Jeremiah 11-13 Good News Translation (GNT)
Jeremiah and the Covenant
11 The Lord said to me, 2 “Listen to the terms of the covenant. Tell the people of Judah and of Jerusalem 3 that I, the Lord God of Israel, have placed a curse on everyone who does not obey the terms of this covenant. 4 It is the covenant I made with their ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, the land that was like a blazing furnace to them. I told them to obey me and to do everything that I had commanded. I told them that if they obeyed, they would be my people and I would be their God. 5 Then I would keep the promise I made to their ancestors that I would give them the rich and fertile land which they now have.”
I said, “Yes, Lord.”
6 Then the Lord said to me, “Go to the cities of Judah and to the streets of Jerusalem. Proclaim my message there and tell the people to listen to the terms of the covenant and to obey them. 7 When I brought their ancestors out of Egypt, I solemnly warned them to obey me, and I have kept on warning the people until this day. 8 But they did not listen or obey. Instead, everyone continued to be as stubborn and evil as ever. I had commanded them to keep the covenant, but they refused. So I brought on them all the punishments described in it.”
9 Then the Lord said to me, “The people of Judah and of Jerusalem are plotting against me. 10 They have gone back to the sins of their ancestors, who refused to do what I said; they have worshiped other gods. Both Israel and Judah have broken the covenant that I made with their ancestors. 11 So now I, the Lord, warn them that I am going to bring destruction on them, and they will not escape. And when they cry out to me for help, I will not listen to them. 12 Then the people of Judah and of Jerusalem will go to the gods to whom they offer sacrifices and will cry out to them for help. But those gods will not be able to save them when this destruction comes. 13 The people of Judah have as many gods as they have cities, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem have set up as many altars for sacrifices to that disgusting god Baal as there are streets in the city. 14 Jeremiah, don't pray to me or plead with me on behalf of these people. When they are in trouble and call to me for help, I will not listen to them.”
15 The Lord says, “The people I love are doing evil things. What right do they have to be in my Temple? Do they think they can prevent disaster by making promises[a] and by offering animal sacrifices? Will they then rejoice? 16 I once called them a leafy olive tree, full of beautiful fruit; but now, with a roar like thunder I will set its leaves on fire and break its branches.
17 “I, the Lord Almighty, planted Israel and Judah; but now I threaten them with disaster. They have brought this on themselves because they have done wrong; they have made me angry by offering sacrifices to Baal.”
A Plot against Jeremiah's Life
18 The Lord informed me of the plots that my enemies were making against me. 19 I was like a trusting lamb taken out to be killed, and I did not know that it was against me that they were planning evil things. They were saying, “Let's chop down the tree while it is still healthy;[b] let's kill him so that no one will remember him any more.”
20 Then I prayed, “Almighty Lord, you are a just judge; you test people's thoughts and feelings. I have placed my cause in your hands; so let me watch you take revenge on these people.”
21 The people of Anathoth wanted me killed, and they told me that they would kill me if I kept on proclaiming the Lord's message. 22 So the Lord Almighty said, “I will punish them! Their young men will be killed in war; their children will die of starvation. 23 I have set a time for bringing disaster on the people of Anathoth, and when that time comes, none of them will survive.”
Jeremiah Questions the Lord
12 “Lord, if I argued my case with you,
5 The Lord said,
“Jeremiah, if you get tired racing against people,
The Lord's Sorrow because of His People
7 The Lord says,
“I have abandoned Israel;
The Lord's Promise to Israel's Neighbors
14 The Lord says, “I have something to say about Israel's neighbors who have ruined the land I gave to my people Israel. I will take those wicked people away from their countries like an uprooted plant, and I will rescue Judah from them. 15 But after I have taken them away, I will have mercy on them; I will bring each nation back to its own land and to its own country. 16 If with all their hearts they will accept the religion of my people and will swear, ‘As the Lord lives’—as they once taught my people to swear by Baal—then they will also be a part of my people and will prosper. 17 But if any nation will not obey, then I will completely uproot it and destroy it. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
The Linen Shorts
13 The Lord told me to go and buy myself some linen shorts and to put them on; but he told me not to put them in water. 2 So I bought them and put them on. 3 Then the Lord spoke to me again and said, 4 “Go to the Euphrates River and hide the shorts in a hole in the rocks.” 5 So I went and hid them near the Euphrates.
