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Jeremiah 12-15 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Jeremiah’s Complaint

12 You will be righteous, Lord,
even if I bring a case against You.
Yet, I wish to contend with You:
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
Why do all the treacherous live at ease?
You planted them, and they have taken root.
They have grown and produced fruit.
You are ever on their lips,[a]
but far from their conscience.[b]
As for You, Lord, You know me; You see me.
You test whether my heart is with You.
Drag the wicked away like sheep to slaughter
and set them apart for the day of killing.
How long will the land mourn
and the grass of every field wither?
Because of the evil of its residents,
animals and birds have been swept away,
for the people have said,
“He cannot see what our end will be.”[c]

The Lord’s Response

If you have raced with runners
and they have worn you out,
how can you compete with horses?
If you stumble[d] in a peaceful land,
what will you do in the thickets of the Jordan?
Even your brothers—your own father’s household—
even they were treacherous to you;
even they have cried out loudly after you.
Do not have confidence in them,
though they speak well of you.

I have abandoned My house;
I have deserted My inheritance.
I have given the love of My life
into the hands of her enemies.
My inheritance has acted toward Me
like a lion in the forest.
She has roared against Me.
Therefore, I hate her.
Is My inheritance like a hyena[e] to Me?
Are birds of prey circling her?
Go, gather all the wild animals;
bring them to devour her.
10 Many shepherds have destroyed My vineyard;
they have trampled My plot of land.
They have turned My desirable plot
into a desolate wasteland.
11 They have made it a desolation.
It mourns, desolate, before Me.
All the land is desolate,
but no one takes it to heart.
12 Over all the barren heights in the wilderness
the destroyers have come,
for the Lord has a sword that devours
from one end of the earth to the other.
No one has peace.
13 They have sown wheat but harvested thorns.
They have exhausted themselves but have no profit.
Be put to shame by your harvests
because of the Lord’s burning anger.

14 This is what the Lord says: “Concerning all My evil neighbors who attack the inheritance that I bequeathed to My people, Israel, I am about to uproot them from their land, and I will uproot the house of Judah from them. 15 After I have uprooted them, I will once again have compassion on them and return each one to his inheritance and to his land. 16 If they will diligently learn the ways of My people—to swear by My name, ‘As Yahweh lives,’ just as they taught My people to swear by Baal—they will be built up among My people. 17 However, if they will not obey, then I will uproot and destroy that nation.”

This is the Lord’s declaration.

Linen Underwear

13 This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and buy yourself a linen undergarment and put it on,[f] but do not put it in water.” So I bought underwear as the Lord instructed me and put it on.

Then the word of the Lord came to me a second time: “Take the underwear that you bought and are wearing,[g] and go at once to the Euphrates[h] and hide it in a rocky crevice.” So I went and hid it by the Euphrates, as the Lord commanded me.

A long time later the Lord said to me, “Go at once to the Euphrates and get the underwear that I commanded you to hide there.” So I went to the Euphrates and dug up the underwear and got it from the place where I had hidden it, but it was ruined—of no use at all.

Then the word of the Lord came to me: “This is what the Lord says: Just like this I will ruin the great pride of both Judah and Jerusalem. 10 These evil people, who refuse to listen to Me, who follow the stubbornness of their own hearts, and who have followed other gods to serve and worship—they will be like this underwear, of no use at all. 11 Just as underwear clings to one’s waist, so I fastened the whole house of Israel and of Judah to Me”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“so that they might be My people for My fame, praise, and glory, but they would not obey.

The Wine Jars

12 “Say this to them: This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Every jar should be filled with wine. Then they will respond to you, ‘Don’t we know that every jar should be filled with wine?’ 13 And you will say to them: This is what the Lord says: I am about to fill all who live in this land—the kings who reign for David on his throne, the priests, the prophets and all the residents of Jerusalem—with drunkenness. 14 I will smash them against each other, fathers and sons alike”—this is the Lord’s declaration. “I will allow no mercy, pity, or compassion to keep Me from destroying them.”

The Lord’s Warning

15 Listen and pay attention. Do not be proud,
for the Lord has spoken.
16 Give glory to the Lord your God
before He brings darkness,
before your feet stumble
on the mountains at dusk.
You wait for light,
but He brings darkest gloom[i]
and makes thick darkness.
17 But if you will not listen,
my innermost being will weep in secret
because of your pride.
My eyes will overflow with tears,
for the Lord’s flock has been taken captive.

