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Jeremiah 7-11 Common English Bible (CEB)

The Lord’s temple

Jeremiah received the Lord’s word: Stand near the gate of the Lord’s temple and proclaim there this message: Listen to the Lord’s word, all you of Judah who enter these gates to worship the Lord. This is what the Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, says: Improve your conduct and your actions, and I will dwell with you[a] in this place. Don’t trust in lies: “This is the Lord’s temple! The Lord’s temple! The Lord’s temple!” No, if you truly reform your ways and your actions; if you treat each other justly; if you stop taking advantage of the immigrant, orphan, or widow; if you don’t shed the blood of the innocent in this place, or go after other gods to your own ruin, only then will I dwell with you[b] in this place, in the land that I gave long ago to your ancestors for all time.

And yet you trust in lies that will only hurt you. Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, sacrifice to Baal and go after other gods that you don’t know, 10 and then come and stand before me in this temple that bears my name, and say, “We are safe,” only to keep on doing all these detestable things? 11 Do you regard this temple, which bears my name, as a hiding place for criminals? I can see what’s going on here, declares the Lord. 12 Just go to my sanctuary[c] in Shiloh, where I let my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it because of the evil of my people Israel. 13 And now, because you have done all these things, declares the Lord, because you haven’t listened when I spoke to you again and again or responded when I called you, 14 I will do to this temple that bears my name and on which you rely, the place that I gave to you and your ancestors, just as I did to Shiloh. 15 I will cast you out of my sight, just as I cast out the rest of your family, all the people of Ephraim.

16 As for you, don’t pray for these people, don’t cry out or plead for them, and don’t intercede with me, for I won’t listen to you. 17 Can’t you 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 dough to make sacrificial cakes for the queen of heaven. And to offend me all the more, they pour out drink offerings to foreign gods. 19 But am I the one they are really offending? declares the Lord. Aren’t they in fact humiliating themselves? 20 Therefore, this is what the Lord God says: I’m going to pour out my fierce anger on this place, on humans and beasts, on the trees of the field and the crops of the fertile land. It will burn and not go out.

21 This is what the Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, says: Add your entirely burned offerings to your sacrifices and eat them yourselves! 22 On the day I brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt, I didn’t say a thing—I gave no instructions—about entirely burned offerings or sacrifices. 23 Rather, this is what I required of them: Obey me so that I may become your God and you may become my people. Follow the path I mark out for you so that it may go well with you. 24 But they didn’t listen or pay attention. They followed their willful and evil hearts and went backward rather than forward. 25 From the moment your ancestors left the land of Egypt to this day, I have sent you all my servants the prophets—day after day. 26 But they didn’t listen to me or pay attention; they were stubborn and did more harm than their ancestors. 27 When you tell them all this, they won’t listen to you. When you call to them, they won’t respond. 28 Therefore, say to them: This nation neither obeys the Lord its God nor accepts correction; truth has disappeared; it has vanished from their lips.

29 Cut off your hair and cast it away;
    grieve on the well-traveled paths.
The Lord has rejected you
    and has cast off a generation that provokes his anger.

30 The people of Judah have done what displeases me, declares the Lord. They have corrupted the temple that bears my name by setting up their disgusting idols. 31 They have built shrines at Topheth in the Ben-hinnom Valley to burn their sons and daughters in the fire, although I never commanded such a thing, nor did it ever cross my mind. 32 So now the time is coming, declares the Lord, when people will no longer speak of Topheth or the Ben-hinnom Valley, but the Carnage Valley. They will bury in Topheth until no space is left. 33 The corpses of this people will be food for birds and wild animals, with no one to drive them off. 34 I will silence the sound of joy and delight as well as the voice of bride and bridegroom in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, for the country will be reduced to a wasteland.

At that time, declares the Lord, the bones of the kings of Judah and its officers, the bones of the priests and the prophets, and the bones of the people of Jerusalem will be taken from their graves and exposed to the sun, the moon, and the whole heavenly forces, which they have loved and served and which they have followed, consulted, and worshipped. Their bones won’t be gathered for reburial but will become like refuse lying on the ground. The survivors of this evil nation will prefer death to life, wherever I have scattered them, declares the Lord of heavenly forces.

