Jeremiah 7-9 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Jeremiah Speaks in the Temple
7 1-3 The Lord told me to stand by the gate of the temple[a] and to tell the people who were going in that the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, had said:
Pay attention, people of Judah! Change your ways and start living right, then I will let you keep on living in your own country.[b] 4 Don’t fool yourselves! My temple is here in Jerusalem, but that doesn’t mean I will protect you. 5 I will keep you safe only if you change your ways. Be fair and honest with each other. 6 Stop taking advantage of foreigners, orphans, and widows. Don’t kill innocent people. And stop worshiping other gods. 7 Then I will let you enjoy a long life in this land I gave your ancestors.
8 But just look at what is happening! You put your trust in worthless lies. 9 You steal and murder; you lie in court and are unfaithful in marriage. You worship idols and offer incense to Baal, when these gods have never done anything for you. 10 And then you come into my temple and worship me! Do you think I will protect you so that you can go on sinning? 11 You are thieves, and you have made my temple your hideout. But I’ve seen everything you have done.
12 Go to Shiloh, where my sacred tent once stood. Take a look at what I did there. My people Israel sinned, and so I destroyed Shiloh!
13 While you have been sinning, I have been trying to talk to you, but you refuse to listen. 14 Don’t think this temple will protect you. Long ago I told your ancestors to build it and worship me here, but now I have decided to tear it down, just as I destroyed Shiloh. 15 And as for you, people of Judah, I’m going to send you away from my land, just as I sent away the people of Ephraim and the other northern tribes.
Punishment for Worshiping Other Gods
16 Jeremiah, don’t pray for these people! I, the Lord, would refuse to listen. 17 Do you see what the people of Judah are doing in their towns and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 Children gather firewood, their fathers build fires, and their mothers mix dough to bake bread for the goddess they call the Queen of Heaven.[c] They even offer wine sacrifices to other gods, just to insult me. 19 But they are not only insulting me; they are also insulting themselves by doing these shameful things.
20 And now, I, the Lord All-Powerful, will flood Judah with my fiery anger until nothing is left—no people or animals, no trees or crops.
It Is Useless To Offer Sacrifices
21 The Lord told me to say to the people of Judah:
I am the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, but I won’t accept sacrifices from you. So don’t even bother bringing them to me. You might as well just cook the meat for yourselves.
22 At the time I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, I didn’t command them to offer sacrifices to me. 23 Instead, I told them, “If you listen to me and do what I tell you, I will be your God, you will be my people, and all will go well for you.” 24 But your ancestors refused to listen. They were stubborn, and whenever I wanted them to go one way, they always went the other. 25 Ever since your ancestors left Egypt, I have been sending my servants the prophets to speak for me. 26 But you have ignored me and become even more stubborn and sinful than your ancestors ever were!
The Lord said:
27 Jeremiah, no matter what you do, the people won’t listen. 28 So you must say to them:
People of Judah, I am the Lord your God, but you have refused to obey me, and you didn’t change when I punished you. And now, you no longer even pretend to be faithful to me.
29 Shave your head bald
30 You have disobeyed me by putting your disgusting idols in my temple, and now the temple itself is disgusting to me. 31 At Topheth in Hinnom Valley you have built altars where you kill your children and burn them as sacrifices to other gods. I would never think of telling you to do this. 32 So watch out! Someday that place will no longer be called Topheth or Hinnom Valley. It will be called Slaughter Valley, because you will bury your dead there until you run out of room, 33 and then bodies will lie scattered on the ground. Birds and wild animals will come and eat, and no one will be around to scare them off. 34 When I am finished with your land, there will be deathly silence in the empty ruins of Jerusalem and the towns of Judah—no happy voices, no sounds of parties or wedding celebrations.
8 Then the bones of the dead kings of Judah and their officials will be dug up, along with the bones of the priests, the prophets, and everyone else in Jerusalem 2 who loved and worshiped the sun, moon, and stars. These bones will be scattered and left lying on the ground like trash, where the sun and moon and stars can shine on them.
3 Some of you people of Judah will be left alive, but I will force you to go to foreign countries, and you will wish you were dead. I, the Lord God All-Powerful, have spoken.
The People Took the Wrong Road
4 The Lord said:
People of Jerusalem,
6 I listen carefully,
7 Storks, doves, swallows,
Everyone is greedy and dishonest,
The People and Their Punishment
14 The people of Judah
17 “Watch out!” the Lord says.
Jeremiah Mourns for His People
18 I’m burdened with sorrow
I hear the Lord reply,
20 The people complain,
21 My people are crushed,
The Lord Answers Jeremiah
3 The Lord replied:
Lies come from the mouths
4 Jeremiah, all your friends
7 And so I will purify
Jeremiah Weeps for His People
10 I weep for the pastureland
11 I heard the Lord reply,
Why the Land Was Destroyed
12 I said to the Lord, “None of us can understand why the land has become like an uncrossable desert. Won’t you explain why?”
13 The Lord said:
I destroyed the land because the people disobeyed me and rejected my laws and teachings. 14 They were stubborn and worshiped Baal,[i] just as their ancestors did. 15 So I, the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, promise them poison to eat and drink.[j] 16 I’ll scatter them in foreign countries that they and their ancestors have never even heard of. Finally, I will send enemy soldiers to kill every last one of them.
The Women Who Are Paid To Weep
17 The Lord All-Powerful said,
18 The people answered,
20 “We ask you women
22 “The Lord has told us
What the Lord Likes Best
23 The Lord says:
Don’t brag about your wisdom
25-26 Someday I will punish the nations of Egypt, Edom, Ammon, and Moab, and the tribes of the desert.[l] The men of these nations are circumcised, but they don’t worship me. And it’s the same with you people of Judah. Your bodies are circumcised, but your hearts are unchanged.
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