The Depravity of Jerusalem

Roam(A) through the streets of Jerusalem.
search in her squares.
If you find one person,(B)
any who acts justly,
who pursues faithfulness,
then I will forgive her.(C)
When they say, “As the Lord lives,”(D)
they are swearing falsely.(E)
Lord, don’t your eyes look for faithfulness?(F)
You have struck them, but they felt no pain.(G)
You finished them off,
but they refused to accept discipline.(H)
They made their faces harder than rock,(I)
and they refused to return.(J)

Then I thought:

They are just the poor;
they have been foolish.
For they don’t understand the way of the Lord,(K)
the justice of their God.(L)
I will go to the powerful
and speak to them.
Surely they know the way of the Lord,
the justice of their God.(M)
However, these also had broken the yoke
and torn off the chains.(N)
Therefore, a lion from the forest will strike them down.(O)
A wolf from arid plains will ravage them.
A leopard(P) stalks their cities.
Anyone who leaves them will be torn to pieces
because their rebellious acts are many,(Q)
their unfaithful deeds numerous.(R)

Why should I forgive you?
Your children have abandoned me
and sworn by those who are not gods.(S)
I satisfied their needs, yet they committed adultery;(T)
they gashed themselves(U) at the[b] prostitute’s house.
They are well-fed,[c] eager[d] stallions,(V)
each neighing(W) after someone else’s wife.(X)
Should I not punish them for these things?(Y)
This is the Lord’s declaration.
Should I not avenge myself(Z)
on such a nation as this?

10 Go up among her vineyard terraces and destroy them,(AA)
but do not finish them off.(AB)
Prune away her shoots,
for they do not belong to the Lord.(AC)
11 They, the house of Israel and the house of Judah,
have dealt very treacherously with me.(AD)
This is the Lord’s declaration.
12 They have contradicted the Lord
and insisted, “It won’t happen.[e](AE)
Harm won’t come to us;
we won’t see sword or famine.”
13 The prophets become only wind,
for the Lord’s word is not in them.
This will in fact happen to them.

Coming Judgment

14 Therefore, this is what the Lord God of Armies says:

Because you have spoken this word,
I am going to make my words
become fire in your mouth.(AF)
These people are the wood,
and the fire will consume them.(AG)
15 I am about to bring a nation
from far away against you,(AH)
house of Israel.
This is the Lord’s declaration.
It is an established nation,
an ancient nation,
a nation whose language you do not know
and whose speech you do not understand.(AI)
16 Their quiver is like an open grave;(AJ)
they are all warriors.
17 They will consume your harvest and your food.(AK)
They will consume your sons and your daughters.
They will consume your flocks and your herds.
They will consume your vines and your fig trees.
With the sword they will destroy
your fortified cities(AL) in which you trust.

18 “But even in those days”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“I will not finish you off.(AM) 19 When people ask, ‘For what offense has the Lord our God done all these things to us?’ You will respond to them, ‘Just as you abandoned me(AN) and served foreign gods in your land, so will you serve strangers in a land that is not yours.’(AO)

20 “Declare this in the house of Jacob; proclaim it in Judah, saying:

21 Hear this,
you foolish and senseless[f] people.(AP)
They have eyes, but they don’t see.
They have ears, but they don’t hear.(AQ)
22 Do you not fear me?
This is the Lord’s declaration.
Do you not tremble before me,
the one who set the sand as the boundary of the sea,
an enduring barrier that it cannot cross?(AR)
The waves surge, but they cannot prevail.
They roar but cannot pass over it.
23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts.(AS)
They have turned aside and have gone away.
24 They have not said to themselves,
‘Let’s fear the Lord our God,(AT)
who gives the seasonal rains, both autumn and spring,(AU)
who guarantees to us the fixed weeks of the harvest.’
25 Your guilty acts have diverted these things from you.
Your sins have withheld my bounty from you,(AV)
26 for wicked men live among my people.
They watch like hunters[g] lying in wait.[h](AW)
They set a trap;(AX)
they catch men.
27 Like a cage full of birds,
so their houses are full of deceit.(AY)
Therefore they have grown powerful and rich.
28 They have become fat(AZ) and sleek.
They have also excelled in evil matters.
They have not taken up cases,
such as the case of the fatherless, so they might prosper,
and they have not defended the rights of the needy.(BA)
29 Should I not punish them for these things?
This is the Lord’s declaration.
Should I not avenge myself(BB)
on such a nation as this?

30 “An appalling, horrible thing
has taken place in the land.(BC)
31 The prophets prophesy falsely,(BD)
and the priests rule by their own authority.
My people love it like this.
But what will you do at the end of it?(BE)

Threatened Siege of Jerusalem

“Run for cover(BF)
out of Jerusalem, Benjaminites.
Sound the ram’s horn(BG) in Tekoa;(BH)
raise a smoke signal(BI) over Beth-haccherem,[i]
for disaster threatens from the north,(BJ)
even a crushing blow.
Though she is beautiful and delicate,
I will destroy[j] Daughter Zion.
Shepherds and their flocks will come against her;
they will pitch their tents all around her.(BK)
Each will pasture his own portion.
Set them apart for war(BL) against her;
rise up, let’s attack at noon.
Woe to us, for the day is passing;
the evening shadows grow long.
Rise up, let’s attack by night.
Let’s destroy her fortresses.”

