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.

No Marriage for Jeremiah

16 The word of the Lord came to me: “Do not marry or have sons or daughters in this place. For this is what the Lord says concerning sons and daughters born in this place as well as concerning the mothers who bear them and the fathers who father them in this land: They will die from deadly diseases. They will not be mourned or buried but will be like manure on the soil’s surface.(AC) They will be finished off by sword and famine. Their corpses will become food for the birds of the sky and for the wild animals of the land.(AD)

“For this is what the Lord says: Don’t enter a house where a mourning feast is taking place.[e] Don’t go to lament or sympathize with them, for I have removed my peace from these people as well as my faithful love and compassion.” This is the Lord’s declaration.(AE) “Both great and small will die in this land without burial. No lament will be made for them, nor will anyone cut himself or(AF) shave his head for them.[f] Food won’t be provided for the mourner(AG) to comfort him because of the dead. A consoling drink won’t be given him for the loss of his father or mother. Do not enter the house where feasting is taking place to sit with them to eat and drink. For this is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: I am about to eliminate from this place, before your very eyes and in your time, the sound of joy and gladness, the voice of the groom and the bride.(AH)

Abandoning the Lord and His Law

10 “When you tell these people all these things, they will say to you, ‘Why has the Lord declared all this terrible disaster against us?(AI) What is our iniquity? What is our sin that we have committed against the Lord our God?’ 11 Then you will answer them, ‘Because your ancestors abandoned me(AJ)—this is the Lord’s declaration—and followed other gods, served them, and bowed in worship to them.(AK) Indeed, they abandoned me and did not keep my instruction. 12 You did more evil than your ancestors.(AL) Look, each one of you was following the stubbornness of his evil heart, not obeying me. 13 So I will hurl you from this land into a land that you and your ancestors have not known.(AM) There you will worship other gods(AN) both day and night, for I will not grant you grace.’[g]

14 “However, look, the days are coming”(AO)—the Lord’s declaration—“when it will no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives who brought the Israelites from the land of Egypt,’(AP) 15 but rather, ‘As the Lord lives who brought the Israelites from the land of the north(AQ) and from all the other lands where he had banished them.’ For I will return them to their land that I gave to their ancestors.(AR)

Punishment of Exile

16 “I am about to send for many fishermen”(AS)—this is the Lord’s declaration—“and they will fish for them. Then I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them down on every mountain and hill and out of the clefts of the rocks, 17 for my gaze takes in all their ways.(AT) They are not concealed from me, and their iniquity is not hidden from my sight. 18 I will first repay them double for their iniquity(AU) and sin because they have polluted my land. They have filled my inheritance with the carcasses of their abhorrent and detestable idols.”

19 Lord, my strength and my stronghold,
my refuge in a time of distress,(AV)
the nations will come to you
from the ends of the earth, and they will say,
“Our ancestors inherited only lies,
worthless idols(AW) of no benefit at all.”
20 Can one make gods for himself?
But they are not gods.(AX)
21 “Therefore, I am about to inform them,
and this time I will make them know
my power and my might;
then they will know that my name is the Lord.”(AY)


  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
  5. 16:5 Lit house of mourning
  6. 16:6 This custom demonstrated pagan mourning rituals.
  7. 16:13 Or compassion

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