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Jeremiah 7-8 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Jeremiah Proclaims God’s Judgment on the Nation

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah, you that enter these gates to worship the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your doings, and let me dwell with you[a] in this place. Do not trust in these deceptive words: “This is[b] the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.”

For if you truly amend your ways and your doings, if you truly act justly one with another, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, and the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own hurt, then I will dwell with you in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your ancestors forever and ever.

Here you are, trusting in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, “We are safe!”—only to go on doing all these abominations? 11 Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your sight? You know, I too am watching, says the Lord. 12 Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. 13 And now, because you have done all these things, says the Lord, and when I spoke to you persistently, you did not listen, and when I called you, you did not answer, 14 therefore I will do to the house that is called by my name, in which you trust, and to the place that I gave to you and to your ancestors, just what I did to Shiloh. 15 And I will cast you out of my sight, just as I cast out all your kinsfolk, all the offspring of Ephraim.

The People’s Disobedience

16 As for you, do not pray for this people, do not raise a cry or prayer on their behalf, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear 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 kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger. 19 Is it I whom they provoke? says the Lord. Is it not themselves, to their own hurt? 20 Therefore thus says the Lord God: My anger and my wrath shall be poured out on this place, on human beings and animals, on the trees of the field and the fruit of the ground; it will burn and not be quenched.

21 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices, and eat the flesh. 22 For in the day that I brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to them or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. 23 But this command I gave them, “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk only in the way that I command you, so that it may be well with you.” 24 Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but, in the stubbornness of their evil will, they walked in their own counsels, and looked backward rather than forward. 25 From the day that your ancestors came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day; 26 yet they did not listen to me, or pay attention, but they stiffened their necks. They did worse than their ancestors did.

27 So you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you. You shall call to them, but they will not answer you. 28 You shall say to them: This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the Lord their God, and did not accept discipline; truth has perished; it is cut off from their lips.

29 Cut off your hair and throw it away;
    raise a lamentation on the bare heights,[c]
for the Lord has rejected and forsaken
    the generation that provoked his wrath.

30 For the people of Judah have done evil in my sight, says the Lord; they have set their abominations in the house that is called by my name, defiling it. 31 And they go on building the high place[d] of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire—which I did not command, nor did it come into my mind. 32 Therefore, the days are surely coming, says the Lord, when it will no more be called Topheth, or the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of Slaughter: for they will bury in Topheth until there is no more room. 33 The corpses of this people will be food for the birds of the air, and for the animals of the earth; and no one will frighten them away. 34 And I will bring to an end the sound of mirth and gladness, the voice of the bride and bridegroom in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; for the land shall become a waste.

At that time, says the Lord, the bones of the kings of Judah, the bones of its officials, the bones of the priests, the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be brought out of their tombs; and they shall be spread before the sun and the moon and all the host of heaven, which they have loved and served, which they have followed, and which they have inquired of and worshiped; and they shall not be gathered or buried; they shall be like dung on the surface of the ground. Death shall be preferred to life by all the remnant that remains of this evil family in all the places where I have driven them, says the Lord of hosts.

The Blind Perversity of the Whole Nation

You shall say to them, Thus says the Lord:
When people fall, do they not get up again?
    If they go astray, do they not turn back?
Why then has this people[e] turned away
    in perpetual backsliding?
They have held fast to deceit,
    they have refused to return.
I have given heed and listened,
    but they do not speak honestly;
no one repents of wickedness,
    saying, “What have I done!”
All of them turn to their own course,
    like a horse plunging headlong into battle.
Even the stork in the heavens
    knows its times;
and the turtledove, swallow, and crane[f]
    observe the time of their coming;
but my people do not know
    the ordinance of the Lord.

How can you say, “We are wise,
    and the law of the Lord is with us,”
when, in fact, the false pen of the scribes
    has made it into a lie?
The wise shall be put to shame,
    they shall be dismayed and taken;
since they have rejected the word of the Lord,
    what wisdom is in them?
10 Therefore I will give their wives to others
    and their fields to conquerors,
because from the least to the greatest
    everyone is greedy for unjust gain;
from prophet to priest
    everyone deals falsely.
11 They have treated the wound of my people carelessly,
    saying, “Peace, peace,”
    when there is no peace.
12 They acted shamefully, they committed abomination;
    yet they were not at all ashamed,
    they did not know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
    at the time when I punish them, they shall be overthrown,
says the Lord.
13 When I wanted to gather them, says the Lord,
    there are[g] no grapes on the vine,
    nor figs on the fig tree;
even the leaves are withered,
    and what I gave them has passed away from them.[h]

14 Why do we sit still?
Gather together, let us go into the fortified cities
    and perish there;
for the Lord our God has doomed us to perish,
    and has given us poisoned water to drink,
    because we have sinned against the Lord.
15 We look for peace, but find no good,
    for a time of healing, but there is terror instead.

16 The snorting of their horses is heard from Dan;
    at the sound of the neighing of their stallions
    the whole land quakes.
They come and devour the land and all that fills it,
    the city and those who live in it.
17 See, I am letting snakes loose among you,
    adders that cannot be charmed,
    and they shall bite you,
says the Lord.

The Prophet Mourns for the People

18 My joy is gone, grief is upon me,
    my heart is sick.
19 Hark, the cry of my poor people
    from far and wide in the land:
“Is the Lord not in Zion?
    Is her King not in her?”
(“Why have they provoked me to anger with their images,
    with their foreign idols?”)
20 “The harvest is past, the summer is ended,
    and we are not saved.”
21 For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt,
    I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me.

22 Is there no balm in Gilead?
    Is there no physician there?
Why then has the health of my poor people
    not been restored?

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 7:3 Or and I will let you dwell
  2. Jeremiah 7:4 Heb They are
  3. Jeremiah 7:29 Or the trails
  4. Jeremiah 7:31 Gk Tg: Heb high places
  5. Jeremiah 8:5 One Ms Gk: MT this people, Jerusalem,
  6. Jeremiah 8:7 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  7. Jeremiah 8:13 Or I will make an end of them, says the Lord. There are
  8. Jeremiah 8:13 Meaning of Heb uncertain
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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