Jeremiah 14; Jeremiah 15; Jeremiah 16; Jeremiah 17 (New Living Translation)

1 This message came to Jeremiah from the LORD, explaining why he was holding back the rain: 2 "Judah wilts; her businesses have ground to a halt. All the people sit on the ground in mourning, and a great cry rises from Jerusalem. 3 The nobles send servants to get water, but all the wells are dry. The servants return with empty pitchers, confused and desperate, covering their heads in grief. 4 The ground is parched and cracked for lack of rain. The farmers are afraid; they, too, cover their heads. 5 The deer abandons her newborn fawn because there is no grass. 6 The wild donkeys stand on the bare hills panting like thirsty jackals. They strain their eyes looking for grass to eat, but there is none to be found." 7 The people say, "LORD, our wickedness has caught up with us. We have sinned against you. So please, help us for the sake of your own reputation. 8 O Hope of Israel, our Savior in times of trouble! Why are you like a stranger to us? Why are you like someone passing through the land, stopping only for the night? 9 Are you also confused? Are you helpless to save us? You are right here among us, LORD. We are known as your people. Please don't abandon us now!" 10 So the LORD replies to his people, "You love to wander far from me and do not follow in my paths. Now I will no longer accept you as my people. I will remember all your wickedness and will punish you for your sins." 11 Then the LORD said to me, "Do not pray for these people anymore. 12 When they fast in my presence, I will pay no attention. When they present their burnt offerings and grain offerings to me, I will not accept them. In return, I will give them only war, famine, and disease." 13 Then I said, "O Sovereign LORD, their prophets are telling them, 'All is well -- no war or famine will come. The LORD will surely send you peace.'" 14 Then the LORD said, "These prophets are telling lies in my name. I did not send them or tell them to speak. I did not give them any messages. They prophesy of visions and revelations they have never seen or heard. They speak foolishness made up in their own lying hearts. 15 Therefore, says the LORD, I will punish these lying prophets, for they have spoken in my name even though I never sent them. They say that no war or famine will come, but they themselves will die by war and famine! 16 As for the people to whom they prophesy -- their bodies will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and war. There will be no one left to bury them. Husbands, wives, sons, and daughters -- all will be gone. For I will pour out their own wickedness on them." 17 "Now, Jeremiah, say this to them: 'Night and day my eyes overflow with tears. I cannot stop weeping, for my virgin daughter -- my precious people -- has been run through with a sword and lies mortally wounded on the ground. 18 If I go out into the fields, I see the bodies of people slaughtered by the enemy. If I walk the city streets, there I see people who have died of starvation. The prophets and priests continue with their work, but they do not know what they are doing.'" 19 LORD, have you completely rejected Judah? Do you really hate Jerusalem? Why have you wounded us past all hope of healing? We hoped for peace, but no peace came. We hoped for a time of healing but found only terror. 20 LORD, we confess our wickedness and that of our ancestors, too. We all have sinned against you. 21 For the sake of your own name, LORD, do not abandon us. Do not disgrace yourself and the throne of your glory. Do not break your covenant with us. Please don't forget us! 22 Can any of the foreign gods send us rain? Does it fall from the sky by itself? No, it comes from you, the LORD our God! Only you can do such things. So we will wait for you to help us. 1 Then the LORD said to me, "Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me pleading for these people, I wouldn't help them. Away with them! Get them out of my sight! 2 And if they say to you, 'But where can we go?' tell them, 'This is what the LORD says: Those who are destined for death, to death; those who are destined for war, to war; those who are destined for famine, to famine; those who are destined for captivity, to captivity.'" 3 "I will send four kinds of destroyers against them," says the LORD. "I will send the sword to kill, the dogs to drag away, the vultures to devour, and the wild animals to finish up what is left. 4 Because of the wicked things Manasseh son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, did in Jerusalem, I will make my people an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth." 5 "Who will feel sorry for you, Jerusalem? Who will weep for you? Who will even bother to ask how you are? 6 You have forsaken me and turned your back on me," says the LORD. "Therefore, I will raise my clenched fists to destroy you. I am tired of always giving you another chance. 7 I will winnow you like grain at the gates of your cities and take away everything you hold dear. I will destroy my own people, because they refuse to turn back to me from all their evil ways." 8 "There will be more widows than the grains of sand along the seashore. At noontime I will bring a destroyer against the mothers of young men. I will cause anguish and terror to come upon them suddenly. 9 The mother of seven grows faint and gasps for breath; her sun has gone down while it is yet day. She sits childless now, disgraced and humiliated. And those who are left, I will hand over to the enemy to be killed," says the LORD. 10 Then I said, "What sadness is mine, my mother. Oh, that I had died at birth! I am hated everywhere I go. I am neither a lender who has threatened to foreclose nor a borrower who refuses to pay -- yet they all curse me." 11 The LORD replied, "All will be well with you, Jeremiah. Your enemies will ask you to plead on their behalf in times of trouble and distress. 12 Can a man break a bar of iron from the north, or a bar of bronze? 13 Because of all my people's sins against me, I will hand over their wealth and treasures as plunder to the enemy. 14 I will tell their enemies to take them as captives to a foreign land. For my anger blazes forth like fire, and it will consume them." 15 Then I said, "LORD, you know I am suffering for your sake. Punish my persecutors! Don't let them kill me! Be merciful to me and give them what they deserve! 16 Your words are what sustain me. They bring me great joy and are my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty. 17 I never joined the people in their merry feasts. I sat alone because your hand was on me. I burst with indignation at their sins. 18 Why then does my suffering continue? Why is my wound so incurable? Your help seems as uncertain as a seasonal brook. It is like a spring that has gone dry." 19 The LORD replied, "If you return to me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve me. If you speak words that are worthy, you will be my spokesman. You are to influence them; do not let them influence you! 20 They will fight against you like an attacking army, but I will make you as secure as a fortified wall. They will not conquer you, for I will protect and deliver you. I, the LORD, have spoken! 