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Chapter 10

The Folly of Idolatry. Hear the word the Lord speaks to you, house of Israel. Thus says the Lord:

Do not learn the ways of the nations,
    and have no fear of the signs in the heavens,[a]
    even though the nations fear them.(A)
For the carvings of the nations are nonentities,
    wood cut from the forest,
Fashioned by artisans with the adze,(B)
    adorned with silver and gold.
With nails and hammers they are fastened,
    so they do not fall.(C)
Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field are they,
    they cannot speak;
They must be carried about,
    for they cannot walk.
Do not fear them, they can do no harm,
    neither can they do good.(D)
No one is like you, Lord,
    you are great,
    great and mighty is your name.(E)
Who would not fear you,
    King of the nations,
    for it is your due!
Among all the wisest of the nations,
    and in all their domains,
    there is none like you.(F)
One and all they are stupid and senseless,
    the instruction from nonentities—only wood!
Silver plates brought from Tarshish,
    and gold from Ophir,
The work of the artisan
    and the handiwork of the smelter,
Clothed with violet and purple—
    all of them the work of skilled workers.
10 The Lord is truly God,
    he is the living God, the eternal King,
Before whose anger the earth quakes,
    whose wrath the nations cannot endure.(G)

11 Thus shall you say of them: The gods that did not make heaven and earth—let these perish from earth and from beneath heaven![b](H)

12 The one who made the earth by his power,
    established the world by his wisdom,
    and by his skill stretched out the heavens.(I)
13 When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar,
    and he brings up clouds from the end of the earth,
Makes lightning flash in the rain,
    and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.
14 Everyone is too stupid to know;
    every artisan is put to shame by his idol:
He has molded a fraud,
    without breath of life.(J)
15 They are nothing, objects of ridicule;
    they will perish in their time of punishment.
16 Jacob’s portion is nothing like them:
    for he is the maker of everything!
Israel is his very own tribe,
    Lord of hosts is his name.(K)

Abandonment of Judah

17 Gather up your bundle from the land,
    City living under siege!
18     For thus says the Lord:
Now, at this time
    I will sling away the inhabitants of the land;
I will hem them in,
    that they may be taken.
19 Woe is me! I am undone,
    my wound is beyond healing.
Yet I had thought:
    if I make light of my sickness, I can bear it.
20 My tent is ruined,
    all its cords are severed.
My children have left me, they are no more:
    no one to pitch my tent,
    no one to raise its curtains.(L)
21 How stupid are the shepherds!
    The Lord they have not sought;
For this reason they have failed,
    and all their flocks scattered.(M)
22 Listen! a rumor! here it comes,
    a great commotion from the land of the north:
To make the cities of Judah a desolation,
    the haunt of jackals.

Prayer of Jeremiah

23 I know, Lord,
    that no one chooses their way,
Nor determines their course
    nor directs their own step.
24 Correct me, Lord, but with equity,
    not in anger, lest you diminish me.
25 Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not know you,
    on the tribes that do not call your name;
For they have utterly devoured Jacob,
    and laid waste his home.(N)


  1. 10:2 Signs in the heavens: phenomena in the sky, such as eclipses or comets, used to predict disasters.
  2. 10:11 This verse is in Aramaic.

God and Idols(A)

10 Hear what the Lord says to you, people of Israel. This is what the Lord says:

“Do not learn the ways of the nations(B)
    or be terrified by signs(C) in the heavens,
    though the nations are terrified by them.
For the practices of the peoples are worthless;
    they cut a tree out of the forest,
    and a craftsman(D) shapes it with his chisel.(E)
They adorn it with silver(F) and gold;
    they fasten it with hammer and nails
    so it will not totter.(G)
Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field,
    their idols cannot speak;(H)
they must be carried
    because they cannot walk.(I)
Do not fear them;
    they can do no harm(J)
    nor can they do any good.”(K)

No one is like you,(L) Lord;
    you are great,(M)
    and your name is mighty in power.
Who should not fear(N) you,
    King of the nations?(O)
    This is your due.
Among all the wise leaders of the nations
    and in all their kingdoms,
    there is no one like you.

They are all senseless(P) and foolish;(Q)
    they are taught by worthless wooden idols.(R)
Hammered silver is brought from Tarshish(S)
    and gold from Uphaz.
What the craftsman and goldsmith have made(T)
    is then dressed in blue and purple—
    all made by skilled workers.
10 But the Lord is the true God;
    he is the living God,(U) the eternal King.(V)
When he is angry,(W) the earth trembles;(X)
    the nations cannot endure his wrath.(Y)

11 “Tell them this: ‘These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish(Z) from the earth and from under the heavens.’”[a]

12 But God made(AA) the earth(AB) by his power;
    he founded the world by his wisdom(AC)
    and stretched out the heavens(AD) by his understanding.
13 When he thunders,(AE) the waters in the heavens roar;
    he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth.
He sends lightning(AF) with the rain(AG)
    and brings out the wind from his storehouses.(AH)

14 Everyone is senseless and without knowledge;
    every goldsmith is shamed(AI) by his idols.
The images he makes are a fraud;(AJ)
    they have no breath in them.
15 They are worthless,(AK) the objects of mockery;
    when their judgment comes, they will perish.
16 He who is the Portion(AL) of Jacob is not like these,
    for he is the Maker of all things,(AM)
including Israel, the people of his inheritance(AN)
    the Lord Almighty is his name.(AO)

Coming Destruction

17 Gather up your belongings(AP) to leave the land,
    you who live under siege.
18 For this is what the Lord says:
    “At this time I will hurl(AQ) out
    those who live in this land;
I will bring distress(AR) on them
    so that they may be captured.”

19 Woe to me because of my injury!
    My wound(AS) is incurable!
Yet I said to myself,
    “This is my sickness, and I must endure(AT) it.”
20 My tent(AU) is destroyed;
    all its ropes are snapped.
My children are gone from me and are no more;(AV)
    no one is left now to pitch my tent
    or to set up my shelter.
21 The shepherds(AW) are senseless(AX)
    and do not inquire of the Lord;(AY)
so they do not prosper(AZ)
    and all their flock is scattered.(BA)
22 Listen! The report is coming—
    a great commotion from the land of the north!(BB)
It will make the towns of Judah desolate,(BC)
    a haunt of jackals.(BD)

Jeremiah’s Prayer

23 Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own;
    it is not for them to direct their steps.(BE)
24 Discipline me, Lord, but only in due measure—
    not in your anger,(BF)
    or you will reduce me to nothing.(BG)
25 Pour out your wrath on the nations(BH)
    that do not acknowledge you,
    on the peoples who do not call on your name.(BI)
For they have devoured(BJ) Jacob;
    they have devoured him completely
    and destroyed his homeland.(BK)


  1. Jeremiah 10:11 The text of this verse is in Aramaic.