1:1 The following is a record of what Jeremiah son of Hilkiah prophesied. He was one of the priests who lived at Anathoth in the territory of the tribe of Benjamin. 1:2 The Lord began to speak to him 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 that Zedekiah son of Josiah ruled over Judah. That was when the people of Jerusalem were taken into exile.
1:4 The Lord said to me,
1:5 “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb I chose you.
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, I really do not know how to speak well enough for that, for I am too young.” 1:7 The Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ But go to whomever I send you and say whatever I tell you. 1:8 Do not be afraid of those to whom I send you, for I will be with you to protect 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. 1:10 Know for certain that I hereby give you the authority to announce to nations and kingdoms that they will be uprooted and torn down, destroyed and demolished, rebuilt and firmly planted.”
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 I am watching to make sure my threats are carried out.”
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.” 1:14 Then the Lord said, “This means 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 near the entrances of the gates of Jerusalem. They will attack all the walls surrounding it, and all the towns in Judah. 1:16 In this way I will pass sentence on the people of Jerusalem and Judah because of all their wickedness. For they rejected me and offered sacrifices to other gods, worshiping what they made with their own hands.”
1:17 “But you, Jeremiah, get yourself ready! 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. 1:18 I, the Lord, hereby promise to make you 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 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.
2:1 The Lord spoke to me. He said: 2:2 “Go and declare in the hearing of the people of Jerusalem: ‘This is what the Lord says: “I have fond memories of you, how devoted you were to me in your early years. 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. All who tried to devour them were punished; disaster came upon them,” says the Lord.’”
2:4 Now listen to what the Lord has to say, you descendants of Jacob,
all you family groups from the nation of Israel.
2:5 This is what the Lord says:
“What fault could your ancestors have possibly found in me
that they strayed so far from me?
They paid allegiance to worthless idols, and so became worthless to me.
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,
through a land in which no one travels,
and where no one lives?’
2:7 I brought you into a fertile land
so you could enjoy its fruits and its rich bounty.
But when you entered my land, you defiled it;
you made the land I call my own loathsome to me.
2:8 Your priests did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord?’
Those responsible for teaching my law did not really know me.
Your rulers rebelled against me.
Your prophets prophesied in the name of the god Baal.
They all worshiped idols that could not help them.
2:9 “So, once more I will state my case against you,” says the Lord.
“I will also state it against your children and grandchildren.
2:10 Go west across the sea to the coasts of Cyprus and see.
Send someone east to Kedar 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,
for a god that cannot help them at all!
2:12 Be amazed at this, O heavens!
Be shocked and utterly dumbfounded,”
says the Lord.
2:13 “Do so because my people have committed a double wrong:
they have rejected me,
the fountain of life-giving water,
and they have dug cisterns for themselves,
cracked cisterns which cannot even hold water.”
2:14 “Israel is not a slave, is he?
He was not born into slavery, was he?
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.
They have laid his land waste;
his cities have been burned down and deserted.
2:16 Even the soldiers from Memphis and Tahpanhes
have cracked your skulls, people of Israel.
2:17 You have brought all this on yourself, Israel,
by deserting the Lord your God when he was leading you along the right path.
2:18 What good will it do you then to go down to Egypt
to seek help from the Egyptians?
What good will it do you to go over to Assyria
to seek help from the Assyrians?
2:19 Your own wickedness will bring about your punishment.
Your unfaithful acts will bring down discipline on you.
Know, then, and realize how utterly harmful
it was for you to reject me, the Lord your God,
to show no respect for me,”
says the Lord God who rules over all.
2:20 “Indeed, long ago you threw off my authority
and refused to be subject to me.
You said, ‘I will not serve you.’
Instead, you gave yourself to other gods on every high hill
and under every green tree,
like a prostitute sprawls out before her lovers.
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?
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,”
says the Lord God.
2:23 “How can you say, ‘I have not made myself unclean.
I have not paid allegiance to the gods called Baal.’
Just look at the way you have behaved in the Valley of Hinnom!
Think about the things you have done there!
You are like a flighty, young female camel
that rushes here and there, crisscrossing its path.
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.
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.
2:25 Do not chase after other gods until your shoes wear out
and your throats become dry.
But you say, ‘It is useless for you to try and stop me
because I love those foreign gods and want to pursue them!’
2:26 Just as a thief has to suffer dishonor when he is caught,
so the people of Israel will suffer dishonor for what they have done.
So will their kings and officials,
their priests and their prophets.
2:27 They say to a wooden idol, ‘You are my father.’
They say to a stone image, ‘You gave birth to me.’
Yes, they have turned away from me instead of turning to me.
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 you have as many gods
as you have towns, Judah.
2:29 “Why do you try to refute me?
All of you have rebelled against me,”
says the Lord.
2:30 “It did no good for me to punish your people.
They did not respond to such correction.
You slaughtered your prophets
like a voracious lion.”
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?
Why then do you say, ‘We are free to wander.
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.
2:33 “My, how good you have become
at chasing after your lovers!
Why, you could even teach prostitutes a thing or two!
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.
Yet, in spite of all these things you have done,
2:35 you say, ‘I have not done anything wrong,
so the Lord cannot really be angry with me any more.’
But, watch out! 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?
You will get no help from Egypt
just as you got no help from Assyria.
2:37 Moreover, you will come away from Egypt
with your hands covering your faces in sorrow and shame
because the Lord will not allow your reliance on them to be successful
and you will not gain any help from them.
3:1 “If a man divorces his wife
and she leaves him and becomes another man’s wife,
he may not take her back again.
Doing that would utterly defile the land.
But you, Israel, have given yourself as a prostitute to many gods.
So what makes you think you can return to me?”
says the Lord.
3:2 “Look up at the hilltops and consider this.
You have had sex with other gods on every one of them.
You waited for those gods like a thief lying in wait in the desert.
You defiled the land by your wicked prostitution to other gods.
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.
You refuse to be ashamed of what you have done.
3:4 Even now you say to me, ‘You are my father!
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?’
That is what you say,
but you continually do all the evil that you can.”
3:6 When Josiah was king of Judah, the Lord said to me, “Jeremiah, you have no doubt seen what wayward Israel has done. 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. 3:7 Yet even after she had done all that, I thought that she might come back to me. But she did not. Her sister, unfaithful Judah, saw what she did. 3:8 She also saw that I gave wayward Israel her divorce papers and sent her away because of her adulterous worship of other gods. Even after her unfaithful sister Judah had seen this, she still was not afraid, and she too went and gave herself like a prostitute to other gods. 3:9 Because she took her prostitution so lightly, she defiled the land through her adulterous worship of gods made of wood and stone. 3:10 In spite of all this, Israel’s sister, unfaithful Judah, has not turned back to me with any sincerity; she has only pretended to do so,” 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.
3:12 “Go and shout this message to my people in the countries in the north. Tell them,
‘Come back to me, wayward Israel,’ says the Lord.
‘I will not continue to look on you with displeasure.
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,
and that you have rebelled against the Lord your God.
You must confess that you have given yourself to foreign gods under every green tree,
and have not obeyed my commands,’ says the Lord.
3:14 “Come back to me, my wayward sons,” says the Lord, “for I am your true master. If you do, 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 who will be faithful to me. They will lead you with knowledge and insight. 3:16 In those days, your population will greatly increase in the land. At that time,” says the Lord, “people will no longer talk about having the ark that contains the Lord’s covenant with us. They will not call it to mind, remember it, or miss it. No, that will not be done any more! 3:17 At that time the city of Jerusalem will be called the Lord’s throne. All nations will gather there in Jerusalem to honor the Lord’s name. They will no longer follow the stubborn inclinations of their own evil hearts. 3:18 At that time the nation of Judah and the nation of Israel will be reunited. Together they will come back from a land in the north to the land that I gave to your ancestors as a permanent possession. ”
3:19 “I thought to myself,
‘Oh what a joy it would be for me to treat you like a son!
What a joy it would be for me to give you a pleasant land,
the most beautiful piece of property there is in all the world!’