Depth of Judah’s wrongdoing

Say to them, The Lord proclaims:
When people fall down, don’t they get up?
    When they turn aside, don’t they turn back?
Why then does this people, rebellious Jerusalem,
    persistently turn away from me?
They cling to deceit
    and refuse to return.
I have listened carefully
    but haven’t heard a word of truth from them.
No one regrets their wrongdoing;
    no one says, “What have I done?”
Everyone turns to their own course,
    like a stallion dashing into the thick of battle.
Even the stork in the sky knows the seasons,
    and the dove, swallow,[d] and crane[e]
        return in due time.
            But my people don’t know the Lord’s ways.
How can you say, “We are wise;
    we possess the Lord’s Instruction,”
        when the lying pen of the scribes has surely distorted it?
The wise will be shamed and shocked
    when they are caught.
Look, they have rejected the Lord’s word;
    what kind of wisdom is that?
10 Therefore, I will give their wives to others
    and their fields to their captors.
From the least to the greatest,
    all are eager to profit.
From prophet to priest,
    all trade in falsehood.
11 They treat the wound of my people
    as if it were nothing:
“All is well, all is well,” they insist,
    when in fact nothing is well.
12 They should be ashamed
        of their detestable practices,
    but they have no shame;
        they don’t even blush!
Therefore, they will fall among the fallen
    and stumble when disaster arrives,
        declares the Lord.
13 I will put an end to them,[f]
        declares the Lord;
    there are no grapes on the vine,
        no figs on the tree,
        only withered leaves.
They have squandered what I have given them![g]

A lament for God’s people

14 Why are we sitting here?
    Come, let’s go to the fortified towns
        and meet our doom there.
The Lord our God has doomed us
    by giving us poisoned water to drink,
        because we have sinned against the Lord!
15 We longed for relief,
        but received none;
    for a time of healing,
        but found only terror.
16 The snorting of their horses can be heard as far as Dan;
    the neighing of their stallions makes the whole land tremble.
They come to devour the land and everything in it,
    towns and people alike.
17 See, I’m sending serpents against you,
    vipers that you can’t charm,
    and they will bite you,
        declares the Lord.
18 No healing,
    only grief;
        my heart is broken.[h]
19 Listen to the weeping of my people
        all across the land:
    “Isn’t the Lord in Zion?
        Is her king no longer there?”
Why then did they anger me with their images,
    with pointless foreign gods?
20 “The harvest is past,
    the summer has ended,
        yet we aren’t saved.”
21 Because my people are crushed,
    I am crushed;
    darkness and despair overwhelm me.

What to do with God’s people

22 Is there no balm in Gilead?
    Is there no physician there?
Why then have my people
    not been restored to health?

[i] If only my head were a spring of water,
    and my eyes a fountain of tears,
I would weep day and night
    for the wounds of my people.
[j] If only I could flee for shelter in the desert,
    to leave my people
        and forget them—
    for they are all adulterers,
        a bunch of crooks.
They bend their tongues like bows
        to spew out lies;
    they are renowned in the land,
        but not for truth.
They go from bad to worse.
    They don’t know me!
        declares the Lord.
Be wary of your friends!
    Don’t trust your sibling![k]
    Every sibling is a cheater,
        and every friend traffics in slander.
One cheats the other;
    no one tells the truth;
        they train themselves to lie;
        they wear themselves out by doing wrong.
You live in a world of deceit, and in their deceit
    they refuse to know me,[l]
        declares the Lord.
Therefore, the Lord of heavenly forces proclaims:
I’m going to refine and test them,
    for what else can I do with my people?
Their tongue is a lethal arrow;
    their words are deceitful.
They wish their neighbors well,
    but in their hearts plot their ruin.
Shouldn’t I punish them for this?
        declares the Lord;
    shouldn’t I avenge such a nation?
10 I will weep and wail for the mountains,
    and lament for the grazing lands in the wilderness.
They are dried up and deserted;
    no sound of the flocks is heard;
    no sign of birds or animals is seen;
        all have vanished.
11 I will reduce Jerusalem to ruins,
    a den for wild dogs.
I will make the towns of Judah a wasteland, without inhabitant.
12 Who is wise enough to understand this?
    Who has been taught by the Lord
    and can therefore explain it?
Why has the land been reduced to rubble
    and laid waste like a desert,
        with no one passing through?

