined!

14Jerusalem, wash the evil from your heart and be saved. How long will you harbor wicked thoughts?

15A voice is announcing from Dan, proclaiming disaster from the hills of Ephraim.

16“Tell this to the nations, proclaim concerning Jerusalem: ‘A besieging army is coming from a distant land, raising a war cry against the cities of Judah.

17They surround her like men guarding a field, because she has rebelled against me,’ ” declares the LORD .

18“Your own conduct and actions have brought this on you. This is your punishment. How bitter it is! How it pierces to the heart!”

19Oh, my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. Oh, the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me, I cannot keep silent. For I have heard the sound of the trumpet; I have heard the battle cry.

20Disaster follows disaster; the whole land lies in ruins. In an instant my tents are destroyed, my shelter in a moment.

21How long must I see the battle standard and hear the sound of the trumpet?

22“My people are fools; they do not know me. They are senseless children; they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil; they know not how to do good.”

23I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty; and at the heavens, and their light was gone.

24I looked at the mountains, and they were quaking; all the hills were swaying.

25I looked, and there were no people; every bird in the sky had flown away.

26I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert; all its towns lay in ruins before the LORD, before his fierce anger.

27This is what the LORD says: “The whole land will be ruined, though I will not destroy it completely.

28Therefore the earth will mourn and the heavens above grow dark, because I have spoken and will not relent, I have decided and will not turn back.”

29At the sound of horsemen and archers every town takes to flight. Some go into the thickets; some climb up among the rocks. All the towns are deserted; no one lives in them.

30What are you doing, you devastated one? Why dress yourself in scarlet and put on jewels of gold? Why highlight your eyes with makeup? You adorn yourself in vain. Your lovers despise you; they want to kill you. 31I hear a cry as of a woman in labor, a groan as of one bearing her first child— the cry of Daughter Zion gasping for breath, stretching out her hands and saying, “Alas! I am fainting; my life is given over to murderers.”

Not One Is Upright 1“Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider, search through her squares. If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city.

2Although they say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives,’ still they are swearing falsely.”

3LORD, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent.

4I thought, “These are only the poor; they are foolish, for they do not know the way of the LORD, the requirements of their God.

5So I will go to the leaders and speak to them; surely they know the way of the LORD, the requirements of their God.” But with one accord they too had broken off the yoke and torn off the bonds.

6Therefore a lion from the forest will attack them, a wolf from the desert will ravage them, a leopard will lie in wait near their towns to tear to pieces any who venture out, for their rebellion is great and their backslidings many.

7“Why should I forgive you? Your children have forsaken me and sworn by gods that are not gods. I supplied all their needs, yet they committed adultery and thronged to the houses of prostitutes.

8They are well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for another man’s wife.

9Should I not punish them for this?” declares the LORD . “Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?

10“Go through her vineyards and ravage them, but do not destroy them completely. Strip off her branches, for these people do not belong to the LORD .

11The people of Israel and the people of Judah have been utterly unfaithful to me,” declares the LORD .

12They have lied about the LORD ; they said, “He will do nothing! No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine.

13The prophets are but wind and the word is not in them; so let what they say be done to them.”

14Therefore this is what the LORD God Almighty says: “Because the people have spoken these words, I will make my words in your mouth a fire and these people the wood it consumes.

15People of Israel,” declares the LORD, “I am bringing a distant nation against you— an ancient and enduring nation, a people whose language you do not know, whose speech you do not understand.

16Their quivers are like an open grave; all of them are mighty warriors.

17They will devour your harvests and food, devour your sons and daughters; they will devour your flocks and herds, devour your vines and fig trees. With the sword they will destroy the fortified cities in which you trust. 18“Yet even in those days,” declares the LORD, “I will not destroy you completely.

19And 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.’

20“Announce this to the descendants of Jacob and proclaim it in Judah:

21Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear:

22Should you not fear me?” declares the LORD . “Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it.

23But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away.

24They do not say to themselves, ‘Let us fear the LORD our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.’

25Your wrongdoings have kept these away; your sins have deprived you of good.

26“Among my people are the wicked who lie in wait like men who snare birds and like those who set traps to catch people.

27Like cages full of birds, their houses are full of deceit; they have become rich and powerful

28and have grown fat and sleek. Their evil deeds have no limit; they do not seek justice. They do not promote the case of the fatherless; they do not defend the just cause of the poor.

29Should I not punish them for this?” declares the LORD . “Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?

30“A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: 31The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?

Jerusalem Under Siege 1“Flee for safety, people of Benjamin! Flee from Jerusalem! Sound the trumpet in Tekoa! Raise the signal over Beth Hakkerem! For disaster looms out of the north, even terrible destruction.

2I will destroy Daughter Zion, so beautiful and delicate.

3Shepherds with their flocks will come against her; they will pitch their tents around her, each tending his own portion.”

