The Lord’s Negative Response

15 Then the Lord said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel(A) should stand before me,(B) my compassions would not reach out to these people. Send them from my presence, and let them go.(C) If they ask you, ‘Where will we go?’ tell them: This is what the Lord says:

Those destined for death,(D) to death;
those destined for the sword, to the sword.
Those destined for famine, to famine;
those destined for captivity, to captivity.

“I will ordain four kinds[a] of judgment for them”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“the sword to kill, the dogs to drag away,(E) and the birds of the sky and the wild animals of the land(F) to devour and destroy. I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth because of Manasseh(G) son of Hezekiah, the king of Judah, for what he did in Jerusalem.

Who will have pity on you, Jerusalem?(H)
Who will show sympathy toward you?(I)
Who will turn aside
to ask about your well-being?
You have left me.”(J)
This is the Lord’s declaration.
“You have turned your back,
so I have stretched out my hand against you
and destroyed you.
I am tired(K) of showing compassion.
I scattered them with a winnowing fork
at the city gates of the land.
I made them childless; I destroyed my people.
They would not turn from their ways.(L)
I made their widows more numerous
than the sand of the seas.(M)
I brought a destroyer at noon
against the mother of young men.
I suddenly released on her
agitation and terrors.
The mother of seven grew faint;(N)
she breathed her last breath.
Her sun set while it was still day;
she was ashamed and humiliated.
The rest of them I will give over to the sword
in the presence of their enemies.”
This is the Lord’s declaration.

Jeremiah’s Complaint

10 Woe is me, my mother,
that you gave birth to me,(O)
a man who incites dispute and conflict
in all the land.
I did not lend or borrow,
yet everyone curses me.(P)

The Lord’s Response

11 The Lord said:

Haven’t I set you loose for your good?
Haven’t I punished you
in a time of trouble,
in a time of distress with the enemy?[b]

12 Can anyone smash iron,
iron from the north, or bronze?

13 I will give up your wealth
and your treasures as plunder,
without cost,(Q) for all your sins
in all your borders.
14 Then I will make you serve your enemies[c]
in a land you do not know,
for my anger will kindle a fire
that will burn against you.(R)

Jeremiah’s Prayer for Vengeance

15 You know,(S) Lord;
remember me and take note of me.(T)
Avenge me against my persecutors.(U)
In your patience,[d] don’t take me away.
Know that I suffer disgrace for your honor.(V)
16 Your words were found, and I ate them.(W)
Your words became a delight to me
and the joy of my heart,
for I bear your name,(X)
Lord God of Armies.
17 I never sat with the band of revelers,
and I did not celebrate with them.
Because your hand was on me, I sat alone,(Y)
for you filled me with indignation.
18 Why has my pain become unending,
my wound incurable,(Z)
refusing to be healed?
You truly have become like a mirage to me—
water that is not reliable.

Jeremiah Told to Repent

19 Therefore, this is what the Lord says:

If you return, I will take you back;
you will stand in my presence.
And if you speak noble words,
rather than worthless ones,
you will be my spokesman.(AA)
It is they who must return to you;
you must not return to them.
20 Then I will make you a fortified wall of bronze
to this people.
They will fight against you
but will not overcome you,
for I am with you
to save you and rescue you.(AB)
This is the Lord’s declaration.

21 I will rescue you from the power of evil people
and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.


  1. 15:3 Lit families
  2. 15:11 Hb obscure
  3. 15:14 Some Hb mss, LXX, Syr, Tg; other Hb mss read you pass through
  4. 15:15 Lit In the slowness of your anger

15 Then the Lord said to me: “Even if Moses(A) and Samuel(B) were to stand before me, my heart would not go out to this people.(C) Send them away from my presence!(D) Let them go! And if they ask you, ‘Where shall we go?’ tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says:

“‘Those destined for death, to death;
those for the sword, to the sword;(E)
those for starvation, to starvation;(F)
those for captivity, to captivity.’(G)

“I will send four kinds of destroyers(H) against them,” declares the Lord, “the sword(I) to kill and the dogs(J) to drag away and the birds(K) and the wild animals to devour and destroy.(L) I will make them abhorrent(M) to all the kingdoms of the earth(N) because of what Manasseh(O) son of Hezekiah king of Judah did in Jerusalem.

“Who will have pity(P) on you, Jerusalem?
    Who will mourn for you?
    Who will stop to ask how you are?
You have rejected(Q) me,” declares the Lord.
    “You keep on backsliding.
So I will reach out(R) and destroy you;
    I am tired of holding back.(S)
I will winnow(T) them with a winnowing fork
    at the city gates of the land.
I will bring bereavement(U) and destruction on my people,(V)
    for they have not changed their ways.(W)
I will make their widows(X) more numerous
    than the sand of the sea.
At midday I will bring a destroyer(Y)
    against the mothers of their young men;
suddenly I will bring down on them
    anguish and terror.(Z)
The mother of seven will grow faint(AA)
    and breathe her last.(AB)
Her sun will set while it is still day;
    she will be disgraced(AC) and humiliated.
I will put the survivors to the sword(AD)
    before their enemies,”(AE)
declares the Lord.

10 Alas, my mother, that you gave me birth,(AF)
    a man with whom the whole land strives and contends!(AG)
I have neither lent(AH) nor borrowed,
    yet everyone curses(AI) me.

11 The Lord said,

“Surely I will deliver you(AJ) for a good purpose;
    surely I will make your enemies plead(AK) with you
    in times of disaster and times of distress.

12 “Can a man break iron—
    iron from the north(AL)—or bronze?

13 “Your wealth(AM) and your treasures
    I will give as plunder,(AN) without charge,(AO)
because of all your sins
    throughout your country.(AP)
14 I will enslave you to your enemies
    in[a] a land you do not know,(AQ)
for my anger will kindle a fire(AR)
    that will burn against you.”

15 Lord, you understand;
    remember me and care for me.
    Avenge me on my persecutors.(AS)
You are long-suffering(AT)—do not take me away;
    think of how I suffer reproach for your sake.(AU)
16 When your words came, I ate(AV) them;
    they were my joy and my heart’s delight,(AW)
for I bear your name,(AX)
    Lord God Almighty.
17 I never sat(AY) in the company of revelers,
    never made merry with them;
I sat alone because your hand(AZ) was on me
    and you had filled me with indignation.
18 Why is my pain unending
    and my wound grievous and incurable?(BA)
You are to me like a deceptive brook,
    like a spring that fails.(BB)

19 Therefore this is what the Lord says:

“If you repent, I will restore you
    that you may serve(BC) me;
if you utter worthy, not worthless, words,
    you will be my spokesman.(BD)
Let this people turn to you,
    but you must not turn to them.
20 I will make you a wall(BE) to this people,
    a fortified wall of bronze;
they will fight against you
    but will not overcome(BF) you,
for I am with you
    to rescue and save you,”(BG)
declares the Lord.
21 “I will save(BH) you from the hands of the wicked(BI)
    and deliver(BJ) you from the grasp of the cruel.”(BK)


  1. Jeremiah 15:14 Some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint and Syriac (see also 17:4); most Hebrew manuscripts I will cause your enemies to bring you / into