18 Say to the king and the queen mother:
Take a humble seat,
for your glorious crowns
have fallen from your heads.
19 The cities of the Negev are under siege;
no one can help them.
All of Judah has been taken into exile,
taken completely into exile.
20 Look up and see
those coming from the north.
Where is the flock entrusted to you,
the sheep that were your pride?

The Destiny of Jerusalem

21 What will you say when He appoints
close friends as leaders over you,
ones you yourself trained?
Won’t labor pains seize you,
as they do a woman in labor?
22 And when you ask yourself,
“Why have these things happened to me?”
It is because of your great guilt
that your skirts have been stripped off,
your body exposed.[j]
23 Can the Cushite change his skin,
or a leopard his spots?
If so, you might be able to do what is good,
you who are instructed in evil.
24 I will scatter you[k] like drifting chaff
before the desert wind.
25 This is your lot,
what I have decreed for you—
this is the Lord’s declaration—
because you have forgotten Me
and trusted in Falsehood.[l]
26 I will pull your skirts up over your face
so that your shame might be seen.
27 Your adulteries and your lustful neighing,
your heinous prostitution
on the hills, in the fields—
I have seen your detestable acts.
Woe to you, Jerusalem!
You are unclean—
for how long yet?

The Drought

14 The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought:

Judah mourns;
her gates languish.
Her people are on the ground in mourning;
Jerusalem’s cry rises up.
Their nobles send their servants[m] for water.
They go to the cisterns;
they find no water;
their containers return empty.
They are ashamed and humiliated;
they cover their heads.
The ground is cracked
since no rain has fallen on the land.
The farmers are ashamed;
they cover their heads.
Even the doe in the field
gives birth and abandons her fawn
since there is no grass.
Wild donkeys stand on the barren heights
panting for air like jackals.
Their eyes fail
because there are no green plants.
Though our guilt testifies against us,
Yahweh, act for Your name’s sake.
Indeed, our rebellions are many;
we have sinned against You.
Hope of Israel,
its Savior in time of distress,
why are You like a foreigner in the land,
like a traveler stopping only for the night?
Why are You like a helpless man,
like a warrior unable to save?
Yet You are among us, Yahweh,
and we are called by Your name.
Don’t leave us!

10 This is what the Lord says concerning these people:

Truly they love to wander;
they never rest their feet.
So the Lord does not accept them.
Now He will remember their guilt
and punish their sins.

False Prophets to be Punished

11 Then the Lord said to me, “Do not pray for the well-being of these people. 12 If they fast, I will not hear their cry of despair. If they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. Rather, I will finish them off by sword, famine, and plague.”

13 And I replied, “Oh no, Lord God! The prophets are telling them, ‘You won’t see sword or suffer famine. I will certainly give you true peace in this place.’”

14 But the Lord said to me, “These prophets are prophesying a lie in My name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a false vision, worthless divination, the deceit of their own minds.

15 “Therefore, this is what the Lord says concerning the prophets who prophesy in My name, though I did not send them, and who say, ‘There will never be sword or famine in this land.’ By sword and famine these prophets will meet their end. 16 The people they are prophesying to will be thrown into the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword. There will be no one to bury them—they, their wives, their sons, and their daughters. I will pour out their own evil on them.”

Jeremiah’s Request

17 You are to speak this word to them:
Let my eyes overflow with tears;
day and night may they not stop,
for the virgin daughter of my people
has been destroyed by a great disaster,
an extremely severe wound.
18 If I go out to the field,
look—those slain by the sword!
If I enter the city,
look—those ill from famine!
For both prophet and priest
travel to a land they do not know.

19 Have You completely rejected Judah?
Do You detest Zion?
Why do You strike us
with no hope of healing for us?
We hoped for peace,
but there was nothing good;
for a time of healing,
but there was only terror.
20 We acknowledge our wickedness, Lord,
the guilt of our fathers;
indeed, we have sinned against You.
21 Because of Your name, don’t despise us.
Don’t disdain Your glorious throne.
Remember Your covenant with us;
do not break it.
22 Can any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain?
Or can the skies alone give showers?
Are You not the Lord our God?
We therefore put our hope in You,
for You have done all these things.