13 The Lord says: It is because they have abandoned my Instruction that I gave them, and haven’t obeyed or followed it. 14 Instead, they have followed their own willful hearts and have gone after the Baals, as their ancestors taught them. 15 Therefore, this is what the Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, says: I’m going to feed this people bitter food and give them poison to drink. 16 I will scatter them among nations about whom neither they nor their ancestors have ever heard. I will pursue them with the sword until all are gone.

17 The Lord of heavenly forces proclaims:
Pay attention!
Summon the women who mourn,
        let them come;
    send for those best trained,
        let them come.
18 Hurry!
Let them weep for us
    so that our eyes fill up with tears
        and water streams down.
19 The sound of sobbing
    is heard from Zion:
    “We’re devastated!
    We’re so ashamed!
    We have to leave the land
        and abandon our homes!”
20 Women, hear the Lord’s word. Listen closely to the word
    from his mouth:
        teach your daughters to mourn;
        teach each other to grieve.
21 Death has climbed through our windows;
    it has entered our fortresses
        to eliminate children from the streets,
        the youth from the squares.
22 Declare what the Lord says:
Dead bodies will lie
    like dung on the fields,
    like bundles of grain after the harvest,
        with no one to pick them up.
23 The Lord proclaims:
    the learned should not boast of their knowledge,
        nor warriors boast of their might,
        nor the rich boast of their wealth.
24 No, those who boast should boast in this:
    that they understand and know me.
I am the Lord who acts with kindness,
    justice, and righteousness in the world,
        and I delight in these things,
            declares the Lord.

25 The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will deal with everyone who is physically circumcised: 26 whether they are Egyptians or Judeans, Edomites or Ammonites, Moabites or the desert dwellers who cut the hair on their foreheads. All these nations are really uncircumcised; even the people of Israel are uncircumcised in heart.

Living God or human handiwork

10 Listen to the word that the Lord has spoken to you, people of Israel!
The Lord proclaims:
Don’t follow the ways of the nations
    or be troubled by signs in the sky,
        even though the nations are troubled by them.
The rituals of the nations are hollow:
    a tree from the forest is chopped down
        and shaped by the craftsman’s tools.
It’s overlaid with silver and gold,
    and fastened securely with hammer and nails
        so it won’t fall over.
They are no different than a scarecrow
    in a cucumber patch:
    they can’t speak;
    they must be carried
        because they can’t walk.
Don’t be afraid of them,
    because they can’t do harm or good.
Lord, no one is like you!
    You are great,
    and great is your mighty name.
Who wouldn’t fear you,
    king of the nations?
That is your due;
    among all the wise of the nations
    and in all their countries,
        there is no one like you!
But they are both foolish and silly;
    they offer nothing
        because they are mere wood.
Covered with silver from Tarshish
    and gold from Uphaz,
        they are the work of a craftsman
        and the hands of a goldsmith.
Clothed in blue and purple,
    all of them nothing more than the work of artisans.
10 But the Lord is the true God!
    He’s the living God and the everlasting king!
When he’s angry, the earth quakes;
    the nations can’t endure his rage.

11 Tell them this: The gods who didn’t make the heavens and the earth will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.[m]

12 But God made the earth by his might;
    he shaped the world by his wisdom,
    crafted the skies by his knowledge.
13 At the sound of his voice,
    the heavenly waters roar.
    He raises the clouds from the ends of the earth.
He sends the lightning with the rain,
    the wind from his treasuries.
14 Everyone is too foolish to understand;
    every goldsmith is dishonored by his idols,
        for their images are shams;
        they aren’t alive.
15 They are a delusion, a charade;
        at the appointed time they will vanish!
16 Jacob’s portion is utterly different
    because God has formed all things,
        including Israel, his very own people—
        the Lord of heavenly forces is his name!

Get ready for exile!

17 Pack your bags and get ready to leave,
    you who live under siege.[n]
18 The Lord proclaims:
I’m going to eject those who live in the land at this time;
    I will badger them until they leave.[o]

19 How terrible for me, due to my injury;
    my wound is terrible.
Yet I said to myself:
    This is my sickness,
        and I must bear it.
20 But now my tent is destroyed;
    all its ropes are cut,
        and my children are gone for good.
    There’s no one left to set up my tent frame
        and to attach the fabric.
21 The shepherd kings have lost their senses
    and don’t seek answers from the Lord.
That is why they have failed
    and their flock is scattered.
22 Listen! The sound is getting louder,
    a mighty uproar from the land of the north;
    it will reduce the towns of Judah to ruins,
        a den for wild dogs.
23 I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own,
    that we’re not able to direct our paths.
24 So correct me, Lord, but with justice,
    not in your anger,
        or else you will reduce me to nothing.
25 Pour out your wrath on the nations
        that ignore you
    and on the people
        who don’t call on you,
        since they have devoured Jacob;
        they have devoured him completely
            and ruined his country.

