The Call of Jeremiah

The word of the Lord came to me, saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb(A) I knew[a](B) you,
    before you were born(C) I set you apart;(D)
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.(E)

“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak;(F) I am too young.”(G)

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid(H) of them, for I am with you(I) and will rescue(J) you,” declares the Lord.(K)

Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched(L) my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth.(M) 10 See, today I appoint you over nations(N) and kingdoms to uproot(O) and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”(P)

11 The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?”(Q)

“I see the branch of an almond tree,” I replied.

12 The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching[b](R) to see that my word is fulfilled.”

13 The word of the Lord came to me again: “What do you see?”(S)

“I see a pot that is boiling,” I answered. “It is tilting toward us from the north.”

14 The Lord said to me, “From the north(T) disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land. 15 I am about to summon all the peoples of the northern kingdoms,” declares the Lord.

“Their kings will come and set up their thrones
    in the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem;
they will come against all her surrounding walls
    and against all the towns of Judah.(U)
16 I will pronounce my judgments(V) on my people
    because of their wickedness(W) in forsaking me,(X)
in burning incense to other gods(Y)
    and in worshiping(Z) what their hands have made.(AA)

17 “Get yourself ready! Stand up and say(AB) to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified(AC) by them, or I will terrify you before them. 18 Today I have made you(AD) a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land—against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land. 19 They will fight against you but will not overcome(AE) you, for I am with you(AF) and will rescue(AG) you,” declares the Lord.

Israel Forsakes God

The word(AH) of the Lord came to me: “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem:

“This is what the Lord says:

“‘I remember the devotion of your youth,(AI)
    how as a bride you loved me
and followed me through the wilderness,(AJ)
    through a land not sown.
Israel was holy(AK) to the Lord,(AL)
    the firstfruits(AM) of his harvest;
all who devoured(AN) her were held guilty,(AO)
    and disaster overtook them,’”
declares the Lord.

Hear the word of the Lord, you descendants of Jacob,
    all you clans of Israel.

This is what the Lord says:

“What fault did your ancestors find in me,
    that they strayed so far from me?
They followed worthless idols(AP)
    and became worthless(AQ) themselves.
They did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord,
    who brought us up out of Egypt(AR)
and led us through the barren wilderness,
    through a land of deserts(AS) and ravines,(AT)
a land of drought and utter darkness,
    a land where no one travels(AU) and no one lives?’
I brought you into a fertile land
    to eat its fruit and rich produce.(AV)
But you came and defiled my land
    and made my inheritance detestable.(AW)
The priests did not ask,
    ‘Where is the Lord?’
Those who deal with the law did not know me;(AX)
    the leaders(AY) rebelled against me.
The prophets prophesied by Baal,(AZ)
    following worthless idols.(BA)

“Therefore I bring charges(BB) against you again,”
declares the Lord.
    “And I will bring charges against your children’s children.
10 Cross over to the coasts of Cyprus(BC) and look,
    send to Kedar[c](BD) and observe closely;
    see if there has ever been anything like this:
11 Has a nation ever changed its gods?
    (Yet they are not gods(BE) at all.)
But my people have exchanged their glorious(BF) God
    for worthless idols.
12 Be appalled at this, you heavens,
    and shudder with great horror,”
declares the Lord.
13 “My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken(BG) me,
    the spring of living water,(BH)
and have dug their own cisterns,
    broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
14 Is Israel a servant, a slave(BI) by birth?
    Why then has he become plunder?
15 Lions(BJ) have roared;
    they have growled at him.
They have laid waste(BK) his land;
    his towns are burned(BL) and deserted.(BM)
16 Also, the men of Memphis(BN) and Tahpanhes(BO)
    have cracked your skull.
17 Have you not brought this on yourselves(BP)
    by forsaking(BQ) the Lord your God
    when he led you in the way?
18 Now why go to Egypt(BR)
    to drink water from the Nile[d]?(BS)
And why go to Assyria(BT)
    to drink water from the Euphrates?(BU)
19 Your wickedness will punish you;
    your backsliding(BV) will rebuke(BW) you.
Consider then and realize
    how evil and bitter(BX) it is for you
when you forsake(BY) the Lord your God
    and have no awe(BZ) of me,”
declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.

