Sin and Punishment

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

“‘When people fall down, do they not get up?(A)
    When someone turns away,(B) do they not return?
Why then have these people turned away?
    Why does Jerusalem always turn away?
They cling to deceit;(C)
    they refuse to return.(D)
I have listened(E) attentively,
    but they do not say what is right.
None of them repent(F) of their wickedness,
    saying, “What have I done?”
Each pursues their own course(G)
    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(H)
    the requirements of the Lord.

“‘How can you say, “We are wise,
    for we have the law(I) of the Lord,”
when actually the lying pen of the scribes
    has handled it falsely?
The wise(J) will be put to shame;
    they will be dismayed(K) and trapped.(L)
Since they have rejected the word(M) of the Lord,
    what kind of wisdom(N) do they have?
10 Therefore I will give their wives to other men
    and their fields to new owners.(O)
From the least to the greatest,
    all are greedy for gain;(P)
prophets(Q) and priests alike,
    all practice deceit.(R)
11 They dress the wound of my people
    as though it were not serious.
“Peace, peace,” they say,
    when there is no peace.(S)
12 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?
    No, they have no shame(T) 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,(U)
says the Lord.(V)

13 “‘I will take away their harvest,
declares the Lord.
    There will be no grapes on the vine.(W)
There will be no figs(X) on the tree,
    and their leaves will wither.(Y)
What I have given them
    will be taken(Z) from them.[a]’”

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

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

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

“Why have they aroused(AO) my anger with their images,
    with their worthless(AP) foreign idols?”(AQ)

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

21 Since my people are crushed,(AR) I am crushed;
    I mourn,(AS) and horror grips me.
22 Is there no balm in Gilead?(AT)
    Is there no physician(AU) there?
Why then is there no healing(AV)
    for the wound of my people?

[c]Oh, that my head were a spring of water
    and my eyes a fountain of tears!(AW)
I would weep(AX) day and night
    for the slain of my people.(AY)
Oh, that I had in the desert(AZ)
    a lodging place for travelers,
so that I might leave my people
    and go away from them;
for they are all adulterers,(BA)
    a crowd of unfaithful(BB) people.

“They make ready their tongue
    like a bow, to shoot lies;(BC)
it is not by truth
    that they triumph[d] in the land.
They go from one sin to another;
    they do not acknowledge(BD) me,”
declares the Lord.
“Beware of your friends;(BE)
    do not trust anyone in your clan.(BF)
For every one of them is a deceiver,[e](BG)
    and every friend a slanderer.(BH)
Friend deceives friend,(BI)
    and no one speaks the truth.(BJ)
They have taught their tongues to lie;(BK)
    they weary themselves with sinning.
You[f] live in the midst of deception;(BL)
    in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,”
declares the Lord.

Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says:

“See, I will refine(BM) and test(BN) them,
    for what else can I do
    because of the sin of my people?
Their tongue(BO) is a deadly arrow;
    it speaks deceitfully.
With their mouths they all speak cordially to their neighbors,(BP)
    but in their hearts they set traps(BQ) for them.(BR)
Should I not punish them for this?”
    declares the Lord.
“Should I not avenge(BS) 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.(BT)
They are desolate and untraveled,
    and the lowing of cattle is not heard.
The birds(BU) have all fled
    and the animals are gone.

11 “I will make Jerusalem a heap(BV) of ruins,
    a haunt of jackals;(BW)
and I will lay waste the towns of Judah(BX)
    so no one can live there.”(BY)

12 Who is wise(BZ) 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.(CA) 14 Instead, they have followed(CB) the stubbornness of their hearts;(CC) 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(CD) and drink poisoned water.(CE) 16 I will scatter them among nations(CF) that neither they nor their ancestors have known,(CG) and I will pursue them with the sword(CH) until I have made an end of them.”(CI)

17 This is what the Lord Almighty says:

“Consider now! Call for the wailing women(CJ) 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.(CK)
19 The sound of wailing is heard from Zion:
    ‘How ruined(CL) 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.(CM)
Teach your daughters how to wail;
    teach one another a lament.(CN)
21 Death has climbed in through our windows(CO)
    and has entered our fortresses;
it has removed the children from the streets
    and the young men(CP) from the public squares.

