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Jeremiah 5New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 5

Universal Corruption

Roam the streets of Jerusalem,
    look about and observe,
Search through her squares,
    to find even one
Who acts justly
    and seeks honesty,
    and I will pardon her!
They say, “As the Lord lives,”
    but in fact they swear falsely.
    Lord, do your eyes not search for honesty?
You struck them, but they did not flinch;
    you laid them low, but they refused correction;
They set their faces harder than stone,
    and refused to return.
I thought: These are only the lowly,
    they behave foolishly;
For they do not know the way of the Lord,
    the justice of their God.
Let me go to the leaders
    and speak with them;
For they must know the way of the Lord,
    the justice of their God.
But, one and all, they have broken the yoke,
    torn off the harness.
Therefore, lions from the forest slay them,
    wolves of the desert ravage them,
Leopards keep watch round their cities:
    all who come out are torn to pieces,
For their crimes are many,
    their rebellions numerous.
Why should I pardon you?
    Your children have forsaken me,
    they swear by gods that are no gods.
I fed them, but they commit adultery;
    to the prostitute’s house they throng.
They are lustful stallions,
    each neighs after the other’s wife.
Should I not punish them for this?—oracle of the Lord;
    on a nation like this should I not take vengeance?
10 Climb her terraces, and ravage them,
    destroy them completely.
Tear away her tendrils,
    they do not belong to the Lord.
11 For they have openly rebelled against me,
    both the house of Israel and the house of Judah—
    oracle of the Lord.
12 They denied the Lord,[a]
    saying, “He is nothing,
No evil shall come to us,
    neither sword nor famine shall we see.
13 The prophets are wind,
    and the word is not with them.
    Let it be done to them!”
14 Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of hosts,
    because you have said this—
See! I make my words
    a fire in your mouth,
And this people the wood
    that it shall devour!—
15 Beware! I will bring against you
    a nation from far away,
    O House of Israel—oracle of the Lord;
A long-lived nation, an ancient nation,
    a people whose language you do not know,
    whose speech you cannot understand.
16 Their quivers are like open graves;
    all of them are warriors.
17 They will devour your harvest and your bread,
    devour your sons and your daughters,
Devour your sheep and cattle,
    devour your vines and fig trees;
With their swords they will beat down
    the fortified cities in which you trust.

18 Yet even in those days—oracle of the Lord—I will not completely destroy you. 19 And when they ask, “Why has the Lord our God done all these things to us?” say to them, “As you have abandoned me to serve foreign gods in your own land, so shall you serve foreigners in a land not your own.”

20 Announce this to the house of Jacob,
    proclaim it in Judah:
21 Pay attention to this,
    you foolish and senseless people,
Who have eyes and do not see,
    who have ears and do not hear.
22 Should you not fear me—oracle of the Lord
    should you not tremble before me?
I made the sandy shore the sea’s limit,
    which by eternal decree it may not overstep.
Toss though it may, it is to no avail;
    though its billows roar, they cannot overstep.
23 But this people’s heart is stubborn and rebellious;
    they turn and go away,
24 And do not say in their hearts,
    “Let us fear the Lord, our God,
Who gives us rain
    early and late,[b] in its time;
Who watches for us
    over the appointed weeks of harvest.”
25 Your crimes have prevented these things,
    your sins have turned these blessings away from you.
26 For criminals lurk among my people;
    like fowlers they set traps,
    but it is human beings they catch.
27 Their houses are as full of treachery
    as a bird-cage is of birds;
Therefore they grow powerful and rich,
28     fat and sleek.
They pass over wicked deeds;
    justice they do not defend
By advancing the claim of the orphan
    or judging the cause of the poor.
29 Shall I not punish these things?—oracle of the Lord;
    on a nation such as this shall I not take vengeance?
30 Something shocking and horrible
    has happened in the land:
31 The prophets prophesy falsely,
    and the priests teach on their own authority;
Yet my people like it this way;
    what will you do when the end comes?


  1. 5:12 They denied the Lord: the people act as though God does not matter and will not interfere.
  2. 5:24 Rain early and late: autumn and spring rains respectively. Appointed weeks of harvest: the seven weeks between the Passover (Dt 16:9–10) and the feast of Weeks (Pentecost), when it did not ordinarily rain.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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