Not One Is Upright

“Go up and down(A) the streets of Jerusalem,
    look around and consider,(B)
    search through her squares.
If you can find but one person(C)
    who deals honestly(D) and seeks the truth,
    I will forgive(E) this city.
Although they say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’(F)
    still they are swearing falsely.(G)

Lord, do not your eyes(H) look for truth?
    You struck(I) them, but they felt no pain;
    you crushed them, but they refused correction.(J)
They made their faces harder than stone(K)
    and refused to repent.(L)
I thought, “These are only the poor;
    they are foolish,(M)
for they do not know(N) the way of the Lord,
    the requirements of their God.
So I will go to the leaders(O)
    and speak to them;
surely they know the way of the Lord,
    the requirements of their God.”
But with one accord they too had broken off the yoke
    and torn off the bonds.(P)
Therefore a lion from the forest(Q) will attack them,
    a wolf from the desert will ravage(R) them,
a leopard(S) will lie in wait near their towns
    to tear to pieces any who venture out,
for their rebellion is great
    and their backslidings many.(T)

“Why should I forgive you?
    Your children have forsaken me
    and sworn(U) by gods that are not gods.(V)
I supplied all their needs,
    yet they committed adultery(W)
    and thronged to the houses of prostitutes.(X)
They are well-fed, lusty stallions,
    each neighing for another man’s wife.(Y)
Should I not punish them for this?”(Z)
    declares the Lord.
“Should I not avenge(AA) myself
    on such a nation as this?

10 “Go through her vineyards and ravage them,
    but do not destroy them completely.(AB)
Strip off her branches,
    for these people do not belong to the Lord.
11 The people of Israel and the people of Judah
    have been utterly unfaithful(AC) to me,”
declares the Lord.

12 They have lied(AD) about the Lord;
    they said, “He will do nothing!
No harm will come to us;(AE)
    we will never see sword or famine.(AF)
13 The prophets(AG) are but wind(AH)
    and the word is not in them;
    so let what they say be done to them.”

14 Therefore this is what the Lord God Almighty says:

“Because the people have spoken these words,
    I will make my words in your mouth(AI) a fire(AJ)
    and these people the wood it consumes.(AK)
15 People of Israel,” declares the Lord,
    “I am bringing a distant nation(AL) against you—
an ancient and enduring nation,
    a people whose language(AM) you do not know,
    whose speech you do not understand.
16 Their quivers(AN) are like an open grave;
    all of them are mighty warriors.
17 They will devour(AO) your harvests and food,
    devour(AP) your sons and daughters;
they will devour(AQ) your flocks and herds,
    devour your vines and fig trees.(AR)
With the sword(AS) they will destroy
    the fortified cities(AT) in which you trust.(AU)

18 “Yet even in those days,” declares the Lord, “I will not destroy(AV) you completely. 19 And when the people ask,(AW) ‘Why has the Lord our God done all this to us?’ you will tell them, ‘As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods(AX) in your own land, so now you will serve foreigners(AY) in a land not your own.’

20 “Announce this to the descendants of Jacob
    and proclaim(AZ) it in Judah:
21 Hear this, you foolish and senseless people,(BA)
    who have eyes(BB) but do not see,
    who have ears but do not hear:(BC)
22 Should you not fear(BD) me?” declares the Lord.
    “Should you not tremble(BE) in my presence?
I made the sand a boundary for the sea,(BF)
    an everlasting barrier it cannot cross.
The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail;
    they may roar,(BG) but they cannot cross it.
23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious(BH) hearts;
    they have turned aside(BI) and gone away.
24 They do not say to themselves,
    ‘Let us fear(BJ) the Lord our God,
who gives autumn and spring rains(BK) in season,
    who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.’(BL)
25 Your wrongdoings have kept these away;
    your sins have deprived you of good.(BM)

26 “Among my people are the wicked(BN)
    who lie in wait(BO) like men who snare birds
    and like those who set traps(BP) to catch people.
27 Like cages full of birds,
    their houses are full of deceit;(BQ)
they have become rich(BR) and powerful
28     and have grown fat(BS) and sleek.
Their evil deeds have no limit;
    they do not seek justice.
They do not promote the case of the fatherless;(BT)
    they do not defend the just cause of the poor.(BU)
29 Should I not punish them for this?”
    declares the Lord.
“Should I not avenge(BV) myself
    on such a nation as this?