6 Some time later the Lord told me to go back to the Euphrates and get the shorts. 7 So I went back, and when I found the place where I had hidden them, I saw that they were ruined and were no longer any good.
8 Then the Lord spoke to me again. He said, 9 “This is how I will destroy the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 These evil people have refused to obey me. They have been as stubborn and wicked as ever, and have worshiped and served other gods. So then, they will become like these shorts that are no longer any good. 11 Just as shorts fit tightly around the waist, so I intended all the people of Israel and Judah to hold tightly to me. I did this so that they would be my people and would bring praise and honor to my name; but they would not obey me.”
The Wine Jar
12 The Lord God said to me, “Jeremiah, tell the people of Israel that every wine jar should be filled with wine. They will answer that they know every wine jar should be filled with wine. 13 Then tell them that I, the Lord, am going to fill the people in this land with wine until they are drunk: the kings, who are David's descendants, the priests, the prophets, and all the people of Jerusalem. 14 Then I will smash them like jars against one another, old and young alike. No pity, compassion, or mercy will stop me from killing them.”
Jeremiah Warns against Pride
15 People of Israel, the Lord has spoken!
18 The Lord said to me, “Tell the king and his mother to come down from their thrones, because their beautiful crowns have fallen from their heads.[d] 19 The towns of southern Judah are under siege; no one can get through to them. All the people of Judah have been taken away into exile.”
20 Jerusalem, look! Your enemies are coming down from the north! Where are the people entrusted to your care, your people you were so proud of 21 What will you say when people you thought were your friends conquer you and rule over you?[e] You will be in pain like a woman giving birth. 22 If you ask why all this has happened to you—why your clothes have been torn off and you have been raped—it is because your sin is so terrible. 23 Can people change the color of their skin, or a leopard remove its spots? If they could, then you that do nothing but evil could learn to do what is right. 24 The Lord will scatter you like straw that is blown away by the desert wind. 25 He has said that this will be your fate. This is what he has decided to do with you, because you have forgotten him and have trusted in false gods. 26 The Lord himself will strip off your clothes and expose you to shame. 27 He has seen you do the things he hates. He has seen you go after pagan gods on the hills and in the fields, like a man lusting after his neighbor's wife or like a stallion after a mare. People of Jerusalem, you are doomed! When will you ever be pure?
Jeremiah 11-13 The Message (MSG)
The Terms of This Covenant
11 The Message that came to Jeremiah from God:
2-4 “Preach to the people of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem. Tell them this: ‘This is God’s Message, the Message of Israel’s God to you. Anyone who does not keep the terms of this covenant is cursed. The terms are clear. I made them plain to your ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt, out of the iron furnace of suffering.
4-5 “‘Obey what I tell you. Do exactly what I command you. Your obedience will close the deal. You’ll be mine and I’ll be yours. This will provide the conditions in which I will be able to do what I promised your ancestors: to give them a fertile and lush land. And, as you know, that’s what I did.’”
“Yes, God,” I replied. “That’s true.”
6-8 God continued: “Preach all this in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. Say, ‘Listen to the terms of this covenant and carry them out! I warned your ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt and I’ve kept up the warnings. I haven’t quit warning them for a moment. I warned them from morning to night: “Obey me or else!” But they didn’t obey. They paid no attention to me. They did whatever they wanted to do, whenever they wanted to do it, until finally I stepped in and ordered the punishments set out in the covenant, which, despite all my warnings, they had ignored.’”
9-10 Then God said, “There’s a conspiracy among the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem. They’ve plotted to reenact the sins of their ancestors—the ones who disobeyed me and decided to go after other gods and worship them. Israel and Judah are in this together, mindlessly breaking the covenant I made with their ancestors.”
