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The People of Judah Will Die

15 The Lord said to me:

Even if Moses and Samuel were here, praying with you, I wouldn’t change my mind. So send the people of Judah away. And when they ask where they are going, tell them that I, the Lord, have said:

Some of you are going to die
    of horrible diseases.
Others are going to die in war
    or from starvation.
The rest will be led away
    to a foreign country.
I will punish you
    in four different ways:
You will be killed in war
and your bodies dragged off
    by dogs,
your flesh will be eaten by birds,
and your bones will be chewed on
    by wild animals.
This punishment will happen
because of the horrible things[a]
    your King Manasseh[b] did.
And you will be disgusting
    to all nations on earth.
People of Jerusalem,
    who will feel sorry for you?
Will anyone bother
    to ask if you are well?

My people, you abandoned me
    and walked away.
I am tired of showing mercy;
    that’s why I’ll destroy you
by scattering you like straw
    blown by the wind.
I will punish you with sorrow
    and death,
because you refuse
    to change your ways.
There will be more widows
    in Judah
than grains of sand on a beach.

A surprise attack at noon!
And the mothers in Jerusalem
    mourn for their children.
A mother is in deep despair
    and struggles for breath.
Her daylight has turned
    to darkness—
she has suffered the loss
    of her seven sons.

I will kill anyone who survives.
    I, the Lord, have spoken.

Jeremiah Complains

10 I wish I had never been born!
I’m always in trouble
    with everyone in Judah.
I never lend or borrow money,
but everyone curses me
    just the same.

11 Then the Lord replied,
“I promise to protect you,
    and when disaster comes,
even your enemies
    will beg you for help.”[c]

The Enemy Cannot Be Defeated

The Lord told me to say:

12 People of Judah,
just as you can’t break iron
    mixed with bronze,
you can’t defeat the enemies
that will attack
    from the north.
13 I will give them
    everything you own,
because you have sinned
    everywhere in your country.
14 My anger is a fire
    that cannot be put out,[d]
so I will make you slaves
of your enemies
    in a foreign land.[e]

Jeremiah Complains Again

15 You can see how I suffer
insult after insult,
    all because of you, Lord.
Don’t be so patient
    with my enemies;
take revenge on them
    before they kill me.

16 When you spoke to me,
    I was glad to obey,
because I belong to you,
    the Lord All-Powerful.
17 I don’t go to parties
    and have a good time.
Instead, I keep to myself,
because you have filled me
    with your anger.

18 I am badly injured
    and in constant pain.
Are you going to disappoint me,
like a stream that goes dry
    in the heat of summer?

The Lord Replies

19 Then the Lord told me:
    Stop talking like a fool!
If you turn back to me
    and speak my message,
I will let you be my prophet
    once again.
I hope the people of Judah
    will accept what you say.
But you can ignore their threats,
20 because I am making you strong,
    like a bronze wall.
They are evil and violent,
    but when they attack,
21 I will be there to rescue you.
    I, the Lord, have spoken.

Footnotes

  1. 15.4 the horrible things: See 2 Kings 21.1-16.
  2. 15.4 Manasseh: Hebrew “Manasseh son of Hezekiah”; he ruled 687-642 B.C.
  3. 15.11 help: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 11.
  4. 15.14 that cannot be put out: Some Hebrew manuscripts; most Hebrew manuscripts “against you.”
  5. 15.14 I will make. . . land: Many Hebrew manuscripts; most Hebrew manuscripts “I will make your enemies go through to a land you don’t know about.”

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