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Jeremiah 11-13 Good News Translation (GNT)

Jeremiah and the Covenant

11 The Lord said to me, “Listen to the terms of the covenant. Tell the people of Judah and of Jerusalem that I, the Lord God of Israel, have placed a curse on everyone who does not obey the terms of this covenant. 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. 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.”

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. 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. 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.”

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,
    you would prove to be right.
Yet I must question you about matters of justice.
Why are the wicked so prosperous?
    Why do dishonest people succeed?
You plant them, and they take root;
    they grow and bear fruit.
They always speak well of you,
    yet they do not really care about you.
But, Lord, you know me;
    you see what I do
    and how I love you.
Drag these evil people away like sheep to be butchered;
    guard them until it is time for them to be slaughtered.
How long will our land be dry,
    and the grass in every field be withered?
Animals and birds are dying
    because of the wickedness of our people,
    people who say, ‘God doesn't see what we are doing.’”[c]

The Lord said,

“Jeremiah, if you get tired racing against people,
    how can you race against horses?
If you can't even stand up in open country,
    how will you manage in the jungle by the Jordan?
Even your relatives, members of your own family, have betrayed you;
    they join in the attacks against you.
Do not trust them, even though they speak friendly words.”

The Lord's Sorrow because of His People

The Lord says,

“I have abandoned Israel;
    I have rejected my chosen nation.
I have given the people I love
    into the power of their enemies.
My chosen people have turned against me;
    like a lion in the forest
    they have roared at me,
    and so I hate them.
My chosen people are like a bird
    attacked from all sides by hawks.
Call the wild animals
    to come and join in the feast!
10 Many foreign rulers have destroyed my vineyard;
    they have trampled down my fields;
    they have turned my lovely land into a desert.
11 They have made it a wasteland;
    it lies desolate before me.
The whole land has become a desert,
    and no one cares.
12 Across all the desert highlands
    people have come to plunder.
I have sent war to destroy the entire land;
    no one can live in peace.
13 My people planted wheat, but gathered weeds;
    they have worked hard, but got nothing for it.
Because of my fierce anger
    their crops have failed.”

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. So I bought them and put them on. Then the Lord spoke to me again and said, “Go to the Euphrates River and hide the shorts in a hole in the rocks.” So I went and hid them near the Euphrates.

Some time later the Lord told me to go back to the Euphrates and get the shorts. 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.

Then the Lord spoke to me again. He said, “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!
Be humble and listen to him.
16 Honor the Lord, your God,
    before he brings darkness,
    and you stumble on the mountains;
before he turns into deep darkness
    the light you hoped for.
17 If you will not listen,
    I will cry in secret because of your pride;
I will cry bitterly, and my tears will flow
    because the Lord's people have been taken away as captives.

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?

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 11:15 One ancient translation promises; Hebrew many.
  2. Jeremiah 11:19 Probable text while it is still healthy; Hebrew with its bread.
  3. Jeremiah 12:4 Some ancient translations what we are doing; Hebrew our latter end.
  4. Jeremiah 13:18 Some ancient translations from their heads; Hebrew unclear.
  5. Jeremiah 13:21 Probable text What … over you; Hebrew unclear.
Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Jeremiah 11-13 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Israel and Judah Have Broken the Covenant

11 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: Hear the words of this covenant, and speak to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. You shall say to them, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Cursed be anyone who does not heed the words of this covenant, which I commanded your ancestors when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the iron-smelter, saying, Listen to my voice, and do all that I command you. So shall you be my people, and I will be your God, that I may perform the oath that I swore to your ancestors, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as at this day. Then I answered, “So be it, Lord.”

And the Lord said to me: Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: Hear the words of this covenant and do them. For I solemnly warned your ancestors when I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, warning them persistently, even to this day, saying, Obey my voice. Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but everyone walked in the stubbornness of an evil will. So I brought upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but they did not.

And the Lord said to me: Conspiracy exists among the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 10 They have turned back to the iniquities of their ancestors of old, who refused to heed my words; they have gone after other gods to serve them; the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken the covenant that I made with their ancestors. 11 Therefore, thus says the Lord, assuredly I am going to bring disaster upon them that they cannot escape; though they cry out to me, I will not listen to them. 12 Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods to whom they make offerings, but they will never save them in the time of their trouble. 13 For your gods have become as many as your towns, O Judah; and as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars to shame you have set up, altars to make offerings to Baal.