20 “Long ago you broke off your yoke(CA)
    and tore off your bonds;(CB)
    you said, ‘I will not serve you!’(CC)
Indeed, on every high hill(CD)
    and under every spreading tree(CE)
    you lay down as a prostitute.(CF)
21 I had planted(CG) you like a choice vine(CH)
    of sound and reliable stock.
How then did you turn against me
    into a corrupt,(CI) wild vine?
22 Although you wash(CJ) yourself with soap(CK)
    and use an abundance of cleansing powder,
    the stain of your guilt is still before me,”
declares the Sovereign Lord.(CL)
23 “How can you say, ‘I am not defiled;(CM)
    I have not run after the Baals’?(CN)
See how you behaved in the valley;(CO)
    consider what you have done.
You are a swift she-camel
    running(CP) here and there,
24 a wild donkey(CQ) accustomed to the desert,(CR)
    sniffing the wind in her craving—
    in her heat who can restrain her?
Any males that pursue her need not tire themselves;
    at mating time they will find her.
25 Do not run until your feet are bare
    and your throat is dry.
But you said, ‘It’s no use!(CS)
    I love foreign gods,(CT)
    and I must go after them.’(CU)

26 “As a thief is disgraced(CV) when he is caught,
    so the people of Israel are disgraced—
they, their kings and their officials,
    their priests(CW) and their prophets.(CX)
27 They say to wood,(CY) ‘You are my father,’
    and to stone,(CZ) ‘You gave me birth.’
They have turned their backs(DA) to me
    and not their faces;(DB)
yet when they are in trouble,(DC) they say,
    ‘Come and save(DD) us!’
28 Where then are the gods(DE) you made for yourselves?
    Let them come if they can save you
    when you are in trouble!(DF)
For you, Judah, have as many gods
    as you have towns.(DG)

29 “Why do you bring charges against me?
    You have all(DH) rebelled against me,”
declares the Lord.
30 “In vain I punished your people;
    they did not respond to correction.(DI)
Your sword has devoured your prophets(DJ)
    like a ravenous lion.

31 “You of this generation, consider the word of the Lord:

“Have I been a desert to Israel
    or a land of great darkness?(DK)
Why do my people say, ‘We are free to roam;
    we will come to you no more’?(DL)
32 Does a young woman forget her jewelry,
    a bride her wedding ornaments?
Yet my people have forgotten(DM) me,
    days without number.
33 How skilled you are at pursuing(DN) love!
    Even the worst of women can learn from your ways.
34 On your clothes is found
    the lifeblood(DO) of the innocent poor,
    though you did not catch them breaking in.(DP)
Yet in spite of all this
35     you say, ‘I am innocent;(DQ)
    he is not angry with me.’
But I will pass judgment(DR) on you
    because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’(DS)
36 Why do you go about so much,
    changing(DT) your ways?
You will be disappointed by Egypt(DU)
    as you were by Assyria.
37 You will also leave that place
    with your hands on your head,(DV)
for the Lord has rejected those you trust;
    you will not be helped(DW) by them.

“If a man divorces(DX) his wife
    and she leaves him and marries another man,
should he return to her again?
    Would not the land be completely defiled?(DY)
But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers(DZ)
    would you now return to me?”(EA)
declares the Lord.
“Look up to the barren heights(EB) and see.
    Is there any place where you have not been ravished?
By the roadside(EC) you sat waiting for lovers,
    sat like a nomad in the desert.
You have defiled the land(ED)
    with your prostitution(EE) and wickedness.
Therefore the showers have been withheld,(EF)
    and no spring rains(EG) have fallen.
Yet you have the brazen(EH) look of a prostitute;
    you refuse to blush with shame.(EI)
Have you not just called to me:
    ‘My Father,(EJ) my friend from my youth,(EK)
will you always be angry?(EL)
    Will your wrath continue forever?’
This is how you talk,
    but you do all the evil you can.”

Unfaithful Israel

During the reign of King Josiah,(EM) the Lord said to me, “Have you seen what faithless(EN) Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree(EO) and has committed adultery(EP) there. I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister(EQ) Judah saw it.(ER) I gave faithless Israel(ES) her certificate of divorce(ET) and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear;(EU) she also went out and committed adultery. Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land(EV) and committed adultery(EW) with stone(EX) and wood.(EY) 10 In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return(EZ) to me with all her heart, but only in pretense,(FA)” declares the Lord.(FB)

11 The Lord said to me, “Faithless Israel is more righteous(FC) than unfaithful(FD) Judah.(FE) 12 Go, proclaim this message toward the north:(FF)

“‘Return,(FG) faithless(FH) Israel,’ declares the Lord,
    ‘I will frown on you no longer,
for I am faithful,’(FI) declares the Lord,
    ‘I will not be angry(FJ) forever.
13 Only acknowledge(FK) your guilt—
    you have rebelled against the Lord your God,
you have scattered your favors to foreign gods(FL)
    under every spreading tree,(FM)
    and have not obeyed(FN) me,’”
declares the Lord.