22 Say, “This is what the Lord declares:

“‘Dead bodies will lie
    like dung(CQ) 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(CR)
    or the strong boast of their strength(CS)
    or the rich boast of their riches,(CT)
24 but let the one who boasts boast(CU) about this:
    that they have the understanding to know(CV) me,
that I am the Lord,(CW) who exercises kindness,(CX)
    justice and righteousness(CY) on earth,
    for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.

25 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh(CZ) 26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the wilderness in distant places.[g](DA) For all these nations are really uncircumcised,(DB) and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.(DC)

God and Idols(DD)

10 Hear what the Lord says to you, people of Israel. This is what the Lord says:

“Do not learn the ways of the nations(DE)
    or be terrified by signs(DF) in the heavens,
    though the nations are terrified by them.
For the practices of the peoples are worthless;
    they cut a tree out of the forest,
    and a craftsman(DG) shapes it with his chisel.(DH)
They adorn it with silver(DI) and gold;
    they fasten it with hammer and nails
    so it will not totter.(DJ)
Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field,
    their idols cannot speak;(DK)
they must be carried
    because they cannot walk.(DL)
Do not fear them;
    they can do no harm(DM)
    nor can they do any good.”(DN)

No one is like you,(DO) Lord;
    you are great,(DP)
    and your name is mighty in power.
Who should not fear(DQ) you,
    King of the nations?(DR)
    This is your due.
Among all the wise leaders of the nations
    and in all their kingdoms,
    there is no one like you.

They are all senseless(DS) and foolish;(DT)
    they are taught by worthless wooden idols.(DU)
Hammered silver is brought from Tarshish(DV)
    and gold from Uphaz.
What the craftsman and goldsmith have made(DW)
    is then dressed in blue and purple—
    all made by skilled workers.
10 But the Lord is the true God;
    he is the living God,(DX) the eternal King.(DY)
When he is angry,(DZ) the earth trembles;(EA)
    the nations cannot endure his wrath.(EB)

11 “Tell them this: ‘These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish(EC) from the earth and from under the heavens.’”[h]

12 But God made(ED) the earth(EE) by his power;
    he founded the world by his wisdom(EF)
    and stretched out the heavens(EG) by his understanding.
13 When he thunders,(EH) the waters in the heavens roar;
    he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth.
He sends lightning(EI) with the rain(EJ)
    and brings out the wind from his storehouses.(EK)

14 Everyone is senseless and without knowledge;
    every goldsmith is shamed(EL) by his idols.
The images he makes are a fraud;(EM)
    they have no breath in them.
15 They are worthless,(EN) the objects of mockery;
    when their judgment comes, they will perish.
16 He who is the Portion(EO) of Jacob is not like these,
    for he is the Maker of all things,(EP)
including Israel, the people of his inheritance(EQ)
    the Lord Almighty is his name.(ER)

Coming Destruction

17 Gather up your belongings(ES) to leave the land,
    you who live under siege.
18 For this is what the Lord says:
    “At this time I will hurl(ET) out
    those who live in this land;
I will bring distress(EU) on them
    so that they may be captured.”

19 Woe to me because of my injury!
    My wound(EV) is incurable!
Yet I said to myself,
    “This is my sickness, and I must endure(EW) it.”
20 My tent(EX) is destroyed;
    all its ropes are snapped.
My children are gone from me and are no more;(EY)
    no one is left now to pitch my tent
    or to set up my shelter.
21 The shepherds(EZ) are senseless(FA)
    and do not inquire of the Lord;(FB)
so they do not prosper(FC)
    and all their flock is scattered.(FD)
22 Listen! The report is coming—
    a great commotion from the land of the north!(FE)
It will make the towns of Judah desolate,(FF)
    a haunt of jackals.(FG)

Jeremiah’s Prayer

23 Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own;
    it is not for them to direct their steps.(FH)
24 Discipline me, Lord, but only in due measure—
    not in your anger,(FI)
    or you will reduce me to nothing.(FJ)
25 Pour out your wrath on the nations(FK)
    that do not acknowledge you,
    on the peoples who do not call on your name.(FL)
For they have devoured(FM) Jacob;
    they have devoured him completely
    and destroyed his homeland.(FN)

The Covenant Is Broken

11 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Listen to the terms of this covenant(FO) and tell them to the people of Judah and to those who live in Jerusalem. Tell them that this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Cursed(FP) is the one who does not obey the terms of this covenant— the terms I commanded your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt,(FQ) out of the iron-smelting furnace.(FR)’ I said, ‘Obey(FS) me and do everything I command you, and you will be my people,(FT) and I will be your God. Then I will fulfill the oath I swore(FU) to your ancestors, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey’(FV)—the land you possess today.”