14 As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble. 15 What right has my beloved in my house, when she has done vile deeds? Can vows[a] and sacrificial flesh avert your doom? Can you then exult? 16 The Lord once called you, “A green olive tree, fair with goodly fruit”; but with the roar of a great tempest he will set fire to it, and its branches will be consumed. 17 The Lord of hosts, who planted you, has pronounced evil against you, because of the evil that the house of Israel and the house of Judah have done, provoking me to anger by making offerings to Baal.

Jeremiah’s Life Threatened

18 It was the Lord who made it known to me, and I knew;
    then you showed me their evil deeds.
19 But I was like a gentle lamb
    led to the slaughter.
And I did not know it was against me
    that they devised schemes, saying,
“Let us destroy the tree with its fruit,
    let us cut him off from the land of the living,
    so that his name will no longer be remembered!”
20 But you, O Lord of hosts, who judge righteously,
    who try the heart and the mind,
let me see your retribution upon them,
    for to you I have committed my cause.

21 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the people of Anathoth, who seek your life, and say, “You shall not prophesy in the name of the Lord, or you will die by our hand”— 22 therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: I am going to punish them; the young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine; 23 and not even a remnant shall be left of them. For I will bring disaster upon the people of Anathoth, the year of their punishment.

Jeremiah Complains to God

12 You will be in the right, O Lord,
    when I lay charges against you;
    but let me put my case to you.
Why does the way of the guilty prosper?
    Why do all who are treacherous thrive?
You plant them, and they take root;
    they grow and bring forth fruit;
you are near in their mouths
    yet far from their hearts.
But you, O Lord, know me;
    You see me and test me—my heart is with you.
Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter,
    and set them apart for the day of slaughter.
How long will the land mourn,
    and the grass of every field wither?
For the wickedness of those who live in it
    the animals and the birds are swept away,
    and because people said, “He is blind to our ways.”[b]

God Replies to Jeremiah

If you have raced with foot-runners and they have wearied you,
    how will you compete with horses?
And if in a safe land you fall down,
    how will you fare in the thickets of the Jordan?
For even your kinsfolk and your own family,
    even they have dealt treacherously with you;
    they are in full cry after you;
do not believe them,
    though they speak friendly words to you.

I have forsaken my house,
    I have abandoned my heritage;
I have given the beloved of my heart
    into the hands of her enemies.
My heritage has become to me
    like a lion in the forest;
she has lifted up her voice against me—
    therefore I hate her.
Is the hyena greedy[c] for my heritage at my command?
    Are the birds of prey all around her?
Go, assemble all the wild animals;
    bring them to devour her.
10 Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard,
    they have trampled down my portion,
they have made my pleasant portion
    a desolate wilderness.
11 They have made it a desolation;
    desolate, it mourns to me.
The whole land is made desolate,
    but no one lays it to heart.
12 Upon all the bare heights[d] in the desert
    spoilers have come;
for the sword of the Lord devours
    from one end of the land to the other;
    no one shall be safe.
13 They have sown wheat and have reaped thorns,
    they have tired themselves out but profit nothing.
They shall be ashamed of their[e] harvests
    because of the fierce anger of the Lord.

14 Thus says the Lord concerning all my evil neighbors who touch the heritage that I have given my people Israel to inherit: I am about to pluck them up from their land, and I will pluck up the house of Judah from among them. 15 And after I have plucked them up, I will again have compassion on them, and I will bring them again to their heritage and to their land, every one of them. 16 And then, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, “As the Lord lives,” as they taught my people to swear by Baal, then they shall be built up in the midst of my people. 17 But if any nation will not listen, then I will completely uproot it and destroy it, says the Lord.