I thought you would call me, ‘Father’
and would never cease being loyal to me.
3:20 But, you have been unfaithful to me, nation of Israel,
like an unfaithful wife who has left her husband,”
says the Lord.
3:21 “A 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;
they have forgotten to be true to the Lord their God.
3:22 Come back to me, you wayward people.
I want to cure your waywardness.
Say, ‘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.
We know that the Lord our God
is the only one who can deliver Israel.
3:24 From earliest times our worship of that shameful god, Baal,
has taken away all that our ancestors worked for.
It has taken away our flocks and our herds,
and even our sons and daughters.
3:25 Let us acknowledge our shame.
Let us bear the disgrace that we deserve.
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.’
4:1 “If you, Israel, want to come back,” says the Lord,
“if you want to come back to me
you must get those disgusting idols out of my sight
and must no longer go astray.
4:2 You must be truthful, honest and upright
when you take an oath saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives!’
If you do, the nations will pray to be as blessed by him as you are
and will make him the object of their boasting.”
4:3 Yes, 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.
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,
people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem.
If you do not, 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.”
4:5 The Lord said,
“Announce this in Judah and proclaim it in Jerusalem:
‘Sound the trumpet 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.
Run for safety! Do not delay!
For I am about to bring disaster out of the north.
It will bring great destruction.
4:7 Like a lion that has come up from its lair
the one who destroys nations has set out from his home base.
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!’”
4:9 “When this happens,” 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 I said, “Ah, Lord God, you have surely allowed the people of Judah and Jerusalem to be deceived by those who say, ‘You will be safe!’ But in fact a sword is already at our throats.”
4:11 “At that time the people of Judah and Jerusalem will be told,
‘A scorching wind will sweep down
from the hilltops in the desert on my dear people.
It will not be a gentle breeze
for winnowing the grain and blowing away the chaff.
4:12 No, a wind too strong for that will come at my bidding.
Yes, even now I, myself, am calling down judgment on them.’
4:13 Look! The enemy is approaching like gathering clouds.
The roar of his chariots is like that of a whirlwind.
His horses move more swiftly than eagles.”
I cry out, “We are doomed, for we will be destroyed!”
4:14 “Oh people of Jerusalem, purify your hearts from evil
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.
4:16 They are saying,
‘Announce to the surrounding nations,
“The enemy is coming!”
Proclaim this message to Jerusalem:
“Those who besiege cities are coming from a distant land.
They are ready to raise the battle cry against the towns in Judah.”’
4:17 They will surround Jerusalem
like men guarding a field
because they have rebelled against me,”
says the Lord.
4:18 “The way you have lived and the things you have done
will bring this on you.
This is the punishment you deserve, and it will be painful indeed.
The pain will be so bad it will pierce your heart.”
4:19 I said,
“Oh, the feeling in the pit of my stomach!
I writhe in anguish.
Oh, the pain in my heart!
My heart pounds within me.
I cannot keep silent.
For I hear the sound of the trumpet;
the sound of the battle cry pierces my soul!
4:20 I see one destruction after another taking place,
so that the whole land lies in ruins.
I see our tents suddenly destroyed,
their curtains torn down in a mere instant.
4:21 “How long must I see the enemy’s battle flags
and hear the military signals of their bugles?”
4:22 The Lord answered,
“This will happen because my people are foolish.
They do not know me.
They are like children who have no sense.
They have no understanding.
They are skilled at doing evil.
They do not know how to do good.”
4:23 “I looked at the land and saw that it was an empty wasteland.
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,
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.
4:27 All this will happen because the Lord said,
“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.
For I have made my purpose known
and I will not relent or turn back from carrying it out.”
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,
you accomplish nothing by wearing a beautiful dress,
decking yourself out in jewels of gold,
and putting on eye shadow!
You are making yourself beautiful for nothing.
Your lovers spurn you.
They want to kill you.
4:31 In fact, 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 gasping for breath,
reaching out for help, saying, “I am done in!
My life is ebbing away before these murderers!”
5:1 The Lord said,
“Go up and down through the streets of Jerusalem.
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.
If you can, then I will not punish this city.
5:2 These people make promises in the name of the Lord.
But the fact is, what they swear to is really a lie.”
5:3 Lord, I know you look for faithfulness.
But even when you punish these people, they feel no remorse.
Even when you nearly destroy them, they refuse to be corrected.
They have become as hardheaded as a rock.
They refuse to change their ways.
5:4 I thought, “Surely it is only the ignorant poor who act this way.
They act like fools because they do not know what the Lord demands.
They do not know what their God requires of them.
5:5 I will go to the leaders
and speak with them.
Surely they know what the Lord demands.
Surely they know what their God requires of them.”
Yet all of them, too, have rejected his authority
and refuse to submit to him.
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.
For they have rebelled so much
and done so many unfaithful things.
5:7 The Lord asked,
“How can I leave you unpunished, Jerusalem?
Your people have rejected me
and have worshiped gods that are not gods at all.
Even though I supplied all their needs, they were like an unfaithful wife to me.
They went flocking to the houses of prostitutes.
5:8 They are like lusty, well-fed stallions.
Each of them lusts after 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!”
5:10 The Lord commanded the enemy,
“March through the vineyards of Israel and Judah and ruin them.
But do not destroy them completely.
Strip off their branches
for these people do not belong to the Lord.
5:11 For the nations of Israel and Judah
have been very unfaithful to me,”
says the Lord.
5:12 “These people have denied what the Lord says.
They have said, ‘That is not so!
No harm will come to us.
We will not experience war and famine.
5:13 The prophets will prove to be full of wind.
The Lord has not spoken through them.
So, let what they say happen to them.’”
5:14 Because of that, the Lord, the God who rules over all, said to me,
“Because these people have spoken like this,
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.”
5:15 The Lord says, “Listen, nation of Israel!
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.
Their arrows will send you to your grave.
5:17 They will eat up your crops and your food.
They will kill off your sons and your daughters.
They will eat up your sheep and your cattle.
They will destroy your vines and your fig trees.
Their weapons will batter down
the fortified cities you trust in.
5:18 Yet even then I will not completely destroy you,” says the Lord. 5:19 “So then, Jeremiah, when your people 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 you must serve foreigners in a land that does not belong to you.’
5:20 “Proclaim this message among the descendants of Jacob.
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:
5:22 “You should fear me!” says the Lord.
“You should tremble in awe before me!
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.”
5:23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts.
They have turned aside and gone their own way.
5:24 They do not say to themselves,
“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.”
5:25 Your misdeeds have stopped these things from coming.
Your sins have deprived you of my bounty.’
5:26 “Indeed, there are wicked scoundrels among my people.
They lie in wait like bird catchers hiding in ambush.
They set deadly traps to catch people.
5:27 Like a cage filled with the birds that have been caught,
their houses are filled with the gains of their fraud and deceit.
That is how they have gotten so rich and powerful.
5:28 That is how they have grown fat and sleek.
There is no limit to the evil things they do.
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!
5:30 “Something 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.
And my people love to have it this way.
But they will not be able to help you when the time of judgment comes!
6:1 “Run for safety, people of Benjamin!
Get out of Jerusalem!
Sound the trumpet in Tekoa!
Light the signal fires at Beth Hakkerem!
For disaster lurks out of the north;
it will bring great destruction.
6:2 I will destroy Daughter Zion,
who is as delicate and defenseless as a young maiden.
6:3 Kings will come against it with their armies.
They will encamp in siege all around it.
Each of them will devastate the portion assigned to him.
6:4 They will say, ‘Prepare to do battle against it!
Come on! Let’s attack it at noon!’
But later they will say, ‘Oh, oh! Too bad!
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 the Lord who rules over all has said:
‘Cut down the trees around Jerusalem
and build up a siege ramp against its walls.
This is the city which is to be punished.
Nothing but oppression happens in it.
6:7 As a well continually pours out fresh water
so it continually pours out wicked deeds.
Sounds of violence and destruction echo throughout it.
All I see are sick and wounded people.’