14 “Return,(FO) faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am your husband.(FP) I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. 15 Then I will give you shepherds(FQ) after my own heart,(FR) who will lead you with knowledge and understanding. 16 In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land,” declares the Lord, “people will no longer say, ‘The ark(FS) of the covenant of the Lord.’ It will never enter their minds or be remembered;(FT) it will not be missed, nor will another one be made. 17 At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne(FU) of the Lord, and all nations(FV) will gather in Jerusalem to honor(FW) the name of the Lord. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts.(FX) 18 In those days the people of Judah will join the people of Israel,(FY) and together(FZ) they will come from a northern(GA) land to the land(GB) I gave your ancestors as an inheritance.

19 “I myself said,

“‘How gladly would I treat you like my children
    and give you a pleasant land,(GC)
    the most beautiful inheritance(GD) of any nation.’
I thought you would call me ‘Father’(GE)
    and not turn away from following me.
20 But like a woman unfaithful to her husband,
    so you, Israel, have been unfaithful(GF) to me,”
declares the Lord.

21 A cry is heard on the barren heights,(GG)
    the weeping(GH) and pleading of the people of Israel,
because they have perverted their ways
    and have forgotten(GI) the Lord their God.

22 “Return,(GJ) faithless people;
    I will cure(GK) you of backsliding.”(GL)

“Yes, we will come to you,
    for you are the Lord our God.
23 Surely the idolatrous commotion on the hills(GM)
    and mountains is a deception;
surely in the Lord our God
    is the salvation(GN) of Israel.
24 From our youth shameful(GO) gods have consumed
    the fruits of our ancestors’ labor—
their flocks and herds,
    their sons and daughters.
25 Let us lie down in our shame,(GP)
    and let our disgrace cover us.
We have sinned(GQ) against the Lord our God,
    both we and our ancestors;(GR)
from our youth(GS) till this day
    we have not obeyed(GT) the Lord our God.”

“If you, Israel, will return,(GU)
    then return to me,”
declares the Lord.
“If you put your detestable idols(GV) out of my sight
    and no longer go astray,
and if in a truthful, just and righteous way
    you swear,(GW) ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’(GX)
then the nations will invoke blessings(GY) by him
    and in him they will boast.(GZ)

This is what the Lord says to the people of Judah and to Jerusalem:

“Break up your unplowed ground(HA)
    and do not sow among thorns.(HB)
Circumcise yourselves to the Lord,
    circumcise your hearts,(HC)
    you people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,
or my wrath(HD) will flare up and burn like fire(HE)
    because of the evil(HF) you have done—
    burn with no one to quench(HG) it.

Disaster From the North

“Announce in Judah and proclaim(HH) in Jerusalem and say:
    ‘Sound the trumpet(HI) throughout the land!’
Cry aloud and say:
    ‘Gather together!
    Let us flee to the fortified cities!’(HJ)
Raise the signal(HK) to go to Zion!
    Flee for safety without delay!
For I am bringing disaster(HL) from the north,(HM)
    even terrible destruction.”

A lion(HN) has come out of his lair;(HO)
    a destroyer(HP) of nations has set out.
He has left his place
    to lay waste(HQ) your land.
Your towns will lie in ruins(HR)
    without inhabitant.
So put on sackcloth,(HS)
    lament(HT) and wail,
for the fierce anger(HU) of the Lord
    has not turned away from us.

“In that day,” declares the Lord,
    “the king and the officials will lose heart,(HV)
the priests will be horrified,
    and the prophets will be appalled.”(HW)

10 Then I said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! How completely you have deceived(HX) this people and Jerusalem by saying, ‘You will have peace,’(HY) when the sword is at our throats!”

11 At that time this people and Jerusalem will be told, “A scorching wind(HZ) from the barren heights in the desert blows toward my people, but not to winnow or cleanse; 12 a wind(IA) too strong for that comes from me. Now I pronounce my judgments(IB) against them.”

13 Look! He advances like the clouds,(IC)
    his chariots(ID) come like a whirlwind,(IE)
his horses(IF) are swifter than eagles.(IG)
    Woe to us! We are ruined!(IH)
14 Jerusalem, wash(II) the evil from your heart and be saved.(IJ)
    How long(IK) will you harbor wicked thoughts?
15 A voice is announcing from Dan,(IL)
    proclaiming disaster from the hills of Ephraim.(IM)
16 “Tell this to the nations,
    proclaim concerning Jerusalem:
‘A besieging army is coming from a distant land,(IN)
    raising a war cry(IO) against the cities of Judah.(IP)
17 They surround(IQ) her like men guarding a field,
    because she has rebelled(IR) against me,’”
declares the Lord.
18 “Your own conduct and actions(IS)
    have brought this on you.(IT)
This is your punishment.
    How bitter(IU) it is!
    How it pierces to the heart!”