4“Prepare for battle against her! Arise, let us attack at noon! But, alas, the daylight is fading, and the shadows of evening grow long.

5So arise, let us attack at night and destroy her fortresses!”

6This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Cut down the trees and build siege ramps against Jerusalem. This city must be punished; it is filled with oppression.

7As a well pours out its water, so she pours out her wickedness. Violence and destruction resound in her; her sickness and wounds are ever before me.

8Take warning, Jerusalem, or I will turn away from you and make your land desolate so no one can live in it.”

9This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Let them glean the remnant of Israel as thoroughly as a vine; pass your hand over the branches again, like one gathering grapes.”

10To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed Hebrew uncircumcised so they cannot hear. The word of the LORD is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it.

11But I am full of the wrath of the LORD, and I cannot hold it in. “Pour it out on the children in the street and on the young men gathered together; both husband and wife will be caught in it, and the old, those weighed down with years.

12Their houses will be turned over to others, together with their fields and their wives, when I stretch out my hand against those who live in the land,” declares the LORD .

13“From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit.

14They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.

15Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them,” says the LORD .

16This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

17I appointed watchmen over you and said, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But you said, ‘We will not listen.’

18Therefore hear, you nations; you who are witnesses, observe what will happen to them.

19Hear, you earth: I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their schemes, because they have not listened to my words and have rejected my law.

20What do I care about incense from Sheba or sweet calamus from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable; your sacrifices do not please me.”

21Therefore this is what the LORD says: “I will put obstacles before this people. Parents and children alike will stumble over them; neighbors and friends will perish.”

22This is what the LORD says: “Look, an army is coming from the land of the north; a great nation is being stirred up from the ends of the earth.

23They are armed with bow and spear; they are cruel and show no mercy. They sound like the roaring sea as they ride on their horses; they come like men in battle formation to attack you, Daughter Zion.”

24We have heard reports about them, and our hands hang limp. Anguish has gripped us, pain like that of a woman in labor.

25Do not go out to the fields or walk on the roads, for the enemy has a sword, and there is terror on every side.

26Put on sackcloth, my people, and roll in ashes; mourn with bitter wailing as for an only son, for suddenly the destroyer will come upon us.

27“I have made you a tester of metals and my people the ore, that you may observe and test their ways.

28They are all hardened rebels, going about to slander. They are bronze and iron; they all act corruptly.

29The bellows blow fiercely to burn away the lead with fire, but the refining goes on in vain; the wicked are not purged out. 30They are called rejected silver, because the LORD has rejected them.”

False Religion Worthless 1This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD :

2“Stand at the gate of the LORD ’s house and there proclaim this message: “ ‘Hear the word of the LORD, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the LORD . 3This 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. 4Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD !” 5If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, 6if you do not oppress the foreigner, 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, 7then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever.

8But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless. 9“ ‘Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, Or and swear by false gods burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, 10and 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?

11Has 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. 13While 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. 14Therefore, 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 ancestors.

15I will thrust you from my presence, just as I did all your fellow Israelites, 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. 17Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to arouse my anger.

19But 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 crops of your land—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! 22For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, 23but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. 24But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward. 25From the time your ancestors left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent you my servants the prophets.

26But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their ancestors.’ 27“When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer.

28Therefore say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed the LORD its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips.

29“ ‘Cut off your hair and throw it away; take up a lament on the barren heights, for the LORD has rejected and abandoned this generation that is under his wrath.

The Valley of Slaughter 30“ ‘The people of Judah have done evil in my eyes, declares the LORD . They have set up their detestable idols in the house that bears my Name and have defiled it. 31They have built the high places of Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters in the fire—something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind. 32So beware, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when people will no longer call it Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter, for they will bury the dead in Topheth until there is no more room. 33Then the carcasses of this people will become food for the birds and the wild animals, and there will be no one to frighten them away. 34I will bring an end to the sounds of joy and gladness and to the voices of bride and bridegroom in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem, for the land will become desolate.

1“ ‘At that time, declares the LORD, the bones of the kings and officials of Judah, the bones of the priests and prophets, and the bones of the people of Jerusalem will be removed from their graves. 2They will be exposed to the sun and the moon and all the stars of the heavens, which they have loved and served and which they have followed and consulted and worshiped. They will not be gathered up or buried, but will be like dung lying on the ground.

3Wherever I banish them, all the survivors of this evil nation will prefer death to life, declares the LORD Almighty.’

Sin and Punishment 4“Say to them, ‘This is what the LORD says: “ ‘When people fall down, do they not get up? When someone turns away, do they not return?

5Why then have these people turned away? Why does Jerusalem always turn away? They cling to deceit; they refuse to return.

6I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle.

7Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the LORD .

8“ ‘How can you say, “We are wise, for we have the law of the LORD,” when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely?

9The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the LORD, what kind of wisdom do they have?

10Therefore I will give their wives to other men and their fields to new owners. From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit.

11They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace.

12Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when they are punished, says the LORD .

13“ ‘I will take away their harvest, declares the LORD . There will be no grapes on the vine. There will be no figs on the tree, and their leaves will wither. What I have given them will be taken from them. The meaning of the Hebrew for this sentence is uncertain. ’ ”

14Why are we sitting here? Gather together! Let us flee to the fortified cities and perish there! For the LORD our God has doomed us to perish and given us poisoned water to drink, because we have sinned against him.

15We hoped for peace but no good has come, for a time of healing but there is only terror.

16The snorting of the enemy’s horses is heard from Dan; at the neighing of their stallions the whole land trembles. They have come to devour the land and everything in it, the city and all who live there.

17“See, I will send venomous snakes among you, vipers that cannot be charmed, and they will bite you,” declares the LORD .

18You who are my Comforter The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain. in sorrow, my heart is faint within me.

19Listen to the cry of my people from a land far away: “Is the LORD not in Zion? Is her King no longer there?” “Why have they aroused my anger with their images, with their worthless foreign idols?”

20“The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved.”

21Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me. 22Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?

1In Hebrew texts 9:1 is numbered 8:23, and 9:2-26 is numbered 9:1-25. Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people.

2Oh, that I had in the desert a lodging place for travelers, so that I might leave my people and go away from them; for they are all adulterers, a crowd of unfaithful people.

3“They make ready their tongue like a bow, to shoot lies; it is not by truth that they triumph Or lies; / they are not valiant for truth in the land. They go from one sin to another; they do not acknowledge me,” declares the LORD .

4“Beware of your friends; do not trust anyone in your clan. For every one of them is a deceiver, Or a deceiving Jacob and every friend a slanderer.

5Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning.

6You That is, Jeremiah (the Hebrew is singular) live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,” declares the LORD .

7Therefore this is what the LORD Almighty says: “See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people?

8Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks deceitfully. With their mouths they all speak cordially to their neighbors, but in their hearts they set traps for them.

9Should I not punish them for this?” declares the LORD . “Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?”

10I will weep and wail for the mountains and take up a lament concerning the wilderness grasslands. They are desolate and untraveled, and the lowing of cattle is not heard. The birds have all fled and the animals are gone.

11“I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins, a haunt of jackals; and I will lay waste the towns of Judah so no one can live there.”

12Who is wise enough to understand this? Who has been instructed by the LORD and can explain it? Why has the land been ruined and laid waste like a desert that no one can cross? 13The LORD said, “It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law. 14Instead, they have followed the stubbornness of their hearts; they have followed the Baals, as their ancestors taught them.” 15Therefore this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “See, I will make this people eat bitter food and drink poisoned water.

16I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors have known, and I will pursue them with the sword until I have made an end of them.”

17This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Consider now! Call for the wailing women to come; send for the most skillful of them.

18Let them come quickly and wail over us till our eyes overflow with tears and water streams from our eyelids.

19The sound of wailing is heard from Zion: ‘How ruined we are! How great is our shame! We must leave our land because our houses are in ruins.’ ”

20Now, you women, hear the word of the LORD ; open your ears to the words of his mouth. Teach your daughters how to wail; teach one another a lament.

21Death has climbed in through our windows and has entered our fortresses; it has removed the children from the streets and the young men from the public squares.

22Say, “This is what the LORD declares: “ ‘Dead bodies will lie like dung on the open field, like cut grain behind the reaper, with no one to gather them.’ ”

23This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches,

24but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD . 25“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh— 26Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the wilderness in distant places. Or wilderness and who clip the hair by their foreheads For all these nations are really uncircumcised, and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.”

God and Idols 1Hear what the LORD says to you, people of Israel.

2This is what the LORD says: “Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them.

3For the practices of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.

4They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter.

5Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.”

6No one is like you, LORD ; you are great, and your name is mighty in power.

7Who should not fear you, King of the nations? This is your due. Among all the wise leaders of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like you.

8They are all senseless and foolish; they are taught by worthless wooden idols.

9Hammered silver is brought from Tarshish and gold from Uphaz. What the craftsman and goldsmith have made is then dressed in blue and purple— all made by skilled workers.

10But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath.

11“Tell them this: ‘These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.’ ” The text of this verse is in Aramaic.

12But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.

13When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar; he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth. He sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.

14Everyone is senseless and without knowledge; every goldsmith is shamed by his idols. The images he makes are a fraud; they have no breath in them.

15They are worthless, the objects of mockery; when their judgment comes, they will perish.

16He who is the Portion of Jacob is not like these, for he is the Maker of all things, including Israel, the people of his inheritance— the LORD Almighty is his name.

Coming Destruction 17Gather up your belongings to leave the land, you who live under siege.

18For this is what the LORD says: “At this time I will hurl out those who live in this land; I will bring distress on them so that they may be captured.”

19Woe to me because of my injury! My wound is incurable! Yet I said to myself, “This is my sickness, and I must endure it.”

