Jeremiah 9:4-16 (Holman Christian Standard)

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Imminent Ruin and Exile

4 Everyone has to be on guard against his friend. Don't trust any brother, for every brother will certainly deceive, and every friend spread slander.a 5 Each one betrays his friend; no one tells the truth. They have taught their tongues to speak lies; they wear themselves out doing wrong. 6 You live in [a world] of deception.b In [their] deception they refuse to know Me.c [This is] the Lord's declaration. 7 Therefore, this is what the Lord of Hosts says: I am about to refine them and test them, for what else can I do because of My deard people?e 8 Their tongues are deadly arrows- they speak deception. With his mouth a man speaks peaceably with his friend, but inwardly he sets up an ambush. 9 Should I not punish them for these things? [This is]*The bracketed text has been added for clarity. the Lord's declaration. Should I not take My revengefg against a nation such as this? 10 I will raise weeping and a lament over the mountains, a dirge over the wilderness grazing land, for they have been so scorched that no one passes through. The sound of cattle is no longer heard. From the birds of the sky to the animals, [everything] has fled-they have gone away. 11 I will make Jerusalem a heap of rubble,h a jackals' den.i I will make the cities of Judah a desolation, an uninhabited place. 12 Who is the man wise enough to understand this?j Who has the Lord spoken to, that he may explain it? Why is the land destroyed and scorched like a wilderness, so no one can pass through? 13 The Lord said, "It is because they abandoned My lawk I set in front of them and did not obey My voice or walk according to it. 14 Instead, they followed the stubbornness of their heartsl and the Baals, as their fathers taught them."m 15 Therefore, this is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: "I am about to feed this people wormwoodn and give them poisonous waters to drink.o 16 I will scatter them among nationsp that they and their fathers have not known. I will send a sword after them until I have finished them off."
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