6:8 So take warning, Jerusalem,
or I will abandon you in disgust
and make you desolate,
a place where no one can live.”
6:9 This is what the Lord who rules over all said to me:
“Those who remain in Israel will be
like the grapes thoroughly gleaned from a vine.
So go over them again, as though you were a grape harvester
passing your hand over the branches one last time.”
6:10 I answered,
“Who would listen
if I spoke to them and warned them?
Their ears are so closed
that they cannot hear!
Indeed, what the Lord says is offensive to them.
They do not like it at all.
6:11 I am as full of anger as you are, Lord,
I am tired of trying to hold it in.”
The Lord answered,
“Vent it, then, on the children who play in the street
and on the young men who are gathered together.
Husbands and wives are to be included,
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
against those who live in this land,”
says the Lord.
6:13 “That 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.
They say, ‘Everything will be all right!’
But everything is not all right!
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.
They will be brought to ruin when I punish them,”
says the Lord.
6:16 The Lord said to his people:
“You are standing at the crossroads. So consider your path.
Ask where the old, reliable paths are.
Ask where the path is that leads to blessing 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,
“I appointed prophets as watchmen to warn you, saying:
‘Pay attention to the warning sound of the trumpet!’”
But they said, “We will not pay attention!”
6:18 So the Lord said,
“Hear, you nations!
Be witnesses and take note of what will happen to these people.
6:19 Hear this, you peoples of the earth:
‘Take note! I am about to bring disaster on these people.
It will come as punishment for their scheming.
For they have paid no attention to what I have said,
and they have rejected my law.
6:20 I take no delight when they offer up to me
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.’
6:21 So, this is what the Lord says:
‘I will assuredly make these people stumble to their doom.
Parents and children will stumble and fall to their destruction.
Friends and neighbors will die.’
6:22 “This is what the Lord says:
‘Beware! An army 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.’”
6:24 The people cry out, “We have heard reports about them!
We have become helpless with fear!
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.
They are spreading terror everywhere.”
6:26 So I said, “Oh, my dear people, put on sackcloth
and roll in ashes.
Mourn with painful sobs
as though you had lost your only child.
For any moment now that destructive army
will come against us.”
6:27 The Lord said to me,
“I have made you like a metal assayer
to test my people like ore.
You are to observe them
and evaluate how they behave.”
6:28 I reported,
“All of them are the most stubborn of rebels!
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.
The process of refining them has proved useless.
The wicked have not been purged.
6:30 They are regarded as ‘rejected silver’
because the Lord rejects them.”
7:1 The Lord said to Jeremiah: 7:2 “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s temple and proclaim this message: ‘Listen, all you people of Judah who have passed through these gates to worship the Lord. Hear what the Lord has to say. 7:3 The Lord God of Israel who rules over all says: Change the way you have been living and do what is right. If you do, I will allow you to continue to live in this land. 7:4 Stop putting your confidence in the false belief that says, “We are safe! The temple of the Lord is here! The temple of the Lord is here! The temple of the Lord is here!” 7:5 You must change the way you have been living and do what is right. You must treat one another fairly. 7:6 Stop oppressing foreigners who live in your land, children who have lost their fathers, and women who have lost their husbands. Stop killing innocent people in this land. Stop paying allegiance to other gods. That will only bring about your ruin. 7:7 If you stop doing these things, I will allow you to continue to live in this land which I gave to your ancestors as a lasting possession.
7:8 “‘But just look at you! You are putting your confidence in a false belief that will not deliver you. 7:9 You steal. You murder. You commit adultery. You lie when you swear on oath. You sacrifice to the god Baal. You pay allegiance to 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 and say, “We are safe!” You think you are so safe that you go on doing all those hateful sins! 7:11 Do you think this temple I have claimed as my own is to be a hideout for robbers? You had better take note! 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 in the early days. See what I did to it 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. But you have not listened! You have refused to respond when I called you to repent! 7:14 So I will destroy this temple which I have claimed as my own, this temple that you are trusting to protect you. I will destroy this place that I gave to you and your ancestors, just like I destroyed Shiloh. 7:15 And I will drive you out of my sight just like I drove out your relatives, the people of Israel.’”
7:16 Then the Lord said, “As for you, Jeremiah, 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, because I will not listen to you. 7:17 Do you see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 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. They are also pouring out drink offerings to other gods. They seem to do all this just to trouble me. 7:19 But I am not really the one being troubled!” says the Lord. “Rather they are bringing trouble on themselves to their own shame! 7:20 So,” the Lord God says, “my raging fury will be poured out on this land. It will be poured out on human beings and animals, on trees and crops. And it will burn like a fire which cannot be extinguished.”
7:21 The Lord said to the people of Judah, “The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 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! 7:22 Consider this: 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: “Obey me. If you do, I will be your God and you will be my people. Live exactly the way I tell you 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. 7:25 From the time your ancestors departed the land of Egypt until now, I sent my servants the prophets to you again and again, day after day. 7:26 But your ancestors did not listen to me nor pay attention to me. They became obstinate and were more wicked than even their own forefathers.’”
7:27 Then the Lord said to me, “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. 7:29 So, mourn, you people of this nation. Cut off your hair and throw it away. Sing a song of mourning on the hilltops. For the Lord has decided to reject and forsake this generation that has provoked his wrath!’”
7:30 The Lord says, “I have rejected them because the people of Judah have done what I consider evil. They have set up their disgusting idols in the temple which I have claimed for my own and have defiled it. 7:31 They have also built places of worship in a place called Topheth 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! 7:32 So, watch out!” 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 the Valley of Slaughter and they will bury so many people in Topheth they will run out of room. 7:33 Then the dead bodies of these people will be left on the ground for the birds and wild animals to eat. 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, 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. These are things they adored and served, things to which they paid allegiance, from which they sought guidance, and worshiped. The bones of these people will never be regathered and reburied. They will be like manure used to fertilize the ground. 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,” says the Lord who rules over all.
8:4 The Lord said to me,
“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?
8:5 Why, then, do these people of Jerusalem
continually turn away from me in apostasy?
They hold fast to their deception.
They refuse to turn back to me.
8:6 I have listened to them very carefully,
but they do not speak honestly.
None of them regrets the evil he has done.
None of them says, “I have done wrong!”
All of them persist in their own wayward course
like a horse charging recklessly into battle.
8:7 Even the stork knows
when it is time to move on.
The turtledove, swallow, and crane
recognize the normal times for their migration.
But my people pay no attention
to what I, the Lord, require of them.
8:8 How can you say, “We are wise!
We have the law of the Lord”?
The truth is, those who teach it have used their writings
to make it say what it does not really mean.
8:9 Your wise men will be put to shame.
They will be dumbfounded and be brought to judgment.
Since they have rejected the word of the Lord,
what wisdom do they really have?
8:10 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 have suffered.
They say, “Everything will be all right!”
But everything is not all right!
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.
They will be brought to ruin when I punish them,
says the Lord.
8:13 I will take away their harvests, 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.’”
8:14 The people say,
“Why are we just sitting here?
Let us gather together inside the fortified cities.
Let us at least die there fighting,
since the Lord our God has condemned us to die.
He has condemned us to drink the poison waters of judgment
because we have sinned against him.
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.
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
causes the whole land to tremble with fear.
They are coming to destroy the land and everything in it!
They are coming to destroy the cities and everyone who lives in them!”
8:17 The Lord says,
“Yes indeed, I am sending an enemy against you
that will be like poisonous snakes which cannot be charmed away.
And they will inflict fatal wounds on you.”
8:18 Then I said,
“There is no cure for my grief!
I am sick at heart!
8:19 I hear my dear people crying out
throughout the length and breadth of the land.
They are crying, ‘Is the Lord no longer in Zion?
Is her divine King no longer there?’”
The Lord answers,
“Why then do they provoke me to anger with their images,
with their worthless foreign idols?”
8:20 “They cry, ‘Harvest time has come and gone, and the summer is over,
and still we have not been delivered.’
8:21 My heart is crushed because my dear people are being crushed.
I go about crying and grieving. I am overwhelmed with dismay.
