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Jeremiah 14-16 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Great Drought

14 The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought:

Judah mourns
    and her gates languish;
they lie in gloom on the ground,
    and the cry of Jerusalem goes up.
Her nobles send their servants for water;
    they come to the cisterns,
they find no water,
    they return with their vessels empty.
They are ashamed and dismayed
    and cover their heads,
because the ground is cracked.
    Because there has been no rain on the land
the farmers are dismayed;
    they cover their heads.
Even the doe in the field forsakes her newborn fawn
    because there is no grass.
The wild asses stand on the bare heights,[a]
    they pant for air like jackals;
their eyes fail
    because there is no herbage.

Although our iniquities testify against us,
    act, O Lord, for your name’s sake;
our apostasies indeed are many,
    and we have sinned against you.
O hope of Israel,
    its savior in time of trouble,
why should you be like a stranger in the land,
    like a traveler turning aside for the night?
Why should you be like someone confused,
    like a mighty warrior who cannot give help?
Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us,
    and we are called by your name;
    do not forsake us!

10 Thus says the Lord concerning this people:
Truly they have loved to wander,
    they have not restrained their feet;
therefore the Lord does not accept them,
    now he will remember their iniquity
    and punish their sins.

11 The Lord said to me: Do not pray for the welfare of this people. 12 Although they fast, I do not hear their cry, and although they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I do not accept them; but by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence I consume them.

Denunciation of Lying Prophets

13 Then I said: “Ah, Lord God! Here are the prophets saying to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you true peace in this place.’” 14 And the Lord said to me: The prophets are prophesying lies in my name; I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. 15 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name though I did not send them, and who say, “Sword and famine shall not come on this land”: By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed. 16 And the people to whom they prophesy shall be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and sword. There shall be no one to bury them—themselves, their wives, their sons, and their daughters. For I will pour out their wickedness upon them.

17 You shall say to them this word:
Let my eyes run down with tears night and day,
    and let them not cease,
for the virgin daughter—my people—is struck down with a crushing blow,
    with a very grievous wound.
18 If I go out into the field,
    look—those killed by the sword!
And if I enter the city,
    look—those sick with[b] famine!
For both prophet and priest ply their trade throughout the land,
    and have no knowledge.

The People Plead for Mercy

19 Have you completely rejected Judah?
    Does your heart loathe Zion?
Why have you struck us down
    so that there is no healing for us?
We look for peace, but find no good;
    for a time of healing, but there is terror instead.
20 We acknowledge our wickedness, O Lord,
    the iniquity of our ancestors,
    for we have sinned against you.
21 Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake;
    do not dishonor your glorious throne;
    remember and do not break your covenant with us.
22 Can any idols of the nations bring rain?
    Or can the heavens give showers?
Is it not you, O Lord our God?
    We set our hope on you,
    for it is you who do all this.

Punishment Is Inevitable

15 Then the Lord said to me: Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my heart would not turn toward this people. Send them out of my sight, and let them go! And when they say to you, “Where shall we go?” you shall say to them: Thus says the Lord:

Those destined for pestilence, to pestilence,
    and those destined for the sword, to the sword;
those destined for famine, to famine,
    and those destined for captivity, to captivity.

And I will appoint over them four kinds of destroyers, says the Lord: the sword to kill, the dogs to drag away, and the birds of the air and the wild animals of the earth to devour and destroy. I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what King Manasseh son of Hezekiah of Judah did in Jerusalem.

Who will have pity on you, O Jerusalem,
    or who will bemoan you?
Who will turn aside
    to ask about your welfare?
You have rejected me, says the Lord,
    you are going backward;
so I have stretched out my hand against you and destroyed you—
    I am weary of relenting.
I have winnowed them with a winnowing fork
    in the gates of the land;
I have bereaved them, I have destroyed my people;
    they did not turn from their ways.
Their widows became more numerous
    than the sand of the seas;
I have brought against the mothers of youths
    a destroyer at noonday;
I have made anguish and terror
    fall upon her suddenly.
She who bore seven has languished;
    she has swooned away;
her sun went down while it was yet day;
    she has been shamed and disgraced.
And the rest of them I will give to the sword
    before their enemies,
says the Lord.

