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[a] O that my head were a spring of water,
    and my eyes a fountain of tears,
so that I might weep day and night
    for the slain of my poor people!
[b] O that I had in the desert
    a traveler’s lodging place,
that I might leave my people
    and go away from them!
For they are all adulterers,
    a band of traitors.
They bend their tongues like bows;
    they have grown strong in the land for falsehood, and not for truth;
for they proceed from evil to evil,
    and they do not know me, says the Lord.

Beware of your neighbors,
    and put no trust in any of your kin;[c]
for all your kin[d] are supplanters,
    and every neighbor goes around like a slanderer.
They all deceive their neighbors,
    and no one speaks the truth;
they have taught their tongues to speak lies;
    they commit iniquity and are too weary to repent.[e]
Oppression upon oppression, deceit[f] upon deceit!
    They refuse to know me, says the Lord.

Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts:
I will now refine and test them,
    for what else can I do with my sinful people?[g]
Their tongue is a deadly arrow;
    it speaks deceit through the mouth.
They all speak friendly words to their neighbors,
    but inwardly are planning to lay an ambush.
Shall I not punish them for these things? says the Lord;
    and shall I not bring retribution
    on a nation such as this?

10 Take up[h] weeping and wailing for the mountains,
    and a lamentation for the pastures of the wilderness,
because they are laid waste so that no one passes through,
    and the lowing of cattle is not heard;
both the birds of the air and the animals
    have fled and are gone.
11 I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins,
    a lair of jackals;
and I will make the towns of Judah a desolation,
    without inhabitant.

12 Who is wise enough to understand this? To whom has the mouth of the Lord spoken, so that they may declare it? Why is the land ruined and laid waste like a wilderness, so that no one passes through? 13 And the Lord says: Because they have forsaken my law that I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, or walked in accordance with it, 14 but have stubbornly followed their own hearts and have gone after the Baals, as their ancestors taught them. 15 Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I am feeding this people with wormwood, and giving them poisonous water to drink. 16 I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors have known; and I will send the sword after them, until I have consumed them.

The People Mourn in Judgment

17 Thus says the Lord of hosts:
Consider, and call for the mourning women to come;
    send for the skilled women to come;
18 let them quickly raise a dirge over us,
    so that our eyes may run down with tears,
    and our eyelids flow with water.
19 For a sound of wailing is heard from Zion:
    “How we are ruined!
    We are utterly shamed,
because we have left the land,
    because they have cast down our dwellings.”

20 Hear, O women, the word of the Lord,
    and let your ears receive the word of his mouth;
teach to your daughters a dirge,
    and each to her neighbor a lament.
21 “Death has come up into our windows,
    it has entered our palaces,
to cut off the children from the streets
    and the young men from the squares.”
22 Speak! Thus says the Lord:
“Human corpses shall fall
    like dung upon the open field,
like sheaves behind the reaper,
    and no one shall gather them.”

23 Thus says the Lord: Do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, do not let the mighty boast in their might, do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth; 24 but let those who boast boast in this, that they understand and know me, that I am the Lord; I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord.

25 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will attend to all those who are circumcised only in the foreskin: 26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, the Ammonites, Moab, and all those with shaven temples who live in the desert. For all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 9:1 Ch 8.23 in Heb
  2. Jeremiah 9:2 Ch 9.1 in Heb
  3. Jeremiah 9:4 Heb in a brother
  4. Jeremiah 9:4 Heb for every brother
  5. Jeremiah 9:5 Cn Compare Gk: Heb they weary themselves with iniquity. Your dwelling
  6. Jeremiah 9:6 Cn: Heb Your dwelling in the midst of deceit
  7. Jeremiah 9:7 Or my poor people
  8. Jeremiah 9:10 Gk Syr: Heb I will take up

[a] 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.
[b] 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![c]
    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,[d]
        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.

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 9:1 8:23 in Heb
  2. Jeremiah 9:2 9:1 in Heb
  3. Jeremiah 9:4 Or brother
  4. Jeremiah 9:6 Heb uncertain

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