19 Oh, my anguish, my anguish!(IV)
    I writhe in pain.(IW)
Oh, the agony of my heart!
    My heart pounds(IX) within me,
    I cannot keep silent.(IY)
For I have heard the sound of the trumpet;(IZ)
    I have heard the battle cry.(JA)
20 Disaster follows disaster;(JB)
    the whole land lies in ruins.(JC)
In an instant my tents(JD) are destroyed,
    my shelter in a moment.
21 How long must I see the battle standard(JE)
    and hear the sound of the trumpet?(JF)

22 “My people are fools;(JG)
    they do not know me.(JH)
They are senseless children;
    they have no understanding.(JI)
They are skilled in doing evil;(JJ)
    they know not how to do good.”(JK)

23 I looked at the earth,
    and it was formless and empty;(JL)
and at the heavens,
    and their light(JM) was gone.
24 I looked at the mountains,
    and they were quaking;(JN)
    all the hills were swaying.
25 I looked, and there were no people;
    every bird in the sky had flown away.(JO)
26 I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert;(JP)
    all its towns lay in ruins(JQ)
    before the Lord, before his fierce anger.(JR)

27 This is what the Lord says:

“The whole land will be ruined,(JS)
    though I will not destroy(JT) it completely.
28 Therefore the earth will mourn(JU)
    and the heavens above grow dark,(JV)
because I have spoken and will not relent,(JW)
    I have decided and will not turn back.(JX)

29 At the sound of horsemen and archers(JY)
    every town takes to flight.(JZ)
Some go into the thickets;
    some climb up among the rocks.(KA)
All the towns are deserted;(KB)
    no one lives in them.

30 What are you doing,(KC) you devastated one?
    Why dress yourself in scarlet
    and put on jewels(KD) of gold?
Why highlight your eyes with makeup?(KE)
    You adorn yourself in vain.
Your lovers(KF) despise you;
    they want to kill you.(KG)

31 I hear a cry as of a woman in labor,(KH)
    a groan as of one bearing her first child—
the cry of Daughter Zion(KI) gasping for breath,(KJ)
    stretching out her hands(KK) and saying,
“Alas! I am fainting;
    my life is given over to murderers.”(KL)

Not One Is Upright

“Go up and down(KM) the streets of Jerusalem,
    look around and consider,(KN)
    search through her squares.
If you can find but one person(KO)
    who deals honestly(KP) and seeks the truth,
    I will forgive(KQ) this city.
Although they say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’(KR)
    still they are swearing falsely.(KS)

Lord, do not your eyes(KT) look for truth?
    You struck(KU) them, but they felt no pain;
    you crushed them, but they refused correction.(KV)
They made their faces harder than stone(KW)
    and refused to repent.(KX)
I thought, “These are only the poor;
    they are foolish,(KY)
for they do not know(KZ) the way of the Lord,
    the requirements of their God.
So I will go to the leaders(LA)
    and speak to them;
surely they know the way of the Lord,
    the requirements of their God.”
But with one accord they too had broken off the yoke
    and torn off the bonds.(LB)
Therefore a lion from the forest(LC) will attack them,
    a wolf from the desert will ravage(LD) them,
a leopard(LE) will lie in wait near their towns
    to tear to pieces any who venture out,
for their rebellion is great
    and their backslidings many.(LF)

“Why should I forgive you?
    Your children have forsaken me
    and sworn(LG) by gods that are not gods.(LH)
I supplied all their needs,
    yet they committed adultery(LI)
    and thronged to the houses of prostitutes.(LJ)
They are well-fed, lusty stallions,
    each neighing for another man’s wife.(LK)
Should I not punish them for this?”(LL)
    declares the Lord.
“Should I not avenge(LM) myself
    on such a nation as this?

10 “Go through her vineyards and ravage them,
    but do not destroy them completely.(LN)
Strip off her branches,
    for these people do not belong to the Lord.
11 The people of Israel and the people of Judah
    have been utterly unfaithful(LO) to me,”
declares the Lord.

12 They have lied(LP) about the Lord;
    they said, “He will do nothing!
No harm will come to us;(LQ)
    we will never see sword or famine.(LR)
13 The prophets(LS) are but wind(LT)
    and the word is not in them;
    so let what they say be done to them.”