Jeremiah Complains Again and Is Reassured

10 Woe is me, my mother, that you ever bore me, a man of strife and contention to the whole land! I have not lent, nor have I borrowed, yet all of them curse me. 11 The Lord said: Surely I have intervened in your life[c] for good, surely I have imposed enemies on you in a time of trouble and in a time of distress.[d] 12 Can iron and bronze break iron from the north?

13 Your wealth and your treasures I will give as plunder, without price, for all your sins, throughout all your territory. 14 I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you do not know, for in my anger a fire is kindled that shall burn forever.

15 O Lord, you know;
    remember me and visit me,
    and bring down retribution for me on my persecutors.
In your forbearance do not take me away;
    know that on your account I suffer insult.
16 Your words were found, and I ate them,
    and your words became to me a joy
    and the delight of my heart;
for I am called by your name,
    O Lord, God of hosts.
17 I did not sit in the company of merrymakers,
    nor did I rejoice;
under the weight of your hand I sat alone,
    for you had filled me with indignation.
18 Why is my pain unceasing,
    my wound incurable,
    refusing to be healed?
Truly, you are to me like a deceitful brook,
    like waters that fail.

19 Therefore thus says the Lord:
If you turn back, I will take you back,
    and you shall stand before me.
If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless,
    you shall serve as my mouth.
It is they who will turn to you,
    not you who will turn to them.
20 And I will make you to this people
    a fortified wall of bronze;
they will fight against you,
    but they shall not prevail over you,
for I am with you
    to save you and deliver you,
says the Lord.
21 I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked,
    and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.

Jeremiah’s Celibacy and Message

16 The word of the Lord came to me: You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place. For thus says the Lord concerning the sons and daughters who are born in this place, and concerning the mothers who bear them and the fathers who beget them in this land: They shall die of deadly diseases. They shall not be lamented, nor shall they be buried; they shall become like dung on the surface of the ground. They shall perish by the sword and by famine, and their dead bodies shall become food for the birds of the air and for the wild animals of the earth.

For thus says the Lord: Do not enter the house of mourning, or go to lament, or bemoan them; for I have taken away my peace from this people, says the Lord, my steadfast love and mercy. Both great and small shall die in this land; they shall not be buried, and no one shall lament for them; there shall be no gashing, no shaving of the head for them. No one shall break bread[e] for the mourner, to offer comfort for the dead; nor shall anyone give them the cup of consolation to drink for their fathers or their mothers. You shall not go into the house of feasting to sit with them, to eat and drink. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I am going to banish from this place, in your days and before your eyes, the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride.

10 And when you tell this people all these words, and they say to you, “Why has the Lord pronounced all this great evil against us? What is our iniquity? What is the sin that we have committed against the Lord our God?” 11 then you shall say to them: It is because your ancestors have forsaken me, says the Lord, and have gone after other gods and have served and worshiped them, and have forsaken me and have not kept my law; 12 and because you have behaved worse than your ancestors, for here you are, every one of you, following your stubborn evil will, refusing to listen to me. 13 Therefore I will hurl you out of this land into a land that neither you nor your ancestors have known, and there you shall serve other gods day and night, for I will show you no favor.

God Will Restore Israel

14 Therefore, the days are surely coming, says the Lord, when it shall no longer be said, “As the Lord lives who brought the people of Israel up out of the land of Egypt,” 15 but “As the Lord lives who brought the people of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the lands where he had driven them.” For I will bring them back to their own land that I gave to their ancestors.

16 I am now sending for many fishermen, says the Lord, and they shall catch them; and afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the clefts of the rocks. 17 For my eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from my presence, nor is their iniquity concealed from my sight. 18 And[f] I will doubly repay their iniquity and their sin, because they have polluted my land with the carcasses of their detestable idols, and have filled my inheritance with their abominations.

19 O Lord, my strength and my stronghold,
    my refuge in the day of trouble,
to you shall the nations come
    from the ends of the earth and say:
Our ancestors have inherited nothing but lies,
    worthless things in which there is no profit.
20 Can mortals make for themselves gods?
    Such are no gods!

21 “Therefore I am surely going to teach them, this time I am going to teach them my power and my might, and they shall know that my name is the Lord.”

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 14:6 Or the trails
  2. Jeremiah 14:18 Heb look—the sicknesses of
  3. Jeremiah 15:11 Heb intervened with you
  4. Jeremiah 15:11 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  5. Jeremiah 16:7 Two Mss Gk: MT break for them
  6. Jeremiah 16:18 Gk: Heb And first
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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