20My tent is destroyed; all its ropes are snapped. My children are gone from me and are no more; no one is left now to pitch my tent or to set up my shelter.

21The shepherds are senseless and do not inquire of the LORD ; so they do not prosper and all their flock is scattered.

22Listen! The report is coming— a great commotion from the land of the north! It will make the towns of Judah desolate, a haunt of jackals.

Jeremiah’s Prayer 23LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.

24Discipline me, LORD, but only in due measure— not in your anger, or you will reduce me to nothing. 25Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not acknowledge you, on the peoples who do not call on your name. For they have devoured Jacob; they have devoured him completely and destroyed his homeland.

The Covenant Is Broken 1This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD : 2“Listen to the terms of this covenant and tell them to the people of Judah and to those who live in Jerusalem. 3Tell them that this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Cursed is the one who does not obey the terms of this covenant— 4the terms I commanded your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the iron-smelting furnace.’ I said, ‘Obey me and do everything I command you, and you will be my people, and I will be your God.

5Then I will fulfill the oath I swore to your ancestors, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey’—the land you possess today.” I answered, “Amen, LORD .” 6The LORD said to me, “Proclaim all these words in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: ‘Listen to the terms of this covenant and follow them. 7From the time I brought your ancestors up from Egypt until today, I warned them again and again, saying, “Obey me.”

8But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts. So I brought on them all the curses of the covenant I had commanded them to follow but that they did not keep.’ ” 9Then the LORD said to me, “There is a conspiracy among the people of Judah and those who live in Jerusalem. 10They have returned to the sins of their ancestors, who refused to listen to my words. They have followed other gods to serve them. Both Israel and Judah have broken the covenant I made with their ancestors. 11Therefore this is what the LORD says: ‘I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape. Although they cry out to me, I will not listen to them. 12The towns of Judah and the people of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods to whom they burn incense, but they will not help them at all when disaster strikes.

13You, Judah, have as many gods as you have towns; and the altars you have set up to burn incense to that shameful god Baal are as many as the streets of Jerusalem.’

14“Do not pray for this people or offer any plea or petition for them, because I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their distress.

15“What is my beloved doing in my temple as she, with many others, works out her evil schemes? Can consecrated meat avert your punishment? When you engage in your wickedness, then you rejoice. Or Could consecrated meat avert your punishment? / Then you would rejoice

16The LORD called you a thriving olive tree with fruit beautiful in form. But with the roar of a mighty storm he will set it on fire, and its branches will be broken.

17The LORD Almighty, who planted you, has decreed disaster for you, because the people of both Israel and Judah have done evil and aroused my anger by burning incense to Baal.

Plot Against Jeremiah 18Because the LORD revealed their plot to me, I knew it, for at that time he showed me what they were doing.

19I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; I did not realize that they had plotted against me, saying, “Let us destroy the tree and its fruit; let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name be remembered no more.”

20But you, LORD Almighty, who judge righteously and test the heart and mind, let me see your vengeance on them, for to you I have committed my cause. 21Therefore this is what the LORD says about the people of Anathoth who are threatening to kill you, saying, “Do not prophesy in the name of the LORD or you will die by our hands”— 22therefore this is what the LORD Almighty says: “I will punish them. Their young men will die by the sword, their sons and daughters by famine. 23Not even a remnant will be left to them, because I will bring disaster on the people of Anathoth in the year of their punishment.”

Jeremiah’s Complaint 1You are always righteous, LORD, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?

2You have planted them, and they have taken root; they grow and bear fruit. You are always on their lips but far from their hearts.

3Yet you know me, LORD ; you see me and test my thoughts about you. Drag them off like sheep to be butchered! Set them apart for the day of slaughter!

4How long will the land lie parched and the grass in every field be withered? Because those who live in it are wicked, the animals and birds have perished. Moreover, the people are saying, “He will not see what happens to us.”

God’s Answer 5“If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble Or you feel secure only in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by Or the flooding of the Jordan?

6Your relatives, members of your own family— even they have betrayed you; they have raised a loud cry against you. Do not trust them, though they speak well of you.

7“I will forsake my house, abandon my inheritance; I will give the one I love into the hands of her enemies.

8My inheritance has become to me like a lion in the forest. She roars at me; therefore I hate her.

9Has not my inheritance become to me like a speckled bird of prey that other birds of prey surround and attack? Go and gather all the wild beasts; bring them to devour.

10Many shepherds will ruin my vineyard and trample down my field; they will turn my pleasant field into a desolate wasteland.

11It will be made a wasteland, parched and desolate before me; the whole land will be laid waste because there is no one who cares.

12Over all the barren heights in the desert destroyers will swarm, for the sword of the LORD will devour from one end of the land to the other; no one will be safe.

