Jeremiah 11-13 Good News Translation (GNT)
Jeremiah and the Covenant
11 The Lord said to me, 2 “Listen to the terms of the covenant. Tell the people of Judah and of Jerusalem 3 that I, the Lord God of Israel, have placed a curse on everyone who does not obey the terms of this covenant. 4 It is the covenant I made with their ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, the land that was like a blazing furnace to them. I told them to obey me and to do everything that I had commanded. I told them that if they obeyed, they would be my people and I would be their God. 5 Then I would keep the promise I made to their ancestors that I would give them the rich and fertile land which they now have.”
I said, “Yes, Lord.”
6 Then the Lord said to me, “Go to the cities of Judah and to the streets of Jerusalem. Proclaim my message there and tell the people to listen to the terms of the covenant and to obey them. 7 When I brought their ancestors out of Egypt, I solemnly warned them to obey me, and I have kept on warning the people until this day. 8 But they did not listen or obey. Instead, everyone continued to be as stubborn and evil as ever. I had commanded them to keep the covenant, but they refused. So I brought on them all the punishments described in it.”
9 Then the Lord said to me, “The people of Judah and of Jerusalem are plotting against me. 10 They have gone back to the sins of their ancestors, who refused to do what I said; they have worshiped other gods. Both Israel and Judah have broken the covenant that I made with their ancestors. 11 So now I, the Lord, warn them that I am going to bring destruction on them, and they will not escape. And when they cry out to me for help, I will not listen to them. 12 Then the people of Judah and of Jerusalem will go to the gods to whom they offer sacrifices and will cry out to them for help. But those gods will not be able to save them when this destruction comes. 13 The people of Judah have as many gods as they have cities, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem have set up as many altars for sacrifices to that disgusting god Baal as there are streets in the city. 14 Jeremiah, don't pray to me or plead with me on behalf of these people. When they are in trouble and call to me for help, I will not listen to them.”
15 The Lord says, “The people I love are doing evil things. What right do they have to be in my Temple? Do they think they can prevent disaster by making promises[a] and by offering animal sacrifices? Will they then rejoice? 16 I once called them a leafy olive tree, full of beautiful fruit; but now, with a roar like thunder I will set its leaves on fire and break its branches.
17 “I, the Lord Almighty, planted Israel and Judah; but now I threaten them with disaster. They have brought this on themselves because they have done wrong; they have made me angry by offering sacrifices to Baal.”
A Plot against Jeremiah's Life
18 The Lord informed me of the plots that my enemies were making against me. 19 I was like a trusting lamb taken out to be killed, and I did not know that it was against me that they were planning evil things. They were saying, “Let's chop down the tree while it is still healthy;[b] let's kill him so that no one will remember him any more.”
20 Then I prayed, “Almighty Lord, you are a just judge; you test people's thoughts and feelings. I have placed my cause in your hands; so let me watch you take revenge on these people.”
21 The people of Anathoth wanted me killed, and they told me that they would kill me if I kept on proclaiming the Lord's message. 22 So the Lord Almighty said, “I will punish them! Their young men will be killed in war; their children will die of starvation. 23 I have set a time for bringing disaster on the people of Anathoth, and when that time comes, none of them will survive.”
Jeremiah Questions the Lord
12 “Lord, if I argued my case with you,
5 The Lord said,
“Jeremiah, if you get tired racing against people,
The Lord's Sorrow because of His People
7 The Lord says,
“I have abandoned Israel;
The Lord's Promise to Israel's Neighbors
14 The Lord says, “I have something to say about Israel's neighbors who have ruined the land I gave to my people Israel. I will take those wicked people away from their countries like an uprooted plant, and I will rescue Judah from them. 15 But after I have taken them away, I will have mercy on them; I will bring each nation back to its own land and to its own country. 16 If with all their hearts they will accept the religion of my people and will swear, ‘As the Lord lives’—as they once taught my people to swear by Baal—then they will also be a part of my people and will prosper. 17 But if any nation will not obey, then I will completely uproot it and destroy it. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
The Linen Shorts
13 The Lord told me to go and buy myself some linen shorts and to put them on; but he told me not to put them in water. 2 So I bought them and put them on. 3 Then the Lord spoke to me again and said, 4 “Go to the Euphrates River and hide the shorts in a hole in the rocks.” 5 So I went and hid them near the Euphrates.