8:22 There is still medicinal ointment available in Gilead!
There is still a physician there!
Why then have my dear people
not been restored to health?
9:1 (8:23) I wish that my head were a well full of water
and my eyes were a fountain full of tears!
If they were, I could cry day and night
for those of my dear people who have been killed.
9:2 (9:1) I wish I had a lodging place in the desert
where I could spend some time like a weary traveler.
Then I would desert my people
and walk away from them
because they are all unfaithful to God,
a congregation of people that has been disloyal to him.
9:3 The Lord says,
“These people are like soldiers who have readied their bows.
Their tongues are always ready to shoot out lies.
They have become powerful in the land,
but they have not done so by honest means.
Indeed, they do one evil thing after another
and do not pay attention to me.
9:4 Everyone must be on his guard around his friends.
He must not even trust any of his relatives.
For every one of them will find some way to cheat him.
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 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.
They refuse to pay attention to me,”
says the Lord.
9:7 Therefore the Lord who rules over all says,
“I will now purify them in the fires of affliction and test them.
The wickedness of my dear people has left me no choice.
What else can I do?
9:8 Their tongues are like deadly arrows.
They are always telling lies.
Friendly words for their neighbors come from their mouths.
But their minds are thinking up ways to trap them.
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!”
9:10 I said,
“I will weep and mourn for the grasslands on the mountains,
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,
“I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins.
Jackals will make their home there.
I will destroy the towns of Judah
so that no one will be able to live in them.”
9:12 I said,
“Who is wise enough to understand why this has happened?
Who has a word from the Lord that can explain it?
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. 9:14 Instead they have followed the stubborn inclinations of their own hearts. They have paid allegiance to the gods called Baal, as their fathers taught them to do. 9:15 So then, listen to what I, the Lord God of Israel who rules over all, say. ‘I will make these people eat the bitter food of suffering and drink the poison water of judgment. 9:16 I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors have known anything about. I will send people chasing after them with swords until I have destroyed them.’”
9:17 The Lord who rules over all told me to say to this people,
“Take note of what I say.
Call for the women who mourn for the dead!
Summon those who are the most skilled at it!”
9:18 I said, “Indeed, 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, ‘We are utterly ruined! We are completely disgraced!
For our houses have been torn down
and we must leave our land.’”
9:20 I said,
“So now, you wailing women, hear what the Lord says.
Open your ears to the words from his mouth.
Teach your daughters this mournful song,
and each of you teach your neighbor this lament.
9:21 ‘Death has climbed in 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.”’”
9:23 The Lord says,
“Wise people should not boast that they are wise.
Powerful people should not boast that they are powerful.
Rich people should not boast that they are rich.
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,”
says the Lord.
9:25 The Lord says, “Watch out! The time is soon coming when I will punish all those who are circumcised only in the flesh. 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. I will do so because none of the people of those nations are really circumcised in the Lord’s sight. Moreover, none of the people of Israel are circumcised when it comes to their hearts.”
10:1 You people of Israel, listen to what the Lord has to say to you.
10:2 The Lord says,
“Do not start following pagan religious practices.
Do not be in awe of signs that occur in the sky
even though the nations hold them in awe.
10:3 For the religion of these people is worthless.
They cut down a tree in the forest,
and a craftsman makes it into an idol with his tools.
10:4 He decorates it with overlays of silver and gold.
He uses hammer and nails to fasten it 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.”
10:6 I said,
“There is no one like you, Lord.
You are great.
And you are renowned for your power.
10:7 Everyone should revere you, O King of all nations,
because you deserve to be revered.
For there is no one like you
among any of the wise people of the nations nor among any of their kings.
10:8 The people of those nations are both stupid and foolish.
Instruction from a wooden idol is worthless!
10:9 Hammered-out silver is brought from Tarshish
and gold is brought from Uphaz to cover those idols.
They are the handiwork of carpenters and goldsmiths.
They are clothed in blue and purple clothes.
They are all made by skillful workers.
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 from the earth and from under the heavens.’
10:12 The Lord is the one who 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, the heavenly ocean roars.
He makes the clouds rise from the far-off horizons.
He makes the lightning flash out in the midst of the rain.
He unleashes the wind from the places where he stores it.
10:14 All these idolaters 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.
There is no breath in any of those idols.
10:15 They are worthless, mere objects to be mocked.
When the time comes to punish them, they will be destroyed.
10:16 The Lord, who is the inheritance of Jacob’s descendants, is not like them.
He is the one who created everything.
And the people of Israel are those he claims as his own.
He is known as the Lord who rules over all.”
10:17 Gather your belongings together and prepare to leave the land,
you people of Jerusalem who are being besieged.
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.”
10:19 And I cried out, “We are doomed!
Our wound is severe!
We once thought, ‘This is only an illness.
And we will be able to bear it!’
10:20 But our tents have been destroyed.
The ropes that held them in place have been ripped apart.
Our children are gone and are not coming back.
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 are stupid.
They have not sought the Lord’s advice.
So they do not act wisely,
and the people they are responsible for have all been scattered.
10:22 Listen! News is coming even now.
The rumble of a great army is heard approaching from a land in the north.
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.
It is not in their power to determine what will happen to them.
10:24 Correct us, Lord, but only in due measure.
Do not punish us in anger or you will reduce us to nothing.
10:25 Vent your anger on the nations that do not acknowledge you.
Vent it on the peoples who do not worship you.
For they have destroyed the people of Jacob.
They have completely destroyed them
and left their homeland in utter ruin.
11:1 The Lord said to Jeremiah: 11:2 “Hear the terms of the covenant I made with Israel and pass them on to the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem. 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. 11:4 Those are the terms that I charged your ancestors to keep when I brought them out of Egypt, that place which was like an iron-smelting furnace. I said at that time, “Obey me and carry out the terms of the agreement exactly as I commanded you. If you do, you will be my people and I will be your God. 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.” That is the very land that you still live in today.’” And I responded, “Amen! Let it be so, 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 and carry them out! 11:7 For I solemnly warned your ancestors to obey me. I warned them again and again, 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.’”
11:9 The Lord said to me, “The people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem have plotted rebellion against me! 11:10 They have gone back to the evil ways of their ancestors of old who refused to obey what I told them. They, too, have paid allegiance to other gods and worshiped them. Both the nation of Israel and the nation of Judah have violated the covenant I made with their ancestors. 11:11 So I, the Lord, say this: ‘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 go and cry out for help to the gods to whom they have been sacrificing. However, those gods will by no means be able to save them when disaster strikes them. 11:13 This is in spite of the fact that the people of Judah have as many gods as they have towns 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!’ 11:14 So, Jeremiah, 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. For I will not listen to them when they call out to me for help when disaster strikes them.”
11:15 The Lord says to the people of Judah,
“What right do you have to be in my temple, my beloved people?
Many of you have done wicked things.
Can your acts of treachery be so easily canceled by sacred offerings
that you take joy in doing evil even while you make them?
11:16 I, the Lord, once called you a thriving olive tree,
one that produced beautiful fruit.
But I will set you on fire,
fire that will blaze with a mighty roar.
Then all your branches will be good for nothing.
11:17 For though I, the Lord who rules over all, planted you in the land,
I now decree that disaster will come on you
because the nations of Israel and Judah have done evil
and have made me angry by offering sacrifices to the god Baal.”
11:18 The Lord gave me knowledge, that I might have understanding.
Then he showed me what the people were doing.
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.
I did not know they were saying,
“Let’s destroy the tree along with its fruit!
Let’s remove Jeremiah from the world of the living
so people will not even be reminded of him any more.”
11:20 So I said to the Lord,
“O Lord who rules over all, you are a just judge!
You examine people’s hearts and minds.
I want to see you pay them back for what they have done
because I trust you to vindicate my cause.”
11:21 Then the Lord told me about some men from Anathoth who were threatening to kill me. They had threatened, “Stop prophesying in the name of the Lord or we will kill you!” 11:22 So the Lord who rules over all said, “I will surely punish them! Their young men will be killed in battle. Their sons and daughters will die of starvation. 11:23 Not one of them will survive. I will bring disaster on those men from Anathoth who threatened you. A day of reckoning is coming for them.”
