The LORD gave another message to Jeremiah. He said,
"Go to the entrance of the LORD's Temple, and give this message to the people: 'O Judah, listen to this message from the LORD! Listen to it, all of you who worship here!
The LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Even now, if you quit your evil ways, I will let you stay in your own land.
But do not be fooled by those who repeatedly promise your safety because the Temple of the LORD is here.
I will be merciful only if you stop your wicked thoughts and deeds and are fair to others;
and if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; and if you stop your murdering; and if you stop worshiping idols as you now do to your own harm.
Then I will let you stay in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever.
"'Do you think that because the Temple is here you will never suffer? Don't fool yourselves!
Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and worship Baal and all those other new gods of yours,
and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, "We are safe!" -- only to go right back to all those evils again?
Do you think this Temple, which honors my name, is a den of thieves? I see all the evil going on there, says the LORD.
"'Go to the place at Shiloh where I once put the Tabernacle to honor my name. See what I did there because of all the wickedness of my people, the Israelites.
While you were doing these wicked things, says the LORD, I spoke to you about it repeatedly, but you would not listen. I called out to you, but you refused to answer.
So just as I destroyed Shiloh, I will now destroy this Temple that was built to honor my name, this Temple that you trust for help, this place that I gave to you and your ancestors.
And I will send you into exile, just as I did your relatives, the people of Israel. a '
"Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, and don't beg me to help them, for I will not listen to you.
Do you not see what they are doing throughout the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?
No wonder I am so angry! Watch how the children gather wood and the fathers build sacrificial fires. See how the women knead dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. And they give drink offerings to their other idol gods!
Am I the one they are hurting?" asks the LORD. "Most of all, they hurt themselves, to their own shame."
So the Sovereign LORD says: "I will pour out my terrible fury on this place. Its people, animals, trees, and crops will be consumed by the unquenchable fire of my anger."
This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "Away with your burnt offerings and sacrifices! Eat them yourselves!
When I led your ancestors out of Egypt, it was not burnt offerings and sacrifices I wanted from them.
This is what I told them: 'Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Only do as I say, and all will be well!'
"But my people would not listen to me. They kept on doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward.
From the day your ancestors left Egypt until now, I have continued to send my prophets -- day in and day out.
But my people have not listened to me or even tried to hear. They have been stubborn and sinful -- even worse than their ancestors.
"Tell them all this, but do not expect them to listen. Shout out your warnings, but do not expect them to respond.
Say to them, 'This is the nation whose people will not obey the LORD their God and who refuse to be taught. Truth has vanished from among them; it is no longer heard on their lips.
O Jerusalem, shave your head in mourning, and weep alone on the mountains. For the LORD has rejected and forsaken this generation that has provoked his fury.'
"The people of Judah have sinned before my very eyes," says the LORD. "They have set up their abominable idols right in my own Temple, defiling it.
They have built the pagan shrines of Topheth in the valley of the son of Hinnom, where they sacrifice their little sons and daughters in the fire. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing!
So beware, for the time is coming," says the LORD, "when that place will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. They will bury so many bodies in Topheth that there won't be room for all the graves.
The corpses of my people will be food for the vultures and wild animals, and no one will be left to scare them away.
I will put an end to the happy singing and laughter in the streets of Jerusalem. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard in the towns of Judah. The land will lie in complete desolation.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)