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Jeremiah 12 New Life Version (NLV)

Jeremiah’s Question

12 You are right and good, O Lord, when I complain to You about my trouble. Yet I would like to talk with You about what is fair. Why does the way of the sinful go well? Why do all those who cannot be trusted have it so easy? You have planted them, and they have taken root. They grow and have given fruit. You are near on their lips but far from their heart. But You know me, O Lord. You see me. And You test how my heart is with You. Take them off like sheep to be killed. Set them apart for the day of killing. How long will the land be filled with sorrow? How long will the grass of every field dry up? For the sin of those who live in it, animals and birds have been taken away, because men have said, “He will not see what happens to us.”

God’s Answer

“If you have run with men on foot and they have made you tired, then how can you run as fast as horses? If you fall down in a land of peace, how will you do among all the trees beside the Jordan? For even your brothers and those of your father’s house have not been faithful to you. They have cried to you in a loud voice. Do not believe them, even if they say pleasing things to you.”

The Lord’s Sorrow for Israel

“I have left My house. I have left My chosen nation. I have given the loved one of My soul into the hand of those who hate her. My chosen nation has become to Me like a lion among the trees. She has raised her voice against Me, so I hate her. Is My chosen nation like a spot-covered, flesh-eating bird to Me? Are the flesh-eating birds against her on every side? Go, gather all the wild animals of the field, and bring them to eat. 10 Many shepherds have destroyed My grape-field. They have crushed My field under foot. They have turned My good field to an empty desert. 11 It has been laid waste. Destroyed and empty, it cries with sorrow before Me. The whole land has been laid waste, because no one cares. 12 On all the open hill-tops in the desert, destroyers have come. For the sword of the Lord destroys from one end of the land to the other. There is no peace for anyone. 13 They have planted grain and have gathered thorns. They have worked hard, but have nothing. Be ashamed of what you gather because of the burning anger of the Lord.”

Israel’s Neighbors

14 This is what the Lord says about all My sinful neighbors who take the gift I have given to My people Israel: “See, I am about to pull them up by the roots from their land. And I will pull up the people of Judah by the roots from among them. 15 But after I have pulled them up by the roots, I will have loving-pity on them again, and will bring them back. I will return each one to what he has been given and to his land. 16 Then if they will for sure learn the ways of My people, and promise by My name, ‘As the Lord lives,’ even as they taught My people to promise by Baal, then they will be built up among My people. 17 But if they will not listen, then I will pull that nation up by the roots and destroy it,” says the Lord.

New Life Version (NLV)

Copyright © 1969, 2003 by Barbour Publishing, Inc.

Jeremiah 12 New International Version (NIV)

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[a] in safe country,
    how will you manage in the thickets by[b] 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.


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