30 “A horrible(BW) and shocking thing
    has happened in the land:
31 The prophets prophesy lies,(BX)
    the priests(BY) rule by their own authority,
and my people love it this way.
    But what will you do in the end?(BZ)

Jerusalem Under Siege

“Flee for safety, people of Benjamin!
    Flee from Jerusalem!
Sound the trumpet(CA) in Tekoa!(CB)
    Raise the signal over Beth Hakkerem!(CC)
For disaster looms out of the north,(CD)
    even terrible destruction.
I will destroy Daughter Zion,(CE)
    so beautiful and delicate.(CF)
Shepherds(CG) with their flocks will come against her;
    they will pitch their tents around(CH) her,
    each tending his own portion.”

“Prepare for battle against her!
    Arise, let us attack at noon!(CI)
But, alas, the daylight is fading,
    and the shadows of evening grow long.
So arise, let us attack at night
    and destroy her fortresses!”

This is what the Lord Almighty says:

“Cut down the trees(CJ)
    and build siege ramps(CK) against Jerusalem.
This city must be punished;
    it is filled with oppression.(CL)
As a well pours out its water,
    so she pours out her wickedness.
Violence(CM) and destruction(CN) resound in her;
    her sickness and wounds are ever before me.
Take warning, Jerusalem,
    or I will turn away(CO) from you
and make your land desolate
    so no one can live in it.”

This is what the Lord Almighty says:

“Let them glean the remnant(CP) of Israel
    as thoroughly as a vine;
pass your hand over the branches again,
    like one gathering grapes.”

10 To whom can I speak and give warning?
    Who will listen(CQ) to me?
Their ears are closed[a](CR)
    so they cannot hear.(CS)
The word(CT) of the Lord is offensive to them;
    they find no pleasure in it.
11 But I am full of the wrath(CU) of the Lord,
    and I cannot hold it in.(CV)

“Pour it out on the children in the street
    and on the young men(CW) gathered together;
both husband and wife will be caught in it,
    and the old, those weighed down with years.(CX)
12 Their houses will be turned over to others,(CY)
    together with their fields and their wives,(CZ)
when I stretch out my hand(DA)
    against those who live in the land,”
declares the Lord.
13 “From the least to the greatest,
    all(DB) are greedy for gain;(DC)
prophets and priests alike,
    all practice deceit.(DD)
14 They dress the wound of my people
    as though it were not serious.
‘Peace, peace,’ they say,
    when there is no peace.(DE)
15 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?
    No, they have no shame at all;
    they do not even know how to blush.(DF)
So they will fall among the fallen;
    they will be brought down when I punish(DG) them,”
says the Lord.

16 This is what the Lord says:

“Stand at the crossroads and look;
    ask for the ancient paths,(DH)
ask where the good way(DI) is, and walk in it,
    and you will find rest(DJ) for your souls.
    But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
17 I appointed watchmen(DK) over you and said,
    ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’(DL)
    But you said, ‘We will not listen.’(DM)
18 Therefore hear, you nations;
    you who are witnesses,
    observe what will happen to them.
19 Hear, you earth:(DN)
    I am bringing disaster(DO) on this people,
    the fruit of their schemes,(DP)
because they have not listened to my words(DQ)
    and have rejected my law.(DR)
20 What do I care about incense from Sheba(DS)
    or sweet calamus(DT) from a distant land?
Your burnt offerings are not acceptable;(DU)
    your sacrifices(DV) do not please me.”(DW)

21 Therefore this is what the Lord says:

“I will put obstacles before this people.
    Parents and children alike will stumble(DX) over them;
    neighbors and friends will perish.”

22 This is what the Lord says:

“Look, an army is coming
    from the land of the north;(DY)
a great nation is being stirred up
    from the ends of the earth.(DZ)
23 They are armed with bow and spear;
    they are cruel and show no mercy.(EA)
They sound like the roaring sea(EB)
    as they ride on their horses;(EC)
they come like men in battle formation
    to attack you, Daughter Zion.(ED)

24 We have heard reports about them,
    and our hands hang limp.(EE)
Anguish(EF) has gripped us,
    pain like that of a woman in labor.(EG)
25 Do not go out to the fields
    or walk on the roads,
for the enemy has a sword,
    and there is terror on every side.(EH)
26 Put on sackcloth,(EI) my people,
    and roll in ashes;(EJ)
mourn with bitter wailing(EK)
    as for an only son,(EL)
for suddenly the destroyer(EM)
    will come upon us.

