8 “At that time,” declares the Lord, “the bones of the king of Judah, the bones of his officials, the bones of the priests, the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the residents of Jerusalem will be removed from their graves. 2 They’ll be spread out to the sun, the moon, and all the stars of the heavens, which they loved and served,[a] and which they followed, consulted, and worshipped. Their bones[b] won’t be collected, nor will they be buried. They’ll be like dung on the surface of the ground.
3 “In all the places where the people[c] remain, where I’ve banished them, death will be chosen over life by all the remnant that remains of this evil family,” declares the Lord of the Heavenly Armies.
A Stubborn People
4 “You are to say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says:
“Will a person fall down and then not get up? Will someone turn away[d] and then not turn back again?[e] 5 Why has this people turned away?[f] Why does Jerusalem continue in apostasy? They hold on to deceit and refuse to repent. 6 I’ve listened and I’ve heard, and what they say is not right. No one repents of his evil and says, ‘What have I done?’ “They all turn to their own course like a horse racing into battle. 7 Even the stork in the sky knows its seasons, and the dove, the swallow, and the crane observe the time for migration. But my people don’t know the requirements[g] of the Lord. 8 How can you say, ‘We’re wise, and the Law of the Lord is with us,’ when, in fact, the deceitful pen of the scribe has made it into something that deceives. 9 The wise men will be put to shame. They’ll be dismayed and taken captive. Look, they have rejected the message from the Lord! So what kind of wisdom do they have? 10 Therefore, I’ll give their wives to others, and their fields to new owners. Indeed, from the least important to the most important, they’re all greedy for dishonest gain. From prophet to priest, they all act deceitfully. 11 They have treated my people’s[h] wound superficially, telling them, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace. 12 Are they ashamed because they have done what is repugnant to God?[i] They weren’t ashamed at all; they don’t even know how to blush! Therefore they’ll fall with those who fall. When I punish them, they’ll be brought down,” says the Lord.
13 “I would have gathered them,” declares the Lord, “but there were no grapes on the vine, and no figs on the fig tree, and their leaves were withered. What I’ve given them has been taken away.”’”
The People Respond
14 Why are we sitting here? Join together! Let’s go to the fortified cities and perish there! For the Lord our God has condemned us to perish and given us poisoned water to drink, because we have sinned against him.[j] 15 We waited for peace, but no good has come, for a time of healing, but instead there was terror.
The Lord’s Warning
16 “The snorting of their horses is heard from Dan. At the neighing of their stallions, the whole earth quakes. They’re coming to devour the land and all it contains, the city and all who live in it. 17 Look, I’ll send snakes among you, vipers that cannot be charmed, and they’ll bite you.”
Jeremiah Mourns for His People
18 Incurable sorrow has overwhelmed me, my heart is sick within me. 19 Listen! My people[k] cry from a distant land: “Is the Lord no longer in Zion? Is her king no longer there?”
The Lord Speaks
“Why did they provoke me to anger with their images, with their worthless foreign gods?”
The People Speak
20 The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we haven’t been delivered.
The Prophet Mourns
21 Because my people[l] are crushed, I’m crushed. I mourn, and dismay overwhelms me. 22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? So why is there no healing for my people?[m]
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