13They will sow wheat but reap thorns; they will wear themselves out but gain nothing. They will bear the shame of their harvest because of the LORD ’s fierce anger.” 14This is what the LORD says: “As for all my wicked neighbors who seize the inheritance I gave my people Israel, I will uproot them from their lands and I will uproot the people of Judah from among them. 15But after I uproot them, I will again have compassion and will bring each of them back to their own inheritance and their own country. 16And if they learn well the ways of my people and swear by my name, saying, ‘As surely as the LORD lives’—even as they once taught my people to swear by Baal—then they will be established among my people. 17But if any nation does not listen, I will completely uproot and destroy it,” declares the LORD .

A Linen Belt 1This is what the LORD said to me: “Go and buy a linen belt and put it around your waist, but do not let it touch water.”

2So I bought a belt, as the LORD directed, and put it around my waist. 3Then the word of the LORD came to me a second time: 4“Take the belt you bought and are wearing around your waist, and go now to Perath Or possibly to the Euphrates; similarly in verses 5-7 and hide it there in a crevice in the rocks.”

5So I went and hid it at Perath, as the LORD told me. 6Many days later the LORD said to me, “Go now to Perath and get the belt I told you to hide there.”

7So I went to Perath and dug up the belt and took it from the place where I had hidden it, but now it was ruined and completely useless. 8Then the word of the LORD came to me: 9“This is what the LORD says: ‘In the same way I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10These wicked people, who refuse to listen to my words, who follow the stubbornness of their hearts and go after other gods to serve and worship them, will be like this belt—completely useless!

11For as a belt is bound around the waist, so I bound all the people of Israel and all the people of Judah to me,’ declares the LORD, ‘to be my people for my renown and praise and honor. But they have not listened.’

Wineskins 12“Say to them: ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Every wineskin should be filled with wine.’ And if they say to you, ‘Don’t we know that every wineskin should be filled with wine?’ 13then tell them, ‘This is what the LORD says: I am going to fill with drunkenness all who live in this land, including the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets and all those living in Jerusalem.

14I will smash them one against the other, parents and children alike, declares the LORD . I will allow no pity or mercy or compassion to keep me from destroying them.’ ”

Threat of Captivity 15Hear and pay attention, do not be arrogant, for the LORD has spoken.

16Give glory to the LORD your God before he brings the darkness, before your feet stumble on the darkening hills. You hope for light, but he will turn it to utter darkness and change it to deep gloom.

17If you do not listen, I will weep in secret because of your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly, overflowing with tears, because the LORD ’s flock will be taken captive.

18Say to the king and to the queen mother, “Come down from your thrones, for your glorious crowns will fall from your heads.”

19The cities in the Negev will be shut up, and there will be no one to open them. All Judah will be carried into exile, carried completely away.

20Look up and see those who are coming from the north. Where is the flock that was entrusted to you, the sheep of which you boasted?

21What will you say when the LORD sets over you those you cultivated as your special allies? Will not pain grip you like that of a woman in labor?

22And if you ask yourself, “Why has this happened to me?”— it is because of your many sins that your skirts have been torn off and your body mistreated.

23Can an Ethiopian Hebrew Cushite (probably a person from the upper Nile region) change his skin or a leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.

24“I will scatter you like chaff driven by the desert wind.

25This is your lot, the portion I have decreed for you,” declares the LORD, “because you have forgotten me and trusted in false gods.

26I will pull up your skirts over your face that your shame may be seen— 27your adulteries and lustful neighings, your shameless prostitution! I have seen your detestable acts on the hills and in the fields. Woe to you, Jerusalem! How long will you be unclean?”

Drought, Famine, Sword 1This is the word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought:

2“Judah mourns, her cities languish; they wail for the land, and a cry goes up from Jerusalem.

3The nobles send their servants for water; they go to the cisterns but find no water. They return with their jars unfilled; dismayed and despairing, they cover their heads.

4The ground is cracked because there is no rain in the land; the farmers are dismayed and cover their heads.

5Even the doe in the field deserts her newborn fawn because there is no grass.

6Wild donkeys stand on the barren heights and pant like jackals; their eyes fail for lack of food.”

7Although our sins testify against us, do something, LORD, for the sake of your name. For we have often rebelled; we have sinned against you.

8You who are the hope of Israel, its Savior in times of distress, why are you like a stranger in the land, like a traveler who stays only a night?

9Why are you like a man taken by surprise, like a warrior powerless to save? You are among us, LORD, and we bear your name; do not forsake us!

10This is what the LORD says about this people: “They greatly love to wander; they do not restrain their feet. So the LORD does not accept them; he will now remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins.” 11Then the LORD said to me, “Do not pray for the well-being of this people.

12Although they fast, I will not listen to their cry; though they offer burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Instead, I will destroy them with the sword, famine and plague.”