21 Yes, I will certainly keep you safe from these wicked men. I will rescue you from their cruel hands." 1 The LORD gave me another message. He said, 2 "Do not marry or have children in this place. 3 For this is what the LORD says about the children born here in this city and about their mothers and fathers: 4 They will die from terrible diseases. No one will mourn for them or bury them, and they will lie scattered on the ground like dung. They will die from war and famine, and their bodies will be food for the vultures and wild animals." 5 "Do not go to their funerals to mourn and show sympathy for them," says the LORD, "for I have removed my protection and peace from them. I have taken away my unfailing love and my mercy. 6 Both the great and the lowly will die in this land. No one will bury them or mourn for them. Their friends will not cut themselves or shave their heads in sadness. 7 No one will offer a meal to comfort those who mourn for the dead -- not even for the death of a mother or a father. No one will send a cup of wine to console them." 8 "And do not go to their feasts and parties. Do not eat and drink with them at all. 9 For the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: In your own lifetime, before your very eyes, I will put an end to the happy singing and laughter in this land. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard." 10 "When you tell the people all these things, they will ask, 'Why has the LORD decreed such terrible things against us? What have we done to deserve such treatment? What is our sin against the LORD our God?' 11 Tell them that this is the LORD's reply: It is because your ancestors were unfaithful to me. They worshiped other gods and served them. They abandoned me. They did not keep my law. 12 And you are even worse than your ancestors! You stubbornly follow your own evil desires and refuse to listen to me. 13 So I will throw you out of this land and send you into a foreign land where you and your ancestors have never been. There you can worship idols all you like -- and I will grant you no favors!" 14 "But the time is coming," says the LORD, "when people who are taking an oath will no longer say, 'As surely as the LORD lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.' 15 Instead, they will say, 'As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the people of Israel back to their own land from the land of the north and from all the countries to which he had exiled them.' For I will bring them back to this land that I gave their ancestors." 16 "But now I am sending for many fishermen who will catch them," says the LORD. "I am sending for hunters who will search for them in the forests and caves. 17 I am watching them closely, and I see every sin. They cannot hope to hide from me. 18 I will punish them doubly for all their sins, because they have defiled my land with lifeless images of their detestable gods and filled my inheritance with their evil deeds." 19 LORD, you are my strength and fortress, my refuge in the day of trouble! Nations from around the world will come to you and say, "Our ancestors were foolish, for they worshiped worthless idols. 20 Can people make their own god? The gods they make are not real gods at all!" 21 "So now I will show them my power and might," says the LORD. "At last they will know that I am the LORD." 1 The LORD says, "My people act as though their evil ways are laws to be obeyed, inscribed with a diamond point on their stony hearts, or with an iron chisel on the corners of their altars. 2 Even their children go to worship at their sacred altars and Asherah poles, beneath every green tree and on every high hill. 3 So I will give all your wealth and treasures -- together with your pagan shrines -- as plunder to your enemies, for sin runs rampant in your land. 4 The wonderful inheritance I have reserved for you will slip out of your hands, and I will send you away as captives to a foreign land. For you have kindled my anger into a roaring fire that will burn forever." 5 This is what the LORD says: "Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans and turn their hearts away from the LORD. 6 They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, on the salty flats where no one lives." 7 "But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. 8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit." 9 "The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? 10 But I know! I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve." 11 Like a bird that hatches eggs she has not laid, so are those who get their wealth by unjust means. Sooner or later they will lose their riches and, at the end of their lives, will become poor old fools. 12 But we worship at your throne -- eternal, high, and glorious! 13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who turn away from you will be disgraced and shamed. They will be buried in a dry and dusty grave, for they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living water. 14 O LORD, you alone can heal me; you alone can save. My praises are for you alone! 15 People scoff at me and say, "What is this 'message from the LORD' you keep talking about? Why don't your predictions come true?" 16 LORD, I have not abandoned my job as a shepherd for your people. I have not urged you to send disaster. It is your message I have given them, not my own. 17 LORD, do not desert me now! You alone are my hope in the day of disaster. 18 Bring shame and terror on all who persecute me, but give me peace. Yes, bring double destruction upon them! 19 Then the LORD said to me, "Go and stand in the gates of Jerusalem, first at the gate where the king goes out, and then at each of the other gates. 20 Say to all the people, 'Listen to this message from the LORD, you kings of Judah and all you people of Judah and everyone living in Jerusalem. 21 This is what the LORD says: Listen to my warning and live! Stop carrying on your trade at Jerusalem's gates on the Sabbath day. 22 Do not do your work on the Sabbath, but make it a holy day. I gave this command to your ancestors, 23 but they did not listen or obey. They stubbornly refused to pay attention and would not respond to discipline." 24 "'But if you obey me, says the LORD, and do not carry on your trade or work on the Sabbath day, and if you keep it holy, 25 then this nation will continue forever. There will always be a descendant of David sitting on the throne here in Jerusalem. Kings and their officials will always ride among the people of Judah in chariots and on horses, and this city will remain forever. 26 And from all around Jerusalem, from the towns of Judah and Benjamin, from the western foothills and the hill country and the Negev, the people will come with their burnt offerings and sacrifices. They will bring their grain offerings, incense, and thanksgiving offerings to the LORD's Temple." 27 "'But if you do not listen to me and refuse to keep the Sabbath holy, and if on the Sabbath day you bring loads of merchandise through the gates of Jerusalem just as on other days, then I will set fire to these gates. The fire will spread to the palaces, and no one will be able to put out the roaring flames.'"
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