12:1 Lord, you have always been fair
whenever I have complained to you.
However, I would like to speak with you about the disposition of justice.
Why are wicked people successful?
Why do all dishonest people have such easy lives?
12:2 You plant them like trees and they put down their roots.
They grow prosperous and are very fruitful.
They always talk about you,
but they really care nothing about you.
12:3 But you, Lord, know all about me.
You watch me and test my devotion to you.
Drag these wicked men away like sheep to be slaughtered!
Appoint a time when they will be killed!
12:4 How long must the land be parched
and the grass in every field be withered?
How long must the animals and the birds die
because of the wickedness of the people who live in this land?
For these people boast,
“God will not see what happens to us.”
12:5 The Lord answered,
“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 in safe and open country,
how will you manage in the thick undergrowth along the Jordan River?
12:6 As a matter of fact, even your own brothers
and the members of your own family have betrayed you too.
Even they have plotted to do away with you.
So do not trust them even when they say kind things to you.
12:7 “I will abandon my nation.
I will forsake the people I call my own.
I will turn my beloved people
over to the power of their enemies.
12:8 The people I call my own have turned on me
like a lion in the forest.
They have roared defiantly at me.
So I will treat them as though I hate them.
12:9 The people I call my own attack me like birds of prey or like hyenas.
But other birds of prey are all around them.
Let all the nations gather together like wild beasts.
Let them come and destroy these people I call my own.
12:10 Many foreign rulers will ruin the land where I planted my people.
They will trample all over my chosen land.
They will turn my beautiful land
into a desolate wasteland.
12:11 They will lay it waste.
It will lie parched and empty before me.
The whole land will be laid waste.
But no one living in it will pay any heed.
12:12 A destructive army will come marching
over the hilltops in the desert.
For the Lord will use them as his destructive weapon
against everyone from one end of the land to the other.
No one will be safe.
12:13 My people will sow wheat, but will harvest weeds.
They will work until they are exhausted, but will get nothing from it.
They will be disappointed in their harvests
because the Lord will take them away in his fierce anger.
12:14 “I, the Lord, also have something to say concerning the wicked nations who surround my land and have attacked and plundered the land that I gave to my people as a permanent possession. 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. 12:15 But after I have uprooted the people of those nations, I will relent and have pity on them. I will restore the people of each of those nations to their own lands and to their own country. 12:16 But they must make sure you learn to follow the religious practices of my people. Once they taught my people to swear their oaths using the name of the god Baal. But then, they must swear oaths using my name, saying, “As surely as the Lord lives, I swear.” If they do these things, then they will be included among the people I call my own. 12:17 But I will completely uproot and destroy any of those nations that will not pay heed,’” says the Lord.
13:1 The Lord said to me, “Go and buy some linen shorts and put them on. Do not put them in water.” 13:2 So I bought the shorts as the Lord had told me to do and put them on. 13:3 Then the Lord spoke to me again and said, 13:4 “Take the shorts that you bought and are wearing and go at once to Perath. Bury the shorts there in a crack in the rocks.” 13:5 So I went and buried them at Perath 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 the shorts I ordered you to bury there.” 13:7 So I went to Perath and dug up the shorts from the place where I had buried them. I found that they were ruined; they were good for nothing.
13:8 Then the Lord said to me, 13:9 “I, the Lord, say: ‘This shows how I will ruin the highly exalted position in which Judah and Jerusalem take pride. 13:10 These wicked people refuse to obey what I have said. They follow the stubborn inclinations of their own hearts and pay allegiance to other gods by worshiping and serving them. So they will become just like these linen shorts which are good for nothing. 13:11 For,’ I say, ‘just as shorts cling tightly to a person’s body, so I bound the whole nation of Israel and the whole nation of Judah tightly to me.’ I intended for them to be my special people and to bring me fame, honor, and praise. But they would not obey me.
13:12 “So tell them, ‘The Lord, the God of Israel, says, “Every wine jar is made to be filled with wine.”’ And they will probably say to you, ‘Do you not think we know that every wine jar is supposed to be filled with wine?’ 13:13 Then tell them, ‘The Lord says, “I will soon fill all the people who live in this land with stupor. I will also fill the kings from David’s dynasty, the priests, the prophets, and the citizens of Jerusalem with stupor. 13:14 And I will smash them like wine bottles against one another, children and parents alike. I will not show any pity, mercy, or compassion. Nothing will keep me from destroying them,’ says the Lord.”
13:15 Then I said to the people of Judah,
“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.
Do it before he brings the darkness of disaster.
Do it before you stumble into distress
like a traveler on the mountains at twilight.
Do it before he turns the light of deliverance you hope for
into the darkness and gloom of exile.
13:17 But if you will not pay attention to this warning,
I will weep alone because of your arrogant pride.
I will weep bitterly and my eyes will overflow with tears
because you, the Lord’s flock, will be carried into exile.”
13:18 The Lord told me,
“Tell the king and the queen mother,
‘Surrender your thrones,
for your glorious crowns
will be removed from your heads.
13:19 The gates of the towns in southern Judah will be shut tight.
No one will be able to go in or out of them.
All Judah will be carried off into exile.
They will be completely carried off into exile.’”
13:20 Then I said,
“Look up, Jerusalem, and see
the enemy that is coming from the north.
Where now is the flock of people that were entrusted to your care?
Where now are the ‘sheep’ that you take such pride in?
13:21 What will you say when the Lord appoints as rulers over you those allies
that you, yourself, had actually prepared as such?
Then anguish and agony will grip you
like that of a woman giving birth to a baby.
13:22 You will probably ask yourself,
‘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?’
It is because you have sinned so much.
13:23 But there is little hope for you ever doing good,
you who are so accustomed to doing evil.
Can an Ethiopian change the color of his skin?
Can a leopard remove its spots?
13:24 “The Lord says,
‘That is why I will scatter your people like chaff
that is blown away by a desert wind.
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!
13:27 People of Jerusalem, I have seen your adulterous worship,
your shameless prostitution to, and your lustful pursuit of, other gods.
I have seen your disgusting acts of worship
on the hills throughout the countryside.
You are doomed to destruction!
How long will you continue to be unclean?’”
14:1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah about the drought.
14:2 “The people of Judah are in mourning.
The people in her cities are pining away.
They lie on the ground expressing their sorrow.
Cries of distress come up to me from Jerusalem.
14:3 The leading men of the cities send their servants for water.
They go to the cisterns, but they do not find any water there.
They return with their containers empty.
Disappointed and dismayed, they bury their faces in their hands.
14:4 They are dismayed because the ground is cracked
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 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.”
14:7 Then I said,
“O Lord, intervene for the honor of your name
even though our sins speak out against us.
Indeed, 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 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,
like a champion who cannot save anyone?
You are indeed with us,
and we belong to you.
Do not abandon us!”
14:10 Then the Lord spoke about these people.
“They truly love to go astray.
They cannot keep from running away from me.
So I am not pleased with them.
I will now call to mind the wrongs they have done
and punish them for their sins.”
14:11 Then the Lord said to me, “Do not pray for good to come to these people! 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. Instead, I will kill them through wars, famines, and plagues.”
14:13 Then I said, “Oh, Lord God, look! The prophets are telling them that you said, ‘You will not experience war or suffer famine. I will give you lasting peace and prosperity in this land.’”
14:14 Then the Lord said to me, “Those prophets are prophesying lies while claiming my authority! I did not send them. I did not commission them. I did not speak to them. They are prophesying to these people false visions, worthless predictions, 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 them: ‘War and starvation will kill those prophets.’ 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 and there will be no one to bury them. This will happen to the men and their wives, their sons, and their daughters. For I will pour out on them the destruction they deserve.”
14:17 “Tell these people this, Jeremiah:
‘My eyes overflow with tears
day and night without ceasing.
For my people, my dear children, have suffered a crushing blow.
They have suffered a serious wound.
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.
