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The Lord and the Idols

10 Family of Israel, listen to the Lord! This is what the Lord says:

“Don’t live like people from other nations.
    Don’t be afraid of special signs in the sky.[a]
The other nations are afraid of what they see in the sky.
    But you must not be afraid of them.
The customs of other people are worth nothing.
    Their idols are nothing but wood from the forest.
    Their idols are made by workers with their chisels.[b]
They make their idols beautiful with silver and gold.
    They use hammers and nails to fasten their idols down
    so that they will not fall over.
The idols of the other nations are like
    a scarecrow in a cucumber field.
They cannot walk.
    They cannot talk, and the people must carry them.
So don’t be afraid of their idols.
    They cannot hurt you.
And they cannot help you either.”

Lord, there is no one like you.
    You are great!
    Your name is great and powerful!
Everyone should respect you, King of all the nations.
    You deserve their respect.
There are many wise men among the nations,
    but not one of them is as wise as you.

All the people of the other nations are stupid and foolish.
    Their teachings come from worthless wooden statues.
They use silver from the city of Tarshish
    and gold from the city of Uphaz and make their statues.
Carpenters and metalworkers make the idols.
    They put blue and purple clothes on them.
    “Wise men” make these “gods.”
10 But the Lord is the only true God.
    He is the only God who is alive.
    He is the King who rules forever.
The earth shakes when he is angry.
    The people of the nations cannot stop his anger.

11 The Lord says, “Tell them this message:
    ‘These false gods did not make heaven and earth.
    They will be destroyed and disappear from heaven and earth.’”[c]

12 God is the one who used his power and made the earth.
    He used his wisdom and built the world.
    With his understanding he stretched the sky over the earth.
13 God causes the loud thunder,
    and he causes great floods of water to fall from the sky.
He makes clouds rise in the sky every place on earth.
    He sends lightning with the rain.
    He brings out the wind from his storehouses.

14 People are so stupid!
    Metalworkers are fooled by the idols that they themselves made.
These statues are nothing but lies.
    They are stupid.[d]
15 These idols are worth nothing.
    They are something to make fun of.
    In the time of judgment they will be destroyed.
16 But Jacob’s God[e] is not like the idols.
    He made everything,
and Israel is the family that God chose to be his own people.
    His name is Lord All-Powerful.

Destruction Is Coming

17 Get everything you own and prepare to leave.
People of Judah, you are trapped in the city,
    and the enemy is all around it.
18 This is what the Lord says:
“This time, I will throw the people of Judah out of this country.
    I will bring pain and trouble to them.
    I will do this so that they will learn their lesson.”[f]

19 I am hurt badly.
    I am injured and I cannot be healed.
But I told myself, “This is my sickness;
    I must suffer through it.”
20 My tent is ruined.
    All its ropes are broken.
My children left me.
    They are gone.
No one is left to put up my tent.
    No one is left to fix a shelter for me.
21 The shepherds are stupid.
    They don’t try to find the Lord.
They are not wise,
    so their flocks are scattered and lost.
22 Listen! A loud noise!
    The noise is coming from the north.[g]
It will destroy the cities of Judah.
    Judah will become an empty desert.
    It will be a home for jackals.

23 Lord, I know that our lives do not belong to us.
    We have no control over what happens.
24 So correct us, Lord!
    But please be fair.
Don’t punish us in anger,
    or you will destroy us!
25 If you are angry, then punish the other nations.
    They don’t know or respect you.
    They don’t worship you.
Those nations destroyed Jacob’s family.
    They destroyed Israel completely.
    They destroyed Israel’s homeland.


  1. Jeremiah 10:2 special signs in the sky People believed that such things as comets, meteors, or eclipses of the sun and moon could be used to learn what was going to happen in the future.
  2. Jeremiah 10:3 chisels Sharp tools used to carve wood or stone.
  3. Jeremiah 10:11 Tell them this message … earth This part was written in Aramaic, not Hebrew. This was the language people used often when writing to people in other countries. It was also the language spoken in Babylon.
  4. Jeremiah 10:14 They are stupid Literally, “They have no spirit.” This might also mean “They are not alive.”
  5. Jeremiah 10:16 Jacob’s God Literally, “Jacob’s share.” This means that God and Jacob (the people of Israel) had a special relationship—God belonged to Israel, and Israel belonged to God.”
  6. Jeremiah 10:18 they will learn their lesson The Hebrew text here is hard to understand.
  7. Jeremiah 10:22 north The Babylonian army came from this direction to attack Judah. Armies from countries north and east of Israel often came this way to attack Judah and Israel.