6 Some time later the Lord told me to go back to the Euphrates and get the shorts. 7 So I went back, and when I found the place where I had hidden them, I saw that they were ruined and were no longer any good.
8 Then the Lord spoke to me again. He said, 9 “This is how I will destroy the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 These evil people have refused to obey me. They have been as stubborn and wicked as ever, and have worshiped and served other gods. So then, they will become like these shorts that are no longer any good. 11 Just as shorts fit tightly around the waist, so I intended all the people of Israel and Judah to hold tightly to me. I did this so that they would be my people and would bring praise and honor to my name; but they would not obey me.”
The Wine Jar
12 The Lord God said to me, “Jeremiah, tell the people of Israel that every wine jar should be filled with wine. They will answer that they know every wine jar should be filled with wine. 13 Then tell them that I, the Lord, am going to fill the people in this land with wine until they are drunk: the kings, who are David's descendants, the priests, the prophets, and all the people of Jerusalem. 14 Then I will smash them like jars against one another, old and young alike. No pity, compassion, or mercy will stop me from killing them.”
Jeremiah Warns against Pride
15 People of Israel, the Lord has spoken!
18 The Lord said to me, “Tell the king and his mother to come down from their thrones, because their beautiful crowns have fallen from their heads.[d] 19 The towns of southern Judah are under siege; no one can get through to them. All the people of Judah have been taken away into exile.”
20 Jerusalem, look! Your enemies are coming down from the north! Where are the people entrusted to your care, your people you were so proud of 21 What will you say when people you thought were your friends conquer you and rule over you?[e] You will be in pain like a woman giving birth. 22 If you ask why all this has happened to you—why your clothes have been torn off and you have been raped—it is because your sin is so terrible. 23 Can people change the color of their skin, or a leopard remove its spots? If they could, then you that do nothing but evil could learn to do what is right. 24 The Lord will scatter you like straw that is blown away by the desert wind. 25 He has said that this will be your fate. This is what he has decided to do with you, because you have forgotten him and have trusted in false gods. 26 The Lord himself will strip off your clothes and expose you to shame. 27 He has seen you do the things he hates. He has seen you go after pagan gods on the hills and in the fields, like a man lusting after his neighbor's wife or like a stallion after a mare. People of Jerusalem, you are doomed! When will you ever be pure?
Jeremiah 11-13 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Israel and Judah Have Broken the Covenant
11 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 Hear the words of this covenant, and speak to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 3 You shall say to them, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Cursed be anyone who does not heed the words of this covenant, 4 which I commanded your ancestors when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the iron-smelter, saying, Listen to my voice, and do all that I command you. So shall you be my people, and I will be your God, 5 that I may perform the oath that I swore to your ancestors, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as at this day. Then I answered, “So be it, Lord.”
6 And the Lord said to me: Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: Hear the words of this covenant and do them. 7 For I solemnly warned your ancestors when I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, warning them persistently, even to this day, saying, Obey my voice. 8 Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but everyone walked in the stubbornness of an evil will. So I brought upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but they did not.
9 And the Lord said to me: Conspiracy exists among the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 10 They have turned back to the iniquities of their ancestors of old, who refused to heed my words; they have gone after other gods to serve them; the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken the covenant that I made with their ancestors. 11 Therefore, thus says the Lord, assuredly I am going to bring disaster upon them that they cannot escape; though they cry out to me, I will not listen to them. 12 Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods to whom they make offerings, but they will never save them in the time of their trouble. 13 For your gods have become as many as your towns, O Judah; and as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars to shame you have set up, altars to make offerings to Baal.
14 As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble. 15 What right has my beloved in my house, when she has done vile deeds? Can vows[a] and sacrificial flesh avert your doom? Can you then exult? 16 The Lord once called you, “A green olive tree, fair with goodly fruit”; but with the roar of a great tempest he will set fire to it, and its branches will be consumed. 17 The Lord of hosts, who planted you, has pronounced evil against you, because of the evil that the house of Israel and the house of Judah have done, provoking me to anger by making offerings to Baal.