For both prophet and priest go about their own business
in the land without having any real understanding.’”
14:19 Then I said,
“Lord, have you completely rejected the nation of Judah?
Do you despise the city of Zion?
Why have you struck us with such force
that we are beyond recovery?
We hope for peace, but nothing good has come of it.
We hope for a time of relief from our troubles, but experience terror.
14:20 Lord, we confess that we have been wicked.
We confess that our ancestors have done wrong.
We have indeed sinned against you.
14:21 For the honor of your name, do not treat Jerusalem with contempt.
Do not treat with disdain the place where your glorious throne sits.
Be mindful of your covenant with us. Do not break it!
14:22 Do any of the worthless idols of the nations cause rain to fall?
Do the skies themselves send showers?
Is it not you, O Lord our God, who does this?
So we put our hopes in you
because you alone do all this.”
15:1 Then the Lord said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me pleading for these people, I would not feel pity for them! Get them away from me! Tell them to go away! 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.”
15:3 “I 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. 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.”
15:5 The Lord cried out,
“Who in the world will have pity on you, Jerusalem?
Who will grieve over you?
Who will stop long enough
to inquire about how you are doing?
15:6 I, the Lord, say: ‘You people have deserted me!
You keep turning your back on me.’
So I have unleashed my power against you and have begun to destroy you.
I have grown tired of feeling sorry for you!”
15:7 The Lord continued,
“In every town in the land I will purge them
like straw blown away by the wind.
I will destroy my people.
I will kill off their children.
I will do so because they did not change their behavior.
15:8 Their widows will become in my sight more numerous
than the grains of sand on the seashores.
At noontime I will bring a destroyer
against the mothers of their young men.
I will cause anguish and terror
to fall suddenly upon them.
15:9 The mother who had seven children will grow faint.
All the breath will go out of her.
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.
She will suffer shame and humiliation.
I will cause any of them who are still left alive
to be killed in war by the onslaughts of their enemies,”
says the Lord.
15:10 I said,
“Oh, mother, how I regret that you ever gave birth to me!
I am always starting arguments and quarrels with the people of this land.
I have not lent money to anyone and I have not borrowed from anyone.
Yet all of these people are treating me with contempt.”
15:11 The Lord said,
“Jerusalem, I will surely send you away for your own good.
I will surely 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?
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 in a land that you know nothing about.
For my anger is like a fire that will burn against you.”
15:15 I said,
“Lord, you know how I suffer.
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,
and they filled my heart with joy and happiness
because I belong to you.
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
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?”
15:19 Because of this, the Lord said,
“You must repent of such words and thoughts!
If you do, I will restore you to the privilege of serving me.
If you say what is worthwhile instead of what is worthless,
I will again allow you to be my spokesman.
They must become as you have been.
You must not become like them.
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,”
says the Lord.
15:21 “I will deliver you from the power of the wicked.
I will free you from the clutches of violent people.”
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 the children who are born here in this land and to the men and women who are their mothers and fathers. 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.
16:5 “Moreover I, the Lord, tell you: ‘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, my love, and my compassion. I, the Lord, so affirm it! 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. 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. 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.’”
16:10 “When you tell these people about all this, 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, ‘It is because your ancestors rejected me and paid allegiance to other gods. They have served them and worshiped them. But they have rejected me and not obeyed my law. 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. 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 I, the Lord, say: “A new time will certainly come. 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.”
16:16 But for now I, the Lord, say: “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. 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. 16:18 Before I restore them I will punish them in full 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 with their detestable idols.”
16:19 Then I said,
“Lord, you give me strength and protect me.
You are the one I can run to for safety when I am in trouble.
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.
16:20 Can people make their own gods?
No, what they make are not gods at all.”
16:21 The Lord said,
“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.”
17:1 The sin of Judah is engraved with an iron chisel
on their stone-hard hearts.
It is inscribed with a diamond point
on the horns of their altars.
17:2 Their children are always thinking about their altars
and their sacred poles dedicated to the goddess Asherah,
set up beside the green trees on the high hills
17:3 and on the mountains and in the fields.
I will give your wealth and all your treasures away as plunder.
I will give it away as the price for the sins you have committed throughout your land.
17:4 You will lose your hold on the land
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.”
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,
and whose hearts have turned away from the Lord.
17:6 They will be like a shrub 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.
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. Who can understand it?
17:10 I, the Lord, probe into people’s minds.
I examine people’s hearts.
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.
Before his life is half over he will lose his ill-gotten gains.
At the end of his life it will be clear he was a fool.”
17:12 Then I said,
“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.
All who leave you will suffer shame.
Those who turn away from you will be consigned to the nether world.
For they have rejected you, the Lord, the fountain of life.
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.
17:15 Listen to what they are saying to me.
They are saying, “Where are the things the Lord threatens us with?
Come on! Let’s see them happen!”
17:16 But I have not pestered you to bring disaster.
I have not desired the time of irreparable devastation.
You know that.
You are fully aware of every word that I have spoken.
17:17 Do not cause me dismay!
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.”
17:19 The Lord told me, “Go and stand in the People’s Gate 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. 17:20 As you stand in those places 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. 17:21 The Lord says, ‘Be very careful if you value your lives! Do not carry any loads in through 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. But observe the Sabbath day as a day set apart to the Lord, as I commanded your ancestors. 17:23 Your ancestors, however, did not listen to me or pay any attention to me. They stubbornly refused to pay attention or to respond to any discipline.’ 17:24 The Lord says, ‘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, then the kings and princes who follow in David’s succession 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. This city will always be filled with people. 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. 17:27 But you must obey me and set the Sabbath day apart to me. You must not carry any loads in through 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.’”
18:1 The Lord said to Jeremiah: 18:2 “Go down at once to the potter’s house. I will speak to you further there.” 18:3 So I went down to the potter’s house and found him working at his wheel. 18:4 Now and then there would be something wrong with the pot he was molding from the clay with his hands. So he would rework the clay into another kind of pot as he saw fit.
18:5 Then the Lord said to me, 18:6 “I, the Lord, say: ‘O nation of Israel, can I not deal with you as this potter deals with the clay? In my hands, you, O nation of Israel, are just like the clay in this potter’s hand.’ 18:7 There are times, Jeremiah, when I threaten to uproot, tear down, and destroy a nation or kingdom. 18:8 But if that nation I threatened stops doing wrong, I will cancel the destruction I intended to do to it. 18:9 And there are times when I promise to build up and establish 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 this: The Lord says, ‘I am preparing to bring disaster on you! I am making plans to punish you. So, every one of you, stop the evil things you have been doing. Correct the way you have been living and do what is right.’ 18:12 But they just keep saying, ‘We do not care what you say! We will do whatever we want to do! We will continue to behave wickedly and stubbornly!’”
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?
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.
They have left them to walk in bypaths,
in roads that are not smooth and level.
18:16 So their land will become an object of horror.
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.
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
when disaster strikes them.”
18:18 Then some people said, “Come on! Let us consider how to deal with Jeremiah! There will still be priests to instruct us, wise men to give us advice, and prophets to declare God’s word. Come on! Let’s bring charges against him and get rid of him! Then we will not need to pay attention to anything he says.”
18:19 Then I said,
“Lord, pay attention to me.
Listen to what my enemies are saying.
18:20 Should good be paid back with evil?
Yet they are virtually digging a pit to kill me.
Just remember how I stood before you
pleading on their behalf
to keep you from venting your anger on them.
18:21 So let their children die of starvation.
Let them be cut down by the sword.
Let their wives lose their husbands and children.
Let the older men die of disease
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.
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!
Let them be brought down in defeat before you!
Deal with them while you are still angry!
