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[a]If only my head were a pool of water
    and my eyes a fountain of tears,
I would weep day and night
    for all my people who have been slaughtered.
[b]Oh, that I could go away and forget my people
    and live in a travelers’ shack in the desert.
For they are all adulterers—
    a pack of treacherous liars.

Judgment for Disobedience

“My people bend their tongues like bows
    to shoot out lies.
They refuse to stand up for the truth.
    They only go from bad to worse.
They do not know me,”
    says the Lord.

“Beware of your neighbor!
    Don’t even trust your brother!
For brother takes advantage of brother,
    and friend slanders friend.
They all fool and defraud each other;
    no one tells the truth.
With practiced tongues they tell lies;
    they wear themselves out with all their sinning.
They pile lie upon lie
    and utterly refuse to acknowledge me,”
    says the Lord.

Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
“See, I will melt them down in a crucible
    and test them like metal.
What else can I do with my people?[c]
    For their tongues shoot lies like poisoned arrows.
They speak friendly words to their neighbors
    while scheming in their heart to kill them.
Should I not punish them for this?” says the Lord.
    “Should I not avenge myself against such a nation?”

10 I will weep for the mountains
    and wail for the wilderness pastures.
For they are desolate and empty of life;
    the lowing of cattle is heard no more;
    the birds and wild animals have all fled.

11 “I will make Jerusalem into a heap of ruins,” says the Lord.
    “It will be a place haunted by jackals.
The towns of Judah will be ghost towns,
    with no one living in them.”

12 Who is wise enough to understand all this? Who has been instructed by the Lord and can explain it to others? Why has the land been so ruined that no one dares to travel through it?

13 The Lord replies, “This has happened because my people have abandoned my instructions; they have refused to obey what I said. 14 Instead, they have stubbornly followed their own desires and worshiped the images of Baal, as their ancestors taught them. 15 So now, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Look! I will feed them with bitterness and give them poison to drink. 16 I will scatter them around the world, in places they and their ancestors never heard of, and even there I will chase them with the sword until I have destroyed them completely.”

Weeping in Jerusalem

17 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
“Consider all this, and call for the mourners.
    Send for the women who mourn at funerals.
18 Quick! Begin your weeping!
    Let the tears flow from your eyes.
19 Hear the people of Jerusalem[d] crying in despair,
    ‘We are ruined! We are completely humiliated!
We must leave our land,
    because our homes have been torn down.’”

20 Listen, you women, to the words of the Lord;
    open your ears to what he has to say.
Teach your daughters to wail;
    teach one another how to lament.
21 For death has crept in through our windows
    and has entered our mansions.
It has killed off the flower of our youth:
    Children no longer play in the streets,
    and young men no longer gather in the squares.

22 This is what the Lord says:
“Bodies will be scattered across the fields like clumps of manure,
    like bundles of grain after the harvest.
    No one will be left to bury them.”

23 This is what the Lord says:
“Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom,
    or the powerful boast in their power,
    or the rich boast in their riches.
24 But those who wish to boast
    should boast in this alone:
that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord
    who demonstrates unfailing love
    and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth,
and that I delight in these things.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!

25 “A time is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will punish all those who are circumcised in body but not in spirit— 26 the Egyptians, Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites, the people who live in the desert in remote places,[e] and yes, even the people of Judah. And like all these pagan nations, the people of Israel also have uncircumcised hearts.”

Idolatry Brings Destruction

10 Hear the word that the Lord speaks to you, O Israel! This is what the Lord says:

“Do not act like the other nations,
    who try to read their future in the stars.
Do not be afraid of their predictions,
    even though other nations are terrified by them.
Their ways are futile and foolish.
    They cut down a tree, and a craftsman carves an idol.
They decorate it with gold and silver
    and then fasten it securely with hammer and nails
    so it won’t fall over.
Their gods are like
    helpless scarecrows in a cucumber field!
They cannot speak,
    and they need to be carried because they cannot walk.
Do not be afraid of such gods,
    for they can neither harm you nor do you any good.”

Lord, there is no one like you!
    For you are great, and your name is full of power.
Who would not fear you, O King of nations?
    That title belongs to you alone!
Among all the wise people of the earth
    and in all the kingdoms of the world,
    there is no one like you.

People who worship idols are stupid and foolish.
    The things they worship are made of wood!
They bring beaten sheets of silver from Tarshish
    and gold from Uphaz,
and they give these materials to skillful craftsmen
    who make their idols.
Then they dress these gods in royal blue and purple robes
    made by expert tailors.
10 But the Lord is the only true God.
    He is the living God and the everlasting King!
The whole earth trembles at his anger.
    The nations cannot stand up to his wrath.

11 Say this to those who worship other gods: “Your so-called gods, who did not make the heavens and earth, will vanish from the earth and from under the heavens.”[f]

12 But the Lord made the earth by his power,
    and he preserves it by his wisdom.
With his own understanding
    he stretched out the heavens.
13 When he speaks in the thunder,
    the heavens roar with rain.
He causes the clouds to rise over the earth.
    He sends the lightning with the rain
    and releases the wind from his storehouses.
14 The whole human race is foolish and has no knowledge!
    The craftsmen are disgraced by the idols they make,
for their carefully shaped works are a fraud.
    These idols have no breath or power.
15 Idols are worthless; they are ridiculous lies!
    On the day of reckoning they will all be destroyed.
16 But the God of Israel[g] is no idol!
    He is the Creator of everything that exists,
including Israel, his own special possession.
    The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name!

The Coming Destruction

17 Pack your bags and prepare to leave;
    the siege is about to begin.
18 For this is what the Lord says:
“Suddenly, I will fling out
    all you who live in this land.
I will pour great troubles upon you,
    and at last you will feel my anger.”

19 My wound is severe,
    and my grief is great.
My sickness is incurable,
    but I must bear it.
20 My home is gone,
    and no one is left to help me rebuild it.
My children have been taken away,
    and I will never see them again.
21 The shepherds of my people have lost their senses.
    They no longer seek wisdom from the Lord.
Therefore, they fail completely,
    and their flocks are scattered.
22 Listen! Hear the terrifying roar of great armies
    as they roll down from the north.
The towns of Judah will be destroyed
    and become a haunt for jackals.

Jeremiah’s Prayer

23 I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own.
    We are not able to plan our own course.
24 So correct me, Lord, but please be gentle.
    Do not correct me in anger, for I would die.
25 Pour out your wrath on the nations that refuse to acknowledge you—
    on the peoples that do not call upon your name.
For they have devoured your people Israel[h];
    they have devoured and consumed them,
    making the land a desolate wilderness.

Footnotes

  1. 9:1 Verse 9:1 is numbered 8:23 in Hebrew text.
  2. 9:2 Verses 9:2-26 are numbered 9:1-25 in Hebrew text.
  3. 9:7 Hebrew with the daughter of my people? Greek version reads with the evil daughter of my people?
  4. 9:19 Hebrew Zion.
  5. 9:26 Or in the desert and clip the corners of their hair.
  6. 10:11 The original text of this verse is in Aramaic.
  7. 10:16 Hebrew the Portion of Jacob. See note on 5:20.
  8. 10:25 Hebrew devoured Jacob. See note on 5:20.

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