14 Therefore this is what the Lord God Almighty says:

“Because the people have spoken these words,
    I will make my words in your mouth(LU) a fire(LV)
    and these people the wood it consumes.(LW)
15 People of Israel,” declares the Lord,
    “I am bringing a distant nation(LX) against you—
an ancient and enduring nation,
    a people whose language(LY) you do not know,
    whose speech you do not understand.
16 Their quivers(LZ) are like an open grave;
    all of them are mighty warriors.
17 They will devour(MA) your harvests and food,
    devour(MB) your sons and daughters;
they will devour(MC) your flocks and herds,
    devour your vines and fig trees.(MD)
With the sword(ME) they will destroy
    the fortified cities(MF) in which you trust.(MG)

18 “Yet even in those days,” declares the Lord, “I will not destroy(MH) you completely. 19 And when the people ask,(MI) ‘Why has the Lord our God done all this to us?’ you will tell them, ‘As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods(MJ) in your own land, so now you will serve foreigners(MK) in a land not your own.’

20 “Announce this to the descendants of Jacob
    and proclaim(ML) it in Judah:
21 Hear this, you foolish and senseless people,(MM)
    who have eyes(MN) but do not see,
    who have ears but do not hear:(MO)
22 Should you not fear(MP) me?” declares the Lord.
    “Should you not tremble(MQ) in my presence?
I made the sand a boundary for the sea,(MR)
    an everlasting barrier it cannot cross.
The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail;
    they may roar,(MS) but they cannot cross it.
23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious(MT) hearts;
    they have turned aside(MU) and gone away.
24 They do not say to themselves,
    ‘Let us fear(MV) the Lord our God,
who gives autumn and spring rains(MW) in season,
    who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.’(MX)
25 Your wrongdoings have kept these away;
    your sins have deprived you of good.(MY)

26 “Among my people are the wicked(MZ)
    who lie in wait(NA) like men who snare birds
    and like those who set traps(NB) to catch people.
27 Like cages full of birds,
    their houses are full of deceit;(NC)
they have become rich(ND) and powerful
28     and have grown fat(NE) and sleek.
Their evil deeds have no limit;
    they do not seek justice.
They do not promote the case of the fatherless;(NF)
    they do not defend the just cause of the poor.(NG)
29 Should I not punish them for this?”
    declares the Lord.
“Should I not avenge(NH) myself
    on such a nation as this?

30 “A horrible(NI) and shocking thing
    has happened in the land:
31 The prophets prophesy lies,(NJ)
    the priests(NK) rule by their own authority,
and my people love it this way.
    But what will you do in the end?(NL)

Jerusalem Under Siege

“Flee for safety, people of Benjamin!
    Flee from Jerusalem!
Sound the trumpet(NM) in Tekoa!(NN)
    Raise the signal over Beth Hakkerem!(NO)
For disaster looms out of the north,(NP)
    even terrible destruction.
I will destroy Daughter Zion,(NQ)
    so beautiful and delicate.(NR)
Shepherds(NS) with their flocks will come against her;
    they will pitch their tents around(NT) her,
    each tending his own portion.”

“Prepare for battle against her!
    Arise, let us attack at noon!(NU)
But, alas, the daylight is fading,
    and the shadows of evening grow long.
So arise, let us attack at night
    and destroy her fortresses!”

This is what the Lord Almighty says:

“Cut down the trees(NV)
    and build siege ramps(NW) against Jerusalem.
This city must be punished;
    it is filled with oppression.(NX)
As a well pours out its water,
    so she pours out her wickedness.
Violence(NY) and destruction(NZ) resound in her;
    her sickness and wounds are ever before me.
Take warning, Jerusalem,
    or I will turn away(OA) from you
and make your land desolate
    so no one can live in it.”

This is what the Lord Almighty says:

“Let them glean the remnant(OB) of Israel
    as thoroughly as a vine;
pass your hand over the branches again,
    like one gathering grapes.”

10 To whom can I speak and give warning?
    Who will listen(OC) to me?
Their ears are closed[e](OD)
    so they cannot hear.(OE)
The word(OF) of the Lord is offensive to them;
    they find no pleasure in it.
11 But I am full of the wrath(OG) of the Lord,
    and I cannot hold it in.(OH)

“Pour it out on the children in the street
    and on the young men(OI) gathered together;
both husband and wife will be caught in it,
    and the old, those weighed down with years.(OJ)
12 Their houses will be turned over to others,(OK)
    together with their fields and their wives,(OL)
when I stretch out my hand(OM)
    against those who live in the land,”
declares the Lord.
13 “From the least to the greatest,
    all(ON) are greedy for gain;(OO)
prophets and priests alike,
    all practice deceit.(OP)
14 They dress the wound of my people
    as though it were not serious.
‘Peace, peace,’ they say,
    when there is no peace.(OQ)
15 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?
    No, they have no shame at all;
    they do not even know how to blush.(OR)
So they will fall among the fallen;
    they will be brought down when I punish(OS) them,”
says the Lord.