11-13 “Well, your God has something to say about this: Watch out! I’m about to visit doom on you, and no one will get out of it. You’re going to cry for help but I won’t listen. Then all the people in Judah and Jerusalem will start praying to the gods you’ve been sacrificing to all these years, but it won’t do a bit of good. You’ve got as many gods as you have villages, Judah! And you’ve got enough altars for sacrifices to that impotent sex god Baal to put one on every street corner in Jerusalem!”
14 “And as for you, Jeremiah, I don’t want you praying for this people. Nothing! Not a word of petition. Indeed, I’m not going to listen to a single syllable of their crisis-prayers.”
Promises and Pious Programs
15-16 “What business do the ones I love have figuring out
17 “I, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, who planted you—yes, I have pronounced doom on you. Why? Because of the disastrous life you’ve lived, Israel and Judah alike, goading me to anger with your continuous worship and offerings to that sorry god Baal.”
18-19 God told me what was going on. That’s how I knew.
20 Then I said, “God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
21-23 That sent a signal to God, who spoke up: “Here’s what I’ll do to the men of Anathoth who are trying to murder you, the men who say, ‘Don’t preach to us in God’s name or we’ll kill you.’ Yes, it’s God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaking. Indeed! I’ll call them to account: Their young people will die in battle, their children will die of starvation, and there will be no one left at all, none. I’m visiting the men of Anathoth with doom. Doomsday!”
What Makes You Think You Can Race Against Horses?
12 1-4 You are right, O God, and you set things right.
5-6 “So, Jeremiah, if you’re worn out in this footrace with men,
7-11 “I will abandon the House of Israel,
12-13 “The barbarians will invade,
14-17 God’s Message: “Regarding all the bad neighbors who abused the land I gave to Israel as their inheritance: I’m going to pluck them out of their lands, and then pluck Judah out from among them. Once I’ve pulled the bad neighbors out, I will relent and take them tenderly to my heart and put them back where they belong, put each of them back in their home country, on their family farms. Then if they will get serious about living my way and pray to me as well as they taught my people to pray to that god Baal, everything will go well for them. But if they won’t listen, then I’ll pull them out of their land by the roots and cart them off to the dump. Total destruction!” God’s Decree.
People Who Do Only What They Want to Do
13 1-2 God told me, “Go and buy yourself some linen shorts. Put them on and keep them on. Don’t even take them off to wash them.” So I bought the shorts as God directed and put them on.
3-5 Then God told me, “Take the shorts that you bought and go straight to Perath and hide them there in a crack in the rock.” So I did what God told me and hid them at Perath.
6-7 Next, after quite a long time, God told me, “Go back to Perath and get the linen shorts I told you to hide there.” So I went back to Perath and dug them out of the place where I had hidden them. The shorts by then had rotted and were worthless.
8-11 God explained, “This is the way I am going to ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem—a wicked bunch of people who won’t obey me, who do only what they want to do, who chase after all kinds of no-gods and worship them. They’re going to turn out as rotten as these old shorts. Just as shorts clothe and protect, so I kept the whole family of Israel under my care”—God’s Decree—“so that everyone could see they were my people, a people I could show off to the world and be proud of. But they refused to do a thing I said.
12 “And then tell them this, ‘God’s Message, personal from the God of Israel: Every wine jug should be full of wine.’
“And they’ll say, ‘Of course. We know that. Every wine jug should be full of wine!’
13-14 “Then you’ll say, ‘This is what God says: Watch closely. I’m going to fill every person who lives in this country—the kings who rule from David’s throne, the priests, the prophets, the citizens of Jerusalem—with wine that will make them drunk. And then I’ll smash them, smash the wine-filled jugs—old and young alike. Nothing will stop me. Not an ounce of pity or mercy or compassion will slow me down. Every last drunken jug of them will be smashed!’”
The Light You Always Took for Granted
15-17 Then I said, Listen. Listen carefully: Don’t stay stuck in your ways!
18-19 Tell the king and the queen-mother,
20-22 Look, look, Jerusalem!
23 Can an African change skin?
24-27 “I’ll blow these people away—