I answered, “Amen,(FW) Lord.”

The Lord said to me, “Proclaim(FX) all these words in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: ‘Listen to the terms of this covenant and follow(FY) them. From the time I brought your ancestors up from Egypt until today, I warned them again and again,(FZ) saying, “Obey me.” But they did not listen or pay attention;(GA) instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts.(GB) So I brought on them all the curses(GC) of the covenant I had commanded them to follow but that they did not keep.(GD)’”

Then the Lord said to me, “There is a conspiracy(GE) among the people of Judah and those who live in Jerusalem. 10 They have returned to the sins of their ancestors,(GF) who refused to listen to my words.(GG) They have followed other gods(GH) to serve them.(GI) Both Israel and Judah have broken the covenant(GJ) I made with their ancestors. 11 Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I will bring on them a disaster(GK) they cannot escape.(GL) Although they cry(GM) out to me, I will not listen(GN) to them. 12 The towns of Judah and the people of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods to whom they burn incense,(GO) but they will not help them at all when disaster(GP) strikes. 13 You, Judah, have as many gods(GQ) as you have towns;(GR) and the altars you have set up to burn incense(GS) to that shameful(GT) god Baal are as many as the streets of Jerusalem.’

14 “Do not pray(GU) for this people or offer any plea or petition for them, because I will not listen(GV) when they call to me in the time of their distress.

15 “What is my beloved doing in my temple
    as she, with many others, works out her evil schemes?
    Can consecrated meat(GW) avert your punishment?(GX)
When you engage in your wickedness,
    then you rejoice.[i]

16 The Lord called you a thriving olive tree(GY)
    with fruit beautiful in form.
But with the roar of a mighty storm
    he will set it on fire,(GZ)
    and its branches will be broken.(HA)

17 The Lord Almighty, who planted(HB) you, has decreed disaster(HC) for you, because the people of both Israel and Judah have done evil and aroused(HD) my anger by burning incense to Baal.(HE)

Plot Against Jeremiah

18 Because the Lord revealed their plot to me, I knew it, for at that time he showed me what they were doing. 19 I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter;(HF) I did not realize that they had plotted(HG) against me, saying,

“Let us destroy the tree and its fruit;
    let us cut him off from the land of the living,(HH)
    that his name be remembered(HI) no more.”
20 But you, Lord Almighty, who judge righteously(HJ)
    and test the heart(HK) and mind,(HL)
let me see your vengeance(HM) on them,
    for to you I have committed my cause.

21 Therefore this is what the Lord says about the people of Anathoth(HN) who are threatening to kill you,(HO) saying, “Do not prophesy(HP) in the name of the Lord or you will die(HQ) by our hands”— 22 therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says: “I will punish them. Their young men(HR) will die by the sword, their sons and daughters by famine. 23 Not even a remnant(HS) will be left to them, because I will bring disaster on the people of Anathoth in the year of their punishment.(HT)

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 8:13 The meaning of the Hebrew for this sentence is uncertain.
  2. Jeremiah 8:18 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  3. Jeremiah 9:1 In Hebrew texts 9:1 is numbered 8:23, and 9:2-26 is numbered 9:1-25.
  4. Jeremiah 9:3 Or lies; / they are not valiant for truth
  5. Jeremiah 9:4 Or a deceiving Jacob
  6. Jeremiah 9:6 That is, Jeremiah (the Hebrew is singular)
  7. Jeremiah 9:26 Or wilderness and who clip the hair by their foreheads
  8. Jeremiah 10:11 The text of this verse is in Aramaic.
  9. Jeremiah 11:15 Or Could consecrated meat avert your punishment? / Then you would rejoice