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.