Judah’s broken covenant with God

11 Jeremiah received the Lord’s word: Listen to the terms of this covenant and proclaim them to the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem. Say to them: This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Cursed are those who don’t heed the terms of this covenant that I commanded your ancestors when I bought them out of the land of Egypt, that iron crucible, saying, Obey me and observe all that I instruct you. Then you will be my people and I, even I, will be your God. I will fulfill my solemn pledge that I made to your ancestors to give them a land full of milk and honey, as is the case today.

And I replied, “As you say, Lord!”

The Lord said to me: Announce all these words in the towns of Judah and on the streets of Jerusalem: Obey the terms of this covenant and perform them. I repeatedly and tirelessly warned your ancestors when I brought them out of the land of Egypt to this very day, saying, Obey me. But they didn’t listen or pay attention; they followed their own willful ambitions. So I brought upon them all the punishments I prescribed for violating this covenant—for refusing to obey.

The Lord said to me: A conspiracy is taking place among the people of Judah and residents of Jerusalem. 10 They have returned to the sins of their ancestors who refused to obey my words. They too are following other gods and serving them. The people of Israel and the people of Judah have broken my covenant that I made with their ancestors.

11 Therefore, the Lord proclaims: I will bring upon them a disaster from which they won’t be able to escape. They will cry out to me, but I won’t listen to them. 12 Then the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem will call upon the gods they worship,[p] but they won’t save them when disaster strikes. 13 You have as many gods as you have towns, Judah, and you have as many shameful altars for worshipping Baal as you have streets in Jerusalem.

14 As for you, don’t pray for these people, don’t cry out or plead for them, for I won’t listen when they cry out to me on account of their distress.

15 What are my loved ones doing in my temple
    while working out their many evil schemes?
Can sacred offerings cancel your sin
    so that you revel in your evil deeds?[q]
16 The Lord named you,
    “A blossoming olive tree, fair and fruitful”;
        but with the blast of a powerful storm
        he will set it ablaze,
        until its branches are completely consumed.[r]

17 The Lord of heavenly forces who planted you has announced disaster for you, because the people of Israel and Judah have done evil and made me angry by worshipping Baal.

Jeremiah’s lament

18 The Lord informed me and I knew.
    Then he helped me see what they were up to.
19 I was like a young lamb led to the slaughter;
    I didn’t realize that they were planning
        their schemes against me:
“Let’s destroy the tree with its fruit;
    let’s cut him off from the land of the living
    so that even any knowledge of him will be wiped out.”
20 Lord of heavenly forces, righteous judge,
    who tests the heart and mind,
        let me see your revenge upon them,
        because I have committed my case to you.

21 This is what the Lord says concerning the men from Anathoth who seek your life and say, “Don’t prophesy in the Lord’s name or else you will die at our hands.” 22 Therefore, the Lord of heavenly forces proclaims, I’m going to punish them. Their young men will die in war, and their sons and daughters will die by famine. 23 No one will be left because I will bring disaster upon the men of Anathoth when their time comes.

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 7:3 Or I will let you dwell
  2. Jeremiah 7:7 Or I will let you dwell
  3. Jeremiah 7:12 Or place
  4. Jeremiah 8:7 Heb uncertain
  5. Jeremiah 8:7 Heb uncertain
  6. Jeremiah 8:13 Heb uncertain
  7. Jeremiah 8:13 Heb uncertain
  8. Jeremiah 8:18 Heb uncertain
  9. Jeremiah 9:1 8:23 in Heb
  10. Jeremiah 9:2 9:1 in Heb
  11. Jeremiah 9:4 Or brother
  12. Jeremiah 9:6 Heb uncertain
  13. Jeremiah 10:11 10:11 is written in Aramaic.
  14. Jeremiah 10:17 Heb uncertain
  15. Jeremiah 10:18 Or find it
  16. Jeremiah 11:12 Or to whom they burn incense
  17. Jeremiah 11:15 Heb uncertain
  18. Jeremiah 11:16 Vulg; MT broken
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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