27 “I have made you a tester(EN) of metals
    and my people the ore,
that you may observe
    and test their ways.
28 They are all hardened rebels,(EO)
    going about to slander.(EP)
They are bronze and iron;(EQ)
    they all act corruptly.
29 The bellows blow fiercely
    to burn away the lead with fire,
but the refining(ER) goes on in vain;
    the wicked are not purged out.
30 They are called rejected silver,(ES)
    because the Lord has rejected them.”(ET)

False Religion Worthless

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Stand(EU) at the gate of the Lord’s house and there proclaim this message:

“‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the Lord. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways(EV) and your actions, and I will let you live(EW) in this place. Do not trust(EX) in deceptive(EY) words and say, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!” If you really change(EZ) your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly,(FA) if you do not oppress(FB) the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood(FC) in this place, and if you do not follow other gods(FD) to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land(FE) I gave your ancestors(FF) for ever and ever. But look, you are trusting(FG) in deceptive(FH) words that are worthless.

“‘Will you steal(FI) and murder,(FJ) commit adultery(FK) and perjury,[b](FL) burn incense to Baal(FM) and follow other gods(FN) you have not known, 10 and then come and stand(FO) before me in this house,(FP) which bears my Name, and say, “We are safe”—safe to do all these detestable things?(FQ) 11 Has this house,(FR) which bears my Name, become a den of robbers(FS) to you? But I have been watching!(FT) declares the Lord.

12 “‘Go now to the place in Shiloh(FU) where I first made a dwelling(FV) for my Name,(FW) and see what I did(FX) to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel. 13 While you were doing all these things, declares the Lord, I spoke(FY) to you again and again,(FZ) but you did not listen;(GA) I called(GB) you, but you did not answer.(GC) 14 Therefore, what I did to Shiloh(GD) I will now do to the house that bears my Name,(GE) the temple(GF) you trust in, the place I gave to you and your ancestors. 15 I will thrust you from my presence,(GG) just as I did all your fellow Israelites, the people of Ephraim.’(GH)

16 “So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea(GI) or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen(GJ) to you. 17 Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven.(GK) They pour out drink offerings(GL) to other gods to arouse(GM) my anger. 19 But am I the one they are provoking?(GN) declares the Lord. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame?(GO)

20 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign(GP) Lord says: My anger(GQ) and my wrath will be poured(GR) out on this place—on man and beast, on the trees of the field and on the crops of your land—and it will burn and not be quenched.(GS)

21 “‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices(GT) and eat(GU) the meat yourselves! 22 For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands(GV) about burnt offerings and sacrifices,(GW) 23 but I gave them this command:(GX) Obey(GY) me, and I will be your God and you will be my people.(GZ) Walk in obedience to all(HA) I command you, that it may go well(HB) with you. 24 But they did not listen(HC) or pay attention;(HD) instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts.(HE) They went backward(HF) and not forward. 25 From the time your ancestors left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again(HG) I sent you my servants(HH) the prophets.(HI) 26 But they did not listen to me or pay attention.(HJ) They were stiff-necked(HK) and did more evil than their ancestors.’(HL)

27 “When you tell(HM) them all this, they will not listen(HN) to you; when you call to them, they will not answer.(HO) 28 Therefore say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction.(HP) Truth(HQ) has perished; it has vanished from their lips.

29 “‘Cut off(HR) your hair and throw it away; take up a lament(HS) on the barren heights, for the Lord has rejected and abandoned(HT) this generation that is under his wrath.