13But I said, “Alas, Sovereign LORD ! The prophets keep telling them, ‘You will not see the sword or suffer famine. Indeed, I will give you lasting peace in this place.’ ” 14Then the LORD said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries Or visions, worthless divinations and the delusions of their own minds. 15Therefore this is what the LORD says about the prophets who are prophesying in my name: I did not send them, yet they are saying, ‘No sword or famine will touch this land.’ Those same prophets will perish by sword and famine.

16And the people they are prophesying to will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and sword. There will be no one to bury them, their wives, their sons and their daughters. I will pour out on them the calamity they deserve.

17“Speak this word to them: “ ‘Let my eyes overflow with tears night and day without ceasing; for the Virgin Daughter, my people, has suffered a grievous wound, a crushing blow.

18If I go into the country, I see those slain by the sword; if I go into the city, I see the ravages of famine. Both prophet and priest have gone to a land they know not.’ ”

19Have you rejected Judah completely? Do you despise Zion? Why have you afflicted us so that we cannot be healed? We hoped for peace but no good has come, for a time of healing but there is only terror.

20We acknowledge our wickedness, LORD, and the guilt of our ancestors; we have indeed sinned against you.

21For the sake of your name do not despise us; do not dishonor your glorious throne. Remember your covenant with us and do not break it. 22Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the skies themselves send down showers? No, it is you, LORD our God. Therefore our hope is in you, for you are the one who does all this.

1Then the LORD said to me: “Even if Moses and Samuel were to stand before me, my heart would not go out to this people. Send them away from my presence! Let them go!

2And if they ask you, ‘Where shall we go?’ tell them, ‘This is what the LORD says: “ ‘Those destined for death, to death; those for the sword, to the sword; those for starvation, to starvation; those for captivity, to captivity.’ 3“I will send four kinds of destroyers against them,” declares the LORD, “the sword to kill and the dogs to drag away and the birds and the wild animals to devour and destroy.

4I will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what Manasseh son of Hezekiah king of Judah did in Jerusalem.

5“Who will have pity on you, Jerusalem? Who will mourn for you? Who will stop to ask how you are?

6You have rejected me,” declares the LORD . “You keep on backsliding. So I will reach out and destroy you; I am tired of holding back.

7I will winnow them with a winnowing fork at the city gates of the land. I will bring bereavement and destruction on my people, for they have not changed their ways.

8I will make their widows more numerous than the sand of the sea. At midday I will bring a destroyer against the mothers of their young men; suddenly I will bring down on them anguish and terror.

9The mother of seven will grow faint and breathe her last. Her sun will set while it is still day; she will be disgraced and humiliated. I will put the survivors to the sword before their enemies,” declares the LORD .

10Alas, my mother, that you gave me birth, a man with whom the whole land strives and contends! I have neither lent nor borrowed, yet everyone curses me.

11The LORD said, “Surely I will deliver you for a good purpose; surely I will make your enemies plead with you in times of disaster and times of distress.

12“Can a man break iron— iron from the north—or bronze?

13“Your wealth and your treasures I will give as plunder, without charge, because of all your sins throughout your country.

14I will enslave you to your enemies in Some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint and Syriac (see also 17:4); most Hebrew manuscripts I will cause your enemies to bring you / into a land you do not know, for my anger will kindle a fire that will burn against you.”

15LORD, you understand; remember me and care for me. Avenge me on my persecutors. You are long-suffering—do not take me away; think of how I suffer reproach for your sake.

16When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, LORD God Almighty.

17I never sat in the company of revelers, never made merry with them; I sat alone because your hand was on me and you had filled me with indignation.

18Why is my pain unending and my wound grievous and incurable? You are to me like a deceptive brook, like a spring that fails.

19Therefore this is what the LORD says: “If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman. Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them.

20I will make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue and save you,” declares the LORD . 21“I will save you from the hands of the wicked and deliver you from the grasp of the cruel.”

Day of Disaster 1Then the word of the LORD came to me: 2“You must not marry and have sons or daughters in this place.” 3For this is what the LORD says about the sons and daughters born in this land and about the women who are their mothers and the men who are their fathers:

4“They will die of deadly diseases. They will not be mourned or buried but will be like dung lying on the ground. They will perish by sword and famine, and their dead bodies will become food for the birds and the wild animals.” 5For this is what the LORD says: “Do not enter a house where there is a funeral meal; do not go to mourn or show sympathy, because I have withdrawn my blessing, my love and my pity from this people,” declares the LORD . 6“Both high and low will die in this land. They will not be buried or mourned, and no one will cut themselves or shave their head for the dead.

7No one will offer food to comfort those who mourn for the dead—not even for a father or a mother—nor will anyone give them a drink to console them. 8“And do not enter a house where there is feasting and sit down to eat and drink.

