2 Jeremiah, don’t get married and have children—Judah is no place to raise a family. 3 I’ll tell you what’s going to happen to children and their parents here. 4 They will die of horrible diseases and of war and starvation. No one will give them a funeral or bury them, and their bodies will be food for the birds and wild animals. And what’s left will lie on the ground like manure.
5 When someone dies, don’t visit the family or show any sorrow. I will no longer love or bless or have any pity on the people of Judah. 6 Rich and poor alike will die and be left unburied. No one will mourn and show their sorrow by cutting themselves or shaving their heads.[a]7 No one will bring food and wine to help comfort those who are mourning the death of their father or mother.
8 Don’t even set foot in a house where there is eating and drinking and celebrating. 9 Warn the people of Judah that I, the Lord All-Powerful, will put an end to all their parties and wedding celebrations. 10 They will ask, “Why has the Lord our God threatened us with so many disasters? Have we done something wrong or sinned against him?”
11 Then tell them I have said:
People of Judah, your ancestors turned away from me; they rejected my laws and teachings and started worshiping other gods. 12 And you have done even worse! You are stubborn, and instead of obeying me, you do whatever evil comes to your mind. 13 So I will throw you into a land that you and your ancestors know nothing about, a place where you will have to worship other gods both day and night. And I won’t feel the least bit sorry for you.
14 A time will come when you will again worship me. But you will no longer call me the Living God who rescued Israel from Egypt. 15 Instead, you will call me the Living God who rescued you from that country in the north and from the other countries where I had forced you to go.
Someday I will bring you back to this land that I gave your ancestors. 16 But for now, I am sending enemies who will catch you like fish and hunt you down like wild animals in the hills and the caves.
17 I can see everything you are doing, even if you try to hide your sins from me. 18 I will punish you double for your sins, because you have made my own land disgusting. You have filled it with lifeless idols that remind me of dead bodies.
The Lord Gives Strength
I prayed to the Lord:
19 Our Lord, you are the one who gives me strength and protects me like a fortress when I am in trouble. People will come to you from distant nations and say, “Our ancestors worshiped false and useless gods, 20 worthless idols made by human hands.”
21 Then the Lord replied, “That’s why I will teach them about my power, and they will know that I am the true God.”
16.6mourn and show their sorrow by cutting themselves or shaving their heads: A custom in some Canaanite religions.
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