The Linen Loincloth

13 Thus said the Lord to me, “Go and buy yourself a linen loincloth, and put it on your loins, but do not dip it in water.” So I bought a loincloth according to the word of the Lord, and put it on my loins. And the word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying, “Take the loincloth that you bought and are wearing, and go now to the Euphrates,[f] and hide it there in a cleft of the rock.” So I went, and hid it by the Euphrates,[g] as the Lord commanded me. And after many days the Lord said to me, “Go now to the Euphrates,[h] and take from there the loincloth that I commanded you to hide there.” Then I went to the Euphrates,[i] and dug, and I took the loincloth from the place where I had hidden it. But now the loincloth was ruined; it was good for nothing.

Then the word of the Lord came to me: Thus says the Lord: Just so I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 This evil people, who refuse to hear my words, who stubbornly follow their own will and have gone after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be like this loincloth, which is good for nothing. 11 For as the loincloth clings to one’s loins, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the Lord, in order that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory. But they would not listen.

Symbol of the Wine-Jars

12 You shall speak to them this word: Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Every wine-jar should be filled with wine. And they will say to you, “Do you think we do not know that every wine-jar should be filled with wine?” 13 Then you shall say to them: Thus says the Lord: I am about to fill all the inhabitants of this land—the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem—with drunkenness. 14 And I will dash them one against another, parents and children together, says the Lord. I will not pity or spare or have compassion when I destroy them.

Exile Threatened

15 Hear and give ear; do not be haughty,
    for the Lord has spoken.
16 Give glory to the Lord your God
    before he brings darkness,
and before your feet stumble
    on the mountains at twilight;
while you look for light,
    he turns it into gloom
    and makes it deep darkness.
17 But if you will not listen,
    my soul will weep in secret for your pride;
my eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears,
    because the Lord’s flock has been taken captive.

18 Say to the king and the queen mother:
    “Take a lowly seat,
for your beautiful crown
    has come down from your head.”[j]
19 The towns of the Negeb are shut up
    with no one to open them;
all Judah is taken into exile,
    wholly taken into exile.

20 Lift up your eyes and see
    those who come from the north.
Where is the flock that was given you,
    your beautiful flock?
21 What will you say when they set as head over you
    those whom you have trained
    to be your allies?
Will not pangs take hold of you,
    like those of a woman in labor?
22 And if you say in your heart,
    “Why have these things come upon me?”
it is for the greatness of your iniquity
    that your skirts are lifted up,
    and you are violated.
23 Can Ethiopians[k] change their skin
    or leopards their spots?
Then also you can do good
    who are accustomed to do evil.
24 I will scatter you[l] like chaff
    driven by the wind from the desert.
25 This is your lot,
    the portion I have measured out to you, says the Lord,
because you have forgotten me
    and trusted in lies.
26 I myself will lift up your skirts over your face,
    and your shame will be seen.
27 I have seen your abominations,
    your adulteries and neighings, your shameless prostitutions
    on the hills of the countryside.
Woe to you, O Jerusalem!
    How long will it be
    before you are made clean?

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 11:15 Gk: Heb Can many
  2. Jeremiah 12:4 Gk: Heb to our future
  3. Jeremiah 12:9 Cn: Heb Is the hyena, the bird of prey
  4. Jeremiah 12:12 Or the trails
  5. Jeremiah 12:13 Heb your
  6. Jeremiah 13:4 Or to Parah; Heb perath
  7. Jeremiah 13:5 Or by Parah; Heb perath
  8. Jeremiah 13:6 Or to Parah; Heb perath
  9. Jeremiah 13:7 Or to Parah; Heb perath
  10. Jeremiah 13:18 Gk Syr Vg: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  11. Jeremiah 13:23 Or Nubians; Heb Cushites
  12. Jeremiah 13:24 Heb them
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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
    how to get off the hook? And right in the house of worship!
Do you think making promises and devising pious programs
    will save you from doom?
Do you think you can get out of this
    by becoming more religious?
A mighty oak tree, majestic and glorious—
    that’s how I once described you.
But it will only take a clap of thunder and a bolt of lightning
    to leave you a shattered wreck.

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.
    You, God, opened my eyes to their evil scheming.
I had no idea what was going on—naive as a lamb
    being led to slaughter!
I didn’t know they had it in for me,
    didn’t know of their behind-the-scenes plots:
“Let’s get rid of the preacher.
    That will stop the sermons!
Let’s get rid of him for good.
    He won’t be remembered for long.”

