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Mend Your Ways!

The word that came to Jeremiah from Adonai, saying: Stand in the gate of Adonai’s house and proclaim there this word and say: “Hear the word of Adonai, all you of Judah that come through these gates to worship Adonai. Thus says Adonai-Tzva’ot, the God of Israel; mend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you live in this place. Do not trust in deceptive words and say ‘The Temple of Adonai, the Temple of Adonai, the Temple of Adonai!’

“No, if you truly mend your ways and your deeds—if you are doing justice between a man and his neighbor, not oppressing the sojourner, orphan and widow nor shedding innocent blood in this place, nor going after other gods to your own ruin— then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever. Look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are empty. Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery and perjury, and offer incense to Baal and walk after other gods whom you have not known— 10 and then come and stand before Me in this house that bears My Name, saying, ‘We are saved!’—so that you may keep doing all these abominations? 11 Has this House, which bears My Name, become a den of robbers in your eyes?[a] Look, even I have seen it!” It is a declaration of Adonai.

12 “Indeed, go now to My place that was in Shiloh, where I first made My Name dwell. Now see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel. 13 While you were doing all these things,” declares Adonai, “I spoke to you early and often, but you did not listen, and I called you but you did not answer. 14 Therefore I will do to the House that bears My Name—the one in which you trust, the one that I gave to you and to your fathers—as I have done to Shiloh. 15 And I will cast you out of My sight, just as I cast out all your brothers, all the offspring of Ephraim.

16 “As for you, do not pray for this people. Do not offer any supplication or petition for them, nor entreat Me, because I will not hear you. 17 Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire and the women knead the dough to make sacrificial cakes to the queen of heaven. Moreover, they pour out drink offerings to other gods in order to provoke Me to anger. 19 But am I the One they are provoking?” declares Adonai. “Are they not vexing themselves to their own shame?”

20 Therefore thus says Adonai Elohim: “My anger and My wrath is about to be poured out on this place—on man and beast, and on the trees of the field and the fruit of the land—and it will burn and not be quenched.”

21 Thus says Adonai-Tzva’ot, the God of Israel: “Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices and eat the meat! 22 For on the day that I brought your fathers out of the land of Egypt I did not speak to them nor did I command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices, 23 but I explicitly commanded them: ‘Obey My voice and I will be your God to you and you will be My people. Walk in all the ways that I command you that it may go well with you.’ 24 But they did not listen or pay attention. Instead they followed their own counsel, in the stubbornness of their evil heart. They have gone backward and not forward, 25 from the day your fathers left the land of Egypt until today. Although I sent to you all My servants the prophets, daily and persistently, 26 they did not listen to Me or pay attention. Rather, they stiffened their neck, doing more evil than their fathers.

27 “When you tell them all these things, they will not listen to you. When you call to them, they will not answer you. 28 So you will say to them, ‘This nation has not obeyed the voice of Adonai their God or received correction. Truth has perished and is cut off from their mouth. 29 Cut off your hair and throw it away and take up a lamentation on the barren hills. For Adonai has spurned and cast off the generation of His wrath.”

Valley of Slaughter

30 “The children of Judah have done what is evil in My sight”—it is a declaration of Adonai—“They have set their detestable things in the House that bears My Name to defile it. 31 They have built the high places of Topheth in the Valley of Ben-Hinnom to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire—which I did not command, nor did it even enter My mind. 32 Therefore, the days are soon coming,” declares Adonai, “when it will no longer be called Topheth, nor the Valley of Ben-Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. For they will bury in Topheth until there is no room. 33 The carcasses of this people will be food for the birds of the sky and for the beasts of the earth, and no one will frighten them away. 34 Then I will bring an end, from the cities of Judah and from the streets of Jerusalem, to the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride. For the land will be desolate.”