Jeremiah’s Complaint

12 You will be righteous, Lord,(A)
even if I bring a case against You.
Yet, I wish to contend with You:(B)
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?(C)
Why do all the treacherous live at ease?
You planted them,(D) and they have taken root.
They have grown and produced fruit.
You are ever on their lips,[a]
but far from their conscience.[b](E)
As for You, Lord, You know me; You see me.(F)
You test whether my heart is with You.(G)
Drag the wicked away like sheep to slaughter(H)
and set them apart for the day of killing.
How long will the land mourn(I)
and the grass of every field wither?
Because of the evil of its residents,
animals and birds have been swept away,
for the people have said,
“He cannot see what our end will be.”[c](J)

The Lord’s Response

If you have raced with runners
and they have worn you out,
how can you compete with horses?
If you stumble[d] in a peaceful land,
what will you do in the thickets of the Jordan?(K)
Even your brothers—your own father’s household—
even they were treacherous to you;(L)
even they have cried out loudly after you.(M)
Do not have confidence in them,
though they speak well of you.

I have abandoned My house;(N)
I have deserted My inheritance.
I have given the love of My life
into the hands of her enemies.
My inheritance has acted toward Me
like a lion in the forest.
She has roared against Me.
Therefore, I hate her.(O)
Is My inheritance like a hyena[e] to Me?
Are birds of prey circling her?
Go, gather all the wild animals;(P)
bring them to devour her.
10 Many shepherds have destroyed My vineyard;
they have trampled My plot of land.(Q)
They have turned My desirable plot
into a desolate wasteland.
11 They have made it a desolation.
It mourns, desolate, before Me.
All the land is desolate,
but no one takes it to heart.(R)
12 Over all the barren heights in the wilderness
the destroyers have come,
for the Lord has a sword that devours
from one end of the earth to the other.
No one has peace.(S)
13 They have sown wheat but harvested thorns.(T)
They have exhausted themselves but have no profit.(U)
Be put to shame by your harvests
because of the Lord’s burning anger.(V)

14 This is what the Lord says: “Concerning all My evil neighbors who attack the inheritance that I bequeathed to My people, Israel, I am about to uproot them(W) from their land, and I will uproot the house of Judah from them. 15 After I have uprooted them, I will once again have compassion(X) on them and return each one to his inheritance and to his land. 16 If they will diligently learn the ways of My people(Y)—to swear by My name, ‘As Yahweh lives,’ just as they taught My people to swear by Baal—they will be built up among My people. 17 However, if they will not obey, then I will uproot and destroy that nation.”(Z)

This is the Lord’s declaration.


  1. Jeremiah 12:2 Lit are near in their mouth
  2. Jeremiah 12:2 Lit kidneys
  3. Jeremiah 12:4 LXX reads see our ways
  4. Jeremiah 12:5 Or you are secure
  5. Jeremiah 12:9 Hb obscure

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