A Time Without Rain
2 “The nation of Judah ·cries as if someone has died [mourns],
and her ·cities [L gates] ·are very sad [languish].
They ·are distressed [wail] over the land.
A cry goes up [C to God] from Jerusalem.
3 The ·important men [nobles] send their ·servants [L young/little ones] to get water.
They go to the ·wells [cisterns],
but they find no water.
So they return with empty jars.
They are ·ashamed [humiliated] and embarrassed
and ·cover [veil] their heads [C in shame].
4 The ground is cracked open,
because no rain falls on the land.
The farmers are ·upset and sad [L ashamed],
so they ·cover [veil] their heads.
5 Even the mother deer in the field
·leaves her newborn fawn to die [L gives birth and leaves],
because there is no ·grass [vegetation].
6 Wild donkeys stand on the bare hills
and ·sniff the wind [pant] like ·wild dogs [jackals].
But their eyes go blind,
because there is no ·food [pasture].”
7 We know that we suffer because of our sins.
Lord, ·do something to help us for the good of your name [L act on behalf of your name/reputation].
·We have left you many times [L Many are our apostasies/infidelities];
we have sinned against you.
8 The Hope of Israel [C God],
you have ·saved [rescued] it [C Israel] in times of ·trouble [distress].
Why are you like a ·stranger [alien resident] in the land,
or like a traveler who only stays one night?
9 Why are you like someone who has been attacked by surprise,
like a warrior who is not able to ·save anyone [be victorious]?
But you are among us, Lord,
and we are called by your name
so don’t ·leave us without help [forsake us]!
10 This is what the Lord says about this people [C of Judah]:
“They really love to wander from me;
they don’t ·stop themselves from leaving me [L restrain their feet].
So now the Lord will not ·accept [be pleased with] them.
He will now remember ·the evil they do [their iniquity]
and will punish them for their sins.”
11 Then the Lord said, “Don’t pray for good things to happen to the people [C of Judah]. 12 Even if they fast, I will not listen to their ·prayers [cry; Prov. 1:28]. Even if they offer burnt offerings [Lev. 1:1–17] and ·grain [L gift; tribute] offerings [Lev. 2:1] to me, I will not ·accept [be pleased with] them. Instead, I will ·destroy [finish] them [C the people of Judah] with ·war [sword], ·hunger [famine], and ·terrible diseases [plagues; pestilence].”
13 But I said, “Oh, Lord God, the prophets keep telling the people, ‘·You will not suffer from an enemy’s [L Do not fear] sword or from ·hunger [famine]. I, the Lord, will give you ·lasting [reliable; true] peace in this land.’”
14 Then the Lord said to me, “Those prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them or ·appoint [command] them or speak to them. They have been prophesying false visions, idolatries, worthless ·magic [divination], and ·their own wishful thinking [L the deceit of their hearts; Deut. 13:1–5; 18:14–22]. 15 So this is what I say about the prophets who are prophesying in my name. I did not send them. They say, ‘·No enemy will attack this country with swords. There will never be hunger [L Sword and famine will not be] in this land.’ So those prophets will ·die from [L be finished off by] ·hunger [famine] and from ·an enemy’s sword [L sword]. 16 And the people to whom the prophets speak will be thrown into the streets of Jerusalem. There they will die from ·hunger [famine] and from ·an enemy’s sword [L sword]. And no one will be there to bury them, or their wives, or their sons, or their daughters. I will ·punish them [L pour out on them harm/disaster/evil].
17 “Speak [C addressed to Jeremiah] this ·message [word] to them [C the people of Judah]:
‘Let my eyes ·be filled [flow] with tears
night and day, without stopping.
·My people [L The virgin daughter of my people] have received a ·terrible blow [L great fracture];
they have been ·hurt [wounded] badly.
18 If I go into the ·country [L field],
I see people killed by swords.
If I go into the city,
I see ·much sickness, because the people have no food [L the sickness of famine].
Both the priests and the prophets
·have been taken to a foreign land [L wander/or ply their trade in a land they do not know].’”
19 Lord, have you completely rejected the nation of Judah?
Do you ·hate [L abhor] ·Jerusalem [L Zion; C the location of the Temple]?
Why have you ·hurt us so badly [L struck us]
·that we cannot be made well again [L and not healed us]?
We hoped for peace,
but nothing good has come.
We looked for a time of healing,
but only terror came.
20 Lord, we ·admit that we are wicked [L know our wickedness]
and ·that our ancestors did evil things [L the iniquity of our fathers].
We have sinned against you.
21 For ·your sake [L the sake of your name/fame/reputation], do not ·hate [despise] us [Lev. 26:11, 30, 44].
Do not ·take away the honor from [L treat disdainfully] your glorious throne.
Remember your ·agreement [covenant; treaty] with us,
and do not break it.
22 Do ·foreign idols [L futile/useless/meaningless things] have the power to bring rain?
Does the ·sky [heaven] itself have the power to send down showers?
·No, it is you [L Is it not you…?], Lord our God.
You are our only hope,
because you are the one who made all these things.