20 Then I said, “God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
    you’re a fair judge.
You examine and cross-examine
    human actions and motives.
I want to see these people shown up and put down!
    I’m an open book before you. Clear my name.”

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.
    I can’t argue with that. But I do have some questions:
Why do bad people have it so good?
    Why do con artists make it big?
You planted them and they put down roots.
    They flourished and produced fruit.
They talk as if they’re old friends with you,
    but they couldn’t care less about you.
Meanwhile, you know me inside and out.
    You don’t let me get by with a thing!
Make them pay for the way they live,
    pay with their lives, like sheep marked for slaughter.
How long do we have to put up with this—
    the country depressed, the farms in ruin—
And all because of wickedness, these wicked lives?
    Even animals and birds are dying off
Because they’ll have nothing to do with God
    and think God has nothing to do with them.

5-6 “So, Jeremiah, if you’re worn out in this footrace with men,
    what makes you think you can race against horses?
And if you can’t keep your wits during times of calm,
    what’s going to happen when troubles break loose
        like the Jordan in flood?
Those closest to you, your own brothers and cousins,
    are working against you.
They’re out to get you. They’ll stop at nothing.
    Don’t trust them, especially when they’re smiling.

7-11 “I will abandon the House of Israel,
    walk away from my beloved people.
I will turn over those I most love
    to those who are her enemies.
She’s been, this one I held dear,
    like a snarling lion in the jungle,
Growling and baring her teeth at me—
    and I can’t take it anymore.
Has this one I hold dear become a preening peacock?
    But isn’t she under attack by vultures?
Then invite all the hungry animals at large,
    invite them in for a free meal!
Foreign, scavenging shepherds
    will loot and trample my fields,
Turn my beautiful, well-cared-for fields
    into vacant lots of tin cans and thistles.
They leave them littered with junk—
    a ruined land, a land in lament.
The whole countryside is a wasteland,
    and no one will really care.

12-13 “The barbarians will invade,
    swarm over hills and plains.
The judgment sword of God will take its toll
    from one end of the land to the other.
    Nothing living will be safe.
They will plant wheat and reap weeds.
    Nothing they do will work out.
They will look at their meager crops and wring their hands.
    All this the result of God’s fierce anger!”

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!
    It’s God’s Message we’re dealing with here.
Let your lives glow bright before God
    before he turns out the lights,
Before you trip and fall
    on the dark mountain paths.
The light you always took for granted will go out
    and the world will turn black.
If you people won’t listen,
    I’ll go off by myself and weep over you,
Weep because of your stubborn arrogance,
    bitter, bitter tears,
Rivers of tears from my eyes,
    because God’s sheep will end up in exile.

18-19 Tell the king and the queen-mother,
    “Come down off your high horses.
Your dazzling crowns
    will tumble off your heads.”
The villages in the Negev will be surrounded,
    everyone trapped,
And Judah dragged off to exile,
    the whole country dragged to oblivion.

20-22 Look, look, Jerusalem!
    Look at the enemies coming out of the north!
What will become of your flocks of people,
    the beautiful flocks in your care?
How are you going to feel when the people
    you’ve played up to, looked up to all these years
Now look down on you? You didn’t expect this?
    Surprise! The pain of a woman having a baby!
Do I hear you saying,
    “What’s going on here? Why me?”
The answer’s simple: You’re guilty,
    hugely guilty.
Your guilt has your life endangered,
    your guilt has you writhing in pain.

23 Can an African change skin?
    Can a leopard get rid of its spots?
So what are the odds on you doing good,
    you who are so long-practiced in evil?

24-27 “I’ll blow these people away—
    like wind-blown leaves.
You have it coming to you.
    I’ve measured it out precisely.”
        God’s Decree.
“It’s because you forgot me
    and embraced the Big Lie,
    that so-called god Baal.
I’m the one who will rip off your clothes,
    expose and shame you before the watching world.
Your obsessions with gods, gods, and more gods,
    your goddess affairs, your god-adulteries.
Gods on the hills, gods in the fields—
    every time I look you’re off with another god.
O Jerusalem, what a sordid life!
    Is there any hope for you!”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

Jeremiah 11-13 New International Version (NIV)

The Covenant Is Broken

11 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Listen to the terms of this covenant and tell them to the people of Judah and to those who live in Jerusalem. Tell them that this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Cursed is the one who does not obey the terms of this covenant— the terms I commanded your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the iron-smelting furnace.’ I said, ‘Obey me and do everything I command you, and you will be my people, and I will be your God. Then I will fulfill the oath I swore to your ancestors, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey’—the land you possess today.”