The Valley of Slaughter

30 “‘The people of Judah have done evil(HU) in my eyes, declares the Lord. They have set up their detestable idols(HV) in the house that bears my Name and have defiled(HW) it. 31 They have built the high places of Topheth(HX) in the Valley of Ben Hinnom(HY) to burn their sons and daughters(HZ) in the fire—something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind.(IA) 32 So beware, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when people will no longer call it Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter,(IB) for they will bury(IC) the dead in Topheth until there is no more room. 33 Then the carcasses(ID) of this people will become food(IE) for the birds and the wild animals, and there will be no one to frighten them away.(IF) 34 I will bring an end to the sounds(IG) of joy and gladness and to the voices of bride and bridegroom(IH) in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem,(II) for the land will become desolate.(IJ)

“‘At that time, declares the Lord, the bones of the kings and officials of Judah, the bones of the priests and prophets, and the bones(IK) of the people of Jerusalem will be removed(IL) from their graves. They will be exposed to the sun and the moon and all the stars of the heavens, which they have loved and served(IM) and which they have followed and consulted and worshiped.(IN) They will not be gathered up or buried,(IO) but will be like dung lying on the ground.(IP) Wherever I banish them,(IQ) all the survivors of this evil nation will prefer death to life,(IR) declares the Lord Almighty.’

Sin and Punishment

“Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says:

“‘When people fall down, do they not get up?(IS)
    When someone turns away,(IT) do they not return?
Why then have these people turned away?
    Why does Jerusalem always turn away?
They cling to deceit;(IU)
    they refuse to return.(IV)
I have listened(IW) attentively,
    but they do not say what is right.
None of them repent(IX) of their wickedness,
    saying, “What have I done?”
Each pursues their own course(IY)
    like a horse charging into battle.
Even the stork in the sky
    knows her appointed seasons,
and the dove, the swift and the thrush
    observe the time of their migration.
But my people do not know(IZ)
    the requirements of the Lord.

“‘How can you say, “We are wise,
    for we have the law(JA) of the Lord,”
when actually the lying pen of the scribes
    has handled it falsely?
The wise(JB) will be put to shame;
    they will be dismayed(JC) and trapped.(JD)
Since they have rejected the word(JE) of the Lord,
    what kind of wisdom(JF) do they have?
10 Therefore I will give their wives to other men
    and their fields to new owners.(JG)
From the least to the greatest,
    all are greedy for gain;(JH)
prophets(JI) and priests alike,
    all practice deceit.(JJ)
11 They dress the wound of my people
    as though it were not serious.
“Peace, peace,” they say,
    when there is no peace.(JK)
12 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?
    No, they have no shame(JL) at all;
    they do not even know how to blush.
So they will fall among the fallen;
    they will be brought down when they are punished,(JM)
says the Lord.(JN)

13 “‘I will take away their harvest,
declares the Lord.
    There will be no grapes on the vine.(JO)
There will be no figs(JP) on the tree,
    and their leaves will wither.(JQ)
What I have given them
    will be taken(JR) from them.[c]’”

14 Why are we sitting here?
    Gather together!
Let us flee to the fortified cities(JS)
    and perish there!
For the Lord our God has doomed us to perish
    and given us poisoned water(JT) to drink,
    because we have sinned(JU) against him.
15 We hoped for peace(JV)
    but no good has come,
for a time of healing
    but there is only terror.(JW)
16 The snorting of the enemy’s horses(JX)
    is heard from Dan;(JY)
at the neighing of their stallions
    the whole land trembles.(JZ)
They have come to devour(KA)
    the land and everything in it,
    the city and all who live there.

17 “See, I will send venomous snakes(KB) among you,
    vipers that cannot be charmed,(KC)
    and they will bite you,”
declares the Lord.

18 You who are my Comforter[d] in sorrow,
    my heart is faint(KD) within me.
19 Listen to the cry of my people
    from a land far away:(KE)
“Is the Lord not in Zion?
    Is her King(KF) no longer there?”

“Why have they aroused(KG) my anger with their images,
    with their worthless(KH) foreign idols?”(KI)

20 “The harvest is past,
    the summer has ended,
    and we are not saved.”

21 Since my people are crushed,(KJ) I am crushed;
    I mourn,(KK) and horror grips me.
22 Is there no balm in Gilead?(KL)
    Is there no physician(KM) there?
Why then is there no healing(KN)
    for the wound of my people?

[e]Oh, that my head were a spring of water
    and my eyes a fountain of tears!(KO)
I would weep(KP) day and night
    for the slain of my people.(KQ)
Oh, that I had in the desert(KR)
    a lodging place for travelers,
so that I might leave my people
    and go away from them;
for they are all adulterers,(KS)
    a crowd of unfaithful(KT) people.

