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“‘The Lord says: At that time they will remove from their tombs the bones of Judah’s kings and officers, priests and prophets, and the people of Jerusalem. The bones will be spread on the ground under the sun, moon, and stars that the people loved and served and went after and searched for and worshiped. No one will gather up the bones and bury them. So they will be like dung thrown on the ground. I will force the people of Judah to leave their homes and their land. Those of this evil family who are not dead will wish they were, says the Lord All-Powerful.’

Sin and Punishment

“Say to the people of Judah: ‘This is what the Lord says:

When people fall down, don’t they get up again?
    And when someone goes the wrong way, doesn’t he turn back?
Why, then, have the people of Jerusalem gone the wrong way
    and not turned back?
They believe their own lies
    and refuse to turn around and come back.
I have listened to them very carefully,
    but they do not say what is right.
They do not feel sorry about their wicked ways,
    saying, “What have I done?”
Each person goes his own way,
    like a horse charging into a battle.
Even the birds in the sky
    know the right times to do things.
The storks, doves, swifts, and thrushes
    know when it is time to migrate.
But my people don’t know
    what the Lord wants them to do.

“‘You keep saying, “We are wise,
    because we have the teachings of the Lord.”
But actually, those who explain the Scriptures
    have written lies with their pens.
These wise teachers refused to listen to the word of the Lord,
    so they are not really wise at all.
They will be ashamed.
    They will be shocked and trapped.
10 So I will give their wives to other men
    and their fields to new owners.
Everyone, from the least important to the greatest,
    is greedy for money.
Even the prophets and priests
    all tell lies.
11 They tried to heal my people’s serious injuries
    as if they were small wounds.
They said, “It’s all right, it’s all right.”
    But really, it is not all right.
12 They should be ashamed of the terrible way they act,
    but they are not ashamed at all.
    They don’t even know how to blush about their sins.
So they will fall, along with everyone else.
    They will be thrown to the ground when I punish them, says the Lord.

13 “‘I will take away their crops, says the Lord.
    There will be no grapes on the vine
and no figs on the fig tree.
    Even the leaves will dry up and die.
I will take away what I gave them.’”

14 “Why are we just sitting here?
    Let’s get together!
We have sinned against the Lord,
    so he has given us poisoned water to drink.
Come, let’s run to the strong, walled cities.
    The Lord our God has decided that we must die,
    so let’s die there.
15 We hoped to have peace,
    but nothing good has come.
We hoped for a time when he would heal us,
    but only terror has come.
16 From the land of Dan,
    the snorting of the enemy’s horses is heard.
    The ground shakes from the neighing of their large horses.
They have come and destroyed
    the land and everything in it,
    the city and all who live there.”

17 “Look! I am sending poisonous snakes to attack you.
    These snakes cannot be charmed,
    and they will bite you,” says the Lord.

Jeremiah’s Sadness

18 God, you are my comfort when I am very sad
    and when I am afraid.
19 Listen to the sound of my people.
    They cry from a faraway land:
    “Isn’t the Lord still in Jerusalem?
    Isn’t Jerusalem’s king still there?”

But God says, “Why did the people make me angry by worshiping idols,
    useless foreign idols?”

20 And the people say, “Harvest time is over;
    summer has ended,
    and we have not been saved.”

21 Because my people are crushed, I am crushed.
    I cry loudly and am afraid for them.
22 Isn’t there balm in the land of Gilead?
    Isn’t there a doctor there?
So why aren’t the hurts of my people healed?