Jeremiah 1; Jeremiah 2; Jeremiah 3

1 These are the words of Jeremiah, Hilkiah's son, who was one of the priests from Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. 2 The LORD's word came to Jeremiah in the thirteenth year of Judah's King Josiah, Amon's son, 3 and throughout the rule of Judah's King Jehoiakim, Josiah's son, until the fifth month of the eleventh year of King Zedekiah, Josiah's son, when the people of Jerusalem were taken into exile. 4 The LORD's word came to me: 5 "Before I created you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I set you apart; I made you a prophet to the nations." 6 "Ah, LORD God," I said, "I don't know how to speak because I'm only a child." 7 The LORD responded, "Don't say, ‘I'm only a child.' Where I send you, you must go; what I tell you, you must say. 8 Don't be afraid of them, because I'm with you to rescue you," declares the LORD. 9 Then the LORD stretched out his hand, touched my mouth, and said to me, "I'm putting my words in your mouth. 10 This very day I appoint you over nations and empires, to dig up and pull down, to destroy and demolish, to build and plant." 11 The LORD asked me, "What do you see, Jeremiah?" I said, "A branch of an almond tree." 12 The LORD then said, "You are right, for I'm watching over my word until it is fulfilled." 13 The LORD asked me again, "What do you see?" I said, "A pot boiling over from the north." 14 The LORD said to me, "Trouble will erupt from the north against the people of this land." 15 I'm calling for all the tribes of great nations from the north, says the LORD, and they will set up their rulers by the entrances of Jerusalem, on its walls, and in every city of Judah. 16 I will declare my judgment against them for doing evil: for abandoning me, worshipping other gods, and trusting in the works of their hands. 17 But you must prepare for battle and be ready to utter every word I command you. Don't be frightened before them, or I will frighten you before them. 18 Today I have made you an armed city, an iron pillar, and a bronze wall against the entire land—the kings of Judah, its princes, its priests, and all its people. 19 They will attack you, but they won't defeat you, because I am with you and will rescue you, declares the LORD.
1 The LORD's word came to me: 2 Go and proclaim to the people of Jerusalem, The LORD proclaims: I remember your first love, your devotion as a young bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in an unplanted land. 3 Israel was devoted to the LORD, the early produce of the harvest. Whoever ate from it became guilty; disaster overtook them, declares the LORD. 4 Listen to the LORD's word, people of Judah, all you families of the Israelite household. 5 This is what the LORD says: What wrong did your ancestors find in me that made them wander so far? They pursued what was worthless and became worthless. 6 They didn't ask, "Where's the LORD who brought us up from the land of Egypt, who led us through the wilderness, in a land of deserts and ravines, in a land of drought and darkness, in a land of no return, where no one survives?" 7 I brought you into a land of plenty, to enjoy its gifts and goodness, but you ruined my land; you disgraced my heritage. 8 The priests didn't ask, "Where's the LORD?" Those responsible for the Instruction didn't know me; the leaders rebelled against me; the prophets spoke in the name of Baal, going after what has no value. 9 That is why I will take you to court and charge even your descendants, declares the LORD. 10 Look to the west as far as the shores of Cyprus and to the east as far as the land of Kedar. Ask anyone there: Has anything this odd ever taken place? 11 Has a nation switched gods, though they aren't really gods at all? Yet my people have exchanged their glory for what has no value. 12 Be stunned at such a thing, you heavens; shudder and quake, declares the LORD. 13 My people have committed two crimes: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water. And they have dug wells, broken wells that can't hold water. 14 Is Israel a slave, a servant by birth? If not, why then has he become prey? 15 Lions roar at him; they growl. They destroy his land and make his towns desolate until nothing is left. 16 As well, the people of Memphis and Tahpanhes lay open your scalp. 17 Haven't you brought this on yourself by abandoning the LORD your God, who has directed your paths? 18 So why take the path to Egypt to drink water from the Nile? Why travel the path to Assyria to drink water from the Euphrates? 19 Your wrongdoing will punish you. Your acts of unfaithfulness will find you out. Don't you understand how terribly bitter it is to abandon the LORD your God and not fear me? declares the LORD of heavenly forces. 20 Long ago I broke your yoke; I shattered your chains. But even then you said, "I won't serve you." On every high hill and under every lush tree, you have acted like a prostitute. 21 Yet it was I who planted you, a precious vine of fine quality; how could you turn into a wild vine and become good for nothing? 22 Even though you scrub yourself with soap or strong powder, the stain of your sin is still before me, declares the LORD God. 23 How can you say, "I'm not dirty; I haven't gone after Baals." Look what you have done in the valley; consider what you have done there. You are like a frenzied young camel, racing around, 24 a wild donkey in the wilderness, lustfully sniffing the wind. Who can restrain such passion? Those who desire her need not give up; with little effort they will find her in heat. 25 Don't run about until your feet are blistered and your throat is parched. But you say, "What's the use? I have fallen in love with foreign gods, and I must pursue them." 26 As a thief is ashamed when caught in his tracks, so the people of Israel are ashamed— their kings, officials, priests, and prophets— 27 when they say to a piece of wood, "You are my father," and to a stone, "You gave me birth." They have turned their backs to me and not their faces. Yet in their time of trouble they say, "Arise and save us!" 28 Where are the gods you have made for yourselves? Let's see if they will come through for you in your time of trouble. You have as many gods, Judah, as you have towns. 