Jeremiah’s Prayer

12 (A)Righteous are You, O Lord, that I would plead my case with You;
Indeed I would (B)discuss matters of justice with You:
Why has the (C)way of the wicked prospered?
Why are all those who (D)deal in treachery at ease?
You have (E)planted them, they have also taken root;
They grow, they have even produced fruit.
You are (F)near [a]to their lips
But far from their [b]mind.
But You (G)know me, O Lord;
You see me;
And You (H)examine my heart’s attitude toward You.
Drag them off like sheep for the slaughter
And [c]set them apart for a (I)day of carnage!
How long is the (J)land to mourn
And the (K)vegetation of the countryside to wither?
For the (L)wickedness of those who dwell in it,
(M)Animals and birds have been snatched away,
Because men have said, “He will not see our latter (N)ending.”

“If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out,
Then how can you compete with horses?
If you fall down in a land of peace,
How will you do in the [d](O)thicket of the Jordan?
“For even your (P)brothers and the household of your father,
Even they have dealt treacherously with you,
Even they have cried aloud after you.
Do not believe them, although they may say (Q)nice things to you.”

God’s Answer

“I have (R)forsaken My house,
I have abandoned My inheritance;
I have given the (S)beloved of My soul
Into the hand of her enemies.
“My inheritance has become to Me
Like a lion in the forest;
She has [e](T)roared against Me;
Therefore I have come to (U)hate her.
“Is My inheritance like a speckled bird of prey to Me?
Are the (V)birds of prey against her on every side?
Go, gather all the (W)beasts of the field,
Bring them to devour!
10 “Many (X)shepherds have ruined My (Y)vineyard,
They have (Z)trampled down My field;
They have made My (AA)pleasant field
A desolate wilderness.
11 [f]It has been made a desolation,
Desolate, it (AB)mourns [g]before Me;
The (AC)whole land has been made desolate,
Because no man (AD)lays it to heart.
12 “On all the [h](AE)bare heights in the wilderness
Destroyers have come,
For a (AF)sword of the Lord is devouring
From one end of the land even to the [i]other;
There is (AG)no peace for [j]anyone.
13 “They have (AH)sown wheat and have reaped thorns,
They have (AI)strained themselves [k]to no profit.
But be ashamed of your [l](AJ)harvest
Because of the (AK)fierce anger of the Lord.”

14 Thus says the Lord concerning all My (AL)wicked neighbors who (AM)strike at the inheritance with which I have endowed My people Israel, “Behold I am about to uproot them from their land and will (AN)uproot the house of Judah from among them. 15 And it will come about that after I have uprooted them, I will (AO)again have compassion on them; and I will (AP)bring them back, each one to his inheritance and each one to his land. 16 Then if they will really (AQ)learn the ways of My people, to (AR)swear by My name, ‘As the Lord lives,’ even as they taught My people to (AS)swear by Baal, they will be (AT)built up in the midst of My people. 17 But if they will not listen, then I will (AU)uproot that nation, uproot and destroy it,” declares the Lord.


  1. Jeremiah 12:2 Lit in their mouth
  2. Jeremiah 12:2 Lit kidneys
  3. Jeremiah 12:3 Lit sanctify them
  4. Jeremiah 12:5 Lit pride
  5. Jeremiah 12:8 Lit raised her voice
  6. Jeremiah 12:11 Lit One has made it
  7. Jeremiah 12:11 Or upon
  8. Jeremiah 12:12 Or caravan trails
  9. Jeremiah 12:12 Lit other end of the land
  10. Jeremiah 12:12 Lit all flesh
  11. Jeremiah 12:13 Lit they do not profit
  12. Jeremiah 12:13 Lit products

Jeremiah’s Complaint

12 You are always righteous,(A) Lord,
    when I bring a case(B) before you.
Yet I would speak with you about your justice:(C)
    Why does the way of the wicked prosper?(D)
    Why do all the faithless live at ease?
You have planted(E) them, and they have taken root;
    they grow and bear fruit.(F)
You are always on their lips
    but far from their hearts.(G)
Yet you know me, Lord;
    you see me and test(H) my thoughts about you.
Drag them off like sheep(I) to be butchered!
    Set them apart for the day of slaughter!(J)
How long will the land lie parched(K)
    and the grass in every field be withered?(L)
Because those who live in it are wicked,
    the animals and birds have perished.(M)
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[a] in safe country,
    how will you manage in the thickets(N) by[b] the Jordan?
Your relatives, members of your own family—
    even they have betrayed you;
    they have raised a loud cry against you.(O)
Do not trust them,
    though they speak well of you.(P)

“I will forsake(Q) my house,
    abandon(R) my inheritance;
I will give the one I love(S)
    into the hands of her enemies.(T)
My inheritance has become to me
    like a lion(U) in the forest.
She roars at me;
    therefore I hate her.(V)
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.(W)
10 Many shepherds(X) will ruin my vineyard
    and trample down my field;
they will turn my pleasant field
    into a desolate wasteland.(Y)
11 It will be made a wasteland,(Z)
    parched and desolate before me;(AA)
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(AB) of the Lord(AC) will devour(AD)
    from one end of the land to the other;(AE)
    no one will be safe.(AF)
13 They will sow wheat but reap thorns;
    they will wear themselves out but gain nothing.(AG)
They will bear the shame of their harvest
    because of the Lord’s fierce anger.”(AH)

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


  1. Jeremiah 12:5 Or you feel secure only
  2. Jeremiah 12:5 Or the flooding of