The Lord’s Negative Response

15 Then the Lord said to me: “Even if Moses and Samuel should stand before Me, My compassions would not reach out to these people. Send them from My presence, and let them go. If they ask you, ‘Where will we go?’ you must tell them: This is what the Lord says:

Those destined for death, to death;
those destined for the sword, to the sword.
Those destined for famine, to famine;
those destined for captivity, to captivity.

“I will ordain four kinds[n] of judgment for them”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“the sword to kill, the dogs to drag away, and the birds of the sky and the wild animals of the land to devour and destroy. I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth because of Manasseh son of Hezekiah, the king of Judah, for what he did in Jerusalem.

Who will have pity on you, Jerusalem?
Who will show sympathy toward you?
Who will turn aside
to ask about your welfare?
You have left Me.
This is the Lord’s declaration.
You have turned your back,
so I have stretched out My hand against you
and destroyed you.
I am tired of showing compassion.
I scattered them with a winnowing fork
at the gates of the land.
I made them childless; I destroyed My people.
They would not turn from their ways.
I made their widows more numerous
than the sand of the seas.
I brought a destroyer at noon
against the mother of young men.
I suddenly released on her
agitation and terrors.
The mother of seven grew faint;
she breathed her last breath.
Her sun set while it was still day;
she was ashamed and humiliated.
The rest of them I will give over to the sword
in the presence of their enemies.”
This is the Lord’s declaration.

Jeremiah’s Complaint

10 Woe is me, my mother,
that you gave birth to me,
a man who incites dispute and conflict
in all the land.
I did not lend or borrow,
yet everyone curses me.

The Lord’s Response

11 The Lord said:

I will certainly set you free and care for you.[o]
I will certainly intercede for you
in a time of trouble,
in your time of distress, with the enemy.
12 Can anyone smash iron,
iron from the north, or bronze?
13 I will give up your wealth
and your treasures as plunder,
without cost, for all your sins
in all your borders.
14 Then I will make you serve your enemies[p]
in a land you do not know,
for My anger will kindle a fire
that will burn against you.

Jeremiah’s Prayer for Vengeance

15 You know, Lord;
remember me and take note of me.
Avenge me against my persecutors.
In Your patience,[q] don’t take me away.
Know that I suffer disgrace for Your honor.
16 Your words were found, and I ate them.
Your words became a delight to me
and the joy of my heart,
for I am called by Your name,
Yahweh God of Hosts.
17 I never sat with the band of revelers,
and I did not celebrate with them.
Because Your hand was on me, I sat alone,
for You filled me with indignation.
18 Why has my pain become unending,
my wound incurable,
refusing to be healed?
You truly have become like a mirage to me—
water that is not reliable.

Jeremiah Told to Repent

19 Therefore, this is what the Lord says:

If you return, I will restore you;
you will stand in My presence.
And if you speak noble words,
rather than worthless ones,
you will be My spokesman.
It is they who must return to you;
you must not return to them.
20 Then I will make you a fortified wall of bronze
to this people.
They will fight against you
but will not overcome you,
for I am with you
to save you and deliver you.
This is the Lord’s declaration.
21 I will deliver you from the power of evil people
and redeem you from the control of the ruthless.

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 12:2 Lit are near in their mouth
  2. Jeremiah 12:2 Lit kidneys
  3. Jeremiah 12:4 LXX reads see our ways
  4. Jeremiah 12:5 Or you are secure
  5. Jeremiah 12:9 Hb obscure
  6. Jeremiah 13:1 Lit around your waist
  7. Jeremiah 13:4 Lit wearing around your waist
  8. Jeremiah 13:4 Perhaps a place near Anathoth with the same spelling as river
  9. Jeremiah 13:16 Or brings a shadow of death
  10. Jeremiah 13:22 Lit your heels have suffered violence
  11. Jeremiah 13:24 Lit them
  12. Jeremiah 13:25 = Baal
  13. Jeremiah 14:3 Lit little ones
  14. Jeremiah 15:3 Lit families
  15. Jeremiah 15:11 Lit free for good
  16. Jeremiah 15:14 Some Hb mss, LXX, Syr, Tg; other Hb mss read you pass through
  17. Jeremiah 15:15 Lit In the slowness of Your anger

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