Jeremiah’s Life Threatened
18 It was the Lord who made it known to me, and I knew;
21 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the people of Anathoth, who seek your life, and say, “You shall not prophesy in the name of the Lord, or you will die by our hand”— 22 therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: I am going to punish them; the young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine; 23 and not even a remnant shall be left of them. For I will bring disaster upon the people of Anathoth, the year of their punishment.
Jeremiah Complains to God
12 You will be in the right, O Lord,
God Replies to Jeremiah
5 If you have raced with foot-runners and they have wearied you,
7 I have forsaken my house,
14 Thus says the Lord concerning all my evil neighbors who touch the heritage that I have given my people Israel to inherit: I am about to pluck them up from their land, and I will pluck up the house of Judah from among them. 15 And after I have plucked them up, I will again have compassion on them, and I will bring them again to their heritage and to their land, every one of them. 16 And then, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, “As the Lord lives,” as they taught my people to swear by Baal, then they shall be built up in the midst of my people. 17 But if any nation will not listen, then I will completely uproot it and destroy it, says the Lord.
The Linen Loincloth
13 Thus said the Lord to me, “Go and buy yourself a linen loincloth, and put it on your loins, but do not dip it in water.” 2 So I bought a loincloth according to the word of the Lord, and put it on my loins. 3 And the word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying, 4 “Take the loincloth that you bought and are wearing, and go now to the Euphrates,[f] and hide it there in a cleft of the rock.” 5 So I went, and hid it by the Euphrates,[g] as the Lord commanded me. 6 And after many days the Lord said to me, “Go now to the Euphrates,[h] and take from there the loincloth that I commanded you to hide there.” 7 Then I went to the Euphrates,[i] and dug, and I took the loincloth from the place where I had hidden it. But now the loincloth was ruined; it was good for nothing.
8 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 9 Thus says the Lord: Just so I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 This evil people, who refuse to hear my words, who stubbornly follow their own will and have gone after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be like this loincloth, which is good for nothing. 11 For as the loincloth clings to one’s loins, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the Lord, in order that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory. But they would not listen.
Symbol of the Wine-Jars
12 You shall speak to them this word: Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Every wine-jar should be filled with wine. And they will say to you, “Do you think we do not know that every wine-jar should be filled with wine?” 13 Then you shall say to them: Thus says the Lord: I am about to fill all the inhabitants of this land—the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem—with drunkenness. 14 And I will dash them one against another, parents and children together, says the Lord. I will not pity or spare or have compassion when I destroy them.
15 Hear and give ear; do not be haughty,
18 Say to the king and the queen mother:
20 Lift up your eyes and see
Jeremiah 11-13 The Message (MSG)
The Terms of This Covenant
11 The Message that came to Jeremiah from God:
2-4 “Preach to the people of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem. Tell them this: ‘This is God’s Message, the Message of Israel’s God to you. Anyone who does not keep the terms of this covenant is cursed. The terms are clear. I made them plain to your ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt, out of the iron furnace of suffering.
4-5 “‘Obey what I tell you. Do exactly what I command you. Your obedience will close the deal. You’ll be mine and I’ll be yours. This will provide the conditions in which I will be able to do what I promised your ancestors: to give them a fertile and lush land. And, as you know, that’s what I did.’”
“Yes, God,” I replied. “That’s true.”
6-8 God continued: “Preach all this in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. Say, ‘Listen to the terms of this covenant and carry them out! I warned your ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt and I’ve kept up the warnings. I haven’t quit warning them for a moment. I warned them from morning to night: “Obey me or else!” But they didn’t obey. They paid no attention to me. They did whatever they wanted to do, whenever they wanted to do it, until finally I stepped in and ordered the punishments set out in the covenant, which, despite all my warnings, they had ignored.’”
9-10 Then God said, “There’s a conspiracy among the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem. They’ve plotted to reenact the sins of their ancestors—the ones who disobeyed me and decided to go after other gods and worship them. Israel and Judah are in this together, mindlessly breaking the covenant I made with their ancestors.”
