Your own wickedness will bring about your punishment. Your unfaithful acts will bring down discipline on you. 1 Know, then, and realize how utterly harmful 2 it was for you to reject me, the Lord your God, 3 to show no respect for me,” 4 says the Lord God who rules over all. 5
“How can you say, ‘I have not made myself unclean. I have not paid allegiance to 1 the gods called Baal.’ Just look at the way you have behaved in the Valley of Hinnom! 2 Think about the things you have done there! You are like a flighty, young female camel that rushes here and there, crisscrossing its path. 3
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. 1 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
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? 1 Why then do you 2 say, ‘We are free to wander. 3 We will not come to you any more?’
“Look up at the hilltops and consider this. 1 You have had sex with other gods on every one of them. 2 You waited for those gods like a thief lying in wait in the desert. 3 You defiled the land by your wicked prostitution to other gods. 4
They will eat up your crops and your food. They will kill off 1 your sons and your daughters. They will eat up your sheep and your cattle. They will destroy your vines and your fig trees. 2 Their weapons will batter down 3 the fortified cities you trust in.
I said, 1 “I will weep and mourn 2 for the grasslands on the mountains, 3 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.”
Then the Lord said to me, “Those prophets are prophesying lies while claiming my authority! 1 I did not send them. I did not commission them. 2 I did not speak to them. They are prophesying to these people false visions, worthless predictions, 3 and the delusions of their own mind.
The mother who had seven children 1 will grow faint. All the breath will go out of her. 2 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. 3 She will suffer shame and humiliation. 4 I will cause any of them who are still left alive to be killed in war by the onslaughts of their enemies,” 5 says the Lord.
So now, tell the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem 1 this: The Lord says, ‘I am preparing to bring disaster on you! I am making plans to punish you. 2 So, every one of you, stop the evil things you have been doing. 3 Correct the way you have been living and do what is right.’ 4
Sometimes I think, “I will make no mention of his message. I will not speak as his messenger 1 any more.” But then 2 his message becomes like a fire locked up inside of me, burning in my heart and soul. 3 I grow weary of trying to hold it in; I cannot contain it.
So the Lord God of Israel has this to say about the leaders who are ruling over his people: “You have caused my people 1 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. 2 I, the Lord, affirm it! 3
So I, the Lord, affirm that 1 I will send for all the peoples of the north 2 and my servant, 3 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 4 this land, its inhabitants, and all the nations that surround it 5 and make them everlasting ruins. 6 I will make them objects of horror and hissing scorn. 7
Then he spoke up in the presence of all the people. “The Lord says, ‘In the same way I will break the yoke of servitude of all the nations to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon 1 before two years are over.’” After he heard this, the prophet Jeremiah departed and went on his way. 2
I will make myself available to you,’ 1 says the Lord. 2 ‘Then I will reverse your plight 3 and will regather you from all the nations and all the places where I have exiled you,’ says the Lord. 4 ‘I will bring you back to the place from which I exiled you.’
Indeed, the people of Israel are my dear children. They are the children I take delight in. 1 For even though I must often rebuke them, I still remember them with fondness. So I am deeply moved with pity for them 2 and will surely have compassion on them. I, the Lord, affirm it! 3
“Every seven years each of you must free any fellow Hebrews who have sold themselves to you. After they have served you for six years, you shall set them free.” 1 But your ancestors did not obey me or pay any attention to me.
Tell King Jehoiakim of Judah, ‘The Lord says, “You burned the scroll. You asked 1 Jeremiah, ‘How dare you write in this scroll that the king of Babylon will certainly come and destroy this land and wipe out all the people and animals on it?’” 2
Now some of the officers of the Judean army and their troops had been hiding in the countryside. They heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam to govern 1 the country. They also heard that he had been put in charge over the men, women, and children from the poorer classes of the land who had not been carried off into exile in Babylon. 2