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Jeremiah 5 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Is Anyone Honest and Faithful?

The Lord said to me:

“Search Jerusalem
for honest people
    who try to be faithful.
If you can find even one,
    I’ll forgive the whole city.
Everyone breaks promises
    made in my name.”

I answered, “I know
    that you look for truth.
You punished your people
    for their lies,
but in spite of the pain,
    they became more stubborn
and refused to turn back
    to you.”
Then I thought to myself,
“These common people
    act like fools,
and they have never learned
what the Lord their God
    demands of them.
I’ll go and talk to the leaders.
They know what God demands.”
    But even they had decided
    not to obey the Lord.

The people have rebelled
and rejected the Lord
    too many times.
So enemies will attack
like lions from the forest
    or wolves from the desert.
Those enemies will watch
    the towns of Judah,
and like leopards
they will tear to pieces
    whoever goes outside.

Enemies Will Punish Judah

The Lord said:

People of Judah,
    how can I forgive you?
I gave you everything,
but you abandoned me
    and worshiped idols.
You men go to prostitutes
and are unfaithful
    to your wives.
You are no better than animals,
and you always want sex
    with someone else’s wife.

Why shouldn’t I punish
    the people of Judah?
10 I will tell their enemies,
    “Go through my vineyard.
Don’t destroy the vines,
    but cut off the branches,
because they are the people
    who don’t belong to me.”

11 In every way, Judah and Israel
    have been unfaithful to me.
12 Their prophets lie and say,
    “The Lord won’t punish us.
We will have peace
    and plenty of food.”
13 They tell these lies in my name,
so now they will be killed in war
    or starve to death.

14 I am the Lord God All-Powerful.
Jeremiah, I will tell you
    exactly what to say.
Your words will be a fire;
Israel and Judah
    will be the fuel.

15 People of Israel,
    I have made my decision.
An army from a distant country
    will attack you.
I’ve chosen an ancient nation,
and you won’t understand
    their language.
16 All of them are warriors,
    and their arrows bring death.
17 This nation will eat your crops
    and livestock;
they will leave no fruit
    on your vines or trees.
And although you feel safe
    behind thick walls,
your towns will be destroyed
    and your children killed.

Israel Refused To Worship the Lord

18 The Lord said:

Jeremiah, the enemy army won’t kill everyone in Judah. 19 And the people who survive will ask, “Why did the Lord our God do such terrible things to us?” Then tell them:

I am the Lord,
    but you abandoned me
and worshiped other gods
    in your own land.
Now you will be slaves
    in a foreign country.
20 Tell these things to each other,
you people of Judah,
    you descendants of Jacob.

21 You fools! Why don’t you listen
    when I speak?
Why can’t you understand
22 that you should worship me
    with fear and trembling?
I’m the one who made the shore
    to hold back the ocean.
Waves may crash on the beach,
    but they can come no farther.
23 You stubborn people have rebelled
    and turned your backs on me.
24 You refuse to say,
    “Let’s worship the Lord!
He’s the one who sends rain
in spring and autumn
    and gives us a good harvest.”
25 That’s why I cannot bless you!

26 A hunter traps birds
    and puts them in a cage,
but some of you trap humans
    and make them your slaves.
27 You are evil, and you lie and cheat
    to make yourselves rich.
You are powerful
28     and prosperous,
but you refuse
to help[a] the poor
    get the justice they deserve.
29 You need to be punished,
    and so I will take revenge.
30 Look at the terrible things
going on in this country.
    I am shocked!
31 Prophets give their messages
    in the name of a false god,[b]
my priests don’t want
    to serve me,[c]
and you—my own people—
    like it this way!
But on the day of disaster,
    where will you turn for help?


  1. 5.28 refuse to help: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 5.31 give. . . god: Or “tell lies.”
  3. 5.31 don’t. . . me: Or “don’t care what I want.”

Jeremiah 5 New International Version (NIV)

Not One Is Upright

“Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem,
    look around and consider,
    search through her squares.
If you can find but one person
    who deals honestly and seeks the truth,
    I will forgive this city.
Although they say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’
    still they are swearing falsely.

Lord, do not your eyes look for truth?
    You struck them, but they felt no pain;
    you crushed them, but they refused correction.
They made their faces harder than stone
    and refused to repent.
I thought, “These are only the poor;
    they are foolish,
for they do not know the way of the Lord,
    the requirements of their God.
So I will go to the leaders
    and speak to them;
surely they know the way of the Lord,
    the requirements of their God.”
But with one accord they too had broken off the yoke
    and torn off the bonds.
Therefore a lion from the forest will attack them,
    a wolf from the desert will ravage them,
a leopard will lie in wait near their towns
    to tear to pieces any who venture out,
for their rebellion is great
    and their backslidings many.

“Why should I forgive you?
    Your children have forsaken me
    and sworn by gods that are not gods.
I supplied all their needs,
    yet they committed adultery
    and thronged to the houses of prostitutes.
They are well-fed, lusty stallions,
    each neighing for another man’s wife.
Should I not punish them for this?”
    declares the Lord.
“Should I not avenge myself
    on such a nation as this?

10 “Go through her vineyards and ravage them,
    but do not destroy them completely.
Strip off her branches,
    for these people do not belong to the Lord.
11 The people of Israel and the people of Judah
    have been utterly unfaithful to me,”
declares the Lord.

12 They have lied about the Lord;
    they said, “He will do nothing!
No harm will come to us;
    we will never see sword or famine.
13 The prophets are but wind
    and the word is not in them;
    so let what they say be done to them.”

14 Therefore this is what the Lord God Almighty says:

“Because the people have spoken these words,
    I will make my words in your mouth a fire
    and these people the wood it consumes.
15 People of Israel,” declares the Lord,
    “I am bringing a distant nation against you—
an ancient and enduring nation,
    a people whose language you do not know,
    whose speech you do not understand.
16 Their quivers are like an open grave;
    all of them are mighty warriors.
17 They will devour your harvests and food,
    devour your sons and daughters;
they will devour your flocks and herds,
    devour your vines and fig trees.
With the sword they will destroy
    the fortified cities in which you trust.

18 “Yet even in those days,” declares the Lord, “I will not destroy you completely. 19 And when the people ask, ‘Why has the Lord our God done all this to us?’ you will tell them, ‘As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your own land, so now you will serve foreigners in a land not your own.’

20 “Announce this to the descendants of Jacob
    and proclaim it in Judah:
21 Hear this, you foolish and senseless people,
    who have eyes but do not see,
    who have ears but do not hear:
22 Should you not fear me?” declares the Lord.
    “Should you not tremble in my presence?
I made the sand a boundary for the sea,
    an everlasting barrier it cannot cross.
The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail;
    they may roar, but they cannot cross it.
23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts;
    they have turned aside and gone away.
24 They do not say to themselves,
    ‘Let us fear the Lord our God,
who gives autumn and spring rains in season,
    who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.’
25 Your wrongdoings have kept these away;
    your sins have deprived you of good.

26 “Among my people are the wicked
    who lie in wait like men who snare birds
    and like those who set traps to catch people.
27 Like cages full of birds,
    their houses are full of deceit;
they have become rich and powerful
28     and have grown fat and sleek.
Their evil deeds have no limit;
    they do not seek justice.
They do not promote the case of the fatherless;
    they do not defend the just cause of the poor.
29 Should I not punish them for this?”
    declares the Lord.
“Should I not avenge myself
    on such a nation as this?

30 “A horrible and shocking thing
    has happened in the land:
31 The prophets prophesy lies,
    the priests rule by their own authority,
and my people love it this way.
    But what will you do in the end?

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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