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The True God and Worthless Idols

10 Hear the message that the Lord has spoken to you, house of Israel. This is what the Lord says:

“Don’t learn the way of the nations,
    and don’t be terrified by signs in the heavens,
    though the nations are terrified of them.
For the practices[a] of the people are worthless.
    Indeed, a tree is cut down from the forest;
        it’s the work of the hands of a craftsman[b] with an ax.
They decorate it with silver and gold.
    They secure it with nails and hammers
        so it won’t totter.
Their idols[c] are like scarecrows in a cucumber field.
    They can’t speak!
They must always be carried
    because they can’t walk!
Don’t be afraid of them
    because they can do no harm,
        nor can they do any good.”

There is no one like you, Lord.
    You are great, and your name is great and powerful.
Who wouldn’t fear you, king of the nations?
    This is what you deserve!
Indeed, among all the wise men of the nations,
    and throughout all their kingdoms,
        there is no one like you!
Everyone is stupid[d] and senseless.
    They follow worthless instruction
        from a piece of wood![e]
Beaten silver is brought from Tarshish,
    and gold from Uphaz.
The idols are[f] the work of a craftsman[g]
    and of the hands of a goldsmith.
Their clothing is violet and purple.
    The idols[h] are all the work of skilled craftsmen.
10 The Lord is the true God;
    he’s the living God and the everlasting king.
At his wrath the earth quakes,
    and the nations cannot endure his indignation.

11 [i]Tell this to them: “The gods who[j] didn’t make the heavens and the earth will perish from the earth and from these heavens.”

A Hymn of Praise to God

12 The Lord is[k] the one who made
    the world by his power,
who established the earth by his wisdom
    and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.
13 When his voice sounds there is thunder
    from the waters of heaven,
and he makes clouds rise up from
    the ends of the earth.
He makes lightning for the rain
    and brings wind out of his storehouses.
14 Everyone is stupid[l] and without knowledge.
    Every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols,
        for his images are false.[m]
There is no life[n] in them.
15 They’re worthless, a work of mockery,
    and when the time of punishment comes,[o]
        they’ll perish.
16 The Portion of Jacob[p] is not like these.
    He made everything,
and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance.
    The Lord of the Heavenly Armies is his name.

The Coming Captivity of Judah

17 You who live under siege,
    Gather up your bundle[q] from the ground.[r]
18 For this is what the Lord says:

“I’m going to throw out the inhabitants
    of the land at this time,
and I’ll bring distress on them
    so they’ll experience[s] it.”

19 Woe is me because of my injury.
    My wound is severe.
I said, “Truly this is my sickness,
    and I must bear it.
20 My tent is destroyed,
    and all my tent cords are broken.
My sons have gone away from me,
    they no longer live.
There is no one to pitch my tent again
    and set up my curtains.
21 Because the shepherds are stupid[t]
    and don’t seek[u] the Lord,
therefore, they don’t prosper,
    and their flock is scattered.
22 The sound of a report, it’s coming now!
    There is a great commotion from a land in the north
to make the towns of Judah desolate,
    a refuge for jackals.”

Jeremiah’s Prayer

23 Lord, I know that a person’s life is not his to control,[v]
    nor does a person establish his way in life.[w]
24 Lord, correct me, but with justice,
    not with anger.
        Otherwise, you’ll bring me to nothing.
25 Pour out your anger on the nations
    that don’t acknowledge you,
        and on the families that don’t call on your name.
For they have devoured Jacob;
    they have devoured and consumed him;
        they have devastated his habitation.


  1. Jeremiah 10:3 Or customs, ordinances
  2. Jeremiah 10:3 Or engraver; i.e. a wood carver
  3. Jeremiah 10:5 Lit. They
  4. Jeremiah 10:8 I.e. like a beast
  5. Jeremiah 10:8 Lit. it is worthless instruction from wood
  6. Jeremiah 10:9 Lit. It is
  7. Jeremiah 10:9 Or engraver; i.e. a wood carver
  8. Jeremiah 10:9 Lit. They
  9. Jeremiah 10:11 This verse is in Aramaic, the language the exiles would speak in Babylon.
  10. Jeremiah 10:11 Lit. the one who
  11. Jeremiah 10:12 The Heb. lacks The Lord is
  12. Jeremiah 10:14 I.e. like a beast
  13. Jeremiah 10:14 Lit. deception
  14. Jeremiah 10:14 Or breath
  15. Jeremiah 10:15 Lit. at the time of their punishment
  16. Jeremiah 10:16 I.e. The Portion of Jacob is a name for the Lord
  17. Jeremiah 10:17 I.e. your possessions
  18. Jeremiah 10:17 Or land
  19. Jeremiah 10:18 Lit. find
  20. Jeremiah 10:21 I.e. like a beast
  21. Jeremiah 10:21 Or inquire of
  22. Jeremiah 10:23 Or does not belong to him
  23. Jeremiah 10:23 Or step as he walks