For this is what the Lord of Armies says:

Cut down the trees;(BM)
raise a siege ramp against Jerusalem.
This city must be punished.
There is nothing but oppression within her.(BN)
As a well gushes out its water,
so she pours out her evil.[k]
Violence and destruction(BO) resound in her.
Sickness and wounds keep coming to my attention.
Be warned, Jerusalem,
or I will turn away from you;(BP)
I will make you a desolation,
a land without inhabitants.(BQ)

Wrath on Israel

This is what the Lord of Armies says:

Glean the remnant of Israel(BR)
as thoroughly as a vine.
Pass your hand once more like a grape gatherer
over the branches.

10 Who can I speak to and give such a warning[l]
that they will listen?
Look, their ear is uncircumcised,[m](BS)
so they cannot pay attention.
See, the word of the Lord has become contemptible to them—
they find no pleasure in it.(BT)
11 But I am full of the Lord’s wrath;
I am tired of holding it back.(BU)
Pour it out on the children in the street,(BV)
on the gathering of young men as well.
For both husband and wife will be captured,
the old with the very old.[n]
12 Their houses will be turned over to others,(BW)
their fields and wives as well,
for I will stretch out my hand(BX)
against the inhabitants of the land.
This is the Lord’s declaration.

13 For from the least to the greatest of them,(BY)
everyone is making profit dishonestly.(BZ)
From prophet to priest,
everyone deals falsely.(CA)
14 They have treated my people’s brokenness superficially,
claiming, “Peace, peace,”(CB)
when there is no peace.
15 Were they ashamed when they acted so detestably?
They weren’t at all ashamed.
They can no longer feel humiliation.(CC)
Therefore, they will fall among the fallen.
When I punish them, they will collapse,(CD)
says the Lord.

Disaster because of Disobedience

16 This is what the Lord says:

Stand by the roadways and look.
Ask about the ancient paths,(CE)
“Which is the way to what is good?”
Then take it
and find rest for yourselves.(CF)
But they protested, “We won’t!”
17 I appointed watchmen over you(CG)
and said, “Listen for the sound of the ram’s horn.”
But they protested, “We won’t listen!”

18 Therefore listen, you nations
and you witnesses,
learn what the charge is against them.
19 Listen, earth!
I am about to bring disaster on these people,
the fruit of their own plotting,(CH)
for they have paid no attention to my words.
They have rejected my instruction.(CI)
20 What use to me is frankincense from Sheba(CJ)
or sweet cane(CK) from a distant land?
Your burnt offerings are not acceptable;
your sacrifices do not please me.(CL)
21 Therefore, this is what the Lord says:
I am going to place stumbling blocks before these people;
fathers and sons together will stumble over them;(CM)
friends and neighbors will also perish.

A Cruel Nation from the North

22 This is what the Lord says:

Look,(CN) an army is coming from a northern land;(CO)
a great nation will be stirred up
from the remote regions of the earth.(CP)
23 They grasp bow and javelin.
They are cruel and show no mercy.(CQ)
Their voice roars like the sea,(CR)
and they ride on horses,
lined up like men in battle formation
against you, Daughter Zion.

24 We have heard about it,
and our hands have become weak.
Distress has seized us—
pain, like a woman in labor.(CS)
25 Don’t go out to the fields;
don’t walk on the road.
For the enemy has a sword;
terror is on every side.(CT)

26 My dear[o] people, dress yourselves in sackcloth
and roll in the dust.(CU)
Mourn as you would for an only son,(CV)
a bitter lament,
for suddenly the destroyer(CW) will come on us.(CX)

Jeremiah Appointed as an Examiner

27 I have appointed you to be an assayer among my people—
a refiner[p]
so you may know and assay their way of life.(CY)
28 All are stubborn rebels
spreading slander.(CZ)
They are bronze and iron;
all of them are corrupt.(DA)
29 The bellows blow,
blasting the lead with fire.
The refining is completely in vain;
the evil ones are not separated out.
30 They are called rejected silver,
for the Lord has rejected them.(DB)


  1. 5:1 Lit See and know
  2. 5:7 Or adultery and trooped to the, or adultery and lodged at the; Hb obscure
  3. 5:8 Lit well-equipped; Hb obscure
  4. 5:8 Lit early-rising; Hb obscure
  5. 5:12 Lit “He does not exist
  6. 5:21 Lit without heart
  7. 5:26 Lit hunters of birds
  8. 5:26 Hb obscure
  9. 6:1 = House of the Vineyard
  10. 6:2 Or silence
  11. 6:7 Or well keeps its water fresh, so she keeps her evil fresh
  12. 6:10 Or and bear witness
  13. 6:10 They are unresponsive to God.
  14. 6:11 Lit with fullness of days
  15. 6:26 Lit Daughter of my
  16. 6:27 Text emended; MT reads fortress

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