1 These are the words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah. He belonged to the family of priests who lived in the town of Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. 2 The Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah during the thirteenth year that Josiah son of Amon was king of Judah. 3 The Lord also spoke to Jeremiah while Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king of Judah and during the eleven years that Zedekiah son of Josiah was king of Judah. In the fifth month of his last year, the people of Jerusalem were taken away as captives. 4 The Lord spoke his word to me, saying: 5 "Before I made you in your mother's womb, I chose you. Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." 6 Then I said, "But Lord God, I don't know how to speak. I am only a boy." 7 But the Lord said to me, "Don't say, 'I am only a boy.' You must go everywhere I send you, and you must say everything I tell you to say. 8 Don't be afraid of anyone, because I am with you to protect you," says the Lord. 9 Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth. He said to me, "See, I am putting my words in your mouth. 10 Today I have put you in charge of nations and kingdoms. You will pull up and tear down, destroy and overthrow, build up and plant." 11 The Lord spoke his word to me, saying: "Jeremiah, what do you see?" I answered, "I see a stick of almond wood." 12 The Lord said to me, "You have seen correctly, because I am watching to make sure my words come true." 13 The Lord spoke his word to me again: "What do you see?" I answered, "I see a pot of boiling water, tipping over from the north." 14 The Lord said to me, "Disaster will come from the north and strike all the people who live in this country. 15 In a short time I will call all of the people in the northern kingdoms," said the Lord. "Those kings will come and set up their thrones near the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem. and all the cities in Judah. 16 And I will announce my judgments against my people because of their evil in turning away from me. They offered sacrifices to other gods and worshiped idols they had made with their own hands. 17 "Jeremiah, get ready. Stand up and tell them everything I command you to say. Don't be afraid of the people, or I will give you good reason to be afraid of them. 18 Today I am going to make you a strong city, an iron pillar, a bronze wall. You will be able to stand against everyone in the land: Judah's kings, officers, priests, and the people of the land. 19 They will fight against you, but they will not defeat you, because I am with you to protect you!" says the Lord.
1 The Lord spoke his word to me, saying: 2 "Go and speak to the people of Jerusalem, saying: This is what the Lord says: 'I remember how faithful you were to me when you were a young nation. You loved me like a young bride. You followed me through the desert, a land that had never been planted. 3 The people of Israel were holy to the Lord, like the first fruits from his harvest. Those who tried to hurt Israel were judged guilty. Disasters struck them,'" says the Lord. 4 Hear the word of the Lord, family of Jacob, all you family groups of Israel. 5 This is what the Lord says: "I was fair to your ancestors, so why did they turn away from me? Your ancestors worshiped useless idols and became useless themselves. 6 Your ancestors didn't say, 'Where is the Lord who brought us out of Egypt? He led us through the desert, through a dry and rocky land, through a dark and dangerous land. He led us where no one travels or lives.' 7 I brought you into a fertile land so you could eat its fruit and produce. But you came and made my land unclean; you made it a hateful place. 8 The priests didn't ask, 'Where is the Lord?' The people who know the teachings didn't know me. The leaders turned against me. and worshiped useless idols. 9 "So now I will again tell what I have against you," says the Lord. "And I will tell what I have against your grandchildren. 10 Go across the sea to the island of Cyprus and see. Send someone to the land of Kedar to look closely. See if there has ever been anything like this. 11 Has a nation ever exchanged its gods? (Of course, its gods are not really gods at all.) for idols worth nothing. 12 Skies, be shocked at the things that have happened and shake with great fear!" says the Lord. 13 "My people have done two evils: They have turned away from me, the spring of living water. And they have dug their own wells, which are broken wells that cannot hold water. 14 Have the people of Israel become slaves? Have they become like someone who was born a slave? Why were they taken captive? 15 Enemies have roared like lions at Israel; they have growled at Israel. They have destroyed the land of Israel. The cities of Israel lie in ruins, and all the people have left. 16 The men from the cities of Memphis and Tahpanhes have disgraced you by shaving the top of your head. 17 Haven't you brought this on yourselves by turning away from the Lord your God when he was leading you in the right way? 18 It did not help to go to Egypt and drink from the Shihor River. and drink from the Euphrates River. 19 Your evil will bring punishment to you, and the wrong you have done will teach you a lesson. Think about it and understand that it is a terrible evil to turn away from the Lord your God. It is wrong not to fear me," says the Lord God All-Powerful. 20 "Long ago you refused to obey me as an ox breaks its yoke. You broke the ropes I used to hold you and said, 'I will not serve you!' In fact, on every high hill and under every green tree you lay down as a prostitute. 21 But I planted you as a special vine, as a very good seed. How then did you turn into a wild vine that grows bad fruit? 22 Although you wash yourself with cleanser and use much soap, I can still see the stain of your guilt," says the Lord God. 23 "How can you say to me, 'I am not guilty. Look at the things you did in the valley. Think about what you have done. You are like a she-camel in mating season that runs from place to place. 