15 Eternal One (to Jeremiah): Even if Moses and Samuel stood before Me to defend this rebellious nation, I would not turn back to this people right now. Send them away from Me, Jeremiah; make them go! 2 And when they look to you and ask, “Where should we go?” tell them I, the Eternal, said,
For some, their destiny is deadly disease,
for others it is war,
And still others, their destiny is starvation,
and lastly, some are doomed to be captives of an enemy state.
3 I am sending four destroyers: the sword to slaughter, the dogs to drag away the carnage, the birds of the sky, and the wild beasts of the earth to devour and destroy what is left. 4 What I do to this evil nation will horrify the watching world for generations. What Manasseh (son of Hezekiah), king of Judah, did in Jerusalem will not be overlooked.
5 Who will have compassion on you, O Jerusalem?
Who will mourn for your losses?
Who will stop and ask how you are?
6 You have rejected Me time and again.
You keep backing away from Me, so I will reach out and destroy you.
I am weary of feeling sorry for you;
I will not relent this time.
7 Like a farmer, I will use my winnowing fork to remove the chaff at the city gates.
I will deprive them of their children.
I will destroy My own because they refuse to turn away
from their wicked and hurtful ways.
8 The widows in this land will outnumber the grains of sand by the sea.
As for the mothers of young men,
I will send the destroyer against them at midday, when no one is expecting.
In the blink of an eye, I will rain down terror and anguish on them.
9 The mother of seven suffers in her sadness;
gasping for breath, she realizes the sun has set even while it is day.
Alone and childless again, she is disgraced and ashamed.
As for those who survive the first wave of violence,
I will put them to the sword before their enemies.
So says the Eternal.
10 Jeremiah: Oh, the anguish that is mine!
If only you had not given birth to me, mother;
I feel like a man who fights and struggles with the whole land.
I have not lent money or borrowed from others.
So why am I treated this way?
Everyone is ready to curse me.
11 Eternal One (to Jeremiah): Hear me, Jeremiah:
I will make you strong in these trying times to accomplish My good.
I will make it so your enemies ask you to pray for them in times of disaster and suffering.
12 Can a man break iron that is forged in the north?
What about bronze?[a]
13 Because you have committed so many sins throughout the land,
I will freely hand over your wealth and treasures to this enemy as plunder.
14 I will incite your enemies to capture you and take you[b] off to a distant land you do not know.
I am doing this because My anger burns like a roaring fire that lasts forever.
The calling of God has left Jeremiah with a loneliness he can hardly bear. The words he must deliver, the sins he continually confronts, and the future God has revealed to him—they all lead to an unbearable isolation. God has heard the lonely cry of His prophet, and He has offered encouragement and a promise to strengthen Jeremiah. At this point, Jeremiah is enduring the pain with his assignment. In fact, in this agony, he openly questions and accuses God Himself.
15 Jeremiah: O Eternal One—You know what I am facing;
Remember me, and pay attention to my plight.
Take my side; pay back those who persecute me.
I know You are patient, but don’t let them take me away.
Think of the suffering I’ve endured for Your sake.
16 When I discovered Your words, I ate them up:
they were my great joy and my heart’s delight.
I am Yours, and I bear the name of the Eternal God,
Commander of heavenly armies.
17 I never sat in the circle of jokesters,
nor did I celebrate with them.
No. I stayed to myself, sat alone because Your hand was heavy on me;
You filled me with indignation over their sins.
18 So why does my pain never end?
Why does this wound never heal?
Will you be to me as deceptive and unreliable as a dry stream to a thirsty man?
19 Eternal One (to Jeremiah): If you will turn back to Me,
I will restore you—
and you will stand before Me.
If you will speak worthy words instead of worthless complaints,
You will be My spokesman.
Let the people come to you, but don’t go to them!
20 They will come at you, but I will make you like a wall of bronze against them.
They will not beat you, because I am with you to save and rescue you.
This will be so, for I have declared it.
21 I will rescue you from the hands of the wicked
and redeem you from the grasp of the violent.