16 This is what the Lord says:

“Stand at the crossroads and look;
    ask for the ancient paths,(OT)
ask where the good way(OU) is, and walk in it,
    and you will find rest(OV) for your souls.
    But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
17 I appointed watchmen(OW) over you and said,
    ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’(OX)
    But you said, ‘We will not listen.’(OY)
18 Therefore hear, you nations;
    you who are witnesses,
    observe what will happen to them.
19 Hear, you earth:(OZ)
    I am bringing disaster(PA) on this people,
    the fruit of their schemes,(PB)
because they have not listened to my words(PC)
    and have rejected my law.(PD)
20 What do I care about incense from Sheba(PE)
    or sweet calamus(PF) from a distant land?
Your burnt offerings are not acceptable;(PG)
    your sacrifices(PH) do not please me.”(PI)

21 Therefore this is what the Lord says:

“I will put obstacles before this people.
    Parents and children alike will stumble(PJ) over them;
    neighbors and friends will perish.”

22 This is what the Lord says:

“Look, an army is coming
    from the land of the north;(PK)
a great nation is being stirred up
    from the ends of the earth.(PL)
23 They are armed with bow and spear;
    they are cruel and show no mercy.(PM)
They sound like the roaring sea(PN)
    as they ride on their horses;(PO)
they come like men in battle formation
    to attack you, Daughter Zion.(PP)

24 We have heard reports about them,
    and our hands hang limp.(PQ)
Anguish(PR) has gripped us,
    pain like that of a woman in labor.(PS)
25 Do not go out to the fields
    or walk on the roads,
for the enemy has a sword,
    and there is terror on every side.(PT)
26 Put on sackcloth,(PU) my people,
    and roll in ashes;(PV)
mourn with bitter wailing(PW)
    as for an only son,(PX)
for suddenly the destroyer(PY)
    will come upon us.

27 “I have made you a tester(PZ) of metals
    and my people the ore,
that you may observe
    and test their ways.
28 They are all hardened rebels,(QA)
    going about to slander.(QB)
They are bronze and iron;(QC)
    they all act corruptly.
29 The bellows blow fiercely
    to burn away the lead with fire,
but the refining(QD) goes on in vain;
    the wicked are not purged out.
30 They are called rejected silver,(QE)
    because the Lord has rejected them.”(QF)

False Religion Worthless

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Stand(QG) at the gate of the Lord’s house and there proclaim this message:

“‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the Lord. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways(QH) and your actions, and I will let you live(QI) in this place. Do not trust(QJ) in deceptive(QK) words and say, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!” If you really change(QL) your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly,(QM) if you do not oppress(QN) the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood(QO) in this place, and if you do not follow other gods(QP) to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land(QQ) I gave your ancestors(QR) for ever and ever. But look, you are trusting(QS) in deceptive(QT) words that are worthless.

“‘Will you steal(QU) and murder,(QV) commit adultery(QW) and perjury,[f](QX) burn incense to Baal(QY) and follow other gods(QZ) you have not known, 10 and then come and stand(RA) before me in this house,(RB) which bears my Name, and say, “We are safe”—safe to do all these detestable things?(RC) 11 Has this house,(RD) which bears my Name, become a den of robbers(RE) to you? But I have been watching!(RF) declares the Lord.

12 “‘Go now to the place in Shiloh(RG) where I first made a dwelling(RH) for my Name,(RI) and see what I did(RJ) to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel. 13 While you were doing all these things, declares the Lord, I spoke(RK) to you again and again,(RL) but you did not listen;(RM) I called(RN) you, but you did not answer.(RO) 14 Therefore, what I did to Shiloh(RP) I will now do to the house that bears my Name,(RQ) the temple(RR) you trust in, the place I gave to you and your ancestors. 15 I will thrust you from my presence,(RS) just as I did all your fellow Israelites, the people of Ephraim.’(RT)

16 “So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea(RU) or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen(RV) to 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 light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven.(RW) They pour out drink offerings(RX) to other gods to arouse(RY) my anger. 19 But am I the one they are provoking?(RZ) declares the Lord. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame?(SA)

20 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign(SB) Lord says: My anger(SC) and my wrath will be poured(SD) out on this place—on man and beast, on the trees of the field and on the crops of your land—and it will burn and not be quenched.(SE)

21 “‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices(SF) and eat(SG) the meat yourselves! 22 For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands(SH) about burnt offerings and sacrifices,(SI) 23 but I gave them this command:(SJ) Obey(SK) me, and I will be your God and you will be my people.(SL) Walk in obedience to all(SM) I command you, that it may go well(SN) with you. 24 But they did not listen(SO) or pay attention;(SP) instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts.(SQ) They went backward(SR) and not forward. 25 From the time your ancestors left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again(SS) I sent you my servants(ST) the prophets.(SU) 26 But they did not listen to me or pay attention.(SV) They were stiff-necked(SW) and did more evil than their ancestors.’(SX)

27 “When you tell(SY) them all this, they will not listen(SZ) to you; when you call to them, they will not answer.(TA) 28 Therefore say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction.(TB) Truth(TC) has perished; it has vanished from their lips.