11-13 “Well, your God has something to say about this: Watch out! I’m about to visit doom on you, and no one will get out of it. You’re going to cry for help but I won’t listen. Then all the people in Judah and Jerusalem will start praying to the gods you’ve been sacrificing to all these years, but it won’t do a bit of good. You’ve got as many gods as you have villages, Judah! And you’ve got enough altars for sacrifices to that impotent sex god Baal to put one on every street corner in Jerusalem!”
14 “And as for you, Jeremiah, I don’t want you praying for this people. Nothing! Not a word of petition. Indeed, I’m not going to listen to a single syllable of their crisis-prayers.”
Promises and Pious Programs
15-16 “What business do the ones I love have figuring out
17 “I, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, who planted you—yes, I have pronounced doom on you. Why? Because of the disastrous life you’ve lived, Israel and Judah alike, goading me to anger with your continuous worship and offerings to that sorry god Baal.”
18-19 God told me what was going on. That’s how I knew.
20 Then I said, “God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
21-23 That sent a signal to God, who spoke up: “Here’s what I’ll do to the men of Anathoth who are trying to murder you, the men who say, ‘Don’t preach to us in God’s name or we’ll kill you.’ Yes, it’s God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaking. Indeed! I’ll call them to account: Their young people will die in battle, their children will die of starvation, and there will be no one left at all, none. I’m visiting the men of Anathoth with doom. Doomsday!”
What Makes You Think You Can Race Against Horses?
12 1-4 You are right, O God, and you set things right.
5-6 “So, Jeremiah, if you’re worn out in this footrace with men,
7-11 “I will abandon the House of Israel,
12-13 “The barbarians will invade,
14-17 God’s Message: “Regarding all the bad neighbors who abused the land I gave to Israel as their inheritance: I’m going to pluck them out of their lands, and then pluck Judah out from among them. Once I’ve pulled the bad neighbors out, I will relent and take them tenderly to my heart and put them back where they belong, put each of them back in their home country, on their family farms. Then if they will get serious about living my way and pray to me as well as they taught my people to pray to that god Baal, everything will go well for them. But if they won’t listen, then I’ll pull them out of their land by the roots and cart them off to the dump. Total destruction!” God’s Decree.
People Who Do Only What They Want to Do
13 1-2 God told me, “Go and buy yourself some linen shorts. Put them on and keep them on. Don’t even take them off to wash them.” So I bought the shorts as God directed and put them on.
3-5 Then God told me, “Take the shorts that you bought and go straight to Perath and hide them there in a crack in the rock.” So I did what God told me and hid them at Perath.
6-7 Next, after quite a long time, God told me, “Go back to Perath and get the linen shorts I told you to hide there.” So I went back to Perath and dug them out of the place where I had hidden them. The shorts by then had rotted and were worthless.
8-11 God explained, “This is the way I am going to ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem—a wicked bunch of people who won’t obey me, who do only what they want to do, who chase after all kinds of no-gods and worship them. They’re going to turn out as rotten as these old shorts. Just as shorts clothe and protect, so I kept the whole family of Israel under my care”—God’s Decree—“so that everyone could see they were my people, a people I could show off to the world and be proud of. But they refused to do a thing I said.
12 “And then tell them this, ‘God’s Message, personal from the God of Israel: Every wine jug should be full of wine.’
“And they’ll say, ‘Of course. We know that. Every wine jug should be full of wine!’
13-14 “Then you’ll say, ‘This is what God says: Watch closely. I’m going to fill every person who lives in this country—the kings who rule from David’s throne, the priests, the prophets, the citizens of Jerusalem—with wine that will make them drunk. And then I’ll smash them, smash the wine-filled jugs—old and young alike. Nothing will stop me. Not an ounce of pity or mercy or compassion will slow me down. Every last drunken jug of them will be smashed!’”
The Light You Always Took for Granted
15-17 Then I said, Listen. Listen carefully: Don’t stay stuck in your ways!
18-19 Tell the king and the queen-mother,
20-22 Look, look, Jerusalem!
23 Can an African change skin?
24-27 “I’ll blow these people away—