I answered, “Amen, Lord.”

The Lord said to me, “Proclaim all these words in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: ‘Listen to the terms of this covenant and follow them. From the time I brought your ancestors up from Egypt until today, I warned them again and again, saying, “Obey me.” But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts. So I brought on them all the curses of the covenant I had commanded them to follow but that they did not keep.’”

Then the Lord said to me, “There is a conspiracy among the people of Judah and those who live in Jerusalem. 10 They have returned to the sins of their ancestors, who refused to listen to my words. They have followed other gods to serve them. Both Israel and Judah have broken the covenant I made with their ancestors. 11 Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape. Although they cry out to me, I will not listen to them. 12 The towns of Judah and the people of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods to whom they burn incense, but they will not help them at all when disaster strikes. 13 You, Judah, have as many gods as you have towns; and the altars you have set up to burn incense to that shameful god Baal are as many as the streets of Jerusalem.’

14 “Do not pray for this people or offer any plea or petition for them, because I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their distress.

15 “What is my beloved doing in my temple
    as she, with many others, works out her evil schemes?
    Can consecrated meat avert your punishment?
When you engage in your wickedness,
    then you rejoice.[a]

16 The Lord called you a thriving olive tree
    with fruit beautiful in form.
But with the roar of a mighty storm
    he will set it on fire,
    and its branches will be broken.

17 The Lord Almighty, who planted you, has decreed disaster for you, because the people of both Israel and Judah have done evil and aroused my anger by burning incense to Baal.

Plot Against Jeremiah

18 Because the Lord revealed their plot to me, I knew it, for at that time he showed me what they were doing. 19 I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; I did not realize that they had plotted against me, saying,

“Let us destroy the tree and its fruit;
    let us cut him off from the land of the living,
    that his name be remembered no more.”
20 But you, Lord Almighty, who judge righteously
    and test the heart and mind,
let me see your vengeance on them,
    for to you I have committed my cause.

21 Therefore this is what the Lord says about the people of Anathoth who are threatening to kill you, saying, “Do not prophesy in the name of the Lord or you will die by our hands”— 22 therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says: “I will punish them. Their young men will die by the sword, their sons and daughters by famine. 23 Not even a remnant will be left to them, because I will bring disaster on the people of Anathoth in the year of their punishment.

Jeremiah’s Complaint

12 You are always righteous, Lord,
    when I bring a case before you.
Yet I would speak with you about your justice:
    Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
    Why do all the faithless live at ease?
You have planted them, and they have taken root;
    they grow and bear fruit.
You are always on their lips
    but far from their hearts.
Yet you know me, Lord;
    you see me and test my thoughts about you.
Drag them off like sheep to be butchered!
    Set them apart for the day of slaughter!
How long will the land lie parched
    and the grass in every field be withered?
Because those who live in it are wicked,
    the animals and birds have perished.
Moreover, the people are saying,
    “He will not see what happens to us.”

God’s Answer

“If you have raced with men on foot
    and they have worn you out,
    how can you compete with horses?
If you stumble[b] in safe country,
    how will you manage in the thickets by[c] the Jordan?
Your relatives, members of your own family—
    even they have betrayed you;
    they have raised a loud cry against you.
Do not trust them,
    though they speak well of you.

“I will forsake my house,
    abandon my inheritance;
I will give the one I love
    into the hands of her enemies.
My inheritance has become to me
    like a lion in the forest.
She roars at me;
    therefore I hate her.
Has not my inheritance become to me
    like a speckled bird of prey
    that other birds of prey surround and attack?
Go and gather all the wild beasts;
    bring them to devour.
10 Many shepherds will ruin my vineyard
    and trample down my field;
they will turn my pleasant field
    into a desolate wasteland.
11 It will be made a wasteland,
    parched and desolate before me;
the whole land will be laid waste
    because there is no one who cares.
12 Over all the barren heights in the desert
    destroyers will swarm,
for the sword of the Lord will devour
    from one end of the land to the other;
    no one will be safe.
13 They will sow wheat but reap thorns;
    they will wear themselves out but gain nothing.
They will bear the shame of their harvest
    because of the Lord’s fierce anger.”