24 You are like a wild donkey that lives in the desert and sniffs the wind at mating time. At that time who can hold her back? Any male who chases her will easily catch her; at mating time, it is easy to find her. 25 Don't run until your feet are bare or until your throat is dry. But you say, 'It's no use! I love those other gods, and I must chase them!' 26 "A thief is ashamed when someone catches him stealing. In the same way, the family of Israel is ashamed -- they, their kings, their officers, their priests, and their prophets. 27 They say to things of wood, 'You are my father,' and to idols of stone, 'You gave birth to me.' Those people won't look at me; they have turned their backs to me. But when they get into trouble, they say, 'Come and save us!' 28 Where are the idols you made for yourselves? Let them come and save you when you are in trouble! People of Judah, you have as many idols as you have towns! 29 "Why do you complain to me? All of you have turned against me," says the Lord. 30 "I punished your people, but it did not help. They didn't come back when they were punished. With your swords you killed your prophets like a hungry lion. 31 "People of Judah, pay attention to the word of the Lord: or like a dark and dangerous land? Why do my people say, 'We are free to wander. We won't come to you anymore'? 32 A young woman does not forget her jewelry, and a bride does not forget the decorations for her dress. But my people have forgotten me for more days than can be counted. 33 You really know how to chase after love. Even the worst women can learn evil ways from you. 34 Even on your clothes you have the blood of poor and innocent people, but they weren't thieves you caught breaking in. You do all these things, 35 but you say, 'I am innocent. God is not angry with me.' But I will judge you guilty of lying, because you say, 'I have not sinned.' 36 It is so easy for you to change your mind. Even Egypt will let you down, as Assyria let you down. 37 You will eventually leave that place with your hands on your head, like captives. You trusted those countries, but you will not be helped by them, because the Lord has rejected them.
1 "If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and marries another man, should her first husband come back to her again? If he went back to her, wouldn't the land become completely unclean? But you have acted like a prostitute with many lovers, and now you want to come back to me?" says the Lord. 2 "Look up to the bare hilltops, Judah. Is there any place where you have not been a prostitute? You have sat by the road waiting for lovers, like an Arab in the desert. You made the land unclean, because you did evil and were like a prostitute. 3 So the rain has not come, and there have not been any spring rains. But your face still looks like the face of a prostitute. You refuse even to be ashamed of what you did. 4 Now you are calling to me, 'My father, you have been my friend since I was young. 5 Will you always be angry at me? Will your anger last forever?' Judah, you said this, but you did as much evil as you could!" 6 When King Josiah was ruling Judah, the Lord said to me, "Did you see what unfaithful Israel did? She was like a prostitute with her idols on every hill and under every green tree. 7 I said to myself, 'Israel will come back to me after she does this evil,' but she didn't come back. And Israel's wicked sister Judah saw what she did. 8 Judah saw that I divorced unfaithful Israel because of her adultery, but that didn't make Israel's wicked sister Judah afraid. She also went out and acted like a prostitute! 9 And she didn't care that she was acting like a prostitute. So she made her country unclean and was guilty of adultery, because she worshiped idols made of stone and wood. 10 Israel's wicked sister didn't even come back to me with her whole heart, but only pretended," says the Lord. 11 The Lord said to me, "Unfaithful Israel had a better excuse than wicked Judah. 12 Go and speak this message toward the north: 'Come back, unfaithful people of Israel,' says the Lord. 'I will stop being angry at you, because I am full of mercy,' says the Lord. 'I will not be angry with you forever. 13 All you have to do is admit your sin -- that you turned against the Lord your God and worshiped gods under every green tree and didn't obey me,'" says the Lord. 14 "Come back to me, you unfaithful children," says the Lord, "because I am your master. I will take one person from every city and two from every family group, and I will bring you to Jerusalem. 15 Then I will give you new rulers who will be faithful to me, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding. 16 In those days there will be many of you in the land," says the Lord. "At that time people will no longer say, 'I remember the Ark of the Agreement.' They won't think about it anymore or remember it or miss it or make another one. 17 At that time people will call Jerusalem The Throne of the Lord, and all nations will come together in Jerusalem to show respect to the Lord. They will not follow their stubborn, evil hearts anymore. 18 In those days the family of Judah will join the family of Israel. They will come together from a land in the north to the land I gave their ancestors. 19 "I, the Lord, said, 'How happy I would be to treat you as my own children and give you a pleasant land, a land more beautiful than that of any other nation.' and not turn away from me. 20 But like a woman who is unfaithful to her husband, family of Israel, you have been unfaithful to me," says the Lord. 21 You can hear crying on the bare hilltops. for mercy. They have become very evil and have forgotten the Lord their God. 22 "Come back to me, you unfaithful children, and I will forgive you for being unfaithful." "Yes, we will come to you, because you are the Lord our God. 23 It was foolish to worship idols on the hills and on the mountains. comes from the Lord our God. 24 Since our youth, shameful gods have eaten up in sacrifice everything our ancestors worked for -- their flocks and herds, their sons and daughters. 25 Let us lie down in our shame, and let our disgrace cover us like a blanket. We have sinned against the Lord our God, both we and our ancestors. From our youth until now, we have not obeyed the Lord our God."