29 “‘Cut off(TD) your hair and throw it away; take up a lament(TE) on the barren heights, for the Lord has rejected and abandoned(TF) this generation that is under his wrath.

The Valley of Slaughter

30 “‘The people of Judah have done evil(TG) in my eyes, declares the Lord. They have set up their detestable idols(TH) in the house that bears my Name and have defiled(TI) it. 31 They have built the high places of Topheth(TJ) in the Valley of Ben Hinnom(TK) to burn their sons and daughters(TL) in the fire—something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind.(TM) 32 So beware, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when people will no longer call it Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter,(TN) for they will bury(TO) the dead in Topheth until there is no more room. 33 Then the carcasses(TP) of this people will become food(TQ) for the birds and the wild animals, and there will be no one to frighten them away.(TR) 34 I will bring an end to the sounds(TS) of joy and gladness and to the voices of bride and bridegroom(TT) in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem,(TU) for the land will become desolate.(TV)

“‘At that time, declares the Lord, the bones of the kings and officials of Judah, the bones of the priests and prophets, and the bones(TW) of the people of Jerusalem will be removed(TX) from their graves. They will be exposed to the sun and the moon and all the stars of the heavens, which they have loved and served(TY) and which they have followed and consulted and worshiped.(TZ) They will not be gathered up or buried,(UA) but will be like dung lying on the ground.(UB) Wherever I banish them,(UC) all the survivors of this evil nation will prefer death to life,(UD) declares the Lord Almighty.’

Sin and Punishment

“Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says:

“‘When people fall down, do they not get up?(UE)
    When someone turns away,(UF) do they not return?
Why then have these people turned away?
    Why does Jerusalem always turn away?
They cling to deceit;(UG)
    they refuse to return.(UH)
I have listened(UI) attentively,
    but they do not say what is right.
None of them repent(UJ) of their wickedness,
    saying, “What have I done?”
Each pursues their own course(UK)
    like a horse charging into battle.
Even the stork in the sky
    knows her appointed seasons,
and the dove, the swift and the thrush
    observe the time of their migration.
But my people do not know(UL)
    the requirements of the Lord.

“‘How can you say, “We are wise,
    for we have the law(UM) of the Lord,”
when actually the lying pen of the scribes
    has handled it falsely?
The wise(UN) will be put to shame;
    they will be dismayed(UO) and trapped.(UP)
Since they have rejected the word(UQ) of the Lord,
    what kind of wisdom(UR) do they have?
10 Therefore I will give their wives to other men
    and their fields to new owners.(US)
From the least to the greatest,
    all are greedy for gain;(UT)
prophets(UU) and priests alike,
    all practice deceit.(UV)
11 They dress the wound of my people
    as though it were not serious.
“Peace, peace,” they say,
    when there is no peace.(UW)
12 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?
    No, they have no shame(UX) at all;
    they do not even know how to blush.
So they will fall among the fallen;
    they will be brought down when they are punished,(UY)
says the Lord.(UZ)

13 “‘I will take away their harvest,
declares the Lord.
    There will be no grapes on the vine.(VA)
There will be no figs(VB) on the tree,
    and their leaves will wither.(VC)
What I have given them
    will be taken(VD) from them.[g]’”

14 Why are we sitting here?
    Gather together!
Let us flee to the fortified cities(VE)
    and perish there!
For the Lord our God has doomed us to perish
    and given us poisoned water(VF) to drink,
    because we have sinned(VG) against him.
15 We hoped for peace(VH)
    but no good has come,
for a time of healing
    but there is only terror.(VI)
16 The snorting of the enemy’s horses(VJ)
    is heard from Dan;(VK)
at the neighing of their stallions
    the whole land trembles.(VL)
They have come to devour(VM)
    the land and everything in it,
    the city and all who live there.

17 “See, I will send venomous snakes(VN) among you,
    vipers that cannot be charmed,(VO)
    and they will bite you,”
declares the Lord.

18 You who are my Comforter[h] in sorrow,
    my heart is faint(VP) within me.
19 Listen to the cry of my people
    from a land far away:(VQ)
“Is the Lord not in Zion?
    Is her King(VR) no longer there?”

“Why have they aroused(VS) my anger with their images,
    with their worthless(VT) foreign idols?”(VU)

20 “The harvest is past,
    the summer has ended,
    and we are not saved.”

