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Jeremiah Complains to the Lord

12 Whenever I complain
to you, Lord,
    you are always fair.
But now I have questions
    about your justice.
Why is life easy for sinners?
    Why are they successful?
You plant them like trees;
you let them prosper
    and produce fruit.
Yet even when they praise you,
    they don’t mean it.

But you know, Lord,
how faithful I’ve always been,
    even in my thoughts.
So drag my enemies away
    and butcher them like sheep!

How long will the ground be dry
    and the pasturelands parched?
The birds and animals
    are dead and gone.
And all of this happened because
    the people are so sinful.
They even brag, “God can’t see
    the sins we commit.”[a]

The Lord Answers Jeremiah

Jeremiah, if you get tired
    in a race against people,
how can you possibly run
    against horses?
If you fall in open fields,
what will happen in the forest
    along the Jordan River?
Even your own family
    has turned against you.
They act friendly,
    but don’t trust them.
They’re out to get you,
    and so is everyone else.

The Lord Is Furious with His People

I loved my people and chose them
    as my very own.
But now I will reject them
and hand them over
    to their enemies.
My people have turned against me
and roar at me like lions.
    That’s why I hate them.

My people are like a hawk
surrounded and attacked
    by other hawks.[b]
Tell the wild animals
    to come and eat their fill.
10 My beautiful land is ruined
    like a field or a vineyard
trampled by shepherds
and stripped bare
    by their flocks.
11 Every field I see lies barren,
    and no one cares.

12 A destroying army
marches along desert roads
    and attacks everywhere.
They are my deadly sword;
    no one is safe from them.

13 My people, you planted wheat,
but because I was furious,
    I let only weeds grow.
You wore yourselves out
    for nothing!

The Lord Will Have Pity on Other Nations

14 The Lord said:

I gave this land to my people Israel, but enemies around it have attacked and robbed it. So I will uproot them from their own countries just as I will uproot Judah from its land. 15 But later, I will have pity on these nations and bring them back to their own lands. 16 They once taught my people to worship Baal. But if they admit I am the only true God, and if they let my people teach them how to worship me, these nations will also become my people. 17 However, if they don’t listen to me, I will uproot them from their lands and completely destroy them. I, the Lord, have spoken.


  1. 12.4 God can’t see the sins we commit: Or “Jeremiah won’t live to see what happens to us.”
  2. 12.9 My people. . . other hawks: Or “My land has become a hyena’s den with vultures circling above.”