29 Why would you bring charges against me? You have all rebelled against me, declares the LORD. 30 I have disciplined your children in vain; they have rejected my correction. You have devoured your prophets like a hungry lion. 31 People of this generation, listen closely to the LORD's word: Have I been a wasteland to Israel or a land of dense darkness? Why then do my people say, "We have wandered far away; we'll come to you no longer"? 32 Does a young woman forget her jewelry or a bride her wedding dress? Yet you have forgotten me days without end! 33 So skilled are you at pursuing lovers that you instruct even the most wicked. 34 Your garments are stained with the blood of the innocent poor, even though you didn't catch them breaking and entering. Yet, despite all this, 35 you still insist, "I'm innocent; as a result he will turn his anger away from me." Because you claim not to have sinned, I will pass judgment against you. 36 You change sides so casually! But Egypt will shame you no less than Assyria. 37 From there you will go out with your hands on your heads, because the LORD has rejected those you rely on; they won't help you.
1 If a man divorces his wife, and after she leaves him marries another, can he return to her again? Wouldn't such an act completely corrupt the land? Yet you have prostituted yourself with many lovers. Would you return to me? declares the LORD. 2 Look to the well-traveled paths and see! Where haven't you committed adultery? On the roadsides you sit in wait for lovers, like a nomad in the wilderness. You have corrupted the land with your cheap and reckless behavior. 3 That's why the showers have failed and the spring rains have ceased. Still you act like a brazen prostitute who refuses to blush. 4 At the same time you say to me, "My father, my friend since youth, 5 will you stay angry forever? Will you continue to be furious?" This is what you say while you do as much evil as you possibly can. 6 During the rule of King Josiah, the LORD said to me: Have you noticed what unfaithful Israel has done? She's gone about looking for lovers on top of every high hill and under every lush tree. 7 I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me, but she didn't. Her disloyal sister Judah saw this. 8 She also saw that I sent unfaithful Israel away with divorce papers because of all her acts of unfaithfulness; yet disloyal sister Judah was not afraid but kept on playing the prostitute. 9 She didn't think twice about corrupting the land and committing adultery with stone and tree. 10 Yet even after all this, disloyal sister Judah didn't return to me with all her heart but only insincerely, declares the LORD. 11 Then the LORD said to me: Unfaithful Israel is less guilty than disloyal Judah. 12 Go proclaim these words to the north and say: Return, unfaithful Israel, declares the LORD. I won't reject you, for I'm faithful, declares the LORD; I won't stay angry forever. 13 Only acknowledge your wrongdoing: how you have rebelled against the LORD your God, and given yourself to strangers under every lush tree and haven't obeyed me, declares the LORD. 14 Return, rebellious children, declares the LORD, for I'm your husband. I'll gather you— one from a city and two from a tribe— and bring you back to Zion. 15 I will appoint shepherds with whom I'm pleased, and they will lead you with knowledge and understanding. 16 And in those days, when your numbers have greatly increased in the land, declares the LORD, people will no longer talk about the LORD's covenant chest; they won't recall or remember it; they won't even miss it or try to build another one. 17 At that time, they will call Jerusalem the LORD's throne, and all nations will gather there to honor the LORD's name. No longer will they follow their own willful and evil hearts. 18 In those days the people of Judah and Israel will leave the north together for the land that I gave their ancestors as an inheritance. 19 I thought to myself, How wonderful it would be to treat you like children and give you a beautiful land, an inheritance unrivaled among the nations. And I thought, You will call me father, and you won't turn away from me. 20 But as a woman betrays her lover, so you, people of Israel, have betrayed me, declares the LORD. 21 A voice is heard on the well-traveled paths; it's the crying and pleading of the people of Israel, who have lost their way and forgotten the LORD their God. 22 Return, rebellious children, and I will heal your rebellion. "Here we are; we come to you, for you are the LORD our God. 23 Surely what happens on the hills is a waste, as is the uproar on the mountains. Only in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel. 24 From our youth, shame has devoured the fruit of our parents' labor— their flocks and herds, as well as their sons and daughters. 25 Let's lie down in our shame. Let our dishonor cover us, for we have sinned against the LORD our God, both we and our ancestors, from our youth to this very day. We have disobeyed the voice of the LORD our God."
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