14 This is what the Lord says: “As for all my wicked neighbors who seize the inheritance I gave my people Israel, I will uproot them from their lands and I will uproot the people of Judah from among them. 15 But after I uproot them, I will again have compassion and will bring each of them back to their own inheritance and their own country. 16 And if they learn well the ways of my people and swear by my name, saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives’—even as they once taught my people to swear by Baal—then they will be established among my people. 17 But if any nation does not listen, I will completely uproot and destroy it,” declares the Lord.

A Linen Belt

13 This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and buy a linen belt and put it around your waist, but do not let it touch water.” So I bought a belt, as the Lord directed, and put it around my waist.

Then the word of the Lord came to me a second time: “Take the belt you bought and are wearing around your waist, and go now to Perath[d] and hide it there in a crevice in the rocks.” So I went and hid it at Perath, as the Lord told me.

Many days later the Lord said to me, “Go now to Perath and get the belt I told you to hide there.” So I went to Perath and dug up the belt and took it from the place where I had hidden it, but now it was ruined and completely useless.

Then the word of the Lord came to me: “This is what the Lord says: ‘In the same way I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 These wicked people, who refuse to listen to my words, who follow the stubbornness of their hearts and go after other gods to serve and worship them, will be like this belt—completely useless! 11 For as a belt is bound around the waist, so I bound all the people of Israel and all the people of Judah to me,’ declares the Lord, ‘to be my people for my renown and praise and honor. But they have not listened.’

Wineskins

12 “Say to them: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Every wineskin should be filled with wine.’ And if they say to you, ‘Don’t we know that every wineskin should be filled with wine?’ 13 then tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to fill with drunkenness all who live in this land, including the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets and all those living in Jerusalem. 14 I will smash them one against the other, parents and children alike, declares the Lord. I will allow no pity or mercy or compassion to keep me from destroying them.’”

Threat of Captivity

15 Hear and pay attention,
    do not be arrogant,
    for the Lord has spoken.
16 Give glory to the Lord your God
    before he brings the darkness,
before your feet stumble
    on the darkening hills.
You hope for light,
    but he will turn it to utter darkness
    and change it to deep gloom.
17 If you do not listen,
    I will weep in secret
    because of your pride;
my eyes will weep bitterly,
    overflowing with tears,
    because the Lord’s flock will be taken captive.

18 Say to the king and to the queen mother,
    “Come down from your thrones,
for your glorious crowns
    will fall from your heads.”
19 The cities in the Negev will be shut up,
    and there will be no one to open them.
All Judah will be carried into exile,
    carried completely away.

20 Look up and see
    those who are coming from the north.
Where is the flock that was entrusted to you,
    the sheep of which you boasted?
21 What will you say when the Lord sets over you
    those you cultivated as your special allies?
Will not pain grip you
    like that of a woman in labor?
22 And if you ask yourself,
    “Why has this happened to me?”
it is because of your many sins
    that your skirts have been torn off
    and your body mistreated.
23 Can an Ethiopian[e] change his skin
    or a leopard its spots?
Neither can you do good
    who are accustomed to doing evil.

24 “I will scatter you like chaff
    driven by the desert wind.
25 This is your lot,
    the portion I have decreed for you,”
declares the Lord,
“because you have forgotten me
    and trusted in false gods.
26 I will pull up your skirts over your face
    that your shame may be seen
27 your adulteries and lustful neighings,
    your shameless prostitution!
I have seen your detestable acts
    on the hills and in the fields.
Woe to you, Jerusalem!
    How long will you be unclean?”

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 11:15 Or Could consecrated meat avert your punishment? / Then you would rejoice
  2. Jeremiah 12:5 Or you feel secure only
  3. Jeremiah 12:5 Or the flooding of
  4. Jeremiah 13:4 Or possibly to the Euphrates; similarly in verses 5-7
  5. Jeremiah 13:23 Hebrew Cushite (probably a person from the upper Nile region)
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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