9For this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Before your eyes and in your days I will bring an end to the sounds of joy and gladness and to the voices of bride and bridegroom in this place. 10“When you tell these people all this and they ask you, ‘Why has the LORD decreed such a great disaster against us? What wrong have we done? What sin have we committed against the LORD our God?’ 11then say to them, ‘It is because your ancestors forsook me,’ declares the LORD, ‘and followed other gods and served and worshiped them. They forsook me and did not keep my law. 12But you have behaved more wickedly than your ancestors. See how all of you are following the stubbornness of your evil hearts instead of obeying me.

13So I will throw you out of this land into a land neither you nor your ancestors have known, and there you will serve other gods day and night, for I will show you no favor.’ 14“However, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’

15but it will be said, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ For I will restore them to the land I gave their ancestors. 16“But now I will send for many fishermen,” declares the LORD, “and they will catch them. After that I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them down on every mountain and hill and from the crevices of the rocks. 17My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from me, nor is their sin concealed from my eyes.

18I will repay them double for their wickedness and their sin, because they have defiled my land with the lifeless forms of their vile images and have filled my inheritance with their detestable idols.”

19LORD, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in time of distress, to you the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, “Our ancestors possessed nothing but false gods, worthless idols that did them no good.

20Do people make their own gods? Yes, but they are not gods!” 21“Therefore I will teach them— this time I will teach them my power and might. Then they will know that my name is the LORD .

1“Judah’s sin is engraved with an iron tool, inscribed with a flint point, on the tablets of their hearts and on the horns of their altars.

2Even their children remember their altars and Asherah poles That is, wooden symbols of the goddess Asherah beside the spreading trees and on the high hills.

3My mountain in the land and your Or hills / 3 and the mountains of the land. / Your wealth and all your treasures I will give away as plunder, together with your high places, because of sin throughout your country.

4Through your own fault you will lose the inheritance I gave you. I will enslave you to your enemies in a land you do not know, for you have kindled my anger, and it will burn forever.”

5This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the LORD .

6That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.

7“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.

8They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

9The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

10“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”

11Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay are those who gain riches by unjust means. When their lives are half gone, their riches will desert them, and in the end they will prove to be fools.

12A glorious throne, exalted from the beginning, is the place of our sanctuary.

13LORD, you are the hope of Israel; all who forsake you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the LORD, the spring of living water.

14Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.

15They keep saying to me, “Where is the word of the LORD ? Let it now be fulfilled!”

16I have not run away from being your shepherd; you know I have not desired the day of despair. What passes my lips is open before you.

17Do not be a terror to me; you are my refuge in the day of disaster.

18Let my persecutors be put to shame, but keep me from shame; let them be terrified, but keep me from terror. Bring on them the day of disaster; destroy them with double destruction.

Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy 19This is what the LORD said to me: “Go and stand at the Gate of the People, Or Army through which the kings of Judah go in and out; stand also at all the other gates of Jerusalem. 20Say to them, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, you kings of Judah and all people of Judah and everyone living in Jerusalem who come through these gates. 21This is what the LORD says: Be careful not to carry a load on the Sabbath day or bring it through the gates of Jerusalem. 22Do not bring a load out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your ancestors. 23Yet they did not listen or pay attention; they were stiff-necked and would not listen or respond to discipline. 24But if you are careful to obey me, declares the LORD, and bring no load through the gates of this city on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy by not doing any work on it, 25then kings who sit on David’s throne will come through the gates of this city with their officials. They and their officials will come riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by the men of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, and this city will be inhabited forever. 26People will come from the towns of Judah and the villages around Jerusalem, from the territory of Benjamin and the western foothills, from the hill country and the Negev, bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, grain offerings and incense, and bringing thank offerings to the house of the LORD . 27But if you do not obey me to keep the Sabbath day holy by not carrying any load as you come through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle an unquenchable fire in the gates of Jerusalem that will consume her fortresses.’ ”

At the Potter’s House 1This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD : 2“Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” 3So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel.

4But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. 5Then the word of the LORD came to me. 6He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD . “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. 7If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, 8and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. 9And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted,

10and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it. 11“Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘This is what the LORD says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’

12But they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.’ ”

13Therefore this is what the LORD says: “Inquire among the nations: Who has ever heard anything like this? A most horrible thing has been done by Virgin Israel.

14Does the snow of Lebanon ever vanish from its rocky slopes? Do its cool waters from distant sources ever stop flowing? The meaning of the Hebrew for this sentence is uncertain.

15Yet my people have forgotten me; they burn incense to worthless idols, which made them stumble in their ways, in the ancient paths. They made them walk in byways, on roads not built up.

16Their land will be an object of horror and of lasting scorn; all who pass by will be appalled and will shake their heads.

17Like a wind from the east, I will scatter them before their enemies; I will show them my back and not my face in the day of their disaster.”

18They said, “Come, let’s make plans against Jeremiah; for the teaching of the law by the priest will not cease, nor will counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophets. So come, let’s attack him with our tongues and pay no attention to anything he says.”

19Listen to me, LORD ; hear what my accusers are saying!

20Should good be repaid with evil? Yet they have dug a pit for me. Remember that I stood before you and spoke in their behalf to turn your wrath away from them.