19:1 The Lord told Jeremiah, “Go and buy a clay jar from a potter. Take with you some of the leaders of the people and some of the leaders of the priests. 19:2 Go out to the part of the Hinnom Valley which is near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. Announce there what I tell you. 19:3 Say, ‘Listen to what the Lord says, you kings of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem! The Lord God of Israel who rules over all says, “I will bring a disaster on this place that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it ring! 19:4 I will do so because these people have rejected me and have defiled this place. They have offered sacrifices in it to other gods which neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah knew anything about. They have filled it with the blood of innocent children. 19:5 They have built places here for worship of the god Baal so that they could sacrifice their children as burnt offerings to him in the fire. Such sacrifices 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: “The time will soon come that people will no longer call this place Topheth or the Hinnom Valley. But they will call this valley the Valley of Slaughter! 19:7 In this place I will thwart 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 at the hands of their enemies. 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 because of all the disasters that have happened to it. 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.”’”
19:10 The Lord continued, “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, ‘I will do just as Jeremiah has done. I will smash this nation and this city as though it were a potter’s vessel which is broken beyond repair. The dead will be buried here in Topheth until there is no more room to bury them.’ 19:12 I, the Lord, say: ‘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 just like this place, Topheth. For they offered sacrifice to the stars 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 in its courtyard and called out to all the people. 19:15 “The Lord God of Israel who rules over all says, ‘I will soon bring on this city and all the towns surrounding it all the disaster I threatened to do to it. I will do so because they have stubbornly refused to pay any attention to what I have said!’”
20:1 Now Pashhur son of Immer heard Jeremiah prophesy these things. He was the priest who was chief of security in the Lord’s temple. 20:2 When he heard Jeremiah’s prophecy, he had the prophet flogged. Then he put him in the stocks which were at the Upper Gate of Benjamin in the Lord’s temple. 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 ‘Pashhur’ but ‘Terror is Everywhere.’ 20:4 For the Lord says, ‘I will make both you and your friends terrified of what will happen to you. You will see all of them die by the swords of their enemies. 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 and carry it off to Babylon. 20:6 You, Pashhur, and all your household 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.’”
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.
Now I have become a constant laughingstock.
Everyone ridicules me.
20:8 For whenever I prophesy, I must cry out,
“Violence and destruction are coming!”
This message from the Lord 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 any more.”
But then his message becomes like a fire
locked up inside of me, burning in my heart and soul.
I grow weary of trying to hold it in;
I cannot contain it.
20:10 I hear many whispering words of intrigue against me.
Those who would cause me terror are everywhere!
They are saying, “Come on, let’s publicly denounce him!”
All my so-called friends are just watching for
something that would lead to my downfall.
They say, “Perhaps he can be enticed into slipping up,
so we can prevail over him and get our revenge on him.
20:11 But the Lord is with me to help me like an awe-inspiring warrior.
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, you test and prove the righteous.
You see into people’s hearts and minds.
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.
20:14 Cursed be the day I was born!
May that day not be blessed when my mother gave birth to me.
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!
20:16 May that man be like the cities
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.
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.
21:1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah when King Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur son of Malkijah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah. Zedekiah sent them to Jeremiah to ask, 21:2 “Please ask the Lord to come and help us, because King Nebuchadnezzar 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.” 21:3 Jeremiah answered them, “Tell Zedekiah 21:4 that the Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘The forces at your disposal are now outside the walls fighting against King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and the Babylonians who have you under siege. I will gather those forces back inside the city. 21:5 In anger, in fury, and in wrath I myself will fight against you with my mighty power and great strength! 21:6 I will kill everything living in Jerusalem, people and animals alike! They will die from terrible diseases. 21:7 Then I, the Lord, promise that 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.’
21:8 “But tell the people of Jerusalem 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. 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. 21:10 For I, the Lord, say that I am determined not to deliver this city but to bring disaster on it. It will be handed over to the king of Babylon and he will destroy it with fire.’”
21:11 The Lord told me to say to the royal court of Judah,
“Listen to what the Lord says,
21:12 O royal family descended from David.
The Lord says:
‘See to it that people each day are judged fairly.
Deliver those who have been robbed from those 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.
21:13 Listen, you who sit enthroned above the valley on a rocky plateau.
I am opposed to you,’ says the Lord.
‘You boast, “No one can swoop down on us.
No one can penetrate into our places of refuge.”
21:14 But I will punish you as your deeds deserve,’
says the Lord.
‘I will set fire to your palace;
it will burn up everything around it.’”
22:1 The Lord told me, “Go down to the palace of the king of Judah. Give him a message from me there. 22:2 Say: ‘Listen, O king of Judah who follows in David’s succession. You, your officials, and your subjects who pass through the gates of this palace must listen to what the Lord says. 22:3 The Lord says, “Do what is just and right. Deliver those who have been robbed from those who oppress them. Do not exploit or mistreat foreigners who live in your land, children who have no fathers, or widows. Do not kill innocent people in this land. 22:4 If you are careful to 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. 22:5 But, if you do not obey these commands, I solemnly swear that this palace will become a pile of rubble. I, the Lord, affirm it!”
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.
22:7 I will send men against it to destroy it
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.”
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.
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. 22:12 For he will die in the country where they took him as a captive. He will never see this land again.”
22:13 “‘Sure to be judged is the king who builds his palace using injustice
and treats people unfairly while adding its upper rooms.
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 with cedar, and paints its rooms red.
22:15 Does it make you any more of a king
that you outstrip everyone else in building with cedar?
Just think about your father.
He was content that he had food and drink.
He did what was just and right.
So things went well with him.
22:16 He upheld the cause of the poor and needy.
So things went well for Judah.’
The Lord says,
‘That is a good example of what it means to know me.’
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.
22:18 So 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!”
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.’”
22:20 People of Jerusalem, 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.
For your allies have all been defeated.
22:21 While you were feeling secure I gave you warning.
But you said, “I refuse to listen to you.”
That is the way you have acted from your earliest history onward.
Indeed, you have never paid attention to me.
22:22 My judgment will carry off all your leaders like a storm wind!
Your allies will go into captivity.
Then you will certainly 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 will groan when the pains of judgment come on you.
They will be like those of a woman giving birth to a baby.
22:24 The Lord says,
“As surely as I am the living God, you, Jeconiah, king of Judah, son of Jehoiakim, will not be the earthly representative of my authority. Indeed, I will take that right away from you. 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 soldiers. 22:26 I will force you and your mother who gave you birth into exile. You will be exiled to 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!”
22:28 This man, Jeconiah, will be like a broken pot someone threw away.
He will be like a clay vessel that no one wants.
Why will he and his children be forced into exile?
Why will they be thrown out into a country they know nothing about?
22:29 O land of Judah, land of Judah, land of Judah!
Listen to what the Lord has to say!
22:30 The Lord says,
“Enroll this man in the register as though he were childless.
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.”
23:1 The Lord says, “The leaders of my people are sure to be judged. 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. 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 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. I, the Lord, affirm it! 23:3 Then I myself will regather those of my people who are still alive from all the countries where I have driven them. I will bring them back to their homeland. They will greatly increase in number. 23:4 I will install rulers 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. I, the Lord, promise it!
23:5 “I, the Lord, promise that a new time will certainly come
when I will raise up for them a righteous branch, a descendant of David.
He will rule over them with wisdom and understanding
and will do what is just and right in the land.
23:6 Under his rule Judah will enjoy safety
and Israel will live in security.
This is the name he will go by:
‘The Lord has provided us with justice.’
23:7 “So I, the Lord, say: ‘A new time will certainly come. 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 from the land of the north and from all the other lands where he had banished them.” At that time they will live in their own land.’”
23:9 Here is what the Lord says concerning the false prophets:
My heart and my mind are deeply disturbed.
I tremble all over.
I am like a drunk person,
like a person who has had too much wine,
because of the way the Lord
and his holy word are being mistreated.
23:10 For the land is full of people unfaithful to him.
They live wicked lives and they misuse their power.
So the land is dried up because it is under his curse.
The pastures in the wilderness are withered.
23:11 Moreover, the Lord says,
“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.”
The Lord affirms it!
23:13 The Lord says, “I saw the prophets of Samaria
doing something that was disgusting.
They prophesied in the name of the god Baal
and led my people Israel astray.
23:14 But I see the prophets of Jerusalem
doing something just as shocking.
They are unfaithful to me
and continually prophesy lies.