21 Since my people are crushed,(VV) I am crushed;
    I mourn,(VW) and horror grips me.
22 Is there no balm in Gilead?(VX)
    Is there no physician(VY) there?
Why then is there no healing(VZ)
    for the wound of my people?

[i]Oh, that my head were a spring of water
    and my eyes a fountain of tears!(WA)
I would weep(WB) day and night
    for the slain of my people.(WC)
Oh, that I had in the desert(WD)
    a lodging place for travelers,
so that I might leave my people
    and go away from them;
for they are all adulterers,(WE)
    a crowd of unfaithful(WF) people.

“They make ready their tongue
    like a bow, to shoot lies;(WG)
it is not by truth
    that they triumph[j] in the land.
They go from one sin to another;
    they do not acknowledge(WH) me,”
declares the Lord.
“Beware of your friends;(WI)
    do not trust anyone in your clan.(WJ)
For every one of them is a deceiver,[k](WK)
    and every friend a slanderer.(WL)
Friend deceives friend,(WM)
    and no one speaks the truth.(WN)
They have taught their tongues to lie;(WO)
    they weary themselves with sinning.
You[l] live in the midst of deception;(WP)
    in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,”
declares the Lord.

Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says:

“See, I will refine(WQ) and test(WR) them,
    for what else can I do
    because of the sin of my people?
Their tongue(WS) is a deadly arrow;
    it speaks deceitfully.
With their mouths they all speak cordially to their neighbors,(WT)
    but in their hearts they set traps(WU) for them.(WV)
Should I not punish them for this?”
    declares the Lord.
“Should I not avenge(WW) myself
    on such a nation as this?”

10 I will weep and wail for the mountains
    and take up a lament concerning the wilderness grasslands.(WX)
They are desolate and untraveled,
    and the lowing of cattle is not heard.
The birds(WY) have all fled
    and the animals are gone.

11 “I will make Jerusalem a heap(WZ) of ruins,
    a haunt of jackals;(XA)
and I will lay waste the towns of Judah(XB)
    so no one can live there.”(XC)

12 Who is wise(XD) enough to understand this? Who has been instructed by the Lord and can explain it? Why has the land been ruined and laid waste like a desert that no one can cross?

13 The Lord said, “It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law.(XE) 14 Instead, they have followed(XF) the stubbornness of their hearts;(XG) they have followed the Baals, as their ancestors taught them.” 15 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “See, I will make this people eat bitter food(XH) and drink poisoned water.(XI) 16 I will scatter them among nations(XJ) that neither they nor their ancestors have known,(XK) and I will pursue them with the sword(XL) until I have made an end of them.”(XM)

17 This is what the Lord Almighty says:

“Consider now! Call for the wailing women(XN) to come;
    send for the most skillful of them.
18 Let them come quickly
    and wail over us
till our eyes overflow with tears
    and water streams from our eyelids.(XO)
19 The sound of wailing is heard from Zion:
    ‘How ruined(XP) we are!
    How great is our shame!
We must leave our land
    because our houses are in ruins.’”

20 Now, you women, hear the word of the Lord;
    open your ears to the words of his mouth.(XQ)
Teach your daughters how to wail;
    teach one another a lament.(XR)
21 Death has climbed in through our windows(XS)
    and has entered our fortresses;
it has removed the children from the streets
    and the young men(XT) from the public squares.

22 Say, “This is what the Lord declares:

“‘Dead bodies will lie
    like dung(XU) on the open field,
like cut grain behind the reaper,
    with no one to gather them.’”

23 This is what the Lord says:

“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom(XV)
    or the strong boast of their strength(XW)
    or the rich boast of their riches,(XX)
24 but let the one who boasts boast(XY) about this:
    that they have the understanding to know(XZ) me,
that I am the Lord,(YA) who exercises kindness,(YB)
    justice and righteousness(YC) on earth,
    for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.


  1. Jeremiah 1:5 Or chose
  2. Jeremiah 1:12 The Hebrew for watching sounds like the Hebrew for almond tree.
  3. Jeremiah 2:10 In the Syro-Arabian desert
  4. Jeremiah 2:18 Hebrew Shihor; that is, a branch of the Nile
  5. Jeremiah 6:10 Hebrew uncircumcised
  6. Jeremiah 7:9 Or and swear by false gods
  7. Jeremiah 8:13 The meaning of the Hebrew for this sentence is uncertain.
  8. Jeremiah 8:18 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  9. Jeremiah 9:1 In Hebrew texts 9:1 is numbered 8:23, and 9:2-26 is numbered 9:1-25.
  10. Jeremiah 9:3 Or lies; / they are not valiant for truth
  11. Jeremiah 9:4 Or a deceiving Jacob
  12. Jeremiah 9:6 That is, Jeremiah (the Hebrew is singular)

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