21So give their children over to famine; hand them over to the power of the sword. Let their wives be made childless and widows; let their men be put to death, their young men slain by the sword in battle.

22Let a cry be heard from their houses when you suddenly bring invaders against them, for they have dug a pit to capture me and have hidden snares for my feet. 23But you, LORD, know all their plots to kill me. Do not forgive their crimes or blot out their sins from your sight. Let them be overthrown before you; deal with them in the time of your anger.

1This is what the LORD says: “Go and buy a clay jar from a potter. Take along some of the elders of the people and of the priests 2and go out to the Valley of Ben Hinnom, near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. There proclaim the words I tell you, 3and say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, you kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem. This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Listen! I am going to bring a disaster on this place that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. 4For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned incense in it to gods that neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. 5They have built the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as offerings to Baal—something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.

6So beware, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when people will no longer call this place Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. 7“ ‘In this place I will ruin The Hebrew for ruin sounds like the Hebrew for jar (see verses 1 and 10). the plans of Judah and Jerusalem. I will make them fall by the sword before their enemies, at the hands of those who want to kill them, and I will give their carcasses as food to the birds and the wild animals. 8I will devastate this city and make it an object of horror and scorn; all who pass by will be appalled and will scoff because of all its wounds.

9I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and daughters, and they will eat one another’s flesh because their enemies will press the siege so hard against them to destroy them.’ 10“Then break the jar while those who go with you are watching, 11and say to them, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: I will smash this nation and this city just as this potter’s jar is smashed and cannot be repaired. They will bury the dead in Topheth until there is no more room. 12This is what I will do to this place and to those who live here, declares the LORD . I will make this city like Topheth.

13The houses in Jerusalem and those of the kings of Judah will be defiled like this place, Topheth—all the houses where they burned incense on the roofs to all the starry hosts and poured out drink offerings to other gods.’ ” 14Jeremiah then returned from Topheth, where the LORD had sent him to prophesy, and stood in the court of the LORD ’s temple and said to all the people, 15“This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Listen! I am going to bring on this city and all the villages around it every disaster I pronounced against them, because they were stiff-necked and would not listen to my words.’ ”

Jeremiah and Pashhur 1When the priest Pashhur son of Immer, the official in charge of the temple of the LORD, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things, 2he had Jeremiah the prophet beaten and put in the stocks at the Upper Gate of Benjamin at the LORD ’s temple. 3The next day, when Pashhur released him from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, “The LORD ’s name for you is not Pashhur, but Terror on Every Side. 4For this is what the LORD says: ‘I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; with your own eyes you will see them fall by the sword of their enemies. I will give all Judah into the hands of the king of Babylon, who will carry them away to Babylon or put them to the sword. 5I will deliver all the wealth of this city into the hands of their enemies—all its products, all its valuables and all the treasures of the kings of Judah. They will take it away as plunder and carry it off to Babylon.

6And you, Pashhur, and all who live in your house will go into exile to Babylon. There you will die and be buried, you and all your friends to whom you have prophesied lies.’ ”

Jeremiah’s Complaint 7You deceived Or persuaded me, LORD, and I was deceived Or persuaded ; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me.

8Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the LORD has brought me insult and reproach all day long.

9But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.

10I hear many whispering, “Terror on every side! Denounce him! Let’s denounce him!” All my friends are waiting for me to slip, saying, “Perhaps he will be deceived; then we will prevail over him and take our revenge on him.”

11But the LORD is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten.

12LORD Almighty, you who examine the righteous and probe the heart and mind, let me see your vengeance on them, for to you I have committed my cause.

13Sing to the LORD ! Give praise to the LORD ! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked.

14Cursed be the day I was born! May the day my mother bore me not be blessed!

15Cursed be the man who brought my father the news, who made him very glad, saying, “A child is born to you—a son!”

16May that man be like the towns the LORD overthrew without pity. May he hear wailing in the morning, a battle cry at noon.

17For he did not kill me in the womb, with my mother as my grave, her womb enlarged forever. 18Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame?

God Rejects Zedekiah’s Request 1The word came to Jeremiah from the LORD when King Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur son of Malkijah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah. They said:

2“Inquire now of the LORD for us because Nebuchadnezzar Hebrew Nebuchadrezzar, of which Nebuchadnezzar is a variant; here and often in Jeremiah and Ezekiel king of Babylon is attacking us. Perhaps the LORD will perform wonders for us as in times past so that he will withdraw from us.” 3But Jeremiah answered them, “Tell Zedekiah, 4‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I am about to turn against you the weapons of war that are in your hands, which you are using to fight the king of Babylon and the Babylonians Or Chaldeans; also in verse 9 who are outside the wall besieging you. And I will gather them inside this city. 5I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm in furious anger and in great wrath. 6I will strike down those who live in this city—both man and beast—and they will die of a terrible plague.