So they give encouragement to people who are doing evil,
with the result that they do not stop their evildoing.
I consider all of them as bad as the people of Sodom,
and the citizens of Jerusalem as bad as the people of Gomorrah.
23:15 So then I, the Lord who rules over all,
have something to say concerning the prophets of Jerusalem:
‘I will make these prophets eat the bitter food of suffering
and drink the poison water of judgment.
For the prophets of Jerusalem are the reason
that ungodliness has spread throughout the land.’”
23:16 The Lord who rules over all says to the people of Jerusalem:
“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.
23:17 They continually say to those who reject what the Lord has said,
‘Things will go well for you!’
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
so they could see and hear what he has to say?
Which of them have ever paid attention or listened to what he has said?
23:19 But just watch! The wrath of the Lord
will come like a storm!
Like a raging storm it will rage down
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.
In days to come
you people will come to understand this clearly.
23:21 I did not send those prophets.
Yet they were in a hurry to give their message.
I did not tell them anything.
Yet they prophesied anyway.
23:22 But if they had stood in my inner circle,
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 that I am some local deity
and not the transcendent God?” the Lord asks.
23:24 “Do you really think anyone can hide himself
where I cannot see him?” the Lord asks.
“Do you not know that I am everywhere?”
the Lord asks.
23:25 The Lord says, “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!’ 23:26 Those prophets are just prophesying lies. They are prophesying the delusions of their own minds. 23:27 How long will they go on plotting to make my people forget who I am through the dreams they tell one another? That is just as bad as what their ancestors did when they forgot who I am by worshiping the god Baal. 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! I, the Lord, affirm it! 23:29 My message is like a fire that purges dross! It is like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces! I, the Lord, so affirm it! 23:30 So I, the Lord, affirm that I am opposed to those prophets who steal messages from one another that they claim are from me. 23:31 I, the Lord, affirm that I am opposed to those prophets who are using their own tongues to declare, ‘The Lord declares….’ 23:32 I, the Lord, affirm that I am opposed to those prophets who dream up lies and report them. They are misleading my people with their reckless lies. I did not send them. I did not commission them. They are not helping these people at all. I, the Lord, affirm it!”
23:33 The Lord said to me, “Jeremiah, when one of these people, or a prophet, or a priest asks you, ‘What burdensome message do you have from the Lord?’ Tell them, ‘You are the burden, and I will cast you away. I, the Lord, affirm it! 23:34 I will punish any prophet, priest, or other person who says “The Lord’s message is burdensome.” I will punish both that person and his whole family.’”
23:35 So I, Jeremiah, tell you, “Each of you people should say to his friend or his relative, ‘How did the Lord answer? Or what did the Lord say?’ 23:36 You must no longer say that the Lord’s message is burdensome. For what is ‘burdensome’ really pertains to what a person himself says. You are misrepresenting the words of our God, the living God, the Lord who rules over all. 23:37 Each of you should merely ask the prophet, ‘What answer did the Lord give you? Or what did the Lord say?’ 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 burdensome” anyway. 23:39 So I will carry you far off and throw you away. I will send both you and the city I gave to you and to your ancestors out of my sight. 23:40 I will bring on you lasting shame and lasting disgrace which will never be forgotten!’”
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. 24:2 One basket had very good-looking figs in it. They looked like those that had ripened early. 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, 24:5 “I, the Lord, the God of Israel, say: ‘The exiles whom I sent away from here to the land of Babylon are like those good figs. I consider them to be good. 24:6 I will look after their welfare 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 and will not uproot them. 24:7 I will give them the desire to acknowledge that I am the Lord. I will be their God and they will be my people. For they will wholeheartedly return to me.’
24:8 “I, the Lord, also solemnly assert: ‘King Zedekiah of Judah, his officials, and the people who remain in Jerusalem 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. 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. That is how they will be remembered wherever I banish them. 24:10 I will bring war, starvation, and disease on them until they are completely destroyed from the land I gave them and their ancestors.’”
25:1 In the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king of Judah, the Lord spoke to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah. (That was the same as the first year that Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylon.) 25:2 So the prophet Jeremiah spoke to all the people of Judah and to all the people who were living in Jerusalem. 25:3 “For the last twenty-three years, from the thirteenth year that Josiah son of Amon was ruling in Judah until now, the Lord has been speaking to me. I told you over and over again what he said. But you would not listen. 25:4 Over and over again the Lord has sent his servants the prophets to you. But you have not listened or paid attention. 25:5 He said through them, ‘Each of you must turn from your wicked ways and stop doing the evil things you are doing. 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. 25:6 Do not pay allegiance to other gods and worship and serve them. Do not make me angry by the things that you do. Then I will not cause you any harm.’ 25:7 So, now the Lord says, ‘You have not listened to me. But you have made me angry by the things that you have done. Thus you have brought harm on yourselves.’
25:8 “Therefore, the Lord who rules over all says, ‘You have not listened to what I said. 25:9 So I, the Lord, affirm that I will send for all the peoples of the north and my servant, 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 this land, its inhabitants, and all the nations that surround it and make them everlasting ruins. I will make them objects of horror and hissing scorn. 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. I will put an end to the sound of people grinding meal. I will put an end to lamps shining in their houses. 25:11 This whole area will become a desolate wasteland. These nations will be subject to the king of Babylon for seventy years.’
25:12 “‘But when the seventy years are over, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation for their sins. I will make the land of Babylon an everlasting ruin. I, the Lord, affirm it! 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. 25:14 For many nations and great kings will make slaves of the king of Babylon and his nation too. I will repay them for all they have done!’”
25:15 So the Lord, the God of Israel, spoke to me in a vision. “Take this cup from my hand. It is filled with the wine of my wrath. 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 and act insane. For I will send wars sweeping through them.”
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. 25:18 I made Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, its kings and its officials drink it. I did it so Judah would become a ruin. I did it so Judah, its kings, and its officials would become an object of horror and of hissing scorn, an example used in curses. Such is already becoming the case! 25:19 I made all of these other people drink it: Pharaoh, king of Egypt; his attendants, his officials, his people, 25:20 the foreigners living in Egypt; all the kings of the land of Uz; all the kings of the land of the Philistines, the people of Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, the people who had been left alive from Ashdod; 25:21 all the people of Edom, Moab, Ammon; 25:22 all the kings of Tyre, all the kings of Sidon; all the kings of the coastlands along the sea; 25:23 the people of Dedan, Tema, Buz, all the desert people who cut their hair short at the temples; 25:24 all the kings of Arabia who live in the desert; 25:25 all the kings of Zimri; all the kings of Elam; all the kings of Media; 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, the king of Babylon must drink it.
25:27 Then the Lord said to me, “Tell them that the Lord God of Israel who rules over all says, ‘Drink this cup until you get drunk and vomit. Drink until you fall down and can’t get up. For I will send wars sweeping through you.’ 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 ‘You most certainly must drink it! 25:29 For take note, I am already beginning to bring disaster on the city that I call my own. So how can you possibly avoid being punished? You will not go unpunished! For I am proclaiming war against all who live on the earth. I, the Lord who rules over all, affirm it!’
25:30 “Then, Jeremiah, make the following prophecy against them:
‘Like a lion about to attack, 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.
He will shout in triumph like those stomping juice from the grapes
against all those who live on the earth.
25:31 The sounds of battle will resound to the ends of the earth.
For the Lord will bring charges against the nations.
He will pass judgment on all humankind
and will hand the wicked over to be killed in war.’
The Lord so affirms it!
25:32 The Lord who rules over all says,
‘Disaster will soon come on one nation after another.
A mighty storm of military destruction 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.
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!
The time for you to be slaughtered has come.
You will lie scattered and fallen like broken pieces of fine pottery.
25:35 The leaders will not be able to run away and hide.
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.
25:37 Their peaceful dwelling places will be laid waste
by the fierce anger of the Lord.
25:38 The Lord is like a lion who has left his lair.
So their lands will certainly be laid waste
by the warfare of the oppressive nation
and by the fierce anger of the Lord.”