“They make ready their tongue
    like a bow, to shoot lies;(KU)
it is not by truth
    that they triumph[f] in the land.
They go from one sin to another;
    they do not acknowledge(KV) me,”
declares the Lord.
“Beware of your friends;(KW)
    do not trust anyone in your clan.(KX)
For every one of them is a deceiver,[g](KY)
    and every friend a slanderer.(KZ)
Friend deceives friend,(LA)
    and no one speaks the truth.(LB)
They have taught their tongues to lie;(LC)
    they weary themselves with sinning.
You[h] live in the midst of deception;(LD)
    in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,”
declares the Lord.

Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says:

“See, I will refine(LE) and test(LF) them,
    for what else can I do
    because of the sin of my people?
Their tongue(LG) is a deadly arrow;
    it speaks deceitfully.
With their mouths they all speak cordially to their neighbors,(LH)
    but in their hearts they set traps(LI) for them.(LJ)
Should I not punish them for this?”
    declares the Lord.
“Should I not avenge(LK) myself
    on such a nation as this?”

10 I will weep and wail for the mountains
    and take up a lament concerning the wilderness grasslands.(LL)
They are desolate and untraveled,
    and the lowing of cattle is not heard.
The birds(LM) have all fled
    and the animals are gone.

11 “I will make Jerusalem a heap(LN) of ruins,
    a haunt of jackals;(LO)
and I will lay waste the towns of Judah(LP)
    so no one can live there.”(LQ)

12 Who is wise(LR) enough to understand this? Who has been instructed by the Lord and can explain it? Why has the land been ruined and laid waste like a desert that no one can cross?

13 The Lord said, “It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law.(LS) 14 Instead, they have followed(LT) the stubbornness of their hearts;(LU) they have followed the Baals, as their ancestors taught them.” 15 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “See, I will make this people eat bitter food(LV) and drink poisoned water.(LW) 16 I will scatter them among nations(LX) that neither they nor their ancestors have known,(LY) and I will pursue them with the sword(LZ) until I have made an end of them.”(MA)

17 This is what the Lord Almighty says:

“Consider now! Call for the wailing women(MB) to come;
    send for the most skillful of them.
18 Let them come quickly
    and wail over us
till our eyes overflow with tears
    and water streams from our eyelids.(MC)
19 The sound of wailing is heard from Zion:
    ‘How ruined(MD) we are!
    How great is our shame!
We must leave our land
    because our houses are in ruins.’”

20 Now, you women, hear the word of the Lord;
    open your ears to the words of his mouth.(ME)
Teach your daughters how to wail;
    teach one another a lament.(MF)
21 Death has climbed in through our windows(MG)
    and has entered our fortresses;
it has removed the children from the streets
    and the young men(MH) from the public squares.

22 Say, “This is what the Lord declares:

“‘Dead bodies will lie
    like dung(MI) on the open field,
like cut grain behind the reaper,
    with no one to gather them.’”

23 This is what the Lord says:

“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom(MJ)
    or the strong boast of their strength(MK)
    or the rich boast of their riches,(ML)
24 but let the one who boasts boast(MM) about this:
    that they have the understanding to know(MN) me,
that I am the Lord,(MO) who exercises kindness,(MP)
    justice and righteousness(MQ) on earth,
    for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.

25 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh(MR) 26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the wilderness in distant places.[i](MS) For all these nations are really uncircumcised,(MT) and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.(MU)

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 6:10 Hebrew uncircumcised
  2. Jeremiah 7:9 Or and swear by false gods
  3. Jeremiah 8:13 The meaning of the Hebrew for this sentence is uncertain.
  4. Jeremiah 8:18 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  5. Jeremiah 9:1 In Hebrew texts 9:1 is numbered 8:23, and 9:2-26 is numbered 9:1-25.
  6. Jeremiah 9:3 Or lies; / they are not valiant for truth
  7. Jeremiah 9:4 Or a deceiving Jacob
  8. Jeremiah 9:6 That is, Jeremiah (the Hebrew is singular)
  9. Jeremiah 9:26 Or wilderness and who clip the hair by their foreheads