God and Idols(A)

10 Hear what the Lord says to you, people of Israel. This is what the Lord says:

“Do not learn the ways of the nations(B)
    or be terrified by signs(C) in the heavens,
    though the nations are terrified by them.
For the practices of the peoples are worthless;
    they cut a tree out of the forest,
    and a craftsman(D) shapes it with his chisel.(E)
They adorn it with silver(F) and gold;
    they fasten it with hammer and nails
    so it will not totter.(G)
Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field,
    their idols cannot speak;(H)
they must be carried
    because they cannot walk.(I)
Do not fear them;
    they can do no harm(J)
    nor can they do any good.”(K)

No one is like you,(L) Lord;
    you are great,(M)
    and your name is mighty in power.
Who should not fear(N) you,
    King of the nations?(O)
    This is your due.
Among all the wise leaders of the nations
    and in all their kingdoms,
    there is no one like you.

They are all senseless(P) and foolish;(Q)
    they are taught by worthless wooden idols.(R)
Hammered silver is brought from Tarshish(S)
    and gold from Uphaz.
What the craftsman and goldsmith have made(T)
    is then dressed in blue and purple—
    all made by skilled workers.
10 But the Lord is the true God;
    he is the living God,(U) the eternal King.(V)
When he is angry,(W) the earth trembles;(X)
    the nations cannot endure his wrath.(Y)

11 “Tell them this: ‘These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish(Z) from the earth and from under the heavens.’”[a]

12 But God made(AA) the earth(AB) by his power;
    he founded the world by his wisdom(AC)
    and stretched out the heavens(AD) by his understanding.
13 When he thunders,(AE) the waters in the heavens roar;
    he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth.
He sends lightning(AF) with the rain(AG)
    and brings out the wind from his storehouses.(AH)

14 Everyone is senseless and without knowledge;
    every goldsmith is shamed(AI) by his idols.
The images he makes are a fraud;(AJ)
    they have no breath in them.
15 They are worthless,(AK) the objects of mockery;
    when their judgment comes, they will perish.
16 He who is the Portion(AL) of Jacob is not like these,
    for he is the Maker of all things,(AM)
including Israel, the people of his inheritance(AN)
    the Lord Almighty is his name.(AO)

Coming Destruction

17 Gather up your belongings(AP) to leave the land,
    you who live under siege.
18 For this is what the Lord says:
    “At this time I will hurl(AQ) out
    those who live in this land;
I will bring distress(AR) on them
    so that they may be captured.”

19 Woe to me because of my injury!
    My wound(AS) is incurable!
Yet I said to myself,
    “This is my sickness, and I must endure(AT) it.”
20 My tent(AU) is destroyed;
    all its ropes are snapped.
My children are gone from me and are no more;(AV)
    no one is left now to pitch my tent
    or to set up my shelter.
21 The shepherds(AW) are senseless(AX)
    and do not inquire of the Lord;(AY)
so they do not prosper(AZ)
    and all their flock is scattered.(BA)
22 Listen! The report is coming—
    a great commotion from the land of the north!(BB)
It will make the towns of Judah desolate,(BC)
    a haunt of jackals.(BD)

Jeremiah’s Prayer

23 Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own;
    it is not for them to direct their steps.(BE)
24 Discipline me, Lord, but only in due measure—
    not in your anger,(BF)
    or you will reduce me to nothing.(BG)
25 Pour out your wrath on the nations(BH)
    that do not acknowledge you,
    on the peoples who do not call on your name.(BI)
For they have devoured(BJ) Jacob;
    they have devoured him completely
    and destroyed his homeland.(BK)


  1. Jeremiah 10:11 The text of this verse is in Aramaic.