False Religion Worthless

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Stand(A) at the gate of the Lord’s house and there proclaim this message:

“‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the Lord. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways(B) and your actions, and I will let you live(C) in this place. Do not trust(D) in deceptive(E) words and say, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!” If you really change(F) your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly,(G) if you do not oppress(H) the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood(I) in this place, and if you do not follow other gods(J) to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land(K) I gave your ancestors(L) for ever and ever. But look, you are trusting(M) in deceptive(N) words that are worthless.

“‘Will you steal(O) and murder,(P) commit adultery(Q) and perjury,[a](R) burn incense to Baal(S) and follow other gods(T) you have not known, 10 and then come and stand(U) before me in this house,(V) which bears my Name, and say, “We are safe”—safe to do all these detestable things?(W) 11 Has this house,(X) which bears my Name, become a den of robbers(Y) to you? But I have been watching!(Z) declares the Lord.

12 “‘Go now to the place in Shiloh(AA) where I first made a dwelling(AB) for my Name,(AC) and see what I did(AD) to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel. 13 While you were doing all these things, declares the Lord, I spoke(AE) to you again and again,(AF) but you did not listen;(AG) I called(AH) you, but you did not answer.(AI) 14 Therefore, what I did to Shiloh(AJ) I will now do to the house that bears my Name,(AK) the temple(AL) you trust in, the place I gave to you and your ancestors. 15 I will thrust you from my presence,(AM) just as I did all your fellow Israelites, the people of Ephraim.’(AN)

16 “So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea(AO) or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen(AP) to you. 17 Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven.(AQ) They pour out drink offerings(AR) to other gods to arouse(AS) my anger. 19 But am I the one they are provoking?(AT) declares the Lord. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame?(AU)

20 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign(AV) Lord says: My anger(AW) and my wrath will be poured(AX) out on this place—on man and beast, on the trees of the field and on the crops of your land—and it will burn and not be quenched.(AY)

21 “‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices(AZ) and eat(BA) the meat yourselves! 22 For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands(BB) about burnt offerings and sacrifices,(BC) 23 but I gave them this command:(BD) Obey(BE) me, and I will be your God and you will be my people.(BF) Walk in obedience to all(BG) I command you, that it may go well(BH) with you. 24 But they did not listen(BI) or pay attention;(BJ) instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts.(BK) They went backward(BL) and not forward. 25 From the time your ancestors left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again(BM) I sent you my servants(BN) the prophets.(BO) 26 But they did not listen to me or pay attention.(BP) They were stiff-necked(BQ) and did more evil than their ancestors.’(BR)

27 “When you tell(BS) them all this, they will not listen(BT) to you; when you call to them, they will not answer.(BU) 28 Therefore say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction.(BV) Truth(BW) has perished; it has vanished from their lips.

29 “‘Cut off(BX) your hair and throw it away; take up a lament(BY) on the barren heights, for the Lord has rejected and abandoned(BZ) this generation that is under his wrath.

The Valley of Slaughter

30 “‘The people of Judah have done evil(CA) in my eyes, declares the Lord. They have set up their detestable idols(CB) in the house that bears my Name and have defiled(CC) it. 31 They have built the high places of Topheth(CD) in the Valley of Ben Hinnom(CE) to burn their sons and daughters(CF) in the fire—something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind.(CG) 32 So beware, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when people will no longer call it Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter,(CH) for they will bury(CI) the dead in Topheth until there is no more room. 33 Then the carcasses(CJ) of this people will become food(CK) for the birds and the wild animals, and there will be no one to frighten them away.(CL) 34 I will bring an end to the sounds(CM) of joy and gladness and to the voices of bride and bridegroom(CN) in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem,(CO) for the land will become desolate.(CP)

“‘At that time, declares the Lord, the bones of the kings and officials of Judah, the bones of the priests and prophets, and the bones(CQ) of the people of Jerusalem will be removed(CR) from their graves. They will be exposed to the sun and the moon and all the stars of the heavens, which they have loved and served(CS) and which they have followed and consulted and worshiped.(CT) They will not be gathered up or buried,(CU) but will be like dung lying on the ground.(CV) Wherever I banish them,(CW) all the survivors of this evil nation will prefer death to life,(CX) declares the Lord Almighty.’

Sin and Punishment

“Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says:

“‘When people fall down, do they not get up?(CY)
    When someone turns away,(CZ) do they not return?
Why then have these people turned away?
    Why does Jerusalem always turn away?
They cling to deceit;(DA)
    they refuse to return.(DB)
I have listened(DC) attentively,
    but they do not say what is right.
None of them repent(DD) of their wickedness,
    saying, “What have I done?”
Each pursues their own course(DE)
    like a horse charging into battle.
Even the stork in the sky
    knows her appointed seasons,
and the dove, the swift and the thrush
    observe the time of their migration.
But my people do not know(DF)
    the requirements of the Lord.

“‘How can you say, “We are wise,
    for we have the law(DG) of the Lord,”
when actually the lying pen of the scribes
    has handled it falsely?
The wise(DH) will be put to shame;
    they will be dismayed(DI) and trapped.(DJ)
Since they have rejected the word(DK) of the Lord,
    what kind of wisdom(DL) do they have?
10 Therefore I will give their wives to other men
    and their fields to new owners.(DM)
From the least to the greatest,
    all are greedy for gain;(DN)
prophets(DO) and priests alike,
    all practice deceit.(DP)
11 They dress the wound of my people
    as though it were not serious.
“Peace, peace,” they say,
    when there is no peace.(DQ)
12 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?
    No, they have no shame(DR) at all;
    they do not even know how to blush.
So they will fall among the fallen;
    they will be brought down when they are punished,(DS)
says the Lord.(DT)

13 “‘I will take away their harvest,
declares the Lord.
    There will be no grapes on the vine.(DU)
There will be no figs(DV) on the tree,
    and their leaves will wither.(DW)
What I have given them
    will be taken(DX) from them.[b]’”

14 Why are we sitting here?
    Gather together!
Let us flee to the fortified cities(DY)
    and perish there!
For the Lord our God has doomed us to perish
    and given us poisoned water(DZ) to drink,
    because we have sinned(EA) against him.
15 We hoped for peace(EB)
    but no good has come,
for a time of healing
    but there is only terror.(EC)
16 The snorting of the enemy’s horses(ED)
    is heard from Dan;(EE)
at the neighing of their stallions
    the whole land trembles.(EF)
They have come to devour(EG)
    the land and everything in it,
    the city and all who live there.

17 “See, I will send venomous snakes(EH) among you,
    vipers that cannot be charmed,(EI)
    and they will bite you,”
declares the Lord.

18 You who are my Comforter[c] in sorrow,
    my heart is faint(EJ) within me.
19 Listen to the cry of my people
    from a land far away:(EK)
“Is the Lord not in Zion?
    Is her King(EL) no longer there?”

“Why have they aroused(EM) my anger with their images,
    with their worthless(EN) foreign idols?”(EO)

20 “The harvest is past,
    the summer has ended,
    and we are not saved.”

21 Since my people are crushed,(EP) I am crushed;
    I mourn,(EQ) and horror grips me.
22 Is there no balm in Gilead?(ER)
    Is there no physician(ES) there?
Why then is there no healing(ET)
    for the wound of my people?

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 7:9 Or and swear by false gods
  2. Jeremiah 8:13 The meaning of the Hebrew for this sentence is uncertain.
  3. Jeremiah 8:18 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.